Thursday, July 31, 2014

Five for Friday!

I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for the weekly Five for Friday Linky Party!


The good news....I have decided to join the fun Blog Hoppin 2014 scavenger hunt! The bad news... I have no real clue how to use instagram! I obviously need to find a teenager to help me! :) 

I'm giving away a HUGE ELA bundle this week! Be sure to check out my blog post to find out how to enter!

I was excited to get to dine on my favorite meal!  Crab Legs! Yum!!!! 

I visited this interesting  natural bridge which is found in Arkansas (the natural state)! Love it! It used to be used for logging I believe, but now people aren't even allowed climb it (much to the disappointment of my twelve year old) due to safety reasons! 

What Albert said...:)   We really do need to find simpler ways to explain our lessons to the students. If we can't, then we don't understand it enough ourselves. :)

HUGE! Fourth Grade Back-to-School Bundle Giveaway!

As a way of saying "Thank You!" to my customers, I've put together a HUGE Back-to-School Bundle Pack for Fourth Grade (most material can be used for grades 3-6, but the products were created using 4th grade standards!). One lucky winner will receive this pack which includes 3 puzzle games for centers (figurative language, character traits, roots and affixes), ALL THREE of my Research to Build Knowledge test practice sets, my five day English Language Arts sub plans, my Write to the Point bundle which includes bookmarks, posters, writing to text and graphic organizers,  my MEGA BUNDLE for Vocabulary Acquisition and Use (includes my year long daily spiral review, posters, and all 7 task card sets), and last but not least my close reading evidence marker bundle. These evidence markers will help students analyze poetry, non-fiction and fiction using special markers to indicate specific features of the text! This Giveaway Bundle is over a $50 value!

I've chosen to run my contest from August 1 at 12:00 a.m.-August 4 at 12:a.m.  so that it will not run into the Teachers Pay Teachers Sitewide Sale which is August 4-5..This way if you are not the winner and would like one or more of the items in the bundle then you will still have time to  score a 28% discount on the products. :)

 Please enter by following the instructions on the rafflecoptor below.Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Shop til You Drop! What's In Your Cart?

I'm linking up with Jenna over at Speech Room News to talk about my latest products and  what fun exiting items I plan to purchase during the HUGE Teachers Pay Teachers Sitewide Sale!  My store will be on sale during August 4-5 so you can save up to 28% off on everything!

I've been working hard this summer on several new products. Since I wasn't sure exactly what grade I would be teaching this year,  I have worked on materials for several grade levels.

One was my Sixth Grade Conventions of Language Interactive Notebook!  This interactive notebook covers ALL of the Sixth Grade Conventions of Language Common Core Standards. Students will use interactive activities to master the skills. Of course, their completed notebook will serve as a FABULOUS study guide for the state standardized test as well at the end of the year.

Since Text Mapping is my new FAVORITE skill for digging deep into Non-Fiction Text, I also made a Text Mapping Interactive Notebook which will work great for grades 3-6!  This interactive notebook teaches 16 non-fiction text features, teaches students HOW to use Text Mapping and has an 8 page article on the Titanic for students to practice their text-mapping skills!  I can't wait to use this in the classroom!


Now, you may be wondering what I'm buying from other fabulous teachers during the Teachers Pay Teachers HUGE Sale!

Clip art, fonts and frames are  my favorites!  So here are a few items in my cart! As well as some great review skills for my little guys!

Fun Fall Letters by Primary Polkadots

ELA Daily Review by TEACHA2Z

       Clip Art Fall Season Kids by Cara Taylor!
GREAT social studies bundle from Elementary Lesson Plans

 So now that you  have had a peek in my cart, what is your cart??

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Wordless Wednesday! Doomed Desks!

It's humpday and I'm linking up with Miss Decarbo at Second Grade Sugar and Spice for her weekly Linky party!

What kind of student desks do you have in your room? Or are you lucky enough to have tables?  Unfortunately, this is what I have to work with to form groups and it is a challenge to say the least. :(    If you are like me and  blessed with the desk above, what do you do to make groups?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Bringing Travel into Your Classroom!

Summer is almost over and the new school year will be underway before you know it! If you're like me, you probably did some traveling this summer. I LOVE vacations and would seriously go somewhere every week or so if I could!  Of course, as I travel  I ALWAYS look for interesting things I could use in my classroom. Many of my students have never even been out of town, much less on a vacation. Since, we live in a small town there aren't very many opportunities for field trips either. But, I really want my students to experience the world anyway they can. 

When I teach social studies, one thing I do is several virtual field trips. In fourth grade, we study the U.S. regions so we "travel" to each region to  "tour" the area. I do this with videos, power points, role play etc.  My students LOVE it and they really get into the role playing. They remember so much more of our lessons this way than they do by reading out of a social studies book!  Last year as we pretended to be on a whale watching cruise in Maine (I had the video playing) as the whales jumped in and out of the water on the screen I secretly sprayed the students with a water bottle so they could pretend to feel the water. They had a blast!

For my virtual field trips I order or pick up brochures from various places to use in my classroom. This gives the students a visual to help with understanding.  Many visitor centers will send you a few free brochures if you email and ask for them. I've scored several goodies including bookmarks, stickers and pamphlets.

 Given my love for using "make believe" in the classroom, it is no surprise that I look for ways to bring my own travels to my students.  This summer my family went to Branson, Missouri for our vacation. The Titanic museum was awesome! Unfortunately, audio, video, and pictures are prohibited so I wasn't allowed to take any pictures or video for my students.  I did purchase a copy of Polar the Titanic Bear. This book has an interesting history behind it and will be a great addition to my classroom library. It was written by an actual Titanic survivor Daisy Spedden.  You can read more about that here!

At the insistence of my twelve year old son, we also visited Ripley's Belive it or Not!  I was allowed to take pictures there (I asked). There were many oddities which would certainly interest my students, but I decided to take a few pictures of some of the brain teasers which were hanging on the wall. I think I'll use a few of these for the first week of school as icebreakers. 

Hologram of Ripley (The kids will love this!)

I think the students will enjoy these brain teasers. I'll make it into a group contest as we practice working in cooperative groups. The students will love it!

 If you are interested in having your students take virtual field trips, there are websites which offer free trips.

Virtual Field Trips

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Get Ready! Get Set! Teach!

It's that time again! School supplies are filling the store shelves, teachers are planning out their upcoming year, and eager students are getting ready to invade the schools.

The first few days of school can  be hectic for teachers, students and parents if you aren't well-prepared!

I'm so excited to be a part of the Back-to-School Blog Hop this year! First, a HUGE thanks to Mackenzie from Brownbag Academics for hosting this event! Be sure to check out her blog for many more exciting Back-to-School tips!

                                      First Days of School 

Tip #1 - Over Prepare
I have learned over the years that it is better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. There is nothing worse than having a room full of excited children and not having enough to do. Most classes do not start "teaching" curriculum on the first day of school at the elementary level, but you must have something for the students to do. Something to get them excited and ready to come back the next day.

Have something on their desk for them to do immediately when the enter the room. This will free up a few minutes for you to meet the parents, answer questions, work out any kinks with the roster (this happens... I once had a first grader sitting in my fourth grade classroom before anyone realized he was at the wrong school in the wrong class. Yes, he was a little smaller than most of my students, but since I had several short and young-looking fourth graders it wasn't that noticeable. As the day progressed though, I realized something wasn't quite "right" and checked into the matter so he could be placed in the correct school.)

I usually have a welcome pack for my students to work on for the first few minutes. This includes a survey, a glyph of some kind and some general fun back-to-school puzzles.  This works out well since the students are anxious to use their brand spanking new school supplies! :) However, ALWAYS make sure you have extras for those who didn't bring any supplies.

Tip #2  Teach and PRACTICE rules and procedures

This can't be said enough. Spend the first few days of school focusing on expectations, rules and procedures. Practice, practice, practice! Have the students line up correctly, take them on a tour of the school to practice walking in straight line without talking or bothering someone. Spending a few days at the beginning of the year reiterating your rules and expectations can save you a major headache throughout the year.

Tip #3 Teach Cooperative Groups

During the first few days of school plan several cooperative group activities to teach students HOW to work in a group. One of my favorites is the marshmallow/spaghetti building activity. The kids love this!

Disclaimer: These are not my students, I had forgotten to take a picture of the activity last year. :(   But, this is an example of what we did in our groups.

Tip #4 Start each day with urgency!

After a few days when your students have learned your rules and procedures, you'll be ready to begin curriculum. Start each day with urgency! Make sure your students WANT to arrive to class on time and get started immediately!
Establish a routine and stick with it. This way students know exactly what to do when they arrive to class.

Some examples would be:

Morning Work
Daily Word Problem
Daily Edit
Bell Ringer

My favorite is a challenge of some sort. Have students compete as individuals or as a team to be the first student/group to answer the challenge questions correctly. Challenge questions could be any skill they have previously learned etc.  Have a bulletin board ready to spotlight the winning student or team each day. This will give the students a sense of urgency to be the first one finished with the CORRECT answer! They will be ready for the day's lessons and already thinking by the time you get started.

To help you get started with the first few challenges I have a FREE set of HINK PINK CHALLENGE cards which can be used for upper elementary students. These are great for groups or partners! They can be found HERE or you can click on the picture!


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