January 23, 2017

Today I'm over at Conversations From The Classroom discussing planning in writing!  So many of us skip this part, not understanding the value within planning!  Jump on over and check out everything I have to share about this important step in the writing process!

Or, if you are visiting from CFTC, feel free to look around and enjoy my blog!  Leave me a comment while you are here.  I'd love to hear your thoughts!

January 12, 2017

5 for Friday: The "Real" 5 For Friday

    Today I'm trying the "real" teachers of Five for Friday philosophy.  Normally I pick five related things and post how they all go together.   This weak I'm trying the "real' teacher idea of just posting 5 actual things that happened in my week or are coming up. So, here we go!  

     I really pushed myself last week and added a number of new products to my store!  This is part of a group challenge and I'm plugging along!  Here's a couple of the covers.  If you click HERE, and choose "recently added", you can see all my new goodies!   I'm proud of my hard work this past week!  


     Weight loss-over break-YE-AH!!  I was totally shocked to discover that I had lost 7 pounds over break!  WHOOT!  How is the next thing people have been asking.  There are a number of ways that I did this.  First, I've been really coving myself in prayer.  I've never done this before and I can honestly say, I think this is the biggest thing!  Next, I started calorie counting right after New Years (in my new planner!!)  And, finally, I've been exercising more.  My husband got a new bike and we've been taking rides together!  So, all of these together equaled 7 pounds!  It is lovely!!  

     I've been working furiously on getting a Fairy Tales unit together for my class.  The goal of this unit is to get my students focused on Point of View and how some characters are lacking it and others have an over abundance!  This will draw an eye to how the story is told-first, second, or third person!  We need a bit of practice in this, so I'm excited by some of the things I've developed. Here's a quick screen shot of one of the documents! 

     Just down the road from my house, this is happening!  It is the Manatee County Fair!  Last year I spent a good amount of time on the weekends volunteering there!  This year, I've started before the Fair even opened!  I helped set up the Arts and Crafts displays and it was so much fun!  I will be volunteering again this year, looking for kids and adults I know as they pass by the cookie booth I work at!  

     I'm excited to be joining Zoe over at Zippadee Zazz to celebrate her blog launch!  Zoe is one hard working Teacher-Author who focuses on clipart in her store!  She runs an awesome Teacher-Author group too! So, take a minute and join this great giveaway celebrating her blog!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

January 10, 2017

Happy, Big Time Happy, Big Happy Planner that Is!

      I'm not a planner type of person.  They drive me nuts!  I mean, who spends sixty plus dollars on a planner that they order online that they have fun writing in??  I mean, you can't even add pages of your own!  Then, I saw THIS PICTURE!  

How in the world did she get her own page in that planner??  Why do those rings look different then all the other personal planners?  What's that pink thing???  HOW DID SHE GET THOSE PAGES IN THERE!!  I just had to ask!  Luckily Stephanie from Teaching Little Leaders quickly replied-and I'm in LOVE!!  

The planner you see in the picture above is  the Happy Planner by Create 365!  The whole idea of this planner is to personalize it in a way that those other planners can't be personalized ! By simply removing the pages carefully a the edge closest to the rings, you can set it up in an y order that you like!  I happened to get mine in January, so I am going to against everything that screams SCHOOL to me and leave mine alone.  But if you wanted to start in July or August like most school planners do, it would be as simple as pulling out the monthly tabs and rearranging them to be in order from July to June.  That's it.  You wouldn't have to change any other pages, or at least not in this particular one.  

I'm sorry my picture came out a little pink! 

     I purchased the "kit" model of the Big Happy Planner.  It comes with everything you need to set up your planner!  This kit was a great price (plus on sale too!) so it was the easiest way to go.  It came with all the number stickers and decorative stickers right in the kit.  I did  buy some other stickers from another brand, because, by the looks of the isle at Michaels, this is becoming a big thing!  And it is easy to see why.  I could easily go back to Michaels and pick out a few more sticker sets to add some more fun to my planner!  Anyway, I also purchased the Big Paper Punch.  This is how you get the pages into your Happy Planner.  The Big Paper Punch has a bonus to it.  It can actually punch holes for any of the planners!  So, if I ever decide to go with one of the smaller planners, this tool will work for those also!  I'm telling you, I'm sold on this system!  It is brilliant!  

    One more important feature to discuss is the rings.  They are really cool, heavy plastic disks.  When I originally visited their website, I noticed that you can transition your planner onto even larger rings.  If needed, that will be something I do in the future. The clerk at Michaels explained that I can basically double the amount of pages that are currently in the planner before I need to change the rings!  

     So, I'd like to thank Stephanie from Teaching Little Leaders once more.  If you haven't noticed yet, the picture above is linked to the very freebie that lead me to the Happy Planner!  She now has a whole year packet available!  

Sorry they are a little blurry!  Darn Daylight Savings! 

Also, I have created some cute flower and owl note taking pages that are available in my store on TpT.  They will always be just a $1.00, because I figure that would make a lot of people happy, just like this planner!  So, check them out here!

    I'd love to hear what you do with your Happy Planner-tips, ideas, other uses for the planner!  Feel free to comment to share your ideas!  I hope this posts makes you happy too!  


January 5, 2017

Author's Point of View: Independently!


     Over the last two days I have shared with you the process of how I've taught Author's Point of View in my classroom.  I guess it is important at this point to share that all of the texts that I have used are non-fiction.  I continue this trend with the final step in the process.  This is where my class took to small readers and tried the skill out at their reading level.  It was interesting to say the least! 

     First, I started with deciding who my small groups would be.  I often look at where students are at in the skill, as well as their reading level.  I gave them the directions above!  Yep, that's it!  We went carefully through each step actually as I wrote them on the board!  And that's it-off they went!  

Soon, they were reading and working.  Most students chose to read together.  The length of the reader and the complexity of the content-they were mainly about National monuments-really allowed for success in this area as a shared read.  They could talk a little about each idea as well.  This was the harder part for me.  I didn't have the opportunity to support the read because of the fact that I had four groups going at once.  But it worked!

    Next, they set to work on their questions.  I monitored their work and helped out where I could.  Again, a little hard with four groups going at once.  At the same time, I didn't want to give too much help.  This was their independent opportunity to show what they knew!  I was excited!  I couldn't wait.  What I saw was pretty good. Then it happened!

     We meet as small groups next.  I monitored all groups until I realized what was going on in my lower level team.  They were really lost.  When I finally got to them, there was some debating going on about what they were even doing!  Yet, on paper, they were working on the task and I had seen question stems.  WHAT HAPPENED!  So, in I went!  One young man had asked a question and then just copied the text to read.  One of the ladies had asked a "Why" based question but then twisted it to be just a why question.  One lady was right on!  She was trying to build understanding in the other students.  One young man was just blank faced by it all!  What did it teach me?  We still need a lot of work in this group!  Yet that one lady, the right on one, was the surprise of the whole entire class!  She has mastered something that is complex and difficult and I am so proud of her!  And, the rest of the class too!  They really have caught onto this and are growing by leaps and bounds.  

     There is some data to back this up!  After our brief learning from our series, we had a class average on our weekly assessment of 62%.  That's it!  I received some concerned messages because of the test scores.  I was concerned because of the test scores!  After these lessons, our class average jumped to 72%.  That's a 10 point jump in a week's worth of lessons!  And we aren't done!  We will be continuing to work on Author's Point of View in the weeks to come, including moving into fiction and how the character's point of view impacts the story direction!  

     Thanks for joining me during this series of posts! (see Post 1 and Post 2 for more info.)  I'm hoping they will help you in your journey with Author's Point of View!  If you have any great ideas or additional thoughts, I'd love to hear about them!  Leave me a comment to let me know! 


January 4, 2017

Author’s Point of View: How we REALLY Learned the Style of a Multiple Choice Question


     Yesterday we took a  look at how I taught Author's Point of View with my students.  I had some great ideas of where we were going to go with our work, and today that's what we are going to take a look at!  
     After our great experiment in sharing questions. we began to branch off.  Because it was after Thanksgiving Break, we had to move onto a new story.  This really bummed my kids out because they were totally into sharing the questions they wrote and teaching the class!  I used this momentum to flow into the new story.  For this week, we used the story Whooping Cranes from the Wonders Anthology.  This was a beautiful story tracking the work to save the Whooping Cranes from extinction.  I started this story with a promise to my students that they would again be asking questions, and I was interested to see if they would hold the information we had learned before break.  So, here's the requirements I gave them:
1.  Write an Author's Point of View question with you literacy partner on the part of the story that you are assigned.
2.  It must be multiple choice.
3.  You must have all the correct parts to a multiple choice question and use a question stem from the Author's Point of View list.  

     What did I get-blank stares! This was the ah-ha moment for ME!  Even though I had been stressing, and sharing, and showing how multiplication questions worked, they REALLY didn't understand how to build one, how they REALLY worked!  To solve this problem, I did a sample on the board.  I showed how I could write the question using the question stems and the "assigned" page from my book.  After I wrote the question, I showed them how to write two very wrong answers using the answer stems on the Author's Point of View page, a close answer (which, by the way, some kids still debated as right) and a write answer.  This was eye opening to me!  Yet, it shouldn't be!  We say over and over how students NEED to do it before they can really understand it!  This was that moment!  Off I sent them, to see what they would produce!

    Once I got my "in need of help" students off and running, I began looking at questions.  I had one group of students who were of track with using the question stems, but once I redirected them, they really seemed to move along.  Most groups got stuck on the "close" answer.  Once they were past that, the rest was easy.  I approved their question, they wrote them on chart paper, and prepared to have a gallery walk!

     Normally, I would just set the questions up on group tables.  This time I wanted the kids to have space to think and work through their questions.  It totally worked to set them up as a clock type of rotation.  Students carried their book, clipboard, paper, and pencil with them as they worked through the questions.  

Needless to say, this was very highly engaging.  Not only did they learn more about Author's Point of View, they learned how to write a multiple choice questions, how to better answer that type of question, how to pick correct answers, how to use answer stems to guide their thinking, and they became more independent in understanding how Author's Point of View works!  

     We didn't finish here!  I have one more great day to share!  So, come on back tomorrow and see what I did to determine their independent level of learning on Author's Purpose and some data information to support this awesome learning opportunity!  

     Be sure to read more at the first  post  telling you how I started these lessons and again at this post, where we have left off!  

January 3, 2017

Author's Point of View: A Video Presentation

Author’s Point of View can be a very difficult idea for students to get ahold of.  Let’s face it; third graders are not about thinking about how an author’s ideas and feelings impact a writing piece.  They are not aware of how they even feel about the piece themselves!  This is where we, the adult in the room, must totally stretch themselves!

I stretched and I have discovered some solutions along the way.  This is the first installment of a 3 part series on how to help kids discover the Author’s Point of View.  Part 1 is a video piece!  I was so excited to share that I recorded this video on a Friday because Thanksgiving Break was coming!  I knew I would loose the enthusiasm over the Break-and I did!  I posted this on my Facebook page (please visit!) and I had grand plans of posting this little ditty on my blog!  You can see how long that took!  Anyways, here it is in all it’s glory!  It is my first attempt at video, so the sound isn’t great!  I plan on working on that in the future!  But, the idea is worth the watch!

As you can see, my first attempt is, well, a first attempt!  But, the idea is so worth trying! 

Check back with me to read Part 2 and Part 3, both discussed in the video!  This works!  I’m so excited to see where we will go with this in the future!  With that, I ask, what have you done to improve student understanding of Author’s Point ofView?  I’d totally love to hear about it!

January 1, 2017

Conversations from the Classroom Collaborative Blog

     I am super excited to be a part of a new collaborative blog, Conversations from the Classroom!  Today is our blog launch!  This includes a brief introduction of who we are and a chance at entering a contest!  This is the first of many posts to come from a variety of wonderful Teacher-Authors!  We have everything from Pre-k through 7th grade, including a mix of special education people also!  In addition to this, we have an upcoming Dollar Dash on January 2nd and 3rd, just in time to get some great materials for heading back into the classroom for "the long stretch"!  Tomorrow you can check out all of the deals available at the blog or search for them using #NewYearNewBeginning!  I'll give you a little peek at my deal!  Totally new too!  

So, head on over to Conversations from the Classroom and be sure to come back often, to both here and there!