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!