June 30, 2014

Monday Made It and Anchors Away PQA FREEBIE

Today's blog post is a two-fer! I made something this week that is an "anchor" chart so I am linking up with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It (my first one in eons) and also with my sweet, bloggy friend Deb from Crafting Connections for Anchors Away.


I finally, finally had the time and the gumption to make something this week. I had piddled around with a few TpT products since summer break began, but I hadn't really made something, like a REAL something, something concrete, something you can hold in your hand. So, what did I finally end up making?

A few weeks ago I blogged about not having the storage space to keep all the anchor charts that my students and I generate throughout a school year. I end up throwing them all out when I really should be using them with my kiddos. That's what an anchor chart is intended for. I also blogged about some possible solutions for the upcoming school year. You can read the detailed post HERE, and then as part of the solution I discussed some cute Tolsby photo frames from IKEA HERE. This all came together as part of my PQA lesson.


PQA is the first lesson that I cover with my incoming fifth grade Language Arts students and review with my returning sixth and seventh grade students. PQA or Put the Question in the Answer is an acronym to help my students remember how to phrase answers to questions. I am very particular with student responses at this level. It is no longer sufficient to just give an answer that is only a few words. I expect them to be able to elaborate, cite text evidence, and write in standard English for nearly every answer. PQA is the first step in helping them achieve this expectation.

Here is the permanent PQA anchor chart. I say permanent because I will actually develop this concept step-by-step on a chart paper with my students, giving them plenty of examples along the way. This decorative, smaller chart will replace that large sheet of paper. This smaller chart marks the unveiling of my new color/pattern scheme; I'm toning it down a bit, but still keeping it colorful.


Because this is such an important skill that I want my students to internalize I am placing a mini-anchor chart on each table. I miniaturized the above chart to fit in the Tolsby frame (4" x 6"). In the front of the frame is the anchor chart while in the back is the table number. The frame is golden because these are golden nuggets of knowledge... items my students MUST know. Only THE MOST IMPORTANT information will be displayed in these golden frames on the student tables. I've other frames that will be spray painted in accent colors (another Monday Made It for the future) and used for additional miniature anchor charts along the window ledges.


These charts are just a part of my PQA lesson. I spend several days developing and practicing the skill together with the students before I expect them to produce it independently. This year we will be continuing with Interactive Notebooks for Language Arts so I also made a foldable to accompany the lesson. This will serve as  yet another resource for my students.

This is what the student INB page looks like.

student foldable

I will more than likely print them on colored paper.



The two flaps are meant to be layered.



Under both flaps will be written and highlighted an example to illustrate the concept, creating a great reference for PQA.


If you'd like a copy of the foldable and anchor chart, you can download it HERE.

Be sure to stop by Tara's blog for more great Monday Made It ideas and Deb's blog for additional anchor chart ideas. Also, don't forget that Throwback Thursday is only three days away. Get your PURR-fect Previous Posts ready to link-up here at The Teacher's Desk 6.










Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

June 26, 2014

Tried and True Teaching Tip for Throwback Thursday

Welcome to...

Look through those PURR-fect Previous Posts, perhaps a particular favorite of yours, and re-post it! Then add this badge to your post and add your link below! Purr-fectly easy and simple! Your post doesn't have to be from LOOOONNNGGG ago; it can be from last month. And if you don't have a post to share, perhaps an old photo or two from WAYBACK will do! Even a favorite pin is PURR-fect! Just join in the Throwback fun!


I am linking my own throwback post this week to The Teaching Tribune where they are gathering Tried and True Teaching Tips today. I think my throwback post fits their topic PURR-fectly!


This post first appeared on my blog on Feb. 22, 2013. It was only the fourth post I had authored.

Besides being a teacher, I am a musician and singer. I constantly have music floating through my head and I generally walk to a beat. As a result I have always tried to include music in my teaching. Setting facts and concepts to a familiar tune and teaching it to children results in a quicker and longer retention rate of material.  It does take a bit of time to set your instructional content to music, but with the advent of YouTube it is easy to locate a piece of music for just about any concept that you must teach. Just ask the parents of  my current sixth grade class.

I had the pleasure of working with this group of students when they were in fourth grade, teaching them Science. I introduced the concept of the periodic table and its features to them during a unit on "Kitchen Chemistry." Pretty heavy stuff for fourth graders! However, knowing that these children LOVED to sing, I went in search of some music about this concept. I found a few gems on YouTube that were suitable for this age group and shared them with the class. One turned out to be quite a treasure! They beg me to let them sing it TO THIS DAY (two years later) and they have gone on to write additional verses. Nearly every one of my current sixth graders is able to recite AT LEAST the first 20 elements in the periodic table thanks to this video.


With that being said, I am pulling out an old, old song I used years ago in my Language Arts classes, one to help my students learn the purpose of each of the eight Parts of Speech. It's been hidden in a drawer of my desk, collecting dust far too long. It served my students well at one time, and since my class this year LOVES to sing, it's time to air it out once again. It was developed by me and a few staff members who were attending an after school inservice about multiple intelligences and thematic planning (hint as to the decade).

Parts of Speech song

Sung to the tune of "Here We Go 'Round the Mulberry Bush"

What are the parts of speech, parts of speech, parts of speech?
What are the parts of speech?
Listen well and learn!


Nouns,verbs and interjections, adverbs, pronouns, prepositions,
Conjunctions and adjectives
Are the parts of speech.


A noun is a naming word, naming word, naming word.
A noun is a naming word,
a person, place, or thing.


A verb is an action word, an action word, an action word.
A verb is an action word or
am, is, are, was, were.


A pronoun renames a noun, renames a noun, renames a noun.
A pronoun renames a noun:
she, he, it, they, we.


An adjective's a describing word, describing word, describing word.
An adjective's a describing word;
it tells about a noun.


An adverb describes a verb, describes a verb, describes a verb.
An adverb describes a verb:
how, when, where, how much.


Interjections shows surprise, show surprise, show surprise.
Interjections show surprise.
Oh my gosh!


Conjunctions are joining words, joining words, joining words.
Conjunctions are joining words:
and, but, or, for, yet.


In, around, about, behind, over, under, up, inside,
Into, during, with, before
These are prepositions.


Now you know the parts of speech, parts of speech, parts of speech.
Now you know the parts of speech.
You will use them in your writing.



Please feel free to borrow this song and use it with your students. I'd love to hear how the experience goes.







June 25, 2014

Wordless and Worksheet Wednesday, Summer Style

I'm once again joining Miss DeCarbo of Sugar and Spice for her weekly linky...



What is one of your favorite summer past times?

Mine is our Saturday night family bonfire, weanie roast, and S'Mores!

And speaking of summer... I am joining The Teaching Tribune today for Worksheet Wednesday. Today we are asked to share a one page, SUMMER-themed FREE worksheet.


Since I teach grs. 5-7 Language Arts many of my students leave me in June only to return in August as my students once again. Before they leave me in June I asked them to fill out one of these goal sheets (inspired by a linky Jess from I {Heart} Recess hosted last year). Then when my students return in late August, we will use them as discussion and writing starters. If you'd like a copy of this summer goal setting sheet, just click HERE or on the pic.




Are you ready? Tomorrow's the day!!!!!


Get your throwback posts, pics, and/or pins ready to share!




June 24, 2014

Two for and Tried It Tuesday

I'm linking up twice today. First with Holly over at Fourth Grade Flipper for...


and then with The Teaching Tribune for...



What I tried this week is not related to teaching. I tried something else with my nails... Jamberry Nails. If you haven't heard of them, they are all the rage. You can have super cute nails without a trip to the salon, doing them yourself. They are super easy and look GREAT!

I had several friends who were wearing Jamberries at school and I was intrigued so I explored the Jamberry site and fell in love with all the great designs. It wasn't too later that I was invited to a Jamberry party where I ordered my first set(s) online through a Facebook Jamberry party.

A few days after the party my nail wraps arrived in the mail in an envelope... much smaller than I expected. I opened the envelope and saw...


In the envelope were my wraps, ready to peal, cut, and stick. I decided to try the peacock design first.



Once I had them on, I was hooked. I personally enjoy a combination of polish and wraps, a little edgier look, so I combined my Julep Maven polish with my Jamberry wraps for this funky, fun look...






Don't forget to visit Fourth Grade Flipper for more Tried It Tuesday items! 

And stay tuned for more about this Jamberry Tried It. On the evening of July 17th I will be hosting a Facebook Jamberry Party and all of you, my bloggy friends, followers, and visitors will be invited to attend. There will be more information later this week about the event. I wanted to give you a little advance notice so you can mark your calendars and keep the night free.


Each Tuesday The Teaching Tribune hosts a linky where all the participants link up two of their teaching products that they are offering for sale at a 50% discount. Today I am offering these two items, each a bundle of FIVE literacy centers for the upper grades. Normally each center sells for one dollar each. I offer the bundles for three dollars each; that's a savings of two dollars per bundle. For today only, I am offering each bundle for only $1.50. If you purchase both bundles, it's like you are getting SEVEN literacy centers FREE, and we all LOVE free!

These centers are no mess, no fuss, easy on the ink, products. Just print, cut, and use. Click on the pics to read more about the centers or to purchase them from my TpT Store. ENJOY!





Don't forget that in two days it will be time for...


Locate a past PURR-fect post, pin, or pic to share with your bloggy friends and followers. It's easy, peasy, one, two, three, requiring little prep... PURR-fect for a lazy, summer day.

Come along and join in the throwback fun this every Thursday!





June 23, 2014

Anchors Away and Monday Meet Up 6.23.14

I'm once again joining my sweet, bloggy friend Deb from Crafting Connections for her weekly linky...


This begins my third week of summer break. If you are a teacher and are like me, then you are already planning lessons, units, etc. for the next school year. I was poking through all my boards on Pinterest just seeking inspiration when I came across this idea for a really neat anchor chart:




I really like how the author uses color as part of the editing/revising process. That alone turns a ho-hum, routine process into a more enjoyable activity. I also like how the author has a balance of positive and negative revisions, meaning that items that are present are marked as well as items that are missing.

This is a chart that I am going to use with all of my ELA classes. I am going to tweak it just a bit using the PURPLE category as a changeable one. Depending on the skill(s) that we are focusing on, I could have this category color focus on figurative language one week or vivid verbs another. Perhaps instead of a single chart such as the one displayed, I might make individual signs per color to hang in a display. This would make it much easier to change a color's focus. There is also the possibility of using a pocket chart with sentence strips, one or two per color.

Do any of you use a similar editing/revising system? Do you have any suggestions for displaying this type of "anchor chart" other than as a single sheet of paper? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

I am also joining The Teaching Tribune for their fourth Monday Meet Up of the summer.






Looking ahead to Thursday, come and join me for...


Poke through your PURR-fect Previous Posts (pins, pictures included) and re-post them for all to see once again! This is the PURR-fect linky for a lazy summer day because it requires little preparation.

Hope to see you all on Thursday!


June 20, 2014

Five for Friday Favorites 6.20.14

I'm once again joining my bloggy friend Chandra from Teaching with Crayons and Curls for her weekly linky...


Hmm? The question is what should I share as my favorite find of the week; I have several for a change...five as a matter of fact... so I am also joining Doodlebugs for...


First, I think I'll share the great deal I found on the IKEA Tolsby frames on eBay. I got a box of thirty for under 25 dollars with free shipping... that is less than what I would've paid for them at IKEA. WOOT! WOOT!


I used these little wonders as table signs last year. On one side was the table number and on the other an inspirational quote. I switched out the quotes periodically throughout the year and used them as discussion or writing starters.



This year I'm planning on using the frames to showcase my anchor charts. I've already given the older ones a facelift by spray painting them gold. They turned out really nice!



I just do not have the wall space to hang the myriad anchor charts we create in class (three different sections of middle school ELA). I saw an idea on Pinterest that uses the Tolsby frame with miniaturized (take a photo and resize) anchor charts. I can line-up the frames along the narrow window ledge, and the anchor charts will be readily available for any student to peruse.

Next, I also have several non-teaching finds. First, well, really second,  I received the prettiest copper colored nail polish in my June Julep shipment (check out the Julep Maven program if you haven't already... just click HERE for more info.) LOVIN' it!


And second/third?... I bought a purse! EGADS! Me, who said she would never carry a purse again! When I quit smoking fourteen years ago I no longer NEEDED to carry a purse, so I turned to a lady's wallet instead. I could even slip my keys and cell phone inside of it.  Now that I have a Smartphone I can no longer just stick it in my wallet or pocket. It's just too large. So I splurged and bought a Vera Bradley. I used it for the first time this past Thursday and received three compliments, one of them from my grown nephew... surprise! I'm glad that I bought it!


Next up is not so much a find, but definitely a favorite... a favorite that is until it is FIVE O'CLOCK in the morning. How does one retrain fur babies to a summer schedule???? This week they finally have let me go back to sleep after feeding them.


Fifth and finally, I leave you with a little bit of Ohio sweetness... one of the best parts of summer! I forgot to snap a few shots of the aftermath... DELICIOUS strawberry jam, which by the way I have eaten each morning this week as part of my breakfast! YUM!


Don't forget to stop by Chandra's blog to read about all the great finds we teachers have found this week and Doodlebugs for some teacher randomness and fun on a Friday!

Also don't forget to participate in my Mystery Picture Bundle giveaway going on now through June 22, 2014. Visit this blog post for your chance to enter.