Saturday, November 29, 2014

Wish List Fun!

I have LOVED relaxing during this Thanksgiving Break. We had conferences until 8:00 pm Monday and Tuesday, so this break was much needed :)

One thing on my to-do list this weekend (which is still very long, oops!) is to update my cart for the TpT sale on...drumroll please...Monday and Tuesday!

I have had a few things in my cart for a few weeks now, hoping that there would be a sale around this time :) I am in luck!

I love seeing what other teachers are planning to buy - especially middle school ELA teachers. I am constantly finding new products that I have never seen before.

Before I share MY wish list, here are a few products that other teachers have wish-listed from my little store (which will be on sale for an 20% off, in addition to the TPT 10% off code!)

Neon Chalkboard Genre Posters (just right for middle school!)

I love how these look up on my wall in my library area. Not only do they add a fun pop of neon color, but I see students referring to them for book ideas and definitions of genres. When students write a reader's response letter to me on Fridays, they need to put the genre of the book in their letter, so these come in handy!

I am SO excited about these Roll and Retell activities. So far, I have made products for both Theme and Plot. I have a few more in the works, too!

"Roll and Retell" isn't just for elementary! Students enjoy adding some "chance" the their reading responses. Simply add dice, and responding to reading becomes a game :)

Use this activity with any literature text that students have read - as an entire class, in small groups, or independently.

In this product, you will find the following:
1) Roll and Retell Worksheet (use for on-level students who are working to master the reading skill)
2) Roll and Retell Extension Worksheet (use for accelerated students to extend their thinking)
3) Full page recording page 
4) Three-Question recording page (use if you would like students to roll three responses. These responses will be longer, and only choosing three adds some extra “chance”)
5) Half-page recording sheets (use these to save paper!)

Now for my wish list! This product is actually in my cart...I can't wait to purchase it on Monday. 

7th Grade Daily Common Core Reading Practice!

I plan to use these as a warm-up for my students. It will be a great way to reinforce literature skills to make sure my students are ready for all of our assessments. The passages look so interesting, too!

Does anyone else own this reading passage set? I'd love to hear how it works for you!

I am linking up to share my 2+1 TPTCYBER ideas!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Teaching THE MEssage {freebie and an activity}

This unit we are focusing on finding the theme of our text. I'm enjoying teaching this because I think (or at least I hope!) it helps students to see the value in reading - that there are messages in the text for us to discover and apply to our own lives.

This anchor chart has been SO helpful for referring to theme. I have taught students that the THEME is THE MEssage...and is different than the topic.

The TOPIC/big idea might be friendship, but the THEME is what the author is saying about friendship, such as "true friendship lasts through the toughest obstacles".

The mini sticky notes under "topic" and the big stick notes under "theme" have been good visuals to remember that topics are just a few words and themes are a lesson that is written as a sentences.

To help students remember THE MEssage, I created this poster.

Download for free on TpT!

What else have we done to find the theme?

Awesome theme passages from ereadingworksheets. I love that these free passages have a space to write the theme and ask for evidence. There is a wide range of passages - challenging enough for my high-level students and others at the perfect level for students struggling to find the theme.

This T.H.E.M.E acronym on TpT was a great find!

Lastly, today we did THEME roll and retell. We used a short fiction story from our textbook, and students rolled the die to see which question they had to answer. This added some fun and some "choice" (or luck, I should say) with answering questions. Just add a die and suddenly comprehension questions are a game :)
Though ultimately they had to answer all of them, it mixed things up from me telling them which questions to answer.

In this differentiated roll and retell, students are all working with the same grade-level, yet challenging, text.
Students who have an advanced understanding of theme can use the "Theme Extensions" roll and retell.
Students still working on finding the message have grade-level questions to use with a grade-level text.
 I would work in a small group (still using the same challenging text) with students who are struggling to discover the theme.

If you are interested in purchasing this product for your classroom, follow the link below!

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Sunday Scoop & Breakfast Cookies

I love this short and sweet link-up over at Teaching Trio!

I always enjoy seeing what other teachers still have to do and look forward to for the week!

This Sunday, part of my "scoop" was making breakfast cookies :)

{EASY: quick oats, almond butter, bananas, honey, almonds, chocolate chips, and cinnamon!}

I love baking, it's a way for me to relax and experiment with new things. I've been wanting to make a "breakfast cookie" that I could grab in the morning and would keep me full for awhile. I tried this recipe on Sally's Baking Addiction and I am so happy with how they turned out!

If you're looking for an easy breakfast idea, I would recommend these cookies!

Friday, November 14, 2014

Freebie Friday! Proud Wall Banner

In the past month, I have implemented a few things in my classroom to try to make it a positive, student-centered, and affirming place.
I hope that my students always remember how to fix a run-on sentence, but more than anything I want them to remember 7th grade ELA as I place where they knew they mattered and had confidence in themselves.

The freebie I am sharing today is the sign for the Proud Wall in my classroom. This bulletin board has three "sections".

1) Exemplary work (hung up by clothespins) - this rotates and displays work for each of my classes. When students see their work on the board, they get that little trying-hard-to-be-cool-and-not-smile smile on their faces and I know they are proud of themselves.

*these clothespins were SO easy to make.
1) I just cut a strip of washi tape in half (the tape I bought worked out perfectly to be cut in half lengthwise)
2) I placed it sticky-side down (just like regular tape) the clothespin. If the top/bottom edge hung over a little but I just tucked it under.
3) Then, I hot-glued a pushpin to the back.

2) Affirmations - I will talk more about these in detail another time :) these affirmations are the ones either written to an entire hour or ones that students have chosen to put up.

3) Miscellaneous - awesome student work (aka a song called "All About That Plot" written to the tune of "All About That Bass"), an award from our custodian for a clean classroom, a "Happy Llama Day" card made in my creative writing class, etc. I know this will grow throughout the year.

Here is the link to the chevron "Proud Wall" banner. There is neon and a black and white version. Download for free on TpT! I simply cut out, laminated, and posted on the bulletin board with push pins. If you have space in your classroom and want to try something like this, I would love for you to download the banner!

Teaching Blog Addict Freebie Downloads

I am linking up to TBA's Freebie Friday (I love the adorable new button!)

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

MIA Blogger Confessions

1) It has taken me five minutes to write this first sentence. 

2) It has been so long since I last blogged that I first attempted to start a new post by opening up a "new email" message.

3) Teaching is hard.

4) I know that what I do matters. That makes it awesome and even more hard.

5) I told my mom that I would write a blog post so now I have to. It is possible that she will be the only one reading this post. Hi, Mom!

6) After reading this fantastic book, I planned out enough of my time to not have to go into school on weekends for the past month. Major win!!! Working less made me less bitter/stressed and helped me relax so much more.
This is definitely one of those books I need to read again (and probably again) but so far I would call myself a "mostly-together" teacher :)
Two of my major takeaways from the book are scheduling to-do's and using one "weekly worksheet" for everything!

Has anyone else read this? What did you find most helpful?

7) I am going to really really try to post more often. If I was really a "together teacher" I would schedule time to write blog posts. I want to share more about what I am doing in the classroom...make more products...connect with more teachers. One step at a time :) First of all, I need to blog more often that every two months!

8) I will leave you with this hilarious article. It takes "stock photos" of teachers and has comments about teaching that I can only assume came right from a teacher. I love all of the apple references and #21 made me laugh out loud.

Because this is what our lives look like every day, right?