Tuesday, February 24, 2015

HEROES sale!

I'm sure that most of you have heard about the Teachers are Heroes sale - but with my "newbie" blog I wanted to highlight a few of my products - everything will be 28% off!!

Thanks to Ladybug Teacher Files for the cute button!

Neon Chalkboard Genre Posters for Middle School
*there is also a black and white version!

Get these super-cute (if I do say so myself) posters for $4!

Roll and Retell Theme and Roll and Retell Plot are on sale for $1.60!

Sensory Detail Poetry Stations are a steal at only $2.00

Happy sale! Thanks for reading, fellow heroes :)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Sunday Scoop

I'm linking up with Teaching Trio for this fun Sunday linky...

I have been spoiled with four or three-day weeks with all of our snow days lately. This week is scheduled to be five days - call me crazy but I am hoping for a bit of normalcy this week. As much as a love snow days, my schedule is a bit thrown off!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Five For Friday

It has been awhile since I linked up with Five for Friday at Doodle Bugs Teaching!

1) There's no excuse for me not to link up - I am sitting at home on my second snow day, technically "cold day" of the week. With temperatures below -20 degrees, school has been closed the past two days. I was expecting to have yesterday off after checking the forecast, but today was a complete surprise!

2) This student's warning at the top of his reader's response letter: "spoilers after dotted line" cracked me up. It's little things like this about middle schoolers that make me smile.

3) I was feeling very lazy on my day off yesterday until I found this muffin recipe. These sounded easy, plus I had all the ingredients. There was no way I was going to the store in this freezing weather! I've been experimenting a lot lately with "breakfast" baking...lots of different combinations of oatmeal bars, breakfast cookies, baked oatmeal...well these are definitely at the top of my list! The greek yogurt makes them so moist. I liked that it was a "one bowl" recipe in that I just had to throw everything in the food processor.
Clik the picture to see the recipe over at "Running with Spoons"

4) Of course I've been on Pinterest quite a bit with all of this extra time off. I've been looking at lots of decorating ideas lately. Now, I'm not actually re-decorating...more like "window shopping" on Pinterest :)
However, I found this great roundup of 50 budget decorating ideas that I would love to try out someday.

5) Last but not least, a big thing for me this week has been creating a new TpT product. I just blogged about it yesterday, so all of the details are in that post. I'd love for you to check out my Sensory Detail Poetry Stations - five leveled poems and three differentiated worksheets! Woohoo!

Stay warm! Any else with a "snow" or "cold" day today? :)

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Sensory Detail Poetry Stations

Sensory Detail Poetry Stations

I needed a way to use leveled poems and differentiate my poetry instruction - so Sensory Detail Poetry Stations were born!

I don't know how many times I googled "poems with sensory details" before deciding that I needed to make this product :) The five leveled poems are all great examples of poems with sensory details.

There are three very basic poems for students still struggling with identifying sensory details. The on-level poem, "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" involves a higher comprehension level. The most challenging poem, "Where I'm From", by George Ella Lyon, involves a more challenging historical context.

After reading the poems, students track sensory details on one of three differentiated recording sheets. 

This middle-school activity goes beyond students simply knowing what a sensory detail is and has students share the effect on the poem.

The three worksheets included involve varying levels of tracking sensory details. All worksheets require students to list examples from the poem.
The first worksheet, meant to be easier for struggling students, has the opportunity for students to sketch the sensory details as well as list examples.
The “middle” worksheet, for on-level students, involves listing examples as well as explaining the effect on the poem.
The third worksheet, for more advanced learners, has students not only listing examples of sensory detail and explaining the effect, but also thinking about why the author would include the sensory detail.

I am so happy with how it turned out! I'm really hoping that this product can be of use to other teachers who need access to sensory detail poetry and want to differentiate!

Click here to find this product in my TpT store.

Do you teach sensory details in your classroom?

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Coordinate Adjective Fun

Okay, so I wouldn't have thought to put "coordinate adjective" and "fun" in a sentence together until today. As an ELA teacher, I am more easily excited about grammar than most people, but sometimes it can be..........boring. I said it!

Realistically, every single grammar lesson cannot be fun and games. However, I do try to incorporate some sort of activity or game into our grammar learning to prevent my students (and myself, honestly) from becoming bored.

In our current unit, we are working on coordinate adjectives. Just in case you are too, here are a few resources I used:

1) this quick intro video

2) This worksheet (I projected it for students to use as independent practice)

 And this activity:

I gave each student an index card and gave them one minute to draw something. I timed it to add a little to the excitement and make the drawings a little more difficult to interpret.

I had to tease some of the students that it took them one whole minute to draw some of these masterpieces ;)

After one minute, I collected the index cards and then distributed them randomly.

Students then had to write a coordinate adjective sentence describing the picture.

I projected different examples under my Elmo when the students were done - they laughed seeing what people had come up with for their picture, and there were some pretty funny interpretations.

I can see myself doing something like this for other objectives...maybe having students draw a picture and then having someone else write a sentence using figurative language (we are working on that standard too!)

Would you use this acitivity in your classroom? Have you done something similar?

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Wordless Wednesday - Mint to Succeed!

 Because this mountain of tests in no fun for anyone...

My students needed a little motivation last week.

They loved them!

Download an assortment of testing motivation notes from GingerSnaps here:

(I used a screenshot of the note I wanted, pasted a page of notes into PowerPoint, and printed on mint paper. The notes come in adorable colors but of course the color printer wasn't working that day. I think that being flexible is one the main lessons I've learned from my first year teaching!)

Monday, February 2, 2015

RACE Writing Response (freebie on a snowday!)

There's no excuse not to blog - I am sitting at home on a snow day :) I was called with the cancellation yesterday just before was so nice to know early!

I've been thinking about what I could share on this blog, and pondering what has really worked in my ELA classroom. I realized after my students took their first "Common Assessment" test created by the district that I could not just tell them to "write a complete short answer". I had to teach them how to do it by breaking down each step and setting expectations.

This is not my original idea, but if I've learned anything as a first-year teacher it's to not reinvent the wheel!

The acronym, RACE, stands for each part of a complete constructed response. There are a few versions out there, but I like this one best:

R - restate the answer
A - answer all parts of the question
C - cite evidence
E - explain how your evidence supports your answer.

We've practiced this by writing responses to whole-class texts, stand-alone prompts, and even questions like "what was the best part of your weekend?"
Of course, the "citing" would have to be examples from the weekend instead of text evidence.

Now that my students know how to use the RACE response, I can just say "don't forget the RACE method!" when we are taking a test :) I have seen such an improvement in their responses from the beginning of the year.It makes me so happy to see my students scrawl "RACE" at the top of their answer page, or even to see them planning out their response with each letter before they write it.

There are a few products I've used for this that have been really successful:

These strategy cards are great for responding to any prompt! Each part of the response is broken down for the students. I think this would be great to use when you are first introducing this strategy.

Here is a free writing response that has students responding to a Henry Ford quote using the RACE method. We did this activity shortly after I introduced the acronym.

Here is a great explanation of the strategy (complete with a rubric) from Mrs. Sol's classroom.

I love this resource for the visual of setting up a notebook page!

Oh, and I've had a few students tell me that they've used this short-answer method in other classes, too! Yay for cross-curricular connections!

Because I love things to match, I've created a version that you can use in your own classroom to match some of the neon chalkboard items I've made.

Click on the picture to get this FREE download at my TpT store.

Do you use a constructed-response format in your classroom?