September 22, 2016

T-A-G, You're It!

Welcome to T-A-G Day!  T-A-G stands for TEACHER AUTHOR GIVEAWAY!   I have paired up with 12 other Teacher Authors in grades 3-6 to give away some really great goodies!  All you have to do is complete the Rafflecopter below to get one of the great prizes!  Be sure you hit the contest up NOW.  The ending time is Monday, September 26th at 12 a.m.   All winners will be emailed!  There are some great products being given away so make sure to click all of the Rafflecopter entries!  

My product is 

I just LOVE this product!  My students soared toward truly understanding characters by using these practice pages.  This product specifically speaks to character development.  The exciting part is, it also helps the students understand theme!  It leads them right to it!  

So, be sure to enter the contest by completing the Rafflecopter below.  And, hit up all the other amazing Teacher Authors too!

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Thanks for Entering!

September 16, 2016

5 Things from my CRAZY Week!

This week!  Holy cow!  It was fast, it was slow, it was incredible, and it was insane all in one big jumble!  So, I missed my Tuesday post and have decided to join the Five for Friday fun!  Here we go!

We finished learning about types of prompts.   Honestly, the materials my school bought for writing are the most boringly designed products I’ve ever seen!  They cost an arm and a leg also!  I just couldn’t hand them to my kids and be happy!  Then I got the idea for this lovely game-Spot the Prompt!  The kids enjoyed it so much and really had a lot of good practice with it!  Once we finished playing (it actually took a couple of days) we were able to complete the partner practice and the guided practice for a grade.  Overall, I was really pleased!  

Spot the Prompt has a few finishing touches and then it will be available in my store!

We also became Knights for a few days!  Together we worked to defeat the Digits Dragon and save the Rounding Table!  My kids were in LOVE!  We read Saint George and the Dragon by Margaret Hodges and I was also able to discuss some of the aspects of fairy tales.  We had a great time practicing our poem, rounding, and playing the game to become Knights!  You can find this product here!

We also started to learn about synonyms. 

Little did I know that this would be one of the kids’ favorite parts of the day.  I do Morning Meeting and last year many of the games were my students’ favorite moments.  I started by incorporating my Social Studies Weekly as our shared reading.  I took a sentence from the article to begin to talk about what synonyms are.  The students provided the non-examples that lead us to complete the chart.  I then used this website to create cards that we used to match up with a synonym buddy.  I had them greet each other, use eye contact, and say thank you to each other when the pair didn’t match.  I increased it to 3 and then 4 groups as the week went on.  I have a feeling I will be doing more of this!  They were so excited today to do this activity!  They cheered!  More importantly, they learned.  I was able to connect synonyms to context clues!  When they didn’t know the word, a sample sentence was given, and they had to use the context to solve!  It was AWESOME!

As a class we have also been hard at work reading The Littles and working on literature Standard 5!  This is a little idea I came up with to track the events of the chapter and have the students begin to understand the structure of a novel.  It has been enlightening, to say the least!  We have had some very good debates over what is and what isn’t a fever chapter. We have had firm agreements on what is normal or somewhat feverish.  It has been a great discussion and it allows interaction among my literacy partners on a daily basis.  More importantly, it is truly setting up a classroom of learners, allowing for routine and for polite discussion. Truly awesome! 

I will say, I’m not totally sold on the mood of the chapter part.  Any suggestions would be great!!

Finally, I’m birthdayed out!  I had THREE this week and, during a discussion, found out we missed one due to our hurricane days!  PLUS there was a birthday last Friday.  What is with September birthdays and my class!  Not that I can say anything personally.  I squeezed my oldest son out in September!  (Did I just say that-I did!!)  It was just a lot.  We had so much food though!  It just might be time to think of a different birthday routine!  One thing I do for my students is let them decide about the cha-cha-cha.  A few years ago I had a student come up to me and ask if I would tell the kids NOT to cha-cha-cha because they really didn’t like it.  The great thing was, I could tell that child that I felt the same exact way!  It annoys me!  So I did, and the class was fine with it!  Ever since, I ask about their cha-cha-cha choice.  Today, neither girl wanted the cha-cha-cha!  It is a small thing, but I’ve discovered that it is important to them-and it is their day! 

So, that’s it!  Hope you week was rockin’ and not as crazy as mine!  I’d love to hear how it went! 

September 6, 2016

Why I Wore an MTV T-shirt on a Tuesday!

Hurricane Hermine arrived in Florida on Wednesday, which then spurred the following chain of events, leading to the MTV T-shirt Tuesday!  Here’s how it went down!

On Thursday morning, my brain woke me up at 5:25, my normal time frame.  There was NO WAY I was getting up at that time, especially since we had no school to attend!  I was laying there, doing what teachers do-thinking about school and the things we were learning, when, out of no where, came the answer to a perplexing question that I have asked over and over again, “How do I REALLY get kids to understand the difference between primary and secondary sources?!”  Yes, I was really thinking about that, with a hurricane of rain hit my window.  I promise you, there is something about my brain in the morning that does amazing things!  I’m sure brain research is right!  I’m pretty sure it is because I cycle through the right sleep cycles and my brain has a chance to work on things at night because of it!  Anyways, back to my MTV T-shirt story! 

Once I actually got up, (8:30, just in case you were wondering) I set to work on a truly terrific idea.  The answer to my very question, “How to teach kids about primary and secondary sources?” was swirling around behind me as I sat at the table typing.   Rain, wind, craziness!  And from that, a FREEBIE was born!  The Primary and Secondary Source Project allows kids to see themselves as the very thing they are-a PRIMARY Source! 

Let’s take a look at how I did this with my students.  First, I decided to wear my MTV T-shirt to school.  I bought it because I can honestly say, I was sitting right there, in front of the TV, watching MTV being born!  I’m a PRIMARY SOURCE for that event.  I lived it.  I felt that the T-shirt, in all it’s glory, was a great way to get kids asking questions about why I would wear it, on a Tuesday of all days!  Next, I took the chance of connecting with my parents.  I sent out a quick email about taking a picture of their child or their neighborhood during the storm (looking out a window, etc.) and finding a newspaper article to print.  I also downloaded a number of local articles to have them handy for kids who didn’t get the task done. I found a simple article about MTV’s debut and printed that for my sample.   I also decided it would be fun to wear name badges that let others know that we are Primary Sources.  I purchased Avery printable name badges and made quick “Hello…I’m a PRIMARY SOURCE” tags.  Finally, I printed everything I needed to get the kids started right away on Tuesday morning! 

When the kids arrived, I got them started on their regular routine.  I decided I was going to switch up my schedule and put this activity first.  I wanted them fresh.  I explained to them that with the schedule change came a project about Hurricane Hermine.  I explained my MTV T-shirt and why I wore it.  Then I explained that they, too, were Primary Sources.  They were totally excited.  They wanted to share!  We got to work! 

Everyone had their own experiences and ideas about what took place based on the experience they had at home.  As we worked, we talked about what needed to be facts about the storm, real events that they saw.  We also talked about what could be based on emotions and ideas.  I did this step by step with them through my experience of watching MTV premiere (they were excited to hear that too!) 

The end result was magnificent!  And they get it now, they really get it now!  The best part, most work their “Hello” tags were worn home!   Now that’s a real impact if you can get a student to wear a “Hello” nametag home!   Success!!

So, here it is, in all its glory!  I hope you can use it in a variety of ways.  Just because your students didn’t experience Hermine doesn’t mean there aren’t great things they have witnessed!  Think about the Rio Olympics in itself-Michael Phelps, Usain Bolt, the USA Woman’s Gymnastics’ Team,  Simone  Manuel winning the first Olympic Gold for a black woman in swimming, and so much more outside of the Olympics.  The ideas are endless!  There are two levels of projects, so pick the one that would best work with your students! 

Let me know what your ideas are in the comments below!  I’d love to hear how you would use this in your classroom!  

September 4, 2016

It's a Contest!

Kinder Teamwork is CELEBRATING and they are CELEBRATING in a BIG way!  You have not 1, but FIVE opportunities to win!  So...

Jump on over to the Rafflecopter to sign up for this GREAT prize opportunity!  It has been a blast participating as well!