Monday, August 18, 2014

Number the Stars ELA Activities

Number the Stars! 

This is definitely one of my favorite stories! It's set during World War II and is so skillfully written by Lois Lowry that the characters come alive. It's based on a story that was told to Mrs. Lowry by a woman who lived through the German occupation during the War.

Because most students have no background knowledge about WWII, I included an article, with questions, that gives them a better understanding of the events and circumstances happening during those years. Also included is a map of Denmark and Europe, with map activities that can be integrated with social studies classes. This 71 page packet has detailed instructions of how to use the pages.


photo of Number the Stars ELA Activities, PDF, novel studies, ready to print student worksheets,Ruth S.
photo of Number the Stars ELA Activities, PDF, novel studies, ready to print student worksheets,, Ruth S.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Fill Your Shopping Carts

Back-to-School Boost - One Day Sale - August 20th

300 × 250

Teachers Pay Teachers is having a Back-to-School Boost!  Use the promo code BOOST and receive 10% off all Teachers Pay Teachers' products.  Take an additional 20% off all of my products at TpT.  
Go to my TpT store at...

Some of my best-selling TpT products are...
Teaching Tips From an Award-Winning National Board Certified Teacher
Word Problem of the Day - 200 Word Problems & Charts

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Start the Year off Right..... starting EVERY class period off right. 

This is a tip for secondary teachers that teach multiple sections each day. 

Call it what you want - a Bell Ringer, a Do Now, Bell Work, whatever.....just make sure you do it everyday.  It has to be a routine to be useful.

Explain your process the first day & do it from day 2 on!

My students pick up their "Bellringer Book" on the way into the classroom, complete the practice/review problems or respond to the prompt on the board and return the book to the bin on the "Bellringer Table" within 4 minutes. 

It is a great way to start class!  It buys me 4 minutes to record attendance, reset the room from the last class, and check in with late students.  It gets students into class-mode from the moment they enter the classroom and provides a natural consequence for being late to class. 

I prepare a booklet of legal sized paper folded in half for each marking period with the dates printed on the pages.  I randomly check them for a grade.  Sometimes the grade is for completion, sometimes for correctness.  You could  have students write dates in a composition book, or keep a section in their own notebooks for Bell Work. 

If you happen to teach Algebra, I've begun a series of Bell Work PowerPoint files.  Each has 48 days from which to choose.  SET 1 is posted: 

Here is the index slide with hyperlinks to the slide you select for the day:
I'm hoping to finish up & post SET 2 within days:

Good Luck with the new school year.   
It's difficult to take back a class, be sure to start it off right!

Lisa   =)

Save some money for Back-to-School time!

If you're like me, you're always looking for a bargain. One of the great things about being a teacher is the many businesses that offer everyday discounts for Teachers to help you stretch that salary just a little further. On my blog, The ESOL Odyssey, I've compiled a list of Everyday Discounts just for teachers! Hop on by and save some $$!

Have a great school year!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Writing Prompts for Research Papers

 I like to let students choose their own topics for their research papers, but I find they need a little direction to get started. In my blog, I talk about how to get them going with prompts and questions to consider. I've had great results in my classroom using these prompt cards. Read all about it here!
Happy Teaching!

Monday, August 11, 2014

FREE Back-to-School Augmented Reality Scavenger Hunt: School Around the World

Looking for a fun activity for the first few days of school that gets students thinking and practicing valuable skills? Maybe one that introduces some technology? Then I've got just the thing for you!

My latest is a FREE Augmented Reality Scavenger Hunt that will help your kiddos discover what school is like around the world! Students use Aurasma to scan the flags and go to media (websites, videos, and more) about school in that country. They use the information to answer questions and complete their passport as the rotate to each country.

This is a great way to informally assess where your students are and to introduce some classroom technology procedures. I hope you will enjoy it! Simply click the picture below to get your own copy of my FREE Back-to-School Augmented Reality Scavenger Hunt: School Around the World!

Homework Can Be Fun!

Do you want your students to look forward to homework and begging for more? We suggest our time-tested monthly homework packets! Check out our newly updated August packets. As a bonus, all Kindergarten Editions contain an additional choice of homework with Spanish directions!


Saturday, August 9, 2014

ESGI License Give Away!

Free License ESGI Assessment Software

Save $40.00

Do you want to win a free year of the time saving assessment software by ESGI?

I use the assessments below in my classroom, I have tried to perfect these assements for years, and I truly believe them to be the perfect kindergarten and Pre-K. assessment packets. And, yes, they are strategically linked to the common core. Last year I found ESGI and it completely transformed the administration and data collection of these assessments.

Before ESGI, I ran a copy of the assessments for each student, had an organized assessment binder for both math and reading, and then spent hours transferring the data to a spreadsheet that automatically color-coded the students to red, yellow and green. This took me HOURS of time!

But ESGI has changed all of that, it is literally Click Click Done! Now, I test my students on the iPad, have immediate data results and all of the tools necessary to utilize this data to improve student learning.

I have partnered with ESGI and now, all of my tried and tested assessment are right there ready for everyone to use. There are also other options available from other Friends of ESGI, a number of system tests, and yes, you can even customize your own tests if you wish!

Well, I could go on and on, but, lets get to the giveaway.

To enter, simply click on the ESGI link above and sign up for a free 60 day trial. Remember to enter the promo code B7227. ESGI will do the rest. One lucky person who signs up for this free trial using my promo code will be awarded one free year of ESGI.

Also, anyone that comments on this post via Facebook will be entered to win one of two complete sets of my paper tests that will complement your ESGI experience.

Contest ends Friday at midnight. So what are you waiting for? Click, Click, Done!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Free Bell Ringers and Start-Ups
Two Sets

     This set includes a spelling activity, a homophone activity, and a compound word challenge appropriate for 4 and 5th graders.  Answer keys  are included.
   This one starts with a seek-a-word puzzle loaded with “zz.”  Next is a homophone activity.  The last page is a compound word workout.  Answer keys are included. 
   This download is packed with a little more challenge than the 4-5th grade set,  but the two of them would work well together in most 4th-8th grade classrooms.
Margaret Whisnant      My TpT Store  
  My Website                

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Quick, Common Core Reading Practice In 5 Minutes Each Day

(Multiple Grade Levels are Available) These high-interest passages review the Common Core Reading Standards in just five minutes per day.  Historical fiction, realistic fiction, poetry, informational text,drama/plays, fantasy, and science fiction passages are all included to give your students quick, daily practice at your grade level. Common Core Standards are written right next to each short passage for easy progress monitoring. Best of all, the passages are thematic so each week, students build important reading, science, and social studies knowledge as they review each standard.  

Index of Topics Covered at One Grade Level
Week One:  Informational Text
Standards Covered Include:
· RI.1 Details
· RI.2 Main Idea
· RI.3 Cause & Effect
· RI.5 Text Structure
· RI.8 Logical Connections

Week Two:  Informational Text
Standards Covered Include:
· RI.1 Details
· RI.2 Main Idea
· RI.3 Cause and Effect
· RI.4 Vocabulary
· RI.8 Logical Connection
· RI.9 Compare and Contrast 

Week Three:  Literature (Stories & Plays)
Standards Covered Include:
· RL.1 Ask and Answer Questions
· RL.2 Retell (Part 1 of the Standard)
· RL.2 Theme (Part 2 of the Standard)
· RL.3 Character Analysis
· RL.4 Vocabulary
· RL.5 Stories, Drama, & Poems

Week Four:  Literature (Stories & Poetry)
Standards Covered Include:
· RL.1 Ask and Answer Questions
· RL.2 Retell (Part 1 of the Standard)
· RL.2 Theme (Part 2 of the Standard)
· RL.3 Character Analysis
· RL.4 Vocabulary and Meaning
· RL.5 Stories, Dramas, & Poems

Week Five:  Informational Text
Standards Covered Include:
· RI.1 Details
· RI.2 Main Idea
· RI.5 Text Features
· RI.7 Illustrations & Maps

Saturday, August 2, 2014

THREE $100 GIVEAWAYS of TpT Gift Certificates!

Better Odds Than Vegas!!!  Follow these directions to enter THREE $100 GIVEAWAYS of TpT Gift Certificates.  

Directions on how to win the 
FIRST $100 TpT Gift Certificate:

Go to The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs to enter to win the FIRST $100 TpT Gift Certificate by 11:00 P.M. on Monday, August 25, 2014 Pacific Time - Complete the Rafflecopter Contest Application which is located at the bottom of the post under "BETTER ODDS THAN VEGAS!!!"  (You may have to wait a minute for it to appear on your computer.)  

Directions on how to win the 
SECOND $100 TpT Gift Certificate:
Follow the directions to win the FIRST $100 TpT Gift Certificate.  Share the contest information with your friends on Twitter, Facebook, or emailing them the contest link. will create a referral code which will record how many of your friends also entered the contest.

You may share the contest information with as many people as you like.  I will record up to ten of your "refer a friend" listings of people who have used your Rafflecopter referral code.  The more referral code listings, the better chance you have of winning the SECOND $100 TpT Gift Certificate. A second raffle which has the names of the people who "referred a friend" will be used to determine the winner of the SECOND $100 TpT Gift Certificate.

Directions on how to win the 
THIRD $100 TpT Gift Certificate:   
Thousands of teachers are earning additional income selling their lessons at  Members of The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative use the power of the group to create and market their TpT products.  

Current members of TBOTEMC will automatically be entered to win the THIRD $100 TpT Gift Certificate.  

Teachers who join The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative by 11:00 P.M. on Thursday, August 28, 2014 Pacific Time will also be entered to win the THIRD $100 TpT Gift Certificate.  Annual TBOTEMC memberships may be purchased at  Teachers who use my referral code to become a new TpT seller,, will receive the first two years of membership to TBOTEMC for free.  Be sure to email me at and I will help you get started at TpT and TBOTEMC.    

The three winners will be announced at my blog, The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs -

For full directions on how to win the THREE $100 GIVEAWAYS of TpT Gift Certificates, go to  Feel free to email me at if you have any questions.

Wishing you the best,


Friday, August 1, 2014

To All Kindergarten Teachers

My grandson is going to start Kindergarten in just  two weeks. I have taught Kindergarten for 23 years, so why am I so trepidatious about it? It is because of what I know as well as every kindergarten teacher knows. Kindergarten is a BIG step not only in the life of the child, but in the life of his parents.

Every new kindergartner's parents are feeling mixed emotions. "I am excited, but...". Parents need to know that their child will be loved and cared for. They need to know their child will be spending a huge chunk of time in a developmental setting -- experiencing the joy of learning, creating, and discovering.

I asked my daughter to write down her thoughts to remind each and every Kindergarten Teacher what it is all about. If you know a Kindergarten Teacher, please pass this on:

To my child’s Kindergarten teacher,

Please remember that I am trusting you with the most precious, beautiful, important part of my life. Please keep him safe. Please see what I see in him. Please don’t try to label him. He is who he is. Celebrate that. Please don’t focus on his test scores too much. They really don’t tell you much about him. For example, they don’t tell you that he’s a perfectionist. That he has an imagination the size of a nation. That he thrives on smiles and hugs. That he loves to paint--but never inside the lines. That he’s afraid of being ignored and alone. That he loves to work with his hands, but gets impatient that they’re not as strong as he’d like. There is so much more to him than how many letters he knows and how far he can count. Please see him. Please look at him.

When the school year starts and he’s in your care, will you please smile at him? Will you pat him on the back and tell him he’s doing okay? It’s okay to tell him he needs to behave, it’s okay to tell him he needs to do better, but please tell him that everyone makes mistakes sometimes--mistakes are how we learn--and you know he will do better the next day. Please help him pick himself up and try again.

Will you make sure he has fun? I’m not worried about the academics. I know they will come. I’m more concerned about what this year teaches him about school. Please make sure to teach him that school is a place where we take care of each other’s feelings, where it’s okay to try and fail, where it’s okay to make messes and mistakes, where it’s okay to play. Please let him play. It’s how he learns.

This is a big step for him and me. We are walking out into the world and you are his first brush with life outside of the safe place I’ve made for him. I will cry when I put his little hand in yours and walk away. I will be thinking about him the whole time he’s gone, but I hope you have him so engaged he doesn’t have a chance to think of me.

Take care of him.

He’s only been around for 5 years.


Back to School Sale on TPT

Start loading your carts and enjoy 28% off!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Grade 3 Common Core Reading Interactive Notebook (It Includes 19 Short Reading Passages)

Interactive journals make Common Core lessons fun and appeal to a variety of learning styles.  This interactive journal is unique because it includes a short reading passage for every Common Core Literature and Informational Text Standard to accompany each interactive journal folding insert.  (19 reading passages are included).This is a definite time saver and makes the transition to Common Core even easier.

Preschool Assessments

Of course I didn't forget! The bestselling Preschool Assessment Packets are also updated! And yes! They are also ready for you to load onto your own ESGI account!

ESGIYou will love the ease that ESGI gives this product. I have done the work for you; all of these tests are there: click, click, done. Simply click on the test explorer tab (within ESGI) and look for my name: Kathy Crane to find the correct tests. (Important: At the very end of the testing documents are screen shots of how to organize your tests on ESGI to correlate with the paper copy).

 Even if you are not sure whether paperless testing and data retrieval is for you, you will want to take advantage of their free 60 day trial! Simply go to click on the orange button!

Please remember to enter promo code B7227 to receive $40.00 off the already low price.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Best Ever Kindergarten Assessments

These “best selling” assessments has just gotten better, and now offers a digital option to save you paper 
and valuable time! 

These documents serve as organizational tools for gathering information about language arts and math strengths and weaknesses of kindergarten students. Using these assessment, you will learn more about your students and will more easily determine the focus of your instruction.

If relying on the paper copy, one assessment form should be copied for each student. Due to the necessity of assessing students at regular intervals during the school year, the documents provide a space to record information for different assessment periods. The first assessment is in the trimester format (with benchmarks provided). Following this assessment is one that is generalized, to fit the format of varying school years.

The next pages of the assessment packets are student copies and examples of a checklist or report card that you may wish to use when reporting to parents.

With this 3rd addition, there is big, important announcement! 

I have partnered with ESGI! 

ESGIYou will love the ease that ESGI gives this product. I have done the work for you; all of these tests are there: click, click, done. Simply click on the test explorer tab (within ESGI) and look for my name: Kathy Crane to find the correct tests. (Important: At the very end of the testing documents are screen shots of how to organize your tests on ESGI to correlate with the paper copy).

 Even if you are not sure whether paperless testing and data retrieval is for you, you will want to take advantage of their free 60 day trial! Simply go to click on the orange button!

Please remember to enter promo code B7227 to receive $40.00 off the already low price.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Best Word Wall

The Best Word Wall

The best word walls are build with purpose and designed for student usability.
Our Power Word Wall Kit is completely build with research in mind! It has classroom tested, proven powerful results.

Research has shown that words that are printed in red ink with a yellow background promotes visual performance and brain connections. The term power words connects the importance of learning sight words with the power of knowledge. Constructing the word wall as a dictionary; connecting letters and visual sound cards that are used frequently in the classroom (or home), make for a powerful connection between letter-sound-word.

All materials to prepare students and organize your word wall are included. Also tips for extension and use, a personal student-size alphabet/word dictionary, alphabet chant (to promote alphabet knowledge), and an alphabet poster are included.

You will love the connections that this word wall kit will make with your students. And, you will be happy to see that research pays off as its all inclusive, interactive nature will create independent early readers!

NOTE: Contains over 200 power word cards!