August 28, 2014

Throwback Thursday Response Booklets

It's that time again (I almost forgot it was Thursday....egads!) so it's time for...


What is Throwback Thursday? How does it work, you might ask? Simply look through your PURR-fect Previous Posts, perhaps a particular favorite of yours, and re-post it! Then add the TBT badge to your post and include your link below! Purr-fectly easy and simple! Your post doesn't have to be from LOOOONNNGGG ago; it can be from last month or even earlier this week. And if you don't have a post to share, perhaps an old photo or two from WAY BACK will do! Even a favorite pin is PURR-fect! Just join in the Throwback fun!


This blog post originally was posted on Feb. 20, 2013, my first REAL post ever (I did write an introductory post but that one doesn't count)

I recently observed a sixth grade language arts teacher at a different school and liked an activity that she was doing with her classes. I immediately began planning how I could incorporate this same idea into my own classroom. I call the activity a Response Booklet. The first one I'm having my students do is centered around sentences and aligns with the Common Core Standard for English Language Arts grade six number five. It's a great way for my students to brush-up on previously taught skills without them having to complete a worksheet, and it causes them to read more closely and thoughtfully.

I am anxious to see my students' completed booklets and will share photos here when they are finished with them.

 Feel free to download a copy and try it out in your classroom. Although intended for a sixth grade class, it can easily be adapted to other grade levels. This is the first of several response booklets I have planned. The complete set will be available for purchase in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store when it is finished.

You can download the FREE sample copy HERE.



Now it's your turn...




August 27, 2014

August 25, 2014

Monday Made It: Voice-o-Meter

I'm happy to be joining Tara once again for...


This week's Made It was another quick and simple one that I whipped up on Sunday afternoon. I had planned on having this done before school started but I ran out of time (and steam). 

Here's my Voice-o-Meter! 

You've probably seen the Noise Level Charts all over Pinterest, and if you are a proponent of Whole Brain Teaching then you are familiar with the Volume-o-Meter and how it works. My Voice-O-Meter is similar. There are six levels of voices that my class identifies from Jackpot (REALLY LOUD and FRENZIED) to BARELY THERE (quietest whisper imaginable). This clip chart is meant to be prominently displayed in a classroom. The teacher can mark the acceptable voice level for each activity throughout the school day with a clothespin or clip. Students can view the chart and be constantly reminded of their expected noise level.

I can't wait to put it to use this coming week! If you'd like a copy of my Voice-o-Meter you can download it HERE; it's a forever FREEBIE!

Don't forget to hop over to Tara's blog for more Monday Made It's! Make sure you also stop by Classroom Freebies where you can find loads of terrific FREE teaching items.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

August 21, 2014

Throwback Thursday 8.21.14

Are you ready? Let's get started with...


What is Throwback Thursday? How does it work, you might ask? Simply look through your PURR-fect Previous Posts, perhaps a particular favorite of yours, and re-post it! Then add the TBT badge to your post and include your link below! Purr-fectly easy and simple! Your post doesn't have to be from LOOOONNNGGG ago; it can be from last month or even earlier this week. And if you don't have a post to share, perhaps an old photo or two from WAY BACK will do! Even a favorite pin is PURR-fect! Just join in the Throwback fun!



This post originally appeared August 18, 2013, while I was preparing things for the first week of school which is what I'm doing now as well. That's how I came upon this post.

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!


This book is once again ready to go in my Kindle (actually on my Kindle app on the computer at school). I hope this crop of sixers enjoys it as much as the last did.

OK, now it's your turn.



August 18, 2014

Monday Made It Corny Treat Labels

I had every intention of writing this blog post on Saturday (I went to see Cirque du Soleil), then again on Sunday evening (I spent a longer day than I thought with special friends)... you see that my intentions didn't make it until now when Monday is nearly over. However, it is still Monday so I made it for...


This week's Made It is a quicky and oh so simple one! I was looking for a clever, cute treat that I could share with my sixers on the first day of school. I didn't want the SODA-lighted pop cans from last year or the survival bags of previous years. I wanted REALLY quick and simple! While I was walking through Big Lots I spied these and grabbed a couple of boxes.


My incoming sixers LOVE corny puns so I thought of this little greeting and made some labels which if you like, you can download HERE.


I cut out the labels using a giant, scalloped hole punch and stapled them to the fruit pouches. Here's what the finished treat looks like!


Not too bad for a quicky!

Be sure to stop by Tara's blog 4th Grade Frolics for more Monday Made It's!

Please also stop by my dear, bloggy friend Jessica's blog, Joy in the Journey. Her husband and friends from church are traveling to Southeast Asia this fall to help improve the living conditions for Cambodian villagers.


To help defray the cost of the trip, Jessica (along with a little help from some of her bloggy friends) has put together a wonderful back-to-school package of teaching products that she is offering in her TpT store at a very low price. All of the proceeds from this package are going toward the trip.



Please consider purchasing this bundle for a great cause!



August 14, 2014

Throwback Thursday One Year Ago

Are you ready? Let's get started with...


What is Throwback Thursday? How does it work, you might ask? Simply look through your PURR-fect Previous Posts, perhaps a particular favorite of yours, and re-post it! Then add the TBT badge to your post and include your link below! Purr-fectly easy and simple! Your post doesn't have to be from LOOOONNNGGG ago; it can be from last month or even earlier this week. And if you don't have a post to share, perhaps an old photo or two from WAY BACK will do! Even a favorite pin is PURR-fect! Just join in the Throwback fun!



This post originally appeared August 13, 2013, during my PIN EVERYTHING IN SIGHT phase... LOL!

I'm loving that Pinterest is now featuring Teacher Boards, one per grade level and specialty area.



Of course, I love the sixth grade board the most!



I love the many great teaching and back to school ideas floating around on Pinterest...








I love the terrific fall recipes I've been finding lately on Pinterest...






And I love the funny comics that have been posted on Pinterest...




And I love all things cats...





It's your turn now.




August 13, 2014

Wordless Wednesday Masterpiece Giveaway

It's time for...

I LOVE to read aloud to my kiddos! One of my all-time favorite read aloud authors is Patricia Polacco. Here is her brand new, just released yesterday book!


It's a little like Thank You, Mr. Falkner, but I won't tell you more. It is SOOOOOOO good! You'll have to read it for yourself. 

To help you out I'll send you your very own copy. Just leave a little message below about the "stuff" you like to read to your students. I'll select ONE name Thursday, Aug. 14th after 6:00pm EST from the comments at random to receive Patricia Polacco's BRAND NEW book Mr. Wayne's Masterpiece. Please make sure that I can contact you via email to get your mailing address, so "no-reply bloggers" make sure to include your email in your comment.

Be sure to visit Miss DeCarbo's blog for more fun Wordless Wednesday posts by other teacher bloggers.

UPDATE... 8/14/14 at 9:00pm EST

AND THE WINNER IS...




August 12, 2014

Two for Tuesday

I'm linking up with The Teaching Tribune for...


This week I'm offering two bundles for 50% the regular price. This makes for a substantial savings since my bundles have a built in saving to begin with.

First is...
3-2-1 Back to School ELA Bundle
3-2-1 ELA Back-to-School Bundle
Are you looking for FUN and ENGAGING Back to School themed ELA activities to review or introduce key language arts concepts? Look no further! This bundle contains SIX products to help your intermediate students practice identifying parts of speech and kinds of sentences, as well as recognizing fragments, sentences, and run-ons. Included are THREE Zap! games, TWO Mystery Pictures, and ONE pack of Scoot cards. Normally selling for $7.00, today you can purchase it for only $3.50. That's just a little more than 50 cents for each item. WHAT A BARGAIN!

The second is...
Halloween Scoot BUNDLE of Six Scoot Activities
Halloween Scoot Bundle of SIX Scoot Games
Halloween is often a wild time of the year to try and squeeze learning in. These Scoot games provide essential Language Arts skills practice while having FUN! The following skills are contained in this bundle.

Simple Subjects and Predicates
Nouns, Verbs, or Adjectives
Prepositional Phrases
Sentence Structure
Sentence Type
Independent Clauses, Dependent Clauses, Phrases


This bundle normally sells for $8.50. Grab it today for only $4.25. WOW! Six Scoot games at less than one dollar each.

Be sure to stop by The Teaching Tribune for more great bargains on terrific teaching items. And be sure to stop back on Thursday for...


Better yet, why not join me with a TBT post, pic, or pin in just two days? I'll be watching for your throwback ideas!



August 11, 2014

Anchors Away! Starting Point

The leisurely pace of summer is drawing quickly to a close. I only have three days of summer left before I HAVE to go to work. This Thursday I report for an official faculty meeting... sigh!

I've already begun 'working' in that I've begun to seriously plan my introductory lessons and materials. One of the first lessons that I do with seventh grade Language Arts students is that of recognizing and writing compound, complex, and compound-complex sentences. I've already worked with this group of students for two years so I know they have the background skills (independent vs. dependent clauses) to prepare them. I'm planning on creating an anchor chart to serve both as a memory guide and an introduction to the types of sentences so I'm joining Deb's linky at Crafting Connections this week.



I found a great post about anchor charts over at Minds in Bloom. The post details a best practice for creating anchor charts. Boy, did I need to see this! I especially like the description for how to place information on the chart. There is even a sample template provided.


I'm not very artistic and don't always have a good sense of how I should design a chart. This template is a terrific starting point, breaking down the key areas of the chart and what information to include in each. I believe that if I follow a similar pattern on each chart that I create this year, my students may find my charts easier to read and use. Thanks, Minds in Bloom, for a great starting point; I'm actually looking forward to starting this one!

Be sure to stop by Crafting Connections for more blog posts about anchor charts.


August 7, 2014

Throwback Thursday 8.7.14

Are you ready? Let's get started with...


What is Throwback Thursday? How does it work, you might ask? Simply look through your PURR-fect Previous Posts, perhaps a particular favorite of yours, and re-post it! Then add the TBT badge to your post and include your link below! Purr-fectly easy and simple! Your post doesn't have to be from LOOOONNNGGG ago; it can be from last month or even earlier this week. And if you don't have a post to share, perhaps an old photo or two from WAY BACK will do! Even a favorite pin is PURR-fect! Just join in the Throwback fun!



This post appeared on Instagram earlier this week. It was my shopping cart prior to checkout for the big TpT Back to School Sale. Did I purchase all these items? You betcha, and then some! AND I STILL keep finding MORE and MORE and MORE that I want to purchase!!!!!


I can NOT wait to start using all these terrific teaching products. I so enjoy adding new materials to my curriculum. I'm especially looking forward to teaching sixth grade science this year as I'll be working with a chemistry professor from our local university branch. I'll be blogging about our partnership throughout the year. I grabbed a few science items at this week's sale to make our lessons a little more fun!

Now it's your turn.




August 6, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: Reading Interruptions

It is time once again for...


I'm not really complaining, but this happens every time I try to read no matter where I am. Right now, I'm reading, or attempting to read, Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids by Chris Biffle. Good thing, right? I've got a challenging kid (sort of) of my own.


Does anyone else have interruptions to her/his reading?

Don't forget to hop over to Miss DeCarbo's blog, Sugar and Spice, to see more Wordless Wednesday posts. I always look forward this fun linky each week!

Something else that I look forward to is...


I hope that you'll return tomorrow and link-up your PURR-fect past posts, pics, and pins. I'll be sharing shopping finds for my TBT post this week. I wonder what you'll share!?!?!?!



August 5, 2014

Tried It Tuesday: BB Background


It's time for another Tried It Tuesday with Holly over at Fourth Grade Flipper. Be sure to visit her blog and check out all the great Tried It ideas when you're finished here.

I tried something new, well, sort of new this week. I had read on several blogs about using plastic tablecloths to cover classroom bulletin board backgrounds. Plastic ones, the thin plastic ones, I thought? Hmm? I've used flannel backed tablecloths, fabric, paper, but the thin plastic cloths? I wasn't convinced, but those teacher bloggers and their followers swore by them, so......



WELL!!! They work beautifully!!!!!! And better yet.... el cheapo! I paid a whole 97 cents for the one in the pic above and I cut it in half and got two board backgrounds out of it. The green is the plastic cloth while the blue is still the fabric from past years. I changed up my color scheme a bit, yet kept the teal blue. 

There is one thing that you do need to watch out for as you're working with the plastic cloths: They can easily tear, so be sure to be a bit gentler with them than the standard background materials. This is not a material that you want to use if you change your boards frequently but like keeping the same background. Not gonna work! However, if you're like me and put up a board for the whole year... PERFECTO!

Now the next thing that I need to try and do is this...


I have several of these piles in my classroom and several more still at home... sigh!

YOUR TURN... Something for YOU to try is a wonderful giveaway going on over at Mixing It Up In Middle. Lori is celebrating 100 Followers with three terrific prize packages. Stop by Lori's blog to congratulate her on her milestone and to enter one, two, or even, all three of her Rafflecopters!




Something else for you to try is Throwback Thursday, especially if you haven't yet. Thursday is the PURR-fect time to share  your previous posts, pics, and pins. It gives you a little bit of a break from blogging since throwback posts are simple to plan and prepare. Perhaps you'll share your TPT Back to School Sale experience this week... that's my plan for a throwback! Hope to see you link-up with me on Thursday.