Monday, June 29, 2015

Make Your Masterpiece {TpT Seller Challenge}

The TpT Seller Challenge has been exactly what I have needed this summer. These challenges have pushed me to reimagine old products, set new goals, connect with new people, and to finally finish products I've been working on for much too long!!!

This latest challenge, "Make Your Masterpiece" gave me the push I needed to finally make progress with my Step-By-Step Informative Writing Tasks...
I am very excited about these writing tasks!! Since the transition to common core standards, I have been looking for tools and resources to integrate INFORMATIVE WRITING, in ways that are engaging and meaningful for students. These two writing tasks are the first of what will be a growing collection!!

These tasks all follow the same format, making it easy for students to become familiar with the process. Each writing task includes the following....

Step-By-Step Assignment Sheet- Students use this sheet to take them through the assignment, referring to it as they go, and checking off each step as it’s completed.
Note-Taking Pages for Gathering Information- Students use these pages to take notes as they research their topic and subtopics.
 Rough Draft Pages- These pages provide directions for writing each paragraph.
 Revise & Edit Checklist- The checklist can be found on the last rough draft page, and gives students ideas for revising and editing their essays.
 List of Transitional Words & Phrases- This list provides students with transitional words and phrases to use in their essays.
 Final Draft & Brochure Pages- Students can publish their final drafts in a variety of ways. They can use stationary, type and add pictures, or use the final draft or brochure pages provided. {If using the brochure pagesfold a piece of construction paper (9x12) into three equal parts. Students can then glue their cut-out pages onto the brochure}
 Scoring Sheet- A scoring sheet is provided for grades 3, 4, and 5. Each are based on the common core standards.

I can't wait to use these writing tasks with my 4th graders this year!!! I am also excited to explore more topics and create more tasks to add to the collection!!!

Head on over to my TpT store to check out these two new writing tasks!! They are on sale for the rest of the week!!

If you haven't joined the TpT Seller Challenge, then you should definitely check out one of the following blogs for more info: Third in HollywoodTeach Create MotivateSparkling in SecondPeppy Zesty Teacherista.

I can't wait to see what everyone has created!!!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Summertime Revamp #2: Weekly Progress Reports {FREEBIE}

Throughout this summer I am "revamping" some of my favorite classroom tools and resources, and thought I would share them along the way. My first revamp was my Weekly Reading Homework. CLICK HERE if you missed that post!!
This weekend I worked on revamping my Weekly Progress Reports, another simple, but very important resource. This is a very valuable tool in my classroom, as it's used to communicate with parents, and to share their children's work habits and behaviors for the week.

At the end of each week I complete the form, recording the "week of" and students' names, and by checking off each student's work habits and behavior. I also add important notes about what work was missing, why behavior "needs improvement", or even if I am proud of something from that week. The whole process only takes me about 10 minutes.

I then staple the progress report to students' graded tests and important assignments from the week. I send them home in their weekly progress folders every Monday. Parents are asked to review the report and tests with their children, and then sign and return it by Wednesday. Their signatures show me that they saw their children's progress for the week. 

This is such an important part of my routine for so many reasons.....
  • First, it allows me to look back and reflect on students' work habits and behavior from throughout the week. 
  • The progress report informs parents of their children's behaviors. Parents are constantly up to date, and there are no surprises come report card time!! 
  • The weekly reports also reinforce positive behavior, and encourage growth for inappropriate behaviors and work habits. 
I have been using this system for 10 years, and while some might think it creates more work, the benefits are definitely worth it!!

I would love to hear more about what you do to communicate with students and parents in your classroom.....

Check back soon for more REVAMPED classroom resources and tools!!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Summertime Revamp #1: Weekly Reading Homework {freebie}

Summertime for teachers is sacred!! It can be very frustrating when someone who is not a teacher, gives me a hard time about having the summer off!!! After all, teachers have an extremely tough job, that while VERY rewarding, can also be physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausting. Besides, don't most of us actually work during our summer anyway?!?! I know I do. In fact, summertime is a great time to renew, reflect, and REVAMP!!!

Every summer, for the last 10 years, I have used my time to rethink and revamp some of the practices and tools that I use in my classroom. And this summer is no different. I love creating my own resources for my classroom, and I am constantly reimagining and redesigning them.

This summer I plan to REVAMP several of the printables and tools that I use in my classroom, and to SHARE them as freebies for anyone else who might need something new!!
My first "revamp" of the summer is my Weekly Reading Homework. My reading homework is very simple. My students need to read for at least 30 minutes each night and write a response for that night's reading. Their responses are based on the different comprehension strategies that we cover in class. Here is the printable I created for the upcoming school year....
This printable is meant to be copied back-to-back, that way reading homework only involves one piece of paper per week!! I also revamped the reference sheet that students keep in their homework folders or reading portfolios. It provides students {and their parents} a brief reminder of the different strategies we practice in class, as well as sentence frames for writing their responses!!

I am very excited to use this new and improved homework sheet in my class this year!!  Please check back soon for more newly "revamped" resources and tools!!

Monday, June 22, 2015

Dare to Dream {TpT Seller Challege}

The TpT Seller Challenge continues this week with a "Dare to Dream" challenge. Life because of TpT has already exceeded my wildest dreams!! My family and I have had so many wonderful opportunities because of it. My dreams continue to revolve around the following three things....

Family: Bottom-line.... I want to spend more time with my family!! Because of TpT, I plan to teach only part-time next year, in order to have the TIME and ENERGY to spend time with my hubby and my two girlies!! My dream is that I will be able to continue to work part-time while my girls are young. These first days of summer have reminded me of how much I have been missing!!! 

Future: I am a planner, so of course, I am always thinking about the future!!! My dream is to save enough money to send my girls to college, and to REALLY enjoy my golden years with the hubby!!

Fun: While family and our future are my top priorities, I also realize how important it is to have tons of FUN along the way!! TpT has given us so many amazing experiences. Sometimes it's the little things, like spending a day at Disneyland with the family. And other times, it will be those BIG, DREAM vacations!! 

I am loving this TpT Seller Challenge!! It has already been such a great opportunity to revamp and refocus!!

If you haven't joined the TpT Seller Challenge, then you should definitely check out one of the following blogs for more info: Third in HollywoodTeach Create MotivateSparkling in SecondPeppy Zesty Teacherista. You can also link up your "Makeover Madness" and "Dare to Dream" Posts!! Can't wait to read the rest!!!!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Makeover Madness {TPT Seller Challenge}

I am so thrilled to join the TpT Seller Challenge!!! It's exactly what I need to get things going this summer!!

For the first challenge, "Makeover Madness", I decided to give my Interactive Math Notebooks a complete facelift!! My math notebooks were the first products I added to TpT, almost 2 years ago. They were in desperate need of a fresh look....
I tried to keep the overall style so that they were still somewhat familiar. I added some KG Fonts, backgrounds from I Teach. What's Your Superpower?, and a border from Lovin' Lit.

It was a busy morning and afternoon, updating the covers of over 15 products, but I am so glad I finally took the time to do it!!!

If you haven't joined the TpT Seller Challenge, then you should definitely check out one of the following blogs for more info: Third in Hollywood, Teach Create Motivate, Sparkling in Second, Peppy Zesty Teacherista.

For the next two days, all of my Interactive Math Notebooks and Worksheets will be 15% off. Visit my store HERE to check them out!!!

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Putting the Spotlight on Mentor Sentences

I have the great privilege of working with 11 AMAZING upper-grade educators, and contributing to the blog, Upper Elementary Snapshots. Our blog is a great source for ideas and resources for the upper elementary classroom.

Click here to check out my latest post on Mentor Sentences. This is quickly becoming one of my favorite strategies to use with my class of 4th and 5th grade kiddos. Come by to learn more about mentor sentences and how I use them in my classroom. Also, grab a freebie/sample of my newest {and possibly my favorite} product on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Responding to Quotes from The One and Only Ivan {Quotable Characters Freebie}

I am currently reading the novel The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate aloud to my class of 4th and 5th grade students. It took me awhile to give this one a try, but now it is quickly making its way to my list of favorites of all time. Not only are my students enjoying it, but it's such a pleasure to read aloud. We have read so many wonderful novels this year. However, this is the first time that while reading, my classroom is silent, students are still, and ALL of them have their eyes glued to the pages, as I read. It brings a smile to my face, each time we read.

This story is told from the point of view of a gorilla named Ivan, who lives at the "Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade". There, he observes the world around him, and enjoys drawing and watching television. This story offers an interesting and unique perspective. It is so much fun to see inside Ivan's mind, and hear the thoughts, feelings, and perspectives of this lovable gorilla.

During just our first few days of reading, my students and I have come across so many wonderful gems and words of wisdom from Ivan and Stella (an elephant, and one of Ivan's best friends). We have enjoyed discussing the meaning behind Ivan's words and thoughts. 

My students have been using the following printable to respond to some of the remarkable and meaningful quotes that we come across as we read...

I have been typing out some of my favorites, and students have been gluing them into the quote box. Then they respond!! As we move forward with this story, I plan to let them select their own quotes to respond to!!
My students have realized that so much can be learned about the characters and themes of the story, from what the characters have to say. If you haven't had a chance to read this amazing story, it's a must-read!! You are sure to fall in love with Ivan and the other characters just as much as my students and I have!!!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

New Year's Day Sale {15% off in 2015!!!}

Ring in the New Year with some goodies for your classroom!! All of us at Upper Elementary Snapshots are having a 15% off sale on January 1st to celebrate the start of 2015!!!

An InLinkz Link-up

Happy New Year!! 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Loved That Lesson!! {Show What You Know}

I am so excited to link up with Meg over at The Teacher Studio for her "Love That Lesson" Linky!!!
This week I am keeping it nice and simple. My addition is not necessarily a "lesson", but actually an "assessment"! One that can be used to assess ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING!!!
{Click Here to grab this freebie!!}

For the last couple of weeks my 5th graders have been learning about wind and other weather patterns in science. While they have been engaged and enthusiastic about this topic, it's been a tough road getting them to truly understand it. While reviewing for our test on Friday, I was so surprised and thrilled with how far they had come and how much they had learned. I figured this would be a good time for them to "show what they know"...
Needless to say, I was absolutely floored by how much they knew and how well they presented their knowledge and understanding!!

I didn't want my 4th graders to feel left out, so they completed one on atoms {their current topic in science}!
This "Show What You Know" printable can be used with just about anything.  Students can "show what they know" about fractions, the 13 colonies, non-fiction text features.... This list goes on and on!!!

I love how this quick and simple assessment gives my students the opportunity to show what they've learned in a way that is meaningful to them. An added bonus is that it also allows them to show their creative sides!! While my students will still take a test on Wednesday to further assess their understanding, I already have a pretty great idea about what they know!!

What wonderful lessons have you LOVED lately? Be sure to link up with Meg over at The Teacher Studio!!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

November Currently!!!

I have been admiring and reading "Currentlys" forever, but this is the first time I am actually participating!! I always mean to, but month ends and month beginnings are always so hectic. :( By the time I get back in to the blogging world, I realize that I am much too late to the party. It's been a quiet and calm Saturday, and as I opened my computer this evening and realized what the date was, my first thought was... the new "currently" must be ready!!! So happy to finally be able to participate!!! Link up with Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for more "Currently" Fun!!

Listening: Frozen plays in my home constantly! My littlest is a little {and by little, I mean extremely} obsessed with this movie!! I have made 3 purchases for Christmas already...all 3 Frozen related. Here's my cutie as Elsa for Halloween last night {Her big sis went as a mummy!!}....
Loving: I am absolutely loving today's weather!! Our afternoon temp in my neck of the woods, finally hit the 60s!! This was a huge win for us Southern Californians. We were still having 80-90 degree days earlier this week. On my way home this afternoon, I stopped at Starbucks for my first Caramel Apple Spice of the season!! So glad to have this one day of fall weather, as it looks like we're creeping back into the 80s later this week. 
Thinking: I have been thinking about redecorating my littlest's room for awhile now. She's approaching 4 years and is in desperate need of a big girl bed and a big girl room. {Not to mention, a little bit of organization} Check out this lovely mess....
When we moved into our house a couple years ago, hers was the only room we didn't decorate, with the idea that we would redo it when she was ready for a big girl room. We've been a little delayed. Here are a few ideas I was playing around with today...
Wanting: I am a big believer in the 3-day weekend!! There are never enough hours in the weekend to do all of the things that I want and NEED to do!! Here are my thoughts on this....
  • DAY ONE: A day to rest!! After a long week, sometimes all I want to do is sit on the couch in my sweats and watch television ALL.DAY.LONG!!!
  • DAY TWO: A day to do something fun with my family!! 
  • DAY THREE: A day to take care of all the things that need to get done before I head back to another crazy week of teaching and mommying!! Groceries, laundry, papers that didn't get graded the week before, errands that didn't get taken care of last weekend..... This list goes on and on!!
         Anyone else with me on the 3-day weekend?!?!

Needing: When November hit this morning, I woke with the panicked feeling that I NEEDED to start Christmas shopping right away!!! I love this time of year, leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas, and I love holiday shopping!! Every year though, it seems like an impossible feat to get it all done by 12/25! Getting an early start this year!!!

Reading: I am currently reading NOTHING!! I am an avid reader and a lover of books. I'm not sure if it's the lack of time, exhaustion at the end of the day, or just that nothing has caught my attention recently. I have hit a reading drought. Anyone have any wonderful book suggestions??? I'm thinking of trying Farley's recommended book!

Phew!! So there it is folks.... My first "currently"!! There was something very therapeutic about writing this post!! I'm setting a reminder for each month, so that I will never be late/forget again!!
Happy {currently} posting and reading!!!

Monday, September 15, 2014

Ready, Print, GO! {Halloween Edition}

Now that I am finally getting settled into the school year with my 4/5 combo class, I finally have found the time to start thinking about all the fun times we have ahead of us!! All of a sudden, Halloween is right around the corner, and I am super-excited to incorporate some Halloween fun into our curriculum next month. To celebrate (while sticking to the standards, OF COURSE!), I put together a collection of math and literacy printables for my 4th and 5th grade kiddos.
Here are a few of my favorites...
The Halloween Roll-A-Story is an old favorite, in which my students roll dice to determine their story's character, setting, and conflict. I do a version of this each year, and it's always so much fun to see what my kiddos come up with!
Idioms are always fun to teach, and  I thought it would be even more fun to use some Halloween-themed figures of speech for the occasion!
I made two of each math page, one for my 4th graders, and one for 5th!

Head on over to my TpT store to view more of these Halloween-themed pages for 4th and 5th grade! I don't know about you, but I can't wait for fall weather (over 100 today in my neck of the woods) and Halloween to finally arrive!!