Friday, January 31, 2014

Fabulous Finds Friday! - January 31, 2014

Good morning!  We are back with our first Fabulous Finds Friday of the new year! Feel free to link up your fabulous finds!

Traits Writing Resource

One of my latest finds is a traits writing resource that was published in 2009, but I had never come across it before--Month-by-Month Trait-Based Writing Instruction: Ready-to-Use Lessons and Strategies for Weaving Morning Messages, Read Alouds, Mentor Texts and More Into Your Daily Writing Program by Maria P. Walther & Katherine A. Phillips.  This resources is full of goodies!  I especially like that most ideas included are perfect for mini-lessons and how so many wonderful picture books are presented. Sure, you could use the activities month-by-month, but it's not required--you can pick and choose what works best for you in your current writing program.  I feel this resources is a must have for K-2!

Letter Writing Mentor Text

I have a collection of picture books in which authors use letter writing, but I recently found this gem--Dear Annie by Judith Caseley.  What a touching story of the relationship between a grandfather and his granddaughter that was created through letter writing over the years.  This is a perfect mentor text showing the real-life use of letter writing.  Just a blurb from the back of the book--"My Grandpa is my pen pal," Annie tells her class at show-and-tell one day.  Its' true.  Annie and her Grandpa have written each other letters since the day Annie was born...  Dear Annie is an oldie-but-goodie that was published in 1991.  So glad I found it!

A Couple of Dollar Finds!

I did not even realize that K-mart had a little dollar deals aisle now.  Found these 2-pack jumbo paperclip bookmarks!

Also, I just discovered some perfect sticky notes for the classroom--thumbs up and thought bubbles.  These work famously for kudos and our exit board.

Here is our button if you would like to link up something fabulous you have found!

Have a splendid weekend!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Snow Day #6, a FREEBIE, and Fabulous Finds Friday Returns!

It's snow day #6 (without the snow)--even more frigid than last week!

With some extra time, I spent a bit of it creating some new graphics...

Enjoy this brand-new FREEBIE download, Whimsical Heart Borders, in my Graphics by Sarah Beth TpT Store! 

You may also enjoy my new Whimsical Circle Borders and heart goodies...

We would also love for you to link up with us for Fabulous Finds Friday--returning this Friday!

Teachers are forever coming across fabulous finds--so what better way to share them than with our linky Fabulous Finds Friday.  Pretty much **anything goes--as long as it's a FIND. 

Examples might include, but are not limited to:
teaching resources 
lesson ideas
recipes for the classroom 
classroom gift ideas 
books and magazines 
items that make the job easier 
the possibilities are MANY...
**The only thing we ask is that finds are related to education and ARE NOT products/items created by you for sale.

Grab our button and stop back this Friday to link up with us! Please include our button and a link back to the linky in your post (the button has a transparent background--the blue is a blog setting on our site). Font courtesy of Kimberly Geswein Fonts.

We hope you join us!

Have a marvelous Monday!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Winter Masterpieces & MORE BRRR! Oh--Five for Friday, too...

What is Five for Friday? Hugh? Oh, now we remember! It has been SO LONG... 

Weighing in a bit EARLY because we are off today due to the sub-zero temps and wind chills here in Illinois. BRRR!  Some extra time to blog today--time that may not be available tomorrow... 


Thought we would share some WONDERFUL winter art ideas in keeping with the cold...

We may have shared this fabulous website in the past, but Courtney and I cannot say enough how great this creative blog is---Art Projects for Kids by Kathy Barbo!! Love the kid artwork posted on her sight and the step-by-step directions she provides.  Here are a couple of Kathy's projects our kids have created--

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this one!  I get warm fuzzies each time I pass Courtney's bulletin board with her kids' masterpieces. These snow friends have character!!  Materials list--black paper, glue, and pastels.  Click here to learn more!

SIMPLE but striking is always nice!  Our classroom paparazzi took a few pics of our abstract masterpieces.  My kids love to use watercolors, and they have become experts at mixing just the right color for their needs--beautiful.  We followed the directions pretty much to the T, but triangle templates were not necessary after modeling how to draw a tree.  Click here to learn more!

Courtney and I have latched on TIGHT to Scholastic Storia--using it almost daily! If you haven't checked Storia out lately, take a look! Scholastic now allows the app to be loaded on multiple devices and enables teachers to create bookshelves.  As you probably already know, Scholastic offers oodles of nonfiction/informational texts for purchase in book orders.  You will be surprised at the number of these texts that are also available as Storia eBooks--many interactive.  Courtney and I have been using texts during core reading as well as during intervention time.  


Our kids' mental math snow friend craftivities turned out great! This is just one activity we did when exploring the POWER of mental math.  Our kids are becoming addition mental math wizards!

You can find this craftivity and other materials to use with your kids in my packet, Snow Friends Mental Math. Just visit my TpT store!


I have effectively differentiated instruction for my students for 20 years now--but as the expression goes, "Things get better with age."  I am sure many teachers use "to dos" to help guide their students.  I have found this a powerful tool to help build student independence--and I just started doing it religiously this year!  I found some great picture fonts from that help students know if tasks should be done alone or with a partner/s. To Dos are slipped in plastic sleeves and put in work areas.  Also, I adore Kimberly Geswein's font and The Enlightened Elephant's cloud page border. Here are some examples of to dos that I use with my kids.


Problem Solving discussion fans are something my students use during guided math rotations.  They provide an independent, yet guided opportunity for kids to talk about math. My students have become great users of this tool! Check it out in my TpT store!


I created the following word building activity sheets to give my students extra practice with various letter/sound patterns.  The letter/sounds chosen were specific to my students’ needs throughout the year.  I wanted to provide my students with more meaningful word work practice than simply letting them choose from different ways to write their spelling words.  My students also needed extra practice with chunking word parts.  Be a Word Builder Extraordinaire! has fulfilled these needs.  This product is newly listed in my TpT store!

Don't forget to fly on over to Doodle Bugs Teaching to read more Five for Fridays!

All the best for a warm & cozy weekend--even if you aren't freezing!

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Must Read Math Mentor Text & Day Seven of A Week of Chillin' Giveaways!

It has been some time since we have linked up with Collaboration Cuties for their Must Read Mentor Text Linky...

Linking up a math text today, The Coin Counting Book by Rozanne Lanczak Williams.

I just purchased this text on Scholastic's Storia e-reading app.  It's a wonderful, simple introduction to money and a number of coin combinations to make up nickels, dimes, quarters, and dollars. Since I have this text downloaded for use on multiple iPads, I am going to use this e-book version as an introduction to our study of money, yet I will be making this book part of guided reading rotations.  The Coin Counting Book will be in our Read and Reflect station/rotation.  4-5 students will read the text independently on iPads and complete a reflection sheet after reading.  Students' reflection sheets will then be shared when we kick off our study of money.  Download the reflection sheet here!

What do I like about this text?  It's a simple yet creative presentation that builds to greater amounts by the end of the text. It also provides clear models using coins as well as equations to represent amounts. 

Fly on over to Collaboration Cuties to read about more math mentor texts...

AND it's Day Seven--the last day of our A Week of Chillin' Giveaways!

Today's Giveaway:
Chillin' with Penguins: 
Penguin Learning Center Activities

Here are pictures of my prepared centers!

 To learn more, visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Spark Student Motivation & Day Six of A Week of Chillin' Giveaways!

You will also want to get in on the end her and Fourth Grade Flipper's New Year's Celebration--awesome giveaways!

Weighing in today with a SUPER simple tool for motivation--the EASY button!

My kids love the EASY button--they love when I press it and they love to press it.  Although, the easy button gets used in spurts...because we all forget about it a bit, but there are times like these when we remind ourselves that it is there... 

We had just returned from 18 days of winter break, and we were reviewing a mental math addition strategy.  I was equally impressed with each group as we met--they were on fire after 18 days!  A quite perceptive girl in the last group commented, right when she got to the table, "I feel that this is getting a little easy for me."  Little did she know that her group would be moving on to applying the strategy to greater numbers... Anyway, I simply told the group I wanted each of them to prove they could still use the strategy (which I knew they could).  I started to hear, "That was easy!"  The easy button was not close by, so we all chimed in with a deep throated, "That was easy!"  Needless to say, this continued throughout our time together and the button has found a new home--at our small group table in the back of the room. :0)

Just a little something that helps remind students just how amazing they are!

Thanks to Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching for the opportunity to link up!   

AND it's Day Six of our A Week of Chillin' Giveaways!

Today's Giveaway:
Nonfiction Snowman Book Project with Glyph

 To learn more, visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Enter to win one of two copies of Nonfiction Snowman Book Project with Glyph.