Tricks and Treats Blog Hop

Happy Fall! I'm so excited to be a part of this Tricks and Treats Blog hosted by Jessica from Mrs. Plemons' Kindergarten. We've got many treats in store for you, so be sure to visit all of the blogs on this hop!
I have been SUPER busy with my 2/3 combo this year. They are definitely keeping me on my toes! (In a good way!) I have a few tricks I've learned from teaching my (first ever) combo (after 19 years of teaching!) that might be of use to you in your classroom. I've realized that, aside from double the planning, teaching a combo isn't too different than teaching a regular class, as we are constantly differentiating instruction and meeting the needs of individual learners in small group or one on one.

This year I'm teaching a new math program, and it has taken some time to get used to. There are aspects of it I like, and others I don't care for so much. I don't feel there is enough practice with this program.There's an independent page, a homework page, and some online resources, and that's it! I searched for extra resources for my third graders, who needed a bit more support with some of the addition concepts. I was having a hard time finding exactly what I was looking for, so I decided to create my own addition enrichment pack.The students are always so excited to use the task cards and recording sheets! I love that I can collect their recording sheets at the end of our math period and quickly see who is ready to go on and who needs more support. I love that students can work with a parent volunteer, a partner, or even by themselves. I often add a game board to make it even more fun for the students. If I want them to have immediate feedback, I give the answer key to a reliable student in the group to check. Sometimes I mix it up and post the task cards around the room and hand them a clipboard with a recording sheet to get them up and moving. This is a win-win for all of us- the third graders are more engaged and get extra practice with the concepts they need, and I am able to work with my second graders without being interrupted. The kids even love using the task cards as a Fun Friday activity. Task cards are so versatile- they are my favorite teaching tool!
I have a few faithful parent volunteers who come during the week, and I've started having them pull a group to review grammar during Daily 5. While I'm working with a guided reading group and the rest of the class is doing Daily 5, I have the volunteer pull a group to the carpet and review simple concepts such as parts of speech and subject/predicate. I often give the students a white board to record their answers, and they get immediate feedback.(I always give the volunteer an answer key!) Other times, like the photo below, I put their recording sheets in a page protector and give them a dry erase marker to write their answers.This saves so many copies! At the end, I get a report of how each student did, so I will be able to provide additional assistance to those who need it. 
How do you store your task cards, recording sheets, and other papers that are part of the file? I feel like I have tried everything! Gallon-sized Ziploc bags just don't work for me, since they are so hard to store and quickly find the one I need to pull. I have struggled with this over the years, but I have finally found a system that works for me. After I print out a task card file, I immediately laminate it. I print the title page of the file and glue it to a file folder with a pocket. I buy my file folders with pockets at Staples. The recording sheets, instructions, and other resources go inside the pockets, and I put the task cards inside a 5 x 7 envelope that I also purchase at Staples. Some task card files are too thick, so there are times that I make individual file folders for each set of task cards, or sometimes I put two activities inside one folder. 
Below is an example of a file that was too big to fit inside one folder. I glued one printed cover to the front cover,  and another cover to the back. 
Task cards and answer cards are inside the envelope, posters, recording sheets, extra practice sheets, and answer keys are all tucked nicely inside!
I love using this system to organize my centers! 
I store the centers inside plastic magazine holders I purchased at Big Lots. I have math centers in blue magazine holders, grammar is green, and language arts is kept in pink. I like to use clips to keep the folders secure.
If my task cards don't come with additional practice sheets and posters, I often store them inside plastic coupon holders that you can often find at Target Dollar Spot. For these task cards, I have the students use binder or other paper to record their answers. I teach them how to fold their paper to create small squares so I don't have to run copies of the recording sheets. I store the task card holders inside small baskets I also bought from Big Lots. Each basket is labeled with the subject, and each task card holder is labeled with the name of the task cards. I remember seeing the coupon holders and baskets on Pinterest, but I don't remember who posted the idea! 
You can check out my freebie HERE! It's an estimating sums center that's perfect for third grade, but may be useful for your 2nd and 4th graders too! Check out my other freebies HERE. I have a bunch you might find useful!
And because I'm so excited about our Tricks and Treats Blog Hop, my store will be on sale throughout the weekend! 
I hope you are able to find lots of new treats on our blog hop! Have an amazing weekend! :)

And be sure to check back next week! I will be sharing some fun Halloween freebies and ideas! 


  1. A combo class and a new math program? Whew!

  2. Love your tips for organizing task cards, thanks for sharing!

    Mrs. Plemons' Kindergarten

  3. I was going to suggest the coupon holders for your task cards and then I kept reading! I love your system though because everything is stored together. Great organization! Thanks for sharing your tips!
    Teachers Are Terrific!

  4. Girl, you are so organized! Thank you so much for sharing your resources.
    Best wishes!
    Jen :)

  5. I would like to start using task cards the second half of Kindergarten! I love your bins I have the same ones in my classroom, such pretty colors!!!
    Thanks for sharing!!!

  6. Totally cute ideas! I also love the owl thing... I'm definitely checking back next week to see more about that!

  7. so cool! I love all the storage ideas in here. I have so many of those Target spot file folders being unused so far this year...and I hope I can find some extra time soon to get task cards saved in those.

  8. These are GREAT!! Thank you so much for sharing! LOVE!!! :)

  9. Thank you so much for the great ideas and freebies! I teach in a 1/2 combo class in a really small school. Love to hear from someone who does the same!

  10. Thank you for sharing your organization of task cards! I need to try this too.

    Burke's Special Kids

  11. I love your organization tips! Thanks for sharing. We started a new math program last year and it was an interesting year. Year two is so much better though!


  12. This is genius! Thanks! I have been trying to figure this out as ALL I teach is math, and we are doing station rotations this year.

    Lessons With Coffee


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