Meet A Word On Third

I'm Marla, the teacher behind A Word On Third! The 2019-2020 school year is my 9th year of teaching. I've taught first, second, and (obviously) third grade!

I was drawn to teaching because it provides me with the opportunity to make school a safe and loving environment for my students each year. This is not something I always experienced as a kid, so I'm really passionate about it. I use Responsive Classroom strategies to focus on building a positive classroom community and culture, teaching my students how to be self-directed and empathetic learners, and connecting with families.


The Teacher's College workshop model, flexible seating, and bringing critters into the classroom are all obsessions of mine. In fact, I raise Monarch Butterflies in my classroom every September; this teaches my students important science skills while helping a nearly endangered species. That's why you'll find a Monarch Butterfly in my logo! By the way, if you want to raise butterflies and caterpillars in your classroom, check out this post.

Since you're here, I already know you're an amazing teacher who is always looking for new ideas! Here are some of my most important teaching values:

  • The social and emotional content is just as important as the academic content.
  • Knowing your students as individuals is critical to their success.
  • Knowing and working cooperatively with the families of our students is critical to their success.
  • Social interaction is critical for academic growth.
  • The most effective teachers know how to be productive and manage their time efficiently.
  • The most effective teachers invest in themselves by creating a self-care practice.
  • Teachers must be reflective, life-long learners to best serve their students.
  • There is no quick-fix or one-size-fits-all template for teachers or students; each class, student, and teacher is different.
  • Students should be given the opportunity to make as many decisions as possible.
  • Mistakes help us grow.
  • Teachers must work based on students' strengths, not their weaknesses.
  • School should be a fun place where students feel significant and a sense of belonging.

Just a short drive away from Princeton, I grew up in Central New Jersey teach at my husband's old elementary school. Anyone who knows me knows that I am a crazy dog lady, and my two pups are my fuzzy babies. You'll usually catch me doing something with them when I'm not busy teacher-ing. I also have guinea pigs, a leopard gecko, hermit crab, and two tropical fish tanks. I guess that makes me an animal nut! 

My dogs help to keep me active, which is another big part of my life. Wellness is important to me. I try to incorporate teacher wellness tips into my blog as much as I can. As I mentioned above, I'm a firm believer that those who focus on wellness and self care are not only happier, but much more effective educators.

I opened my Teachers Pay Teachers store shortly after I started teaching third grade because many of the resources I wanted were nowhere to be found! You can tell by looking in my store that I am not a fan of boring, traditional worksheets--I'm much more interested in building relationships with students and families, using a balanced literacy approach in reader's and writer's workshop, and differentiating instruction.

Be sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook to stay updated on my latest releases and teacher tips!

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