June 23, 2017

#HelloSummer Giveaway and TpT Sale

Summer has finally arrived and it's time to celebrate with a giveaway and a sale!



Fancy winning some extra spending money to help you purchase everything you need for your 2017-18 classroom?  A team of amazing teachers (not all of them are listed in the graphic) and I have grouped together to give THREE awesome teachers a TPT giftcard: TWO $100 cards and ONE $50 card!

You can win a TpT giftcard by entering the Rafflecopter below. Each link is one entry, so the more you complete, the more you increase your chance of winning one or more of the giftcards. Good luck and don't wait too long. The giveaway closes July 1, 2017 at 12:00 midnight.


a Rafflecopter giveaway


But wait! The giveaway is not all of the summer fun to be had!
On top of the giveaway, we are also hosting a hashtag sale!


Search TpT using #HelloSummer to locate tremendous teaching items being offered by the same team of teachers above at a 50% discount from now through Sunday, June 25, 2017.

Here are the two items that I have chosen to discount in my store for our #HelloSummer sale. Just click on the link below the graphic to read more about each product:

These cute mini- anchor charts are normally priced at five dollars. During our #HelloSummer sale, it is discounted at $2.50, a fifty-percent savings!

With a value of ten dollars, this bundle is normally priced at seven dollars. During our #HelloSummer sale you can pick up these six items for just $3.50. That's actually MORE than a fifty-percent savings!

And remember that these are just TWO of the MANY items that will be discounted for the next few days of summer. 
Say #HelloSummer with a fun giveaway and savings, a perfect TpT combination!




June 20, 2017

Double Duty Tuesday

Today's post is serving double duty. First of all it's the third Tuesday of the month so that means it's time to join Forever in 5th Grade for...
... and since it's Tuesday during the summer, it's also time to join Kidpeople Classroom for...


The book that I'd like to share this week is from a particular favorite author of mine, Patricia Polacco.

The Amazon blurb has this to say about the book:
An Irish family stays together with the help of Fiona’s talent for making one-of-a-kind lace in this heartwarming immigration story from the New York Times bestselling creator of The Keeping Quilt.
Many years ago, times were hard in all of Ireland, so when passage to America becomes available, Fiona and her family travel to Chicago. They find work in domestic service to pay back their passage, and at night Fiona turns tangles of thread into a fine, glorious lace. Then when the family is separated, it is the lace that Fiona’s parents follow to find her and her sister and bring the family back together. And it is the lace that will always provide Fiona with memories of Ireland and of her mother’s words: “In your heart your true home resides, and it will always be with you as long as you remember those you love.”
This generational story from the family of Patricia Polacco’s Irish father brims with the same warmth and heart as the classic The Keeping Quilt and The Blessing Cup, which Kirkus Reviews called “deeply affecting” in a starred review, and embraces the comfort of family commitment and togetherness that Patricia Polacco’s books are known for.
So many ways to incorporate this book into a classroom curriculum! 

With immigrant issues in the news, this book can serve as a timely discussion starter for the topic. Teaching poetry? Limericks? The immigrant family hails from this Irish town. Teaching genre? Narratives? The story is the perfect example! Teaching figurative language? The text contains imagery, alliteration, and onomatopoeia. Teaching commas in a series? There are multiple examples to be found. Teaching apostrophes? Contractions? The book is full of common and not so common examples. Teaching history? There is reference to the Great Chicago Fire. Teaching plot development, particularly conflict? This is the book for you. 

Pay no attention to the recommended reading level of ages 4 to 8. This book is suitable for all ages, especially as a read aloud! I will be using it with sixth graders as a mentor text for all of the ELA topics that I've mentioned and as a companion piece for Lauren Tarshish's book "I Survived the Chicago Fire 1871" when the school year resumes in late August.

Be sure to stop by Kathleen's blog Kidpeople Classroom for more Teacher Book Talk posts and to add one of your own when you've finished reading my other Show and Tell items.

I recently attended an EdTechTeam Technology Summit. WOW! It was well worth my time. I thought I was very knowledgeable regarding Google and all its apps. Not so since I learned a WHOLE lot more! I will be sharing some of what I've learned throughout the coming school year as I incorporate my learning into my lessons and classes.

One thing that I will be teaching as part of my Science/ELA classes is coding. I wasn't sure how I wanted to approach this new subject for my students (and me) but I attended an awesome session wherein the presenter shared how she introduces coding... with legos!

 I've already ordered the base plates and single unit blocks, enough for a class of thirty! I can't wait to start coding with my middle schoolers!

Besides bringing back new knowledge from the EdTechTeam Summit, I also brought this back. I actually won a door prize!

Don't judge my appearance on this day... no make-up, no contacts, hair pulled back in a clip. I was supposed to wake up at 4:45am for a 5:50 carpool ride. Ha, I woke up at 5:35am. YIKES, I was lucky to have been dressed properly.

And as always, I must include a fur baby picture. This month is a pic of DaisyMae, my senior girl. I live in a century home. Needless to say there is always a lot of work to be done, repairing this and repairing that. One thing that I've wished for is central air conditioning. Unfortunately, that is low on the totem pole of things to be done. Instead of central air, I have a floor model that does a really nice job of cooling off the majority of the first floor. It sits next to my rocker. Everytime that DaisyMae jumps into my lap she has to inspect the a/c unit.

What a silly girl!

Please be sure to stop by Stephanie's blog Forever in 5th Grade to read more Show and Tell Tuesday posts from teacher bloggers around the cyber world. Perhaps you'll join in the fun with a post of your own!





June 13, 2017

Teacher Book Talk Tuesday

I'm joining Kathleen of Kidpeople Classroom for her brand new summer linky...


I recently read one of the best books that I've read in a LOOOOONG time!
Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper


The Amazon blurb has this to say about the book...
Melody is not like most people. She cannot walk or talk, but she has a photographic memory; she can remember every detail of everything she has ever experienced. She is smarter than most of the adults who try to diagnose her and smarter than her classmates in her integrated classroom—the very same classmates who dismiss her as mentally challenged, because she cannot tell them otherwise. But Melody refuses to be defined by cerebral palsy. And she’s determined to let everyone know it…somehow.
Told through the eyes of Melody, the protagonist, the book is filled with beautiful language, poignant themes, and life-like characters.

The book opens with these words which captivated me immediately:


Whether a teacher chooses to read this book aloud or have her/his students read it independently or for class, there are myriad themes and skills with which to work. Among the themes: bullying, physical challenges, inclusion, perseverance, determination, talents, acceptance. Teachers can present skills of character development and analysis, point of view, realistic fiction, figurative language (perfect mentor text for this area), and plot development, to name a few. 

If you teach in a 4th-7th grade classroom, this book is well-worth your time to investigate, and perhaps share with your students. Grab a copy and read it today! Speaking of today, be sure to hop on over to Kathleen's blog, Kidpeople Classroom, to see what other books are being shared today on this Teacher Book Talk Tuesday.



May 16, 2017

May Show and Tell Tuesday

This post marks the last Show and Tell of the current school year... WOW! Where has the time flown? It seems like we were just starting the school year a few weeks ago. I guess that time flying like this is a good sign: school and learning were engaging and fun and not dreary and boring. One thing that's never boring is our monthly Show and Tell posts.


First up is a truly fun and engaging technology app that has changed the way that we do vocabulary in my classrooms: Quizlet and Quizlet Live. If you are not familiar with this wonder, please check it out now. It has my kiddos BEGGING to practice vocabulary, yes begging!

Teachers and students can create card sets (lists of vocabulary words) and practice them online in various ways (flash cards, writing, games) at Quizlet, while Quizlet Live allows an entire class to compete against each other in cooperative teams (SOOOOO fun). Teachers can even create tests using their card sets to print and administer offline, a great time saver. 


Yay! Literature Circles are up and running in both fifth and sixth grade. I LOVE literature circles because my kiddos become responsible for their own reading and learning, and my kiddos love literature circles because they become responsible for their own reading and leaning. It is a marvelous strategy to incorporate in a reading class. It just takes time to teach the roles, responsibilities, and management. Once that's down.... BOOM, read away!


 Bishop Murry came for his annual visit to our school this past week. We were just getting ready to administer the STARS Reading Assessment in gr. 7 ELA so he didn't stay long. It's a really BIG deal when the bishop comes to visit!

Of course, the final picture MUST be of my fuzz girls! Last month I shared a photo of Daisymae and Lulubelle sleeping together on the back of the sofa, something they rarely do even after living together for more than four years. Well, believe it or not, this has become something they usually do. I purchased two new loungers at the beginning of the month, one for me and one for any guests that visit. The second lounger has been appropriated by the girls! If I am not sitting in my chair, one of them is in it, and the other is in the second chair. If I sit in mine; they sit/sleep in the other, together... all the time!

Be sure to stop by Forever in 5th Grade to read more Show and Tell Tuesday posts. It's a great way to keep up with the teaching blogging world!



May 8, 2017

Teacher Appreciation Sale

Happy Teacher Appreciation!
Click HERE to save on terrific teaching products at Teachers Pay Teachers! 
Be sure to use the promo code during checkout to gain up to 28% off your total purchase.


April 18, 2017

April Show and Tell Tuesday


This month's Show and Tell finds great changes in the weather- we hit a wonderful 80 degrees, yay!- and in the classroom... the year is starting to wind down. Currently, my students and I are on Easter break. When we return to classes next week, there are only six weeks left in our school year. YIKES!

Prior to our Easter break we were actively involved in tons of fun LEARNING.

For the second half of the third quarter and the fourth quarter we turn our attention to Earth Science. One of the first units of study is the structure of the Earth and its system. A fun, engaging (and tasty) activity that our text, Science Studies Weekly, suggests is entitled "Hard Boiled Earth." Students color a hard boiled egg to represent the landmasses/oceans of the Earth's surface, then peel the crust away to reveal the mantle (white), and finally cut apart the egg to locate the core (yolk). When all was completed, we enjoying eating our Earth!

For Show and Tell, I often share STEM activities that my sixth graders experience. The week before our break, my sixers and the seventh and eighth graders experienced the ultimate STEM activity of our year. United Skates of America, located about an hour away from our school, offers a day of STEM and skate, so we took them up on it! For our first hour we learned about "Motion and Rink Design," applying the laws of motion and math to determine the speed of skaters. We also attempted to design a more efficient, safe skating assistant (a support for beginning/challenged skaters). When our lesson was completed, we were treated to pizza and soda, followed by 90 mins. of skating! This was our first time with United Skates but definitely won't be our last; they offer five STEM lessons, so we can make this a yearly activity and experience a new STEM lesson each year.

On the day before our break, we did a little toaster oven science/Religion, making the Christian fish with Chi Rho pendant. We started with a white styrofoam tray and a fish pattern. After tracing the pattern onto the foam, coloring it with the Chi Rho and personal colors/designs, and cutting it out, we placed it in a warm toaster oven and watched the magic begin! First the fish swelled and puffed in the heat. Then it began to twist and curl. Finally it shrunk and layed still and flat, revealing our newly formed pendant. After cooling, we strung the fish on a length of fine yarn and modeled them for all to see.

As always, my last photo of the monthly Show and Tell is of my girls, DaisyMae and Lulubelle. They are seeking each other out more and more... to sleep together and even to play.... only took FOUR years!!!


Be sure to stop by Forever in 5th Grade to read more fun Show and Tell Tuesday posts. They are a great way to keep up with what is happening in the teacher blogging world!



March 28, 2017

Out of the Box: ANOTHER DK Beauty!

What do an adventure castle, a domed den, a balancing butterfly, and loads of creativity have in common? Out of the Box by Jemma Westing, of course!


Twenty-five interactive cardboard model projects that engage kids' creativity and "out of the box" thinking skills through hands-on learning and the application of science-based principles.
Kids can bring old cardboard to life and build recycled creations they can play with, sit in, and wear.
Supporting STEM education initiatives and the Maker Movement, Out of the Box includes 25 interactive cardboard model projects to inspire kids' creativity through engaged and hands-on learning, and, as the founder of Maker Faire Dale Dougherty says, "to realize with their hands what they can imagine in their minds." 
From small-scale gifts to large constructions, author and award-winning paper engineer Jemma Westing uses clear, step-by-step instructions to show kids how to make dinosaurs, masks, race cars, and so much more, and inspirational images encourage them to make their own unique models when they are feeling more confident. The projects utilize only recycled materials, including cardboard rolls and boxes, so all the supplies should be easy to find right at home.
Build something brilliant with Out of the Box. The possibilities are endless!... Amazon.com

I received this beautiful book a few days ago and couldn't wait to tear into it the minute I saw it! Each colorful page contains exciting photos of fun, kid friendly projects, step-by-step directions, and templates with just the right blend of directions and imagination.



Most projects require little planning and few materials: cardboard, paint, tape, scissors, glue... things that are laying around a typical household. However, some projects are a bit more ambitious and require specialized types of cardboard or just LOTS of it!


As a teacher I can see myself placing this book on a table in a corner of my room with all of the necessary supplies in a box under the table, and inviting students to visit the corner during their spare time. Out of the Box is sure to become a great work motivator. Students will want to quickly attend to their assignments so they will be free to engineer engaging cardboard projects.

Several of the projects would be terrific whole class STEM activities. One in particular that I plan on utilizing with my sixth graders is the "Balancing Butterflies" found on pp. 22-25. This simple, attractive project combines spring butterfly art with the concept of center of gravity and will make for a nice art craft activity and a quick informative science lesson.

Published by DK Books, Out of the Box by Jemma Westing is available for purchase beginning April 18, 2017.

March 21, 2017

March Show and Tell Tuesday

It seems like I just blink and BOOM... there goes another month, and it's once again time for my favorite linky.

First up for this month is another STEM activity. We try to include at least one STEM activity every other week. It's something that my kiddos and I look forward to. For this STEM activity we were investigating the elements of flight. Our challenge was to create an paper airplane that would carry the most cargo (plastic metric weights). I couldn't believe that one group designed a plane that was able to fly with 63g of weights on it!


It just wouldn't be Show and Tell without pictures of my kiddos playing ZAP! ZAP! is hands-down my classes' favorite game EVER! 

On St. Patrick's Day my fifth grade Language Arts students enjoyed a Go 'Round with four ZAP games. One helped them practice alphabetical order; one had them identifying nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs; a third  had them identifying declarative, interrogative, imperative, or exclamatory sentences; and the last game had them practicing independent and dependent clauses. Never played ZAP? Check out more than 100 ZAP games that I have featured in my TpT Store; a few are even free!

I NEVER make New Year's resolutions because I NEVER keep them! This year I broke my NEVER and made two. One, I was not going to let dishes pile up in my sink anymore. So far, so good. I've been washing the dishes after every meal. The second resolution was that I was going to do more home cooking. I HATE to cook for just myself, but eating out is just not the healthiest nor the most economical.  These are just a few of the dishes I've made this past month: chicken, green beans, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes with balsamic glaze is a Facebook recipe; the Zuppa Tuscana is an Olive Garden fakeout dish for which I didn't use a recipe; the baked penne was made with leftover sauce from my nephew; and the choo choo wheels and kielbasi with peppers is something my sis made when her kids were little. So far, so yummy for resolution two as well!

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Finally, a pic of the fur babies, or in this case, just sweet Miss Lulubelle. She was half asleep but kept reaching up and trying to pat my face with her paw... so, so precious!

Be sure to stop by Forever in 5th Grade to read more fun Show and Tell Tuesday posts. They are a great way to keep up with what is happening in the teacher blogging world!