June 30, 2015

Two for Tuesday

I can't believe that it is Tuesday already! Where does the time go? It's time to join Chalk One up for the Teacher for...

This week I selected two of my favorite products to share with you. Both will be listed at a 50% discount through this coming Thursday.

Year 'Round Homework Punch Cards

Contained in this packet are 10 pre-programmed punch cards and 10 editable punch cards containing 20 punches. Use the punch cards to track student behavior and provide rewards. When a student performs the behavior you are seeking, punch a space on his/her card. When the student earns a particular number of punches he/she receives a reward.

These punch cards are larger in size than typical ones. They easily fit in a pencil pouch or toolbox and are harder to lose or misplace. The brag tags referred to on the pre-programmed punch cards are simply small cards with positive messages. Brags tags are a little like trading cards. Students collect them and store them on a metal ring, cord, or thin chain. They are a visible/concrete symbol of student success and achievement, something a student can brag about. There are several styles of these available on Teachers Pay Teachers, including many in my store. You can check them out HERE (some are even free).

The blank punch cards are editable. You are able to add your own text and determine your own goals and rewards. You can download the set of cards to use with your students HERE.

3-2-1 Back to School ELA 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. Each item is available separately in my TpT store, but you can grab the bundle HERE.

Be sure to stop by Chalk One Up for the Teacher to see what other great items are being shared on this Two for Tuesday!

June 25, 2015

My Personal Side: Running Hot and Cold

I finally had a bit of time today to go through my Bloglovin' update messages from the past four days. When I got to this morning's I found the cutest linky party being hosted by Molly over at Classroom Confections. Molly calls it "My Personal Side". She designed this linky so that bloggers could share some personal tidbits about themselves. For instance, during this first party we are asked to share our favorite mug and drink.

I am a hot and cold kinda gal!

It just depends on the mood I am in whether I choose a hot or cold drink. Of course, the time of year dictates my drink du juor as well. My favorite hot drinks (brewed fresh in my Keurig) are usually savored from my Dollar Tree clear, glass mug while my favorite cold drinks (generally lemonade or Kool-Aid but I've been on a Coke kick lately) are guzzled from any disposable cup (less dishes to wash, and yes, I also use paper plates a lot) that I can find hanging around.

I'm looking forward to reading the many posts that are part of this linky, and I'm looking forward to what other topics Molly has in store. Be sure to check out more "My Personal Side" posts by visiting Molly over at Classroom Confections to meet or learn more about some great bloggers.

June 24, 2015

Wordless Wednesday: Summer Reading

I'm joining Miss DeCarbo for her fun weekly linky...

So, what are you reading this summer?

This is in addition to the dozen middle school novels and two professional books on my Kindle.

June 23, 2015

Two for Tuesday: Brag Time!

Oops! Almost missed it, Tuesday that is! And I've been waiting for it so that I can join with Chalk One Up for the Teacher for...

I've chosen two great products from my TpT Store to place on sale just for today. 


Brag tags are fun little awards to honor the accomplishments of your students. They are both fun to collect and fun to display! Both items are bundles and already carry a great savings, but you can save a whopping 50% for Two for Tuesday. Actually, I'm going to leave them on sale through Wednesday evening since I got a late start today!

Be sure to stop by Chalk One Up for the Teacher to find more great Two for Tuesday deals!

June 22, 2015

Dare to Dream #tptsellerchallenge Week 2

I'm once again joining Ashley of Teach Create Motivate and her best blogging buddies (along with about a thousand others) for #tptsellerchallenge. This week's challenge is DARE TO DREAM.It's all about our hopes and dreams for our TpT business, what makes us work so hard at this enterprise.

And so I dream...

I teach in a Catholic school by choice. That choice, however, brings with it sacrifices, chief among them,  a financial sacrifice. My salary is approximately 60% of what it would be if I were teaching in a public school. As a result, through the years I have supplemented my income with side jobs, usually tutoring or doing some directing of local choral groups. About fifteen years ago I accepted the position of music director at my church. Along with it came a nice salary. Five years ago I made the choice (for many reasons) to "retire" from my position. The drop in my income hit me hard. For two years I scrimped and pinched and dug into my meager savings. After two years of being so watchful with my money, I turned to TpT.

I had created my own teaching materials for EONS! I seldom purchased teaching materials and less frequently used the packaged materials that came with textbooks. I even made items for my staff members. Thus it was a natural step to turn to TpT and offer my own materials to others. What I had done for free might help ease my financial crunch. It's taken three years but my TpT earnings are finally helping my income almost reach those double income wages of years ago, and I can still be involved with liturgical music but now just for FUN, like you see here below, as we celebrated the dedication of our new gymnasium this past weekend.

I am the guitarist, or the one who ALWAYS has her mouth open.

Not only can I have fun with my music nowadays, but with TpT's help I can share some other fun with my family. My earnings from TpT allow me to take my niece and nephews to dinner or the movies. We can do wonderful family meal together, and I can help send them to band camp or buy scouting/school items that mom and dad can't necessarily afford. This is the best part of my involvement with TpT.

Finally, and I hate to think of this one, I am beginning to stare retirement in the face. This past year marked my 35th year of teaching. I hope to be able to go as long as possible, at least another five years (hopefully ten). TpT will be a big help supplementing my retirement income when that day arrives!

I'm looking forward to growing my TpT business as I move into the future; already my stats have risen a bit. I'm also looking forward to reading more Dare to Dream stories as the thousand or more sellers complete this week's #tptsellerchallenge. Be sure to stop by Teach Create Motivate to view all the links.

June 21, 2015

Sunday Scoop 6.21.15

It's that time again! Time to join the Teaching Trio for...

Here's my scoop for today...

Since it's not only Sunday Scoop day, but also Father's Day, I thought that I'd include a snap of my father (and his father). Although neither has been with us for a long time, they are both thought about and talked about A LOT!

June 16, 2015

Makeover Madness #tptsellerchallenge Week 1

Have you heard about the #tptsellerchallengebeing hosted by Ashley from Teach, Create, Motivate and some of her blogging buddies? It lasts for four weeks and I decided to join them. Here's a little more about the challenge.

WEEK 1 Here we go...

The first product I chose to makeover is the VERY FIRST product that I uploaded and offered on Teachers Pay Teachers: Newbery Award Book Report Craftivity..

This was basically all that was to the original product... dull, strictly to the point, no cover, and the directions were at the end! What was I thinking?

Here it is now, all spiffed up! The added cover is attractive (don'tcha just love the Tween clip art by Educlips?), the directions are right up front, and I added some additional pages for extra writing and illustrations. So MUCH BETTER! In celebration of its makeover, my Newbery Book Report Craftivity will be available for only $1.00 for the remainder of Makeover Madness (it ends on June 21st).

The second product that I decided to makeover is my bestest seller: Poetry Task Cards Bonus Pack.

Originally created in Word, the margins, fonts, and sizing were slightly off! Egads!

More colorful and cleaned up, here is how the product now appears! I even updated the bonus files. LOVE IT! You can check out my Poetry Task Cards and Bonus Files in my TpT Store and snag them for 50% off through the Makeover Madness, June 21st.

I am SOOOOO very happy that I accepted this #tptsellerchallenge! I can't wait to check out all the other participants' product makeovers (you'll find quite a collection at Teach, Create, Motivate), find new sellers to follow, and maybe purchase some teaching things for the upcoming school year along the way!

June 15, 2015

Monday Made It: I Have, Who Has How-to

I am FINALLY getting somewhere with making things! I can join 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It where you will find LOADS of great ideas for things to make.

It seems like my creativity (what there is of it) has been on hold for the past month or two. Actually, all those end of the school year activities and responsibilities took precedent, plus I needed to do some MEGA reading for next year's classes. Now that all that is finished I have some time to create and of course what I'm making is for school. I've been working on a several I HAVE, WHO HAS activities. Are you familiar with this fun, engaging, game-like activity?

Sometimes called a looping activity, I HAVE, WHO HAS provides students practice with not only content area information but also with listening skills. Students are given a card on which is written an answer (the I HAVE part) followed by a question (the WHO HAS part). Students must listen to the questions so they can provide the particular answer they have. Play continues around the room until all the cards have been read. If done correctly, the last question leads back to the first card.

It sounds a lot more complicated than what it is. Take a peek at this video of my sixers from a few years ago as they complete an I HAVE, WHO HAS for the Stations of the Cross. You'll notice a few students have more than one card, one student who makes a mistake and the class corrects him, and students encouraging their classmates.

I HAVE, WHO HAS lends itself to multiple readings thus improving reading fluency, bolstering listening skills, and reinforcing content area skills. LOVE it!

I've most recently begun making I HAVE, WHO HAS sets for books my students are reading for class assignments. My junior high English students participate in a countywide English Festival each spring wherein they are required to read six novels. See this post and this one for more information about this event. I HAVE, WHO HAS will be a great way to review the details of each of the novels prior to participating in the festival.

So, how do I make one of these activities?

First I decide on the size/format of the cards. I like to use a 3 x 3 table in Power Point for this type of activity. It leaves enough room for graphics and provides space for plenty of information. I choose colors that coordinate with the book's cover, and select two pieces of clip art that represent key elements in the story. Here's what the Power Point slide looks like for the most recent IHWH that I made (Counting by 7's by Holly Goldberg Sloan). The main character, Willow Chance, is obsessed with counting by 7's and loves plants so I chose clip art to represent these characteristics. These two items are offered free for teacher use by My Cute Graphics.

Next, I plan on the text, the questions and answers, for each card. This part ain't pretty, folks. I simply draft the information (with novel in hand) on unlined paper in my clipboard. Here's what one of my planning pages looks like. I'm almost embarrassed to show you.

I start with creating the list of all of the answers (answer key). This helps me keep organized as I enter the information on the cards. If I do it correctly, the last answer will lead back to the first card.

Then I fill in all of the information (in order to help keep me organized) on all of the cards. Here's what the actual Power Point slide for the above planning page looks like when it's completed, sooooo much neater and clear!

And there you have it, an I HAVE, WHO HAS for Counting by 7's by Holly Goldberg Sloan!

I recently made one for HOOT by Carl Hiassen, as well.

Both are available in my TpT Store by clicking on the links provided above. Soon also will be available  I HAVE, WHO HAS for the following four books, completing this year's English Festival titles. Look for them in the coming weeks.

June 14, 2015

June 13, 2015

Spark Student Motivation: Fairy Tales w/Big Kids

I'm joining Joanne over at Head Over Heels for Teaching for...

It seems that during the last few days of school time just drags! Kids and teachers both can't wait to be finished with lessons and being DONE! Not so I or my kiddos! NOPE, we kept at it until the very last. In between packing the room and special events, we continued working on our very last project of the year: Writing a Cinderella Adaptation. It is perhaps the most engaging and fun of all the writing projects that we do all year! Kids get a kick outta returning to their childhood and revisiting familiar stories with their "mature" minds.

For years I've had my sixth grade Language Arts students read and analyze folk literature. It lends itself to teaching theme, characters, plot, etc. so well! So many of the traditional tales are available online and there is a plethora of folk literature novels nowadays as well; familiar stories that have been extended and adapted. Think Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine, Rump the True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff, or the Percy Jackson Series by Rick Riordin. We used several of these titles to do one final round of Literature Circles, but we also spent considerable time looking at the most famous folk tale of all: Cinderella.

Did you know that there are more than 1500 "Cinderella" tales found all over the world? Students are astounded by this and curious as well. I've managed to accrue a collection of about 65 Cinderella picture books over the years. My students and I spend time reading them and notating their similarities to discover what constitutes a Cinderella tale?

This is just ONE of many graphic organizers that we use as we are reading, comparing/contrasting, and analyzing this literature. It's yours for the taking by clicking HERE.

From there we examine some fun adaptations.

And then we begin creating our very own Cinderella adaptations via the writing process. The stories must readily be recognized as Cinderella tales, be thoroughly original, and be picture books. Here are a few of this year's masterpieces.

And who said that fairy tales are for little kids?