Friday, October 30, 2015

DIY Nursery Decor

How to Make Yarn Wrapped, Ombre Letters

I was put on bed rest at 31 weeks so I set out for a DIY nursery project. I loved the idea of making something that spelled out our little guys name. I didn't know what I wanted, but I knew a few things. One, I love ombre. Two, I was using navy blue in the nursery.  Three, I didn't want to spend a whole lot on the project. Enter these adorable yarn letters!

To make these letters, I found 3 different shades of blue in yarn. Honestly, you don't need anything fancy when it comes to yarn. I just found the brands that were on sale and went from there. Although, a little tip.... If you get really thin yarn, it will make more work for you. If you can, choose something thicker.

Next, I found the letters I wanted to use. I happen to find 3-D letters made of cardboard, but flat ones would have worked as well ((and they would have been MUCH easier to wrap)).  
Because I had chosen the 3-D letters, I had to wrap the sides of them as well which was the hard part. ((Thats why I would highly recommend flat cardboard letters instead.)) 

To wrap the sides, I found it easiest to cut small strips of yarn and glue them on the sides. To cut the strips (so I wasn't cutting 3 inches of yarn a million times) I wrapped the yarn around my fingers and then cut the strips in bulk. 
 Next, I hot glued the strips down. 
 I also found it helpful to hot glue the strips on the edges.

This worked well because the sides of the letters had curves and slanted edges. With all those abnormal edges, the yarn would slide and not cover the sides. 

After I wrapped the edges/ends of the letters, I had to start wrapping the rest of the letter. Getting started was the hardest part.  Obviously one side will be the back and you will never see it so start by hot gluing the yarn down with a big ol' glop of glue. Then, carefully begin to wrap! Add little dabs of glue so the yarn doesn't slip as you go. 

Hot glue was really nice and easy for this project because I could add a little here and there under the yarn and it dried clear and quickly. 

Finally, when it came time to switch colors for the ombre, I decided to weave the colors together creating a cool transition effect! 

And there you have a cost effective DIY Nursery Project! Enjoy! 

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Persuasive Writing

When trying to write to persuade someone or to build an argument, it is really hard to write down your reasoning in a way that makes sense. I mean, that can be hard to do as an adult, let alone in middle school!

When I sit down and talk to my students, it is so easy for them to tell me what they are thinking (HAHA) because let's face it, they all have opinions! But this doesn't always come off in their writing.

So, I got to thinking. They have so much good stuff to say, maybe what is getting them is how to organize their thoughts into writing....

Generally at the middle school level we expect the students to have 3 reasons to support their opinion and we want evidence to back up that opinion.

Common Core Standards even state even in third grade, students should be able to write with reasoning to support their opinion/argument/persuasive piece. Not only that, but they should be able to develop those reasons with FACTS, DEFINITIONS, and DETAILS.

After third grade, they should be able to develop their reasoning with facts, definitions, details, QUOTATIONS, or other examples related to the text.

After looking and looking I couldn't find anything that I thought would really help the kids organize what they had to say and ensure they had reasoning to back up their arguments so I created this guy

This is PERFECT for the brainstorm process of writing a persuasive/argumentative piece of writing because......

1. It gives students a place to write down their argument, which helps them stay focused during their planing. 
2. It gives students 3 places to provide reasoning for their argument or persuasion. Each of those sections should become their own paragraph if they are writing at least 5 paragraph essays. 
3. It gives students lines to provide reasoning for their argument. This is where they should use textual evidence. This could be paraphrasing or it could be direct quotes. Such an advanced, yet required, skill in middle school! 

If you would like to download this organizer, click HERE!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Homework Pass

Here are some FREE printable homework passes. I used them as rewards for a variety of reasons. The kids LOVE them.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

How to Write A Thesis Statement in 4 Easy Steps

The thesis statement is super important! Because it is so important,  it can be overwhelming when you are first trying to write one.

The thesis is usually one sentence that explains the main idea of your entire essay. Once you have thesis statement, your entire essay revolves around it. You will spend the next several paragraphs explaining and giving examples that all relate to your thesis.

You can write a thesis statement in 4 easy steps.

1. The Question - The question is posed by the writing prompt. It is up to you to decide what the prompt is asking you to write about. This is the topic of your essay.
2. The Declaration- You must make a formal statement about the topic and then write about it.
3. The Reasoning- Your reasons will be facts, statements, or further explanation about why your declaration is correct.
4. The Thesis- Put all the information together from steps 1-3 into a single sentence and you have a thesis!

Use a graphic organizer like the one below to help you form a thesis.

If you would like some additional hep writing a thesis, click HERE

Monday, October 12, 2015

Free Thanksgiving Clip Art

Free Thanksgiving Clip Art made by yours truly. Enjoy! 

Thanksgiving Writing

I was always looking for holiday activities for my 5th graders. The problem with holiday themed activities I found is that they were targeted for much younger students. That was always disappointing because my 5th graders loved holiday stuff too!

So I set out to make some of my own that was more age appropriate. Some of the activities turned out to be so much fun that I couldn't help but share them with you all!

If you would like a FREE Thanksgiving Writing activity, just click HERE!