Monday Made It with Tales of a Tenacious Teacher

Hey All! I'm Kelli from Tales of a Tenacious Teacher

To say I'm a bit of a fan of Tara's Monday-Made-It is an understatement! I couldn't be more excited that Tara asked me to host this week on her blog! I don't know about you, but without this weekly linky, I wouldn't get ANYTHING done! I'm all for enjoying my summer time, relaxing and recharging, but I also know that if I feel prepared for the school year, it makes me more excited for the return of school as opposed to dreading it. Doing a little bit here and there throughout summer actually DOES help me recharge and relax since I have the time. 50-some days left to enjoy still for me and create!! 

Since I'm not changing my classroom (in terms of colors or theme), most of my focus has turned to preparing content and organizing. If you've visited my personal blog lately, you'll know that after teaching 3rd grade for 4 years, I'm moving to 4th this upcoming year. I wasn't planning on this at first, but when an option to move up to 4th came up at my school, I couldn't get the idea out of my head to try something new, so I made the move. Even better, I get to stay in my classroom and have a lot of the same kids as last year!

The last major "decoration" I need to put up in the room is our classroom door. With all the things going on in our world, I sometimes feel helpless. However, when I think about my opportunity as a teacher, I realize I have so much power in making the world a better place by educating these young people. I want them to realize this as well. So our door quote for the beginning of the year comes from Kid President's Tiny Poem. I used my Silhouette to cut out the words. I'll be adding other details as well, but the quote is too good not to share now!

I've got some great ideas on how I can tie this to our hopes and dreams at the beginning of the year to keep it new and fresh for my group.

Next up, my reading notebook! I'll be assembling class reading notebooks this year, since I have to buy the composition notebooks on my own anyway. I'm always looking for ways to make it better so I've added a few details along with my tabs that I loved last year!

I decorated my cover with pictures of books that I have memories with. Even though I'll be assembling the notebooks, my students will decorate their covers. I also added a ribbon for easy saving spots and parts of a straw to the binding for a pencil to hang out at all times! I saw this idea originally on a Facebook Page and they credited the Daily Cafe (although when I tried to get to the initial link, I was denied due to not being a paid member).

I used this 4 pack of straws from Dollar Tree. You need straws that are larger than the typical straw. I thought these were perfect, except they weren't the same size all the way through. So I improvised and attached the larger part about a third of the way from the top and then added a skinnier part to the bottom and the pencil is pretty secured. I used Gorilla Tape (best packaging tape out there) to secure them onto the spine. I was able to make 4-5 sets per straw, so it's still a very cheap trick!
Another addition I made to the reader's notebook was by using those trusty adhesive square pocket labels from Target. I added one to the cover to store little reference cards from strategy groups. 

I made these little cards based off of the J. Serravallo's book The Reading Strategies Book.  I started using this book last year and really want to make it a part of my daily practice, so I started making some reference cards that I can print and give to my students as mini-charts to keep in their notebooks after we meet and practice the strategy in a group setting. Most of the mini charts have fill in the blanks or some other interactive piece for us to fill out while we are meeting as a group. Others have more so prompts or questions for students to think about. I used the prompts right from Serravallo's book (which is why I don't feel comfortable sharing these). But they did not take long for me to create and I feel pretty set for the beginning of the year! I was able to put 10 different charts in the little pocket at the front of our notebooks and plan to have students glue their old mini-card charts that they aren't relying on as much anymore in the back of their notebook in their helpful handouts section.


I'm also thinking about my math instruction and I NEED to change it up. I want to make it more differentiated, while still staying true to our curriculum. I'll be blogging later about my solution thanks to the amazing insight of Ladybug's Teacher Files, but I'll share some of the new resources I've made to to help me with my differentiation. 

I've made some larger game boards that reinforce basic facts. I also made smaller individual task cards and thus, had to get this amazing storage case from Michaels (and at 50% off I might say... plus my educator's discount). The beautiful Molly from Lessons with Laughter posted this beautiful picture of her box and so I had to re-create it.

I went with the clear case because I'm a color scheme crazy lady and the rainbow wouldn't match. But I do love me some rainbow (which you'll see in my new math cards).

I made some cards around finding sums of 10 to solve quickly for my students who need more reinforcement and then some equation creation puzzles for my students who need more of a challenge. The cards fit nicely in the individual cases. But some of my other new cards did not, but luckily, Michael's had another great storage solution again, 50% off!

These cards are either half page size or long and skinny, but they all fit in this card holder (that I got for $7.00). I need to add labels still to it, but I'm really excited about these new resources for one of my new changes to our math block.

Phew! Did you make it through all that? To say thanks to Tara and all of you who stop by to comment and share your ideas, enjoy one of my new math resources for free [limited time... snag it before Wednesday, July 20th]! Click on the image below to download!

Thanks again to Tara for allowing me to photo-dump on her blog! And make sure you link up below, bop around, comment, and interact with all the amazing ideas below!


  1. Kelli! Congrats on your grade change. It is always great to hear about teachers who make the choice to move and are not forced to do it. I love everything you have made, especially the balancing the equations! Good luck on your new adventure!

  2. Kelli! Congrats on your grade change. It is always great to hear about teachers who make the choice to move and are not forced to do it. I love everything you have made, especially the balancing the equations! Good luck on your new adventure!

  3. I love the reading strategies notebook and use of the Target Dollar Spot squares on the inside. Quite creative!

  4. I love how you used the Target adhesive pockets! Definitely going to use that idea :)

  5. You picked a great quote for your door! I know it will inspire others. You have been busy creating a lot. I have never thought to use the adhesive pockets in a book or journal before. Thanks for the idea.

  6. Hi! Thanks for sharing all of this! I love your reading notebooks!! You spoke to me, LOL. I have been looking for a new change in how I manage my notebooks and THIS. IS. IT.!! I already have the target pockets, and I am on the search for the straws. I usually have my kiddos decorate their reading notebooks in class with a bit of mod podge. I was searching your store, do you happen to sell the mini strategy cards? I would absolutely purchase them. Great post! Definitely inspired here. :)

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  8. I love your task cards box! I need to figure out how to make a cover on the front. Any suggestions on how to make that possible? I do like the other bin that you got! I think I need to go back and look for that one as well.

    Stuck In The Middle

  9. Wow, those reading strategy cards look amazing! I absolutely adore that book and the wealth of info it contains. Wish you could sell your cards! I also love the idea of using those Target adhesives in a journal, I haven't thought of that! Thanks for all your amazing ideas!


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