Saturday, November 28, 2015

Top 3 Wishlisted Items!

Today I am linking up with the talented Jen from Teaching in the Tongass to share the top 3 wishlisted things in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store because of the sitewide TpT sale starting MONDAY!!!! Everything in my store will be 20% off and use the checkout code SMILE to get an extra 8% off!

 Today I am sharing the top wishlisted Winter items that people have been adding to their wishlists, so check them out:

Teaching Prime Factorization is a Winter skill in my classroom. We are trudging along through double digit multiplication and long division when factoring comes up. I love having my kids show what they know with this fun and festive math craftivity, Christmas Factor Trees. Included in this set are posters, a foldable and other activities that teach, and reteach this skill. There is also a game that is great for center work. I plan on using these during my sub day this coming week! 

The second most wishlisted item is my newest product, Winter Grams!
 This past summer, I made Summer Grams and this is the sequel to that! This is a great activity for your kiddos to share all of the fun activities, family traditions and their most special memories from what they did over their Winter Break.  It is in an Instagram format, which your students will go gaga over, and it makes an adorable bulletin board! It combines drawing and writing and I even have my kids present it to get a little public speaking standards covered as well.

Last but not least is one of my most favorite persuasive writing activities, Not my Gumdrop Buttons.  This is a fun writing activity that teaches the art of persuasion as well as perspective. 

This prompt and the resources ask the class to write from the perspective of the a gingerbread cookie who is persuasively asking Santa (or a kid) to not eat them as a midnight snack. The students will eat this persuasive writing activity up. There is a lot of ELL and hesitant writer support embedded in this pack.  The class always comes up with hilarious ways to save themselves. Your hesitant writers will be supported and your gifted writers will have freedom to spin their creative wheels.

Join in the fun and link up with us all to share what shines in your store! 

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Teaching Persuasive Writing and Point of View

      Happy November! I don't know about you, but this month doesn't get a lot of credit.  I mean, I went into Target the day BEFORE Halloween and all of the Christmas decorations were out already.  Now, don't get me wrong, I LOVE Christmastime, but what about the loveliness that is November? Can we take a moment to enjoy this middle child of a month?
    So in the spirit of honoring November, let me share with you one of my all time favorite writing activities... and I am not talking about those personal narratives about your student's Favorite "Thanksgiving Day Memories" or having them write about what they are "Thankful For".
     Well, this writing prompt is tried and true! It moves past the tired personal narratives and into persuasive writing. Your students will gobble this up because it puts a fun spin on typical Thanksgiving Day writing assignments. 
 Wait, Wait! Don't Shoot is a persuasive writing assignment that where the students write from the point of view of a turkey on Thanksgiving day. As the turkey, they are trying to persuade the farmer to not eat/hunt them for Thanksgiving dinner.  The students come up with hilarious reasons as to why the farmer should forgo a Turkey Feast this year. They also offer up some interesting alternatives to the traditional Thanksgiving meal! I have created a lot of resources to accompany the prompt and help the students understand the art of persuasion that are perfect for your more hesitant writers or English Language Learners!
  Want to win a set? Simply leave a comment, and your email, sharing your favorite Thanksgiving Day treat and I will email 2 lucky winners this fantastic product!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The Great Candy Corn Experiment

      Are you looking to add more inquiry into your science lessons? What to teach the Scientific Method in a fun and festive way? Well, if so, than you have got to take a look at my newest product, The Great Candy Corn Experiment!   This activity will help your students work through the Scientific Method in a fun and festive way. It will go over solutions and solvents by trying to dissolve a fall favorite, Candy Corns.  

This set includes:
• Scientific Method Posters 
• 6 solvent signs

• A direction page and  4 observation, recording sheets with a Final observations/conclusions report page

• Candy Corn exit tickets and a summary writing extension piece. Both are PERFECT for a festive fall bulletin board!

I love anything that gets my students more excited about science and that includes writing in the process. You can pick up one of these sets here at my Teachers Pay Teachers store. It is a great pre-Fall break activity, and can be done anytime in October or November!  I would love to give one of these away!  Just leave me a comment telling me something you are currently teaching along with your email and I will pick a winner tomorrow evening!

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Latitude and Longitude

    Geography is such an abstract and difficult concept for students, but it is important that they begin to orient themselves as they read, learn and discover more about the world around them. Each year we kick Social Studies off with an introduction to Latitude and Longitude. This is extremely complex for my students, because many of them don't venture beyond the city where our school is located.  

I created a Latitude and Longitude activity set to help my class make these abstract ideas more concrete. It front loads them with Vocabulary using pictures, a foldable (that can easily be glued into an INB) and bulletin board display cards for them to continual see and use as a reference in class.
Going over this content vocabulary front loads them for their CLOSE Read excerpt which explains the important mapping and direction system that we use to locate places on Earth.
To make the abstract more concrete there is a Map Craftivity that has them locate different places on a map using longitude, latitude and a compass.
It makes an adorable bulletin board and I have created 2 different writing components to help them show what they know in words!
Last but not least is a Performance Task that challenges the students to work together and create a flat word map and label it.  There are labels and templates of the continents for them to cut out, color and arrange. This activity extends their thinking and gives them an opportunity to work as a group to show of their mad map skills. There are pictures to help them along the way. 
   I hope this set helps your kiddos understand the big world we live on in a more exciting and concrete way. Grab this set here at my Teachers pay Teachers store.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

DonorsChose iTeach Fourth Post

DonorsChoose Chevron Fuel Your School starts today! I have had 8 Projects funded by DonorsChoose, 3 of them from Chevron. Go and check out how to get started and tips on getting your project funded on the iTeach Fourth Blog

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Fish in a Tree

Have you heard about the awesomness that is Fish in a Tree? It is like this year's Wonder... Now, when I say that, this book in no way shape or form replaces Wonder (which I will love and teach forever and ever Amen)... but what I AM saying is, that all upper grade teachers everywhere should checkout this book because everyone is talking about.

Not to give too much away... but Fish in a Tree is a realistic fiction novel written by Lynda Mullaly Hunt that shares the incredible story of Ally. Ally is a girl who has moved from school to school, her dad is serving in the Army and she goes to bed every Sunday dreading the Rubik's Cube that is school. School does not come easy to her, she often disappears into "mind movies" where she escapes her insecurities in funny ways.  She find friendship in two amazing classmates but also in the beloved and inspiring Mr. Daniels, who is her long term sub. He takes time and interest in Ally, which makes all the difference in the world. Throw in beautiful symbolism, analogies for days and themes gallore. This.Book.Is.Awesome... and that is why it is one of the books chosen for the 2015 Global Read Aloud. If you haven't heard about GRA get the 411 here. Basically, you commit to reading one of the nominated books during October 5th through November 14th. There are chapter breakdowns to follow as well as collaborative Google/Twitter/Edmodo groups to connect with along the way. It is a powerful way to connect with educators who are passionate about reading and literacy across the globe.  When I saw that Fish in a Tree was one of the GRA 2015 selections I couldn't wait to read it. And when I read it I saw it a perfect fit for my classroom. I too made a mind movie, imagining the rich dialogue that would take place.  Because the book is 51 chapters, I knew that I wanted to track my student's along the way, so I created a Novel Guide to help me do so.
 There is plenty to do and discuss with this book. I create Chapter Snapshots, for each chapter they draw and summarize the most meaningful part.  I chunked the book into groups of 5 (6 for the final part) and created questions that go over inference, making connections, predictions, vocabulary, summary, compare and contrast, cause and effect as well as character analysis.  After every 5 chapters I have a 5 question quiz to track along with my students. 

There are several respond to the text pieces. There is an interactive notebook (or can be used for a bulletin board in a flipbook) option. This goes over various story elements as well as character analysis and interpreting analogies. I tried to utilize as many different writing options as possible, because my kids need to know how to write and they need to know how to write well so I created different written responses that cater to character traits, cause and effect, themes, quote analysis and compare and contrast. Embedded in these written responses are Thinking Maps and Sentence Stems to help guide their though process.

I loved this book so much, and I am so excited to read it with my class for Global Read Aloud, but I needed to create some resources for them to analyze, deconstruct and interpret the richness of this novel and I hope it helps your class too. I am going to give one of these away, so leave a comment about what book you love to read aloud to your class and I will select a random winner tomorrow!

Sunday, August 16, 2015

{Week 4} BTS in a FLASH! Student Engagement

This is the last and final week of our Back to School in a Flash link up and this week we are talking Student Engagement!
     I cannot wait to read about how you all engage your kiddos.  Today I am going to share three ways that I engage my students in the areas of first week, classroom management and collaborative conversations.
     Fist off, let's get real and talk F.I.R.S.T W.E.E.K!   The first week is decorated with "Get to know you" conversations and activities laced in between our rules, procedures and informal assessments. I am big on getting my kids to buy in and engage in our new classroom community. One of the ways I do that is through activities that allow them to share a little bit about themselves, in a low stress but structured way!
     On the first day, I love doing a classroom scavenger hunt! Whoo's in our Class is a great way to get the kids engaged on the first day of school. It gets them up and out of their seats, as well as talking in a structured and meaningful way.  I love jumping in and playing too. It allows me that one on one time with the kids to get to know a little more about them. Grab this freebie here
     The first assignment I give to my students is to create a Me Bag.
I always bring in a bag full of 5 things that represent me.  Here is the one I made for last year...
 My 5 items were:
1) A Harry Potter book (anyone else out there a HUGE HP fan?)
2) Two Picture books of my littles
3) A weight/dumbbell
4) An owl coffee mug
5) A wisk
For the Me Bag, I present each item, individually and explain why I included them in my bag and what they represent.  Then I ask if anyone has questions they want to ask or likes something I brought. I also pass around my pictures so they have a chance to check them out.  Then I assign them the same task. They are to bring in 5 items that represent them and give a 2 minute presentation that shares their items.  Grab this first assignment here with rubrics and thinking maps here.
     This year I am going to have my kids share there 4 favorite summer memories in an instagram-esque way with my   newest product, Summer Grams. This will totally engage them, and build classroom community more!
     Next up is Classroom Management. Having a solid classroom management system is essential for teaching, without this, the careful lessons and activities that we spend all night refining and creating, go out the window.  In my classroom, we use a Classroom Checkbook Economy. 
    I use a three tiered behavior system that has rewards and consequences for the whole group, small groups and individuals.  My Classroom Checkbooks is a great way to manage Individual Behavior. I have used it every year, no matter what grade level (4th-7th).  The goal is that students will learn how to be autonomous, in charge of their own behavior, and make wise decisions.  They also learn how to balance a checkbook, how to be responsible and it reinforces math skills. Plus, kids LOVE this. Anything to do with them earning or losing money, BAM! They are instantly engaged and back on task! Each trimester we have a huge market day where the kids can spend their checkbook money. Every student brings in things to "sell", like old books, crafts, toys, etc... imagine a huge class garage sale.  The only things I sell on Market day are coupons. This eliminates the need for a "Teacher Treasure Chest" which saves me money! You can read more about this Classroom Management System here.
     Lastly, how I engage students in Collaborative Conversations...
     A majority of my students are Second Language Learners and having academic conversations intimidates them. Last year I found a fun way to engage them in these meaningful conversations in a low stress and structured way! I created these collaborative conversation sticks which give them sentence stems to help them structure their thoughts, questions and opinions.  I have a set for Math, one for Language Arts and I have also bundled them.  Read more about these collaborative conversation sticks hereThey have made all the difference in the world because now they feel more prepared to actively participate.  They use them so much that it even filters into their writing, which makes this teacher the happiest teacher on the block! 
   Well, that is all for today!I can't wait to read how you engage your kiddos throughout the year.  Link up by dragging the image below into powerpoint, sharing a picture of something you do to engage your students and share your post on the inlinkz feed.  You can grab the flashes here. Thanks for linking up with us, and cheers to a great school year!