Friday, November 30, 2012

2012 Winter Holidays Tips and Freebies Ebook

I am SO excited to announce the posting of the 2012 Winter Holidays Tips and Freebies Ebook!  It is absolutely amazing!  It's chockfull of free holiday resources and tips for your to use in your classroom.  This book is a holiday gift from TpT sellers to TpT buyers.  You will find approximately 50 TpT sellers who have each contributed a page.  Each page included a holiday teaching tip and one or two freebies for you to download! 

I am thrilled to be a contributing author to the 3rd-6th grade ebook.  If you would like to check out this book, please click on the picture below.  I feel sure that you will find some treasures in this book. 

I must give a shout-out to the wonderful lady that put this book together.  Thank you Rachel Lynette for all of your hard work! 

Enjoy browsing through this fabulous resource! 

Monday, November 26, 2012

Reading Olympians and Warriors Root Programs

I know that I have blogged about Krista and Julie's Root Programs before (see previous post), but I have just has such success with these programs that I wanted to share with you how the program works specifically in my classroom. 

I guess I should start from the beginning.  Man, this could be a LONG post!  This summer my plan was to find some way to better teach Greek and Latin roots.  This is a concept that is now found in the Common Core State Standards.  Not to mention, how great it is to know the meanings of roots.  Root instruction not only improves vocabulary, but comprehension as well.  During my TpT searches, I found the Reading O program and FELL IN LOVE!  So, I started the school year back in August using the original Reading Olympian Program.  This program contains 10 "sets" of 10 prefixes, suffixes, and roots in each set.  I began with everyone starting with the Nike Set, which is the first set in the program. I modeled my expectations for completing the root packet and putting together the root rings. I gave the students one week to study the roots and then I assessed them.  After the first test, the students started really working at their own pace through the program.

Here are some guidelines I have set up for implementation in my classroom: 
  • Students take their root test on Thursday.  If they pass, I give them the next set to work on in class and as homework.  It is due no later than the following Thursday; however, students may test before that date.  Again, students work at their own pace. 
  • I consider passing 80%.  If a student makes an 80%, he or she does have the option to retake the following day, but it's not mandatory.  If the student scores below 80%, the student is required to retest the next day. 
  • If a student, who makes less than an 80% on the retake, he/she is given the packet to complete again and it's due on or before the next Thursday. 
Okay, you are probably wondering how I keep up with this MADNESS!  Well, actually it's pretty easy and I will show you how it works for me. 

Here is the storage system I use to keep copies of the packets and the assessments. 
Here is a look inside.  I keep a supply of packets and assessments for each set.  When a student is ready to test, I take up their packet and give them the assessment.  If they pass, I pull out the next set's packet and I write the due date at the top.  Since students are testing at different times, their packets are ALWAYS due on a Thursday, but they are free to test anytime before that date.  This just helps me keep track of kids so I don't have a student on the same set for weeks. 

Another way that I visually keep track of the students is with this incentive chart.  Excuse the blurry picture...I was trying to make it so the names were not legible.  Hopefully, you can still get the point.  The students put a sticker on the chart every time they pass a test.  I can look at a glance and see who has fallen way behind. 
I think the thing that makes this program SO motivating is the incentives.  This is my Reading Olympian bulletin board.  Each student has a chain necklace.  As students pass their tests, they receive a bead to add to their necklace.  After the student passes all of the test in the Reading Olympian program, he/she receives a dog tag for becoming an "Olympian".  Once the students become an Olympian, they begin the next set- the Warriors.  This reviews 50 roots from the Reading O set and introduces 50 new roots. 

Above you will see one of my advanced student's necklace.  She has earned her Olympian tag and since she is on the Warriors set, I give her a tag instead of a bead every time she passes a test.  She is moving right through the program.  She does have extra beads because I give the students beads as a reward for when they find prefixes, suffixes, and roots in their AR books or other reading materials.  One student brought me in a box of Aquafresh toothpaste to show me it had a root in the name.  LOL!  

I have the tags in plastic Ziploc baggies, but my beads are stored in this container.  I actually stole this from my husband.  It's a fishing tackle box, but it works like a charm.  
The students have a root packet to complete and they have to put their root cards on a ring  for classwork/homework.  Here are examples of those.  They are great for studying and reviewing previous sets.

Well, this how the root program works in my classroom.  I just can't say enough good things about this.  I have been contacted by many of my parents who have complimented the effectiveness of the program and how they themselves have been learning the roots with their children.  My students LOVE the program!  It's one thing they NEVER complain about doing!  And of course, I see the results in the classroom.  My students will be MAP testing the first week of December.  I have no doubts that their scores will have improved immensely because of this program.  I'll keep you posted on that.  ;) 

I want to end with this....Krista and Julie have not asked me to blog about their program.  I do not receive kickbacks or anything from their sales.  I just believe in this program SO much and wanted to share my successes with it.  As you know, TpT is running a HUGE sale!  If you have not looked into this program, I encourage you to check out the Reading Olympian website and their two programs.  It was the BEST money I EVER spent!  I know you won't regret purchasing either program.  You can check them out here. 

Thank you for taking the time to read my LONG winded post!  Please let me know if you have questions about anything you have read.  I would be glad to help.  If you have specific questions about the program, I can try my best to answer them, just based on my experiences.  However, I know Krista and Julie would be glad to answer questions as well.  :) 

Have a wonderful Monday evening!  Hopefully, you have done lots of Cyber Monday shopping! 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Cyber Monday plus Tuesday Sale

I am SO excited to announce that TpT will be offering a Cyber Monday plus Tuesday sale!  I love this time of year because I LOAD my cart up with all kinds of fabulous materials from wonderful teachers.  I hope that you will use this opportunity to do that as well.  You will find that many sellers are offering 20% off and TpT is giving an additional 10% off each item (of the sale price).  I have several holiday items in my store and will be working to complete some things this weekend.  Two freebies I would like to feature are my Santa's New Suit Writing Activity.  This is a freebie to say thank you for all of your support!  I received several wonderful comments and feedback from teachers about this product, so I hope it is something you can use during the holidays.  Click here to check out this file. 
This other freebie is a file I recently updated.  I posted it last year, but have bought some really great holiday clipart since then and decided to "spruce" this baby up.  I have used these type of thank you notes for several years now.  They are easy and inexpensive! Click here to check out this file. 
This is not a freebie, but it is my newest holiday unit.  I am sure that many of your remember my Halloween Costume Fashion Show.  Well, my kids LOVED that activity and per their request asked if we could do a Christmas Fashion Show.  Even my most reluctant writer has told me that he "loves writing now because of the fun activities, like the fashion show."  So, how could I not honor their request?  I am sharing this file with you in case you want to use it in your classroom.  It's $3.50.  You can check it out by clicking here.  If you wait until Monday, you can get this $2.52. 
 Don't forget the BIG sale!  Mark your calendars! 
Happy Thanksgiving to you all!  I am SO thankful that you and the fact that you allow me to share my ideas with you! 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Turkey Trouble Fun!

For the last two weeks, I have been focusing on poetry, drama, and prose.  I have developed two units that go with this concept that centers around a Thanksgiving theme.  Last week, the students read 'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey and this week, we are reading Turkey Trouble by Wendi Silvano. 

We have completed several activities to help the students learn more about the structural elements of text, as well as looking at story elements such as character traits, problem, solution, and theme.  We also practiced writing summaries.  Hitting those Common Core Standards!  :) 

To carry the reading activities over into writing class, I gave the students a turkey and they had to create disguises for them so they would be not be eaten at Thanksgiving.  Here are some of the AH-DORABLE turkeys the kids brought created.  Check these cute patooties out! 

An Olympic Gold Medalist
 Santa Claus
 A Beach Bum
 A model (looks like Dolly Parton to me) LOL!
 Of course, Elvis!  The student that made this was SO proud! 
 And of course, I teach in Kentucky and UK basketball is serious business.  We certainly wouldn't want to eat Nerlens Noel, our AWESOME center!
 And how cute is this?  No one wants popcorn for Thanksgiving, right? 
If you are interested in checking out my unit that contains the turkey in disguise activities.  Click here.  I know your kids will love them as much as mine have. 
Tomorrow, they will start writing letters to Farmer Jake telling him why he can't eat this "turkey".  I can't wait to see what they come up with. 

Have a great one!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

A Little Turkey Craft

I have been using my Understanding Prose, Poetry, and Drama file and wanted to create a little something to go along with this skill that ties in with Thanksgiving.  Here is a file I whipped up this afternoon.  You can download it for free by clicking here

Maybe it is something you can use in your classroom!  :) 

Have a great Sunday evening!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Spooktacular Sale and New Unit

Hot off the press!  I just posted a new unit that contains activities to teach the differences between prose, poetry, and drama.  You can check it out here

And to top it all off, I am running a Halloween Sale for today ONLY!  Everything in my store is on sale, including my new unit.  Check it out

Happy Sunday!  

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Halloween Costume Fashion Show

My kids have been working SO hard in writing class the past few days because they have been all abuzz about the Halloween Costume Fashion Show activity we have been doing. 

We began the activity by brainstorming adjectives, nouns, adverbs, etc. that are related to Halloween.  The students had a graphic organizer to use while we completed this.  Then, the students chose a "character" dressed up in a costume.  In small groups, the students created a fashion show script for their character in costume.

Well, today was the culminating activity.  The kids strutted their "character's" stuff on the catwalk while a member of their group read their script.  To add to the fun, I played different Halloween songs, such as the Ghostbusters theme song, the Monster Mash, and Thriller. 

I always consider it a good day when the kids are screaming, "This is the funniest activity EVER!" 

Here are some pictures of the "spooky" fun! 

If you are interested in purchasing this activity, I am having a flash sale on this product for TONIGHT ONLY!  To check out this activity, click here

I just love it when the kids are excited about learning!  It makes my job SO much more fun!  :) 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Inferences and Puppets

This week in Reading class, we have been working on making inferences.  I have purchased some fabulous activities from fellow bloggers/TpT sellers. 

The first part of the week, I introduced making inferences using Babbling Abby's mystery box activity.  The students had to figure out/make inferences about what was in the box based on the information that I gave them on clue cards. 
The students learned that the object in the box from these clues:
1) I am round.
2) I am made of copper. 
3) My favorite number is one. 
4) I am often thrown in fountains. 

Can you guess what was in the box?  If you said a penny, you were right!  :) 

This activity was a lot of fun and it really got the kids engaged in the unit.  Along with this lesson, I also showed a Brainpop, Jr. on making inferences. 

Babbling Abby was popular in my classroom this week because I followed up the Mystery Box lesson with her Inferencing Investigation lesson.  The kids were really excited to using their inferring skills to determine what Grandma Sue and Tim did on their snow day.  :) 

At the end of the week, the students worked in small groups to practice making inferences using Rachel Lynette's Inference Task Cards.  Her task cards are WONDERFUL and they have become a staple in my classroom.  The kids love them!  The cheer every time I mention using the task cards. 

You are probably wondering who the cute fellow is holding a task card.  This adorable guy, better known as Snickers, is a puppet I have had since before I started teaching (over 10 years ago).  My mother-in-law actually found him on clearance at a toy store that was going out of business. I found him tucked away in a box that I had in my classroom last year.  Well, I decided to introduce him to my fourth graders.  To my surprise, the kids LOVED him!  I really thought they would think he was "too babyish," but boy, I couldn't have been more wrong!  The kids really responded to him, so I often invited him to "guest teach" or "co-teach" with me.  His presence was requested often.  And of course, since his name is "Snickers," he often brought mini-Snickers for the kids as a treat.  

Well, I pulled out Snickers for the first time this year.  Like the kids last year, my students LOVE him!  He helped me teach inferences and edited student writing in my writing class.  If you have never used a puppet with your students, I would certainly encourage you to do so.  I think you will be amazed at how your students respond to it.  Using Snickers has allowed me to take topics that are not necessarily the most engaging and turn it into a lesson the kids don't forget.  They often will say, "Oh yeah, Snickers taught us about that. He said....."  I am all about engaging the students. 

I am thinking about purchasing more puppets and letting the students use them to engage in conversations about content with each other.  I am just going to have to find some cute ones.  Do you all have any suggestions for where to purchase cute and reasonably priced puppets? Do you use puppets in your classrooom?  If so, how so?  I would love to hear all about.  I am always open to new ideas. 

Have a great weekend!  :)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Kid Who Ran for President Novel Study

I am sure many of you are like me and are planning to take advantage of the Presidential Election to teach about our country's government and the importance of voting.  One way that I plan to do that is by using the book, The Kid Who Ran for President by Dan Gutman.  I have used the book for several years, but didn't really have a lot of resources to go along with the book.  Well, that has all changed.  I have developed my own novel study that aligns with the Common Core Standards.  I am SO excited to actually have materials for this book now! 

I have to give props to Krista Wallden from The Creative Chalkboard.  She created the graphics specifically for this unit.  Didn't she do a FAB-U-LOUS job?  To check out her store, click here.  Krista is absolutely a doll! 

If you are interested in checking out my latest novel unit, click here to visit my TpT store.  Here is a little of what is included. 

Have a wonderful evening!  :)

Monday, October 1, 2012

New Product Alert!! Halloween Costume Fashion Show

Boy, I have been able to totally relax today!  It's raining and a wonderful day to sit and do NOTHING!  I LOVE Fall Break!  Speaking of fall, I don't know about you all, but October is one of my VERY favorite months to teach.  I love all of the fun activities that come along with Halloween and Fall!  :) 

I have just added a new Halloween unit to my store today.  It would be a SPOOKTACULAR addition to your writing curriculum because it addresses many of the common core standards for language.  With this activity, students will have a Halloween Costume Fashion Show.  No, the students don't have to dress up!  The models are already included in the unit.  The students work in groups to create a script for their model's costume.  This pack contains everything you need to add a little Halloween fun to your classroom.  You can check out this unit here

I love fall ya'll! 

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Owl S'more Writing Fun!

Gosh, time has gotten away from me and I realized that I have not blogged in a while.  Now that I am on Fall Break, I will have some time to share with you what has been going on in my classroom for the first nine weeks of school. 

One of the activities that had my kids SUPER excited about writing this week was my How to Make an Owl S'mores writing project.  I am not sure that my kids have ever been SO motivated to write.  Here are a few pictures of the kids in action. 

I have this activity available in my TpT store.  If you have already purchased the packet, I have recently updated some of the material and added a cute Owl S'mores craftivity to compliment your hallway display.
Click here to check out this activity. 
Happy Fall Ya'll!  :)