Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy New Year - A Time for Reflection

I wanted to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Safe and Happy New Year!

My resolution for 2014 is to take more time out to reflect.  I am the type of person who goes nonstop all day, and then I totally crash at night.  The benefit to this is I am able to get a lot accomplished.  However, the downside is I hardly ever take time to reflect on my day.  Next year, I hope to take more time out to reflect on work, relationships, home, fitness, spirituality, etc.  It is my hope that this reflection will lead me to more balance and a deeper appreciation for all the blessings in my life.  This is the one thing I want to focus on.  I am linking this resolution up with Tara from Fourth Grade Frolics.  She is hosting a 1 for Me linky.  I love this idea. Thank you, Tara!

I started blogging in July, 2013.  I am so appreciative of all the support I have received from fellow bloggers, followers, family, and friends.  I know I have become a better teacher due to these relationships.  There is such a wealth of great teachers who are willing to share their ideas.  I feel truly blessed to be a part of this community.  I will certainly continue this journey, by enhancing the relationships I have, as well as building new ones.  Jennifer from Simply Kinder came up with a great way to do this. She is hosting a Teaching Blog linky party to help readers discover new blogs.  Be sure to check out the great list of blogs that are linked up here.

Finally, I would like to end 2013 and start the 2014 off with a sale.
Everything in my TPT store is 10% off today and tomorrow!

Thank you, and have a Happy New Year!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Winter Word Work

Hello Everyone!  I hope you are enjoying the holidays.  It is definitely the time of year to spend time with family and friends.

In addition to spending quality time with my loved ones, I have been able to accomplish a few things for school.  I am ready to change out some of my spelling centers.  Prefixes, root words, and suffixes are a huge focus for us.  With that in mind, I created a Winter Word Work center.

I used these adorable snowmen and women from Ashley Hughes for the letters.

In addition, I used this awesome winter themed digital paper from Striped Elephants to create cards with 24 common prefixes, 24 Greek & Latin roots/prefixes, and 24 suffixes.  Here is a sample of each.

Now, I am ready to use these materials for a variety of center work, small group work, and whole class demonstrations.

If you are interested in purchasing this product, you can do so here.

It's always fun to have new activities for the students to do during each season.  I will definitely post more about prefixes, suffixes, and root words.  This is a huge focus for us.  Let me know if you have any cool resources for these skills.

Thank you!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

A Peek at my Week

Hello Everyone!  Today, I am linking up with Jennifer from Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for her fun linky, A Peek at my Week.

Lately, I have had a lot of trouble with my computers.  I bought a new computer in April, and the hard drive crashed in November.  After waiting three weeks, and thankfully using my (very) old computer, I was finally contacted by the manufacturer.  Long story short, I had to buy a new computer.  Ten days later, the new computer totally crashed.  I was able to return it without a problem.  However, I now had to set up yet another computer.  The good news is this one looks like a winner, and I have become very good at setting up computers.

Now that I have a working computer, I will be back to regular blogging beginning this week.

This year, I plan on spending New Years Eve with two of my fabulous nieces.  I am giving my brother and sister-in-law a night out while I get to spend quality time with my nieces.  Definitely a win-win!

My district has been great about supplying us with resources for word study.  One of my goals this week is to organize all of the resources into a fresh new binder.  I am off to a good start with this new cover.

I go back to work on Thursday.  Winter break is flying, but I am so grateful to go back to a job I love.  I will likely have students complete an activity related to New Year's resolutions.  I am thinking about incorporating poetry.  I will let you know what I come up with.

I am off to see what everyone else has planned for this week.  Enjoy your vacation!

Thank you, Jennifer for hosting this linky!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

An Awesome Reading Website

Hello Everyone!  Today I would like to share an awesome reading website.  I learned about this site at a recent district literacy committee meeting, and I am excited to share it. The website is called This website is free.  It is easy to log in and very user friendly.  When you go to the site, it looks like this.

If you click on the link "Reading Passages", you will see a list of passages in alphabetical order.

From here, you can customize your search by keyword, grade level, Lexile level, domain, and skill/strategy. 

After making your selections, you can choose from a list of reading passages.  Each reading passage comes with comprehension questions to match the skill/strategy selected.  

This site is great for formative or summative assessment of reading skills and strategies.  I also plan on using the passages for guided reading groups. I will use some of the questions provided, but other times, I will use the passages for different activities.  I am always looking for short passages to use in guided reading groups.  I will definitely spend some more time exploring this site.

I hope everyone has a great vacation next week!
Have a safe and happy holiday season!

Thank you!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Similes & Metaphors in "The Grinch Song"

Hello Everyone!  A while back, I read this post by Go Fourth! With Mrs. Owens.  She talked about how she uses The Grinch Song to teach similes and metaphors.  I loved this idea (as well as other versions).  Here is my take on this activity.

We talk about similes and metaphors from the beginning of the year, pointing them out in read alouds, student writing, etc.  The first thing I do for this activity is play the song and have students listen for similes and metaphors.

Next, I hand out a copy of the words to the song and have students highlight similes and metaphors using two different colored highlighters.

After we go over the similes and metaphors, I play the song again and have students clap when they hear a metaphor and snap when they hear a simile.  I have used this activity the past two years, and the students really enjoyed it.  I am planning on using it again this year.

Earlier in the week, I read Jivey's post on Grinch activities.  She has students make literal drawings of the figurative language in this song.  I love this idea, and I will likely give it a try this year.

Thank you, and enjoy the rest of the week!

Sunday, December 8, 2013

A Peek at my Week

Hello, Everybody!  Today, I am linking up with Jennifer from Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for her fun linky, A Peek at my Week.


First, and most importantly, I should get my computer back this week.  Although I am thankful my brother got my old computer into workable shape, it's uses are very limited.  I can't wait to start creating again!


This week, we will be talking about nonfiction structures.  One of my favorite nonfiction resources is Linda Hoyt's Exploring Informational Texts.

Linda Hoyt includes examples, attributes and key words for the different text structures.  This matches perfectly with the fourth grade Common Core standards.  I will be using these pages as a guide for creating anchor charts.

  She also includes suggested graphic organizers to use.  After I introduce the different structures to the students, I will incorporate the graphic organizers for different nonfiction texts.


This Friday, my school is sponsoring "Parents' Night Out".  We are offering to watch students from 6:00PM-10:00PM.  There will be a variety of activities from 6:00-8:00.  (My room will have karaoke!)  At 8:00, everyone will gather together and decide what movie they would like to watch.  The end of the night will be spent watching movies and eating popcorn.  I am in charge of this event.  Please let me know if you would like information about it for your school.  I would be happy to send it to you.

I am off to see what everyone else has planned for the week.  Thank you, Jennifer for hosting this linky!

Have a great week!