Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Yuck! It's STILL winter! Some Upper Elementary Resources and a FREEBIE to make it through!

I am linking up with my friend, Carla at Comprehension Connection for her Thematic Thursday Link-Up.  The focus for this week is WINTER!

I enjoy winter in Ohio as much as I enjoy getting hit in the face with a snowy iceball!

Here is a favorite meme that my spinning instructor shared with me that makes me question the fact that I reside in Cincinnati...

I will tell you that despite my above rant-I don't complain a whole lot about it.  I know that by April or May, I will be loving life again and enjoying the fact that I get to spend 90% of my time outside.

I find this time to be tough on my own children and students as well.  They often are stuck inside for recess due to temperature restrictions and are antsy to get some fresh air and exercise. Watching videos, playing board games, and coloring are all great time-fillers for recess, but kids really just want to be outside.

While there is always an instructional calendar in place, my reading passages and novel unit selections vary each year during these winter months.  Some years I am perfectly fine with the colder weather, and other years all I can do to stay sane is dream of places like sunny Florida or dry and temperature-perfect, Arizona, while I am bundling up and racing around to stay warm.


If you are looking for a novel to share with your upper elementary students to help them escape the cold, check out Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli.  The setting of the novel is sunny Arizona.  While you navigate through this mystical, realistic fiction novel, it will feel like a mini-escape from the cold temps, at least for a little while. This novel is about a girl that after being home-schooled, enters high school at Mica Area High School where her uniqueness is not welcomed.  Her non-conformity irks all the wrong people and she battles with the idea of staying true to herself or changing in order for people to like her.  It is the perfect novel to share with students that are at this impressionable stage and heading to middle school.

When I am really over all of the student complaints about cold, I love to share Woodsong by Gary Paulsen with my students.  This is the ideal text to share with my students in the bitter cold January and Feburary winter months because while we complain about the cold here in Cincinnati, it certainly isn't as cold here as it is in Minnesota or Alaska, for goodness sake!  The novel is a memoir of what led Gary to train and run the Iditarod in Alaska.  Your students will not even think about complaining of the cold when they read about Gary's experiences running a trapline through the Minnesota woods and the different stages of the unforgettable dogsled race.  Here is the novel and unit to assist your instruction...

And when you realize that you can't beat winter, so you just need to join it, there is this fun reader's theater for fluency, word work, comprehension, and writing fun.  Your students will love reading this high interest realistic fiction passage about a snowy recess in which the assistant principal's silly action leads to a student getting carried away and injuring another. The lesson students will take away is that "Rules are made for a reason" and we as adults need to be reminded of that sometimes.

And finally, a FREEBIE...

Stay warm!

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Monday, January 5, 2015

Teaching about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: Upper Elementary to Middle School Resources

Every year the return to school in January is C-R-A-Z-Y!  Despite state testing not taking place until May, it seems like it is a time where we go into uber TEST PREP mode.  In addition to lots of test prep work, I begin a writing piece, start a novel unit, administer DRAs, students are DIBELed, and the list of goes on and on.

One thing I have struggled to focus on minus a You Tube video snippet or a showing of My Friend, Martin, is a true sharing with my students about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  My lack of focus is unintentional, and with some writing time, this year I vowed to not ever let that happen with my instruction.  Because I don't want to slight my students from learning about a significant individual in our American history, I created two separate resources.

The first is a set of 20-informational text task cards spanning his life.  The task cards are common core aligned and cover grades 4-6 RI. 1 and RI 3.  They can be used in a literacy center, as a class scoot, or in small groups.  These are an ideal tool to share with students to learn more about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. while helping students navigate informational text effectively.  Click the image to grab them from my TpT store!

Another resource I created is this reader's theater script.  The text focuses on a group of students doing research in order to present information to the class about the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Your upper elementary to middle school students will love performing this script and will be able to complete reader response questions, context clue word work, journal writing, and an interactive notebook page based on information shared in the selection.  This resource is also common core aligned and covers both reading literature and writing standards-RL.1-4 and W.4 and L.5 for grades 4-8.  Click the image to grab it!

Both of these resources are on sale for $1 each!  I would love for you to incorporate them into your instruction.  Your students will LOVE them!

Keep me posted on any great resources you use when teaching about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Jumpstart January Blog Hop and $50 Target Gift Card Giveaway

My Lesson Delicatessen friends and I wanted to make sure that you were set and ready to get back in action with your students, so we are giving you the Jumpstart January Blog Hop and GIVEAWAY.  Follow through each of our 10 posts for an AMAZING FREEBIE, personal blog giveaway, and at our final stop, enter to win our $50 Target gift card giveaway and find the links to all of our $1 deals! 

My January always seems like a bit of a blur...the students come back from the break tired, but excited, and I need to get them right back into the swing of things because we have a TON to accomplish!  In order to meet their needs to share, along with my needs as a persistent teacher, we begin with writing.

Jumpstart your January with 2015!  This self-relection writing resource will engage your students and encourage them to get right back into the swing of things.
When my students return from the winter break inspiring them can be very overwhelming tricky.  They have been out of the school routine for just long enough to need redirection and motivation.
In addition the school year is almost half over, and I want to engage my students and get them thinking about what they are hopeful to accomplish in this New Year, but remaining time of the current school year.  I often refer to my students at this point in time as 6 ½ graders!  So I created this Me…in 2015! resource.

This writing resource is a tool I print out for each student, hole-punch, and help them navigate through to complete.  It is a tool that we then place in our writing binders as a reflection of what we hope to accomplish. Grab it here and check out the other great uses...

Here are a few more perfect ELA resources to Jumpstart January in your classroom for only $1...

Enter my giveaway and then check out another amazing FREEBIE from my Lesson Deli friend, Karen, and the other grab and go resources from my other teacher friends.  Best wishes for 2015!

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Sunday, December 21, 2014

and here's how it went! Unwrap a Party Ball!

What fun did you have with your students this week?  I am a Pinterest fanatic!  I find that any type of inspiration, event, recipe, paint color, birthday idea, house design, bathroom remodel, etc...can be found on this wonderland of a site.  It didn't fail me this week as I was looking for a really fun game to share at my son, Brennan's, holiday classroom party.

I had pinned this a while back, but was waiting to implement it in my classroom or in one of my own kiddo's.  This past weekend, I purchased all of the goodies and put it together.  Because I was shopping with an almost two-year old and five-year old, I was just throwing the materials in my basket.  You can likely save lots of money if you plan ahead and grab the goodies when they are on sale.  Just a tip, Walgreens does not have the cheapest candy or office supplies!

Here is what I used:
4-bags of treats (I chose Laffy Taffy, Smarties, Nerds and candy canes because they are nut-free)
1-bag of bouncy balls
1-bag of holiday erasers
1-box of Saran Wrap
2-rolls of mailing tape (it is sturdy)
-invisible tape to hold treats in place
1-Ring Pop for the center

I started with the Ring Pop and then just kept layering on the Saran Wrap and goodies.  My son claimed that I made it too hard with so much tape, but those kiddos had a blast tearing and pulling.  I stopped when it was about the size of a soccer ball. It took me about 30-minutes from start to finish!

How To Play:
  1. Put the kids in a circle on the floor.
  2. I used 3-dice as I wanted it to be pretty fast-paced so I kept their attention for the 10-minute game time.
  3. I gave the ball to the person with the closest birthday to Christmas.
  4. Then the person to their right had the dice.
  5. The person with the ball got to tear at it until the dice roller rolled a double.  As soon as a double was rolled, it was passed to the roller.  
  6. The dice kept moving and the ball kept passing.
  7. I had them roll in a little plastic container so the dice stayed contained.
  8. With three dice the chance of rolling doubles was higher, so the game moved quickly keeping everyone's interest.
  9. Students got to keep the candy they pulled out and eat at a later time.
Let the fun begin!

Fun was definitely had by all and I would totally do this again!  High-interest and fast-paced.  Perfect for keeping enthusiastic kiddos' attention.

I would love to hear about fun party games in your classroom!  Keep me posted!

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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Sales Linky Day 5: An editing tool to save your writers!

Day 5!  Instead of 5 golden rings, I share with you A TOOL FOR BETTER WRITERS! Even better, right!  Use this as a morning starter or in your literacy center to enhance student writing.  You students will become better at capitalizing, punctuating, and editing their own and peer written work.

Click the image for an even more elaborate description and to grab this great resource for only $5.

Here are a few more $5 deals from my generous teacher friends...

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Christmas Sales Linky: Day 4! Writing and Word Work for Daily 5 in your Classroom

Sing it with me...

On the 4th day of Christmas, my true love gave to me resources to help writing and vocabulary!

For only $4 each!

If you are looking for easy-to-implement tools for when you return from winter break, these are two must-haves.  Get right down to business with student writing with Writing Rules.  This resource incorporates ALL writing standards for grades 4-6.  Word of the Day is the perfect way to bring more vocabulary to your students in minutes a day.  Use as a morning starter or in a literacy center.

For a bazillion other $4 resources, click the image to head to The Primary Gal's page for all links.

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Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas Sales Linky: Day 3! SUPER HOLIDAY FUN!

On the third day of Christmas, I don't want to get up because I know my students are going to be wild and crazy! 

It is going to be an exciting week, for sure!  Grab this Holiday Bundle for $3 and make the week engaging and fun for your holiday season mantra is, "If you can't beat'em, join'em!"  With three reader's theater scripts and fun packs, plus word work, reader response questions, and journaling/writing, your students will be so engaged with learning they might even forget that Christmas is next week!

Here are some other $3 goodies to make your week fly by, sort of!

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