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December 15, 2014

Life in the Classroom {Giveaway and Donors Choose}

I love my classroom.  I really do.  It makes me happy.  So much blue and green on the walls that calms my soul.  I realized the other day that I don't know if I ever really showed you a picture of my classroom since the very beginning of school.  Well here are 2 overviews of the room.  It's not a perfect picture, goodness I just realized that one of my kid's whiteboard rags is on the floor... but that's life, right?  

Things I love about this room:
*The colors - the blue and green fabric have lasted for years, and they still make me happy.
*The space - I can arrange the desks in so many ways.
*The 3 drawer storage drawers that line the side and back of my room.  I bought the Sterilite containers over a few summers, but now I'm so organized.  The kids know exactly where to put things back and where to find things. 
*Room for a carpet area - The ability to sit as a group on the ground.
I love so much about the room itself, and that's not even including all the kiddos that I get to work with every day.  

Over on FB, I'm having a giveaway.  Just find the post with my classroom picture, and leave a picture of your own classroom in the comments.  I'll choose a random classroom on Thursday afternoon at 5pm, and the winner can choose whatever task card or research set that he or she wants from my store.  

I'm also looking for help funding my Donor's Choose project.  I just created a new one last night - a class set of Boogie Boards, and this week all donations can be matched by Disney by using the promo code DISNEY.  Please consider helping my class, and get a tax write off in the process!  

Thank you!

December 9, 2014

Crossword Puzzles - Be Still My Heart

I love making my kids use crossword puzzles in class to review vocabulary.  There are tons of free websites out there, but I keep finding myself heading to this link.  It makes it easy to input the words, definitions, adding a title, and choosing whether or not to include a word list, answer key, etc.

At the end of the chapter I pull up the site, and type in the information.  It allows me to save it as a PDF for next year.  The kids are actually excited to do it because it is fun!  It's a great way to review! 

Do you use crossword puzzles too?  What other games do you play for vocabulary?


December 4, 2014

Rainbow Edit in Action

By this point in the year I can really tell the kids are "getting" editing their rough drafts.  I know they are paying attention to all those conventions, mainly because their paragraphs are full of color.  I wanted to share a student example with you.

Since the 2nd week of school we have been working with paying attention to the different details in our paragraphs.  First trimester (because it's only 9 weeks long), I have the kids focus on writing one solid paragraph for each of their writing pieces.  I know 1 paragraph doesn't seem like much, but the kids are constantly writing on a daily basis in all subjects, so 1 paragraph they can tackle at a time (and it won't take them forever since they also have to reread it and color it).  

Now in 2nd trimester they have moved onto multi paragraph essays, and they are doing good with it.  We don't always get past the editing/revising stage, but I have seen this group come so far as writers.

Want to check it out?  Here's my Rainbow Editing Pack!
 Rainbow Edit Writing Process

Hope you had a great day yesterday!

December 3, 2014

Prime and Composite Freebie

Months ago I decided to start a folder on my computer of TPT Projects to Finish.  I would start something and then think of something else, and would stick it in my folder to finish.  Hence, a lot of projects were half done and over break I realized that I needed to finish them before my class needed them this year.

Prime and Composite Numbers are quickly approaching, and since my kids love to color I decided to turn this lion into numbers they have to identify.  Let's be educational.  :)  

Here's the link over at TPT if you need something fun for Prime and Composite Numbers.  


December 2, 2014

My Math Online Chapter Tests

This year my district adopted My Math as our new math curriculum.  It is an easy program to follow, the big jump has been taking the chapter assessments online.  I know the whole point is to be as "green" as possible, but there wasn't a way to notify parents and students of their child's scores, so I made up these chapter notes.

Now I just print 8 copies of the specific chapter page, and fill in student scores.  It's working!  I still print out the assessment if a child doesn't pass (so their parent can see the actual test), but for the majority of my class the note suffices.  

If you happen to teach 4th grade My Math, the notes can work for you too!  They are free over on TPT.  

Have a wonderful day!

November 30, 2014

Thank You (Parts of Speech Freebie)

Thank you so much for following me, here are these Parts of Speech Posters.  It's over on Google Docs.  Hope it helps someone.  :)  

November 29, 2014

Tis the Season to Shop!

Have you heard the news?  Cyber Monday (and Tuesday) are quickly approaching!!  I have been so busy this past fall, that I am looking forward to picking up more resources that I know will work beautifully in my classroom.  Before I go on and share my wish list, I wanted to share 3 new things that I just uploaded! 

Yep!  My students need a little extra help working with Contractions, so Contraction Task Cards and Match Up was created over break.

My kiddos also need some more review with Multi-Digit Multiplication and Long Division, so I made up some winter themed task cards for them to use during our December and January math centers.  Then I bundled the sets because why not?! 

Maybe something can help someone.  :)  

On my own wish list, I'm excited to pick up the following products on Monday and Tuesday!

Cooking with Science: Physical and Chemical Changes

Books Make You Bright! Perfect Holiday Book Review Bulleti

Close Reading Nonfiction Texts for Upper Elementary - Wint

Read.Write.Present {Student Presentations}

4th Grade - 30 Reading Fluency and Comprehension Passages

Now, talking about my own store and what people have tucked away... I guess a lot of people do what I do, they tuck freebies on their wish lists.  I do the same thing until I have a chance to download them.  :)  

 Whole Class Writing Journal Bundle

My most wish listed items in my store are my Whole Class Writing Journal Bundle and my Starter Pack.  I've done this now for the past 3 years in my classroom, and every year it amazes me how much I can contribute the journals to helping build relationships in my classroom.  
Here's my picture from 3 years ago.  
The kids share about themselves in the journals and then they learn about each other when reading them during silent reading time.

Here's my picture from 2 years ago.  Now I just have tons more.  

I store them in just a couple of big plastic baskets in my writing area.  This year I actually prepped the journals before school even ended, I had my "future teachers" help me glue them onto the spiral notebooks.  During class time I have the students write in the journals during our ELA workshop, when they are done with their main writing piece of the week, and when they finish early.  Students are allowed to read them during Silent Reading time or during ELA workshop.    

 California History Bundle (8 Products)

My next paid Wishlisted item is my California History Bundle.  This history bundle has everything I use throughout the year with my kiddos.  The first week of school my students get their own California ABC book that has vocabulary words that they will learn throughout the year.  I use my Regions Pack to start out the year.  The kids create postcards and a mini book as they research their region.  We create Salt Dough maps and form the boundaries.  For our Native Tribe unit my students research and create a writing journal, outlining what they would do if they were part of their specific tribe.  After Native Americans, the students learn about our California Early Explorers, and we research and write about the 3 men that are most famous for exploring our state.  California Missions are a huge part of our curriculum, and my students research a Mission a Day and record the information into our Research Books, and then they create a Mission Project.  After missions we learn about the California Gold Rush and they write a historical narrative as if they were a miner during that time period.  We end the year creating our State Symbol Fact Fans, creating our own drawings on the bookmarks that form a fact fan.  

Want to share what you are excited about picking up in the BIG sale?  Or something that has worked wonderfully in your own classroom?  Please link up or comment below!    

An InLinkz Link-up

November 26, 2014

Author's Purpose

I have this thing with Author's Purpose.  My class will talk about it all year, but we don't do any crafts with it until it's close to Thanksgiving.  Then we make up paper plate pies.  The top is the top crust of the pie, the bottom plate is the different pieces with one of these little notes from Dandelions and Dragonflies.  

This year I also found these free task cards from Rachael Parlett that hit the spot.  Great review! 

A Slice of PIE - Thanksgiving Center for Practicing Author

Then of course the kids had to add something in their ELA notebooks as well, so I used this freebie from Blair Turner

Blair's picture

All in all - they got it!  What do you do to review Author's Purpose?  

November 25, 2014

Need some TPT cash? {Giveaway}

We are so excited for the holiday season that we couldn't help but spread some love! Lots of your favorite TPT Teacher-Authors and I have teamed up to give YOU some TPT spending money. We love you and appreciate you (and we wish we could give all of our fabulous followers some money)!

Enter the Rafflecopter below by simply following our TPT stores, and you will have a chance to win one of five $25 TPT gift cards! Good luck!
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2014

Comprehension Cootie Catchers

This week I wanted to share what I'm thankful for in the classroom.  One thing I tried this year are these cootie catchers from Runde's Room.  She has them for both Math and Reading/ELA.  My kiddos are at the age that they love cootie catcher anything, so it's a win win. 

My kids use them on a weekly basis on Thursdays to help review whatever skill we are working on.  The reading comprehension ones I copied on colored paper, and passed them out the 2nd week that I introduced the concept (the first week we are writing about them in notebooks and making anchor charts).  The colored paper helps me to keep them organized by strategy, and I can easily tell from a distance that kids are using them (instead of pulling out their own ones from their backpacks).     

I reuse them too.  They go into a labeled plastic shoebox, all 16 of them (1 per partner group) fit inside.  I'm sure that I will need to eventually make more copies of them, but in the meantime they are working out great - and since we don't use every single one every single week they are lasting.

Great motivation!  I highly recommend them!

Cootie Catcher Comprehension

Have a wonderful day!