November 30, 2015

Mind Boggling Monday: Advent, a Banner (freebie), and a Sale

I am boggled by how time just seems to fly by and this week is no exception. Between the beginning of Advent, the coming holydays and holidays, and the HUGE TpT Cyber Smile Sale today and tomorrow... phew! It's time to slow down a bit and just enjoy. Here's an Advent themed boggle board for you and your students to play practice word skills. Just download the pic and project it for all to see.

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. You can grab these during the TpT Cyber Smile Sale at a great discount.


Speaking of Advent... here's a little FREEBIE, an Advent banner. I have already shopped the TpT Cyber Smile Sale and grabbed this set of blank banners by Rebecca B Designs.

From one of the blanks I created this cute Advent banner for my kiddos to complete.

You can download the pattern HERE. Print enough for each student, perhaps you have pink or purple copy paper, and have them complete the empty fields. Trim around the edges, leaving a length of blank paper at the top to fold over. Tape, glue, or staple the banners onto a length of twine, string, or yarn and display for all to read. I can't wait for my sixers to make these tomorrow. I am hoping to have the completed banner displayed by Wednesday.


By Wednesday the big TpT Cyber Smile sale will be over! Egads, don't hesitate! Be sure to shop today and tomorrow and use the promo code SMILE during checkout to earn big savings on terrific teaching items that you can use now and all year.

November 28, 2015

Wishlist Linky TpT Sale

It's that time again... time for a sitewide sale at Teachers Pay Teachers. These huge sales only happen a few times a year so it's a great thing to take advantage of! You can save up to 28% on terrific teaching products just by using the special promo code SMILE while shopping at TpT on Nov. 30th and Dec. 1st.

To get the old shopping cart rolling, I'm joining in a fun linky hosted by Teaching in the Tongass to share three of the top wishlisted items in my store. There are loads of great teaching products shared in this linky, so be sure to stop by before you head over to TpT to shop.

Here are the top three most wishlisted items in my store! Please click on the name of the item below the picture to read more about the individual teaching product.

Poetry Task Cards

Editable Punch Cards

General Use Brag Tags

I can't wait to do some shopping myself this coming Monday and Tuesday. Here is one item on my own personal wishlist. Created by I'm Lovin' Lit, it is a set of fun, engaging ELA Christmas activities for middle school students, the perfect thing for these few weeks before the holidays.

Christmas Activities

I'm spending some time this weekend loading up my shopping cart so it's all ready to go for the sale.

Happy Shopping, everyone! Just be sure to use the promo code SMILE during the checkout process so you earn all the great savings that you can!

November 27, 2015

Here's to Advent, a HUGE Collection of Activities

Advent begins this coming Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015. It is a time of the year that I eagerly await. The hushed expectation of commemorating the coming of our Savior and the special preparations involved speak volumes to me of the traditions and the people involved. Although we celebrate many of the Church holydays and holidays throughout the year in my classroom, Advent is special to me. It is the New Year season and Salvation History rolled into one. It is giving birth to love and joy. I have blogged about Advent each of the past three years and shared many of the projects and activities that I do with  my students. This post is a compilation of ALL the Advent activities that have been posted here at my desk along with a new freebie at the end.

Happy New Year! Happy Advent!

This post originally appeared on The Teacher's Desk 6 on Nov. 28, 2013.

Advent, from the Latin "ad-venire" meaning "to come to", is the first season of the Church year. For Christians, New Year's Day then is this Sunday, Dec. 1st. Advent is the time leading up to Christmas, a time that is oft neglected in our consumer oriented world. In the rush to BUY, BUY, BUY for Christmas, we neglect to prepare for the sacredness of the holiday... the real reason for the season. This is what the season of Advent is for.

Because I teach in a Catholic school, I have the luxury of celebrating the Advent season, a time of expectant waiting. Santa is kept to a minimum and only in the guise of St. Nicholas, the actual man- a bishop in Turkey long, long ago- who eventually becomes our modern Santa. Christmas songs are overlooked in favor of Advent songs. Instead of reds and greens festooning everything, our halls are decked with purple and pink, the colors of Advent.

We have a Christmas tree in our gathering space at school on which hangs holy ornaments, and the wreath in our hallway is an Advent wreath. It won't be until the last few days prior to Christmas break, starting with our school Christmas program that our attention will focus more on Christmas. Until then, we must remain patient, waiting in joyful hope, preparing our hearts for the coming of Jesus on Christmas.

Even my lessons and activities next week will focus on Advent rather than on Christmas.

Next week's Spelling words...

... an editing practice lesson...

... and two graphic organizers...

... all have an Advent theme.

If you would like any of these Advent items to use in your classroom or homeschool, you can purchase the Scoot pack and Zap game HERE or by clicking on the pictures above. The spelling list, revising paper, and graphic organizers are a FREEBIE, and can be downloaded HERE or by clicking on the picture below.

I've continued adding Advent items to my store for Advent 2014. Just click on the pictures to read more about each product.



The following post originally appeared on The Teacher's Desk 6 on Dec. 13, 2013.

We are still celebrating Advent, or trying to! It's hard to contain the Christmas spirit, what with all the commercials, TV specials, carols on the radio, and shopping expeditions,  but to wait in patient hope is wonderful! The anticipation of Christmas is tremendous, so to maintain a bit of calm while focusing on the reason for the season is indeed awesome. It is humbling to engage my sixers in conversations about the Advent season. They see its simple beauty and purpose and can talk about their struggles with keeping Christ in Christmas. To help them along, I really try to keep Santa, the elves, and all those kinds of Christmasy things to a bare minimum and focus on Adventish items. Here are a few things I've used this past week. They are yours for the taking just by clicking on each graphic.

Advent Notebook Foldables: The fifth graders and I used these with the popular Christmas novel "The Best Christmas Pageant Ever" by Barbara Robinson. It's a great book to accompany our pageant practice time. First we created an anchor chart that helped us focus on how the author used particular words in her writing (verbs and their tense, adjectives, and adverbs). We used post-it notes to record our ideas as a group, then the foldables to record our individual ideas.

Integrated Language Arts/Religion/Music Activity... I used this with my sixers and my eighth graders. The quintessential Advent song is "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel." I used the lyrics to create a language arts worksheet to help my kiddos practice some grammar skills and become a bit more familiar with the hymn.

Each year I add a few new items to my cadre of Advent activities. Advent 2014 is no different. I recently whipped up two new SCOOT games to accompany the skills we have been learning and practicing in our Language Arts classes and added them to my TpT Store.

First up is an Advent SCOOT game to help students practice Central Idea.

With this set of Scoot cards students will identify which Advent related word/phrase does not belong in the group of four words/phrases (determining a central idea). These 16 cards may also be used as task cards in a literacy center or for a Scatter/Scavenger Hunt activity.

QR codes are provided for self-checking. Two response sheets are provided for differentiation. The first sheet asks only for the word that does not belong, while the second asks for the word and the reason why the word does not belong.

The second Advent SCOOT activity uses the titles of Advent hymns to provide capitalization practice for students.

These 24 cards may also be used as task cards in a literacy center or for a Scatter/Scavenger Hunt activity. QR codes are provided for self-checking with these cards as well. 

Lastly, here is another song to use as a Language Arts practice activity..."Mary, Did You Know?" This is a great song to practice the comma of address. You can download the FREE lyric sheet HERE or by clicking on the pic below.

Advent 2015 finds me adding two new activities to my warehouse of this season's activities. The first is a brand new ZAP! game for practicing identification of clauses while focusing on the tradition of the Advent Wreath.

A second brand new activity is a sheet of free WOULD YOU RATHER's. Each morning of the school year I ask my kiddos a "Would You Rather" question while taking attendance. Instead of saying "HERE" when I call each student's name, the response is the answer to the "Would You Rather" question of the day. This is a fun way to get to know your students a little better. I first came upon these kinds of questions on Rachel Lynette's blog Minds in Bloom. She has MANY sets of "Would You Rather" questions for various seasons of the year. Additionally, a quick search out on the internet will lead you to more sets of these types of questions.

However, I could find no Advent "Would You Rather" questions anywhere. There were plenty of Christmas ones, but no true Advent questions, so I tried my hand at creating a set. There are only 16 questions in the set. I only needed 14 (the number of days in school during the Advent season this year), but I included a few more for longer seasons in the years to come. Download your freebie HERE.

November 23, 2015

Meet the Teacher Monday

It's Monday again so it's time to Meet the Teacher! I'm thoroughly enjoying this linky hosted by Trina over at The Ordinary to Extraordinary Classroom. I hope that MANY more teacher bloggers begin to join in since Trina always thinks of really creative little snippets of information for us to share. Besides, she makes such cute graphics too!

This week Trina asks us to share three teachers for whom we are thankful. This was a tough decision! There are way more than three teachers to fit this category for me so I am going to be a bit creative with my responses.

Be sure to hop on over to Trina's blog and add your own Meet the Teacher Monday post!

November 22, 2015

Thanks+Giving= FREE Resources

Literary Sherri and Brain Waves Instruction have been busily compiling TWO eBooks specially designed for Middle School ELA Teachers. With the help of 50 teacher-authors they have published two Thanks+Giving eBooks, each containing "THANKS" pages as well as "GIVING" pages.

The "THANKS" pages are filled with information about the teacher-authors and for what they are grateful, from important life-shaping moments to teaching aids. I am honored to be a part of this special project, so here is my "THANKS" page for you to see what they are like.

My bloggy friend, Lisa from Mrs. Spangler in the Middle is so sweet! On her "THANKS" page she gave a shout out to me! I am really touched and ever so grateful... THANK YOU, Lisa!

The "GIVING" pages are packed with print and go resources designed to be implemented directly in your ELA classroom immediately. Just look at some of them below. Remember there are 52 FREE resources for you... WOW!

Are you ready to have your own copy of these terrific resources? Just click on the pics of the eBook covers above to download them. 

I can safely say that ALL of us teacher-authors are grateful to you and for you, our supporters and followers. These eBooks are a way for us to share our thanks with you!
HAPPY THANKSGIVING, now and each day of the year!

November 17, 2015

Tuesday Writing PaWs: Holiday Smells

This week's Paragraph a Week features one of my favorite topics: figurative language. I like to read figurative language, I like to craft figurative language, and I like to teach figurative language. It brings reading and writing to life, painting pictures in one's mind, causing one to feel and react to text. After listening to and reading texts with numerous examples of figurative language, students are ready to try their hand at writing it. This week's Writing PaWs features the Smells of the Holiday.

You can download your FREE Paragraph a Week instruction sheet HERE.

For more Paragraph a Week topics visit the tab at the top of the page.

The Tuesday Writing PaWs will be taking a pause from posting next week. A new topic will be posted on December 1, 2015.