Monday, February 13, 2017

QR Code for Valentine's Day Freebie!

Just made it!  Hope you can use it and the generic recording sheet I created for QR Codes...just to hold kids accountable!  Enjoy!

If looking to support this book a little more with a few activities, check out THIS POST.  Have a super day!

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Freebie Pick-a-Prompts

My colleagues and I love using these...a nice break from our Calkins' Units.  (Which we also love!)  Hope your kids like like these as much as ours! Three prompts included perfect for Read Across America in just a few short weeks!  Enjoy!

Pick-a-Prompt (Freebie Writing Prompts)

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Tek The Modern Cave Boy

Image result for tek the modern cave boy

What an adorable book designed to look like an iPad! Tek is a cave boy who can't seem to unplug from his Game Box, TV, phone, and tablet.  It's tech all day and all night.  So engrossed in technology, he never ventures outside to see what the world has to offer!  Ice Age?  He missed it!  

Your kids will gasp when you read: "He never even learned his dinosaur names, identifying them as a Whatchacallitasaurus, a Hoozdatasaurus, or a Flying Idontgiveadactyl."  Mine sure did!  

Eagle eyes will surely notice the iPad battery getting lower and lower...

What a FUN book!  My husband (a media specialist) lent it to my class and it lived up to his hype.  Can't get the book?  No problem!  

READ ALOUD: Tek The Modern Cave Boy

I loved it so much, I want to share this FREEBIE Book It with you!  Enjoy!

Sunday, January 29, 2017

My Favorite Valentine's Day Book

Have you read this lovely book by Eileen Spinelli and Paul Yalowitz?  What a gem!

Image result for somebody loves you mr hatch

Honestly, it's one of my favorite all-time books.  The words and illustrations are so intertwined and seamless.  It's a wonderful book to show just how a small, kind, gesture, can really impact a person's life.

Mr. Hatch is shown as an ordinary man going about his lonely, mundane life.  Very little interaction and devoid of happiness.  But once he receives a box of chocolates in the mail from a Secret Admirer, his life suddenly has meaning.  SOMEONE thought of HIM?  He now has an extra pep in his step and all the neighbors notice.  Sadly, his happiness is short lived.  I don't want to give the rest away... find out for yourself!  You won't regret it but you will most likely shed a tear! Or two.  Or buckets full.

You can watch it here if you can't get the book.

Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch Video 11.5 Minutes

Honestly, the book generates thought-provoking discussions and that's all you need.  But if you're wanting a tiny bit more, you could check out this product that supports it.  But to be honest, the BEST way to support this book?  Share it with your class and then reread it again and again!  :)

Book It: Retell It, Write It, Make It! (Somebody Loves You

And for those of you who like my Pick-A-Prompts, I just finished February!
Only March needed to complete the Bundle!  Whew!

Pick-a-Prompt (February Writing Prompts)
Kids highlight or cross out the prompt they would like to complete.

Happy Reading!  

Monday, January 16, 2017

MLK Day Poem

It boggles my mind that there are some school districts around the country in full session today.  My husband's school is one of them.  To me, it seems disrespectful.  The administration has said in the past that is allows them to honor MLK today.  Hmmm...not buying it.  Some of my colleagues honored him on Friday and some, like me, have several special activities planned for the upcoming week.  I feel that now, more than ever, we need to reflect on Martin's message of inclusion and celebrate him and his message.

What is your opinion?  

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Pick-A-Prompt Fun!

We use Lucy Calkins in our school and I love it!  But in between Small Moments, How-To, All About, etc., I love to give these Pick-A-Prompts to my kids. The kids clearly love having the power of selecting the one that appeals most to them. I usually find their answers so insightful. I snapped pics of the latest ones in the order that the kids finished and the first three kids each picked different ones.  (Second one was two-sided.)


I've never NOT had each prompt picked in a writing session.  That always surprises me!  And I'm often surprised at some of the responses I read.  I never knew student 3 loved basketball!  And not just playing the sport but following her favorite team, too!  :)  

I use them for Do-Nows, Free Choice (I can even put same ones out because kids still have two unused options to pick from) and slip them in Fast Finishers folders.  They've really come in handy during writing workshop too.  I have a rule that during writing, we write.  That's it.  Finished a story? Write a new one!  But I've realized that sometimes kids want to continue writing but starting another How-To or All About with ten minutes left of the period may not be ideal or overwhelming.  So, these fit the bill!

You can easily make these yourself by writing in three topics on the top of a page.  But if you don't have the time to make them, check out my January pack  in my store.  Topic Headers: Popcorn Day, A Snowy Day, A New Year, Rubber Ducky Day, Story Starters, Peace & Love, What If and Would You Rather?

Pick-a-Prompt (January Writing Prompts)

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

A Great STEM Freebie I Found on TpT

STEM to STEAM Trio has this Freebie up in their store:

STEAM Challenge: Creating the Longest Chain

Honestly, my class LOVED it!  Kudos to STEM to STEAM Trio (who I don't know!) for designing such a great product that is SIMPLE and offers so many learning opportunities!  My kids (Firsties!) worked so well together and I documented the groups if you want to check out my Twitter posts to see them in action. I thought it would be fun to give the parents an insight to their child's group dynamics/thinking.  (NOTE: the link to Twitter is the first post...I had 14 posts/pictures...)

Here are the end tallies of the length of our links:

I'm off to check out some of their other products! Have a good night and...

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Christmas Books QR Codes

Feel free to grab these QR Codes for your kiddos.  (All codes generated through SafeShare.) I just discovered The Carpenter's Gift (thanks to my Media Specialist husband, John) and I love it!  The other three are awesome, too!  Must shares in my classroom each year.  Enjoy!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Silver Packages: An Appalachian Christmas Story

The last thing I did before leaving school for Thanksgiving break was put away my November themed books and displayed my December gems.  While there are so many good ones, if I had to pick my favorite, it would, hands down, be Silver Packages by Cynthia Rylant.

From School Library Journal:

Grade 1-4. Full-page watercolor paintings decorate this warm, sentimental story loosely based on actual events. Rylant traces the origins of an Appalachian "Christmas Train" that travels through the mountains each year on December 23 to a rich man who wished to repay a debt of kindness he had received many years before. He faithfully returns and tosses silver packages from the caboose to the coal-town children who wait by the tracks. One such child is Frankie, who longs for a doctor's kit every year; instead he gets much-needed socks or mittens along with small toys. As an adult, he moves back to the town to live and work, having fulfilled his dream of becoming a doctor. With her clear, balanced, and well-paced storyteller's voice, the author builds the anticipation and excitement that the children and especially Frankie feel at the train's annual arrival. Although the heroic profile of this child-turned-man makes him more of a symbol than a real person, his story is well told. The illustrations provide panoramic views of the Appalachian countryside, with deep nighttime blues and wintry colors, strengthening the sense of place. A well-rendered reflection on the importance of giving and sharing.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

The real Santa Train

At my old school, we used to collect toys for the very same train that would travel through the Appalachian Mountains.  We would have to hire a truck to fit in all the toys the kids purchased.  To kick off the service project, we read this lovely book.  We were lucky to have the illustrator, Chris Sonepiet, visit once!  I still can't get through the book without tearing up and it's the first book I read to my class each year.    

The book is PERFECT on its own.  You don't need to do anything else but read it and the great discussions will flow.  I extend a tiny bit with a few prompts, a retell (which they love to do!) and the make words using the letters in Doctor Kit.  Totally not necessary but just a small way I extend this book.

Book It: Retell It, Write It, Make It! (Silver Packages:An

Hope you have the book!  If not, share the video via the link above.  Let me know if you love the story as much as I do!

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Gobble, Gobble!

Hope you all have a lovely day
with your family and friends!

Monday, November 21, 2016

Grab these How-To QR Codes

Hope you can use these for your How-To unit!  ENJOY!  Commercial free.  SAFE!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

EASY Turkey Craft with a Scoot Twist

Isn't this adorable?

Kids cut and made own legs and waddles (this one waddle-free!)
Next year I'll have them do own bodies freehand, too. 

Easily made with Bingo Daubers/Stampers!  Each student had one on their desk and stamped their turkey until I said Scoot.  Then we scooted to the right and did it all over again.  They loved it!  If the desk had a color you didn't want (most boys didn't want pink)  OR a color you already used, you simply got to repeat Gobble, Gobble until we scooted again!

If you haven't done a Thanksgiving Day Craft but wanted to squeeze one in, try this one tomorrow. Easy and fun! The kids will love showing it off at home.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Problem Solved: A Word Wall Your Kids Will Use!

The success of any word wall depends on kids actually using it.  Yep.  Sounds simple.  But it's not.  At least it wasn't for me!

Personal Word Walls have proven to be most effective for my class.

DID YOU KNOW: An estimated 65-75% of all words we read are made up of the 220 sight words on the Dolch list? Knowing that, I'm sure we all agree that quick mastery of sight words is a must.

When I first started teaching, my wall was up too high and on the closet doors...way back in the room.  Too far away for the kids to really see it and use it.  Looking back now, I sum it up as ACCESS DENIED! Too high.  Too far away.  Kids would crowd around it and jockey for position.  A time waster.  Result: rarely used.

Then I moved on to a much smaller version under the chalkboard.  Pretty much the same problems. Too many kids gathered around it.  Not an idea place to see it yet alone use it, etc.  ACCESS DENIED!

Moved on to "Portable Walls."  Had words on a ring and kids could borrow the ring, go back to seats, write word down, and, then put it back.

A time suck for my class.  Some kids spent more time up and down out of seats than writing.

So maybe, I thought, I could give each kid their OWN ring.  I know a teacher who uses this method flawlessly and I bow down to her.  I just couldn't keep up with making sure words were added to ALL rings.  

I finally made Personal Word Walls and I'm not looking back. I used the Dolch Lists, added about ten more words I knew we'd need, and printed two-sided.  Results?  BINGO! 


Kids highlight our weekly words so they can spot those first.  I debated allowing them to add more words.  They can if they want BUT I want to encourage them to tap out the words which they are really adept at doing! 

If you've been frustrated with your word and it's not being used, try a Personal Word Wall that can be kept in their writing folder and be taken out quickly when needed.  I think you may just like it and find it as useful as I do.

You can easily make one for your class.  If you rather have a pre-made one, just click on picture above.

If you make one, I'd love to see a picture of it!  Good luck!

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Wait Time and a Fun Way to Call on Kids

I've worked hard on giving kids more wait time after I ask a question.  Did you know that just giving kids THREE extra seconds increases not only the amount of quality responses you'll get, it also boosts their confidence?  Of course you knew that!  :)  I watched a video once where the teacher started out each question with a child's name: Lisa, what is 4+4?  Ugh!  The rest of the kids got a free pass.  This was a ten minute lesson and she did it every single time.  Eek!  I posted about effective questioning a while back in my post about the book  Teach Like a Champion.  I so love that book! The No-Opt Out Method was one I implemented immediately and I've been a believer ever since.

I try to use a 50/50 combination of having kids raise hands and calling on them randomly.  My go to random method has been sticks in a jar.  But now...I finally downloaded the above app to change it up and inject some more fun into our day.  (I paid for it. The free ones I found weren't quite right/had too many ads, etc.)  I can't wait to use it tomorrow.  The kids will love it!

TIP: My Math Supervisor gave me this great tip a few years ago.  In case you haven't heard it, here it is and it does make a difference:  Instead of having kids raise their hands (where everyone else can see who knows- and doesn't know an answer) have them put hand on heart, give you the peace sign in front of chest, thumbs up, etc.  Much less intimidating for those that don't know the answer or are often stuck.  (I use on carpet when all facing me so they really can't see if most of their friends know the answer.)

Do you use a random generator?  If you know of an awesome free app like the one above, please leave me a note so others can see.  (Always good to save some money!)

Have a great day!

Sunday, October 16, 2016

A Visit from TpT Headquarters

Many months ago, TpT asked for volunteers to host TpT employees in our classrooms. I was contacted a few weeks ago and Michael spent half the day with us last week!

He brought me some cool TpT Swag!  Thank you!
TpT requires that every staff member visits a classroom each year so they can be exposed (if never a teacher) or reminded (if previously taught) of what it’s like to teach all day AND then go home and create materials for our classes/stores. After the visit, they ask employees to report back to their entire staff so they can get a feeling of how truly vast and diverse our schools are and to emphasize/reinforce there is no “one size fits all” approach to teaching, problem solving, etc. 

Michael joined us for Morning Meeting (where he actually won our POP Game!), math (where we were making combinations of 10 with Head/Tails Penny Toss) and Reading Workshop where he listened to lots of kids read to him. He was very hands on and the kids loved him!    A success!!

On to my personal life... Anyone else have a HH Senior out there?  Sniff, sniff! I just went through all of this two years ago with Sarah but I'm back in Senior mode with college visits and applications, getting ads for Soccer Media Guides and Yearbooks ready and trying to come to terms with my baby graduating this year! How did they get THAT old?  How did I?

It goes by way too fast, doesn't it?

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Art Gallery (It's Been Six Months!)

How could I let SIX MONTHS go by without showing off John's art?  He works so hard on it!  Maybe too hard...he got a migrane today while drawing.  :(

Cover Cuties Superheroes

America Enters WWll Clip Art by Dandy Doodles

America Enters WWl Clip Art by Dandy Doodles   WWl Modern Warfare Clip Art by Dandy Doodles

Constitution and Citizenshp Day Clip Art by Dandy Doodles   Reconstruction Clip Art by Dandy Doodles

The Great Depression Clip Art by Dandy Doodles   Bundled Colonies (Middle, Southern, New England) Clip Art

And these last ones aren't new...just fallish!

Nutty Squirrels Clip Art by Dandy Doodles   Red Apple Fun Clip Art by Dandy Doodles

and a Freebie Fall one from last year...

FREEBIE: Cover Cuties Fall into Fun Clip Art

I so wish I could draw!!!