Wednesday, April 30, 2014

How to Finish the School Year-Upper Elementary Style...FREEBIES and TIPS GALORE

Bringing a year full of learning and fun to a close can be a bit of a challenge for an exhausted teacher.  Let's face it-the end of the year is full of little assemblies, field days, performances, field trips, outdoor adventures, data charting, report card completion, student desk and supply organizing, etc.  The list is truly endless.  Top that off with children of your own needing party supplies, forms completed, last minute treats, and this time can  be downright exhausting!

Here a a few tools to make your life easier...

#1:  Grab this FREEBIE to help your students reflect on the school year all while continuing to work on writing.  All you need to do is print and staple.  Your students will write, color, add photos or illustrations, and you don't have to sweat about making sure you are sending them home with a keepsake to remember their school year.  This 10-page memory book is the perfect activity

#2: FREEBIE Song List for an end of year slideshow of student pictures.  While feel like I listen to songs all year in preparation of finding 7-8 that will be appropriate for an elementary school video, I am always blown away by how many songs are loaded with foul language and innuendos that are not suitable.  The work is done for you here!

#3:  NO PREP LEARNING TOOLS- I always find that the end of the year is jam-packed with last minute meetings that are pulling me out of the classroom and away from my students.  With all of the end of year excitement, this can be a nightmare situation for any substitute. My goal is to make that time as engaging as possible, so I will leave the sub with a reader's theater script, reader response questions, and journals for my students to focus on.  This is the perfect bundle for this.

This 15-script reader's theater MEGA BUNDLE includes the following fun packs:
-Aesop's Fables Bundle
-Random Acts of Kindness: A Valentine's Day Reader's Theater Fun Pack
-The St. Patrick's Day Mystery: A CCSS Fun Pack
-The Happy Halloween That Almost Wasn't CCSS Reader's Theater Fun Pack
-The Gift of Time: A Thanksgiving CCSS Reader's Theater Fun Pack
-The Show Must Go On: A Holiday or Any Day Reader's Theater Fun Pack
-Speedy Racer
-The School Store
-The Cafeteria Catastrophe
-The Snowball Toss: A CCSS Reader's Theater Fun Pack
-Project Beautify: An Earth Day CCSS Fun Pack

Here are some pics of my kiddos performing!

I hope these tips and tricks allow for a seamless end of year!  Congrats, you are almost there!

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Saturday, April 19, 2014

Easter Sale...

If you are wanting to finish out the school year with some discounted learning tools, now is the time to snag them!  Happy Easter!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Summer COUNTDOWN!?!? ...and a Summer Writing FREEBIE

One week closer to summer, right?! The inspiration behind this post is my son's delightful questioning from Friday morning..."When are we gonna start our countdown to summer?"

Holy is still getting into the 30s at night and winter has barely left our doorstep, but "OK, my boy, we will begin a count down.!"

As of now, it is 38 days!  School days, that is!

I began thinking about all of our summer fun-park adventures, zoo fun, swimming in the pool until we are prunes, bike rides to the local library, road trips, too much ice cream, playing outside until dark...but this also got me thinking about what we will work on this summer and how I will work to keep him an inspired reader and writer.  He is inspired by sports and ice cream, and will sit down and get to his homework in order to "get it done."  But I wanted to put something together to keep his brain excited, so I came up with this for his writing...

He will be heading into the third grade in the is a sample if you click the image.

You can grab the full product here:

I am always so curious what other teacher-parents use to keep their own kiddos inspired and would love to hear from you!  Share your thoughts and e-mail in the comments and I will send you the complete product!  Happy ALMOST summer!

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Thursday, April 3, 2014

How is test prep going for you? It's No Joke! #testprep14 Sweepstakes

I know I have written a few different posts about test prep, but it is one of those things that does nothing but occupy space in my mind from the moment the school year begins, until the moment those test scores are returned on June 15th.  Then the analysis and over-analyzing begins again for the rest of the summer months until the school year begins anew!  REPEAT!!!

If you teach in the kind of school that I do, every staff meeting, every weekly data meeting, every conference, every team meeting, and every ounce of professional development is crammed with thoughts and ideas about the state tests.  It can be completely overwhelming, for sure.

I wanted to share nothing with you more than a GIVEAWAY of FREEBIES.  If you are interested, check out my friend, Lauralee's blog, Language Arts Classroom...

Instead of a feeling of overwhelmed, you may just encounter a moment of excitement over the possibility of winning some materials.  She has worked to gather materials from 14 middle school-high school educators that have donated items.  There are some AMAZING tools that would be perfect in any classroom, if I do say so myself, I even shared my Baseball Close Reading Bundle!

Here is the FREEBIE sampler of that product:

Be sure to check it out, register, and prepare to win some awesome test prep tools. GOOD LUCK! 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

April is National Poetry Month-What to teach to upper elementary students??

Poetry...that word alone can send shivers up the spine of a 6th grader!  I am always so curious what sort of poetry work is done in other upper elementary classrooms...

I know some teachers merely use old state tests with the poetry passages to "cover" poetry while others teach entire units of poetry with poetry journals and poetry night presentations.  I guess I am the in-between.  I incorporate lots of music into my classroom, which I always tell my students is a form of poetry due to all of the figurative language the lyrics entail.  If you are looking for a fun song to share with your students that can work for teaching and brain break purposes, here is a fun one...

American Authors-Best Day of My Life

Challenge your students to identify hyperbole from this song.

Phillip Phillips-Gone, Gone, Gone

Focus on metaphor and imagery in this song.

Pharrell Williams-Happy

 Have students identify simile and metaphor in this fun song!

There are tons of other fun songs out there, but the appropriate for school factor can be tricky, sadly!

In addition to music I love the novel Love That Dog for enhancing poetry analysis and journal writing.

If you are looking for a month-long unit check this out!  My students have a new appreciation for poetry and the work of a teacher after navigating through this fun novel by Sharon Creech.

Students inferring and responding in to the text in their Response Journal

More hard work!

Former students, now in high school teaching a poetry lesson!  It doesn't get any better!

I would love to hear more about what you do in your classroom to foster a love of poetry!

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