Monday, September 29, 2014

Poppin' Plurals

I wanted to let everyone know that I just posted my latest product.  I created a popcorn-themed unit on plural nouns.  The previews below show everything included.  Please let me know if you have any questions.

***This product is 20% off until Thursday, October 2.  You can see it in my TPT store by clicking here or on any of the pictures below.

Thank you, and have a great week!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Spark Student Motivation Saturday - Freeze Frames

My students had their first social studies test this week.  Because this was the first test, we definitely wanted to make sure they were set up for success.  We had several different review activities leading up to the test.  I am going to share my favorite with you by linking up with the wonderful Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching for Spark Student Motivation Saturday.

We have been studying the Paleo and Archaic Indians.  However, this activity could work for any unit.

I handed each student a blank piece of paper and a summary of the unit.  The summary was divided into 24 small parts.

I have 24 students in both of my classes, so each student highlighted their class number.  On the blank piece of paper, they wrote down their part.  I called up the students one at a time.  First, I took a picture of their sign.  Next, I took a picture of them in a "Freeze Frame" to represent what they wrote. The students had a ball with this.  It was so much fun watching their poses.

That night, I downloaded all the pictures to iMovie.  We watched the video the next day for additional review. 

I only have 25 minutes to teach social studies.  (That's counting transition time.)  I was able to complete the whole movie in one class period.  This activity served as a quick, effective, and fun way to review the main points of this unit.  I will definitely try something like this again in the future.

I am off to check out all of the other motivating ideas!  Thank you, Joanne for hosting this linky!  I get so many great ideas from reading these posts each week.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Peer Editing Freebie

Hello Everyone!  Today I am checking in to share a freebie I used with a peer editing lesson this week.

Last week, I had a meeting with some teachers in my district to go over our plan for writing.  One of the teachers had a cute handout she used for peer editing.  I copied down the idea and created my own design.

My students now have this sheet in their writing binders.

I tried this in writing workshop yesterday, and it really seemed to help guide some conversations.  We will definitely have some upcoming lessons how to make suggestions during conferences, but overall, my students did a great job with this.

You can download this form here, if you are interested.

Have a great weekend!
Thank you!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Think Marks

At this time of the year, our reading instruction is focused on teaching that "Reading is Thinking."  In the past I have had students code text as they read, but the initial lessons seemed to go exceptionally well this year.

I found this wonderful freebie from Just a Primary Girl that really helped.

Think Mark Anchor Chart

I put a copy of it on my ELMO and we shared examples of the different responses during our poem of the week discussion.  We used the poem "Bad Words" from the book Giant Children.

Here are the think marks and responses we came up with together.

I printed out a copy of the poster for students to put in their reading notebooks.

During reading workshop, students stopped and coded text at various points in their reading.  At the end of silent reading time, students placed their Post-it notes in their reading notebook.  (I had them write page numbers on the Post-its as well.)  Next to each think mark, students had to write specific evidence from the text to support their thinking.

We had to limit our share time to one per person because so many students wanted to share.  (They especially loved the LOL and eyeballs marks.)  This was a "problem" that I was thrilled to have.  Nothing makes me happy quite like enthusiastic responses to reading.

I want to send a huge thank you to Just a Primary Girl for creating this fabulous freebie!

Have a great week!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Positive Thinking Thursday

Last weekend, one of my younger sisters went skydiving.  She came back full of excitement and a serious adrenaline high.  She also insisted that I must try it.

Now, I am not 100% sold on the skydiving idea, but I love that my sister stepped out of her comfort zone.  After all, that is how we learn and grow (both students and adults).

I am linking up with my friend Jennifer, from Mrs. Laffin's Laughings, for Positive Thinking Thursday.  These quotes remind me that I should step out of my comfort zone a little more often.

The best learning experiences come from stepping out of your comfort zone.- Little Passports #littlepassports #travelquote #ocean
Okay, sometimes I may need a little help with this, so I am also including this quote.

I am now heading over to Mrs. Laffin's Laughings to check out all of the other positive thoughts.  Thank you, Jennifer for hosting this linky.  I look forward to reading it every week!


Enjoy the rest of your week!

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Workshop Wednesday: Organizing my Writing Center

I am super excited about my writing center this year!  Today I am linking up with Jivey, from Ideas by Jivey for her awesome linky, Workshop Wednesday to share how I keep it organized.

Our opening writing lessons are all about gathering ideas.  I shared many of the ways I have students gather writing ideas here.

Despite my best efforts, I always seem to have students who get stuck finding a topic to write about.  This year, I was more determined than ever to break this pattern.  I started off with some ideas to make writing as fun as possible.  I filled one of the drawers in my writing center with fun cards.  I thought the authenticity of writing to someone and actually delivering the letter would appeal to my students.  I was right.  I actually had to make a limit of one card per day because they were going through them like crazy.  I checked over quite a few of them, and they are definitely using the cards correctly.

I also tried to appeal to my crafty students.  I filled one drawer with some fun paper, Post-its, and speech balloons.  These have also been a hit with my students.

For those students who have a topic, but need an idea for writing about it, I posted these fun writing ideas.  This display has helped students incorporate more variety in their writing notebooks.  (These writing ideas are a freebie in my TPT store.  You can get them here, if you are interested.)

Finally, some of my students still need a little nudge with some specific ideas.  I wanted to create some writing prompts that would encourage thoughtful, creative writing that wasn't over the top silly.  I came up with 30 prompts and placed them in a 3" X 10" plastic organizer.  (Click here or on any picture to see this product.)

I have had a lot of luck with these.  Several students from both of my writing classes choose to use these prompts every day during independent writing time.  I am very happy with how they turned out.  Here are a few samples.
I also put the prompts in another format to use as a formative assessment from time to time.

I also have 30 prompts for October ready to go.  Here is a quick sample of those.  November prompts are on the way soon! (Click here or on any picture to see this product)
(These prompts are also available on lined paper with space for a small illustration.)

***Both sets of writing prompts are 20% off now through Saturday!

I am off to see how everyone else is organizes for their workshops.  I love seeing all the different systems.  It really helps me as I continue to work on improving my own.  Thank you, Jivey for hosting the wonderful linky.

Happy Hump Day!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Spark Student Motivation Saturday - Fun Social Studies Intro

This week we started our history unit in social studies.  We are starting from the beginning with Paleo Indians.  Today, I am linking up with Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching for her fun linky, Spark Student Motivation Saturday to share the way I introduced this unit.  This activity could be easily adapted for any topic.

In order to get the conversation started and get a good idea of what background knowledge students had, I created a SMART Board activity.  First, I typed in six facts about Paleo Indians.

Next, I covered each one with a "Click & Reveal" square.

I had my helper come up and click the squares one at a time.  Each time, my students held their thumbs up, down, or straight across, depending on whether the activity is something they would have enjoyed or not.

Each fact led to all sorts of conversations, including the pros and cons of traveling with a large group and the responsibilities you would have/not have when you are always on the move.

I enjoyed this activity because it gave students a nice overview of what to expect from this unit, and it sparked their interest in the topic so they want to learn more.  Now, we are all looking forward to the upcoming activities in this unit.

This activity can be easily adapted to any subject/topic.  If you are interested, I put it on a Google doc, and you can access it here

I am off to check out all the other motivational ideas.  Thank you, Joanne for hosting this linky.  I get such great ideas from here every week.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Positive Thinking Thursday

Hello, Everyone!  Today I am linking up with my friend, Jennifer from Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for Positive Thinking Thursday.

I have a little different take on my positive  thought for this week, as it is from a dog's point of view.  I am not sure how she did it, but I am pretty sure that Millie (my rescue pup) had something to do with posting this on Pinterest.  It's all about looking at the leash in a positive way.  I think we can all learn a lesson or two from our pets.

I am not sure how yet, but I am definitely going to try and incorporate this quote into my point of view unit.  I have a great book of poems from a dog's point of view, and this quote fits in perfectly.  (I blogged about this book here.)

I am off to check out the other positive quotes.  I always enjoy reading all of  the positive quotes.  It helps to bring a little perspective into my crazy life.  Thank you, Jennifer for hosting this awesome linky!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Genre Video

I have a busy night tonight, but I wanted to write a quick post to share a fun video with you.  We are talking about genre this week.  After brainstorming ideas for a definition and examples, I showed students this video.

The students loved it, and it served as a springboard to our discussion.  I really liked that it showed examples with each definition.  I will be back later in the week to share some other activities on genre.

Thank you, and have a great evening!