Tuesday, February 25, 2014

3 Million Teachers Strong Teachers Pay Teachers Sale

Teachers Pay Teachers is now 3 Million Teachers strong and GROWING!  I vividly remembering discovering TpT and teaching blogs three years ago when I unexpectedly changed grade levels right before school began.  Discovering TpT took a huge burden off my shoulders.  The products I purchased made my transition to a different grade level much easier and allowed me to stop spending all weekend preparing lesson plans and materials. The resources I purchased gave me precious time with my husband and fur baby.  It also pushed me to give the whole creating and blogging thing a try.  Most importantly, TpT changed my teaching forever.  I am a stronger and more effective teacher thanks to TpT. 

I am so incredibly thankful that everything TpT has blessed me with.  Not only for the opportunity to sell my own resources, but for the ability to purchase high quality, rigorous, and engaging activities to use in my own classroom every day.  

My entire store will be 20% off Thursday and Friday.  You can head over to my store by clicking on the image below. 

Below is a highlight of some of the resources I'll be using with my kiddos over the next few weeks that will be 28% off, don't forget that coupon code! :)

I've already pulled out March's Fry Phrase Fluency Game.  My kiddos LOVE it.  I put it in a fun leprechaun hat I bought at Target and it's a huge hit in my classroom.  

We are doing some close reading with the picture book, Me and Uncle Romie next week and I plan on using the St. Patrick's Day story elements organizer from this my Spring Graphic Organizer Packet: Set One.  I blogged a little bit more about these organizers {here}.  

I also have another set of spring graphic organizers that includes bugs, flowers, rain, and Earth Day. It's appropriately named Spring Graphic Organizers: Set Two.  I blogged more about them {here}

I am departmentalized this year, which means I only teach English Language Arts.  That doesn't mean my students aren't using my math materials though! I lovingly passed on a tub of them all to the best partner teacher ever. :)  My kiddos love roll and cover just as much as last year's crew and were excited to use the St. Patrick's Day version this week as a choice for computational fluency time. 

I also have an Easter version available and plan on preparing a generic spring version very soon. :)

Spring also means Test Prep Season, which means I review what synonyms, antonyms, similes, metaphors, and idioms are any chance I get. :)

We reviewed similes and metaphors again today with a tic tac toe game from my Similes and Metaphors Pack. My kiddos loved it and I LOVED hearing them talking about similes and metaphors with each other. 

I've linked up this blog post to Blog Hoppin' 3 Million Teachers Strong Link Up.  After I hit publish, I'm off to hop around the other link ups to check out everyone's goodies and build up my wish list!

Monday, February 17, 2014

St. Patrick's Day Graphic Organizers: Try Them Before You Buy Them

Happy President's Day!  I am so thankful to have the day off today and am spending the day cleaning the house and watching the ice dancing long programs live, Olympic addict over here, and grading my classes' unit benchmark tests.  

I wanted to take a pause to share a freebie with you from one of my favorite packs, My Spring Graphic Organizers! It's amazing what a seasonal graphic or two can do to increase student motivation. :)

I have been very intentional with my instruction of reading strategies this year.  My graduate class this past summer focused greatly on applying reading strategies across a variety of subjects and disciplines.  

The thought process behind my professor's thinking was that if a child is strategic with their reading, they can tackle most of the standards they are expected to master with the new Common Core State Standards.  That doesn't mean I don't teach those skills/standards, I just reading strategies as a road map to get us there. Therefore, my seasonal graphic organizers focus mainly on reading strategies, not skills/standards from the Common Core.   

These seasonal graphic organizers are also great to use with Close Reading materials, especially for your students'/class' first read of a text, where they focus mainly on what the text was about such as: main idea, identify characters, problem, setting, and problem and solution. 

Since I love these so much, and so do my big kids, I wanted to share a few freebies from this pack with you to use with your students. Click {here} or on any of the pictures to download these four graphic organizers.  

Easter did come really early last year, so my first set of Graphic Organizers focused on St. Patrick's Day/Easter and the second was more generic with flowers, rain, Earth Day, and insects.  You can read more about those {here}.

Things will finally start to warm up a little bit in Ohio this week and I'm oh so excited.  I'm tired of scrapping my driveway all the time. :) To celebrate being off and warmer temperatures on the way, I'm putting my St. Patrick's Day goodies on sale today. 

Click on the image above or {here} to check out the goodies that are on sale today. :) 

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Gave it a Whirl Wednesday: Color Coding Text Evidence and Author's Reasoning RI 4.8

Hello friends! Happy Wednesday! I'm so excited to link up with Mrs. Rios Teaches today for Gave it a Whirl Wednesday.  

Like many of you, I spent a few hours gathering ideas to implement in my classroom from the Bright Ideas Blog Hop and today I wanted to highlight an idea that I used in my classroom TODAY. :) 

This bright idea that I used in my classroom comes from Corinna at Surfin' Through Second and you can access her original post on color coding text evidence {here}.

Using text based evidence when responding to questions about our reading is HUGE in fourth grade, so I'm always looking for ideas to make the process more engaging/meaningful for my students.  

Throughout the year, I've been using my friend Jenny's Text Detectives and I love them.  You can find them in her store {here}.

Certainly, we were already color coding our evidence with these passages and that practice was already very beneficial for a lot of my kiddos. 

I was feeling motivated by Corinna's post,  so today we stepped it up a notch. We underlined each question in the proper color before going back into the text to prove/find our answers. Then we wrote our responses down on notebook paper. 

This was certainly a little bit more work, but the extra steps in the process were so beneficial for my kiddos and made them a bit more aware of their thinking and the process of finding text based evidence.  My kiddos, even though they are bigger, still love using crayons and highlighters on anything; so they didn't mind the extra work! Many remarked that they were having fun and were a bit more motivated to focus on PQA, putting the question in the answer, responses. 

Not only did I try a new to me bright idea in my classroom today, I also taught a new standard!

I'm not sure about your kids, but mine are Olympic Crazy! I am too, so it's been a lot of fun using some Winter Olympic Units I've found on TpT during guided reading and in writing. 

I had a brilliant idea fifteen minutes before I picked my kids up from specials to write a passage about why Cincinnati would be a great host for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games and have my students work on RI 4.8 a bit.  Best decision of the day! They LOVED this lesson!

We identified the major point the point the author was trying to make in the text, that Cincinnati should be considered to host the 2024 Olympics, and then found reasons/evidence the author shared to support his major point. I modeled this on the Smartboard and my students labeled/color coded the major point of the passage and its evidence on their copy of the passage. 

Then I had my students fill out an accompanying graphic organizer I copied for the standard and well they rocked it out!
The graphic organizer is available in this pack on TpT. 

After my students filled out their graphic organizers, we did a mix, pair, share so they could share their completed organizers with each other. 

We concluded our lesson by sharing evidence they heard several times, such as: Cincinnati has two stadiums for the opening and closing ceremonies and has several colleges with dorms for athlete villages and events, and concluded those were the author's strongest evidence for proving his point. 

Today was a lot of fun in my classroom and again, I'm blown away by my kiddos.  They have grown SO much this year.  I'm certainly very proud of them! 

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Dear Mrs. LaRue Week Recap

Happy Weekend! I've become such a weekend blogger, but that's okay. :)  I love being about to process through what we did this week. It allows me to think about what worked, what didn't, and what to improve upon when teaching a standard/skill later in year. 

Our story from our reading series this week was Dear Mrs. LaRue.  You can check out the book on Amazon {here} or click on the image below.

My students always love this story and most have read it before, so I thought it would be great to work on the following standards. 

On Monday, we used a small passage in our book for a mini lesson on referring to details in the text when we answer text dependent questions.  No photos of that, so sorry friends. :) 

On Tuesday, during my mini lessons between rotations, we worked with the following passage I wrote about my parent's dog Daisy.  The fun thing is the passage is about 98% true! :) 

I used the "I Do, We Do, You Do," model with this passage during my mini lesson.  We did the first two questions during the first mini mini lesson and the last one and the character traits during the second one.  My kiddos were super engaged because the topic was fun and I told them I would show Daisy examples of their hard work. :) 

We had another snow day this week so most of my small group lessons focused on reading some of Ike's letters in a close reading format and answering text dependent questions.  Again, since the story was so engaging, they didn't mind reading the letters multiple times to find evidence to support their answers.  Since we couldn't exactly mark up our text book while we"talking back the text", I used these arrow shaped post its to have my kiddos mark text based evidence for the questions we answered.  

I don't always have each group did the exact same lesson but this week I did because the skill was something we could all work on.  

For my highest group, I acted more as a facilitator.  I shared the questions, had them discuss answers with their shoulder partner within the group and then had them record their answers on their sheet.  I walked around the table listening and clarifying any misconceptions.  
For my on level groups, the process was the similar. I allowed them to discuss their answers with a shoulder partner, we shared as a group, and then I provided sentence stems for them, if needed, when they recorded their responses. 

For my lower groups, they still discussed answers with their shoulder partner, but the construction of the response was much more guided and we constructed the response together.  

Here is an example of some completed questions.

Since we read only portions of Dear Mrs. LaRue together, we read the rest of the story yesterday.  Our focus was more on RL 4.3, describing a character in detail.  

In my morning class, I had my students fill out the following organizer to help them write their character descriptions about Ike.

Although my kiddos still did a great job, it was harder for them to use the above organizer to write a detailed description of Ike.  In the afternoon, we used this organizer instead.  It worked much better!

Their final products made me such a PROUD teacher. :) 

Most were continued onto the back as well. :) Again, I could brag on my kiddos all day long. It's amazing what they can do when you hold the bar high as far as what you expect from your kiddos and provide the proper supports to get them there. 

After everyone was finished, we did a little walk around the room and read each other's descriptions and shared new things we learned about Ike.  They really enjoyed it!

Eventually, I plan on turning some of the things we did into a little activity pack but my grading pile/school to do list calls.  :)  I had to bring in big Bertha to take some stuff home this weekend. 
I was also observed this week and had a few IEP meetings, so a lot of my time and effort was spent getting everything ready this week.  Naturally, some things just took a back seat, it's time to get caught up! I'm thinking a lunch date with my grading is happening at Panera today. 

Have a great weekend, friends!  I'm hoping to tackle my to do list so I can watch my FAVORITE Olympic movie later. :) 

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