October 31, 2013

Five for Friday, a Freebie... WOOT! WOOT!

I am actually starting this AND finishing it on Thursday. Can you believe it? I'm going to the party a little early for a change!

We started our new grading quarter this week, and with it I began a more concentrated look at writing, especially the writing process and traits of good writing. Although both my fifth and sixth grade classes are quite familiar with the writing process they still need reminders and support. I use a writer's checklist to help students track their progress through the steps. Each student has a clothespin that he/she can move up and down through the chart indicating which step they are on.

You can see the full chart hanging between our Common Core Word Wall and MOVIES board. The MOVIES board is just a fun way to help my kiddos remember the traits of good writing: Mechanics, Organization, Voice, Ideas, Exceptional Word Choice, and Sentence Fluency.

Both the Writing Process Clip Chart and MOVIES Mini-Board are available in my TpT Store and make for a great room resource for 5th/6th grade students. They help my students to become more self-reliant and I find myself answering less questions. Here's a little FREEBIE that I use to help my fifth graders remember MOVIES, the six traits of writing- a set of pencil toppers. Just download, print, cut apart, and wrap around the top of a pencil to form a reminder flag, a dab or two of glue to secure it, and... Easy Peasy!

I had a GREAT time teaching the fourth grade this week, something I NEVER ever get to do! Here you see them playing a game of Halloween Scoot.

I missed the Halloween party... BOO! I stayed home with a terrible cough that had kept me getting NO sleep at all on Wednesday night! Here are my goblins and ghouls at their party posing for me. A big THANKS goes to my homeroom mother for snapping this great shot!

Because I stayed home on Thursday, I made a pot of dump chili... YUM! I call it dump chili 'cause I just start dumping things in the pot: 1/2 pound of breakfast sausage, 1/2 pound of hamburger, onions, a couple of cloves of chopped garlic, a can of chiles, a can of diced tomatoes, a can or two of tomato sauce, a huge handful of chili powder, a can of hot chili beans, a can of black beans, a can of white beans, a can of corn, and some salt and pepper. Boy, did it make the house smell goooooood! And it tasted pretty darn good, too!

This week, I turned my attention to working on some new Thanksgiving items for my classroom. I've already added one to my TpT Store: Thanksgiving Six-in-One Language Arts Skills Scoot. Your students can practice six different skills with one pack of Scoot cards. These cards are very versatile and can be used in a literacy center or anyway that typical task cards can be used.

Even though I didn't feel quite up to par this week, I had a great week! I hope you all did as well! Don't forget to link up with Doodlebugs for Five for Friday.

Happy Teaching,
The Teacher's Desk 6

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October 29, 2013

Tried It Tuesday: Teaching Fourth Grade Language Arts

I didn't expect to link up with Holly for Tried It Tuesday this week. There was really nothing I had tried, just the same ole, same ole. However, something really fun happened today, and here I am!

The teacher who teaches fourth grade Language Arts also happens to teach fifth grade Science. She needed the fifth graders for an extended time today so they could do some hands-on science stations about animal adaptations. The only time in the schedule that we could conjure up was when I normally had the fifth graders for Language Arts. However, my sixth graders were with another teacher who was administering a social studies test to them soooooo...... I took the fourth graders for Language Arts.

What to do at the last minute? SCOOT, of course! The fourth graders had been studying nouns and verbs, particularly as subjects and predicates. I decided to ramp it up a bit for them and add adjectives into the mix.

I started by sharing one of my new favorite books: Bats at the Library by Brian Lies.

With the predictable rhyming text, the fourth graders were quickly chiming in and helping me to read. After the first reading, we went back, extracting nouns and matching words that described them... ADJECTIVES. Next we brainstormed all the adjectives that we could think of to describe HALLOWEEN NIGHT, and what a list it was! We then used the words in sentences, noting nouns and verbs as well as adjectives. Then finally we played SCOOT wherein they practiced identifying nouns, verbs, and adjectives in sentences.

They caught on quickly and really enjoyed the activity! So much so that they asked to come back again SOON! I think it might have had something to do with the cool orange paper that I gave them to write on... LOL!

The fourth graders made my day! I'm REALLY glad that I Tried Teaching Fourth Grade Language Arts today!

Happy Teaching,
The Teacher's Desk 6

October 27, 2013

Peek at My Week and Pin It to Win It Winner

I'm linking up with Jennifer at Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for a Peek at My Week.

This week starts the beginning of the second quarter. That means I have grades to finalize and report card comments to file by Tuesday evening. Actually, I should have all that done by Monday afternoon. For once I'm a little ahead of schedule.

This week also starts writing workshop for grades 5 and 6. During the first quarter I focus primarily on reading strategies and mentor sentences (ways to communicate, elaborate, and engage through our writing), using a bit of a more traditional approach. Now I'll institute my version of the writing process along with peer conferencing.

I'll also start introducing Literature Circles in grs. 5 and 6, and the eighth graders will enter their text book for the first time (we had used two novels for the first quarter) with the short story "The Tell Tale Heart" by Edgar Allen Poe. This is a BIG week for learning..... and for fun.

It's Halloween, so that means the annual costume parade and party... followed by All Saints' Day Mass the next day. That means my sixers will have songs to learn since they help me lead the music at our worship services. LOTS to do but I love it that way!


And now... time for the Pin It to Win It Winner!

There were six entrants in my Birthday Pin It Giveaway. Using a random number generator, entrant No. 1 was the winner of my Bundle of Six Halloween Scoot Activities! 

Congratulations to Cherie! I've emailed the bundle to her just in time for Halloween. 

Have a great week,
Happy Teaching,
The Teacher's Desk 6

October 25, 2013

Five for Friday and a FREEBIE 10.25

I made it! I finally made it on Friday for Five for Friday! That hasn't happened for... geez, I can't remember! Linking up once again with Doodlebugs for this fun linky!

1. We were treated to a wonderful assembly this week. Joel Penton is a former Ohio State football player who travels to schools and visits youth groups throughout the country giving motivational talks about making good decisions and sticking with your commitments. His message is Stand your Ground! My kiddos LOVED him and the young singer he brought with him- Ryan Holliday. They have been talking about these two all week.

2. My sixers finally finished their book trailers. Boy are they good!!!!!! Here are two that I thought I'd share with you.

3. Poor Miss Daisy lost a tooth this week. She is nearly 15 years old, and other than having poor teeth, is in great health. I tried to get her to smile for the camera to show her missing canine, but alas, she was playing Grumpy Cat (as usual).

4. It is my birthday tomorrow (I love my birthday, though I'm getting to where I do not like acknowledging another year passing). My sixers threw a little surprise party for me today; the girls made cupcakes. The best part: they frosted them to match our room colors! LOVE IT and THEM!

Speaking of birthdays... I'm giving away a packet of six Halloween Language Arts SCOOT activities. Tomorrow is the last day to enter the Pin It to Win It giveaway. Stop by this blog post for more details and a chance to win!

5. Finally... a FREEBIE for Friday! I use brag tags, punch cards, and coupons as a reward system for great behavior and academic progress. It works great and costs VERY little... just the price of paper, ink, and laminating supplies (which I get with Amazon gift certificates from my students). This week I made Halloween themed no homework coupons as treats for my students. I'm sharing them here with you. Download them, print them off, and treat your kiddos to an evening free of homework also!
Happy Friday,
Happy Teaching,
The Teacher's Desk 6
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October 22, 2013

Tried It Tuesday: Multi-Skill Scoot Task Cards and Pin It to Win It!

I'm linking up with Holly over at Fourth Grade Flipper for Tried It Tuesday.

I've recently been working on LOADS of Scoot (task cards) Activities. I started out making one set in early October for each of the Language Arts classes that I teach as a fun way of practicing routine skills. All three classes LOVED the Halloween themed activities so much that they began clamoring for more, sooooo......... I got busy! You can see all of the scoot games that I've made HERE. These scoot games can easily be turned into literacy centers or used as you would use any task cards. They're quite versatile.

One Scoot game that I'm most happy with is my newest.

I realize that the actual content of this scoot pack won't appeal to many teachers (I teach in a Catholic school and it's perfect for me), but the idea behind it is rather sweet IMHO. Instead of focusing on just one skill in this pack of 25 task cards, I included six! With just one set of scoot cards your students can practice Simple Subjects and Predicates; Types of Sentences; Sentence Structure; Identifying Nouns, Verbs, and Adjectives; Distinguishing Clauses and Phrases; and identifying Prepositional Phrases.

Here's how it works. Notice the varied fonts on the following card?

With one card, you can vary the student directions:
  1. For all of the odd numbered cards, identify the simple subject. For all of the even numbered cards, identify the simple predicate.
  2. Tell whether the bold-faced red word is a noun, verb, or adjective.
  3. Are the italicized words an independent clause, a dependent clause, or a phrase?
  4. Is this sentence declarative, interrogative, imperative, or exclamatory?
  5. Identify the prepositional phrase(s) in the sentence.
  6. Is this a simple, compound, complex, or compound-complex sentence?
I LOVE it since now I can use just one set for all three of my Language Arts classes (grs. 5, 6, and 8). This means less "stuff" to keep track of, less to print, and less to store. I like this idea of multiple packaging scoot ideas so much that I am currently converting my Fall Prepositional Phrases Scoot into a multi-skill activity. I can hardly wait to complete it and use it with my students, especially my eighth graders since they had already used the cards for work with prepositional phrases.

If you and your students like scoot/task cards as much as my students and I, then don't miss this opportunity to win a pack of six Halloween Scoot Activities suitable for grades four through eight. It's my birthday on Saturday and I'm celebrating by giving away a birthday present to one lucky blog visitor.  Just visit the product page and pin the scoot pack to Pinterest. Then go to this BLOG POST and leave your pin address in a blog comment. On the evening of October 26th, I'll randomly select a blog comment to receive the scoot pack FREE! That's it! Easy peasy! Just in time for Halloween next week.

Speaking of Halloween... it's not too late to add your holiday product or idea to my Halloween Linky Party! Come on over and join in the fun!

Happy Teaching,
The Teacher's Desk 6

October 19, 2013

Five for Friday (on Saturday again), more SCOOT, a FREEBIE, and a PIN IT PARTY!

WARNING: This is a rather long post. I promise if you read to the end you'll find some goodies and some fun!

It's time to link up again with Doodlebugs for Five for Friday (even though it's Saturday... I just can't seem to get it done for Friday anymore!).

FIRST.... We had a temporary sixth grade student this week:Watson, the Great Dane. Watson belongs to one of my sixers and is only seven months old. He's got a whole lot of growing yet to do. The kiddos fell in love with him and he with them!

SECOND... My sixers fell in love with SCOOT! Last week I played SCOOT with  my eighth grade English students. This week we played Halloween Clauses and Phrases SCOOT in sixth grade Language Arts... the kids couldn't get enough.

THIRD... My fivers fell in love with SCOOT We played Halloween Types of Sentences SCOOT in fifth grade Language Arts. They, too, could not get enough of it and begged for more!

FOURTH... Both my fifth and sixth grade Language Arts students have been working on elaborating their writing. We have been focusing on Mentor Sentences from the literature we are reading and analyzing what authors do to make writing interesting and engaging. We also have been discussing the importance of planning ahead for writing, brainstorming techniques. One technique is simply creating word or idea lists. Here's a little FREEBIE for you that I use with my students called TAKE THREE. This one is for October. We were supposed to work on this in class on Friday in preparation for paragraph writing; however, Watson and the Bishop (he celebrated Mass with us) took precedence, so this will be Monday's assignment instead.

FIFTH... Since my kiddos love SCOOT so much, and I love making the activity just as much, I've been going batty creating loads of Halloween and Fall SCOOT activities and adding them to my TpT Store. They have been frighteningly successful this past week, so I know that you like SCOOT as much as I do! I bundled six of my Halloween Scoot packs together and am offering them at a reduced cost (by bundling you save $3.00)... a treat for you just in time for the upcoming holiday! 

Because my birthday is coming up later this week and because I am lovin' SCOOT sooooo much, let's have a little Pin It to Win It Party in celebration! Here's what you do...

1. Click on the SCOOT bundle above and visit its listing in my TpT Store.
2. Pin the bundle listing on Pinterest.
3. Return here and leave a blog comment in which you include the address of your pin. If you are a "no reply" blogger, please make sure that you also include an email address at which I can contact you in case you win!
4. Wait until the evening of October 26, 2013 when a winner will be selected using Random Number Generator... the number of the post matching the number generated will be sent Halloween SCOOT Bundle of Six Scoot Games via email that same evening. That's it... scary easy!

Speaking of scary... if you have Halloween items or ideas that you have blogged about, be sure to add them to my Halloween Linky Party so we can scare up a whole lot of great holiday ideas in one place.

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

Freebie Fridays

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday