December 30, 2015

Let the Countdown Begin: Top Ten Posts of 2015

The end of the old year and the beginning of the new is a great time to take stock, stock of habits (both good and bad), stock of health, stock of career, and even stock of one's blog. With that in mind I decided to look at the top ten posts here on The Teacher's Desk 6. This should help me focus on the topics that my followers most like to read. So then, what posts received the most visitors? Let the countdown begin...

TEN... Published on July 2, 2015
Make Your Masterpiece was the third in a series of TpT Seller Challenges that was hosted by Ashley of Teach Create Motivate. Sellers were encouraged to create a "masterpiece" product to offer in their stores. This was my masterpiece.

NINE...Published on Jan. 20, 2015
Tuesday Writing P.A.W.S. FREEBIE was the initial post of a weekly series. The Paragraph a Week Program is near and dear to my heart as I explain in this post.  Each week a writing prompt is offered free to followers. It's print and go ready!

EIGHT... Published on July 27, 2015
Teacher Faves was part of a series of posts hosted by Ramona from Ramona Recommends, Layla from Fancy Free in 4th, and Jamie from a Not so Wimpy Teacher.

SEVEN... Published on Nov. 27, 2015
Here's to Advent, A HUGE Collection of Activities featured ideas, activities, and all things Advent, free and paid.

SIX... Published on Nov. 10, 2015
Teaching Tuesday: Thankful for the Tuesday Writing P.A.W.S. featured another topic from my Paragraph a Week Program, one with a Thanksgiving theme, and was part of a linky hosted by HoJo's Teaching Adventures.

FIVE... Published on Aug. 6, 2015
Favorite Things: Three Terrific Techie Teaching Tools was part of a linky hosted by the Teaching Trio wherein participants were asked to blog about their favorite teaching things. Here're mine.

FOUR... Published on June 6, 2015
Monday Made It: I Have, Who Has How-to was part of the ever popular linky hosted by 4th Grade Frolics. In this popular post I explain how I make an I Have, Who Has activity. Not sure what that is? All I will say here is that it is one of, if not THE favorite classroom activity in all my classes. Be sure to read this post for more information.

THREE... Published on Jan. 27, 2015
Tuesday Writing P.A.W.S. 1.27.15 featured yet another Paragraph a Week topic; this one about what it means to be nice. It also featured information about assessing the writing topics and incorporating writing skills, such as the 6+1 Traits of Good Writing within the program. Readers were able to download a free Interactive Notebook Foldable to help students learn the traits.

TWO... Published on July 20, 2015
Monday Made It: Oh So Simple, Oh So Cute... and a gift was another post that was part of weekly linky over at 4th Grade Frolics. In this post I showed how I made really cute bathroom passes and shared some Christmas (in July) gift coupons.

THE TOP POST AT THE TEACHER'S DESK 6 FOR 2015... Published on July 13, 2015

Monday Made It: Another Kind of TPT was also part of the weekly linky over at 4th Grade Frolics. In this post I reviewed the book Total Participation Techniques (TPT, for short) by Persidea and William Himmele. I was inspired to create a formative assessment tool based on what I learned about in the book.

These top posts give me something to think about regarding blogging. The most popular posts are either part of a linky or part of a weekly series. Two of my New Year blogging resolutions are...

1. to participate in more linky parties

2. to be very consistent in blogging my weekly series posts.

Let's hope I have the resolve to follow through!
Have you made any resolutions for this coming year? I'd love to hear yours.
Happy New Year, Everyone!

I'm adding this post to a fun linky hosted by Years That Ask Questions. Be sure to stop by and check out all of the favorite, best of the best blogger posts of 2015.

December 28, 2015

Mind Boggling Monday: New Year ELA Ideas

Well, my mind was certainly boggled! What was I thinking? To not have Mind Boggling Monday until mid-January? EEK! A game of boggle is perfect to start the mind juices flowing again after a long holiday break. It's perfect for morning work on that first day back, allowing the teacher to catch a breath and get those housekeeping chores completed. Here's a fun, sparkly New Year boggle board for you and your students. Just download the image and project it for you to have some fun! But don't just stop with a game of boggle. Keep reading for loads of ELA activities to fill your morning back after break.

Not sure how to play Boggle? Click HERE for the original game rules.

Need a Boggle board that you can edit yourself? Click HERE for a free editable board.

Want a blank boggle board template for your students to use with classroom boggle? Click HERE.

How about a variety of editable boards to change with the seasons? Click HERE for a bundle of fifteen.

Speaking of New Year... here's another fun little freebie that you can also use to motivate your students in those opening moments of the first day back from break. Sneak in a mystery picture and sneak in some Language Arts review with identifying parts of speech. My kiddos clamor for mystery pictures! I don't think they recognize that it's school WORK. They think of mystery pictures as just FUN! You can download your New Year mystery picture HERE. And if you like this mystery picture, check out this link for a WHOLE PASSEL of mystery pictures for all the seasons and holidays.

And if a game of boggle and a mystery picture aren't enough, here's a fun game of ZAP! that also focuses on parts of speech. Click HERE to get your own copy.

What? Not sure what ZAP! is?

For those of you who don't know how to play ZAP, here's a quick run down. The game consists of playing cards in a container (generally a Pringle's can). The cards focus on a particular skill (in this case, identifying nouns, verbs, and adjectives).

  1. Divide your class into several teams depending on the number of students. Determine how long you will play or how many rounds you will complete. 
  2. Have a student draw a strip from the container without looking inside. 
  3. The team should read the words on the strip, then confer to determine the answer.
  4. If the team answers correctly, it keeps the strip. If it answers incorrectly the strip is returned to the container.
  5. Teams take turns drawing/collecting the strips. However, there is a twist. If a team draws a ZAP! card, it must return ALL of its strips to the container. 
  6. The winner is the team that collects the most strips. You may want to award them with a simple prize such as a treat, bonus points on an upcoming quiz/test, 5 minutes of free time, etc.
Now, doesn't that sound like a fun activity to include in your first day back after break?

Still need a few more ELA activities to fill your morning back after break? High energy or focused study? How about a game of scoot or doing an interactive notebook lesson? This set of noun task cards might be just what you need. You can read more about them HERE.


I hope that your return back to classes after break is smooth and wonderful and that you might have found an idea or two here that helped make it that way!

December 27, 2015

Sunday Scoop, the last one in December

Why is it that when I am on break, I seem to have more to do than when I am in school? At least all the busyness is fun stuff! Check out my scoop for this week.

Check out more Sunday Scoops over at the Teaching Trio, or even add your own!

December 15, 2015

Tuesday Writing PaWs: Presents

One goal of the Original Paragraph a Week Program was to grow our students' writing skills in a progressive manner. We began with the student goal of independently writing a well-organized, detailed, literate paragraph and gradually pushed our students into writing well-organized, detailed, literate essays. This week's PaWs features a topic for one such essay. You can download your free instruction sheet HERE.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
The Tuesday Writing PaWs will return with a brand new topic in mid-January.

December 14, 2015

Mind Boggling Monday: Happy Holidays

My mind is boggled this week! It is the final week before Christmas break and we are in full, Christmas Program Practice mode. Today is our final rehearsal with the big performance tomorrow afternoon and evening. Excitement levels are HIGH!!! One way to contend with the excitement is to provide students with fun, engaging learning activities that require little or no preparation. Classroom Boggle is one such activity. Just download the following gameboard to project for your students to use. Why not join them in playing a round of boggle?

Not sure how to play Boggle? Click HERE for the original game rules.

Need a Boggle board that you can edit yourself? Click HERE for a free editable board.

Want a blank boggle board template for your students to use with classroom boggle? Click HERE.

How about a variety of editable boards to change with the seasons? Click HERE for a bundle of fifteen.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Mind Boggling Monday will return in mid-January with brand new weekly boggle boards.

December 13, 2015

Sunday Scoop

Today marks the first day of the last week of school for this year. Yep, on Friday of this week my Christmas break begins just after noon, and I don't return to school until after the New Year... doing a happy dance. Something else I'm happy about is Sunday Scoop with the Teaching Trio... love this little linky. It's fun seeing what teacher bloggers have planned for their week ahead.

Here's my scoop for the week ahead...

December 8, 2015

Tuesday Writing PaWs: Advent Traditions

This week's Paragraph a Week topic draws our attention to Advent, the beginning of the Church year and the time of preparation for the coming of our Lord. I am including a little extra freebie for you and your students that might serve as a brainstorming or preparatory piece prior to assigning the PaW for the week.

Called a Take Three, students are given a topic (in our case ADVENT) and six subtopics for which they must supply three details. Take Threes are terrific pre-writing activities as well as time-fillers, morning work, or just those few minutes left at the end of a class. Here's an Advent Take Three that you can download HERE.

Now for the PaW topic for this week. Please download your free instruction sheet HERE.

December 7, 2015

Mind Boggling Monday: Immaculate Conception

Tomorrow, Dec. 8th,  we will celebrate the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception by attending Mass together as a school. This is an often confusing feast day for y students. Many Catholics associate this feast with the event wherein the Angel Gabriel announces to Mary that she will become the mother of our Lord. That is actually placed on the Church calendar on March 25th (the Annunciation). Just do your math a little and it makes complete sense. Count forward nine months (the human gestation period) from March 25th and what do you have? Christmas, Dec. 25th.

Now do the same from Dec. 8th and what do you have? Sept. 8th. Don't recognize that date? Check your Church calendar and you should see "The Nativity of Mary" listed there. Sept. 8th is Mary's birthday. So then Dec. 8th is the day that Mary's mother Anne conceived her daughter without sin... Immaculate Conception. Ah!

I will be doing a lesson to help my sixers understand this Church holyday. They will be taking a few notes in their Religion notebooks, using this foldable. It's yours for the downloading if you like. Just click HERE.

Here's this week's boggle board. Just download the image for you and your students to use. Can you find the Immaculate Conception words? Mary, feast, babe, pray.

December 6, 2015

Sunday Scoop: Happy St. Nicholas Day

Today is one of my favorite days during Advent. I just adore the tradition of St. Nicholas, the kindly third century bishop from Turkey. It is from this religious figure that we derive our Santa Claus. St. Nicholas came to visit our school on Friday and he left treats in our students' shoes.

You can read more about this legendary figure HERE. Meanwhile here's a little freebie in honor of St. Nicholas Day, a set of brag tags made just for this special day. You can download your set HERE.

It's not only St. Nicholas Day, it's also Sunday Scoop day. I'm joining the bloggers of the Teaching Trio for this fun weekly linky.

Here's my scoop for this great day week...

Have a great Sunday! Happy St. Nicholas Day!

December 5, 2015

December Pinterest Pick 3

Uh, what happened to Dec. 1, 2, 3, and 4? Blink, they must've been here since it's now the fifth! Truly, is every teacher that busy or is it just me that misses days? It couldn't be my age, could it? I don't remember being this harried when I was younger. Ah well, although I missed the target date of Dec. 3rd for this my favorite monthly linky, I am here now with some great Pinterest finds for the month of December.

Let's get started with the December Pinterest FUN!
Just click the link below each graphic to be swept away to the pin.

I am a STEM gal! I thoroughly enjoy the simple, engaging, and fun activities. A STEM activity usually requires little prep, uses materials you normally have or that are easy to procure and is totally learning packed for kiddos. My sixers have STEM-med their way through building towers, vehicles, and bridges with plastic cups, index cards, toothpicks, and candy corn so far this year while learning about engineering and science principals. I can NOT wait to try this great STEM activity with them next week.

STEM Christmas Trees

I really enjoy sharing creative writing activities with my students. Here's a fun and engaging Santa activity guaranteed to inspire creativity in even middle school students while sharpening their writing skills.

Design a suit for Santa

This time of the school year can be difficult for both teachers and students. Holiday excitement and thoughts of the holiday break ahead often interfere with our ability to focus... GUILTY! Here's something that just might help.

Be sure to visit all the terrific blogs below for MANY MORE terrific Pinterest Picks for December!

December 1, 2015

Tuesday Writing PaWs

The Tuesday Writing PaWs (Paragraph a Week) returns today after a brief pause with a holiday writing prompt. You can download this week's free instruction sheet HERE.

Don't pause too long on this post, however, or you might miss the final hours of the TpT Cyper Smile Sale! Just click the pic to be taken away to great savings on terrific teaching products. Be sure to enter the promo code SMILE during checkout!