Thursday, August 11, 2016

Product Revamp and Something New -Plus Something Free for You!

I love creating literature units to go along with the CCSS. Kids love traditional stories, so it's great to find ways to include these classic stories into lessons. But, the more units I've created, the more disjointed they started to feel. I looked at my TpT store, and saw that all of the covers looked so different.
Last year I participated in the TpT Summer Challenge group where TpT sellers were encouraged to revamp a project and give it a makeover. This year, I decided to do the same thing ... on ALL of my CCSS Literature units. I wanted to give them all a cohesive look. (To check them out on TpT, click on the picture).

Here's the finished product(s):

I am really happy with the way they turned out. So happy, that it inspired me to finally finish another product I've had in the works all summer.

I've had the framework for this unit created since June, but it just kept sitting on my desktop .... unfinished. Thankfully, nap time this week has been peaceful and allowed me to get down to work and finally put the finishing touches onto the product.
I'm really excited about this because it's going to pair nicely with one of the 3rd Grade Units we created this summer during curriculum writing. Take a peek:

One skill I wanted students to understand in this unit was character traits. But, in order for students to understand how to find character traits, they must first understand the foundation of character traits. Sometimes, students confuse outside traits, for example, what a character looks like, for an actual trait. Saying a character has brown hair is very different than saying a character is bossy. Below you will find an activity I created to help students with this foundational skill. This 10-page activity is available for free on my TpT store, so hop on over to download yours now! 

How do you use classic literature in your classroom? What are your favorites?

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Little Red Riding Hood - Understanding Theme Using Speech Bubbles (Free Resource)

So, being a mom has gotten the best of me. Meaning, it's truly the best, but doesn't leave me much time for my other favorite pastime ... blogging! As a new school year approaches, I am trying to recommit myself to my blog.

This summer I spent some time working on writing curriculum with a team of third grade teachers. We looked at standards, and studied standards, and looked at more standards .... you get the idea. Our goal was to use backward design to help construct cohesive ELA units that will help our students grow as readers.
Our district is not currently using a purchased curriculum, so we, as teachers, craft our own units. It's a big job, but also allows for a lot of teacher input and passion.

I had so much fun when it came to the creative part of the units - picking out literature and creating engaging learning activities. One piece of literature we chose for a focus of the "Cultures Around the World" unit was Little Red Riding Hood. It's a great familiar folktale, and has many versions. I particularly love Lon Po Po, written by Ed Young.

One thing we really wanted students to understand was point of view as well as how to find the message of the story. For a third grader, that's a lot to think about! In an effort to scaffold their learning, we crafted lessons that would building upon their current knowledge in order to help them understand how stories can teach us lessons, and how we can learn a lot about characters based upon who is telling the story.

In order to build these foundations, lessons were crafted with whole group (teacher led) and guided practice sessions.

One thing I really wanted was to engage the students in creative activities so they could show their learning and have fun! I wanted the students to think about how each character would feel about the message of the Red Riding Hood story. 

Click HERE to get the speech bubble activity for free from my TpT store! 

Interesting in using Little Red Riding Hood to teach core reading skills? These are the books I love!

Text Suggestions: 
Little Red Riding Hood by Trina Schart Hyman
Lon Po Po by Ed Young 
Red Riding Hood Was Rotten by Trisha Speed Shaskan 
Petite Rouge by Mike Artell 

Interested in more activities to teach Little Red Riding Hood? Check out my CCSS Look at: Little Red Riding Hood.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Back to Work.... And Holiday Comprehension

Well, I'm back to work, and if your school is anything like mine, we are facing some excited kiddos! Wrangling in their craziness can be tough this last week before Christmas. It's even worse here in the reading room. The last thing my students want to do is come to our room and practice their decoding, fluency, and comprehension. And the last thing I want to do is spend 35 minutes trying in vain to keep them on task. So, I wrote up a nonfiction article on holiday lights are created a few short, fun, generic nonfiction activities to keep them engaged.
Here's a little preview:

Download the whole set at my TpT store here!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Week 7 of Maternity Leave (and a FREE DOWNLOAD)

Well, I've been off for 7 weeks now (really more if you count the summer). So, that's 7 weeks with my beautiful new daughter. Before she was born, I had grand plans of blogging every day and working on all the TpT projects I never get finished ... HA!
Yeah right! Today, she finally took her first three hour nap (in her swing and not my arms) and I got some sleep last night. Hence, I'm not in zombie mode.

Now that I've gotten some sleep, I realized I never posted all of the pictures I took of my new office/classroom in our reading department. Since I will staring a new job as a reading specialist when I go back to work, I had to pack up my classroom and prepare a completely new space for this school year (which was very fun while 8 1/2 months pregnant).

Here's a peak at what it looked like when I saw it last at the end of August. I'm sure it looks a lot more "lived in" now that kids have entered the space and small groups have started.

I left some blank space to use for learning objectives, group work, and other things that I'll want to hang for the students to use. 
How do you keep your space organized? I love labeling EVERYTHING! In fact, I just added the labels I made for this space to my TpT store. And they are FREE :) Just click the link and download them for yourself. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

A Look at Close Reading, Classroom Design, and a Freebie :)

Well, this year is going to spell big change for me! Not only am I due with our first baby in two weeks, but I've also applied for and gotten a new position in my district. After my maternity leave I will begin a new career as a reading specialist for our 3-5 building! I'm really excited, but also really anxious for so many changes. It's hard to leave 4th grade, the only grade I've taught for the past 9 years, but this next step in my career is something I've really been looking forward to.


So, as a reading department, my colleagues have chosen a book to begin studying.  They've chosen A Close Look at Close Reading: Teaching Students to Analyze Complex Texts.
Close reading has become the new (old) buzz word in the past year. While close reading is in no way a "new" idea, it has picked up a lot of steam and created a rekindling of some very good practices with students. I'm excited to dive into this new book, not only to help me as an educator, but to also help others better reach the needs of their students.
As the common core pushes the idea of close reading, it is important for us, as educators, to understand just what this means for our teaching practices. As I read and analyze this text, I plan on sharing my new learning here. I'd love to hear your ideas on close reading and how you've been applying it in your own classroom.

In preparing to really focus on close reading this year, I made a few posters to hang in the reading room, but they'd be great for classroom too!

Want to download these for your own classroom? Click here

Classroom Design

So, I've been totally obsessed with black and white and neon. I think that is how I'll be decorating my office/small group area this year.  Yesterday I was playing around with some designs and ideas, and it ended up turning into an entire set! So, I finished it and put in on TpT.  Check it out Neon Room Theme
Here's a peak at what it looks like :) 

Any one else gearing up for a new year? Or do you just want to outlaw the "S" word? 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Under Construction :) Tips welcome!

So, I've decided to give my blog a bit of a facelift. The only problem is ... I know NOTHING about blog design or formatting in HTML ... so, for the next week or so, I am going to consider this a construction zone!

Any tips?

Friday, July 17, 2015

Making My Masterpiece #tptsellerchallenge - just a little late :)

Two weeks ago was "Make Your Masterpiece" week for the TpT seller challenge. Well, I'm just a little behind. I was on vacation that week and have been teaching summer school since I've come home. But, I was determined to finish this set! I did, after all, start it last summer.
The other day I blogged about the set, and even offered a free download of the set as a preview. Today I finished editing and revising ... and it's uploaded! I definitely think it IS my masterpiece. It ended up being 250 pages long ... many more than I intended, but well worth it.
The set is for grades 3-5 RL Comprehension and can be used with any text! It has anchor charts, graphic organizers, and interactive notebook pages.

You can check it out on TpT by clicking the image above! 
Here's a preview! 

I'm going to put it on sale in my TpT store for the next couple of days to celebrate it's completion! 
And, a special thanks to those who offered to help edit before I published. I appreciate it!