December 31, 2013

Good-bye 2013, Hello 2014!

This past year was an interesting one to say the least, especially when it came to the blogging world. I had had a presence on the web for aeons, since late 1996, but it wasn't until early 2013 that I launched The Teacher's Desk 6 blog, an offshoot of a classroom website that I maintain for my parents and students. During this blogging year I've made wonderful bloggy friends, found loads of terrific blogs, and had more fun online than should be allowed.  I'm almost sorry to say...

There is always a set of Top 10 lists that are posted at this time of the year, celebrating all of the year's highlights. However, I am posting a Top 6... the Top Six Blog Posts of the Year!

In this post I admitted my Pinterest addiction, shared a great comprehension graphic organizer based on Pinterest, and invited other teaching pin addicts to peruse my boards. I know that there are loads of teaching pin addicts out there like me since my Pinterest followers swelled from a few hundred to just over 900 after this blog post. LOL!

5. A Peek at My Week and a FREEBIE
This was a jammed pack blog post with everything from a Prezi that I created to what my sixers were reading, including a couple of Greek/Latin Root freebies. Speaking of Prezi's, here's my newest. It's about Literature Circle roles. Perhaps someone might find it useful in 2014.

4. 100 Follower Giveaway

So, so, so much fun! Sooooo many wonderful bloggers who helped me out! It wasn't long after that I reached the 200 follower milestone and held a small giveaway contest. Now I'm slowly creeping toward 300! I can't wait to host my next giveaway!

3. Monday Made It
This was only the second time that I had joined Tara's Monday Made It linky party. I blogged about my beginning of the year student and parent "gifts" and shared a small freebie to help my followers create a simple student gift of their own.

2. Decluttering Provides a Literacy Freebie
I laugh when I read this blog post. It is soooo me.... always complaining about cleaning. A domestic goddess I am not! However, a teacher I am, and one who loves using Literature Circles in her classroom (this is the second time they are mentioned in this post). If you use Literature Circles or are just curious about them, you'll want to visit this particular post and grab the great foldable freebie that I shared. You can use it as a stand alone lesson or as part of an interactive notebook.

... AND THE NUMBER ONE  Most Visited BLOG POST OF 2013...

1. Eating, Drinking, and Linking, Oh My!
I got such a kick out of this being my top blog post. I had joined Christie from Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road for her fun recipe linky, but I am by no means a cook! There are just about a dozen dishes that I prepare well. In this top blog post I shared my family's favorite: Cheesy Chicken Tater Tot Casserole (a crockpot recipe). Part of the reason why I got such a kick out of this being the top post is that I made it just yesterday for my family and was eating the leftovers when I started typing this blog post. LOL!

Happy New Year,
Happy Teaching,
The Teacher's Desk 6

December 29, 2013

13 in 13

What a fun little linky party is this!

I've found some new blogs and learned new things about some favorite bloggers. Come along and join the fun with Miss Kindergarten and Teeny Tiny Teacher as we close 2013 in blogging style. Here're my 13 favorites for 2013.

13. Favorite article of clothing 
Although I probably should not admit this, I live to come home and put on my mumuu. Mine are not stylish, just plain shabby COMFORTABLE. As I sit typing this blog post, I am wearing.... yep, you guessed it... my mumuu!

12. Favorite movie you watched

LOL! It's not so much a single movie that is my favorite but a production company that makes REALLY BAD parody movies that my family and I watch on Netflix. The Asylum creates terrible (laughable) movies that we can't help watching. Among them: Invasion of the Pod People, Transmorphers, Megashark versus Giant Octopus, and the infamous Sharknado. Just give us some popcorn and Coke and we have an evening's worth of entertainment... and I'm not talking about the movie.

11. Favorite TV series

10. Favorite restaurant: Steak 'n Shake... love those fries!

9. Favorite new thing you tried 

I brought into my home a new kitten. I named her Pansy Lu, but she prefers Lulie, and DaisyMae (my incorrigible, elderly queen cat) prefers Lulie gone.

Lulie watching Daisy

Daisy watching Lulie

8. Favorite gift you got 
My brand new bathroom!

7. Favorite thing you pinned 
Crockpot recipes

Follow Angela Ackley's board Recipes on Pinterest.

6. Favorite blog post 

100 Follower Giveaway... I felt like I was finally a part of the blogging world and what fun it was!

5. Best accomplishment 
Teaching sixth grade for 33 years!

4. Favorite picture
The moon over my  house on the last day of school before Christmas break. This was a breathtaking sight at 6:45am.

3. Favorite memory
This year's sixth grade class threw a surprise birthday party for me in October. They were so cute! The girls made cupcakes to match the colors of our room: purple, green, and turquoise. They tasted a LOT better than they looked. LOL!

2. Goal for 2014
I received a piano as a gift from a student's family when their grandmother was downsizing her home. I am a musician and every few years I teach myself to play a new instrument. I've been working on the piano since May of 2012 and can play fourth and fifth year material already. However, I stutter sometimes when I play. It is my goal to become a fluent player this coming year. I want to be able to play at a class/school mass as I play my guitar now.

1. One Little Word 

Happy New Year,
Happy Teaching,
The Teacher's Desk 6

December 28, 2013

Happy New Year FREEBIE to motivate!

Even though my classes won't be in session for the New Year (we don't return to school until Jan. 6th) I decided to whip up a Mystery Picture in celebration of the holiday. My kiddos LOVE Mystery Pics and never seem to mind that they are practicing ho-hum language arts skills in the process.... which I LOVE! Mystery Pictures are a great way to motivate kids; therefore, I'm linking up with Joanne over at Head Over Heels for Teaching for her Spark Student Motivation linky.

This FREEBIE Mystery Picture provides students practice identifying nouns (singular and plural) and verbs (past, present, and future tense). You can download a copy of it HERE or by clicking on the graphic. If you do decide to download it, please provide feedback (positive, I hope). TIA!

Something else that motivates my kiddos with Language Arts skills is ZAP! They beg me to play this fun, engaging game ALL THE TIME! I would think they would get tired of it, but NO! I can barely keep up with them. I just got an email from one who asked if we were going to play New Year ZAP! when we get back to school. Seriously! I did!

I know I've blogged about this game before, but I had to AGAIN... kids REALLY LOVE it!

For those of you who are unfamiliar with ZAP! here is a brief explanation...

Divide your class into several teams depending on the number of students.
Determine how long you will play or how many rounds you will complete.
Have a student draw a strip from the ZAP! container (a Pringle's can) without looking inside. I usually hold the container above the player’s head.
The team should read the words on the strip, then confer to determine the answer.
If the team answers correctly, it keeps the strip. If it answers incorrectly the strip is returned to the container.
Teams take turns drawing/collecting the strips. However, there is a twist. If a team draws a ZAP! card, it must return ALL of its strips to the container.

The winner is the team that collects the most strips. You may want to award them with a simple prize such as a piece of candy, bonus points on an upcoming quiz/test, 5 minutes of free time, etc.

So for the student who messaged me... Here is your New Year ZAP! game. We'll play it the first day back from our break.

And if you'd like to play this ZAP! game with your students when you return to school after break, you can download it from my TpT Store HERE.

Happy New Year,
Happy Teaching,
The Teacher's Desk 6

Freebie Fridays

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

December 26, 2013

TpT 20% SALE and a Pin-It!

Love sales?
Hate going out to shop?

I'm having a terrific Winter Whiteout Sale for the next two days. Everything in MY STORE is 20% off including brand new products and product bundles.

Instead of traipsing out into the cold, snowy weather to snag all those great bargains, why not stay home in your snuggies and snag some great deals on Teachers Pay Teachers?

And to sweeten my sale a bit and help spread the news, just pin the sale logo to Pinterest. Then leave the pin address in a comment below, and I'll send you a copy of my newest ZAP! game: Valentine's Plural Nouns. If you are a "no reply" blogger, please be sure to leave an email address in your comment to which I can send your game. Happy pinning!

Happy Shopping,
Happy Teaching,
The Teacher's Desk 6

graphics courtesy of...

December 24, 2013

Tried It Tuesday... late or super early?

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas... not really, but it looks like we will have one here in NE Ohio. The snow started falliing about an hour or so ago and is scheduled to continue through nightfall... perfect for Christmas Eve!

Something else perfect for Christmas Eve is linking up with Holly over at Fourth Grade Flipper for Tried It Tuesday!

I know... this linky is on Christmas vacation until Jan. 7, 2014, but I'm joining last week's party. I'm just a bit late, something I've been a lot lately! With all of the last minute preparations at school- eighth grade mid-terms (still need to be graded), parties, programs, and plain excitement- and the things that needed to get done at home plus the addition of a new kitten (Daisy Mae is still not happy about this) I had little time for blogging.... so, here I am for Tried It Tuesday! Hey, maybe I'm just super early for the next party?!?!

Perfect for Christmas Eve... s special package arrived in the mail late Monday afternoon.

It was from Brandi over at My Teacher Friend. She had offered a favorite things giveaway for her 100 Follower Celebration. I had followed blogs for years, aeons really, before I started blogging. During that time I never once entered a giveaway. I figured I wasn't lucky; I had never won a thing in my life! It wasn't until I began blogging last February that I seriously thought of entering one. I'm sure glad that I did because I was Brandi's giveaway winner, and what a neat prize it was! Look at all the goodies...

So if you haven't yet entered a blogging giveaway, make sure you give it a try! You just might be fortunate enough to win a terrific prize like I did!  THANKS, BRANDI!!!!!

Merry Christmas,
Happy Teaching,
The Teacher's Desk 6

photo frame clip art courtesy of...

December 15, 2013

BOGO Holiday ZAP! or Scoot 12/15-12/17 and a giveaway!

Happy Holidays to one and all, but especially to my faithful blog followers!

In appreciation for your support, advice, kind words, gifts, and just plain fun,  I am holding a special sale for the next two days. If you purchase one of my individual holiday ZAP! or Scoot packs from my TpT Store, you will receive your choice of another holiday ZAP! or Scoot pack of equal value. Here's how it works...

1. Visit my TpT Store between now and December 17, 2013.
2. Purchase an individual holiday ZAP! or Scoot pack. This does not include the ZAP! or Scoot bundles.
3. Email with the details of your purchase (TpT user name and item purchased). Include in the message of the email the ZAP! or Scoot item that you would like to receive FREE. It should be of equal of lesser value to your initial purchase.
4. I will verify your purchase then send you your holiday thank you gift.
5. That's it... easy, peasy!!!

Now for the giveaway...

 Three Big Bundles of Holiday Activities

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Happy Holidays,
Happy Teaching,
The Teacher's Desk 6

December 14, 2013


As educators, we remember and honor our fallen colleagues and their students from Sandy Hook School. We honor them each day in our classrooms in which we continue their dream of teaching our children. We honor their memory with our service. Join with teachers everywhere in committing random acts of kindness to show our love for Sandy Hook. #love4SH

December 13, 2013

Five for Friday FREEBIES

T.G.I.F! It's time to link up with Doodle Bugs for...

We are still celebrating Advent, or trying to! It's hard to contain the Christmas spirit, what with all the commercials, TV specials, carols on the radio, and shopping expeditions,  but to wait in patient hope is wonderful! The anticipation of Christmas is tremendous, so to maintain a bit of calm while focusing on the reason for the season is indeed awesome. It is humbling to engage my sixers in conversations about the Advent season. They see its simple beauty and purpose and can talk about their struggles with keeping Christ in Christmas. To help them along, I really try to keep Santa, the elves, and all those kinds of Christmasy things to a bare minimum and focus on Adventish items. Here are a few things I've used this past week. They are yours for the taking just by clicking on each graphic.

Advent Notebook Foldables: The fifth graders and I used these with the popular Christmas novel "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" by Barbara Robinson. It's a great book to accompany our pageant practice time. First we created an anchor chart that helped us focus on how the author used particular words in her writing (verbs and their tense, adjectives, and adverbs). We used post-it notes to record our ideas as a group, then the foldables to record our individual ideas.

Integrated Language Arts/Religion/Music Activity... I used this with my sixers and my eighth graders. The quintessential Advent song is "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel." I used the lyrics to create a language arts worksheet to help my kiddos practice some grammar skills and become a bit more familiar with the hymn.

Speaking of Advent... We decorated our Jesse Tree this week. It starts out as a Charlie Brown type tree that is Advent violet (it matches the decor in our classroom, too), and ends up looking gorgeous as my sixers place their Jesse Tree ornaments on it. For anyone who is unfamiliar with a Jesse Tree, it is simply a tree decorated with ornaments that represent the members of Jesus's family tree. Jesse was King David's father, and one of the Old Testament prophecies regarding the Messiah stated, "A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse."  The ornaments on our tree range from Adam and Eve to John the Baptist.

Of course, during Advent we are preparing for Christmas. This week my sixers spent time making stars for the stage decorations for the Christmas pageant/concert that will be held Tuesday of this coming week. We had glitter EVERYWHERE! But the stars are REALLY neat. They started out as flat pieces of paper. After coloring, scoring, and folding, they become nearly three dimensional.

Last year I found a photograph on Pinterest of a really cool Christmas hallway display idea. It featured Christmas tree light cut-outs that were turned into book reports. The title of the display was Reading Lights Up Our Lives. I loved it and pinned  and moved happily along my way to other pins. When I returned to the pin and tried to find the actual website from whence the idea came, it was a dead end. I wish that I could credit the original poster, but his/her idea was enough and I was able to create my own cut-outs. Our fourth, fifth, and sixth graders re-created the display last  year, sharing a lot of good books, and receiving MOLTO compliments for their display!

This year our entire elementary school, K-6, joined in the display "Books Light Up Our Lives." I tweaked my cut-outs to make them a bit more grade level friendly (only a picture to draw for K-1, words and a picture for 2-5, and only words for 6). You'll notice the different types hanging along the electrical wire (yarn) throughout the elementary wing. We finished stringing the lights this afternoon.

If you'd like the patterns to do your own holiday hallway/book report display, just click on the graphic and they're yours. Only two are shown in the graphic; however, there are three in the file that you will download.

Completely not school related... Please meet the newest member (I hope) of my household, Pansy Lou. Daisy Mae, my old queen is not happy about her new little sissy. It's only been a week since Pansy has joined us. I am hoping and praying that Daisy will come to accept her, otherwise I'm afraid Pansy will have to return to her former home. Luckily that would be at my niece's home, so I could still the little cutie!

Be sure you visit Doodle Bugs to check out all the other Five for Friday posts.

Happy Teaching,
The Teacher's Desk 6

Freebie Fridays

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday