August 30, 2013

Five for Friday and Saturday Snapshots Rolled into One

FIRST UP... The sixth graders worked on their hands project. I love how they are turning out. I had hoped to have it all assembled by today, but alas... I ran out of time... sigh... the story of my life! It will all be completed in time for Meet the Teacher Night next Wednesday! IT WILL BE DONE!!!!!

NEXT... We worked on setting up our interactive Language Arts notebooks. I'm using them in all three of my Language Arts classes.

THIRD... We had our family/alumni opening school Mass and picnic earlier in the week. Get a load of the mug on this one, would ya? What kind of face is that? Yes, this is me. I generally lead the singing during our school worship services.

FOURTH... My poor cat has been lonely since I went back to school. Every time I try to do something on my computer she is right there, by my feet, yowling away, trying to convince me to go sit in my her chair so she can curl up in my lap.

FIFTH... It has been sooooooo hot lately! We have literally been melting at school. It's not so much the temperature that is unbearable; it is the dew point and humidity. It feels more tropical in NE Ohio than it does in Florida.  It is so hot that DaisyMae likes to stick her face in the a/c unit to cool off. What a crazy cat!

I'm looking forward to reading everyone's Five for Friday's and seeing all the great snapshots this week. I've not had much time to visit bloggyland since school started. I've missed everyone.

Happy Teaching,
The Teacher's Desk 6

August 29, 2013

Interactive Notebooks... Learning as I Go and a FREEBIE

I'm linking up for the first time with 4MulaFun for the monthly Interactive Notebook Linky {INB}. Interactive Notebooks are something new to me. I've used foldables for years and recently started constructing lapbooks for particular Science units and Novels. However, I am breaching new territory with the notebook, and I'm doing it for fifth, sixth, and eighth grade Language Arts.

After seeing all the great products offered on TpT about interactive notebooks and reading so many blogs about them this past summer, I decided interactive notebooks would be a good learning tool for my students and a way for me to be able to assess their learning. I wanted to include Mentor Sentences (Collaboration Cuties and Ideas by Jivey) in them as well as various other activities: Daily Grammar Glitch (photos of grammatical mistakes that need to be identified), Spelling work (Latin/Greek roots), and novel responses, not to mention Common Core Vocabulary words.

As part of their school supplies this year, I decided then that I wanted my students to have a composition notebook. I thought this type of notebook would eliminate the problem with students tearing out paper and having nothing left in the notebook by Christmas. I contacted our school secretary prior to the parent mailing that would include the supply lists and asked her to add this item.

Everything was set. I was ready (I thought). Except, not all my students got the list with the composition notebook on it... sigh! My fifth graders came to school with a spiral notebook, my sixth graders NEVER got the message so they only had binders with paper, except for four of them with siblings in the eighth grade. These four had composition notebooks. My eighth graders did get the message and ALL of them had composition notebooks!

I had planned to have my students set up chapters/sections for the different activities we would be doing as well as a general table of contents. Fifth and eighth grade are working out fine after one week. We've set up our table of contents, numbered our pages and made chapters. Sixth grade is a horse of a different story... sigh! Because some have binders and some have notebooks, the set-up has been less than ideal. It's no one's fault, and we are being patient with each other. Next year should be smoother with the supply list. I've already asked the secretary to update ALL the lists.

Here are a few photos of my fifth graders as we are working with our notebooks. They are doing a "making words" Spelling activity to determine the secret word that contains the root we will be studying. They had no idea that the root was AQUA; all they know are the 11 letters (in alphabetical order) that comprise the word. Once the word SEMIAQUATIC was discovered we began work on a foldable that contained all ten spelling words, each with the root AQUA, for which they must provide the words' definitions. This lesson will continue tomorrow and into next week with doing some writing, connected to their Mentor Sentence and the novel we are reading.

HERE is a copy of the foldable for the root AQUA if anyone would like it. It's in Word format so that it can easily be edited. The students cut them out (cut on all solid lines), glued them into their notebooks, then wrote the definition for each word under its flap.

I am really looking forward to reading through the rest of the blog posts in this linky. Since I'm just starting out, I'm searching for hints, tips, and tricks to make them more effective and efficient.

Happy Teaching,
The Teacher's Desk 6
Freebie Fridays

August 26, 2013

A Peek at My Week- a Little Late

I'm linking up, a little late, with Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for a brand new linky...

Today was a crazy day at school! My computer did not want to cooperate so attendance was late, lunch count was discombobulated, and I was frazzled! I couldn't seem to get things accomplished until later in the day. Then to top it all off I had recess duty, lunch duty, and bus duty (ALL WEEK). A positive... it will be many weeks before any duties fall for me! GLAD today is over:)

We will be continuing our use of Mentor Sentences in all three Language Arts classes. LOVIN' these... another big thank you to Ideas by Jivey and Collaboration Cuties for this terrific idea! I'll also be introducing my Prezi to my eighth graders. With this presentation we will finally get into our first novel, Underground by Jean Ferris. I'll also get my sixth graders started on their Newbery Book Report which ties in to the reading they had to do over the summer.

I'm anticipating all routines to be fairly in place by this point. It's great to have sixth graders. They know the ropes and I worked with them last year so they know my expectations. I'm looking forward to finally getting into some Science as well. We'll be starting with the classification of living organisms and I've got an awesome video that helps them learn the divisions of classification: kingdom, phylum, class, etc.

Wednesday afternoon will see me watching the junior high football team. I've four of my sixth graders playing on the squad. Gotta go cheer on my boys!

After school my family and I will be having dinner together. We haven't decided who is cooking or where we'll be eating, but we'll be together. I look forward to these times... even if I am the one cooking... that's what crockpots are for! Dump everything in before school and arrive home to dinner. Thanks to Pinterest I've found a TON of great recipes for the crockpot. These are the two family favorites:

The school in which I teach is a K-12 school so this Friday we will have our first Spirit Day in honor of the first high school football game. Everyone dresses in school colors and we'll have a Pep Assembly at the end of the day. There is nothing cuter than seeing the kindergarten students doing high school cheers. On the cute-o-meter, a definite 10++. I hope to share some snapshots on the weekend of these cutey pies in action.

Hope you all have a terrific week!

Happy Teaching,
The Teacher's Desk 6

August 25, 2013

Mentor Text: Heroes of the Titanic

I'm linking up with Collaboration Cuties for their Must Read Mentor Text linky. This week's linky features Social Studies themed books.

I don't actually teach Social Studies but its content is found in numerous literary pieces that I use in my Language Arts classes. With the emphasis being placed on the Common Core State Standards, literary text is being de-emphasized while informational text is being strongly emphasized. Many of the favorites that I have included in my fifth and sixth grade Language Arts classes over the years are not found on the CCSS's rigorous text exemplar lists either. And the books that kids BEG to read are generally not found there either.

One such title is "I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic 1912" by Lauren Tarshis. Last year in fifth grade, my current crop of sixers got turned onto the I Survived historical fiction series when they saw me reading one of its titles. The Titanic version was being offered in the Scholastic book club brochure as its dollar book for the month of April. They begged me to get it and let them read it as a class. I had enough bonus points to get 20 "free" copies so I did, but we ran out of time at the end of the year so I promised them we would read it at the beginning of sixth grade... which is NOW!

This book is NOT a sixth grade level book, rather it's a fourth grade level, but I've got kids in this class that are reading at a second grade level and kids that are reading at college level. However, its content is probably one of the most fascinating and sought after informational topics overall. I look more at interesting content, then plan accordingly to differentiate work as needed when selecting books for use in class, especially this class. Here's where today's mentor text comes in...

by Anne Marie Welsh

... allowing me to differentiate and meet  several Common Core ELA Standards at the same time.

Heroes of the Titanic is not only a visually appealing text but also a strong, yet accessible, informational text. Half the height and twice the width of a typical paperback "picture" book, along with its cover art, it just begs to be picked up. I purchased it at last year's school book fair at the same time I was ordering Tarshis's copies. I had a plan in mind back then.

Many of the same characters and places on the ship discussed in "I Survived the Titanic" are explained in child friendly language in Heroes of the Titanic. Among them are Captain Smith, Thomas Andrews, and lesser known Mr. Stead. Locations on the ship where the fictional tale take place come to life within the informational text. Actual photographs or near photograph quality illustrations are included to aid even struggling readers with comprehension. CCSS criteria for comparing literary and informational text, characters, and events are easily mastered by students.

Perhaps one of the REAL reasons why I like Heroes of the Titanic so VERY much is the information that is on the following page that shares the third class passenger story of Anna Turja. Anna, a young Finnish immigrant, was one of the survivors of the tragedy, who ended up living in my hometown. People from all over the world have read her story...

... and visited her resting place. I have met groups of my students after school hours at the local cemetery where Anna is buried to allow a piece of history to come alive for them. We have made crayon rubbings of her headstone, displaying the SURVIVOR of RMS TITANIC, for all the class to see.

I can NOT wait to start reading Heroes of the Titanic along with "I Survived the Titanic, 1912" with my sixers.

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

August 24, 2013

Five for Friday and Snapshot Saturday

It's Friday, well at least when I started this it was!!!!! And it's time for.......

School started this week, and we've had two terrific days thus far! I know there will be many more to come because I've energized my teaching with great ideas from fellow bloggers, sellers, and teachers on Pinterest. That's what my five and snapshots are all about this week.

1. From Collaboration Cuties and Ideas by Jivey come Mentor Sentences. I used a technique similar to mentor sentences for years, but I liked the repeated, structured organization and built in assessment these fellow bloggers included. With just two lessons in I already see a deepening in thought by my students, especially with my eighth graders who were somewhat familiar with this process from having worked with me in fifth and sixth grade Language Arts. I can't wait to continue next week with Mentor Sentences.

2. From Sweet Rhyme, Pure Reason comes the reminder to utilize music and song within curriculum. Again, this idea is nothing new to me. Being a singer and musician I have always included music within all the content areas that I teach. However, fellow blogger Nick, took it a step further with his Tunes Tuesday by using current, popular lyrics to teach language skills. Here's what my eighth graders will be looking at next week as we work our way through Ann Rinaldi's The Coffin Quilt. The file below is a Word document in case anyone would like to edit it, leaving out the reference to this specific novel.

3.  Found on Pinterest but elaborated on by several bloggers this summer comes this idea...

My sixers started this project on the first day of school by utilizing a graphic organizer to help them focus their thoughts about who they are. On the second day we began our hands. Some finished, some have not; it is a work in progress, just like all of us. Here are a few snaps shot by one of my girlies who is an award winning photographer... she took third place at the STATE fair in her age division for 4H photography. Next week I'll share the completed hallway display.

4. From fellow TpT seller, Laura Randazzo, comes Grammar in Real Life.

LOVE this product and so do my eighth graders! Here's part of the product description:

Want to amuse your students AND impress your administrators? Use these real-world grammar mistakes as a rotating desktop background on the computer you use to project lesson materials or on any computer screen in your classroom that’s viewable to students. With a constant scroll of proofreading exercises to keep eyes and brains engaged, you can just “set it and forget it.” Each day, the computer will scroll through the images all on its own.

Again, this is not something new to me or my eighth graders. When this group was in fifth and sixth grade we would often find "mistakes" in ads or periodical articles to share in class. What Laura has provided is enough material for EVERY day of the year! We are using this activity as the class opener each morning.

5.  And finally it just is not Saturday Snapshots without Miss Daisy. My family was over for dinner this past Tuesday. Normally, Miss Daisy does not lower herself to grace us with her presence during family visits. However, I had been gone all day and she was missing me so she came downstairs to sit on my lap. She was purring away and enjoying herself while ignoring all else in the room... until she noticed my grand niece laying on the floor covered with MY her fuzzy blanket. That was all it took. After the evil glare at both my grand niece and me which lasted about a minute a piece, Miss Daisy was not seen again until my family went home. What a cat!

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

Freebie Fridays

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

August 22, 2013

The First Day of School... Classroom Reveal finally!

Welcome to my world! Enjoy the look around. If you are reading this post between the hours of 7:00am and 3:30pm then this is where I am, happily ensconced with either 22 sixth graders, 23 fifth graders, or 25 eighth graders, celebrating our return to school.

I hope EVERYONE has a WONDERFUL school year!

Happy Teaching,
The Teacher's Desk 6

August 21, 2013

A Pinteresting Wednesday

It's Pinterest time... LOVE Wednesday!

I've got pins of ALL kinds this week...
from teaching ideas to recipes, from teacher humor to home decorating. I've been a pinning fool in between trying to get my classroom ready and prepping lessons for the first weeks back to school. I just can't seem to stay away from Pinterest.

What have you been pinning this week?

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

August 19, 2013

Sale Continues through Today and a Winner!

The HUGE BTS Sale at TpT continues through today. Don't miss out on GREAT savings and terrific teaching products!

Toni N. is my Pin It To Win It! Winner. She wrote comment No. 5. CONGRATS, Toni! Here is her pin.

Toni will receive this item as her prize. You, too, can obtain Year 'Round Mystery Pictures, a set of 24 mystery pictures for practicing Language Arts Skills, by shopping at my TpT Store. If you shop before 11:59PM today you can save $3.36 on it! That's a great deal!

I'm off and running to my first "official" day of school, a day long motivational inservice! Sigh! Summer is over. I leave you with a little bit of summer as seen from my hometown.

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

August 18, 2013

Mentor Text: 65 Short Mysteries You Solve with Science

I'm linking up for the first time with Collaboration Cuties for their weekly Mentor Text Linky Party. I've been following the blog posts for this linky for several months and have finally decided to join in... with this awesome science text...

From Amazon..."Not an ordinary mystery book, One Minute Mysteries makes science fun! Each one-minute mystery (solutions included) exercises critical thinking skills while covering earth, space, life, physical, chemical, and general science. This entertaining and educational book is great for kids, grown-ups, schools, educators, homeschoolers and anyone who loves good mysteries, good science, or both!"

I LOVE to do read alouds with my upper elementary students, and I make sure that I read something each day in each class. I think it's a terrific way to model fluent reading for kids, and it can quickly engage students with content area material... not to mention sharpening auditory/listening skills. That's exactly what 65 Short Mysteries You Solve with Science does.

I was introduced to this book and its companion about Math at an inservice for Gifted and Talented students about three years ago. The presenter picked it up from his stash of books on a table and randomly opened it without telling us what the title was or what the book was about. He began reading and I was hooked!

Each mystery is a simple narrative chock-full of Science content with something amiss. At the end of the narrative is a photograph or illustration related to the content followed by the "solution."

When using this as a read aloud, my students must listen for what is out of place, amiss, or just plain in-your-face wrong with the Science presented. You can read a few of the mysteries HERE to get a feel for the book. Based on their knowledge I ask my students to solve the mystery and provide reasoning for their response. No one may simply guess; each must provide Science evidence. If they can not solve the mystery, I send them off to do research, not immediately but rather on their own time, and we proceed with the day's lesson. The next mystery is not shared with them until they solve the current one. 

Doesn't this sound a little like close reading, textual evidence, comparing texts, reading across the curriculum... common core? I think it would be great to have enough copies of this book to use with a class of students. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to sway my administration. However, 65 Short Mysteries You Solve with Science is available in Kindle format so I am able to project the text on my Smartboard or widescreen TV and present it to my students. We highlight evidence, underline or circle important text, and immediately head off on the internet to answer science questions they may have. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE it!

You can imagine then how excited I was when I went in search of links for 65 Short Mysteries You Solve with Science on Amazon and found...TA DA!

It is already stored in my Kindle, ready to go. LOL!

Be sure you hop over to Collaboration Cuties and catch the rest of the Mentor Texts for this week!

Visit my TpT Store before August 19th 7:00AM Eastern Time and pin an item that you would like to own. Leave a blog comment HERE including the pin address and your email address. Go ahead and pin more than one item. Just be sure to include each item in its own comment. Shortly after the deadline I'll randomly draw a number. The writer of the comment matching the number drawn will WIN the ITEM pinned! There will still be time for you who don't receive their pinned choice free to still purchase it at the low, low sale price during the TpT sale!

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

August 17, 2013

Get Ready, Get Set: Pin It to Win It! TpT B2S Sale!

It's nearly here... less than 24 hours away! The huge TpT Back to School Sale! 

I don't know about you, but I've got my shopping cart already filled with terrific teaching products ready to check out once the sale is in full swing. When you checkout, be sure to use the promo code BTS13 to earn TpT's 10% savings on all your purchases. Depending on what sales individual shop owners are offering, you can earn up to a 28% savings! LOVIN' this!!!

I'm offering a 20% discount on EVERY item in my store. That means when you order products from The Teacher's Desk 6 you will receive the full 28% discount. How does this work?

Say that you decide you'd like to purchase this item from my store, Year 'Round Mystery Picturesa set of 24 color by skill sheets that normally sells for $12.00. (This price is already a 50% discount.)

On August 18th and 19th it is available with a 20% discount... $12.00 - $2.40 discount= $9.60. Wow, that's a good deal! But wait....

TpT is offering an additional 10% discount if you use the promo code BTS13 at checkout. Applying the 10% discount to the discounted price of $9.60 results in the even lower price of $8.64 for a total discount of 28%... SUPER, SUPER deal! Right?

Some other SUPER deals you can find...

Super Bundle of Ten Literacy Centers for Upper Elementary... $4.14 (that's less than 42 cents per center. These normally sell for one dollar each!)

GET THIS... there are more than 50 items available in my store for just 72 cents!!!


Sales are great, but FREE is better! 
Pin It to Win It!
Visit my TpT Store before August 19th 7:00AM Eastern Time and pin an item that you would like to own. Leave a blog comment below including the pin address and your email address. Go ahead and pin more than one item. Just be sure to include each item in its own comment. Shortly after the deadline I'll randomly draw a number. The writer of the comment matching the number drawn will WIN the ITEM pinned! There will still be time for you who don't receive their pinned choice free to still purchase it at the low, low sale price!

Get Ready, Get Set, Get Pinning!
I can't wait to see what items you'd like to win in my shop!

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