June 30, 2013

July Currently

I just love the Currently linky hosted by Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade! If you're not yet a part of it, head on over and link up. It's a great way to meet tons of wonderful education bloggers.

Here's my July currently:

LISTENING: It has been muggy and rainy here for the past ten days. Everything and everyone is moist! YUCK! I've been running my fan and my window A/C constantly, along with the dehumidifier in the basement. Can't wait to see next month's electric bill! However, I am not really complaining because six months ago I was freezing my backside off, stuck in the house because of foot and half of the white stuff in my yard... soooooo, bring on the heat but could I please have some sunshine with it?

LOVING: Need I say anything?

THINKING: I got a phone call last week from my principal who explained to me a major scheduling problem he was having and asked me ever so nicely if I would teach eighth grade English. What was I thinking when I said YES? I've been consumed with reading the ELA CCSS for gr. 8 and trying to figure out what materials I have on hand, what I can create, etc. I'm actually excited, chiefly because when I had this group of kids in sixth grade, we were a great combination!

WANTING: I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my Keurig! I have just the single cup unit, but it suits me fine. I can only drink one cup at a time. Last year I discovered the brew over ice beverages Southern Sweet Tea and Hazelnut Iced Coffee. This year is lemonade! I've gone through two boxes and that's in only a little more than two weeks. I'll be broke by the end of summer if I keep up this pace. LOL!

NEEDING: I sit at this darn ole computer toooooooo much! I need to get up and move, go for a walk or something! The exercise would help my arthritic knees, BUT what am I doing right now? Yep! See what I mean?

TIPS, TRICKS, OR HINTS: I have a tendency to start too many projects at once, whether it's in the house, for school, or for TpT. When I focus on just one at a time I get it done more quickly and with less frustration. In the long run I save time by doing one at a time. Now if I could just remember this (she says who has three blog posts begun and two TpT products in process all at the same time).

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

June 29, 2013

Saturday Snapshots

I told you I have been thoroughly enjoying myself with Bloglovin', finding all kinds of new blogs to follow. Another I found is Miss Nelson's Got the Camera. LOVE the name! This blogger loves to take pictures and boy does she take beautiful snapshots! I'm envious. Her new motto is...

We do not remember the day, we remember the moments.

Ah, so true! So wonderful! So inspiring! So I decided then and there, even though I am no photographer, to link up with Miss Nelson's new linky: Saturday Snapshots. The three snapshots I'm including today are those moments.

This first snapshot is probably my favorite of all time. The subject, DaisyMae, is also a particular favorite of mine as well. I just love how the camera caught the light around her, making it look almost ethereal, angelic... and my family will tell you Miss Daisy is anything but angelic. This snapshot was taken about twelve years ago with my first digital camera, the kind that folded up into nothing and could hang on a keychain. She was sitting on my lap watching a fly swoop around the room.

This second snapshot was taken more than 40 years ago with a Brownie camera with a pop-in flash bulb. Anyone remember those? I was only ten years and had received the camera for my birthday. I was the official photographer for  my sister's wedding. Not a bad shot from a ten year old, eh? Notice the border edges? Anyone remember those?

The last snapshot is not one that I took, and it is not one that I remember, but it is one of my favorites- my mom and me. The black and white will give you a bit of a clue to its age... sigh!

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

June 28, 2013

Five for Friday and a FREEBIE

I can't believe that ANOTHER week of summer break is over and gone... sigh! Let's see what was on the docket. I'm linking up for another Five for Friday hosted by Doodle Bugs Teaching.

ONE: I successfully set up my Bloglovin' account and moved all my Google Reader blogs on over. It was surprisingly easy! The best part is I found oodles and oodles of new blogs to follow and have made several new bloggy friends. Are you following The Teacher's Desk 6 via Bloglovin'? If not, please find the widget in the right sidebar and click away!

 The Craft of Teaching TWO: Speaking of new bloggy friends... Here's a little shout out to Nicole over at The Craft of Teaching. She wrote the most interesting blog post about an online teacher plan book, one that is user friendly and inexpensive, one that I'd like to try (next year because I bought one of those rather expensive planners that everyone had been blogging about). I wrote a little comment and VOILA! I won a $5 Starbuck's gift card. LOVE IT! Thanks again, Nicole!

THREE: I think I finally finished decluttering the house, at least the first floor and part of the basement. I can NOT believe the amount of STUFF one person and one small cat can accumulate in one year. Poor garbage men have had tons of bags to schlep for the past two weeks... next week I get to paint... yea! NOT!

FOUR: Many of my bloggy friends know that I received a gently used, beautiful piano late last May, something I had always wanted. It was a gift from a former student's family... Bless you, Leonard/Pitt family!

Because I'm a musician I decided I could teach myself how to play. I've progressed nicely over the year and can play fairly well (with some stuttering). My fourteen year old nephew spent the night Tuesday so that he could help me schlep out all the garbage from decluttering in time for collection Wednesday morning. While he was iPodding away, sipping pop and munching chips, I decided to practice piano a bit. I pulled out one of my favorite books, containing pop tunes, classic rock, and some show tunes. In the middle of one piece, my nephew YELLED, "Auntie, you're playing 'Stairway to Heaven'... AWESOME!" I felt I had arrived!

FIVE: I have been busily working on my TpT products and managed to complete three Science PowerPoints: one about cellular structure, one about cells and heredity, and one about classification of living organisms. These are materials that I use in my sixth grade Science class but needed to modify and update for sale on Teachers Pay Teachers. I'm sharing one of them here so you can see what I've been up to. You'll notice that even though the following is a Science product, it still is about writing... You can take the Language Arts teacher out of her subject area, but you can't take her subject area out of her teaching. My sixers know that I will put reading, writing, spelling in everything that we do! Science included... which is a great thing because the CCSS for ELA calls for integrating the Language Arts in all content areas. You can read more about this product HERE or by clicking on the first pic. And if you click HERE or on the second pic you can download a FREEBIE that is intended to accompany the presentation but can stand alone as a Science study/writing organizer.


Happy Teaching,
The Teacher's Desk 6

Freebie Fridays

June 27, 2013

Throwback Thursday

I am just lovin' Bloglovin'!!! Hoppin' around and around all the education blogs. I've found a ton of new education blogs to follow and have been reconnected with some from long ago. I've run into new linkies, too! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE linkies! I swear I will never get anything done around the house or with my TpT products now!!!

I'm linking up with Mrs. Carroll over at The First Grade Parade for her Throwback Thursday linky. I'm reposting one of my very first blog posts. It fits nicely with the technology theme of my, er... excuse me, other post from today. Here it is!

February 20, 2013 Way Back Machine: A Lifesaving Website

I use numerous websites to help in planning lessons and selecting activities for all of my classes. I rely heavily on digitized copies of worksheets, and never bother downloading videos or music anymore. Nearly everything I need for teaching is at my fingertips, keyboard, and monitor. However, there is nothing worse than trying to access a favorite website, only to find that it is gone or has been totally revamped.

Never fear! Way Back Machine is here. I stumbled upon this website many years ago. In fact, it was that discovery that firmed my decision to close the teachersdesk.org domain. My old website still exists:

The Original Teacher's Desk is featured on The Way Back Machine from Jan. of 2002 through May of 2012. I can still access most of my old material. Have fun exploring! There are some real treasures there.

Visit the original Teacher's Desk.

The Teacher's Desk 6

Tuning into Technology... Reading and Rosie's Giveaway

I Teach 1:1 and Learning to the Core are hosting a brand new weekly technology linky every Thursday for the remainder of the summer.

This week's topic is "Integrating Technology into Reading." This is an ABSOLUTE passion of mine. I love technology! I love reading! Combine the two and I am in heaven!

ANIMOTO: I've blogged about this wonderful website before so I won't expound its virtues here. Suffice to say, students love it, it's engaging, and it's a terrific tool to teach everything from following directions to comprehension. Please read this blog post for more information about this outstanding video editing tool.

KINDLE: I can not say enough about this particular e-reader! I've had my original for a little more than three years and a Kindle Fire for about 16 months. I began using my Kindle during Reading class as part of my daily read aloud, but I soon discovered something really cool about it. There is an app that can be installed on your computer that will sync your Kindle with  your PC. I quickly downloaded the app onto every computer with which I work, including my school computer. With this app I was able to project what I was reading aloud onto a white board or wide screen TV, allowing my students to follow along. Additionally, I could now highlight passages, point out clever text, indicate how punctuation aided comprehension, etc. LOVE IT! Kindle has upgraded this sync-ability to users no longer needing to download software. It is now available as the Kindle Cloud Reader and can be installed as a Google Chrome App. Simply visit Amazon for more information about Kindle and its products.

PADLET: Again, I won't expound the virtues of this awesome website since I have blogged about it before. I will say that if you haven't tried this one, please do. It's simple, easy peasy, quick, engaging, and interactive. You can post a comprehension question, students can respond, and you can assess their understanding in a matter of minutes. The plus... if you love post-it notes you will go WILD for Padlet! Check out this blog post for more details about Padlet.

STORYBIRD: This is a great website for not only reading stories but also writing stories. The premise behind Storybird is that students are able to select artwork for which they then can create an original story. Teachers have the ability to create individual SAFE student accounts and develop specific writing assignments, integrating writing with reading. Students can access their account from school or home making assignments convenient. There is even an app for iPad/iPod available.

HOT POTATOES:  I had used HotPotatoes for YEARS with my Mac machines, but when I moved to a Windows PC I completely forgot about it. Shame on me, but lucky me when I stumbled upon HotPotatoes the first day of summer break this year. I AM PSYCHED!!! This is a piece of freeware that you must download to your own PC. Once you do, you will be able to create crossword puzzles, cloze exercises, jumbled sentence passages, multiple choice quizzes, short answer questions, and matching assignments. Can you say USEFUL???? Once you create your activity you can upload it to Dropbox, share the link, and your students can complete it. HotPotatoes takes a bit of getting used to, but once you master it, you will be glad that you did!

And before you leave today... please hop on over to my friend Rosie's blog. She is celebrating 100 Followers with a terrific giveaway! There are some wonderful items being offered.

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

June 26, 2013

It's Wednesday; Let's Get Pinteresting and Blog Hoppin'

My bloggy friends know by now that I am crazy for Pinterest and love linking up with Michelle over at The Vintage Apple each week for her Pinterest linky. I'm not sure why I love Pinterest so much. I think it might have something to do with my love of researching and an extremely short attention span. I can search my little heart away, click it and pin it, and be off to another website or idea in a flash. The problem now is that I've managed to accumulate so many pins (and they are ALL good ones) that I have a hard time remembering what I pinned or where the pin I want is located. I'll solve that problem sometime in the future!

One problem that I have been working on this week is sorting the files I've stored on my computer. I am a LOVER of all things The Education Center, especially Mailbox Magazine (I've been a subscriber for more than 25 years) and its email newsletters. The newsletters have accumulated in a specially created file in my mail program since late 2010... mind you, some of them arrive on a weekly basis... that's a LOT of newsletters! I spent most of this past Monday sorting through these newsletters. Many were outdated, the links no longer available, but those that were... well, some were saved, some were thrown out, some were downloaded, and some were even pinnable.

Here we go... a week for The Education Center pins!

Not only am I pinning away, I'm also blog hopping. Tori over at Tori's Teacher Tips has create a Bloglovin' Blog Hop linky for all of us who are moving over to Bloglovin'. Through the blog hop we can find the blogs we've been following and a whole bunch more! Let's all get hoppin'.

Happy Pinning,
Happy Blog Hopping,
Happy Teaching,
The Teacher's Desk 6

June 25, 2013

Eating, and Drinking, and Linking, Oh My!

It's time to link up with my new bloggy friend, Christy at Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road.

I had one recipe, a particular summertime favorite (gagoots and eggs), all lined up to go, but then remembered this one. The particular summertime favorite will be next week, fer shure! What made me change my mind was a conversation that I had with my niece Becky. She was talking about the heat that we are experiencing here in NE Ohio and how all she and her family want to eat are salads. She asked me to make my special salad dressing mix for her because she had run out over the weekend what with five people eating salad everyday.

I found this recipe in our local newspaper about two years ago and was intrigued by it. I cut it out and put it in my desk drawer where it was forgotten for a few months... forgotten until I ran out of dressing one night. I remembered this recipe, pulled it out, mixed it up, and gave it a test taste... YUMMY! Just as good, if not better than its name brand sister that you purchase in the store for a LOT more money! 

If you like to use those dressing packets and mix up fresh dressing, this recipe is for you.

Italian Salad Dressing Mix

Mix together the following ingredients:
1 T. garlic salt
1 T. onion powder
1 T. white sugar
2 T. dried oregano
1 T. dried parsley
2 T. sea salt (or any kind of salt)
1 t. black pepper
1 t. dried basil
1/4 t. dried thyme
1/4 t. celery salt

Store the above dry mixture in an air tight container until you are ready to use it.

To prepare the actual dressing, whisk together: 
1/4 C. white vinegar (I have used red and balsamic as well) 
2/3 C. canola or vegetable oil (avoid olive oil if storing in the refrigerator; it solidifies when cooled)
2 T. tap water
2 T. of the above dry mixture

Make sure that it's mixed very well and pour it over your salad greens or onto a sandwich or use it to marinate chicken or steak before grilling... YUMMY!!!!!!!

Store any leftover dressing in a lidded container in the refrigerator. I've kept some for as long as three months and not had a problem with spoilage. When I make my dressing, I actually use one of those cruets that comes with the dressing packets you buy at the store. I even use the measurements on the side of the cruet for the oil, water, and vinegar and put just a heaping tablespoon of the dry mixture in it.

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

June 24, 2013

Monday Must Have

I have been somewhat remiss and find that I must apologize...

I have blogged about terrific teaching supplies, wonderful web apps, and even my favorite school supply store for my Monday Must Have's, but I have not told you about one of the most, if not THE MOST important must have I have... Ms. Daisy Mae!

Daisy has been my constant companion for the past fourteen years. She came to me via one of my sixth grade students who brought a basket of newborn kittens to show the class one afternoon... and when I say newborn, well.... they were less than a week old, and the cutest little balls of fur you have ever seen. Mama Snuggles was proud to show them off and shared all five of her little ones with us readily. It was that day that I decided I wanted one of her babies... but which one? Time would tell.

That decision was made for me shortly. Snuggles and family visited us each week and we enjoyed watching her babes grow. On the second visit we were able to hold the little ones, and it was then that I noticed one kitten was rather fiesty and vocal... the runt: a teeny, tiny, sassy Tabby. For whatever reason this littlest one decided she liked me. Even though she caterwauled the entire time I held her, she purred and purred as well, constantly rubbing her face against my fingers. Each time that I tried to set her down, she would run back to my hands... too cute! If anyone, even her owners, tried to pick her up, she would struggle and struggle. It was only me that she allowed to hold that day.

By week three the decision had been made... teeny, tiny, sassy Tabby was to be mine! Now for a name. I'm not sure where the idea for Daisy Mae came from, but it came, and it fit her for whatever reason. She learned her name quickly and by week five was actually answering to it since her owners were calling her Daisy Mae at home as well. It was during this same week's visit that I noticed Daisy Mae would answer when I talked to her. Yes, she answered. I would say something to her; she would meow in return... during the entire visit, but only when I spoke to her. If anyone else spoke, she just ignored them. We all got the biggest kick from this behavior.

By week six we all knew that Daisy Mae was made for me. During the weekly visitation, when she was taken from her basket and placed on the floor, she promptly walked over to me, ignoring everyone else, and climbed up my pants leg, settled in my lap, and remained there for the entire fifteen minute stay. When it was time to say goodbye, Daisy cried and cried and carried on terribly. She did not want to leave me. It was verydifficult to keep her in the basket to take her back home.

By week seven, Daisy Mae was ready... she no longer was nursing, she was eating solid foods, and was wild for potato chips... really! So.... after week seven's visitation, Daisy stayed with me while her brothers and sisters went back home. Not once did she look for mama; not once did she cry or show any separation anxiety. She was content!

And for fourteen years she has been my constant companion. She's not so teeny, tiny any more... rather the contrary. However, we still have daily, prolonged conversations, and she still loves potato chips and she still sits on my lap... even now while I'm typing this blog post.

And that's my Monday Must Have for this week... and EVERY week!

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

June 23, 2013

Flash Freebie

I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw that I had reached 75 blog followers this morning! It was just three weeks ago that I had FINALLY reached 50 after three and half months. I was hoping for 100 by the end of summer, but it looks like I might be able to make it much sooner... and if I really stretch it a bit with my newest followers on Bloglovin' I might even be closer, really close!

So, as a little thank you for all my followers and perhaps as a bit of an incentive to gain a few more, I'm offering my newly completed TpT product as a flash freebie until 11:59pm EST June 23, 2013. That's tonight!

Just leave a comment below before the deadline, making sure that I have your email address (either as a reply to or posted directly in the comment), and I'll send a copy to you.

Thanks, Everyone!

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

My School... and a BRAND NEW LINKY: School Story!

Very recently a marketing video, the aim of which is seeking financial assistance from alumni and potential donors, was released that told a small part of the history of the school at which I teach. It's a rich and varied history, chronicling tremendous faith, support, and determination. We have undergone a LOT of change over the years, but always we have remained dedicated Heralds of Truth and Grace. I'd like to take the opportunity to share this history with you. Welcome to my school, St. John School.

Here's a small peek inside my newest classroom and the hallway nearby. There's even a snap of what it looked like before we moved in August 2012. If you were looking closely there was a quick clip of it in the video, complete with 32 lively sixth graders!

I love how in the video it says:


I truly believe this. We all need to tell our stories. Therefore, I'm inviting you to share your School Story. I've  created a brand new linky party that will allow us to share the story of our school... where it's located, what makes it unique, what it looks like, all the things that ARE WORTH TELLING. Create a blog post that tells your School Story, add the School Story button below, then come back to this page and add your post's link. I can NOT wait to start reading about all the places where my bloggie friends and followers spend so much of their time.

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

The Teacher's Desk 6 School Story

TBA's Ultimate Linky Party

June 21, 2013

Five for Friday

I know that two blog posts in one day is kind of frowned upon, but I had a little extra time today so I finally decided to join a linky I've been following for a LONG time.

I love reading the blog posts for this linky, comparing my week to everyone's, so here goes my FIVE...

MONDAY: I join every teaching related contest I can find. The Education Center always has neat contests for items that teachers need in their classrooms and recently entered one for Wescott Scissors there. I have never owned a pair of these scissors but many of my students have them sooooooo I've acquired several pairs over the years. They cut paper, yarn, material, cardstock... everything you can think of that you use in a classroom... VERY well. I found out Monday that I was one of the winners of a set of six student and one adult scissors! YEA! I never won anything before! A great start to a good week!

TUESDAY: While sorting and decluttering the living room I came across an OLD fanny pack! My nephew is in need of one for a Boy Scout camping trip so I decided to clean it out for him. TaDa! At the bottom, stuffed in a corner of the pack I found...

The good week was continuing.

WEDNESDAY: I entered another contest hosted by Christy over at Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road. She was giving away a set of cute, digital floral frames. I am a frame addict and fell immediately in love with them! I found out the next day that I was the winner!

The good week had now become a GREAT week!

THURSDAY: I spent the morning and early afternoon working on some TpT items, particularly my Paragraph a Week writing program. You can read more about this HERE. I've managed to revamp about 30 of the nearly 100 writing prompts already, completing five alone this day. I also started creating a cover page. Here's what I've come up with for now.

The great week was progressing!

Later in the evening, I went to dinner with my fave peeps, only to return home to a broken toilet... CRASH went the great week! Which brings us to...

FRIDAY:  I have time today to do this second blog post because I can not declutter the dining room as I had originally planned because the entire contents of the downstairs bathroom is residing in the dining room, awaiting my niece's husband's arrival so that he can fix the toilet. You can read all about this great week ending event in the previous Friday post!

I CAN NOT wait for this once great week to be over... sigh!

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

Decluttering provides a Literacy FREEBIE

I usually spend the first couple of weeks of summer break doing mega-cleaning and decluttering of my house... all those chores I never have time for during the school year. So far I've managed to complete the living room and most of the kitchen. Today's project was the dining room, but the gremlin that resides in my house decided to wreak havoc with my schedule by breaking the downstairs' bathroom's toilet (this room was not on the cleaning list because I was planning on painting it during July). Thank goodness for my niece's husband who quickly fixed the problem, but discovered another: darn toilet tank had been slowly leaking because the anchor bolts had rusted away... soooooooooo, I have a nice damp mess to attend to, as in bathroom rug needs to be removed.

Mind you, this is a room not much larger than a high school student's locker in which I have managed to store an impossibly large amount of STUFF. I can turn around in it while standing up, but having to kneel and reach behind the toilet is next to impossible. I've removed everything from the room, as in beauty products, paper products, cleaning products, etc., and placed them in the adjoining room... the very same kitchen that had already been decluttered. ARRRGGHH!

Therefore, as a means of mega-cleaning and decluttering my frustrated little mind I decided to put the bathroom to the side for an hour and hop on my computer. I'm happily typing away, working on updating teaching materials, blog hopping, and playing games... I can squeeze A LOT into an hour!

One item that I came across was a Literature Circle foldable that I had developed and used a couple of years ago. It is actually part of a larger Literature Circles packet that I offer in my TpT Store. If you use Literature Circles in your classroom or are thinking of incorporating them, my packet has a lot of great starter materials and forms. You can read more about the packet and see a couple of preview pics by clicking HERE.

I added a little color to the foldable, aligned it to the CCSS for ELA and voila... here it is for you as a FREEBIE. I wanted something nice for you since you've spent the time listening to my rant. Just click on the pic to download it.

DRATS! The hour is up and I must get back to work.... but I'll be back!

Happy Cleaning (NOT!),
Happy Teaching,
The Teacher's Desk 6

Freebie Fridays

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

June 19, 2013

Another Pinteresting/Workshop Wednesday

I've been busy pinning yet again this week... no theme this time, just quite an eclectic collection. I did notice, however, that many of my pins are returning to teaching ideas... geez, it's only the second week of summer break... LOL!

I love frames and borders, plus a little shout-out to Christy...

An idea that can be adapted for other curricular areas...

My sixers will LOVE this one...

I can't wait to try this one...

Must make for the first day back to school...

Clever and inexpensive idea...


And one just for fun...

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

June 18, 2013

Eating, Drinking, and Linking, Oh My!

I just found this wonderfully fun linky hosted by Christy over at Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road.

I'm not much of a cook (at least I don't think so), and I definitely don't have the patience to make extravagant, complicated dishes. As far as gathering ingredients and measuring... NOT gonna happen! However, my family will tell you differently! They love coming to my house for dinner and they beg me to bring certain dishes to their house when I visit. What's up with this then? Simple, no fail recipes! And here's one of them, probably the family favorite... for a while I was making this one nearly every week... until I got tired of it! LOL! The best part of this recipe is that it's made in a crock pot. I can prepare the ingredients the night before, throw it in the pot before leaving for school, and it's ready when I arrive home. LOVE IT!

Cheesy Chicken Tater Tot Casserole

1 bag (32 oz. bag) frozen tater tots
1 bag (3 oz. bag) bacon pieces
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced
2 c shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 c milk
salt & pepper, to taste

1. Prepare your Crock Pot by giving it a good coating of non-stick cooking spray.
2. Next, begin layering in your ingredients. Start with half of the tater tots, followed by 1/3 of the bacon and then 1/3 of the cheese. Now layer in all of your chicken; sprinkle with salt and pepper, to taste.
3. On top of the chicken, layer on another 1/3 of the bacon pieces and a 1/3 of the cheese. Top with the remaining tater tots, then layer on the rest of your cheese and bacon. When done with your layers, pour the milk over the entire thing.
4. Cover and cook on low about 4-6 hours. Be sure to check for doneness of your chicken, some Crock Pots take longer to cook than others.

FYI... I double all the ingredients except the bacon pieces AND I mix a can of cream of chicken soup with the milk for added flavor. I found this recipe on Pinterest...

... but it is all over the internet with people giving it rave reviews. I can say that my family gives it a definite thumbs up!

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

June 17, 2013

It's Monday so...

... it's time for Must Have's. I'm linking up with Sabra over at Teaching with a Touch of Twang for this week's Monday Must Have linky.

I missed last week's link-up; how quickly one gets into vacation mode! I didn't realize Monday had come and gone until Wednesday... LOL! AND... I almost missed Monday this week; however, I happened to see a couple of posts this evening on Facebook about "hating Mondays" so I quickly jumped on my computer to visit my blog!

SOOOOOO, what is something that I must have? Well, the list is as long as my arm, but one thing that has made teaching easier as well as my home life is...

I think I probably spend more money at our local store than any other customer. Most of the clerks know me, not by name but as THAT TEACHER from ST. JOHN SCHOOL. I clean my home, store my food, stock my medicine cabinet, and supply my classroom with items from Dollar Tree. It is this last area for which I REALLY MUST HAVE Dollar Tree. 

This is last year's back-to-school list of things that I purchased for my classroom from the Dollar Tree (they have an AWESOME Teacher's section):

decorative pencils for my prize bin
pencils, pens for myself and extras for students who forget theirs
decorative erasers for my prize bin
bookmarks for awards and birthday prizes
pencil sharpeners
Sharpie markers
push pins
large and small colored paper clips
decorative file folders
post-it notes, and more post-it notes, and still more post-it notes
construction paper
computer paper
photograph paper
poster board
tri-fold boards
index cards
LOTS of plastic bins for storing materials
bouncy balls for gym class
tennis balls for gym class
jump ropes for gym class
hula hoops for gym class
bulletin board borders
bulletin board cut-out pieces
bulletin board letters
cursive alphabet bulletin board pieces
teaching posters: capitalization, punctuation rules; periodic table and common elements; simple machines
cursive alphabet stickers
periodic table stickers
parts of speech stickers
printables for parts of a cell and a microscope
ready to use literacy centers for synonyms, Greek Roots, inferencing
printables for writing prompts

This is just what I remember from off the top of my head. I know there was more, and I purchased items throughout the year, especially for my gr. 6 Science class (I won't go into all those items here). 

I think it's quite easy to see why the Dollar Tree is one of my Monday Must Have's.

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

June 15, 2013

Fabulous Feedback

I came across this linky hosted by Christina over at  Bunting, Books, and Bainbridge while blog hopping and thought it was absolutely FABULOUS! Our followers and customers take the time to provide us with feedback so it's great to recognize and thank them. I became an instant follower and decided to link up. Thanks, Christina, for hosting this great party!

I've worked very hard at creating teaching items that are easy to implement in a classroom, have a wide variety of uses, require little preparation, and align with the Common Core State Standards. This is one of the first that I developed and continue to offer in my TpT Store: Common Core Task Cards for Informational Text Magazines gr. 6. It has quickly become one of my best sellers.

I actually created these cards with my own students in mind. Our school began implementing the Common Core this past academic year, and I wanted an activity that I could use with them on an individual basis, something that would allow me to track the skills they were acquiring yet still gave them some choice as to what they would do. I use Time for Kids Magazine with my sixers; however, I realized that other teachers used various other classroom magazines. While creating these cards I was conscious of this and tried to keep the activities general enough for any type of classroom periodical.

When November15 left feedback about students who needed the extra practice with the CCSS skills and pjfarr left feedback regarding the use of SCOPE magazine, I felt I had met my goal. I really appreciated their remarks! Each brought a smile to my face and encourages me to continue working hard at creating useful teaching materials. 

So if November15 and pjfarr will please email me at teachersdesk@yahoo.com, I will be happy to provide you with a similarly priced product from my TpT store for free as a thank you for the feedback that you provided.

Happy Teaching,
The Teacher's Desk 6

June 14, 2013

MORE Pinterest and a FREEBIE!

Nowadays, on the internet, there really is very little that I enjoy more than Pinterest. Yes, I admit it: I am a Teaching Pin Addict! To be able to create two blog posts in one week about pinning is more than my little heart can almost handle. So, in celebration, I whipped up this little FREEBIE that you can use with any text as a comprehension organizer.

You can download the FREEBIE here or by clicking on the graphic.

And for any of you that are also Teaching Pin Addicts, you can peruse all my pins here, but please don't blame me if you are still pinning away several hours later!

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

Pin Addict

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June 12, 2013

It's Wednesday so...

It's time for Pinteresting posts. This week it was all about blog bling: new fonts, frames, backgrounds, papers, etc. Here's a sampling of the myriad items I pinned:

The problem is that I find sooooo many wonderful fonts, backgrounds, frames, and pieces of clip art that I don't have the time or space to find them after I download them, let alone be able to use them. Anyone have organization suggestions?

Happy Pinteresting,
Happy Teaching (after summer break),
The Teacher's Desk 6

June 9, 2013

You DEFINITELY Know That You Are a Teacher...

...when the last day of school was Friday and you're already working on next year's materials on Sunday... so much for those who complain that teachers only work nine months out of a year!

The sixers I have arriving in August are familiar to me. I worked with them in fifth grade as their Language Arts teacher. It was then that I discovered what a WIDE range of abilities are represented in their class of ONLY 14. One student is working at an emergent reader level while another is able to read/write at a post-high school level. The others are spread out at all levels in between.

Since they are a small enough class in number, I sought the advice of a colleague (who is the grandparent of one of the students and a reading intervention specialist) about how best to handle this group with the intent of doing some individualization. I wanted to do something to help meet the needs of each student, but I also had to watch the time involved so I didn't shirk my other classes. She suggested beginning with Spelling since this area supports word recognition, vocabulary development, and reading comprehension.

My colleague introduced me to Words Their Way by Templeton, Bear, Invernizzi, and Johnston and Word Journeys by Kathy Ganske. It was a QUICK study and off we launched. I barely kept ahead of the kiddos and I know I didn't do things RIGHT (by the books) but progress was made, no one was struggling anymore, and my top kiddo was being challenged. I was happy... for a while, at least until the end of the school year.

Now I'm spending time really reading and studying the premise behind the individualized program, the how-to, the preferred activities, etc. during my summer break (really, a break?). I brought the spelling folders I had for each student home with me to organize and update in preparation for next year, and I'm also working on some printables that contain practice activities that are appropriate for any of the levels, among them this Spelling Tic Tac Toe, a FREEBIE for anyone who would like it.

Do any of you use an individualized Spelling program? What materials do you use? How do you implement it? What benefits do you experience? Drawbacks? I would appreciate any and all feedback and advice as I continue onward with this.

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

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