Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Adding Spunk to Your Writing Assignments

Artistic Edge in Writing and Teaching Literary Elements
All of us need to add an artistic edge to writing? For notch results, you have to use something besides a generic writing assignment. As most do or did, I hated those generic writing topics/assignments as a student--For example, "Write a 5 Paragraph Essay -Any Topic/Due Monday" (True example by the way...) Sadly, I do not recall any frequent opportunity to be "crafty" in class. As a student, arts n' crafts was reserved for "Art" class...period! It's easy to get creativity pouring, IF you give students the right tools and assignments. Bring out the POETS and ARTISTS in your classroom while you teach PERSONIFICATION by implementing a creative writing project!
similar to writing poetry from an animal's point of view
Student Guidelines
We must teach certain skills, like all those literary elements, but, add "spice" to it.  You'll see superb results if you request that final draft to be creatively displayed! There is a great reason in asking students to use markers, crayons, glue, scissors, poster board, construction paper, and/or glitter in writing assignments! "Writing" changes from work to fun.
Students don't focus on the fact they actually have to compose a writing piece and end up truly getting in touch with their creative sides! For many or our kiddos, it takes a certain strategy to bring out creativity. Creative approaches help eliminate the number of times hearing, "I can't write poetry." Or, "I don't know how to write a paper!"
Brainstorming Handout for the Pre-writing and a Rough Draft printable
Teacher's Rubric
This is a creative writing project I use to teach personification as well as to develop descriptive writing skills.

  Provided in resource:
  • Student guidelines
  • Brainstorming Handout for pre-writing
  • Rough draft printable for the students  
  • Detailed Rubric for Teachers

Adding Spunk to Your Writing Assignments
Adding Spunk to Your Writing Assignments

 A. Smith Innovative Connections

FREE MATH LESSON - “Turkey Math Center Game Subtraction”

Faith Siegrist created a Thanksgiving-themed subtraction game for 1st - 3rd grade students.  Go to The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs for this and hundreds of free lessons.  

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

French and Spanish Halloween Vocabulary and Activities!!

It's not too late to get Halloween vocabulary and activities for your French or Spanish classes! Stop by Liz's Lessons Blog to find out more!

Long and Short Vowel Practice

Do your students need some extra practice with their long and short vowel sounds?  This variety of worksheets will help them do just that!  I plan to use them as homework practice.  The sheets can also be used as a center activity.

There are over 30 practice sheets!

Click the pictures above to find out more!

Are You Ready for Election Day?

This year's election is so critical for many reasons. I live in Florida which is a key state and could go either way. Teaching your students about the importance of voting and what happens during a presidential election is a must. My Election Packet for Grades 2-3 includes a Shared Reading Book, 2 reading Texts at the 2nd and 3rd Grade levels,2 Sets of Picture/Word/Fact Cards, Writing Graphic Organizers and Writing Prompts for both grade levels. Here is a preview. Just click on the image below to check out my product and download a preview.
If you would like to find some great Free Election Day Resources and a Free Activity just click on the image below.
Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students.

Happy Turkey Time!

I've joined in with a couple great Thanksgiving/Turkey themed Linky Parties. Please check them out for some fantastic Thanksgiving/Turkey resources!

First Thanksgiving Linky party is over at A Day in the Life of a Kindergartener's Blog:

Primary Inspiration is having a Turkey Time Linky Party!

Primary Inspiration

Between the two blogs there are over 80 links to some fantastic Thanksgiving/Turkey products and blog posts! Check them out to make your November more colorful and easier so you have time for all the real Thanksgiving festivities with your family!

Here's another great Holiday Linky Party over at Mrs. Bushnell's 4th Grade Blog.  This includes holidays through the end of the year so you can get a head start on that December planning too!

Happy Turkey Time from

Common Core Aligned Literature Guide for Because of Winn Dixie!

Teach this classroom favorite, 2000 Parents Choice Gold Award Winner and 2001 Newbery Honor book while addressing the Common Core standards for Grades 3-4!

This Because of Winn Dixie Literature Guide by Secondary Solutions's sister company, Elementary Solutions, has everything you are looking for to engage and teach students literary analysis and language skills while helping them to understand and enjoy the book!

This Because of Winn-Dixie Literature Guide includes
  • Pre-Reading activity on Grief and Loss
  • Pre-Reading activity on Visual Discovery
  • List of Pre-Reading ideas and activities for use before reading the novel
  • Biography on author Kate DiCamillo with corresponding questions about the article
  • Allusions and Terminology defined
  • Vocabulary Lists With and Without Definitions
  • Note-Taking Double Entry Log for each section
  • Comprehension Check Questions, based upon Bloom's Taxonomy
  • Specific CCS-Based Literature Focus Activities on Setting, Point of View, Characterization, Inference, Compaaring & Contrasting, Theme, Conflict, and Elements of Plot
  • Specific CCS-Based Language Focus Activities on Quotations, Capitalization, Homophones, Run-Ons and Fragments
  • Specific CCS-Based Writing Focus Activities on Concrete Words and Sensory Details, Writing Narratives, Theme, Using Informational Texts, and Research Projects
  • Reading Quizzes Every Few Chapters
  • Two Versions of the Final Test - One entirely multiple choice for use with bubble-like testing forms
  • Novel Summary by Chapter
  • Post-Reading and Essay/Writing Activities and Ideas
  • Writing Rubric and Descriptive Rubric for help with grading projects and essays
  • Helpful Teacher Notes, Resources, and Sample Agenda
  • Complete Answer Key 

Monday, October 29, 2012

FREE LANGUAGE ARTS LESSON - “Non-Fiction Text Feature Checklist/Scavenger Hunt”

Audrey Kuhn created a scavenger hunt in which 1st - 5th grade students find examples of non-fiction text features like bold print, diagrams, and captions, etc.  Go to The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs for this and hundreds of free lessons. 

Clip Art Collaborators

Hey Friends,
Do you like Clip Art as much as I do? A group of amazing artists and clip artists have started a new collaborative group blog called, "Clip Art Collaborators."  The blog is only a week old and there are already many great blog posts with information, tips and tricks, and FREE clip art!  Why don't you come check it out! If you like what you see consider sharing our button or pinning some of your favorites!  Thanks so much. (If you REALLY like what you see consider being a collaborator - let me know!) 
Power Point Maniac

Halloween Party Packs

Need something last minute?  Not sure how you are going to celebrate?  Look no further...  I have created 2 a little more 'Halloweenish'...although it only refers to spiders and cats and one focusing on pumpkins to celebrate Halloween!

The packs include printables for a banner, treat bags, and pencil toppers.  They also include a whole group bingo game, a craft, and some fun stations. Check it out if you are a 1st-3rd grade teacher.  You could even give it to your roomparent (if you are so lucky to have one :).  Just click on the image to find out more details.

Thanks for reading and letting me share.  Hope you can use this!


Editable Digital Paper

I was going to try my hand at creating a set of digital paper.   Seems like everyone is doing it!  You make a design and then make a few variations of it and post it for sale as a set.

I used the shape tools in PowerPoint to draw a design --- then changed fill colors, line colors & weights, and background colors to drastically change the look.  After the pattern was created it was EASY to make a gazillion variations and then save the PowerPoint as jpegs or pngs to make files that easily import into anything.   

Instead of selling the "digital paper" files, I decided to list the PowerPoint file with instructions so that EVERYONE can create their own digital paper.  I think (hope) I'm on to something big here!   LOL
I've posted 4 different sets for sale at TeachersPayTeachers. They each have 5 different patterns.  I created 5 variations of each pattern with and without a color coordinated overlay to show you the possibilities.  With a few clicks you can make a zillion more.

These are all variations of my "Big Dots" from Set 3:

Check them out here:    Set 1 , Set 2, Set 3, Set 4, Bundle of all 4 sets for the price of 3

Fraction Fiesta Games ~ 2 Grade-Level Versions

All middle school students need practice with fractions!

Even the talented and gifted students often need more help.

With that in mind, I created a fun game for your students to play while practicing those dang fractions.

Both are Common Core aligned!

The first version is for Grades 4 - 6.  There are no negatives included.

The second version is for Grades 7 & 8, which includes negative fractions.

Click on either image above to see these products in my TPT Store.

Click here to see my original blog post about these products.

Enjoy :)

Favorite Ideas From Around the World

Your students will enjoy helping Fact and Opinion make their lunches.  Fact only likes foods with facts on them.  Opinion only likes foods with opinions on them.  While students place foods into the correct lunch boxes, they will review the meanings of fact and opinion.

Would you like to see some of my favorite pins from as far away as the U.K. and Melbourne, Australia?  Peg dolls, a circus in a box writing center prompt, and more are just a few of them.  Due to copyright, I am not showing the pics here.  Click the link for these ideas and more for use in your classroom.

Click Here

Place Value Game

Review 6-, 9-, or 12-digit numbers all year long with this easy place value freebie.  Click here to read more and grab yours!

Math Coach’s Corner

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Reader's Response Journals

Do you use Reader's Response Journals in your classroom?  We write letters in ours!  Stop by Smiling In Second Grade to see how!

Never Let Them See You Sweat!

Are you heading into conferences?  A little nervous about those face to face meetings with "the parents"?  I have just the solution you need...preparation and information at your fingertips is the key to a successful and anxiety-free week.  Check out my free Conference Checklist and Student Snapshot as you schedule and prep for one of the most important weeks of the school year!