Monday, May 18, 2015

Teaching about Memorial Day!

If you have been an educator for any amount of time, Memorial Day is a word you quickly associate with the END OF THE SCHOOL YEAR!  It is a time for the school year to come to a close, pools to open, parades to liven communities, and the unofficial beginning of summer for most Americans. 

However, if you are a veteran of the armed forces or a family member of a serviceman or woman killed in the line of duty, Memorial Day takes on a whole new meaning.  It is not just a day off from work, but a time to reflect on the memory of a loved one that made the ultimate sacrifice for our country.  This is truly a federal holiday that I feel my students need to be given the time to learn about.

I didn't want this school year to end without sharing some insight with my students about Memorial Day, so I created this Memorial Day resource to share with them.  If you, too are looking to keep your students engaged until the very last day of the school year and learning more about the history of Memorial Day, this reader's theater and close reading toolkit is the perfect resource to keep your students inspired!

The students at Monroe Street School are challenged by the town's mayor. This leads to them realizing that Memorial Day is more than just the end of the school year and a day for the community pool to open. This reader's theater will have your students reflecting and considering projects to complete way beyond the last day of school!

This reader's theater toolkit includes:
-a 5-page and 10-character reader's theater script
-close reading strategies for students and teacher
-reader response questions
-a Memorial Day organizer
-a summary organizer
-context clue word work
-a journal prompt for post-reading writing
-a Memorial Day Parade Float Design page
-an answer key
Estimated Lexile Measure is 670L.

Your students will LOVE learning about Memorial Day through this high-interest toolkit!  I would love to hear about any Memorial Day resources you share with your students.

If you are looking to snag a few more patriotic and All-American resources, grab this...

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Sailing Into Summer Blog Hop

The end of another school year is quickly arriving and there are still a bazillion and one things to do before your students pack up their belongings and leave your classroom for the final time.  I find this time of year to be a complete blur despite having gone through it for 15 years.  I find that no matter how organized or prepared I am for the last days of school, I am always racing to Starbucks for one last gift card or racking my brain working to find the right words to say to a colleague, parent, or my children's teachers. 

This year, thanks to this blog hop with my secondary buddies, I feel like I have my act together, I am happy to report.  While you may be up to your ears in paperwork and completing final exam grades, here are a few ideas to grab right away, or store on your Pinterest board for next school year to make it easy to show gratitude and say thanks to those co-workers, parent volunteers, cafeteria/maintenance staff, student helpers, etc. 

Classroom Appreciation Printables 

I am BIG on thank you cards and notes.  I feel that it is essential that we take the time to show gratitude toward those that we care about, have given to us, or done some kind gesture.  As adults we must set a good example, so that our children and students learn this important deed.  To help with the task of showing thanks, and making my life as easy as possible throughout the school year, I created this $1 resource.  It is 20-thank you printables that with a simple signature and $1 Spot goodie from Target, are so meaningful.  The person that is on the receiving end of one of these, truly feels appreciated.

Click on the image to grab this appreciation FREEBIE!

Character Pals

I am one of those people that tends to give gift cards to others for all gift giving occasions.  I want the receiver to be able to pick out something that they can truly utilize and not duplicate something they might already have, or have to worry about a return.  Some call it impersonal, I think it is ideal.  I love gift cards!  This end of school, I vowed not to do that.  Instead, I came across this clip artist on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Lauren from Polka Dots & Pals, creates characters in the likeness of people and she is truly GIFTED!  I wasn't sure what I would do with the images, but I had her create my children's teachers.  I sent her a picture, filled out a brief inventory to assist her in creating the image, and VOILA, I had two adorable characters.
Mrs. Bell, my daughter's kindergarten teacher!
Mrs. Chancey, my son's third grade teacher!

I took to Powerpoint and Vistaprint to create these adorable post-its and bags.  Every teacher needs bags for stuff, and post-its are another teacher essential.  Lauren also gave me the go-ahead to send them their jpeg character pal to utilize with resources and blogging fun.  I can't wait to give them these fun end of year surprises.

My friend Lauren will give away one Character Pal to one LUCKY winner, so enter the Rafflecopter for your chance to win.  I can assure you that you will LOVE her creation.

I would love to hear about any teacher appreciation or end of year gift giving that you do to show your gratitude...I am always on the hunt for fun ideas!  Happy End of Year!  You have almost made it! Check out some more ways to make your life easier these last few weeks by checking out these other amazing bloggers.
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Monday, April 20, 2015

Parenting and Teaching HACKS!

I don't know about you, but I am ALWAYS on the hunt for strategic ways of getting tasks completed.  Like you, I find that I always have 60 billion things to accomplish in a day, and minimal time to get everything completed.  So I look to others for ideas that can make my day easier to navigate and feel as though I have tackled every task I have set out to conquer.

As a mom I find that it is few and far between that I sit, again, I am CERTAIN you can relate.  I often eat dinner as I make it because I know that no matter how organized I think I am, someone needs something as soon as I go to sit and take a bite.  It is what it is, right?  As teachers, sitting is rare as we are always navigating our way around the classroom to meet the need of our students! 

The same is true for our family time after showers and baths...  Literally, as soon as it is sensed that I I am going to sit on the couch to: snuggle a small child, read a story, or heaven-help-me, open my computer, a Beers' kid is in need of S-O-M-E-T-H-I-N-G!  UGGHHH!  It used to be snacks, so here is my hack that was inspired by my never-willing-to-get-out-of-his-comfy-spot-husband, the SNACK BOWL!

The only materials needed are:
  1. re-useable snack bowls with lids, these are in the Target $1 bins for a set of four mini-bowls,
  2. snacks your children will eat and not complain about,
  3. a larger bowl to place the snack containers in, so the kids can access them easily
Target Mini-Snack containers!

My kids LOVE Goldfish, Life cereal, Cheerios, peanuts, peanut butter pretzels

Filled snack containers ready to be grabbed by hungry kiddos!
These containers can be cleaned and re-used for the next round of waste and maybe a moment or two that I don't have to hear, "Mom, I'm hungry!  Can you get me a snack?"  With water bottles filled and ready for the grabbing, and ready-to-grab snacks, you can sit for at least a minute or so before bedtime.

These would also be perfect for testing snacks!  Please share any tips or tricks you have that make your parenting and teaching life easier!  Summer is almost here and this lady is going to need as much help as she can get! 
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Friday, April 10, 2015

Spring is Here! Poetry Hop

I have joined up with my AMAZING literacy friends from The Reading Crew and we have put together this Poetry Hop in order to share some poetry ideas, poetry resources, and FREEBIES...
That one, 6-letter word can send shivers down the spine of an unsuspecting 6th grader.  I have learned that depending on previous experience, it ranks right up there with these other horrors...
My sweet students:
"Mrs. Beers, I hate poetry!"
"Isn't Dr. Seuss a poet?  Dr. Seuss is SO kindergarten!"
"Can I just rhyme a few lines and be done?"

Me: "Sorry to hear that!  Dr. Seuss is actually quite clever, even for adults, but we will not be focusing on his work.  Poetry is not about just rhyming a few lines.  Stick with me, I promise you will LOVE it!"

So I do what I hope every teacher works to do-CHANGE their impressionable minds into LOVING poetry with TRICKERY!  Just kidding, instead of trickery, I utilize two AMAZING novels by Sharon Creech that seamlessly incorporate INCREDIBLE poems that will both challenge and engage students, and I teach them strategies to analyze poems that encourage them to feel more comfortable reading and understanding poems-Love That Dog and Hate That Cat! In addition, I give them the task of becoming the teacher and helping their student, Jack, find his way into accepting poetry and becoming a superstar poet in the process through poetry analysis and journal writing.  You can check out these novel units, and then hop to my FREEBIE below...

If you don't have time for novels, grab this FREEBIE sampler that I created.  The entire We HEART Poetry!  A Poetry Analysis BUNDLE gives your students the tools they need to make poetry analysis successful in 8-LESSONS.  I know that there are years of extra snow and less school days, so I need to get my students where they need to be in the time frame that I am allotted.  This is the ideal poetry resource to connect your students to poetry and make them LOVE it in a snap!  Grab this snippet and let me know what you think!

Enter to win all of my poetry resources below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
I hope your students learn to HEART poetry as much as mine have!  Now head to my friend, Sandy's blog, Sweet Integrations, to find another FANTASTIC resource.  Happy Poetry Hopping!

A special thanks to these clip artists for their festive work...
Educlips, Jen Jones, and Epiphanous Owl.

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Friday, April 3, 2015

End of Year Video Song List and Music in the Classroom

What kind of music do you like to listen to?  Do you play music in your classroom?  I LOVE music and I find that I am playing it at all times! Instead of the TV going on full blast in our house-it is Music Choice, a set of music stations that play uninterrupted songs based on our favorite musical genre.  In our house, it is the Pop station or 320. My husband might argue that the songs that my children and I sing at the top of our lungs are NOT his favorite choice of music, but regardless, we listen, we sing, and of course, we dance!

At this time of year I am always in search of the perfect songs of the year to add to the End of Year Video I always create for my 6th graders that are moving onto middle school.  I take pictures throughout the course of the year, and at the end, using Windows Movie Maker, I create a video with the best songs I can find to celebrate our year together.  The video is played at the end of our 6th Grade Promotion Ceremony and wraps up all of the hard work, activities, field trips, and day-to-day moments that made our year so special.  I LOVE putting this together because it helps me to reflect on all of the work we accomplished and all of the fun memories we will always share.  I guess I am a bit of a sap...

If this is a task you want to tackle, I highly recommend it-it truly helps me to see my students in the most refreshing light, even if it has been a stressful or challenging year.  To make your life easier tackling this fun project-here is a song list I created to put all of your fun memories of this school year to music...

If you have no interest in creating a video, each of these songs is perfect for classroom listening, so add them to your classroom playlist and enjoy!

If you need a classroom brain break-I love this video! Get your kiddos up and watch'em dance!

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Educents, a Giveaway, and A FREEBIE!

I am SUPER excited to be participating in the NEW Educents Marketplace, an AMAZING on-line spot to find even more FREEBIES, deals, and the most perfect tools for your students.  While this used to be a spot for parents and educators to find deals, the deals would expire and could no longer be purchased, but starting today, that isn't happening anymore.  Educents has always helped me save money on educational resources, but now their deals don’t have an expiration date!  In addition, you will find teacher-created resources, at the lowest prices available.  

Click the image below to grab MY Essay Writing Freebie from my Educents store, and check out some of my other tried and true, student-tested ELA resources that will motivate your students and make your life a whole lot easier from now until the end of the school year!  I can't wait to hear what you think!  If you want to be the first to know about new resources I add to my Educents store, click the heart in order to FOLLOW ME.

Are you looking to differentiate novel work with your students over the coming weeks?! I also have this Novel Unit BUNDLE deal taking place right now!  10-Print and Go Novel Units with ANSWER KEYS to simplify your life as the school year winds down.

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Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Spring Break Personal Narrative Writing Resource FREEBIE!

Are you headed on a fun spring break adventure?  We are not, we have a trip to Disney World planned for May, so we will be staycationers over the next week.  I am hoping all three kiddos are healthy and we can take some mini-adventures around Cincinnati.

As an upper elementary to middle school teacher in an urban setting I find that my students don’t tend to travel anywhere for spring break, but they always have a bazillion stories to share about how they spent their days off from school.  Instead of asking them all to share about their break, which I want to hear about, but can’t take such an exorbitant amount of time when we need to get back into a routine, I created this Spring Break Tales: A Personal Journal.  You can make this resource as elaborate or as minimal as you see fit.  This can be utilized as a full-blow narrative writing resource with the brainstorm, writing prompt, writing organizer, and rubrics, or you can utilize it as a morning work resource for students to complete upon their return.  Check it out, I promise your students will have a lot of fun reflecting.

Click the image below to snag this FREEBIE...

Safe travels if you are heading off on your own fun adventure!

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