Friday, November 27, 2015

Reading In a Winter Wonderland

I am linking up with the Reading Crew to bring you an awesome winter themed reading linky!  Welcome to my part of Reading in a Winter Wonderland. There are so many awesome components of this linky I don't even know where to get started. First there are two linkys K-2 and 3-5 (this is part of the 3-5)  you can gain tons of new resources. These resources will only be free until next Friday. The next cool thing is you have a chance to win all of the featured books each featured book will also have a lesson to use with it in the blog post!!! Be sure to look for the blue highlighted word in each post to help you win.  You need to keep track because they will help you with the giveaway. 

My word is Holiday because my book is The Last Holiday Concert By Andrew Clements. I love using Andrew Clements' books in my classroom. I feel that they are engaging and teach a great lesson. This one is about a sixth grade student named Hart and his quest to put on the perfect holiday concert. I really enjoy this book and I think you will too. It has a great perspective for teachers and brought a tear or two to my eyes! My favorite part is Santa Elvis and I hope you get a laugh out of it too. 

My class struggles with comprehension this year so we are constantly working on building comprehension skills. One quick and easy lesson I do with every story we read is 5Ws+H. I keep a stack of post its labeled who, what, when, where, why and how on my white board.  We bring them out with every story we read and go through each part of the story. It has helped my students ask themselves these questions as they read independently. I like using the post its because they stick. It isn't fancy but it works. You could also create them on card stock, laminate them and then put a magnet on them. 

For The Last Holiday Concert  I would do the who, what, when, where, why and how activity with the first chapter of the book. 

Some other possible lessons are:

Chapter Two Main Idea and Details. Students discuss the main idea and details of the chapter. They could fill out a graphic organizer to help them organize their thoughts and to understand what they have read.

Chapter seven Predicting. Have students make a prediction about what they think will happen when Hart takes over the holiday concert. Revisit the prediction at the end. 

The final idea for The Last Holiday Concert is to have the students summarize the book. This is a longer book so it will be helpful for students to revisit the main idea and details as they write their summaries. 

I really hope you and your class enjoy this great book! 

My linky freebie is my Snowman Book Report. This is designed to have students understand the genre of biography or autobiography. Each student is asked to read a biography or autobiography and then practice some comprehension skills by summarizing and recalling facts. I love doing this project each winter and I look forward to seeing what my kids do each year. 

Parent Letter 

 Grading Checklist

Comprehension Questions

The Snowman Template

After the students turn in their finished book reports we always take time to share with the class. 

Remember my secret word is holiday! Enjoy the linky and good luck on the giveaway! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Black Friday!

I am a bargain hunter! I like to have my Christmas shopping done really early and I start saving gifts all year long. I wanted to share some great kid gifts and classroom ideas with you, so you can start your bargain hunting Christmas shopping now! There is something on this list for everyone! I think that the Suspend game would be fun to have in the classroom for indoor recess or free time. I think my nephew would love the magformers and I think these would be fun for the classroom too. I could think of about ten people to give the adult coloring books to. 

For Black Friday & Cyber Monday, everyone gets an extra 10% off already discounted educational gifts PLUS free shipping on all orders.

Educational Toys & Games | Subscriptions

Curriculum | Musical Instruments Educents Black Friday

Educational Toys & Games


These colorful tiles click together magnetically to form shapes like sea creatures, vehicles, dinosaurs and more! While playing, kids will develop motor skills, explore geometric concepts, and get a crash course on engineering! For ages 6 to 13.
Magformers - Educents
Buy Now
“This toy is perfect for a birthday or Christmas gift! My 8-year-old (who has decided that this is his new favorite activity) has already asked for another set so that they can build even more amazing creations!” -Gena, I Choose Joy!
“Sometimes, when I need to get some work done, I find an educational video for the kids to watch. I didn’t need to with the Magformers! They were totally occupied all evening. I even had to tear them away at 9 p.m. to go to bed. :)” -Yvonne C.

Peel, Play & Learn - Buy one get one free!

These fabric stickers are an interactive way to learn about concepts like the solar system, geography, science, time, and money. The reusable stickers will allow you to bring your lessons to any room in the house! Even transport lessons using your the car window! For ages 5 to 10.
Buy Now
"This is an extremely useful, hands-on method of learning about the human body that all kids need to learn." -Gena, I Choose Joy!

Magic School Bus Science Experiments Subscription

Give a gift that keeps on giving. Your kiddo will receive a new science experiment at his or her doorstep every month for a year! Includes experiments exploring concepts like bacteria, the human body, magnets, stars, planets, volcanos, and more! For ages 5 to 12.
Buy Now
"What I like about this is we can open up a science kit, turn to a lesson page, and jump right in to that hand-ons activity. It helps me feel like a “fun mom” because we’re doing a science activity, and I didn’t have the stress or mess of pulling it all together. That’s what I call a homeschool mom win!" -Jamerrill, Free Homeschool Deals
“We recently ordered this set to be delivered to us and we love them! The science experiments are grouped in themed science activities that my kids love! I set up a curriculum to go through the scientific process with the hypothesis, tests and theories. I feel this is perfect as a hands on activity to supplement the worksheets we download from other sellers.” - Sasha B.

uKloo Riddle Edition Treasure Hunt Game

Disguised as a treasure hunt, this multi-award winning children's literacy game gets kids physically active as they read clues and search to find a hidden surprise. There's even a Picture Helper poster to look up words when kids get stuck! For ages 5 to 8.
Buy Now
“This game is so much fun! My boys love scavenger hunts, and when they help them practice reading - that's even better. We've played this game several times and it never gets boring. I love letting one kid be in charge of the game and set it up for the other boys.” - Lisa Marie F.

Suspend Game

Suspend by Melissa & Doug is a hands-on game that involves the entire family. Players take turns adding rubber-tipped wire pieces to a tabletop stand. Can you add all your game pieces without making it fall? For ages 8 and up.
Buy Now
“We always have trouble finding gifts that kids and grown ups can play together. This is it! Challenging for everyone, but easy enough, kids can try... and sometimes even do better.” - Marie V.

Coloring Books for All Ages

Six coloring books filled with some of the most amazing and beautiful designs! Give them all to your favorite little artist to keep them entertained all year. Or, separate into multiple gifts for kids in your family! For ages 5+ coloring_books_3_1 Buy Now  

Super Science Holiday Bundle

Give your favorite young scientist the gift of science fun and learning this holiday season with this exciting holiday Super Bundle! For ages 5 to 12. 070_1 Buy Now


1-Year Magic School Bus Science Experiments Subscription

Give a gift that keeps on giving. Your kiddo will receive a new science experiment at his or her doorstep every month for a year! Includes experiments exploring concepts like bacteria, the human body, magnets, stars, planets, volcanos, and more! For ages 5 to 12.
Buy Now
"What I like about this is we can open up a science kit, turn to a lesson page, and jump right in to that hand-ons activity. It helps me feel like a “fun mom” because we’re doing a science activity, and I didn’t have the stress or mess of pulling it all together. That’s what I call a homeschool mom win!" -Jamerrill, Free Homeschool Deals
“We recently ordered this set to be delivered to us and we love them! The science experiments are grouped in themed science activities that my kids love! I set up a curriculum to go through the scientific process with the hypothesis, tests and theories. I feel this is perfect as a hands on activity to supplement the worksheets we download from other sellers.” - Sasha B.

3-Month STEM Experiments Subscription

Groovy Lab in a Box is full of everything a child needs to learn about and do hands on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) experiments. Each box activates thinking, questioning, inquiring, and original creation as it guides children through the “scientific inquiry and engineering design process.” For ages 8 to 12.groovy_lab_in_a_box_collage2gl1_8a95
Buy Now

1-Year Online Language Course Subscription

Choose from 12 language for your kiddo to learn over the course of 12 months. This program covers everyday topics using videos, pictures, basic words, and interactive exercises. For ages 5 to 9.
Buy Now
"After each of the vocabulary videos, there are a bunch of fun games that your children can play to practice what they learned. The games really help children remember the words and are easy to do. It makes a big difference for children to have the opportunity to practice their vocabulary! ..." -Multilingual Living

Netflix for Children's eBooks

Parents and teachers love this "Netflix for Children's Books." FarFaria offers over 1000 ebooks for your children. Each story comes to your mobile device as a colorfully illustrated book that they can flip through, read on their own, or have read to them. For ages 2 to 9. educent_farfaria_slide_1_2 Buy Now "I introduced FarFaria to my kindergarten students last year and they LOVED it! In fact, they begged for reading time! During reading time on FarFaria they were focused and engaged on reading. As a teacher I love the features in FarFaria including reading levels listed for each book. My favorite feature is that the text highlights word by word as it is read. This is so helpful for budding readers. Most reading apps highlight a sentence at a time which doesn't help with specific word identification. FarFaria is the best reading app and well worth the cost!" -Amy B.

History Unboxed Subscription

History lessons should be fun! Each monthly box comes with an interactive timeline, coloring comic strip, time capsule, and instructions on the lesson. By taking part in the activities, they'll learn directly about the ancient world that they're reading about. For ages 5-19 or 10-15. History Unboxed Educents
Buy Now

"History Unboxed was a lot of fun to open with my children. My older son couldn't get enough of the activities, and I love that this subscription box does such a great job at exposing my kids to history. If your kid is between ages 5-13 and they love history, you should definitely try this out." - Ariana.


Wars Around the World Lapbook Package

Infuse some hands-on fun into your history of war lessons, and get a HUGE discount! Among the 11 downloadable lapbooks includes materials to teach everything from the War of 1812 to the American Revolution, and both World Wars. For ages 5 to 15.knowledge_box_central_eduwars_6ce1Buy Now
"Our family fell in love with lapbooks a few years ago! I love how they engage each of my children in the material and give them a completed project at the end for future reference. Then when they are done with that unit or book they have a resource to look back on for questions later on." Kris, Book Wishes

Dr. Bonyfide Books

Dr. Bonyfide Books are colorful workbooks that make learning the names and functions of the bones easy. These stories bridge the gap between simplistic introductions to the body and dry textbooks. Young readers join Dr. Bonyfide and his friend Pinky Le Darpals on a whimsical, step-by-step journey through the bones of the hand, arm, shoulder, foot, leg, and pelvis. The workbooks include puzzles and quizzes! For ages 7 to 13.
Bonyfide Educents
Buy Now

Ultimate K-12 Curriculum Guide


Buy Now

"I have been homeschooling since 2002 and I am currently homeschooling the two youngest of six. I've tried a LOT of homeschool curriculum products over the years, and quite frankly this is the best value available in a secular curriculum package and it's easy on the parent. I'm homeschooling two kids and it's very easy to have them read the lesson and complete the assignments independently, then later the teacher's guides make it easy on me to review their work and correct it. The content is interesting and relates to the real world in a way that makes sense to the kids, especially the math problems. You also can't beat the price. I'm shocked that this curriculum isn't better known. You will pay a lot more for comparable products that won't have the quality this one has, and I've done the research and spent the money to be able to say that with authority." - Judith "I purchased Kindergarten math and language arts for my daughter and we have had a great experience with it. She is learning so much. I supplement with lots of hands-on activities so she doesn't burn out on worksheets."- Educents customer

Musical Instruments

Violin Starter Kit

Perfect for beginners, this Violin Starter Set by eMedia contains everything you need to play the violin. What’s more, it includes a great teacher, the award-winning eMedia My Violin interactive Win/Mac CD-ROM. For ages 5 and up. mvsp-lgviolinaccessories_300dpi-rgb_1_1_1_1_1 Buy Now
"Yippee!!!!! I wish I took a picture of my son's face. I'm so grateful I saw this when I did." -Tawana

Ladybug Guitar Starter Pack

This perfect all-in-one package contains everything a musician needs to start playing guitar today! After following the video lessons, your guitarist's hits will be flying up the charts. For ages 5 to 12.
Ladybug Guitar
Buy Now
"Great guitar for my DD. She wanted to learn how to play the guitar like her father, and she is really getting into it. I would recommend this for any little boy or girl who is interested in learning to play the guitar." - Karen W.

Didn't find what you're looking for? Educents is offering an extra discount and free shipping on DOZENS of educational products on Black Friday!

I hope you were able to get some Christmas shopping done! 

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Teacher Wisdom: Student Engagement

I am linking up with some great teachers to share some teacher wisdom. Thank you to Sarah at More Than A Worksheet for this great series of posts. Check her out to see all of the Teacher Wisdom tips from this school year.

This month's topic is student engagement. This is the time of year that we need tips on this topic. To me the time between Halloween and Christmas is a whirl wind in the classroom. There is so much to pack into that time but everyone knows the holidays and breaks are just around the corner. With that anticipation student behavior and engagement are not at its best. I try to engage students in a variety of ways during this busy season.

Something Old:

In order to create good engagement you need to have engaging lessons. I work hard to create engaging lessons. Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers are good starting points to look for good and engaging lessons. I wrote a post at the end of last school year about great ideas to engage students.

Something New:

One fun way I have motivated students during November is with a Terrific Turkey award (I have done perfect pumpkin and super spider in October too.) The terrific turkey can be done a couple of ways and recognizes good behavior and motivates the students to have it!

One way to do Terrific Turkey is to give a small prize daily. You put a small prize in a gift bag and pass the bag around from student to student as they display good behavior. Whichever student has it at the end of the day gets the prize.  I have done it this way a few times but I started the next idea this year and I like it better.

The second way to do Terrific Turkey is to give students that are displaying good behavior a slip of paper.(I used orange for fall.) The students write their names on the paper. Then I draw the names of several students at the end of the month. These students get a small prize for their good behavior.

Something Borrowed:

My school celebrates Christmas. I know that a lot of schools can't. However the primary grades at my school celebrate with Elf on A Shelf. (I did this too when I was teaching 1st grade.) The elf "watches" for good behavior all day and then gives small presents at the end of the day if the class does a good job that day. The presents are all donated by parents. The students love their elf!

Something True:

I will say it again and again but Whole Brain Teaching changed my classroom. It is a great and engaging management system. The kids buy in and it leaves the teacher happy (that's rule number 5.) If you are looking at ways to improve your management and engagement you can search Whole Brain Teaching on YouTube to see it in action or stop by the FREE website to get more information.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Follower Giveaway!

I have gained some new followers on social media and I wanted to celebrate with you! I am giving away a $10.00 Cinemark Card, dry erase banner, Crayola colored pencils, Crayola markers, a Bic pen, and Scotch Expressions tape. I will wrap all of this up and send it off to one lucky winner.

Enter the giveaway below:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, October 30, 2015

Teaching Reading

Reading instruction is something that I am passionate about. It is a crucial skill! It is the foundation of EVERYTHING! I recently attended an incredible conference put on by The Colorado Department of Education about the READ Act which is Colorado's "solution" to reading difficulties. This was an incredible conference and one of the best I have attended. They flew in literacy experts from around the country and it was FREE.

One of the topics over and over was how important literacy instruction is and that reading groups are not use throwing a leveled text at a small group and calling it reading instruction. I feel that often that is what reading is as perceived by a lot of teachers. This conference really focused on the areas that needed to be instructed before you can affectively teach reading. Those components were phonics, vocabulary and reading comprehension strategies.

It is easy enough to say these things but some buildings and classrooms do not have all of the tools needed to do this. Adopting a reading program and phonics program is a huge task. I have come across some great free resources that can help you in your classroom.

The first resource is the perfect place to start when looking for your reading centers. Florida Center for Reading Research is a comprehensive site for reading resources. There is a huge amount of information to help you learn more about reading and skill specific resources for you to bring in to the classroom. You just need to print and make them. There are so many resources on this site you will find at least ten things you can use in your classroom tomorrow. This resource was cited over and over at READ Conference.

The next resource is one I have just recently started using. Read Works is a great stop to build reading comprehension. There are tons of reading comprehension texts to monitor and test your student's comprehension skills. You can choose texts to target specific skills or to test a variety.

The last tool is something that I found that compiles all of the different reading measure scores into one place. You can use this to see where your students fall on the most common reading assessments. I found this to be very helpful because the majority of my reading training is using the DRA 2 scores and now my building is putting more emphasis on Lexile scores.

Since attending this conference I am really trying to put what I have learned in to daily use in the classroom. I am building on my previous vocabulary and phonics instruction. I hope this helps you build reading instruction in your classroom. If you have any great reading resources please share them in the comments.