Sunday, November 30, 2014

2+1 Cyber Sale Link Up

Hello, friends! So sorry that it's been more than a hot minute since I last posted.  I've been battling a lingering cold for the past month and we had lots of out of town family in for Thanksgiving.  Hosting Thanksgiving is such much fun but boy is it a lot of work! :)  

Perhaps by now you have heard that TpT is having their annual Cyber Sale on Monday and Tuesday! 

Since I'm not a fan of crowds and lines, I rock the online shopping at Christmas time! I check jane.com and Amazon daily during the weeks leading up to Christmas to find gifts for my friends and family.  Luckily, I've always been able to find some really unique and special gifts. 

TpT's Cyber Sale is a perfect time to stock up on goodies for class to use during the winter months.  We often go days, even weeks at time, cooped up indoors during the winter, so I love using items from TpT to keep things fresh and exciting! 

I'm excited to link up with Jivey today to share the two most wish listed items from my store and one item I can't wait to buy during the big sale!

You can check out the entire link up {here}.
My store's most wish listed item is my Place Value Block Craftivity. 

I always love seeing how creative my students are with their final products of this activity and it's a great way to assess your students' knowledge of standard, expanded and word form.  Many of my store's customers have shared they use them in interactive notebooks or make a place value block town as a bulletin board, which I think is a darling idea! You can check out Place Value Block {here}


The second most wish listed item in my store is my Types of Sentences Activity Pack. 


I use this interactive unit during the first few weeks of school to review the types of sentences/punctuation types and I'm always so thankful for the time we spent review with it! However, you could use the activities all year long! :)  You can check out my Types of Sentences Activity Pack {here}

There are a lot of items on my wish list that I can't wait to buy but the one I'm looking forward to buying first thing on Monday is Catherine's Winter Break Challenge!

We are off for about 2.5 weeks every winter break, which is AMAZING.  However, my students really struggle with their reading stamina when they come back to school.  My students this year also LOVE reading and I can tell they would love this pack! Catherine's pack looks like a great and FUN way to keep my students motivated with their independent reading over our very long holiday break! You can check out Catherine's Winter Break Challenge {here}

I do have several Christmas goodies in my store, which you can check out {here}!  My store will be 20% during the sale and you can save an additional 10% off the sale prices using the code TPTCYBER. Happy Shopping!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Trick or Treat Sale and Halloween fun for the Bigger Kids

Happy Sunday, Friends! I just wanted to stop by the ole blog and little you know I'm having a Trick or Treat sale today and tomorrow!  It's the perfect time to pick up some Halloween fun for the bigger kids. :) 


You can visit my TpT store by clicking {here}!

I have been asked a few times lately to share what Halloween looks like in my fourth grade classroom.  So I dug into the blog archives to share some of the Halloween activities I typically do with my students. :) 

One of things that I always do is make extra copies of my Halloween Graphic Organizers to use throughout the month during their independent reading. 


I keep the extra copies in a binder and tab the first copy of each. 
 Then I put the binder in the tub I keep my seasonal books in for easy access.  My kiddos having been loving the extra practice with various comprehension strategies and story elements, and I have too. :)

On the actual day of Halloween, I allow my students to read a Halloween/Fall picture book with a partner and complete an accompanying Halloween graphic organizer.  You'd be surprised by how excited big kids still get when there is a cute piece of clip art on their graphic organizer. 

Of course, I use them throughout the month during small groups too. In fact, I used the summary graphic organizer just last week!


Several teachers who have purchased my seasonal graphic organizers mentioned that they use my graphic organizers in their listening centers, which I think is a GREAT idea! :) 

My teaching partner teaches math, so she gets to use one of my favorite TpT products this week, my BooHaHa Math Centers pack!



My teaching partner uses math workshop to organize her math block and she already has the BooHaHa recording sheets copied and ready to go this week. She uses centers for the hands on portion of her math rotations. :)  

She also has a math facts rotation and she is sweet enough to use my multiplication roll and covers in this center.  This month she has been using my Halloween Multiplication Roll and Cover set. 

The kids love them and they are so easy to implement. I always put them in a page protector and my students used dry erase markers or math counters as markers.  I got my twelve sided dice from Amazon {here}.  


Fluency is something I always work on with my struggling readers.  I've been working with my IEP students on mastering their third, fourth, and fifth one hundred set of sight words.  They LOVE to play my Trick or Treat Sigh Word Game


We have been starting our teacher time guided reading rotation with this game and it's been a great way to get their minds warmed up for reading and have some fun too!



I hope this post helps with your Halloween planning! Have a great week!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Point of View Freebie

Hi friends! I'm keeping tonight's post short and sweet, it's conference week and I've got a to do list a mile long to get ready! 

We have been studying point of view for the past few weeks and it's a skill that I like for my students to get a good handle on early in the year because we will now discuss point of view with almost every literature text in class.

As I was grading my students' biweekly assessment, I could tell that some of my students could benefit from some additional practice with point of view. They especially need more practice comparing/contrast first person and third person point of view.  Since one of my weekly workstations during the Daily Five is task cards/literacy centers, I decided to make point of view the focus on my task card station this week. I created a fun game for my students and wrote some passages to use in my task card/center rotation this week.




If you think your students could benefit from using this freebie, you can download it via Google Drive {here}. :) Enjoy!

Monday, September 22, 2014

A Peek At Our Week: Characterization and Text Structure

Hello, friends! I hope that everyone had a great Monday!  Last week was our first full week of the Daily Five and overall it went really well.  Of course we have a few things we need to work on but I know we will be pros before too long!

I changed up my rotation board and some of the things my students will be doing during the Daily Five a bit this year.  I purchased my new rotation cards from Jessica, aka The TeacherTalk.  I loved all the different options; you can find them in here store {here}.



This year I added a vocabulary station, a journaling station, and a task card station.  So I guess you could say that my Daily Five block has more of a workstation vibe this year. 

This reason for adding the additional stations was because I wanted to provide my students with additional exposures to our vocabulary words/skills and I also wanted to give them additional opportunities to work on some of the anchor standards and skills that are often on our end of the unit/year assessments.  Including these two stations has made a difference already. 
Responding to reading is huge part of our PBA PARCC assessments, so I wanted to make sure we all got a head start when it came to responding to our reading. I just started introducing responding to reading to some of my groups and I'll share more of what my students do later in the year.  

Last week our task card station had my students reviewing main idea.  Most groups used {these} task cards, which you will see below, and my below level/IEP students used {these} task cards. 



Since I have a large number of IEP students this year, I knew additional exposures to our vocabulary words would help them better understand our anchor text and allow them to be more successful on our biweekly comprehension tests.  This week our vocabulary station had my students reviewing the meanings of our Treasures vocabulary words for The Raft.  My students played vocabulary memory, vocabulary dominoes, filled out a crossword and then wrote sentences with our vocabulary words.  I somehow forgot to take pictures of this station but I think you get the gist of how our vocabulary station works/functions.  

As the year progresses, my students will do more with Greek/Latin roots and figurative language for their vocabulary station work but this certainly works for now! 



My students always love our word work workstations, which I use for my spelling stations.  I use parts of Amanda’s Words Galore pack and other materials that I’ve collected throughout the years.  Their favorites this year are sign language, sandpaper words and magnet words.




During our reading rotations I focused on characterization and informational text structure with my students.  I got lucky last week because the main selection from our basal,The Raft,  is a great book to use for characterization because the main character, Nicky, makes such a drastic change from the beginning to end of the book. 

On Monday, I modeled how to use a character’s actions, thoughts/feelings and words when choosing his/her character traits.  I used the following anchor chart, no judging, and passage for this mini lesson. 




In small groups, we examined Nicky’s thoughts/feelings, words and actions from the first half of the book carefully in our small groups to choose character traits that best described him the first time we met.  I sadly don't have a picture of this activity but I did use of the character graphic organizers from this pack

We finished the book as a whole class later in the week and discussed how Nicky’s character changed during the story. 

I noticed while meeting with my small groups, many of my students wanted to use words like “not nice” or “mad” to describe Nicky.  Which was true BUT weren’t the best words to describe him.  We used several of Rachel’s characterization task cards as a whole class to practice choosing good fit character traits throughout the week.  I had my students work with their shoulder partner to choose character traits to describe the characters in the passages I showed on the Smartboard.   With lots of practice, they got much better as the week went on.




The students that needed a little bit more practice with choosing good character traits worked with me later in the week.  I used these task cards from Teaching With a Mountain View! I love that these cards are good context clue practice as well!



If you use Treasures, you know the third text of the week is always nonfiction.  I’ve been trying to use these more and more, especially to help teach different text structures.  In our second round of small groups this week, we read a passage called Into the Swamp.  We identified its text structure, completed a graphic organizer, and also learned how maps can be helpful text features. 



We also reviewed the types of sentences this past week because I had noticed that so many of my students needed review with ending punctuation.  We started by watching the following Brainpop Junior video, which was fantastic!





We also took notes on the four main sentence types with the flip book from my Types of Sentences Activity pack.  




Later in the week, we also did the types of sentences graffiti wall activity from my Types of Sentences pack as well.  I had a meeting before school that day, so I wasn't able to to prep the actual templates from my pack like I would have liked to because I teach writing/grammar first thing in the morning.  However, they still really LOVED the modified version. :)



Well I think that recaps our week! :)  We were certainly busy but we sure did have fun and learned a lot too! 

Monday, September 15, 2014

A Peek at Our Week: Main Idea and Similes/Metaphors

Good evening, friends! It finally feels like fall here in SW Ohio. The colder temperatures made me grateful I had my favorite black bean soup cooking away in my Crockpot tonight. :)  

Last week, our focus skill was main idea.  Which can be such a hard skill for my bigger kids, especially when the main idea isn't explicitly mentioned in the first sentence or two of a paragraph/text.  

We started our week by watching BrainPop's Main Idea video.  It is one of their free videos and you can find it {here}

It does a great job explaining how topic and main idea are not the same.  I highly recommend using it when you teach main idea!

Our Treasures anchor text last week was A Walk in the Desert. Which can be a really long/difficult text to read.  So, we only read chunks of it and I did lots of think a louds/modeling to demonstrate how to find the main idea and supporting details of the pages we read together. 

On Tuesday, I had my students complete a formative assessment on main idea. I also had them rate themselves on their understanding of main idea. 



This is the rating scale that my partner teacher and I use.  It really helps that both of us use the same language. 

I used their formative assessment/self assessment rating to create tiered activities/groups for the next day.  



My group that had low self assessment ratings/poor performance on their formative assessments worked with me. 


We started off by constructing paragraphs using Christina's Main Idea Race.  The hands on practice was SO beneficial and really helped a lot of my students differentiate the difference between main idea sentences and detail sentences. 

Then we completed one of Tracy's Main Idea Practice Pack passages together.  My students LOVE this pack.  I love it too because of all the differentiation options it has.  



My students that rated themselves a 3 and only missed a few on their formative assessment completed Bright Concept for Teachers Main Idea Task Cards and a reading passage with a main idea web. 




This passage is from Kim Miller's Find the Main Idea With Non Fiction Texts Freebie.  

My students who rated themselves as a 4/had a perfect score on their formative assessment, completed some of Teaching With a Mountain View's Main Idea Task Cards.  


They really loved reading these passages. :) I heard lots of giggles/"I didn't know that..." while my students were working through the task cards. 

Later in the week, I introduced similes and metaphors.  We revisit this a lot throughout the year. So last week, I just focused on the differences between the two.  As the year goes on, we'll focus more on determining the meaning of the similes and metaphors we come across in our reading. 

I always play this similes and metaphor song at the beginning of our first similes and metaphor lesson. My kids always LOVE it and request it often, it also makes a great brain break!


After watching the music video, I read this book to the class to build on their knowledge of similes and metaphors. It's a fun little book and my students always enjoy it. 



You can find it on Amazon {here}

After the music video and read aloud, we used a flip book from my Similes and Metaphors Activity Pack to take notes/write examples of each. 





Then we played a little Simile and Metaphor Tic Tac Toe, which was a great way to practice differentiating the difference between similes and metaphors in our reading/writing. 

 Similes and Metaphor Tic Tac Toe is from my Similes and Metaphors Activity Pack too. 

We were very busy last week and we are starting the Daily Five this week!  Our first day of rotations was today and it went pretty well.  Of course we have some things to work on but overall I'm very pleased. 

Have a great week! :) 
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