Sunday, December 1, 2013

Deck the Halls with TPT Linky!


Happy Happy Sunday!!  I'm so glad Sunday is here!  Why you may ask!?  Well, today is the day that I'm going Christmas shopping with my husband.  It's our family's first Christmas together and I can't wait to buy my little one's gifts and watch them open them.  Yes, I know - it means nothing to them now and they won't even remember it...but I will and I can't wait!  So we're out shopping all day today!  :)  AAAANNNNDDDD...Tomorrow is the HUGE TPT Cyber Monday (And Tuesday) sale!  My wishlist is stocked and I can't wait to shop till I drop!  I've decided to link up with the amazing Christina Bainbridge for her Deck the Halls with TPT linky party!


To check out the linky, make sure to click the button below - but before you do check out my playlist!!


My first one is a seasonal common core favorite:  Christmas Commas.  This is a great mini unit on different comma rules.  It includes dates, city/state, series, introduction yes, no, names.  There's a printable page for each rule and a sorting game to practice them all.  My kids LOVE these pages and I hope yours will too!  Click on the photo to check it out!


My second selection is...  Phonics Reading Skills.  I've been using this packet now for a few months and the improvement in my 3rd graders with phonics and phonemic awareness has drastically improved.  Even my higher readers had eye opening moments.  This packet has over 54 pages of reading skill sheets.  All of them are divided into 3 sections:  Teacher Model, Students Practice, and then On My Own.  Skills included in the packet are 
Beginning Sounds
Middle (vowel) Sounds
Ending Sounds
Same Sound (as underlined letters in a word)
Prefixes
Suffixes
Base/Root Words
Rhyming Words
Synonyms
Antonyms
Syllables


These pages are great for centers, small groups, guided reading, whole group, etc.  I hope you love them as much as I do!  Click on the photos to check them out!


My final selection is...  Farm Frenzy Perimeter Project


This is one of my FAVORITE math projects to do each year.  The kids LOVE the farm clip art, the hands on application, and the real world connection that makes learning about perimeter really come to life.  Students are asked to help a farmer figure out how much wood he needs to make the pens for his farm.  Students choose which animals they want and then find the perimeter of each pen.  Then to challenge them, they're asked to figure out how much wood the farmer would need in all.  Everything you need is included!  I hope you'll check it out! :)  Below are some photos of my little ones enjoying the activity.  





Thanks to Christina again for hosting this amazing link up!  I hope you enjoy the sale and may your holiday shopping be easy on your wallet!  Have a great week!  

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Can, We, Work, On, Commas, Please!?

     One of my school's key standards for the month of November is commas.  It's one of my favorite skills to teach because there are just so many different and fun activities to do with it.  My favorite activity is making "Commapillars".  I usually make these when I'm on my 2nd grade part of the loop so I didn't do them this year.  I can try to take a pic of the one in my file if anyone is interested.

     This month I did a few activities which I'd love to share with you - one of which I was observed doing.  I don't have any pictures of that one.  Obviously, I was being watched!  LOL  But I do have the materials and I'd love for you to have them!

     Around the room hunts are some of my favorite things to do with the little ones.  But I like to give them a twist.  I posted a while back about a hunt I did with Pronouns - You can read about it here.  Basically, I take sentence strips and lay them around the room.  Then each student is given a card which they then have to match to a sentence strip.  This activity is a neat twist on the "Around the Room' type activities that we all love to do.  To make it more fun, I try to make sure that the students get to switch cards and we play many times to make sure whatever the concept is, we truly get to practice.  Here are some photos of us doing this activity with commas.






For this activity I took the 6 comma rules we were working on:
*Dates
*City/State
*Series
*After Yes/No
*After a name
*Letter

On index cards I wrote each rule 4 different times - which gave me 24 cards in all.  Then I made 4 sentence strips for each comma rule.  On then was a sentence that needed the comma.  Therefore each index card could potentially be matched to 4 different sentence strips and each student had a match, no one left out.  After switching cards a few times all of my students got to practice each rule at least once. They had a blast.  Once they found their sentence strip, they would sit next to it and place their finger(s) where the commas should go.  It took 45 seconds or so to walk around the room to check everyone's and then we continued to play.  :)  This activity can be adapted with lots of different skills.  Let me know if you try it!

The lesson I did for my observation was more of a sorting lesson.  I modeled reading cards with sentences on them and inserted the comma in its place and then sorted the cards based on their rules. I warn you - this is not 'pretty' but it did the job!  You can click on the photo below to grab the modeling activity and cards.  


For practice, the students were given a larger version of the above chart.  I drew them on large poster paper.  Students were given index cards, on them were sentence again with missing commas.  In groups, the students drew in the commas and then sorted the cards on the mats.  To help differentiate the lesson, I had my lower ability students only focus on a few rules, and then higher students did all 6 rules.  Below are the index cards.  They make index cards that can go through the printer, or you can just print and cut out the cards.  Snag them below!



Can't have a lesson without a quick You Do/Assessment.  I differentiated these to match what the student's practiced.  There are three - one for each level!  Click the photo to download them as well :)


Whew!  Dont you just LOVE commas now!?  Like I said - I do!  Since we've now learned all about them we'll be ready to review during spiral learning in the upcoming months.  So I created a fun Christmas Commas activity just in case I missed my dear commas in December.  We actually used part of it already - :)  This activity pack has 4 printable worksheets and a sorting activity that can be used as a small group intervention or a center.  I hope you'll check it out!


What are YOUR favorite comma activities?  I'd love to hear from you!  The 1st three people to comment will get the Christmas Comma pack for free!  Make sure you leave your e-mail!

Monday, November 18, 2013

It's so HARD to be a Verb - An ADHD Inspired Post

     First off, I want to thank Laura Candler for putting on this very inspiring linky as well as Julia Cook for creating and writing some amazing story books that are great for both classroom and parental use.  If you haven't checked out any of Julia's books, definitely make sure you do so!  Just click on the photo below to check out her website.



I'm writing today to discuss an amazing book written by Julia - It's Hard to Be a Verb!


This amazing story is about a young boy that we all know very well - a child who just can't....stop....MOVING!  The story goes through his struggles and his daily life and all of the ways and reasons he gets in 'trouble'.  It discusses how he just can't stop wiggling, and itching, and twitching and how he wants to stop - but he can't.  This story is golden if you've ever had a child in your classroom, or even of your own, like this.  It truly displays their thoughts and concerns and wantingness (not a word - but it should be for this sentence!) to be 'still'.  

There have been too many times to count where I've told a student to 'focus' or 'settle down' or just plain old 'STOP!' forgetting the fact that they, well, can't.  We forget that their bodies truly do not understand or know what it feels like to be 'calm'.  Calm to them is completely different from what others think and feel is calm.  It's true those itches and twitches just won't go away.  As an educator, it is our job to find tricks and implement them into these students' daily routines to better allow them to deal with these wiggles rather than give consequences for something that they simply cannot control.  I would like to give some tips, tricks, and even a lesson in this post.  I apologize in advance for its length.  Please feel free to bookmark it to come back and finish reading when you can!  

There are TONS of suggestions and tips out there - the thing is, you will need to figure out what works for each student.  Remember, what works for one won't work for them all.  Below are some basic suggestions for different behaviors triggered by ADHD.

For students who have inattention problems:
  • Try and help the student by making someone else other than the student to keep attention on the task
  • Keep tasks short
    • Break down assignments if needed
  • Eliminate as many distractions as possible
  • Make everything as engaging as you can.
For students who are hyperactive:
  • Allow the student to move around as much as possible without being a distraction to others or interfering with the task
  • Make work as interactive as possible
For students who are impulsive:
  • Try not to emphasize speed on activities or assignments
  • Promote thoughtful study strategies
Overall
  • Keep your expectations realistic
  • Keep the difficulty level appropriate for the child
  • Spread seat work throughout the day instead of one specific time


Like I said, you probably have many other tips to go along with those - but they are the basics.  

Better than that - I want to share something that truly does work with a LOT of ADHD students and then some!  We call it our Remote!


Basically its a simple remote control that teaches the students many different strategies on how to control, prevent, and change their behavior.  Students are given a copy of the remote to place on their desk permanently.  After being taught separate lessons on what each button needs, students and teachers use the remote in the everyday routine of the classroom.  This remote gives the students the necessary tools to succeed in the classroom.  I've created a quick little guide on how to use the remote along with quick lesson ideas for each button on the remote control.  On the last page are copies of the remote to use if you'd like.  Just click the photo above to check it out! (Let me know if any links are not working!)

I truly hope you will check out this resource and more importantly, check out Julia's book - It's Hard to Be a Verb!  With the story and the 'remote' hopefully your wiggly students will find themselves more in control of themselves.  Please let me know if you have any questions on this program or the book!  I'd love to hear any of your strategies as well!  Make sure to leave a comment!

Thanks again to Laura Candler and Julia Cook!  Make sure to check out the other teachers in the Blog Hop to learn more about Julia Cook's literature and some amazing ways to use them in the classroom!







Sunday, November 10, 2013

Educents Bundle & GIVEAWAY!!



Reading is my absolute FAVORITE subject to teach - but with that being said, it can be a challenge to find great Language Arts materials for sure!  So I have teamed up with several other top sellers and Educents to provide you with this great bundle for 3rd and 4th grades!  






Very excited to be a part of the bundle with Educents!  I know you will love my Vocabulary Voyage Test Prep Through the Year Packet!




I've been using this packet all year this year and the ability of my students when it comes to being able to answer standardized test questions and knowing what questions are actually asking and what they need to do to answer them is phenomenal!  Daily - it takes us 5 minutes to do this and the impact seems like we spend all day every day doing this.  I'm super pleased with how they're doing and can't wait to see their standardized test scores at the end of the year.  I truly hope you'll check it out!



There are many other products in our bundle to get your kids learning!  
Centers, printables, vocabulary, book studies, interactive notebooking and so much more!


But that's not all!   Since you are on my blog I would like to give you a chance to win something extra for free!  Please follow me or pin something or shout it out on FB and enter to win any item from my store.  Good luck!



a Rafflecopter giveaway


 




The deal won't last long so head over now!





Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Trick or FREEBIE!!


So I hope you've been completely enjoying our Trick or Freebie blog hop!  I'm super excited to be NEXT!  Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.  I always completely decorate the classroom.  I have over 100 Fall/Halloween themed books that I get out and the kids LOVE them!  They get sad when October is over and I put them away.  :(  But don't worry - I have over 100 Thanksgiving books too!  Haha.  Can you say - ADDICTED!?  

Well, I can't post on here without talking about my little ones :)  We got to get them dressed up for Halloween early due to a fun little party we attended.  We found this idea from googling 'costumes for twins'.  My husband fell in love with it.  He rarely gets passionate about things so when he did about this I just couldn't say no!  Plus, he LOVES to create things..  So - here they are!

They went as Goose and Maverick from Top Gun.  I walked around with the theme song playing from my phone.  It was a hit!  The sun glasses didn't stay on for long but I was lucky enough to snap this photo.  They just crack me up!  I'm already thinking about next year - maybe a pirate ship!?  

So I'm typing this blog post on the eve of me returning to school from my two week Fall Break.  Bittersweet....  I'm excited to go back and see my other kiddos but very sad to take my own kids back to daycare :(  Do any of you have family who watch your little ones for you?  Both my mother and my husband's mother are younger (mid 40's) so they've got a while before they can take off work. But oh well...  Fall break did allow me to work and finish a lot of fun activities that I'm super excited to use.  Wanna see!?


Tomorrow (Monday) I'm being observed doing a 15 minute Fact and Opinion Lesson, so I came up with a fun little ppt lesson.  It's cute and easy and great for review!  I hope it goes well :)  Click on the pic to see more!


So we did this Common/Proper Noun mini unit the week before we left for school.  The kids had a lot of fun reviewing nouns with the candy corn twist!  Take a look!






There's a fun matching game, a coloring page, another work page and a quiz included in this little mini unit.  Click on the photo to check it out! :)


Ok, ok - what you REALLY came here for...  FREEBIE!  I'm using this activity this week and can't wait!  I'll take pics if I can remember :)  We're working with plural nouns.  I plan on making the cards per pairs of students.  For each card there will be a small little sticker on the back.  Students pinch what they think the correct answer is.  If they feel the sticker they know they're right!  If not... well, try again!  I hope you like it!  It can be used as a center, small group intervention, or any way you can think of!  Just click on the picture below.  It should take you to a dropbox direct download.  If something happens to the link, please let me know and I'll get it fixed!  





Don't forget to check back tomorrow on Class*y Collaboration for more tricks....I mean freebies!!  :)  Happy Early Halloween!  


Sunday, October 27, 2013

A Peek at my Week! (Writing Freebie!)

I can't believe Fall Break has come to an end.  We get two whole weeks and its just felt like a weekend to me...  Oh well.  I'm a little excited to be back on my normal schedule!  Anyone else feel out of whack when they're on break?  Not that I like getting up early, but I like having a schedule.  That's probably the CDO in me..  get it?  ;)  OCD!!  Anyways..

I think it took me about twice as long to plan this week just because I wasn't in my 'groove'.  Here's what's in my plan book:

Reading:
     Main Topic:  Genres - an overview
     Language:  Plural Nouns
     Review:  Proper Nouns, Story Elements, Fact and Opinion
     Test Prep...yes, I start this early!

Math:
     Subtraction w/ borrowing (large numbers)

Writing:
     Writing with Voice (mini lessons)

(I just realized blogger doesn't have an insert table function..  so sad!)

So Voice is one of my favorite things to teach in writing.  And the reason is...this lesson!  HATS!  Yes, Hats!  Take a look! (Click on any photo to download the lesson plan).  



So I WISH I had a photo of all of the hats I have for this lesson.  I'm always searching the Dollar Tree for more.  This is SUCH a fun lesson to really show how a character's voice changes the engagement of a piece of writing.  I'll make sure to take more pics for you when we do it this week.  I'm shocked I don't have pictures from years past!  If you try it, let me know how it goes!

So Genres is always something I <3 to teach.  And yes, I do teach about them all at once.  I've had argument and argument about this, but I stand by my decision.  I feel like the students need to be exposed to the vocabulary and then throughout the year, expand upon it as they read and read and read.  But who am I to say that's the 'right' way?  Any-who..  I created this fun little spinner activity to help my students identify the genre of a story based upon it's characteristics.  





Students have 3 different spinner to choose from (15 genres in all).  They spin, read the spinner and then decide the genre.  Super easy but yet fun!  (My kids LOVE spinners..)  I just like how all of the genres are included and I can use one spinner to focus on just five genres, or all three to focus on them all.  :)  Again, more pics to come!

Ok, so funny story (I'm almost done, I promise).  A few weeks ago, my kids were doing my resource rumble 4 corner game.  When it was over, they asked - "Ok Mrs. Harris, what 4 corner game will we play next?"  So.. apparently I'm becoming known for these in my room!  They love them!  Alas - the Plural Prance!





Just like the others - students move to the corner of the room that matches their answer.  I've heard from other teachers who have purchased my other 4 corner games that they even play music while the kids are 'moving' around the room to their answer.  I'm going to try that this week!  I love the colors of this one :)  If you wanna take a look - just click on the photos above!  I hope you like it!

This post is already long, so I'll post about my test prep activity tomorrow.  :)  Thanks to those who read all the way to the end.  You make me smile!  Leave a comment and let me know what you think!  I'd love to hear from ya!  



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