Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Gimme 5 Blog Hop!

Today I am linking up with Erica from A Grade Seven Heaven for a Gimme Five Blog Hop!  The BONUS one day TPT sale is tomorrow, August 20th; however, we wanted to give you an opportunity to win some of the items on your wish list before the sale. 

This is a quick rafflecopter, so you will know before the sale if you have won!

To enter the giveaway is simple.  Head over to my TPT store and find five items that you would like to win.  Leave a comment on this blog post that lists the five items you would like to win.  Briefly explain why you would like to win these items and how you would utilize them in your classroom.  (This is mandatory in order to enter the rafflecopter).  Then complete the remaining entries in the rafflecopter for extra chances to win.  The winner will be notified early Wednesday morning and will receive all 5 items he/she has chosen via email. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to stop back at my TPT store tomorrow for the big sale!  My products will be 20% off and when you use the code: BOOST, you can get an extra 10% off on top of that.

Be sure to visit the other participating blogs listed below.  Each TPT seller is giving away products from their store!  You don't want to miss it!  Good Luck!! 

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Blogger Product Swap- Back to School Lapbook & Giveaway

Today I am linking up with Cara from Creative Playground for a Back to School Product Swap.  I was paired with Jennifer from Cupcakes and Curriculum.  I have to admit, I was blown away with her products!  If you haven't had a chance to check out her TPT store, you are missing out!  Her products are amazing!  Not only are her products cute, but they are well-made and rigorous.  It is really hard to believe she is a 2nd year teacher!  A-MAZ-ING!
I was able to pick one item from Jennifer's TPT store, and I ended up choosing her I Am a Fourth Grader! {Back to School Interactive Lapbook Project}.  This resource is also available in a 2nd and 3rd grade version!
I have been looking for a new back to school activity for my 4th graders.  As soon as I saw this resource, I knew I didn't need to look any further!  This lapbook contains so many activities- I absolutely love it!  First of all, I was really excited that I only needed to copy 3 pages per student.  (Our copies and paper are limited, so saving paper is a HUGE concern of mine!)  These 3 pages are jam-packed with so many tasks!

The lapbook was easy to put together.  We started off with coloring all three pages and then cutting and gluing everything.  I love how it all fits together in one file folder.  Here is a picture of the cover:

Once the cover was put together, I was able to move to the inside of the folder.  Here are some pictures of the foldables that are included for the inside of the lapbook:

One of my favorite things is that this resource first asks the students to tell about themselves, such as what they are most looking forward to learning in 4th grade, little-known facts about themselves, and all of their favorite things.  Then, students have the opportunity to get to know their classmates by finding other students who share their same interests/likes.
This activity is An All About Me/Find Someone Who all wrapped in one!!  I am so excited to start off the school year with this project! 

Jennifer also reviewed a set of my Math Posters, so head on over to Cupcakes and Curriculum to read her blog post!

Want to win a copy of both of our resources?  Enter the rafflecopter below to win a Back to School Interactive Lapbook from Jennifer and a set of Math Posters from my TPT store.  The winner will be able to choose the grade level for each of these resources.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Also, be sure to check out the other blogs that participated in the swap.  Some of them are also hosting giveaways on their websites!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Christmas in July!

Who doesn't love a little Christmas in July?!  I'm teaming up with some of my blogging buddies to bring you an $80 TpT Shopping Spree just in time for back to school!

Below you will find the blogs of the sellers involved, and the Rafflecopter form to enter! Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Nonfiction Text Structures

Nonfiction Text Structures is one of the many topics we cover in 4th grade (as I'm sure many of you do).  It's a big standard to cover- and it is quite important on our state test.  This year I was looking for a new and exciting way to be able to teach the different types of text structures- a way that would not only be fun for the students, but also allow them to make meaningful connections.  I went to Deb Hanson's TPT store to see what she had to offer.  As you probably know by now, I am a HUGE fan of her craftivities (and so are my students!)  I found Deb's Nonfiction Text Structures Bundle and knew my search was over.  This bundle contains EVERYTHING you need to thoroughly teach Nonfiction Test Structures. 

I centered much of my whole group instruction on the Power Point that was included in the bundle. Each type of Nonfiction Text Structure was introduced and an example of that type of text structure followed on the next slide.  The Power Point contained nonfiction selections about soccer- this was a huge attention-grabber for my students (especially my boys!)  I love how the examples were things that my students could actually relate to- like the history of soccer, the similarities between soccer and football, and head injuries that can occur while playing soccer.  By the end of the week my students not only knew all of the Nonfiction Text Features, but they also knew more about soccer!  Here are some examples from the Power Point:


I introduced one type of Nonfiction Text Structure each day.  Once we covered a type of structure during whole group, we then moved onto the Nonfiction Text Structure Flipbook.  My students loved the little flaps at the bottom of the flipbook.  It made a really easy-to-use reference tool to refer back to throughout the week as well.  The flipbook contained passages for the students to use as guided and independent practice for each of the text structures.  The students were asked to read the passage, highlight key words that indicated the text structure, and then explain what made the passage an example of that particular text structure.  I love the accountability that comes with this activity- not only do students need to identify key words, but they also have to explain.  This really allowed me to assess my students' learning.  (Side Note:  This is how I chose to implement the flipbook, but there are multiple options for implementation.)

 To check out some examples of the passages included, check out the listing on Deb's TPT page

At the end of our unit, I had the students use the Nonfiction Text Structures Task Cards as a way to demonstrate their understanding.  Each student was given a task card.  They were asked to identify the type of text feature used in the paragraph and explain how they knew it was that particular text feature.

I had the students glue the task card and their explanation onto a piece of cardstock.  Then, I put all of the examples together to create this bulletin board:
I took the posters that were included on the Power Point and the completed task cards, and I created a tree map showing examples of the different types of Nonfiction Text Structures.  I also included two completed flipbooks on the outside corners of the bulletin board.  Here is a closer look:
These are just a few of the activities included in Deb's Nonfiction Text Structures Bundle.  There are also assessments and worksheets included in this bundle as well as a craftivity!  I can easily say this is one of the BEST purchases I have ever made on TPT- and my favorite out of all of Deb's resources. 
So, have I peaked your interest?  I hope so!  Head on over to Deb's blog, Crafting Connections, to see the giveaway we have put together for you :)
Have a great weekend,

Monday, July 7, 2014

Monday Meet Up

I am linking up with The Teaching Tribune for Monday Meet Up!

This week we are answering some random questions about ourselves.  :)

Have a great day!!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Falling in Love with Close Reading: Wk #1

Today I am linking up with Dianna from Sassy, Savvy, Simple Teaching for our book study on Falling in Love with Close Reading.  This is the first blogger book study I have ever participated in, and I am so excited!  I hope you will come back each week as we share new ideas/reflections from the book.

Chapter 1 was titled: "Close Reading, A Love Story."  Here are the questions we reflected on:

The first few pages of this book really hooked me in!  I love how the author says that “teaching readers to look at texts closely-by showing them how one word, one scene, or one idea matters-is an opportunity to extend a love affair with reading”.  Just as our students become obsessed with different songs, TV shows, and movies, we want them to also develop that same obsession with reading.  It is our job as teachers to instill that love of reading, by digging deeper into the text.

1. What is Close Reading?
To me, close reading means to take a preselected section of the text and delve deeper into it- to really tear it apart- like a detective searching for an answer to a mystery.  I love doing this with my kids.  Something that is important to keep in mind is that it’s not about quantity (how many pages), but quality (what you can get out of it).
The CCSS are really written for us to guide students in the direction of close reading.  Take a look at these standards that were included in the text:
  • “read closely” and “cite specific textual evidence” (R.1)
  • “analyze how…ideas develop and interact” (R.3)
  • “interpret words and phrases” and “analyze how specific word choices shape meaning” (R.4)
And the list goes on…but I think you get the point.  These standards are begging for our students to dig deeper into the text. 

2. What is Powerful Close Reading Instruction?
There are many areas listed in the book, but two of the most important areas mentioned about Powerful Close Reading Instruction are: 
  • Powerful Close Reading Instruction “must lead to student independence, not dependence on teacher’s prompting” 
  • Powerful Close Reading Instruction "must be repeated across time and involve lots of opportunities for practice, not be a one-time, off-the-checklist activity”
I think these bullet points are so important, because our goal is to teach our students to become life-long readers.  The only way this will happen is if we model/guide/teach our students how to become independent close readers.  This won’t happen in one or two lessons either- it’s going to take many specific, deliberate lessons to develop our students into the readers we want them to be. 

3. What are we doing currently in our Close Reading Instruction?
I teach in North Carolina, and this coming year will be our 3rd year of implementing the CCSS.  Being that I am still a newbie, I am really looking forward to implementing the lessons that are included in this text during this coming school year.  The book talks about teaching students “a Close Reading Ritual” that will help “build independence” in students.  I am eager to read about this ritual and learn ways to help my students “Fall in Love with Close Reading”!  

I hope you enjoyed reading this post & I will see you next week for Chapter 2!

Don't forget to enter the raffle to win some items below:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

July Currently & Two for Tuesday!

I'm linking up with Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for July Currently and The Teaching Tribune for Two for Tuesday!

Listening- I LOVE Law & Order: SVU!  I've probably seen just about every episode, and I love the marathons they run on the USA network.  Next to Scandal, it's my favorite show!

Loving- I am so happy to be home with my husband and daughter for the summer!  We are getting some much needed family time.  My little peanut got a pool for her birthday, so she has been enjoying the water, and we have been soaking up some rays!

Thinking- Is it just me, or does summer seem to be flying by?  It seems like once the 4th of July hits, it's all downhill from there!  Attention Summer: PLEASE SLOW DOWN!!

Wanting- OMG!  Have you ever been to Chipotle?  I seriously have an addiction to their burrito bowls!  We eat there at least once a week.  I am completely obsessed with their food! 

Needing- I really need to spend some time going through each room of my house and getting things organized.  We keep adding more and more junk (especially since having Leah), but never getting rid of anything.  I don't want to go back to school in August with things being disorganized.  SIGH...I just need to make myself a schedule (go through one room a day, etc.) and get working. 

4th Plans- As of right now, we are going to go to a parade and see fireworks!  There was some talk on the news of a serious storm rolling through on Friday that is coming from Florida, so we'll see how those plans work out.  If not, some sparklers in the garage will have to do! :)

Alright...onto Two for Tuesday!

#1:  I recently posted a 1st Grade Science Poster Bundle.  This bundle contains my 1st Grade Life Science, Physical Science, and Earth Science Posters.  It is Common Core aligned and is currently listed at 50% off!  This is a total steal considering the bundle is already 20% off the cost of the three sets put together!

Each set contains posters on various topics covered by the 1st Grade Common Core Science Standards.  These posters are perfect for assessing students at the end of a lesson/unit and are also great note-taking tools.  Students can answer the questions in using sentences and/or pictures. 

I also have Science Posters available for grades 2-5- both individual sets and bundles!

#2: My 2nd Grade Geometry Posters are also 50% off today!  This resource is aligned with the 2nd Grade Common Core Standards.  These posters can be used as an assessment after a lesson/unit, class work, or even homework. 

I also have math posters available for grades 3 & 4.

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, June 30, 2014

Monday Meet Up

I thought it would be fun to join The Teaching Tribune for Monday Meet-Up!
 This week, The Teaching Tribune asked us to think of 3 things we are thankful for.  I have to admit, I kind of chose the sappy route, but at least it gives you a little insight into me :)

I hope you enjoy the rest of your Monday!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Crafting Connections: Together We Soared Awards!

Today I am excited to be linking up with Deb from Crafting Connections to participate in her Classroom Tested, Teacher and Student Approved series to share my experience with her End of Year Awards & Writing Craftivity: Together We Soared Awards!

This is actually my second time participating in Deb's Classroom Tested series!  Deb has so many great craftivities in her TPT store, and they have made such a difference in my instruction.  So, I asked Deb if I could participate again to review/promote another one of her products.  (By the way, if you are interested in reading my first post from Deb's Classroom Tested series, you can click here.)

We used this end of the year craftivity during the last week of school, right after we had finished statewide testing.  I wanted my students to complete meaningful activities during the last week of school, but I also wanted to give them something fun to do.  Deb's craftivity was just what I was looking for!  Not only was it a writing activity, but it also gave my students a chance to create something for a classmate.

This craftivity came with everything needed to follow the steps of the writing process.  My students first began by drawing another classmate's name out of a basket.  This determined who they would be creating the award for.  I told my students that they weren't allowed to divulge who they had chosen.  This was going to be a special, surprise award for a fellow classmate.   

Once the names were drawn, the students got to work on the brainstorming sheet.  This sheet allowed the students to reflect on positive moments they might have shared with this person and any character traits they could come up with to describe them.

Once the brainstorming page was completed, students moved on to the rough draft.  This allowed the students to transfer their ideas from the brainstorming page into a rough draft.  Not only did students need to name positive character traits about their classmates, but they also had to provide support for each of these traits in their essay.

As students finished their rough drafts I met with each student and conducted a brief writing conference.  Once our writing conferences were completed, the students began working on their final draft. 

I had my students complete the final writing portion prior to putting the kite together.  After gluing the award cover to the completed final draft, I stapled a tail (yarn) to the bottom of the kite.  The students then attached the bows to the tail.  Each bow had a character trait describing that person on it.  Here are a few pictures of finished products:

Next came my favorite part- the presentations!  Since the students didn't know who had chosen their name, they were on the edge of their seats waiting to hear who the next award was for.  My students came up with really creative character traits and explanations for their classmates.  At the end of each presentation, the presenter got to give the kite they created to their classmate.  It warmed my heart to hear their presentations, and my students were so excited to take their awards home.  This craftivity became more than a writing project; it became a special souvenir from their 4th grade school year.

I think we often spend so much time focusing on our core subjects, it is easy to forget about doing activities that focus on building character.  Not only did this activity help to build a better sense of community in my classroom, but it allowed my students to recognize character traits in their classmates while still factoring in the writing process. 

Deb is going to give away this craftivity to a lucky follower!  Head on over to Crafting Connections to enter to win your very own copy!

Friday, June 27, 2014

My FIRST Five for Friday!!

 I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday! This is my first time participating in Five for Friday, so I am pretty excited!

I recently signed up to participate in a Postcard Exchange.  My class will be exchanging postcards with classrooms in 49 other states (1 from each state).  It's a great opportunity to incorporate some extra Social Studies into our day!  Primary Graffiti has a great State Notebook (FREEBIE!!) that will allow my students to get even more out of this experience!

If you are interested in signing up for the Postcard Exchange, just click on this link to take you there.  As of this morning, Alaska, Rhode Island, South Dakota, and Wyoming are still available!

The Learning Center is hosting a HUGE 12 day giveaway!  Danielle is giving away 6 bundles, totaling 60 products!! 

I donated my 2nd Grade Physical Science Posters to this great giveaway!  Hurry to enter!!  I am apart of the Bundle #1.  Each bundle giveaway will only be open for 48 hours, so remember to stop back often to enter!  Follow this link to enter :)

Today is my wedding anniversary!  Six years ago today I married my best friend in Las Vegas!  It was such a special day, and I couldn't ask for a better husband or father to our daughter!

After having back-to-back visitors at our house, our house is finally empty!  I love having family come to visit, but I especially love the feeling when everyone has gone back home.  We can get back to our regular routine!  Our first set of visitors came on the last day of school, and our second set just left, so I finally feel like our summer vacation begins now!  Oh, how I love pajama days!!

Tomorrow I am hooking up with Deb from Crafting Connections to review one of her end of the year products!  Can you guess which one it is?  I am such a HUGE fan of Deb's products, and I can't wait to share my post with you!  Check back tomorrow to see which of her products I chose.  There just might be a giveaway too ;)

Well, thanks for reading My FIRST Five for Friday!  I hope you stop back tomorrow!