Sunday, November 22, 2015

Milestone Celebration!

Hey everyone!  I'm celebrating today.  I've reached a milestone in my TpT Store!  To celebrate, I'm throwing a 20% off everything in the store today!  And, the best part..... I'm giving away one of my favorite products for FREE!  All you have to do is go download it here.   
 Like I said, this is one of my favorite items.  I created this out of NEED.  My students struggled to summarize effectively.  I tried using the Somebody, Wanted, But, So, Then strategy, but many times the passages didn't really fit that set up.  So, I wrote my own passages, making sure to follow that exact format.  This gave my students enough practice and success that they were able to summarize other passages as well.  I also tried to make the passages engaging and short enough for students to read.  The theme of the passages is "little known heroes".  Each passage can also be used to give students an opportunity for a short research project.  I give them an overview of the "hero", but the amazing stories of courage and determination will leave students wanting to know more about these inspiring people.  So go get yours and try it out.  Let me know what you think!  Happy Thanksgiving~

Friday, November 20, 2015

Parent Teacher Conference Tip

This is one of those tips that I'm not sure is really a new tip to anyone.  It's so simple, yet I never thought of it before (in 24 years!) So, although probably every other teacher in the world would think this is common sense, I'll post it for those of you like me, who somehow missed this.  
This year is my first year to have basically a one to one chrome book situation in my Language Arts classroom.  I've started using google classroom to assign daily journal entries, which has been pretty great.  During the week of conferences, I had student begin a google doc for their journal.  The prompt was:  Describe how you are feeling about Lang. Arts.  What is your grade?  What are your strengths?  Weaknesses?  Do you feel the work is too hard?  Too easy?  What are your goals to improve in this class?  
The next day, students opened the same document and added a paragraph.  Instead of focusing on academics, this prompt focused on behavior.  Describe your behavior in class.  Do you hand in assignments on time?  Do you have trouble paying attention?  Do you prefer to work in a group or alone?  Do you participate and volunteer in class?  Have you had any trouble with bullying this year?  
During conferences, I pulled up each student's document and shared it with parents.  This gave me a great set of talking points that covered both academics and behavior.  In some cases I explained to parents that I disagreed with the student's assessment of his/her behavior, but for the most part, students were harder on themselves than I would have been.  
As I said, I don't know why I hadn't thought of doing this before.  I'll attribute it to the fact that this is the first year for having chrome books and the ease of google classroom to access the students' documents.  It was really nice that it wasn't me spilling all the bad news, it was the student themselves reporting the information.   

It worked really well for me and I will definitely do this again.  

Monday, December 1, 2014

Currently December

Man, December already!  I guess I'm getting a head start on my new year resolution to blog more.  Today I'm linking up with Farley from Oh Boy 4th Grade with a "Currently" post.  This is my first!

Listening - Thanks to my teaching partner for the heads up about Coffee shop soundtrack on Pandora!  Listening to this makes everything better, including cleaning house!  Love it!

Loving - Moving into a new home has inspired me to get rid of my tired, old tree decorations (actually my tired, old TREE as well).  I spent some time on Saturday shopping for a new tree and all the decorations.  I love a fancy, "themey" tree, but my family is all about traditional green and red.  I compromised by buying a skinny, 5 foot tree for my family room and filling it with fancy, shiny teal/turquoise/silver ornaments.  The "real" tree is a little more traditional with gold and red decorations.  I haven't added my ornaments yet, but I love it so far.

Thinking - Whew!  It seems like when you travel on holiday breaks, you really don't feel like you had any time off! 

Wanting-A little warmer weather, please!  Saturday it was 70+ degrees, today....30's!  For the love!

Needing-  Winter is a great motivator to go to hot yoga.  I can hardly wait to get in that 95 degree room. 

Giving- One of my favorite parts of my Thanksgiving break was crafting.  I'm not much of a crafter usually, but my step mom is crafter extraordinaire!  She taught me how to do a mixed media project on canvas.  I created this for my mother in law.  This would have been their 60th anniversary, but her husband passed away five years ago.  I found their wedding picture and a form listing their children.  I made photocopies of these and then used ink to age them up a bit.  I was really happy with the final product.   My mind is now going crazy with ideas!  So much fun!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

OK, no excuses...I've just been completely lazy!  It is time to get back to the blogging world.  I feel so out of touch!  Although I still teach 6th grade Language Arts, I have made a huge change.  For the past two years, I have taught the struggling readers.  This year, I teach the highest level readers.  This has been a very challenging move, but rewarding at the same time.  Needless to say, my focus has changed from scaffolding for support to challenge and rigor. 

Product Details

Monday, January 20, 2014

Do You Have Stacks?

 Does anyone else have this problem of having too many resources?  Well, I don't think anyone could actually ever have too many, but lately I've been a little overwhelmed by all my TpT purchases.  They are awesome, must have products, but...

I have all my purchases printed, most laminated and cut, but then I seem to pile them up on my counter.  Well in my quest to work on my New Year's Resolution, I came up with a simple solution to this problem.  I'm thinking that everyone else, including you, have figured this out WAY before me, but just in case, I thought I'd share my discovery. 

I printed the cute colorful cover pages for my purchases and glued them to 9x12 envelopes.  All the materials then went inside!  I know, so easy I should have thought of it long ago.  I don't know why I've just continued to stack things for so long.  So, I feel like I accomplished a huge task today just by cleaning my pile of materials.  Sometimes that small feeling of accomplishment is all the motivation you need to get through another week of January.  Where is Spring Break??? 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Cause Effect Student Made Videos

Are you looking for a fun activity to keep your kids engaged during this long January?  We have been working on the text structures for a couple of weeks and needed a fun project.  For a fun cause effect lesson, we made our own cause effect commercials.  They were based on the direct tv commercials that warn of various reasons you should get rid of cable.  I blogged about this last year, but this year came up with a way for students to create their own version.  
Students filled out a graphic organizer showing how one event caused another.  Next, they made a powerpoint and found google images to "illustrate" the statement.  Finally, they made a screencast using screencast o matic.  I'm posting one of our better examples of a student screencast.  We had a ton of fun creating these, and hopefully learned a little as well.  Try it out, your students will love it. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Flash Freebie!

My last blog post was a whole month ago!  I guess I just enjoyed my holidays instead of writing a blog post.  In my last post, I mentioned a new product I was working on... figurative language loaded passages.  They are finally finished!  So, just for a few hours, I will be offering this resource for FREE! 
I used these passages with my struggling readers and they really liked them.  They really loved being my proof readers and finding all of my mistakes.  What I liked best was the conversations I heard as they worked with a partner.  They were vigorously debating and supporting their opinions!  I was so excited I had to do a little happy dance right in the classroom.  Then I came back to reality when one of my students said "Was you a ballet dancer?"  Next mission:  teach grammar!

If you take advantage of this flash freebie, please leave me feedback and let me know what you think!  Enjoy!