Friday, May 29, 2015

Culmunating Decimal Activity: Let's Plan a Vacation

I recently tried out an amazing end of year decimal activity called, Let's Plan A Vacation, from A Trendy Teacher.

A Trendy Teacher
     The students were given the task to plan a vacation to Florida on a $1,000 budget.  The students love.Love.LOVED this activity. Read about it here on Melanie's blog!

It was an amazing outdoor bulletin board, displayed for Open House! The parents enjoyed reading postcards about their fake vacation to Florida!

Thanks for this great activity Melanie! It was a great way for my students to practice adding and subtracting decimals in a real life situation. It was practical and fun! Snag a copy of it here on TpT.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Charlotte's Web- for a Friend... and for You?!

I love 4th grade! It is my favorite grade out of all the grades I have taught (4th-7th). The only thing I wish I had in 4th grade was the ability to teach Charlotte's Web. I LOVE this book! I remember it so vividly as a child. I was wrapped up in it.  This and Where the Red Fern Grows were the first books that made me cry #sigh.  Around here, 3rd grade has a monopoly on this gem of a book.  I have NEVER got to read it with a class.   I got to revisit this wonderful book because one of my 3rd grade teacher besties saw my most recent product, By the Great Horn Spoon Interactive Quilt Flip Book, and asked me to create one for her class for Charlotte's Web!  Of course I jumped at the chance!  So, ladies and gentleman.... drum roll please.... tada! May I introduce you to Charlotte's Web Interactive Quilt Flip Book!

Fern.... Wilbur.... Charlotte.... GOSH. I love them.  It's like seeing old friends again!  So, as with my By the Great Horn Spoon and Island of the Blue Dolphins set- I have the students zoom in on important literary elements such as setting...
...Conflict, Climax. As well as Summarization of the main events of the book. This is especially hard for my English Language Learners.
They get to evaluate a character's point of view too. In this case, I had them put themselves in Fern's shoes to make a persuasive plea to her Uncle Zuckerman on Wilbur's behalf. They get a chance to construct a specially designed web from Charlotte's perspective too.  Having the kids transport themselves into the perspective of a character is such a valuable skill all students. It is the beginning of empathy, and it accesses a different part of their brain that has them think and feel a different way.
 Last but certainly not least is analyzing Character Traits!!!! We look at both Wibur and Charlotte. It asks the students to prove their traits with textual evidence.  This is BIG in 4th grade!

You can grab this goodie here at my TpT store! Well, that's all folks! You can have your kiddos do this entire set individually OR divide this set to a group,  passing out 3-4 slides each!  It is easy to differentiate and is a great set to reinforce a wonderful novel!  I will Giveaway one of these sets to whoever can guess my favorite breakfast food!  Simply, leave a comment with your guess, as well as your email!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

By the Great Horn Spoon Flip Book!

I always like to end the year by reading By the Great Horn Spoon. My class is absolutely LOVING it! They love the language, that it is happening during the Gold Rush and all of the adventure.  I decided to create a flip book to zoom in on some story elements while we go travel on this adventure with Jack and Praiseworthy.

The class will get to draw life in a mining camp and describe it.  The book does a really good job of describing it!
Jack writes letters to his guardian, Aunt Arabella, throughout the novel.  The kids get a chance to write from their perspective.  From Jack's point of view the students will summarize the major events in the story. From Aunt Arabella's point of view they will get to make inferences based on what they know about her from Jack and Praiseworthy.
 The story starts off in Boston with Jack and Praiseworthy on the Lady Wilma (a boat).  They are stowaways because somebody pick-pocketed their savings. They have a few more bumps on their journey south. The kids can record their problems on the t-chart, and track the solutions.  On the map, they will trace their journey and note major events along the way. They will have a chance to practice summarizing on the beginning, middle and end wheel as well as draw a picture of their favorite part, or the story's climax.
 By this time of the year my kiddos are experts at not only identifying but also proving character traits. Here they can share what they know about Praiseworthy and Jack.

 I made a similar flip book with Island of the Blue Dolphins. There are so many ways to use this product! You can assign each table group a set and then lace them together to make a giant quilt. Or, you can layer them on top of each other, bind them and hang them with a paper clip so that people can lift and see all the pages in side.  I even had one customer say that they used it in their ELA interactive notebooks!

This goodie is not available in my TpT store AND today it is 28% off because of the site-wide TpT sale. Grab it here now to use for next year!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Teachers Helping Teachers {Pay it Forward}

A month ago, I was late night blogging when all of the sudden I lost my post. I hope this never happens to you! It was G.O.N.E I tried everything I knew to retrieve it and sought out some help from some of my blogging buddies via Facebook. Kim from Joy in Sixth messaged me, trying to help and was super supportive.  She googled help articles and was there to (virtually) listen to me as I came to terms with the fact that I was going to have to start over.  I gave up on trying to retrieve my post and went to bed super grumpy.  The next morning, when I woke up I had a new email. Kim from had sent me a late night Starbucks gift card reminding me that everything was going to be alright.  It really touched me, so I decided to pay it forward to 2 other teachers who have inspired me  Then, it kind of spiraled into a week long event during Teacher Appreciation Week. My blogging partner in crime, Courtney from Ramona Recommends and I thought, what better way to kick off Teacher Appreciation Week than to honor our fellow teachers who have inspired us through blogging, TpT and Instagram.  As a pay it forward kind of idea, we share why they are so awesome and give them a little shout out and gift!

Today I am going to honor Jessica from Ideas by Jivey.

Ideas by Jivey
If you don't know this blog- learn it. live it. love it! Go blog-stock her for a little bit and you will see why I appreciate her!  Jessica makes quality products and her posts are super informative. The real reason why I am selecting Jivey is because her Mentor Sentences have revolutionized the way I teach grammar.  She has gone in depth with how to use them and why they work.  Buying her Mentor Sentence Bundle has been hands down, the best money I have spent on TpT over the past 6 years!  AND now I am swooning over her Paired Texts! I won a set of them during the March Madness Giveaway and fell in love! These are great for comparing texts, drawing conclusions, vocabulary in context, non-fiction text structure and on high interest topics! I definitely have a few more of these in my cart for the TpT Teacher Appreciation Sale!

I will be honoring teachers who I have met in the blogosphere all week! I am a better teacher because of this community!  Check back to see who I am appreciating tomorrow and we would love you to link up!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

May Pinterest Pick 3

Happy May. I love this month. Maybe it is the winding down of the school year, maybe it is because I am at the precipice of summer or perhaps it's just a wonderful time of the year!

Today I am linking up with Pawsitively Teaching and Inspired Owl's Corner to share my top May pins.

 I love this adorable Mother's Day gift that is inexpensive and useful!  
Check out the original post here

We have testing in the beginning of May and my kiddos are new to taking tests online, so they are unfamiliar with different test taking strategies that involve the computer.  I found this great pin from Wowzers that has a list of 10 terms that they will see on the Smarter Balanced test.  Teaching them how to decode what the questions are asking them to do is important, and this free pdf shared those with me!

With the count down to summer in full effect, I am already thinking about some fun activities for the last week.  Last year I saw this pin where the teacher had each kid sign a beach ball and I think it is totally adorable and affordable! What a fun keepsake! 
Check out the original post here
I can't wait to see all of your May pins!!!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

May Currently!

I am linking up with Farley for the May Currently. Check out my button under her Looky Lou! -->

Listening: My husband hates TV, but I love having it on in the background as I grade, blog, etc.  I love the show Nashville. In fact, my bestie and I are going to their live concert next Saturday!

LovingMy new business cards! I am getting ready for the TpT Vegas conference this coming July and part of that preparation is getting business cards! Check these babies out!
The talented Megan from I Teach What's Your Superpower? designed these!
Thinking: About redecorating my Classroom. I have the itch…. the itch to redecorate my classroom.  I have had my current theme for the past 3 years....which I know isn’t a long time BUT I have some ideas in the works to switch it up a little bit.

WantingOur school calendar to stay the same...There is a proposal to extend the school year by 9- N.I.N.E days.  5 more days with  the kids and 4 more Professional Development days.  As much as I love teaching, I love my summer with my family.  Hoping that the bargaining team works some magic! {fingers crossed}

Needing: To enter grades. I feel like grading is a lot like doing laundry.  You do one step and feel good about it but then you have to fold the laundry and put it away.  I caught up on a lot of grading this past week but now I need to enter it into the gradebook. Progress reports are just around the corner....

Summer: Summer is a busy time for us! Our whole month of July is jam packed with Vegas, our family Beach House Vacation and it ends with a road trip up to Oregon. I cannot wait for any of it!

Now I am off to checkout what you all Currently have going on! 

Friday, May 1, 2015

A Rockin' Giveaway!

Happy Saturday! I am linking up with one of my bloggy crushes, Katie from Rock and Teach, for a Rockin' Giveaway.  There are 2 amazing prize packs and a $50 TpT Gift Certificate up for grabs!

     Katie encouraged us to share one way our class has been rockin'.  This year I am using Engage New York for the first time and in the beginning it was nothing short of terrifying... but now I love how it builds, gives students several ways to show what they know and it has also revealed the many holes our old curriculum has for teaching the standards.  We got off to a slow start with the first module and my kiddos struffled with the multiplication and division unit because a lot of the class struggles mastering their facts, but once we hit fractions and decimals it was amazing to see them shine! Because it is a new curriculum and we struggled at first, we were so far behind on geometry! Our SBAC test is next week and I was so nervous that they wouldn't get through all of the necessary material.  Well, we haven't gotten through all of it but we have covered a lot of important geometry topics the last week and a 1/2.  Now, I don't want to boast but my kids have been ROCKIN' Geometry.
     We started our geometry unit off by examining the Sierpinski Triangle. It BLEW their minds. The debate over how many triangles were present was amazing to witness. I loved their  dialogue... a lot of "I respectively disagree with you" or "Have you considered" going around.  

Later in the week we had some perfect protractor partner practice.  (#xoxoalliteration)
They struggled a little bit, but I partnered the kids who seemed to get it with the kids who needed some help. Sometimes peer tutoring is the way to go.  I am happy to say, they are masters of the protractor after this week.

     The fabulous Blair Turner shared this craft on her instagram account. Who doesn't love math crafts? And in neon... come on. This was an easy and quick assessment tool. My coworker and I prepped these during recess and after recess it only took 15 minutes for my kiddos to show me what they know.  They look wonderful on the bulletin board! Needless to say, I am proud of their hardwork this week. On Monday we are doing a fun sidewalk chalk activity, partnering with our 3rd grade buddy class.  Keep up the rockin' work everyone, summer is almost here! Let's end this year with a BANG!
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