Sunday, November 30, 2014

CYBER Monday Sale!

Hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and spent time with loved ones! We are getting our Christmas tree today and officially putting up decorations--I love this time of year!

Tomorrow, December 1st, is back to school for me and Cyber Monday across the nation. So if you have any items you have had on your wish list for while, tomorrow (or Tuesday too) is the day to buy them and get the biggest savings possible. Use any computer or mobile device to log onto TPT and save 28% by checking out with the code TPTCYBER. Click on the picture below to be taken to TPT.


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Saturday, November 8, 2014

Magic Tree House Books #1-10 Study Guides MEGA Value Pack

It's official--I have read all of Mary Pope Osborne's Magic Tree House Books #1-10 and completed the accompanying study guides! I can see why students of all ages can't put these books down!

Each study guide sells for $2.50 in my TPT store, but today, I bundled them all together as one giant pack for 35% off. To purchase this MEGA value pack, click on the picture below.

Happy reading!

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Thursday, October 2, 2014

Incentive Charts

Well, I am officially in my new role as academic specialist, and so far, I am loving it! Initially, I must confess that I felt a tad melancholy when I packed up my entire second grade classroom into neatly labeled boxes this past June (my husband empathized as I stored said boxes in half just a teeny-tiny corner of our basement). But now that I am in my new position, I am loving it! While I was not able to decorate my home away from home this fall with cute bulletin board paper & boarders or label student desks, cubbies, & book bins, I did get to discover some of the rewards of my new position. 1) My new team rocks! I seriously cannot stress enough the quality of educators I am working with. And, they are just a fun group of people to work with to boot. 2) I get to work directly with teachers and students across MANY grade levels. So cool to spread that impact out across a school! 3) I am growing as I step out of my comfort zone--always a good thing!

One of my responsibilities as academic specialist this year will be to work with students of all ages in reading and math, so I needed some new materials to help with behavior management. I will pull small groups of students in all different grades starting next week, so I created a generic incentive chart that will work beautifully for all of my student groups despite their varying ages. Once I made it in one color, I just couldn't stop. Now, my students will have 16 color choices.

These generic incentive charts each have a 20-box grid perfect for filling with stickers, stars, or checks that students earn as they work towards a reward. Featured in 16 colors, these charts are an ideal tool to aid in whole class, small group, or individual behavior management as students track their success. If you want these incentive charts, click on the picture below to be taken to this FREEBIE product at my TPT store.

Simply print, cut, and enjoy!

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Reading Foldables

Who remembers making cootie-catchers as a young student with varying colors, numbers, and fortunes on the inside? Spelling out green, then counting to 5, then to 3, only to read the silly or perhaps outrageous fortune on the inside (aka, YES, your secret crush did return your sentiments!!) and drumroll please for a group of friends shrieking in delight. I was obsessed with these growing up. So I decided to take this tactile activity as my muse and use it as a way to engage students in learning--specifically reading. And hence, my reading foldables project was born.

In this pack, there are 21 foldables around 10 different topics, all shown in detail below. These foldables are for both fictional literature as well as informational text and connect to various reading, language, and anchor Common Core State Standards. Since CCSS are all about close reading, text analysis, and evidence-based thinking, many of the foldables in this pack require students to prove their thinking with textual evidence, including citing the page numbers. Check out all the foldables included in this pack in detail as follows:

Main idea and details (1 foldable)

Asking and Answering Questions (2 foldables)

Fictional Story Elements (2 foldables)

Cause and Effect (3 foldables)

Character Traits (1 foldable)

Summarizing (3 foldables)

Evidence Based Responses (1 foldable)

Vocabulary Development (4 foldables)

Making Predictions (2 foldables)

Making Connections (2 foldables)

To launch this product, I am offering a sale for a limited time only--over this holiday weekend! You can save 20% on my Reading Foldables Pack through Monday, September 1st! Click the Table of Contents below to be taken to this product at my store on TPT!

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Back to School Sale!

It's hard to believe that August is right around the corner (tomorrow!). I knew it was official when I went to Target and they had their "Back to School" section up in all its glory--shiny two-pocket folders, dazzling packets of sticky notes, shimmering staplers, glittering glue sticks, sparkling pencil boxes... Ok, maybe not everything is twinkling like stars, but truly, don't even get me started on the serious amazingness of this stash. I have just never outgrown that excitement of shopping for new school supplies.

With students, parents, and teachers alike buying their colored Mead notebooks by the dozens, TPT is having a Back to School Sale on August 4th and 5th. I have discounted all my products an additional 20% off at my store. This means you can save 28%! Just make sure before you check-out to type in your promo code: BTS14. Click on the button below to be taken to TPT. Happy shopping (in stores and ONLINE)!

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Ultimate Writing Office

I am thrilled to have finally finished a project I have been working on for a while. The Ultimate Writing Office! This is an interactive folder designed for students to use as an aid while they prewrite, draft, revise, edit, and publish. It also provides privacy since it is in itself a partition. I am going to use these during reading/writing workshop to build student enthusiasm and improve my students' writing craft.
Here it is in all its glory! Now for some views from some different angles.

View from the back.

View from the right side.

View from the left side.

Full view of the middle.

View from the front when it is shut.

I tried to incorporate a little bit of everything when it comes to the writing process in this office such as the steps of the writing process, types of writing, writing ideas, high frequency words, transition words, and more, but I really wanted to highlight word choice options for students to use when revising. Some of the posters I created for this were:

A Color Words Poster

Other Words For... Poster

And an Other Words for Said Poster

These word choice posters all go with the Time to Revise Poster

To check out this ultimate writing office and all that it contains, click HERE or on the picture below to be taken to my TPT store.

Can't wait to get these up and running in my classroom!

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Sunday, April 6, 2014

A Spring Break Giveaway!

That's right folks, spring break is officially here for teachers in good 'ol GR!! :) And I thought what better way to celebrate than to host my first giveaway. So here's the nitty-gritty.

1) What is being given away?

"My Many Memorable Firsts" Common Core Personal Narrative Writing Unit. To check it out in detail, click on the picture below.

2) What do I need to do to enter?

Become a follower of this blog AND make a comment on this blog post saying what the best part of your spring break was.

3) When will the winner be chosen?

This spring break giveaway starts today, Sunday, April 6th, and ends at midnight on Thursday, April 10th!

It's that simple!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Friday, March 28, 2014

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs

For March is Reading Month, our school has had some pretty awesome events and reading incentives. Our student body was given a series of goals: 5,000 minutes, 10,000 minutes, 25,000 minutes, 50,000 minutes, and 100,000 minutes. Each goal had its own reward, so here is what we have seen so far:

  1. Our principal kissed a boa constrictor (yuck)
  2. Our dean of grades 3-5 got sprayed with silly string by the top reader from each classroom (sticky)
  3. Our dean of grades k-2 rode around the school on a tricycle ALL day (hilarious)

And yet to come is our dean of grades 6-8 reading a book from the roof top with a megaphone (sa-weet). The kids have loved it!

We also had a Book Character Day. Since my classroom decorated our classroom door as "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs," I thought it was only appropriate that I matched.

By the end of the day, I had lost a fruit or vegetable here or there, but overall, success! Also, I just love second graders' interpretations of food. Who wouldn't want a red and blue striped ice cream cone with rainbow swirled ice cream on top?

Fellow teachers out there, what Book Characters have you dressed up as? It is never too early to plan an epic costume for next year!

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

My Many Memorable Firsts

This past week, we started a new personal narrative writing unit all about my many memorable firsts.

I began this unit with a hook to engage student interest--we talked about roller coasters. Who doesn't have a love-hate relationship with a good ol' roller coaster? Especially in a room of second graders, the feelings are unanimous. "Roller coasters are SO MUCH FUN!" We talked about what it was like to go on a roller coaster for the very first time--how that wait in line feels like forever; how when you get into the cart and put on the seatbelt, your heart starts to race; how as the coaster slowly goes clickit-clackity up the tracks, you are thinking "We are going up so high!" and your heart is beating out of your chest; how at the very top it feels like the world stops for just a moment, and then woosh!; how you scream at the top of your lungs as you zoom down the track and loop upside down. I shared my personal story of the first time I went on the roller coaster The Mantis at Cedar Point, and my students were all in. They couldn't wait to start brainstorming!

I modeled how to come up with some ideas to get my students on the right track (no pun intended), and put some common experiences down, like the first time I lost a tooth or the first time I rode a bike, to prevent students from getting "stuck" in a writer's block. Students had to come up with at least 3-5 ideas, but many of my students came up with many more. We did lots of sharing out, and then we each circled one idea on our web that we would write about.

The next day, it was time to start some serious planning. I created a pre-writing organizer that would not only engage key information like the "who," the "where," and the "when" but also would engage sensory details right from the get-go. 

We spent the most time on the "Things on the Outside" section as we went through the five senses. What did I see? Hear? Smell? Feel? Taste? I chose to use the idea of the first time I swam underwater, so I wrote down things like I saw the blue water of the pool, I heard my mom cheering for me, I felt the blazing sun, I smelled chlorine and sunscreen, I tasted salty sweat on my lips as it dripped down my face.

Then, it was time for our sequencing organizer to get the meat of our story told using temporal words.

I can't wait until we are to the revising/editing portion and can dig into these checklists!

If you are interested in this "My Many Memorable Firsts" common core aligned personal narrative writing unit, I just uploaded it to TPT. Just click the picture below!

Also, get the "Peer Editing Checklist" as a FREEBIE! :) Click the picture below!

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

3 Million Strong Sale!

Thursday and Friday mark the last two days of February, which means 2 great things:

1) It will be March, and something about the sound of the word "March" makes me feel that spring is on it's way. Even if the polar vortex IS striking again this weekend and the below zero windchill currently feels equivalent to living in Siberia, it will just feel warmer when I let "March" roll off my tongue.

2) Teachers Pay Teachers is holding a 2-day sale to celebrate that it is 3 million teachers strong. Woot, woot! I am throwing a 20% off sale on all of my products, and in addition, TPT is offering a discount of its own with the promo code TPT3. I know I have oodles of products on my own constantlty-growing wishlist that I can't wait to pick up tomorrow!

To be taken to my store on TPT and access the sale, click on the button below.

Happy shopping!

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Using a Puzzle to Teach Main Idea and Details

Teaching main idea and details can be a difficult concept for younger students to grasp. Two years ago, I found this great idea of using a puzzle to do so. Basically, you compare the main idea to the "whole picture" of the puzzle and the details to the individual "puzzle pieces." When you put the puzzle pieces (details) together, you create the whole picture (main idea). After using this concrete example of a puzzle to teach main idea and details over the years, I have seen my most struggling students have that "aha!" moment.

Thus, when I started to teach main idea in my classroom in small group two weeks ago, I pulled my 100-piece shark puzzle out of the closet. Sharks are always a huge hit, and my students were eating it up. They were able to tell me that the "whole picture" was of a shark and that the pieces were the details. However, they really, really, REALLY wanted to build the puzzle. Now you know how precious small group time is during reading workshop, so I couldn't very well have my students build the ONE HUNDRED-piece puzzle. But this got me thinking... Why couldn't I create my own puzzle that my students could build and would ultimately reinforce the concept of main idea and details? That got me thinking more... What if I created a graphic organizer to use with teaching main idea and details that was in itself a puzzle?

Probably because the shark puzzle went over so well, I got to work on an "Under the Sea" puzzle where each piece, or detail, would be a different sea creature. A blowfish, an octopus, a sea turtle, a sting ray, a hermit crab... I created a puzzle where there was only one creature per piece. See the finished product below!

I wrote the word "detail" on the back of each puzzle piece. When introducing this concept, I would show students one puzzle piece at a time, asking, "What is this a picture of?" (A starfish, a clam, an octopus...) I would then have students start to use the word "detail" as they were describing what they saw in each puzzle piece. Once students identified every detail, I would have them construct the puzzle and ask, "What is this a whole picture of?" (Creatures under the sea) THIS is the main idea!

Then, it was time to introduce the "Main Idea & Details" graphic organizer. Students used this directly after they built the puzzle. They chose the details (different sea creatures) that they wanted to write down, but they all had that the main idea was creatures under the sea. The beauty is, I can now use this graphic organizer with ANY TEXT, and it reinforces this minilesson!

To download this "Under the Sea" puzzle and "Main Idea & Details" graphic organizer FREEBIE, click on the picture below or HERE.

Also, you can use any puzzle to teach main idea and details, or you can even create your own! Portraits work really well. Simply cut out a picture from a magazine of a person's face and laminate. Then, cut your puzzle pieces out so that one facial feature is present in each piece. An eye, a nose, a mouth, an eyebrow, etc. Have your students identify those facial features as your details, and then once they put the puzzle together, they will see the main idea is of a person's face! You can even have your students design their own puzzle to use to teach a younger student. The possibilities are endless!

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