October 31, 2014

Monstrously Good Buddies

My sixers certainly enjoyed the Halloween season this year, especially since they could share it with their second grade buddies. They helped their buddies create scary (not really) monsters and then developed wonderful stories about their creations.

Please enjoy the sights and sounds of creativity and newly formed friendships.



Have a Monstrously Happy Halloween!


October 30, 2014

Throwback Thursday 10.30.14

Welcome to...

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 on The Teacher's Desk 6 on Feb. 22, 2013.

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.



This song has been floating through my head constantly once again since I shared it with this year's crop of sixers last week. It can be heard in the hallways throughout the day and I'm told it's being sung at dinner tables across the city in the evenings. Former students have popped their heads into my classroom with smiles and messages of "I remember when...!"

That little song is just the beginning. Here's another about the periodic table that I shared with my sixers that features none other than Harry Potter. This musical version includes nearly all of the known elements and is a wonderful way to deepen a student's knowledge of a difficult concept.


Music is a powerful teaching tool and will engage students quickly and easily. If you can add music to your lesson, give it a try. Search YouTube for songs about your subject matter and concepts. Can't find something? Take a familiar tune and adapt the lyrics to suit your need.

Here's a simple ditty that I created a few years ago to help my students remember the Parts of Speech. You're welcome to borrow it and use it with your students if you'd like.

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.



Now it's your turn.



October 25, 2014

Five for Friday on a Saturday

Well, it's already Saturday... sigh!


FIRST... It is a gorgeous fall day in NE Ohio: Sunshine, leaves floating downward, a gentle breeze, kids playing in leaf piles, and a lonesome train whistle in the background.


SECOND...My report cards are DONE, DONE, DONE!!! No photo to go with this event, but who cares?!?!? Right?

THIRD... This past week was National Chemistry Week. We celebrated this SWEET event in our homeroom by experimenting with candy. Using the materials found in the free Chemistry Week booklet,


 we tested and analyzed sweet and sour candies that our parents donated, discovering which contain an acid and which do not.


Of course, we got to taste test the materials as well!

FOURTH... Halloween is at the end of this school week. If you haven't found some fun learning activities to accompany this holiday yet, be sure to attend my Halloween party. You'll find great teaching materials there for all grade levels.



FIFTH... My birthday is this Sunday! To celebrate I'm throwing a one day sale (Oct. 26, 2014) in my TpT store. EVERYTHING is 20% off (I wish I could take 20% off of my age).


Be sure to stop by Doodle Bugs for Teaching for more Five for Friday blog posts. It's always fun reading about what teacher bloggers are doing.



October 23, 2014

Throwback Thursday 10.23.14

Welcome to...

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 on The Teacher's Desk 6 on Oct. 29, 2013.

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!


The group of fourth graders to which I refer in the above post are now my fifth grade Language Arts students. They remember this day well and often talk about it. Something that I barely remember was very important in their young lives... you never know what really clicks with a class!

Now it's your turn!




October 22, 2014

Wordless Wednesday 10.22.14

I'm joining Miss DeCarbo at Sugar and Spice for...



Not Your Typical Teacher Gift

Do your kiddos ever bring you impromptu gifts? This was a gift that one of my boys brought me in celebration of season 5 of my favorite TV series "The Walking Dead." They know me SO well!



Be sure to stop by Miss DeCarbo's blog for more Wordless Wednesday photos shared by teacher bloggers. Then be sure to return here tomorrow for more blogging fun with...



October 19, 2014

Sunday Scoop 10.19.14

Happy Sunday! Time for...

This week marks the end of the first grading period, which means that most of my "teacher" week will be consumed with all things grades and report card. We are utilizing a new online grading service this year, so it will also  mean a bit of a learning curve as I work through new procedures and forms. If I can make it through the week, the weekend holds a wonderful prize.

Here's the scoop!


Don't forget to stop by Teaching Trio to read more Sunday Scoops. Have a great week!


October 17, 2014

Five for Friday and a Freebie

It's been quite a long time since I last joined Doodlebugs for...

FIRST... My sixers have finally selected their second grade buddies. The matches just seem to be perfect this year! We've met with our little friends several times already to work on a MONSTROUSLY fun project. Together the buddy pairs made monsters and are writing a story "My Monster and Me!" They have also written and sent cards to each other. SO CUTE!
SECOND... We have finished our first round of Literature Circles, using Lauren Tarshis's newest I Survived book about Pompeii. My kiddos LOVE these historical fiction books! I think it's because each book is so easy to read yet full of suspense and realistic adventure. They are compelled to research the actual historical event and compare the facts with the fiction. Can you say, "Common Core" with little headache? We can hardly wait for Tarshis's next book, due out in February, about the Great Chicago Fire.
THIRD... Here's a little FREEBIE to go along with our Literature Circles.
It's one of the foldables that we use in our Interactive Notebooks. You can download a copy HERE if you'd like!. You can also find it here, along with LOTS more freebies.

Freebie Fridays


FOURTH... We are really into Science this year. I have a whole crop of budding scientists! I've tried hard to include at least one investigation each week. Here we are using Mixing It Up in the Middle's Candy Corn Challenge as an end of the week STEM challenge.

FIFTH... Speaking of Science! I have been blessed this year to partner with the chemistry professor at the local branch of Kent State University, Dr. Ann Abraham. She visited my classroom this week and morphed my sixers into chemists! They learned about mixing chemicals, how to determine the ph of a substance, and created their own soda pop and jammin' jelly.
TWO things before you hop off to Doodle Bugs for Teaching to read more Five for Friday posts...

Check out this fun linky for Halloween teaching items.
You can even add your own.
Jane has a WONDERFUL celebration going on.
Be sure to visit her blog and enter to win some terrific teaching products.



October 16, 2014

SCOOTback Thursday (aka Throwback Thursday) and a giveaway!

Welcome to...

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 first appeared on The Teacher's Desk 6 on Oct. 19, 2013. I had just been introduced to SCOOT and made my first games for my kiddos. I can't believe it's only been a year since I began my love affair with this fun, engaging activity. 

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!






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 scary good cost (by bundling you save $3.00)... a treat for you just in time for the upcoming holiday! 



Speaking of scary... if you have Halloween items (free or paid), 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.




My kiddos STILL love SCOOT, but they also enjoy other activities using task cards. One that my older students really enjoy is called SCATTER. I simply take the set of task cards that I want my students to practice and scatter the cards all around the room- on a window, on the door, peeking out from under a keyboard, on the back of a chair, etc. My kiddos wander around the room completing the task cards as they find them. It gets them up and out of their seats while still engaging them with content. Scatter is a great activity for the end of long, tiring week!






If you haven't tried SCATTER yet, it's time to give it a try. To get you started I'd like to give you my newest pack of task cards...On Halloween: In Search of Prepositional Phrases.


Just leave a comment below by the evening of Saturday, Oct. 18, 2014, telling me how you might use them in your classroom and I'll send you the pack, just like that!


Now it's your turn for a throwback!