November 27, 2016

Guess What!

It's that time of year...

And I've got a $10 TpT gift certificate to giveaway just in time for you to spend during the sale. Enter this Rafflecopter before November 29, 2016, and I will select one name at random early, early on the morning of the twenty-ninth. You'll receive your prize in time to enjoy using it during the sale!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


While you're shopping on TpT, please check out all of the brand new items that I've recently added to my TpT Store. I've included loads of my ever popular ZAP games. Several are holiday related while others integrate religion with ELA skills. There's a new mystery picture just for the holidays, and I've added a brand new card game called SWITCH! Just click HERE to see all of The Teacher's Desk 6 new inventory.


You can save 10% on all bundles and 28% on individual items in my store during the cyber sale by using the promo code CYBER2016
Happy Shopping!


November 26, 2016

Advent: Season of Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love (freebies)

It's that time again! It's the beginning of the Liturgical Year, our New Year! The Season of Advent begins this coming Sunday, Nov. 27, 2016. Advent is one of my favorite times of the year- it is the season of hope, peace, joy, and love that reminds us of the coming of  Light into our world of darkness.

To help you celebrate this wondrous time of the year I have many freebies for you and your students...


First, if you are using brag tags in your classroom, HERE is a set for you.

Next is a packet of materials: spelling list, graphic organizer, editing activitiy, and more. You can download it HERE.

HERE is a simple Advent Take Three. This is a great pre-writing activity!

Speaking of Writing Activity, HERE is a prompt from the original Paragraph a Week program just for Advent.

Are you and your students keeping Interactive ELA Notebooks? Here are three foldables perfect for integrating religion with Language Arts. One for ADJECTIVES, one for VERBS, and one for ADVERBS.

Need a quick, yet attractive Advent decoration for your classroom? HERE is a banner for your students to construct that combines research, writing, and fun!

Working with older students? HERE is an activity that integrates Language Arts skills with Music. Students must scavenge the lyrics of the familiar Advent hymn "On Jordan's Bank" for poetry, literary, and grammatical elements.

Just for fun or for a writing center HERE is a list of Would You Rather's tailored for Advent.

Interested in STILL MORE Advent/ELA activities? Just click HERE.



November 24, 2016

Black Friday Dollar Deals

It just wouldn't be Black Friday without a few deals! In celebration of Black Friday, you can find loads of dollar deals on TpT. Organized by Ashley from Ashley's Brainy Centers, sellers have been encouraged to mark down terrific teaching products to just one dollar for this busiest shopping day of the year. Instead of braving the crowded stores and bustling shoppers, shop from your arm chair at home on TpT. Visit TpT and use the #blackfridaydollardeals tag in the search box to find the sale products or just click HERE.

HAPPY SHOPPING!

Here are two brand new items that I am offering in my TpT Store for just one dollar each. Both are holiday related, perfect for those high energy days during the wait-for-the-holiday break, and ready for you and your students to use... just print and go! Click on the link provided for each item to learn more about it and see more images.

a two-in-one game to engage your students in practicing ELA skills


contains extra cards for additional playing fun




November 15, 2016

Show and Tell Tuesday for November

It's time for one of my favorite monthly posts...
On Halloween, this happened! I haven't bowled in like FOREVER. My nephew begged me to join his family for an evening of all you can bowl. Well, I lasted three hours and two and a half games. Of course, I paid for it for several days as well... oh my knees! I did have a lot of fun so, we're going to go again over Thanksgiving weekend.

I have been BUSY, busy making loads of ZAP games. My kiddos love this simple game. Not sure what ZAP is? Check out this post HERE and my TpT store HERE. Your kiddos will love getting ZAPPED!

My kiddos love GO ROUND days! What's that? It's really nothing more than literacy centers with a bit of a twist. We do Go Round days on Wednesdays each week. Each of the four tables in my room houses a particular center (these change from week to week). In the pic above you see a mystery picture for practicing parts of speech, a roll-a-story activity for Thanksgiving, and a game of U-Know for cause and effect. On the fourth table was a ZAP game. Students start out at their home table and work on the activity for eight minutes at which point a timer goes off. They then GO ROUND the room to the next table where they work for eight minutes and so on until all of the tables have been visited. Go Round assignments that need to be finished are completed over the next two days during class.

Finally, I just had to share a pic of these two sweet girls. Lulubelle and Daisy Mae have been sissies for nearly three years. They have slowly, ever so slowly made up over this lengthy time. They have gradually learned to tolerate each other and to sit near each other. Just this past weekend they actually slept together on the couch, touching each other! WAHOO! Sounds silly, but if you have ever had two stubborn cats, you know what an accomplishment this is.

Thank you for joining me here for Show and Tell Tuesday. Please head on over to Forever in 5th Grade and see all the other great Show and Tell posts by bloggers from all over the Education World. It's a great way to keep up with terrific teachers, learn great new ideas, and see wonderful learning products in action!


October 22, 2016

I did it!

What did I do that has me so excited? I made an animated quote box banner for my TpT store, and if I might say, "It didn't turn out half bad for a first attempt!"

I have been interested in all the beautiful animated Quote Box banners that I have been seeing on TpT. More and more keep appearing. I knew a little bit about making animated images and was aware of a few websites that helped you make them for free but I wasn't quite sure of how much work was involved or what kinds of programs that I would need. So, I Googled how to make TpT animated banners. Most of the tutorials were for Photoshop or Adobe programs, neither of which I own. Finally, I found a tutorial by Sarah Griffin of Daughters and Kindergarten for making one in Power Point, my go-to program for creating my TpT products.

Easy, peasy to follow, Sarah's tutorial lead to a completed animated banner in less than an hour which is happily displayed here and in my TpT Store. If you've been considering an animated Quote Box banner, give Sarah's tutorial a try. It was a fun way to spend a dreary Saturday!



October 19, 2016

Kare Kids Adventures Series

There is little that I enjoy more than reading. I especially enjoy reading fun, engaging books that I can share with my students. I recently received copies of a brand new adventure series entitled The Kare Kids Adventures by Charles A. Salter, published by Outskirts Press. Currently there are three titles in the series released this past summer, the first being...

Years ago, Kelcie's father disappeared at sea. Now that she's ten, Kelcie wants some answers. With the help of her father's lifelong best friend, Mr. Bartleby, Kelcie crosses the island in search of clues to what may have happened the night her father disappeared which seem strangely linked with the legend of The Bald Rock Monster. From learning how lobstering works to understanding Mr. Bartleby's past, Kelcie pieces together the mystery and thinks that she knows where she can find the ultimate answers... the forbidden area of the island, Bald Rock!
the second...
Nine-year-old Charlotte loves to explore the woods around her neighborhood in Ellicott City, Maryland. One day she has TWO surprises-she notices a patch of the forest slowly vanishing and discovers a lost puppy caught in a bramble bush. She rescues it and takes it home. Her parents recognize it as a valuable purebred pup and locate the rightful owner. Rather than accept the owner's reward, Charlotte asks her parents to buy Cocoa the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel as the present for her upcoming birthday. Will she sacrifice her plans for a big party at the Bouncin' Fun Zone because her parents can't afford both? Returning to the woods, she notes the sinking area getting wider and deeper and tells her parents and the authorities, who caution her to stay away. The county's geologist explains the danger of sinkholes, and Charlotte worries it will allow the other puppies to escape and get lost, too. She keeps an eye on the kennel and sees another puppy escape and become trapped in the now enormous sinkhole. Cocoa follows it and gets trapped, too! As a fierce rainstorm arises, and the fallen tree the pups cling to begins to disappear through the opening at the center of the sinkhole, Charlotte can find no one else to help. She leaves messages but realizes it is up to her to save the pups. But it is too steep and slippery for her to crawl down and get back out. 
Can she rescue the pups and get out herself before the giant sinkhole swallows everything?... Amazon.com
and the third...
How can three brothers stop the plot against their father’s aircraft carrier? When he’s not excelling in soccer, 12-year-old Matt likes to pretend he’s a Force Recon Marine, along with brothers Ryan, aged 10, and Jack, who is 8. Their father is a Captain in the U.S. Navy, currently deployed on an aircraft carrier off the coast of Maryland, where they all live. Growing up in a military setting, the boys are familiar with armed forces strategy, tactics, and weaponry. They long for the day they can don uniforms themselves…just like the Marines on the navy ships they’ve seen. In a Recon game one day the three brothers scout out an abandoned airfield. They notice a team of skydivers mimic the classic military special operations tactic of jumping out of a plane at high altitude and opening the chute at the last possible moment to avoid detection before landing on an enemy target. Quickly the boys discover these are NOT U.S. military, but rather hostile agents training to land with guns and explosives on a navy aircraft carrier. Their Force Recon Marine play suddenly becomes very real as they struggle to determine the exact target and time of the coming attack, to evade the terrorist gang, and get their intelligence information back to the navy in time to save their father’s ship. 
Captured by the gang, can they use their junior Force Recon Marine skills to escape, get back to headquarters, and devise a plan to defeat the terrible plot without anyone getting seriously hurt?... Amazon.com
Long enough to spin a terrific tale of mystery and adventure, yet short enough for even the most reluctant reader, each book in the Kare Kids Adventures series presents strong, resourceful protagonists working to solve a problem. Both male and female main characters in this series exhibit positive characteristics such as independence and self-reliance. The descriptive language draws the reader into the tale and brings the adventure alive. The plot is well-developed and fast paced. All of these qualities make the Kare Kids Adventures series a wonderful set of texts to utilize in a fifth/sixth grade ELA classroom for teaching multiple literary elements: character traits, plot elements, imagery, author's purpose, and genre. 

I look forward to reading the fourth book in the series... 

Twelve year old twins Josh and Hannah travel from the USA to visit their Uncle Olaf in Norway. Olaf runs the Museum of Norse Antiquities in Oslo, and the museum's greatest treasure-the Viking chieftain Leif Erikson's fabled Sunstone-is stolen. Hot on the trail of the suspected thief, the twins ride on a dizzyingly high train through the Scandes Mountains to Norway's largest fjord, a deep waterway which connects directly to the North Sea. While spying on the suspect's suspicious behavior, the twins are suddenly kidnapped on the train! They elude their captors by breaking free, sneaking across the top of the train as it chugs through a tunnel, and tricking the kidnappers. Then they learn the thief's true motivation: to use the Sunstone to interpret the coded Undredal Runes so as to re-create the Viking super-warriors known as Berserkers. 
Can the twins defeat the plot, return the stolen treasure, and save the world from the secret of Viking Berserkers which has been concealed for a thousand years? ... Barnes and Noble
I am linking up with Andrea over at This Literacy Life for her Book Talk Thursday linky. Be sure to check out the wonderful book titles suggested there. I'm sure you'll find some you won't be able to resist.

October 18, 2016

October Show & Tell Tuesday

Yippee! It's that time again!
We have been using our brand new Chromebooks a LOT! I would use them for nearly everything given the chance, but our entire upstairs floor (second through sixth grade) must share them. The other teachers didn't buy my reasoning for using the machines... I teach the oldest kids on the floor who only have this year to use the Chromebooks so I should be able to use them ALL THE TIME! LOL! Here you see my sixers practicing for an upcoming Science test using the website Quizizz


Speaking of Science... we had THE BEST time learning about plant cells and their organelles using a wonderful TpT product created by Smart Chick. I used to have my sixers create cells using jello and various candies, but I was never really satisfied with how the final product turned out. The jello always caused the candy coatings to melt and the colors to run. YUCKY looking! These plant cell cookies, however, are DELICIOUS looking, and according to my sixers, YUMMY tasting.


Here's another project that we completed using our Chromebooks, a Word Cloud book report. This project was one of the first that I posted on TpT, and it is in dire need of a makeover. At that time I used a popular word cloud generator called Wordle. This time we used the website Tagul much more user friendly with lots more fun options for kids. Once my sixers were finished with their word cloud, I downloaded each image and popped them into Movie Edit Touch, an app on my laptop, and VOILA...


We have been really digging into our grammar skills of late, practicing plural nouns, contractions, dependent and independent clauses... all kinds of ho hum skills. To really engage my sixers and get them motivated to learn, I've been having them play ZAP! The game canisters are taking over my teacher corner, and my task cards are not far behind!


I'm sharing a bonus item this month. I am so thrilled with these young ladies!  
Every year I teach my sixers how to play the choir chimes. They help accompany our music ministry during our school liturgies and prayer services. We just began learning how to play the chimes last week. I had only provided the introductory lesson and presented the first song they would be playing when it was already time for lunch. These young ladies begged to miss their recess (the day was a balmy 75 degrees, unheard of in NE Ohio at this time of the year) to stay in and try playing. In ten minutes this is what they accomplished.
LOVE IT!


Be sure to hop on over to Forever in 5th Grade for more October Show & Tell posts. It's a great way to keep up with what's happening in the blogging world of teachers.



October 5, 2016

October Winner Wednesday


The first Wedenesday of every month is set aside as Winner Wednesday. What's that you might ask! It's a fabulous linky where participating bloggers select one of their best teaching products and offer it as a one day only giveaway.

So, are you ready to  win a fun, engaging, and totally useful bundle of three ELA activities for older elementary students just in time for the months of October and November, activities that will help them practice forming plurals using seasonal themed words? Just enter the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post and if your name is pulled, you will receive this...

Halloween Plurals ZAP!
Thanksgiving Plurals ZAP!

ZAP is such a fun game to begin with that no matter what skill you practice your students are engaged and learning! My kiddos beg to play ZAP and we're talking practicing parts of speech, recognizing contractions, identifying clauses and types of sentences... not your typical begged for material! ZAP is so popular with my students that I have more than 80 games available in my store, all of which I've played with my students over the past few years. If you are not familiar with how to play ZAP, please visit this blog post to learn more. 

Let's take a closer look at the fall plurals ZAP! game.



Here you can see what the pieces are like. ZAP! is basically a print and go activity. Print the file pages, cut them apart, and PLAY! You can laminate the pieces for durability, but I find that it is not necessary. The strips hold-up well enough when just printed on heavier weight paper. The only real preparation involved is finding a container in which to place the skill strips. I use Pringle's cans (my students and fellow faculty  members save them for me so I have an endless supply... thank goodness), but even a brown lunch bag works for ZAP!



In this pic you see the dreaded ZAP! strips. Pull one of these, and well.... you're ZAPPED! Play for twenty minutes, play for ten. Play as a whole class, play in a small group. My kiddos LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this game! 



It's fast-paced, fun, and engaging, and the best part is that ZAP provides tremendous practice for those skills that you used to use drill-em and kill-em worksheets for.

Click on the links above to read more about each individual ZAP game and see a few more pics. If you would like to own these three engaging games just enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to be my Wednesday Winner! But hurry, you only have until midnight tonight to enter.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

October 3, 2016

October Pinterest Pick 3 Party

How can it already be October 3rd? Where does the time go? Once school begins for the year it's light speed ahead for this old teacher. I'm happy that it is October; it's my favorite month. The leaves turn beautiful colors, my birthday occurs, and my favorite show makes its seasonal return during October, not to mention that it's time for another Pinterest Party!



First up is a fun writing activity for Halloween, THE HOLIDAY of October! Best part... It's FREE!




Next is a set of STEM activities that are PERFECT for October!




Finally, here's a collection of fun, fall activities for upper elementary students.








September 23, 2016

Five for Friday... and it's Friday!

I truly enjoy joining this fun weekly linky, but once the school  year begins I usually don't find the time to actually post on a Friday. I sometimes don't make it until Saturday or even Sunday, and I often miss the linky all together! This week, ha! For whatever reason I had photos and the time to put my post together on Thursday night, in time for an actual Friday post! YAY!!!

ONE... One of our Friday rituals is Flashlight Friday. Last Friday was the first time that this year's crop of fifth graders took part. They LOVED it and have been begging to use the tiny lights during the week. Gotta love kids who get excited at simple things!


TWO... I am not a cook. I can cook, but I don't care to cook. My idea of cooking is five ingredients or less, no real recipe, and virtually no prep time. Crock pot cooking meets all those criteria. This past week  I made a family favorite and had my niece and her family over for dinner. This recipe is so simple: layer tater tots in the bottom of your crock; layer diced boneless chicken breast over the tots; salt and pepper, then layer shredded Colby Jack cheese over the chicken. Repeat until the crock is full. On top of the last layer of cheese, spread a pouch of REAL bacon bits, and pour milk over the mixture until you can just see the milk along the side. Cook in the crock for 8 hours on low. YUM!


THREE... Speaking of recipes, we had a recipe for a wonderfully successful science lesson... The Chemistry of Lemons. My sixth graders learned how to use litmus paper and test lemon juice for ph level. They then added baking soda at periodic levels and tested several times again until they turned the juice into a base.  Great fun, great learning!


FOUR...I LOVE music! I ALWAYS have a song or melody floating through my head. I walk to a beat, I rock to a rhythm, I dance in my chair... all unconsciously! However, I consciously add music to my lessons as often as I can. Learning tough academic content via a song helps information stick much quicker and more easily than an hour of plain studying. This week we learned two big chunks of material via songs: The books of the Bible in order (all of them) and the Taxonomy levels for Carl von Linne's Classification System. Here my sixers were taking a bit of a brain break while dancing and singing the books of the Bible song. Such fun... AND all twenty-eight kiddos know the books! Interested in the video? Here's the link: https://youtu.be/ixMvFdeo-F0


FIVE... I am the Gadget Queen, or at least that's what my friends call me. I have loads of fun technology toys and am often on the lookout for the next, new gadget that I can add to my arsenal. One of my favorite gadgets is a small, security-style web camera that I purchased on Amazon that I call my Kitty Cam. I can peek in on my two fuzz girls during the day, even talk to them via the camera. In this shot, I've just called to the girls. They are sitting, listening to me talk to them. They looked so cute that I couldn't resist taking a quick pic, another feature of the security camera.


Be sure to stop by Doodle Bugs Teaching to read loads of fun posts about teacher bloggers. It's a great way to get to know the folks behind the blog!