Thursday, February 28, 2013

When Life Gives You a Snow Day...

When life gives you a snow day, you smile and rejoice!

When life gives you a snow day during a week in which you already only had three scheduled days of school due to mid-winter break, you panic when you realize that now you only have a TWO day week.

If you're me, you probably fly by the seat of your pants a little bit.

Well, that happened today after yesterday's snow day and Monday and Tuesday's already planned days off.  True story.

I was trying to shove helping verbs down my students' throats and was trying to think of a more fun way to do it than what I was doing... so I pulled up the Hunting for Helping Verbs file I made to display the little poster to help define helping verbs.

And then I arrowed down (like how I just made that verb up?) to the next page which was page one of a classroom hunt.  Well (thank you snow day for ruining the chance of having time for a classroom hunt this week) I had them pull out their white boards and we did the hunt as it was displayed on the screen and, instead of walking around the room to find the cards and record on their recording sheets, they just wrote the answers on their boards and held them up for me to see!

I was able to use my Mimio Pad to write on the screen and they just wrote helping and main verbs on their boards!

It was beautiful!  Of course, I still prefer to have them doing the hunt on their own... but it was quick, easy and helped me make lemonade out of my snow day.  I'm not complaining... I love a good snow day!

With that said, pray for spring friends... because I hear we've used up our days and if we miss anymore we'll be going to school in June!  Right now we're done May 31... so... No Boom Boom for snow!

PS- Don't forget to sign up for my new newsletter over there on the right!  The first one will be sent out tomorrow morning!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Newelstter... Reminder!

Snow day... how I love thee... especially when you make my Mid-Winter break SIX fabulous days long!  :) 

As soon as I publish this, I'm actually going to work out (WHAT?!) for the THIRD DAY IN A ROW... (WHAT?!  WHAT?!  Where is Christina and who hijacked this blog?!).

Then I'm going to read, relax, try to stay off the computer!  And get ready to go see "HAIR" tonight with the hubby!

Just a quick reminder that, if you would like to get my newsletter tomorrow... you've gotta sign up!

You can subscribe to it by looking to the right... find where it says "Subscribe to my Newsletter", type your e-mail address in the box, and hit the button that says "Subscribe".  Easy!

I'm adding one more regular segment to my newsletter...

You can learn tomorrow about an upcoming giveaway starting on Monday in the newsletter tomorrow!

Thanks friends!  Check that e-mail tomorrow at 10am!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Do You Like EXCLUSIVE Freebies?

Because I do!  And I like sharing them!

That's why I've added two to my new monthly newsletter!

You can sign up on the right (the 3rd thing down) where it says "Subscribe to My Newsletter".

My first newsletter will go out on Friday, March 1st... here's a sneak peek at some of the things that will be inside...

I'll be sharing a little more about a popular blog post from the month before!

I'll be introducing my subscribers to a new blogger or one with less than 500 followers!  You can even suggest I include you if you'd like... click HERE to do that!  This month's person doesn't know I'm featuring them!  :)

There will also be TWO freebies each month!  One will be a PAID item that has an active free link for subscribers only for one week.  After a week I will disable the link... and there will be a subscriber exclusive freebie with a link that won't expire... but I won't share that freebie anywhere else!

Here's a sneak peek (that doesn't really show you anything!) for the upcoming Subscriber Exclusive Freebie...

Yay!  I'm super excited about being able to connect with you all in another way!  :)

I hope you'll sign up... and be checking your e-mail on Friday!!!!

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Scoop on Success Time {or My School's VERY Fluid Intervention Block}

I'm re-linking this post to Jodi's "Be a Fly on my Wall" linky as she's focusing on interventions for this linky!  I hope you'll check out the ideas and link up too!

Yay!  It's a Monday and I'm at home in my PJs (which I may stay for the day!).  It's Mid-Winter Break for this gal!  We had Friday off, today off, and tomorrow go to see Mike Mattos, who is an AMAZING RTI guru and a speaker who lights a fire under your booty and makes you want to work so hard.

I'm super pumped!

In my building, we have an intervention time that I think Mr. Mattos would be proud of.  I mentioned this last week and got lots of comments asking to hear more... so, here goes!

Having a successful intervention time really hinges on the effectiveness of the PLCs you have in your building.  In mine, we operate in grade-level PLCs and subject area PLCs.  We have a grade-level PLC every month that is headed up by the Title 1 teacher.  She brings data for the Tier 3 kids and we re-evaluate these students every month.  For our intervention time, we evaluate data all the time...

Here is how "Success Time" works...

My building has three grade levels: 3-5th.  Each grade level has a 35-minute period of time in the morning for "Success Time".

I think it's something like this:

4th- 8:00-8:35
3rd- 8:35-9:10
5th- 9:10-9:45

I'm not sure how exactly it works for 4th and 5th grades, but during that time in 3rd grade, each classroom teacher (there are 4 of us), the Title 1 Teacher, two Paras, librarian, and one of the special ed teachers all have groups going on.  The librarian doesn't teach a group- there is a large group of students working independently on IXL or Math Facts in a Flash on the computer.

That keeps the other groups much smaller since there are 8 other adults running a group at that time.

We've been primarily doing math interventions, although we've also done math and reading and sent kids to the one they needed the most.  When we did that, I had a low fluency group and we did Six Minute Solutions, Fry Phrases, and Reader's Theaters.

Currently, we are focusing on math interventions.  We're doing timed multiplication tests as kids progress through levels at their own pace and then working on whatever students need for math... what this means is that, depending on the assessments the math teacher gives, the groups change often... which is awesome.  They are literally changing weekly... occasionally daily!... but our kids are getting the instruction and practice they need at that moment, which is awesome.

The Title and 3rd grade math teacher are incredible at meeting to look at data and form new groups.

This coming week is a short one- just Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday- so our groups are a little different...  all of our groups this coming week are...

Subtraction with regrouping... which only has two kids!  Hooray!
A small reading group
Multiplication facts x3
Multiplication facts x4
Independent fact practice in the computer lab
Multiplication facts x10
Two leveled groups of multiplication properties
And I'm doing a writing intervention group with kids who need help organizing their thoughts.  We'll be reading a lot of books, writing summaries, and interacting with texts through writing.

As kids pass their x3 facts, they'll go right to x4, and as soon as the kiddos in the subtraction w/regrouping group master that, they'll go to where they need to be and that person will be re-assigned to teach something new.

It's fluid, fluid, fluid and we all have to be flexible, flexible, flexible!  I love it!

It's really easy when you do interventions to get comfortable and lose the focus... which is doing what is best for KIDS.  I have found in the past that there are teachers who won't want to have fluid groups because they've already planned out what they are doing in their intervention group and they don't want to make another copy, or re-arrange the pairings, or whatever.

I feel really fortunate to work with a group of teachers who know that Success Time is about helping our students become successful!  And, that sometimes means that we find out 10 minutes before school starts who will be in our groups for the day... but our kids are making great progress!

This would be our Tier-2 interventions.  The students who still need support are pulled out throughout the day for more intense small group instruction.

Here's a little video about RTI, if you aren't familiar with it, and you can see Mr. Mattos in the video.  He's a great speaker... if your district is looking to expand your PLCs or learn more about RTI, this would be the man to provide it!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Winners... Finally and Two More Hallway Hunts!

What a week!

Fairy Tale day on Thursday was a huge success... but I also came down with a huge cold.  Which put my blogging and computer work on a huge hold for the week!

But... I am happy to be back and able to breathe out of 50% of my nostrils!

Thanks for all of the great comments and ideas on my grammar classroom/hallway hunts post the other day!  It seems like we are all always looking for ways to make grammar more engaging for our students!  Classroom and hallway hunts are always a winner in room 108!

Hubby has chosen the winners are they are... Suzy Q #39 who wished for comparative/superlative adjective work and Deb #49 who wished for something on helping verbs.  We'll be doing helping verbs in class next week (3rd grade Treasures Unit 4, Week 3!), so I actually was just finishing up something on them... and I also finished a comparative/superlative hunt too!  So, I'll be shipping those your way, ladies... as well as your choice of two of my other hunts!  :)

 Find the comparative/superlative hunt on TpT!

Added at 10:03pm!  :)
 Find this fun antonym hunt on TpT!

We're off school until Wednesday... technically I have school on Tuesday; my district is attending PD with Mike Mattos.  Do you know him?  Have you seen him?  OMG.  He is ah-mazing.  He totally lights a fire under your teaching behind and get you excited about interventions and "all means all"!  I've had the pleasure of seeing him twice before and can't wait to go again on Tuesday!

Does your school do interventions?  We do and I love it... ours are extremely fluid; our groups change almost weekly and, sometimes, daily thanks to the great assessing of our math teacher and the great organization of our Title 1 teacher!  It's awesome for our students and has really helped us make some huge strides in math this year.  Each grade level in my building has a 35-minutes intervention block each morning.  We call it "Success Time".  The students might be in any of their grade-level classes, the computer lab, Title 1 room, or with any adult who is free at that time to provide interventions.  It leaves our needier groups very small and allows our higher groups doing independent work on IXL or Math Facts in a Flash.

Anyway... looking forward to Mike Mattos and being inspired to continue providing interventions and great education!  :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Making Grammar Interactive... Classroom or Hallway Hunts Giveaway!

Workbook pages, schmerkbook pages.

That's how I feel anyway.  I know, I know... they are a necessary evil and we do maybe one per week.  Usually when I introduce a grammar skill, we complete a workbook page.  But, as part of the grammar practice, I get my kids up and moving.

We play Back-to-Back, use my classroom carpet, and usually do a game each week as part of one of our mini-lessons.

One of my favorite ways to make grammar interactive is with classroom or hallway hunts.

It is not uncommon in my school building to see sentences, words, or pictures randomly taped on the walls throughout the hallways.  Both the 3rd and 4th grade ELA teachers use hallway hunts often as a way for kids to show they know our grammar skills by doing something other than sitting and completing a workbook page.

Instead, we type out what we want our kiddos doing on cards, number them, and hang them up in the school.  Kids get a recording sheet and walk through the halls, searching for, and completing the cards.  They L-O-V-E it and I love it too!  It's fun and achieves the same goal as a workbook page, but the kids are moving and having a good time.

When we do hallway hunts, they are whole class activities.  But I also use classroom hunts.  A lot.  Instead of hanging the cards in the hallway and going out as a group, I hang cards in the classroom and assign my students to complete the hunt as part of their independent word work for the week.

While I meet with small groups, students have to budget in time to complete the hunt.  I love when I'm working in my groups, seeing kids with clipboards and recording sheets, reading, thinking, and writing as they travel around the classroom!

I have several classroom or hallway hunts in my TpT store and would love to give you the chance to win your choice of two of them... there are {in order of the pics below!} ABC order, pronouns, verbs, plural nouns, abstract nouns, contractions with not, linking verbs, contractions with pronouns and verbs, possessive pronouns, singular and plural nouns, and the last picture is for a freebie hunt for singular and plural nouns!  I've linked up each picture below so you can check them out and decide which two you'd like if you win!  :)  Several of them are part of larger grammar packs with more than just the hallway hunt activity... so the two winners will get the whole pack!

To enter all you have to do is comment and leave a suggestion for a future classroom or hallway hunt!  So far, I've only been putting hunts on TpT that I'm using in my classroom, but I'd love to hear what you'd like to see in the future.  I'll ask hubby to pick TWO random numbers on Wednesday and, not only will those people win TWO of their choice, but when I finish the activity for their suggestion, I'll send them both that one too!

I'd love to hear how you keep grammar practice fun and engaging in your classroom too.  It's such a biggie on the ACT that we've got to get our kiddos prepared now so they can continue to grow into grammar police as they get nearer to that test in high school!  How do you keep it fun and limit the workbook/worksheet pages while still practicing skills?

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Fairy Tale Fun... with Sock Puppets!

This coming week we are wrapping up our fairy tale genre study in 3rd grade ELA!  I'm so excited and just had to share about our week...

Tomorrow the kids will be writing a script with a partner of a conversation summarizing one of the fairy tales we read.

On Tuesday, the kids will use a super fun iPad app called "SOCK PUPPETS" to bring their script to life!  You can download a free version of the app and students can record for 30 seconds.  We've purchased the app, which allows for 90 seconds of recording time.  It's tricky to get it all in... but possible!

The things we do for our students (and our blog)... you can see my sample below!  I did "Goldilocks" because we didn't study that story so, my hope is, it will give them an example without mucking up their thoughts so they can still be original!

Best of all this project is helping us assess a ton of Common Core ELA Standards... RL 3.2 to re-tell,  RL 3.9 as it's part of our genre study, SL 3.4 and 3.5, creating a visual project, and the script writing part is using quotations in dialouge which is L3.2c.

I'm hoping these will finish on Tuesday, since they'll only be recording for 90 seconds.

We'll also be doing plays from this Scholastic Fractured Fairy Tale book:

There are 4 3rd grade classes, so each class will be learning the same play in 4 small groups.  On Thursday, each teacher will get one of the groups from each class and each group will perform for one another!

While that is going on in two rooms, the other two rooms will be having a fairy tale scavenger hunt around the school!

And before the plays and scavenger hunt on Thursday, we're having a Three Bears' Breakfast.  This is something I always did when I taught 2nd grade, so I am so happy that my new 3rd grade team was willing to help me continue this fun tradition!

We'll be eating oatmeal, fruit, and toast and drinking milk and juice while watching a few short fairy tale videos off United Streaming.  After that, it's plays, scavenger hunt, and then students get a choice of a fairy tale movie to watch in the afternoon.  It's also our last day before a 5-day mid-winter break, so it's a perfect send off to a long weekend!

The kiddos are so excited about this day, and I LOVE all of the learning that has taken place over the last two weeks of this study and that will continue to take place this coming week.  We've done theme (which they *SO* understand... I'm a happy gal!), compare and contrast characters, settings, etc..., summarizing, and tons of other learning too!  Teaching through genre is so fun!!!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Multiplication Game Freebie... up to 6x6!

Happy early Valentine's Day!  I love you gals (and guys!) and wanted to share the love!

Here's a quick little multiplication freebie... just print, add dice and kids... and you're done!

Each student needs their own board, pair them up, and have them take turns rolling the dice.  The first player multiplies the two dice and crosses off/covers up/colors in the product.  The next player does the same.  The first player to catch all of their bugs is the winner!  And, if they get a product they've already crossed off/covered up/colored in, their turn is over!

I copied these on colored cardstock and put them in a sheet protector so students can use a dry erase marker to cross off their bugs!

Don't worry... the file doesn't have my blog button on it.  Click the picture below to download the game.

Enjoy!  I'd love some love if you love it!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Valentine Winner and a Valentine's Day Giveaway!

It's Nancy, #48... that was hubby's lucky number tonight!

I'll be e-mailing you my "Sweet Treats" pack full of printable Hershey wrapper goodness!

Michelle at Just Wild About Teaching is having a Valentine's Day giveaway full of all sorts of Valentine-y goodness... including another chance to win those Hershey wrappers!  :)
Just Wild About Teaching

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Valentine Goodies for Students and a Chance to Win!

Please tell me I'm not the only one who waited until the weekend before Valentine's Day to think about what to give my kiddos?

I decided to make my own candy bar wrappers for my students!  I have done something like this in the past, but my wrappers needed a face lift.  So, last night I bought regular sized Hershey bars and today I made the wrappers... it was fast, easy, and much less expensive than goodie bags full of stuff... which is what I usually do for Valentine's Day.  I got the candy bars at Target and it was something like $2.62 for 6... which I thought was super cheap.  Of course, I needed 25, but it still ended up being about $15.00 for all of them.

Here's how they turned out... I LOVE THEM!

I just put the finishing touches on a pack of wrapper for each holiday and you can win the set!  Just comment with your favorite easy student gifts for any holiday and I'll pick a winner on Monday... so that the winner has time to use the V-day wrappers if they want!

Check out these cuties on TpT
or on Teacher's Notebook

Thursday, February 7, 2013

A Peek at our Week!

This week has flown by!  I can't believe tomorrow is Friday already!  We're "boom-booming" for snow already... we're under a winter weather advisory until tomorrow morning.  BOOM BOOM!

So, here's what we've been working on...

I'm doing THEME with my small groups this week and they are really getting it!  It makes a teacher's heart happy!  We did this graphic organizer from my Graphic Organizers for Big Kids pack and it really helped them process their thinking.  The books from our reading series were perfect for theme this week and it fit in so well with our whole class learning as we'll start talking about theme next week!
One of my sweeties wrote in the last box (So the author really wants me to know that...), "You should never fight evil with evil.  And I mean never.  And if someone is mean to you, you should be nice to them.  Always.  And I mean always."  He filed his paper away before I thought to snap a picture, but I had a huge laugh on the inside!

Whole group, we're doing a fairy tale genre study to help us compare and contrast the themes, settings, and plots of stories with similar characters.  Here's the chart we're making- each student is making their own too.

And we're also studying linking verbs.  Today we played Dino Race and had a fun time!

Hope your week is flying by too... TGIF... T!

Sunday, February 3, 2013


Have you done your TpT Super Sale shopping yet?  I did round 1.  All right, I won't lie.  I did round 1 and round 2.

I need to fill my cart for round 3... but I'll probably wait until after the game.  I'd love to know what you've been buying today... help me fill my cart!

I'll be heading out with the hubby in about two hours... and, until I leave, I have a flash freebie for you on TpT!  I'll be changing it to a priced item before I leave today (it will be on sale, of course!), but if you want it for free... you've gotta grab it now!

It's a super fun and cute ABC order set that I made with graphics I bought today from The Hazel Owl!  I love them!  Click the picture to grab the set for free!  It's got a center activity and one of my favorite favorite classroom or hallway hunts!

Enjoy!  If you grab it, please leave some feedback and let me know what you think!

Don't forget about the TpT sale.  You can get an extra 10% off at checkout if you enter the code SUPER when you checkout!
Check out my TpT store!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

It's a Big SALE for the Big GAME... What are YOU hoping to score?

I'm joining up with many other TpT and TN seller's to offer a sale this weekend at my two shops!

Beginning tomorrow (Sunday) until the end of the night on Monday, everything in both of my shops will be 20% off!
Visit my TpT shop
Visit me on Teacher's Notebook

TpT will give you an EXTRA 10% off if you use the code SUPER at the check out!  The extra 10% is only good on Sunday... I'll still be doing 20% off, but if you want the bonus at TpT, you've gotta buy on Sunday!  During halftime, of course!

That means my huge new Fry Phrase pack is only about $13.00... which is a little more than $2 a piece!  And each of the new packs is only about $3 separately!

Planning for the end of the year?  My colorful, fun, and easy awards pack is on sale for less than $7.00 this weekend.  It has 40 classroom awards so there's something for all of your little friends!

What are you buying this weekend?

I have on  my wishlist, tons of graphics from The Hazel Owl and Pink Cat Studio.  I'd love for you to leave a comment sharing an item you hope to buy this weekend... I want to fill up my cart!

Special thanks to Lindsay @ Primary Polka Dots for sharing the adorable sale graphic!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Pies, Pies... I Survived!

Well, someone didn't wear their PJs inside out because I still had school today.

But, I survived the pie throwing!  It was really fun and the kiddos were so excited... and, aside from the crunchy bangs I got from the whipped cream drying on my hair and the smell of the whipped cream the lingered until I was able to race home and take a shower, it was allll good!

In the harrowing, gut-renching hours leading up to the pie event, we did some normal-ish stuff.

In Success Time (our intervention block) my group worked on their reading and multiplication fact fluency.

Here's what we did:
We played PB & J with Fry Phrases!  This game is from my 5th 100 phrases pack.

And we played this fabulous multiplication game from Lisa at Fourth and Ten.  We played it like BUMP but they had previously played it in math class in more of a BINGO type game... which would have been super fun too!

Then we did our marking period reward for those students who had less than 3 missing assignments, read a ton of Pippi Longstocking, and then made a winter bracelet!  :)

Then at 2pm, the pies were a'flying!

Tonight the hubby and I are off to see Les Miserables- not the movie, the actual musical.  I'm so excited!!!
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