Tuesday, February 24, 2015

My favorite products for the TpT SALE!


Y'all, I am so excited! We have our first official snow day tomorrow and the Teachers Pay Teachers HERO sale is happening! I am LOVING it! I'm busy stocking my cart with some wonderful products from my favorite teachers and I thought I'd share a few of my favorite products that will be on sale tomorrow (along with everything else in my store!)
Special thanks to LadyBugs Teacher Files for the amazing button! 

This product is great to group your students and learn about historical figures and literary characters at the same time :) 26 sets are included You can check this product out here.


This is my new favorite resource. I'm turning this into a monthly resource and I'm currently working on a March version. :) You can grab your copy here.

Book Talks are always good for motivating your students to read. You can read about these here and grab your copy here

Spice up boring worksheets and graphic organizers with these fun, reusable Think Mats. You can read about them here and put them in your cart here
I've gotten so many emails and comments about these Bloom's Ladders and that makes me so happy! These are a fun and easy way to increase the rigor in your classroom and get kids to use those Higher Order Thinking Skills. You can grab the fiction ladders here and the non fiction ladders here

Reading Tuck Everlasting? Check out my activities herehere and here and grab your copy here

My favorite unit of all time and the thing that I've found to be most helpful with teaching character traits can be found here

Don't forget to grab your free copy of my Close Reading Toolkit printables while you're shopping! :) 

Everything in my shop will be on sale tomorrow! I'll be back tomorrow to share what I bought! :) 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Teaching Onomatopoeia with Batman (And TCR!)

Hi friends! Today I'm excited to showcase a new collection from Teacher Created Resources. Their new superheroes theme has some great pieces in it and I'm especially loving the speech bubble accent pieces. There's SO much you can do with these and when I first saw them, I knew exactly how I would use them.

We just finished up our novel study on Tuck Everlasting and what I love about that novel is how rich it is in figurative language. We discussed onomatopoeia last week and I used the superhero collection from TCR as a mini lesson. 

To introduce this element of figurative language, I used this amazing poem from Oscar Learn, Oscar Teach that I found via Pinterest

Then we watched a clip from the old Batman tv show and we wrote down the onomatopoeias we found in the video clip. 
                                

I used the superhero accent pieces to create some examples.

I wrote the onomatopoeia on the accent pieces and covered them with sticky notes. We read each sentence and determined the onomatopoeia. Then we pulled off the sticky notes.





We then tested our knowledge using this fabulous little figurative language resource from Erin Cobb.

I'll be back soon to show y'all how I'm using TCR's other new collection: Chalkboard! Stayed Tuned! 

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Close Reading Toolkits Printables- Free!

Hi friends! I've just uploaded my Close Reading Toolkit printables as a free resource :) Click here to download your copy. Feedback is greatly appreciated!




Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Close Reading Toolkits- Make Your Own!

Close reading is big right now. I've been doing close reading with my kids since last year and my kids have started to think of it as work. They are right...it is work. But it shouldn't necessarily feel like it. I want them to be excited about digging deep into a piece of text! I set out to create a fun way to spice up close reading, thus these close reading tool kits were born:


When we start to dissect a piece of text, I have one of my kids pass out the toolkits and everyone begins to unpack their kit. Here's what's included in mine: 


-a pack of sticky notes
-a highlight with 3 colors. A parent donated these fun triangle highlighters, but if you don't have these, just include three different colors
- an evidence bookmark. These come in handy when citing evidence after reading You can find the bookmarks in my Comp Files unit. 
- a close reading symbols card for the kids to refer to.  There are tons out there that you can decide which works best for your students. This is the one we are currently using but I do change them for time to time depending on what type of passage we are working with. 
- a pen. Most teachers would prefer pencils and understandably so, but there's something about a pen that makes it just a little more fun for the kids. Whatever works, right?

I plan on posting later this week on how we use these supplies to actually close read a piece of text, so check back!

If you're interested in these printables, let me know and I'll upload them! :) 

UPDATE: 2/21- These printables are now uploaded. You can find them here 


Monday, February 16, 2015

#instateachinginspiration: A new link up!

Hands down, my favorite form of social media is Instagram. I LOVE using this app and finding inspiration from it. Whenever I'm stuck on something or not in a school mood, I turn to Instagram and find my favorite teaching "instagrammers" to see what they are up to in their classrooms. I decided to start a weekly series on the blog called "Insta Inspiration". In this weekly series, I'll share a teaching Instagram account that I've been loving during the week. I'll post on Monday each week. Join in! This way we can find new teaching accounts to keep us motivated in our own classrooms!

To participate, simply head over to my Instagram and take a screenshot of this image:

Use a photo editing app (such as A Beautiful Mess) to write in the white space your teaching inspiration for the week. Post the picture using the hashtag #instateachinginspiration 

You can link up on Instagram only or create a blog post as well. Here's my weekly inspiration:

If y'all aren't following Catherine on Instagram, you are missing out! She's a former fifth grade teacher who is now teaching first...the exact opposite of me! While a lot of her ideas are for lower elementary, I still gain a ton of ideas from her account. My favorite? Her tips for getting the most out of your Scholastic book order! You can follow her account here

What are you waiting for?! Come join in on the fun over on Instagram and find your new favorite Instagrammer! :)


The VIP Area

If you haven't seen Rachel Lamb's post on her VIP table, then do so now. It is the neatest idea and when I first saw it on Instagram, I immediately knew that I had to create my own. 
To build anticipation, I cleared out the area in which the VIP table would go and put up caution tape. This REALLY got the kids excited!

While they were busy predicting what it was going to be, I was busy preparing for the new area. I purchased 4 black folding chairs at Target and used my Silhouette Cameo to make them VIP worthy.


I searched high and low for a table and found one that another teacher wanted to get rid of. The only problem was that it was red- my least favorite color. Seriously, I detest red in my classroom. I always navigate towards pinks and purples and red clashes with everything in my room. I knew I had to use the table, but I had to figure out a way to cover it. I remembered Jennifer used contact paper to cover her small group table and it turned out gorgeous, but y'all let me tell you: when she said it didn't damage the table, I was doubtful. I couldn't see how it couldn't possibly scratch it even a little. After doing the same with my table I discovered she was absolutely right! It peels right off! This is my new favorite way to change the tables now. 

Originally I wanted a pretty pink or blue, but I couldn't find anything even remotely close to what I was looking for and I didn't want to order online because I'm impatient and wanted it done now! In a last ditch effort I had my mom check at Fred's Dollar Store and they had 3 choices:
At first, I thought about the blue and brown, but something kept drawing me towards the black and white. Eventually I went with it and a new theme started entering my mind...

Covering the table was super simple. I ended up needing three rolls of the contact paper. After laying the paper on the top of the table, I trimmed the edges and taped them down with clear packing tape.

I covered the closet door with black bulletin board paper and added green letters that I cut from my Cameo. I am officially addicted to black bulletin boards. I never thought I'd put black in my classroom colors because I love bright colors, but I love the black now! I'm wanting to do an Alice in Wonderland classroom theme now for next year (or this year...who knows?)

Finally, I added brand new supplies like markers, pencils, and crayons. One of the perks of becoming a VIP member is that you get to use these fun supplies. :)


The purple bags are the welcome goody bag. which contain candy. Each VIP member receives a goody bag when they are invited into the area. 

The finished area:

Each morning, my kids begin class by checking their email and answering their warmup. For the 4 kids invited into the VIP area, I will sent an additional email to instructing them to come to me to receive their membership card:
Let me know if you want me to post the cards to use in your own VIP area. 

Some questions my kids had that you might have too:

How do you get into the VIP club?
By working hard and doing your best! Following directions and listening, participating in class, Real Reading, not Fake Reading

How often does the membership change?
I'm planning on leaving the kids in the area for about 3 days. You can get kicked out of VIP if you aren't doing your best. 

What are the other perks of becoming a VIP member? 
VIP's get first choice on where they sit for independent reading and their test taking spots (I let the kids sit around the room for tests instead of in their desks...try it! They work a lot better in a comfy spot!). They also get the trampoline chairs, which was the best purchase from Target:

Thanks for the neat idea, Rachel! :)





Monday, February 9, 2015

Jackie Robinson Close Read









I've just uploaded my close reading unit on Jackie Robinson, which is perfect for Black History Month. You can grab the unit here on sale thru tonight! :)