August 15, 2017

Show and Tell and Teacher Book Talk Tuesday

As you are reading this blog post, please think of me working in my classroom, readying it for my kiddos to arrive next week. Tomorrow begins the first of four days of professional development and inservice... sigh! Meanwhile, let's get to all of the Tuesday fun!

First up to share with you... 
My house is being painted! YAY! It's been seventeen years since last the old homestead had a fresh coat. Next month's Show and Tell should have the finished product.

Next is all the fun stay-cation activities that I've been doing these final days of freedom.

Feeding the fish at the Pymatuning Spillway. 
I kid you not... there are so many fish that the local ducks can walk on their backs.

Old ladies' luncheons with new recipes to share. This is what I made for the last luncheon: Cowboy Caviar... YUM!

Going for rides all around the county... where we saw this!
Although it was wide, it wasn't very bright. Still it is a promise.

Of course, I MUST share at least one pic of a fuzz girl. This month I have two, both of Lulubelle, the young lady who is always getting into trouble. 

Here she is trying to figure out how to jump on the window ledge. Thankfully, that didn't happen.

Here she is fooling around with a fidget spinner that I didn't know was on my work table. Apparently it was stuck between some papers and books. Lulubelle ferreted it out while I was doing a bit of TpT work!

And now for Teacher Book Talk Tuesday, the last of my Show and Tell items,  and the second week of giveaways (a wonderful children's book and an Amazon gift card).

The book that I am sharing this week is a kid friendly biography about someone I had never heard of but was well-ahead of her time. In fact, she was so far ahead of her time that we don't have a photograph of her, only painted portraits. Yet, Ada Byron Lovelace is credited with writing the first computer program. I stumbled upon the book while searching for STEM titles on Amazon.

This well-written and handsomely illustrated picture book biography details how Ada Lovelace Byron was able to write the first computer program more than 100 years before the first computer was built. Ever since she was a young girl, Lovelace was fascinated by numbers. As she was growing up, she filled her journals with ideas for inventions and equations. Her mother provided tutors to further develop Lovelace's passion for mathematics. When one of these tutors invited Lovelace and her mother to a gathering of scientists, she met the famous mathematician and inventor Charles Babbage. He was so impressed by Lovelace's knowledge that he invited her to his laboratory, where she learned about his idea for an Analytical Engine, a mechanical computer that would solve difficult problems by working them through step-by-step. She realized that this "computer" would only work if it were provided with detailed instructions, and after much work, she succeeded in writing what is now referred to as the first computer program and in creating the profession of computer programming. The descriptive text and dazzling spreads work seamlessly to provide a sense of Lovelace's growing passion for mathematics and invention. The illustrations reflect the 19th-century setting and contain numerous supporting details. For example, gears that will eventually become part of the design of the Analytic Engine are featured throughout: in the corners of the title page, on the pages of Ada's journals, and on Babbage's chalkboard. VERDICT An excellent addition to STEM collections...School Library Journal
I actually received the book yesterday, after more than a month's wait. Apparently MANY people have discovered Ada Lovelace and Amazon actually sold out of the title. Because I just received it, I had to do a QUICK read in order to write my blog post to get published on time. I just had to share this title, especially since school is starting and I will be introducing computer code to my kiddos. I have to share this book with them.  I will be going back to do a more thorough read so that I am more familiar with the material (and just because I like the book). It will be a great read aloud and research motivator. If you are introducing coding to your students, if you are involved with technology, and if you particularly enjoy encouraging girls to "do science" then this book needs to find its way onto your wishlist and into your class library. 

And now you need to find your way over to Kidpeople Classroom where Kathleen will be reviewing a wonderful children's book that you can own (as well as a ten dollar Amazon gift card) via our second weekly giveaway. 

And when you finish entering the giveaway, be sure to find your way over to Stephanie's blog, Forever in 5th Grade to read more Show and Tell posts. It's a great way to keep up with some terrific teachers bloggers.

August 12, 2017


Come Celebrate with Us
Snag Terrific Teaching Products

To celebrate Allie The Gypsy Teacher's Birthday, we are having a FLASH FREEBIE DAY! Sunday, August 13th from 9a-9p EST, Allie will be posting a FLASH TPT FREEBIE on her Facebook page for you to get! BUT each resource will only be free for 30 minutes! So go LIKE The Gypsy Teacher on Facebook, and stay tuned for lots of fun freebies!

Sneak Peak of my Flash Freebie scheduled for 1:00PM EST...

From 1:00-1:30 you can grab this fun and engaging ELA game for your students for FREE. 
Be sure to follow Allie the Gypsy Teacher on Facebook for all of the day's freebie fun!

August 11, 2017

Back to School Giveaway Part 2

Would you like to win some extra spending money to help you purchase everything you need for your 2017-18 classroom? A group of amazing teachers and I have teamed up to give away TWO awesome gift cards. You can be one of the lucky recipients. Just enter the Rafflecopter below the graphic before midnight on Aug. 19, 2017. Each link counts as one entry so the more that you complete, the greater your chance of winning a gift card! GOOD LUCK!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

August 8, 2017

Teacher Book Talk Tuesday, even more fun this week!

I don't know what happened these past two Tuesdays, but somehow I just did not get my act together to create a post for Kathleen's summer reading linky.

I did make it this week, however, and it's a good thing because it's even MORE FUN, as in nifty giveaway fun! Let's start with my book talk first.

The book I've chosen to share this week is another one that is on my seventh graders' list for the annual county English Festival.

Now you might think this book is a bit gruesome... yeah!

You might cringe at the title... yeah!

However, it does detail a true event, and if you are female and of an age, I KNOW that you jumped rope to this little ditty...
Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks.
When she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one!
Actually, this rhyme tells an untruth. Lizzie did not whack her parents that many times as revealed in this terrific non-fiction read. I am not quite finished reading the book (I had six books to read for the English Festival and I saved what I thought was the best for the last). BTW, none of my seventh graders chose this book to read over the summer- they all had to read at least one of the books on the list over the summer- because they were completely "creeped-out" by the title. I can not wait to share this book with them once school does begin.

With murder, court battles, and sensational newspaper headlines, the story of Lizzie Borden is compulsively readable and perfect for the Common Core.  
In a compelling, linear narrative, Miller takes readers along as she investigates a brutal crime: the August 4, 1892, murders of wealthy and prominent Andrew and Abby Borden. The accused? Mild-mannered and highly respected Lizzie Borden, daughter of Andrew and stepdaughter of Abby. Most of what is known about Lizzie’s arrest and subsequent trial (and acquittal) comes from sensationalized newspaper reports; as Miller sorts fact from fiction, and as a legal battle gets under way, a gripping portrait of a woman and a town emerges.   
With inserts featuring period photos and newspaper clippings—and, yes, images from the murder scene—readers will devour this nonfiction book that reads like fiction... Amazon.
Although I have not completed the book (my copy is in Kindle format, my Kindle has no charge, and I can't find the chord... sigh... it will soon turn up), I have read enough to experience the thrill of this famous murder coming alive on the pages of this book. The author's voice is just the right blend of narrative and journalistic research. Snippets of personal accounts by witnesses, family members, and neighbors are interspersed within the text and serve as a timeout from the more detailed reading of the crime. It is these snippets that most appeal to me. These are the voices of real people who experienced and lived the excitement and sensationalism of the crime.

While my Kindle still had its charge, I found it difficult to put this book down. I was aware of this murder event from an early double digit age having checked out a book from the library seeking information about the woman whose crime I jumped rope to, and then while still in high school I remember watching this made for TV movie (for whatever reason it left quite an impression on me). I am delighted to have found it on YouTube! Have any of you seen this?

Lizzie Borden and the Trial of the Century is currently leaving quite an impression on me. I can not wait to complete the book. New information, revised evidence, and a fresh forensic perspective makes the familiar tale new again for me. However, don't just take my word for it! Amazon has quite a lengthy book preview posted HERE. Hop over and read the excerpts provided. I think you'll be just as captivated by Miller's telling of the axe murder tale as am I.

Speaking of hopping, be sure to hop on over to Kathleen's blog to see what book she is sharing for her book talk this Tuesday. Not only is she sharing a fun little book, she is giving away one copy of it. Not only is she giving away a copy, but I've joined up with her to include a ten dollar Amazon gift card as part of her book giveaway. That's the fun that I talked about at the beginning of this post. AND this is only the beginning of the FUN because this is just the first of a three week giveaway. You can read more about this triple crown event over on Kathleen's blog, Kidpeople Classroom, and enter the giveaway. Good luck!

July 31, 2017

Back-to-School TpT Sale! Start Shopping NOW!

Have you been waiting for the annual Teachers Pay Teachers Back-to-School sale?  
I sure have!
It starts at midnight EST TONIGHT!  

You can START LOADING UP YOUR WISHLIST NOW! Some special products to check out:

For two days you can save 20% on everything in my store PLUS an extra 5% by using the promo code: BTS2017 during checkout. This includes ALL of my current bundles as well!   

25% off is the BEST price you'll receive all year! 

July 27, 2017

BTS Black Friday Sale

It's usually Black Friday shopping that kicks off the Christmas season. However, since it's summer (the opposite of winter) and we've just celebrated Christmas in July, Black Friday shopping comes later, after Christmas, ending the holiday season and kicking off the BACK TO SCHOOL Season. 

I have joined a group TpT authors in a Back to School Black Friday sale. Sale items will be marked 50% OFF! Just search on TpT using #BTSBlackFriday.

These are the two items that I am offering as part of the sale. Both are reduced to just half their original price. Click the links below to read more about them and download your own copies. Then be sure to visit TpT on July 28, 2017, and use #BTSBlackFriday to search MANY MORE sale items.

Happy #BTSBlackFriday Shopping, Everyone!!!

July 25, 2017

Ho, Ho, Ho Hashtag

It's here! It's finally here! Christmas in July!
Sled, ski, slide on over to TpT for the sale event of the summer. Santa and his teachery helpers have priced sackfuls of terrific teaching items at just ONE DOLLAR. Use the #christmasinjuly to find these remarkable products for all grade levels and content areas.

Here are two products that I've included in #christmasinjuly on TpT. Click on the product titles to read more about them and download your own copies.

Happy Hashtag Sale!

July 22, 2017

Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Ho, Ho, Ho, Merry Christmas in July!
Well, ALMOST! 
Just a few more days, and look what Santa and his helpers have in store on TpT...

July 18, 2017

Double Duty Tuesday No. 2

It's the third Tuesday of the month, so it's time for...

Here's the Double part of the Double Duty post. Today is also time for our weekly Teacher Book Talk hosted by Kathleen of Kidpeople Classroom. 

The book I've chosen to talk about this week is part of the cadre of books for our county's annual English Festival for grs. 7/8. Each year we (the teachers whose students participate) meet to select six books for our student participants to read. The books we choose are challenging, unique, popular, part of a series, made into a movie, various genre, modern classic, timely... any, all, or none of the above criteria. These are the six books our students will be reading for this year's event:
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
House Arrest by K.A. Holt
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
The Borden Murders by Sarah Miller


Thirteen-year-old Billie Simms doesn’t think her hometown of Anniston, Alabama, should be segregated, but few of the town’s residents share her opinion. As equality spreads across the country and the Civil Rights Movement gathers momentum, Billie can’t help but feel stuck—and helpless—in a stubborn town too set in its ways to realize that the world is passing it by. So when Billie learns that the Freedom Riders, a group of peace activists riding interstate buses to protest segregation, will be traveling through Anniston on their way to Montgomery, she thinks that maybe change is finally coming and her quiet little town will shed itself of its antiquated views. But what starts as a series of angry grumbles soon turns to brutality as Anniston residents show just how deep their racism runs. The Freedom Riders will resume their ride to Montgomery, and Billie is now faced with a choice: stand idly by in silence or take a stand for what she believes in. Through her own decisions and actions and a few unlikely friendships, Billie is about to come to grips with the deep-seated prejudice of those she once thought she knew, and with her own inherent racism that she didn’t even know she had...
I could NOT put this book down until I finished it! The characters are memorable, inspiring, and so life-like that the plot jumps off the page to enfold you. As a child of the 60's I remember the historical figures mentioned in the story, and I can recall many of the civil rights landmark events. This is firsthand history for me. The questions posed in the novel are just as poignant and just as pertinent today: Am I prejudiced? Why? This, in my opinion, is a must-read for middle schoolers and would serve as a great read aloud/discussion starter. I plan on reading it aloud to my sixth graders while my seventh graders will be reading it in Literature Circles in preparation for the County English Festival.

Be sure to stop by Kathleen's blog, Kidpeople Classroom, to see what she is sharing for this week's Teacher Book Talk and what other teachers might have shared as well. Perhaps you'll post a Book Talk of your own.

Please tell me you have one of these at home, a pile of teachery things that you brought home to do over the summer? I am doing, but instead of getting smaller and me getting to the bottom, it is getting larger (with all those new things).

I have lived in my area all of my life, nearly sixty years (eeek!) but I have never been to Fairport Harbor, only 30 miles west of my home. What a quaint little city right on Lake Erie and the lighthouse... awesome!

And as always, I end with my fuzz girls. 

Lulubelle is such a stinker. She looks so sweet and innocent, ready to help me sort lego blocks for coding activities, but don't look away because she becomes a thief, stealing those blocks to bat around the dining room.

Poor Miss Daisy, my senior lady! She came down with a summer cold (and we know how miserable that can be) and was sniffing, sneezing, and coughing. After a trip to the doctor and some medicine she was resting in MY new chair, recuperating from the ordeal. Do you know how silly a cat sounds when it meows with a stuffy nose?

Be sure to stop over at Forever in 5th Grade to read more Show and Tell Tuesday posts. It's a great way to keep up with what's happening in the bloggy world of teaching!

July 16, 2017

Summer Educational Tips for Kids

Rebecca from Audi Devon recently shared this infographic with me. She and her team at Audi create monthly infographics to reach out to the local and national community regarding important topics. This month's infographic is especially timely and pertinent to teachers, students, and families.

What are your thoughts about the loss of skills over summer break? Do you notice this loss? I know that I do. Do you try to compensate for it by sending home "summer packets" with your outgoing students? For many years I have required my outgoing fifth grade ELA students to read two Newbery books over the summer. On day one of sixth grade ELA we start doing activities based on their reading. Do you discuss this loss with parents? I send home a letter explaining my rationale for doing summer reading. The letter includes educational research statistics similar to those in the infographic above. Hopefully, it encourages families to continue learning throughout the summer break. I'm interested in hearing what you do to combat this issue. Let's start a conversation by leaving a comment below.

July 14, 2017

BTS MEGA Giveaway

Can you believe it? It's BACK-TO-SCHOOL time! Well, maybe not right away, but CLOSE! Close enough for a back-to-school giveaway, a MEGA giveaway!

I have teamed up with a LARGE group of awesome educators to bring you a MEGA giveaway just in time for all your back-to-school purchases. Here's what you can win!

Just enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win. Don't hesitate too long because the giveaway ends in one week on Saturday, July 21, 2017, at midnight!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

But wait... that's not all!

That same team of teachers is also holding a 50% off TpT hashtag sale for the next two days. Each teacher on our team will be offering two terrific teaching items marked half-price.

Here're my two hashtag offerings. They're two of my favorite products.

This set of six mystery pictures provides third through seventh graders plenty of practice identifying parts of speech in a fun way. The six individual pictures would normally cost almost seven dollars; however, I offer the bundle at a reduced price of five dollars. For this hashtag sale the cost is only $2.50. Click HERE to grab this bundle at its lowest price EVER.

Anchor charts are all the rage in classrooms right now. The problem is that you quickly run out of space to display them. With these pencil topper mini-anchor charts students take the anchor chart with them. So much fun with learning right at hand... literally! Click HERE to download this set of cute anchor charts at a 50% discount.

Happy Back To School!
Good luck with our giveaway, and enjoy the sale!

July 11, 2017

Teacher Book Talk Tuesday: Talk Read Talk Write

It's Tuesday, so it's time for a new installment of...

I've had this wonderful professional development book ready to read since late last summer.

However, with the demands of readying a classroom, preparing curriculum, and just keeping up with responsibilities both in school and at home throughout the school year, I just hadn't gotten to it. Kathleen's weekly book talk linky was the impetus to get me going.

Here's what Amazon has to say about this book...
The Talk Read Talk Write approach helps students meet and exceed the state standards for learning in all subjects while also developing the literacy skills needed for success in the 21st century. This practical resource gives teachers (K-12) a step-by-step guide to implementing structured conversation, active reading, and high quality writing in any class. The book includes quick reference charts and graphic organizers, excerpts from actual classrooms, many example/non-example sections, sample lessons, and a discussion guide for campus book study.
The book provides a framework or strategy that teachers can share with students to help them increase their reading comprehension, not just in reading class but across content areas as well. Known as the Talk Read Talk Write (TRTW) Strategy, it is a simple, yet rigorous method for conducting any reading lesson.

Step 1 TALK to engage students' attention and activate schema, balanced between teacher and student, begins with teacher asking a question related to the soon-to-be-read content

  • brief
  • structured
  • open-ended
  • non-threatening

Step 2 READ wherein students interact with text structure and actively, independently read with a purpose (loads of strategies, graphic organizers, examples are provided)

Step 3 TALK to re-engage students with the purpose for reading and the content information and to promote sharing of content and information learned while reading.

Step 4 WRITE to generate personal thoughts or promote/defend an argument whilst following conventions/traits of good writing.

The best part about this text is that the author sticks with this ONE method and TEACHES the reader to do it. The book contains plenty of examples, visuals, and explanations (tapping into a reader's various learning styles) that readers can easily understand the TRTW framework thoroughly and feel at ease in implementing it in their own classrooms. Talk Read Talk Write is an alternative strategy to close reading and is particularly helpful for reading in the content areas. If you are an oldie, moldy teacher as I am, this strategy might remind you, as it did me, of the ancient DRTA (Directed Reading Thinking Activity) approach to reading, only it goes one better with the addition of written response. If you are interested in reading this text, you can click HERE to find out how to obtain a copy.

Be sure to stop by Kathleen's blog, Kidpeople Classroom, to see what books she is talking about this week. Better yet, why not add a book talk of your own!

July 4, 2017

Teacher Book Talk Tuesday: Maker Lab

Oops! I missed out on last week's fun linky! Chalk it up to summer with its lack of routine; I'm lucky if I know what day of the week it is. I realized just in time this week to join Kathleen from Kidpeople Classroom for her weekly...

This week I'd like to share a fabulous STEM (read FUN) book with you. It was a gift from one of my sweet girls... thank you, Kiden!

Here's what Amazon has to say about this terrific text:

Supporting STEM education initiatives and the maker movement, the National Parenting Publication Award-winner Maker Lab includes 28 kid-safe projects and crafts that will get young inventors' wheels turning and make science pure fun.

Each step-by-step activity is appropriate for kids ages 8–12, and ranked easy, medium, or hard, with an estimated time frame for completion. Requiring only household materials, young makers can build an exploding volcano, race balloon rocket cars, construct a solar system, make a lemon battery, and more. Photographs and facts carefully detail the "why" and "how" of each experiment using real-world examples to provide context so kids can gain a deeper understanding of the scientific principles applied. 
The book is loaded with fun, simple activities that a child can do independently, with a partner, or in a small group. Arranged into categories Around the House, Food for Thought, Water World, and The Great Outdoors all major concentrations of Science (life science, physical science, earth science) are represented. Here are a few of the many individual topics that kids can explore.

Beautiful photos and simple explanations make it inviting for children to read, explore, and do! While fun is a big part of this book, rigorous science is the goal. Behind each engaging activity is fundamental science concepts contained in the Next Generation Science Standards.

I look forward to really diving into this book during the coming school year. I have Kiden's class once again for science this year and plan to use this book and its ideas as much as possible.

Speaking of STEM and Science, guess what I've been doing the past few days!

If you guessed organizing my STEM building materials then you are correct! Every building material is counted and bagged so that no time is wasted during Science class. Groups can grab their materials and go to work immediately. Since I'm still teaching sixth grade science, I decided to get all of the first quarter materials organized before school even begins; I know what I'm doing for these lessons. I can then concentrate on the two new sections of materials as the year progresses. I'll be relying on Smithsonian Maker Lab by Jack Challoner for some help with this!

Don't forget to stop by Kathleen's blog to see what she has shared for Teacher Book Talk Tuesday. Better yet, why not add a booktalk of your own to the linky!