Tuesday, September 13, 2016

The Holidays Are Coming

I can't believe it is so close to holiday season! Stores are filling up with Halloween candy and costumes. Once Halloween hits, all the holidays just come so quickly. So, this year I was inspired by a resource I saw a teacher had in her room. She had a holiday word bin that had special holiday words listed. During holiday themed unites, especially writing and centers, I get a lot of "But how so you spell...." I thought this was a genius resource to help with that problem, but I wanted to adjust it just a little. So I created this holiday word dictionary. Each of the holiday words has a matching picture to go with it. So hopefully the kids will get help spelling the words they need, or completing the FUN holiday worksheets, and I hope the visuals of the pictures will help spark their creativity when it comes to their writing during the holidays. I am a huge fan or writing activities during the holiday season to match any craft we do.

I am really excited to use this but it got me wondering, what are your tips or tricks during the holiday season?

Friday, September 2, 2016

Flash FREEBIE!

Get it before it's gone! This literary elements flipbook will be FREE from 9/2 until 9/9 on TeachersPayTeachers. It is SO easy to use. There is NO cutting and NO gluing of pages. All you do is print, copy double sided, and fold to assemble. Pages will even print in the exact way you need them to be copied. It doesn't get easier! See this YouTube tutorial to see what I am talking about.



What's Inside? 

Student practice identifying literary elements from the story they just read. This isn't going to teach them the skills. It's a fun and interactive way to practice them and apply them to the classroom.

My favorite ways to use this flipbook: 

1. End of the unit review
2. Put in in their reading interactive notebook
3. Perfect for sub plans!

GET IT HERE! 

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


You know how at the end the of the day, it looks like someone decorated your floor with pencils? And every student that day has probably said "I can't find my pencil!" Eliminate the drama with this easy hack!

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

HALLS Classroom Management Poster

It's back to school so it's back to refining all our little classroom management tricks. Here is a new FREE poster that you can download. Go over it each time before you leave the room and you will have some hallway HEROS this year!




Friday, August 12, 2016

CHAMPS classroom management posters

CHAMPS is a classroom management system. It's overall goal is to teach students how to be successful in different classroom situations by establishing clear behavior expectation using the chart. The CHAMPS system is actually very new to me, but I fell in love with it right away. 
I like this system much more than the standard color change chart that I have used in the past because it is SO clear about your expectations for the students. This makes it ideal for the primary teachers classroom. 

The posters describe the following... 

C- conversation - what should the voice level be?
H- help - how do I get help? 
A- activity - what are you working on? 
M- movement - how can I move around the room? 
P- participation - how do I participate in the lesson?
S- SUCCESS! 

It is also very easy to use as a teacher. Buy some circle magnets to put on each poster. Move the magnet along the poster based on what you need the students to be doing for the lesson. I found some HERE that match PERFECTLY with the posters



You can purchase these CHAMPS posters HERE

Friday, July 29, 2016

Back to School GIVEAWAY!!

Hello fellow teachers & friends! 

You will hear it a hundred times these next few weeks but what happened to summer? That flew by. My district actually goes back to school next week and I am in denial. in fact, back to school night is TONIGHT! In honor of going back to school I am going to give away my BEGINNING IF THE YEAR/ BACK TO SCHOOL FLIPBOOK! This is my favorite back to school tool for parents night because it gets the parents doing something AND they remember it. the BEST part about this flipbook? THERE IS NO CUTTING OR GLUING! All you do is print 3, double-sided pages and fold them. CLICK HERE to watch a youtube video to see how to fold the flipbook. 


Giveaway CLOSED! Thank you


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Substitute Report

Here's a little freebie for all of you substitutes and guest teachers! I love making little personal reports to leave the teacher. It's so easy to fill out and I know as a teacher I appreciate feedback. This one is my favorite! It's so cute. It's so simple. It's so perfect. Enjoy!




Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Teaching Portfolio



Because we move around a lot for my husbands work, I have really put in some time to my teaching portfolio. A portfolio is a very personal thing. It reflects you as a teacher and as a professional. That being said, no two portfolios will look the same. My portfolio might not be just right for you. But, I wanted to share some of my ideas.


Why I Created A Portfolio- Interview Story Time 

I had an interview about a year ago when we first moved to our current location. It did not go well. My answers HORRIBLE. I knew after answering the first question, it was a bad interview. Here is what happened. There was a job posting for a reading teacher. Like most jobs, it was a generic posting so I didn't know exactly what the reading teacher would be doing. Is it in the room? Pull out groups? What grades? What curriculum? The first question I was asked (and of course it was a panel of teachers and administrators) was, "What is your goal for this program?" Um what? I don't know what the program is! So I asked if he would please explain to me what the program was. He couldn't. All I could gather was the it was a grant based position and that I would probably pull students out and sit in the hallway with them. I truly couldn't answer his question. I didn't know what curriculum, if any, they were using. He couldn't tell me the grades he wanted me to work with. Nothing. Needless to say my answer was truly embarrassing. This left me feeling so badly about myself and my interviewing skills that I knew I had to do something about it so that didn't happen again.

I should also mention that my greatest fear is public speaking. Not speaking to kids, but to adults. That makes interviewing a very hard task for me. This makes interviewing for another job after a bad interview completely overwhelming. I needed something to help me out during this next interview. Enter the portfolio.

The Portfolio 

I know that a portfolio looks good to interviewers, but my main reason for creating it was because I wanted a prop or something I could rely on if I got stuck or had a moment of panic. When I sat down to create the portfolio I asked myself the following questions.

1. What defines me as a teacher?
2. What kinds of questions am I most likely to be asked?
3. Can I provide examples from my past experience to support my answers?
4. What kind of data can I provide the interviewers?
5. What work am I most proud of?

So in answering these questions, I decided to include the following sections to the portfolio

1. Original Lessons
2. Student Achievement Data
3. Observations- both official and not
4. Classroom Management Philosophy
5. Sample Lesson Plans
6. Credentials

I also stuck a few random odds and ends in the back pocket of the folder such as examples of my classroom modifications.

Did It Work? 

YES! I spent a fair amount of time creating the portfolio so when it came time to interview, I already had specific examples and physical examples to back up my answers. It made me so much less nervous and I think the panel liked the portfolio. I walked out of the interview and called my husband and told him that I actually thought it went well! And you know what, it did, because the next day, I got the job!

Want to get these dividers for your portfolio? CLICK HERE



Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Classroom Rules Poster

By the time my students reached 5th grade, they have seen all the classroom rules before. My first 2 years in 5th grade, I did the same thing. We came up with the classroom rules as a class and signed an agreement to follow them. I often would refer to the contract that they signed if there were issues. I would also go over the classroom rules again and have them resign an agreement if issues continued. For my class, it just wasn't very effective.  So, I wanted to get a little creative with the usual classroom rules so that they really stuck with them when I had to refer to them again. Below, you will find my new and improved set of classroom rules... with hashtags!

Most of the hashtags were things that I would normally say. My personal favorites are for the listening rule #tunein and come to class prepared is #priorities. Two things I would always say! 

                                                                       
                                                         



#iloveteaching 








Sunday, June 19, 2016

Student Welcome Notes!


Since it is June and school has been out for a few weeks, naturally I am already looking ahead to next year. I really like leaving something for the kids on their first day on school. This year, I am keeping it simple with these notes and candy! I don't have a color printer at school (boo) so I made them in black and white. I still really like how they came out. 

Saturday, June 18, 2016

DIY Fathers Day


This year is my husbands FIRST FATHER'S DAY! His only request was to have a huge, fancy brunch that has prime rib. But, I wanted to create a little present to go with it. So when he is in a brunch food coma this Sunday, he will have a huge bucket of goodies to really send himself over the edge! And to really sweeten it up (haha see what I did there??) I wrote this little poem. I am really happy with how it turned out! I also took and printed a picture of our son and put that in the basket! 

Create this easy and inexpensive, yet adorable, DIY Father's Day basket. To make this basket, you will need the following...

1. Almond Joy 
2. Skittles 
3. Gummy Bears 
4. Extra Gum 
5. Starburst 
6. Sweet Tarts 
7. 100 Grand 
8. Hot Tamales 
9. Reeses 
10. Pop Corn
11. A basket or bucket 

Arrange the candy into the bucket with a poem! 

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Flipbooks

Who doesn't love a good flipbook? What has stopped me from using them as much as I would like is that they can be a pain to assemble. So I spent a lot of time creating, measuring, printing, and reprinting the perfect flipbook! All you have to do is print it double-sided, or copy it double-sided, and fold. No joke. That's all there is to do!


Here I have a quick video showing you how to fold all of my flipbooks. This tutorial is shown with my beginning of the year flipbook. I like to use this when I meet the parents and honestly, I review it with the kids the first day of school.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Finding Evidence In The Text

Finding evidence in the text is such an important skill. I mean let's face it. If students always went back into the text and found the answer, they would be getting near perfect scores! 

I think it just takes a lot of practice. Like. A lot. And some of them don't love it. 

I get it. My students read a text and answer the questions. They THINK they know all the answers so asking them to go back and do another step, ugh. I can the grumbles and groans from here. 

I really like the students to stay sharp on this skill so I have been using task cards. They are a quick and efficient way for students to practice showing where they found their answer. These can be completed in just 10 minutes. How many times have you needed or wanted to fill up just ten minutes of time? Yes, we have ALL been there. 




These task cards all have short reading passages. They vary from non-fiction to fiction, single paragraphs, to multi-paragraphs. They also all have skill based questions, such as main idea, inference, author's purpose, ect. Students read the passage and answer the questions. To answer the questions, they need to go back and find their answers using highlighters or markers in the text. I have them use a different color for each question so that. In addition to finding the answer, I have them write out a COMPLETE response. This includes the question restated. Another bonus skill! 


I really like to keep a good stack of these on hand to pull out and use weekly. They are also fantastic for small group and RTI work. I pull students and review the cards if they weren't getting the right answers. Each year I also seem to have a few who struggle with restating the question when writing a complete answer so I use these questions to fine tune that skill as well. 


Above is a sample of a completed task card. 

If you would like the complete set of these task cards CLICK HERE

If you would like to try 2 cards for FREE CLICK HERE!

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Writer's Notebook: Characteristics of a Conclusion

"And that's the end."
"That's why ____ is important."
"That's all I have to say."

OH conclusions! They can be just a little frustrating when you keep getting the same responses like above.

I get it. We spend so much time teaching them how to write a strong body of the essay that sometimes the conclusion doesn't get a lot of attention.

So in my room, we use a simple 3 step formula for writing a strong conclusion.

1. Start with a transition 
2. Ask & answer "So what" and "Why would?" 
   - So what did I write about?
   - Why would anybody care? 
3. Make a memorable statement


After we practice those three steps, I love using this cute guy for their writers notebook! We wrap up and review the characteristics of a conclusion by brainstorming what a conclusion looks like, sounds like, and feels like.


If you want Mr. Conclusion & five days worth of mini lessons click HERE

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Revising and Editing Checklist

It's time for a FREEBIE!

If you want a fun and memorable way to get your students to check over their writing, CLICK HERE!


You will find 9 categories along with guided statements/questions for each category.

The categories included are...

1. The introduction
2. The conclusion
3. Style
4. Transitions
5. Arrangement (structure of the essay)
6. Growth & Development (did they answer all parts of the prompt?)
7. Reasoning & Explanation (support what they have to say and explain
8. Audience
9. Mechanics

I bet your students will just love this checklist! Mine remembered all the steps of revising and editing so quickly using this mnemonic device. By the end of the year it is our little joke to just say "INSTAGRAM IT!"

Enjoy!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Word Choice Mini Lesson

Retired Words Anchor Chart 


Making better word choices in writing makes for better writing. It's really easy to get in the habit of using the same words over and over again, even as adults! 

Create a list of old words with new choices and put those boring words into retirement! 

Materials
Personal Reading Book 
Paper & Pencil 
Thesaurus/Dictionary 

Total Time: 25-40 minutes 

Directions
1. Have students scan a few pages of their personal reading book and have them pick out descriptive words. After 5 minutes, several students should share their findings with the class. Pretty quickly, you will find that the students have words that repeat such as happy, good, tired, cold, angry, pretty, small, ect.... These become the tired, old, boring, and overused words that we will replace with a better choice. 
2. If words have appeared multiple times, put them on the "retired word" list. (Keep going if you have no repeat offenders!)
3. Next, have the students brainstorm alternate ways to write the retired word in new exciting way. 
4. Then, have the students look up the retired words in the thesaurus or dictionary to come up with even more new choices!
5. Create an anchor chart as you go! 

CLICK HERE for a complete lesson on revising and editing for word choice. 


Monday, January 4, 2016

A Complete Short Answer Response

Here's a challenge, how many times in a day can you write on students paper "RESTATE THE QUESTION?" I am joking.... But really, they should make a stamp of it so that grading takes less time.... hum....



In all seriousness students need to restate the question to get the full credit on quizzes and tests so here is what they need to do.

1. Restate the question
2. Provide an answer
3. Provide evidence.
4. Put it all together in 1-2 sentences.


Use this formula over and over and over and encourage the kids to stick to it! It really becomes second nature to the students in a week or less.

These steps however are really for simple, short answers. I know there are lots of strategies like "RACE" out there but I really found success in using something simple initially. When we got further into the year and were writing entire paragraphs as answers, the "RACE" strategy was so helpful because they explained their answer even further.

Apply this strategy to other subjects too like science and social studies and see what stellar answers you start getting! I co-taught and I did ELA and social studies while my partner teacher did math and science and she LOVED the answers she would get for extended response math questions and science questions because they students were in the habit of explaining their answers.

Want a complete weeks worth of mini lessons on how to restate the question? Click HERE!