July 25, 2017

Ho, Ho, Ho Hashtag

It's here! It's finally here! Christmas in July!
Sled, ski, slide on over to TpT for the sale event of the summer. Santa and his teachery helpers have priced sackfuls of terrific teaching items at just ONE DOLLAR. Use the #christmasinjuly to find these remarkable products for all grade levels and content areas.

Here are two products that I've included in #christmasinjuly on TpT. Click on the product titles to read more about them and download your own copies.

Happy Hashtag Sale!

July 22, 2017

Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Ho, Ho, Ho, Merry Christmas in July!
Well, ALMOST! 
Just a few more days, and look what Santa and his helpers have in store on TpT...

July 18, 2017

Double Duty Tuesday No. 2

It's the third Tuesday of the month, so it's time for...

Here's the Double part of the Double Duty post. Today is also time for our weekly Teacher Book Talk hosted by Kathleen of Kidpeople Classroom. 

The book I've chosen to talk about this week is part of the cadre of books for our county's annual English Festival for grs. 7/8. Each year we (the teachers whose students participate) meet to select six books for our student participants to read. The books we choose are challenging, unique, popular, part of a series, made into a movie, various genre, modern classic, timely... any, all, or none of the above criteria. These are the six books our students will be reading for this year's event:
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
House Arrest by K.A. Holt
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
The Borden Murders by Sarah Miller


Thirteen-year-old Billie Simms doesn’t think her hometown of Anniston, Alabama, should be segregated, but few of the town’s residents share her opinion. As equality spreads across the country and the Civil Rights Movement gathers momentum, Billie can’t help but feel stuck—and helpless—in a stubborn town too set in its ways to realize that the world is passing it by. So when Billie learns that the Freedom Riders, a group of peace activists riding interstate buses to protest segregation, will be traveling through Anniston on their way to Montgomery, she thinks that maybe change is finally coming and her quiet little town will shed itself of its antiquated views. But what starts as a series of angry grumbles soon turns to brutality as Anniston residents show just how deep their racism runs. The Freedom Riders will resume their ride to Montgomery, and Billie is now faced with a choice: stand idly by in silence or take a stand for what she believes in. Through her own decisions and actions and a few unlikely friendships, Billie is about to come to grips with the deep-seated prejudice of those she once thought she knew, and with her own inherent racism that she didn’t even know she had... Amazon.com
I could NOT put this book down until I finished it! The characters are memorable, inspiring, and so life-like that the plot jumps off the page to enfold you. As a child of the 60's I remember the historical figures mentioned in the story, and I can recall many of the civil rights landmark events. This is firsthand history for me. The questions posed in the novel are just as poignant and just as pertinent today: Am I prejudiced? Why? This, in my opinion, is a must-read for middle schoolers and would serve as a great read aloud/discussion starter. I plan on reading it aloud to my sixth graders while my seventh graders will be reading it in Literature Circles in preparation for the County English Festival.

Be sure to stop by Kathleen's blog, Kidpeople Classroom, to see what she is sharing for this week's Teacher Book Talk and what other teachers might have shared as well. Perhaps you'll post a Book Talk of your own.

Please tell me you have one of these at home, a pile of teachery things that you brought home to do over the summer? I am doing, but instead of getting smaller and me getting to the bottom, it is getting larger (with all those new things).

I have lived in my area all of my life, nearly sixty years (eeek!) but I have never been to Fairport Harbor, only 30 miles west of my home. What a quaint little city right on Lake Erie and the lighthouse... awesome!

And as always, I end with my fuzz girls. 

Lulubelle is such a stinker. She looks so sweet and innocent, ready to help me sort lego blocks for coding activities, but don't look away because she becomes a thief, stealing those blocks to bat around the dining room.

Poor Miss Daisy, my senior lady! She came down with a summer cold (and we know how miserable that can be) and was sniffing, sneezing, and coughing. After a trip to the doctor and some medicine she was resting in MY new chair, recuperating from the ordeal. Do you know how silly a cat sounds when it meows with a stuffy nose?

Be sure to stop over at Forever in 5th Grade to read more Show and Tell Tuesday posts. It's a great way to keep up with what's happening in the bloggy world of teaching!

July 16, 2017

Summer Educational Tips for Kids

Rebecca from Audi Devon recently shared this infographic with me. She and her team at Audi create monthly infographics to reach out to the local and national community regarding important topics. This month's infographic is especially timely and pertinent to teachers, students, and families.

What are your thoughts about the loss of skills over summer break? Do you notice this loss? I know that I do. Do you try to compensate for it by sending home "summer packets" with your outgoing students? For many years I have required my outgoing fifth grade ELA students to read two Newbery books over the summer. On day one of sixth grade ELA we start doing activities based on their reading. Do you discuss this loss with parents? I send home a letter explaining my rationale for doing summer reading. The letter includes educational research statistics similar to those in the infographic above. Hopefully, it encourages families to continue learning throughout the summer break. I'm interested in hearing what you do to combat this issue. Let's start a conversation by leaving a comment below.

July 14, 2017

BTS MEGA Giveaway

Can you believe it? It's BACK-TO-SCHOOL time! Well, maybe not right away, but CLOSE! Close enough for a back-to-school giveaway, a MEGA giveaway!

I have teamed up with a LARGE group of awesome educators to bring you a MEGA giveaway just in time for all your back-to-school purchases. Here's what you can win!

Just enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win. Don't hesitate too long because the giveaway ends in one week on Saturday, July 21, 2017, at midnight!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

But wait... that's not all!

That same team of teachers is also holding a 50% off TpT hashtag sale for the next two days. Each teacher on our team will be offering two terrific teaching items marked half-price.

Here're my two hashtag offerings. They're two of my favorite products.

This set of six mystery pictures provides third through seventh graders plenty of practice identifying parts of speech in a fun way. The six individual pictures would normally cost almost seven dollars; however, I offer the bundle at a reduced price of five dollars. For this hashtag sale the cost is only $2.50. Click HERE to grab this bundle at its lowest price EVER.

Anchor charts are all the rage in classrooms right now. The problem is that you quickly run out of space to display them. With these pencil topper mini-anchor charts students take the anchor chart with them. So much fun with learning right at hand... literally! Click HERE to download this set of cute anchor charts at a 50% discount.

Happy Back To School!
Good luck with our giveaway, and enjoy the sale!

July 11, 2017

Teacher Book Talk Tuesday: Talk Read Talk Write

It's Tuesday, so it's time for a new installment of...

I've had this wonderful professional development book ready to read since late last summer.

However, with the demands of readying a classroom, preparing curriculum, and just keeping up with responsibilities both in school and at home throughout the school year, I just hadn't gotten to it. Kathleen's weekly book talk linky was the impetus to get me going.

Here's what Amazon has to say about this book...
The Talk Read Talk Write approach helps students meet and exceed the state standards for learning in all subjects while also developing the literacy skills needed for success in the 21st century. This practical resource gives teachers (K-12) a step-by-step guide to implementing structured conversation, active reading, and high quality writing in any class. The book includes quick reference charts and graphic organizers, excerpts from actual classrooms, many example/non-example sections, sample lessons, and a discussion guide for campus book study.
The book provides a framework or strategy that teachers can share with students to help them increase their reading comprehension, not just in reading class but across content areas as well. Known as the Talk Read Talk Write (TRTW) Strategy, it is a simple, yet rigorous method for conducting any reading lesson.

Step 1 TALK to engage students' attention and activate schema, balanced between teacher and student, begins with teacher asking a question related to the soon-to-be-read content

  • brief
  • structured
  • open-ended
  • non-threatening

Step 2 READ wherein students interact with text structure and actively, independently read with a purpose (loads of strategies, graphic organizers, examples are provided)

Step 3 TALK to re-engage students with the purpose for reading and the content information and to promote sharing of content and information learned while reading.

Step 4 WRITE to generate personal thoughts or promote/defend an argument whilst following conventions/traits of good writing.

The best part about this text is that the author sticks with this ONE method and TEACHES the reader to do it. The book contains plenty of examples, visuals, and explanations (tapping into a reader's various learning styles) that readers can easily understand the TRTW framework thoroughly and feel at ease in implementing it in their own classrooms. Talk Read Talk Write is an alternative strategy to close reading and is particularly helpful for reading in the content areas. If you are an oldie, moldy teacher as I am, this strategy might remind you, as it did me, of the ancient DRTA (Directed Reading Thinking Activity) approach to reading, only it goes one better with the addition of written response. If you are interested in reading this text, you can click HERE to find out how to obtain a copy.

Be sure to stop by Kathleen's blog, Kidpeople Classroom, to see what books she is talking about this week. Better yet, why not add a book talk of your own!

July 4, 2017

Teacher Book Talk Tuesday: Maker Lab

Oops! I missed out on last week's fun linky! Chalk it up to summer with its lack of routine; I'm lucky if I know what day of the week it is. I realized just in time this week to join Kathleen from Kidpeople Classroom for her weekly...

This week I'd like to share a fabulous STEM (read FUN) book with you. It was a gift from one of my sweet girls... thank you, Kiden!

Here's what Amazon has to say about this terrific text:

Supporting STEM education initiatives and the maker movement, the National Parenting Publication Award-winner Maker Lab includes 28 kid-safe projects and crafts that will get young inventors' wheels turning and make science pure fun.

Each step-by-step activity is appropriate for kids ages 8–12, and ranked easy, medium, or hard, with an estimated time frame for completion. Requiring only household materials, young makers can build an exploding volcano, race balloon rocket cars, construct a solar system, make a lemon battery, and more. Photographs and facts carefully detail the "why" and "how" of each experiment using real-world examples to provide context so kids can gain a deeper understanding of the scientific principles applied. 
The book is loaded with fun, simple activities that a child can do independently, with a partner, or in a small group. Arranged into categories Around the House, Food for Thought, Water World, and The Great Outdoors all major concentrations of Science (life science, physical science, earth science) are represented. Here are a few of the many individual topics that kids can explore.

Beautiful photos and simple explanations make it inviting for children to read, explore, and do! While fun is a big part of this book, rigorous science is the goal. Behind each engaging activity is fundamental science concepts contained in the Next Generation Science Standards.

I look forward to really diving into this book during the coming school year. I have Kiden's class once again for science this year and plan to use this book and its ideas as much as possible.

Speaking of STEM and Science, guess what I've been doing the past few days!

If you guessed organizing my STEM building materials then you are correct! Every building material is counted and bagged so that no time is wasted during Science class. Groups can grab their materials and go to work immediately. Since I'm still teaching sixth grade science, I decided to get all of the first quarter materials organized before school even begins; I know what I'm doing for these lessons. I can then concentrate on the two new sections of materials as the year progresses. I'll be relying on Smithsonian Maker Lab by Jack Challoner for some help with this!

Don't forget to stop by Kathleen's blog to see what she has shared for Teacher Book Talk Tuesday. Better yet, why not add a booktalk of your own to the linky!

June 23, 2017

#HelloSummer Giveaway and TpT Sale

Summer has finally arrived and it's time to celebrate with a giveaway and a sale!

Fancy winning some extra spending money to help you purchase everything you need for your 2017-18 classroom?  A team of amazing teachers (not all of them are listed in the graphic) and I have grouped together to give THREE awesome teachers a TPT giftcard: TWO $100 cards and ONE $50 card!

You can win a TpT giftcard by entering the Rafflecopter below. Each link is one entry, so the more you complete, the more you increase your chance of winning one or more of the giftcards. Good luck and don't wait too long. The giveaway closes July 1, 2017 at 12:00 midnight.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

But wait! The giveaway is not all of the summer fun to be had!
On top of the giveaway, we are also hosting a hashtag sale!

Search TpT using #HelloSummer to locate tremendous teaching items being offered by the same team of teachers above at a 50% discount from now through Sunday, June 25, 2017.

Here are the two items that I have chosen to discount in my store for our #HelloSummer sale. Just click on the link below the graphic to read more about each product:

These cute mini- anchor charts are normally priced at five dollars. During our #HelloSummer sale, it is discounted at $2.50, a fifty-percent savings!

With a value of ten dollars, this bundle is normally priced at seven dollars. During our #HelloSummer sale you can pick up these six items for just $3.50. That's actually MORE than a fifty-percent savings!

And remember that these are just TWO of the MANY items that will be discounted for the next few days of summer. 
Say #HelloSummer with a fun giveaway and savings, a perfect TpT combination!

June 20, 2017

Double Duty Tuesday

Today's post is serving double duty. First of all it's the third Tuesday of the month so that means it's time to join Forever in 5th Grade for...
... and since it's Tuesday during the summer, it's also time to join Kidpeople Classroom for...

The book that I'd like to share this week is from a particular favorite author of mine, Patricia Polacco.

The Amazon blurb has this to say about the book:
An Irish family stays together with the help of Fiona’s talent for making one-of-a-kind lace in this heartwarming immigration story from the New York Times bestselling creator of The Keeping Quilt.
Many years ago, times were hard in all of Ireland, so when passage to America becomes available, Fiona and her family travel to Chicago. They find work in domestic service to pay back their passage, and at night Fiona turns tangles of thread into a fine, glorious lace. Then when the family is separated, it is the lace that Fiona’s parents follow to find her and her sister and bring the family back together. And it is the lace that will always provide Fiona with memories of Ireland and of her mother’s words: “In your heart your true home resides, and it will always be with you as long as you remember those you love.”
This generational story from the family of Patricia Polacco’s Irish father brims with the same warmth and heart as the classic The Keeping Quilt and The Blessing Cup, which Kirkus Reviews called “deeply affecting” in a starred review, and embraces the comfort of family commitment and togetherness that Patricia Polacco’s books are known for.
So many ways to incorporate this book into a classroom curriculum! 

With immigrant issues in the news, this book can serve as a timely discussion starter for the topic. Teaching poetry? Limericks? The immigrant family hails from this Irish town. Teaching genre? Narratives? The story is the perfect example! Teaching figurative language? The text contains imagery, alliteration, and onomatopoeia. Teaching commas in a series? There are multiple examples to be found. Teaching apostrophes? Contractions? The book is full of common and not so common examples. Teaching history? There is reference to the Great Chicago Fire. Teaching plot development, particularly conflict? This is the book for you. 

Pay no attention to the recommended reading level of ages 4 to 8. This book is suitable for all ages, especially as a read aloud! I will be using it with sixth graders as a mentor text for all of the ELA topics that I've mentioned and as a companion piece for Lauren Tarshish's book "I Survived the Chicago Fire 1871" when the school year resumes in late August.

Be sure to stop by Kathleen's blog Kidpeople Classroom for more Teacher Book Talk posts and to add one of your own when you've finished reading my other Show and Tell items.

I recently attended an EdTechTeam Technology Summit. WOW! It was well worth my time. I thought I was very knowledgeable regarding Google and all its apps. Not so since I learned a WHOLE lot more! I will be sharing some of what I've learned throughout the coming school year as I incorporate my learning into my lessons and classes.

One thing that I will be teaching as part of my Science/ELA classes is coding. I wasn't sure how I wanted to approach this new subject for my students (and me) but I attended an awesome session wherein the presenter shared how she introduces coding... with legos!

 I've already ordered the base plates and single unit blocks, enough for a class of thirty! I can't wait to start coding with my middle schoolers!

Besides bringing back new knowledge from the EdTechTeam Summit, I also brought this back. I actually won a door prize!

Don't judge my appearance on this day... no make-up, no contacts, hair pulled back in a clip. I was supposed to wake up at 4:45am for a 5:50 carpool ride. Ha, I woke up at 5:35am. YIKES, I was lucky to have been dressed properly.

And as always, I must include a fur baby picture. This month is a pic of DaisyMae, my senior girl. I live in a century home. Needless to say there is always a lot of work to be done, repairing this and repairing that. One thing that I've wished for is central air conditioning. Unfortunately, that is low on the totem pole of things to be done. Instead of central air, I have a floor model that does a really nice job of cooling off the majority of the first floor. It sits next to my rocker. Everytime that DaisyMae jumps into my lap she has to inspect the a/c unit.

What a silly girl!

Please be sure to stop by Stephanie's blog Forever in 5th Grade to read more Show and Tell Tuesday posts from teacher bloggers around the cyber world. Perhaps you'll join in the fun with a post of your own!

June 13, 2017

Teacher Book Talk Tuesday

I'm joining Kathleen of Kidpeople Classroom for her brand new summer linky...

I recently read one of the best books that I've read in a LOOOOONG time!
Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper

The Amazon blurb has this to say about the book...
Melody is not like most people. She cannot walk or talk, but she has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She is smarter than most of the adults who try to diagnose her and smarter than her classmates in her integrated classroom—the very same classmates who dismiss her as mentally challenged, because she cannot tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by cerebral palsy. And she’s determined to let everyone know it…somehow.
Told through the eyes of Melody, the protagonist, the book is filled with beautiful language, poignant themes, and life-like characters.

The book opens with these words which captivated me immediately:

Whether a teacher chooses to read this book aloud or have her/his students read it independently or for class, there are myriad themes and skills with which to work. Among the themes: bullying, physical challenges, inclusion, perseverance, determination, talents, acceptance. Teachers can present skills of character development and analysis, point of view, realistic fiction, figurative language (perfect mentor text for this area), and plot development, to name a few. 

If you teach in a 4th-7th grade classroom, this book is well-worth your time to investigate, and perhaps share with your students. Grab a copy and read it today! Speaking of today, be sure to hop on over to Kathleen's blog, Kidpeople Classroom, to see what other books are being shared today on this Teacher Book Talk Tuesday.