March 27, 2015

Five for Friday... and it's still Friday!

I can NOT remember the last time I made it to Doodle Bug's linky Five for Friday. I have good intentions, but what's that old adage?

The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak!

Yep, that's it! That's me on Fridays. Perhaps it's the thought of the impending Easter break that has me pumped up: I am full of pep this Friday and ready to blog. Of course, it could've been that hour nap I just awoke from.

For the first time in I don't remember how many years, our students participated in the annual English Festival held at the local branch of Kent State University. Open to all 7/8th graders in the county who choose to participate, the day is full of fun learning activities that celebrate reading, writing, and all things language arts. Students must read six pre-selected novels in order to join the day's activities. Some teachers require all their students to attend the day; however, I chose to make the festival completely voluntary. I am so glad that I did! My five seventh graders read all the books and were so excited to join in whole-heartedly. I am sad to say that there were many students who hadn't read a single book. Needless to say, the day was not a success for them. The above photo is of the session about writing, reading and the internet connection that I presented to the students.

Many of  you are familiar with one of my favorite bloggers (and all around sweetheart) Deb Hanson of Crafting Connections. Deb is the queen of craftivities for students. My fifth graders recently were studying visualizing as a strategy for improving reading comprehension. It was as if Deb knew exactly what I needed, for she added a new product to her store: To Read Is to Visualize Craftivity. The craftivity turned out so nice and really hammered the concept home with a terrific hands-on product. THANKS, Deb, for another great lesson!

I was thoroughly shocked that my sixers had never experienced one of the simple joys of my childhood: tin can phones. We had been studying wave theory in science and learning about many kinds of waves. Using slinkies, yarn, videos, interactive notebook folders, etc. we learned the concepts of sound, light, electromagnetic waves... you know!  I'm not sure how the tin can phones came up in the class discussion, but they did. With that a mini-S.T.E.M. activity was born. Students brought in clean tin cans and I provided the hammer, nail, and yarn. I explained the simple premise and turned the kiddos loose. From a private line (two cans, one on each end of a length of yarn) to a multi-canned party line, which you see above my sixers learned how sound traveled in a practical, fun way! Who needs modern technology and all those gadgets anyway?

Look closely! Can you see it?
Yep, crocuses and daffodils!
Spring at last!

I've been working on a lot of new sets of task cards, chiefly for my fifth graders. They seem to have a difficult time with retaining skills. They do really well learning the material and doing immediate practice and assessment. Return two weeks later and it's like starting over. Every Friday now, right after Flashlight Friday/silent reading time, we Scoot or Scatter our way through reinforcement and practice of previously learned skills. I think I've made seven or eight new sets of cards in the past few weeks. Here's one that I just added to my TpT Store for practicing progressive verb tense. My kids LOVED the task cards and performed well with them. I think part of the reason was that I used their names in the card sentences. You can read more about  the cards HERE.

Be sure to hope on over to Doodle Bugs for Teaching to read more Five for Friday's!


  1. Thanks for sharing your cool ideas.
    I found you on the Five for Friday linky.
    Sandra's Savvy Teaching Tips

    1. Thanks so much for visiting! Have a wonderful week ahead!


  2. I did Deb's visualizing craftivity with my kiddos too. The ones you showed look amazing. Some of my kiddos really got into it and did a good job, but a few of my students were a bit lazy.

    1. I had the same issue, Amy! I actually had to have a few kiddos do the project completely over! I love Deb's craftivities and try to include at least one a month for each of my classes. Even my seventh graders enjoy them.

      Have a terrific week,


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