Thursday, January 29, 2015

Rainbow Editing and Revising {FREEBIE!}

Hi friends! I hope you've had a fabulous week this week!

We have been working hard in my classroom on our Snow Globe Stories. I don't know about your kids, but I imagine they are a lot like mine... when it comes time to edit and revise, they read it and SAY they've edited and revised, but I don't ever see any real proof that they have done it.

I decided to create an activity for the students to follow that would guide them in editing and revising their writing.
And you're in luck!! You can grab this activity for free!

This has been the best way that I've found to make the kids actually PAY ATTENTION to what they are reading. I talk to them about paying attention to how much writing they have between those red and orange circles (in other words, do you have a giant run-on sentence?), and if all of the yellow and green words are the same they need to change it up,  and of course if they only have one or two blue lines, they should consider adding some more.
This has been an absolute game changer in my classroom, and I hope that it will help you in yours, too!
As you can see above, the students see when they need "more color" and they work to correct it. :o)

What do you do in your classroom to make sure the students are actually making changes to their stories? I'd love to hear your ideas!

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Mentor Sentence News and a Giveaway!

Boy, oh boy! Have I been busy!

Many of you might have already seen on my Facebook page that I have updated my Mentor Sentences for grades 3-5 to be more user-friendly. You can visit your purchases page, sort by revised products, and download the revisions!
These revisions were made for one very big reason... I compiled all the units to have a book of all 40 mentor sentences PRINTED!
What is the benefit of ordering the HARD COPY Book? Well #1, you'll save big bucks on ink and paper... for me, with many units I buy on TPT, I like to make a binder and put all the pages inside. All four units are over 200 pages when combined! That's a lot of time waiting for the pages to print, and ink, and paper...

#2, this book has a hard cover and is spiral bound, so it is much easier to keep up with and carry to the copier. You won't have to remember where you saved it on your computer, figure out which unit you want to open, etc...

#3, you'll also get the full color digital version of this book via email when you order the book, so if you really want it on your computer to help you plan, you'll have it!

Now, I know many of you are already hooked on mentor sentences because you own them... well I have a deal for you too! ONLY through the end of February, for my customers who have already bought all four mentor sentence units by either purchasing them individually, purchasing them in a bundle, or a combination of both, you may buy the book at the upgrade price. To qualify, you must email me a receipt of your previous purchases along with your TPT user name to

In other Mentor Sentence news, many of you have also been very excited about my Mentor Sentences for Grade 2! (Which many have agreed can easily be used in Grade 1 as well, and even in Grade 3!) You can read more about how to use them in the lower grades here.

If you want to try them out for yourself, I have a freebie in my store:
...orrrrr if you're feeling lucky, you could win a set! My friends Lisa and Marissa at Pawsitively Teaching and Inspired Owl's Corner have been using grade 2 mentor sentences in their room, and they love them! Visit their blogs to see how it's going in their rooms, AND to enter to WIN the First Mentor Sentence Set for Second Grade as well as a $10 TPT Gift Card! There will be two winners- one from each blog!

Good luck! :o)

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Five For Fraturday... The Week of the FLU

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to share five random things about my week!
This week might have been the longest week ever. Sunday night, I started feeling pretty bad and thought I was getting a cold. Monday, I woke up and was dizzy and felt awful. I get vertigo sometimes when my sinuses are messed up, so I thought it was that. I ended up getting a sub Monday... then Tuesday... then WEDNESDAY... and by then I realized maybe I did need to go to the doctor. Despite getting the flu mist, I HAD THE FLU. And guess what? I had missed the 48 hour window to get TamiFlu!! :( The CDC got the shot/mist wrong this year, so lots of people are getting the flu anyway.
I wish the parents would send the kids like this! LOL!! Then, I probably wouldn't be sick! I ended up missing the whole week of school! I've NEVER done that before. Ever.
On Wednesday, when I was hanging on the sofa, going stir crazy, I wrote a blog post about TPT freebies that you DEFINITELY want to check out if you haven't already!
Sadly, I missed the 100th Day of School with my kiddos, thanks to the flu. :(  I did find some fun things for my kids to do though!
I found this fun writing activity from Jen at Runde's Room! I can't wait to see what my kids wrote when I return.

I also found a fun math game from Rachael at the Classroom Game Nook!
To download it, the attachment is at the bottom of the post right above the comments- I tell you this because I about drove myself crazy trying to understand why I couldn't find the product link!! Ha!
Yesterday, I still didn't have much energy, but my brain was not cloudy and I was able to think clearly! So I sat on my sofa ALL DAY and wrote my newest set of paired texts!
I am super excited about these! They are so fun! And, they are on sale through Sunday! If you aren't familiar with paired texts, they have become much more of a need with the new testing in reading and writing. The students have to read passages that are more rigorous and complex than what we used to see - especially paired texts that students can use to compare and build knowledge to integrate information and draw conclusions. There isn't a lot out there to practice with, so I have been writing passages that are high interest for the kids. My kiddos have LOVED them! They actually cheer when I tell them we have a new article to read. You can also check out my blog post about how I use them for annotations, too.
We have a three-day weekend for the MLK holiday. I was on blogs and pinterest A LOT (when I wasn't sleeping) this week so I've gotten some fun ideas for some activities next week to celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. My sweet friend, Joanne, has a fun post from last year that I'm going to adapt for my class!
We will read Martin's Big Words, and the students will illustrate a quote like they did in Joanne's class, but they will also write a summary of why they think those words are so "big" and important. :)

If you have a long weekend, too- enjoy it! I'm definitely going to take it easy. Even though I feel better, I still feel like I have no energy. I have slept SO MUCH this week, it seems almost impossible that I could not be full of energy! But I guess that's what happens when your body is fighting the nasty flu bug!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Very Important Info About Your TPT Free Downloads!

Hello friends! I am blogging today to tell you some very important information about changes that have been made to TPT. They aren't bad changes at all, but it's something that us sellers want you to know about...
As you know, providing feedback on purchases AND freebies is equally important to sellers. Not only is it polite to show that you are grateful, but it helps us know we've done something you like and we should continue! Or, of course, use it if you need to provide constructive criticism...

However, when you download freebies now, instead of getting the option to immediately leave feedback, TPT shows you some other items you might like, too- which makes sense because you can't really leave feedback until you use it, right?
BUT it's important to remember to go back and leave feedback once you have used it! How do you do that? How will you ever remember? Well, TPT made it easy! First, go to your purchases:
Then, click on the Free Downloads tab!
Last, click on the "provide feedback" link under the product name. Remember, the more you show sellers you love our freebies, the more motivated we are to keep making freebies for you!

And hey- check out this great tip from Diane at Fifth in the Middle! If you want to make sure you've left feedback on everything, you can sort your downloads!
Now, what if you downloaded a freebie and realized it wasn't really what you thought and you aren't going to use it? No harm, no foul! You didn't pay for it, so no loss for you, right? There is no need to tell the seller this- remember, feedback is given after you've used it. But please try to remember to leave some love when you DO use it. Here is an example of why I say this:
Almost 7,000 people downloaded this freebie, and 34 people rated it. Now, did 6,857 people download and actually use it? Probably not. But odds are, more than 34 people did. It's okay if you don't remember to go in right away and leave feedback- but when you go leave feedback on paid products (gotta get those credits!!) go ahead in to your freebies and leave some love on those, too!

And hey, if you don't want something in your free downloads list anymore, just click that little green X on the right of the item in the list that says "remove."
And last but not least, here is a tip about your purchased products and freebies- sometimes, sellers make mistakes. And SOMETIMES, they add to the product you've already gotten. When either of these things happens, they mark the file as revised. But if you are like me and have a bunch of things in your lists, you might not see those revisions right away... so you also want to sort by "Recently Revised" every now and then and check to see what you might be missing!

Please spread the word to all of those you know who download from TPT! :o)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Five For Friday: First Week After Winter Break!

I'm excited to say I took enough pictures this week to link up for Five For Friday... and it was only a 4 day week!!
I shared with you on Wednesday what we were doing with our mentor sentence and classifying/ordering adjectives (go grab the freebies if you didn't already!) - our imitation sentences on Thursday had to include three adjectives in the correct order, of course. :o)
We have been having super cold weather, so what better time to pull out the Winter and Snow Paired Texts, right? We did close reading and annotating with Frost and King Frost this week, then today they answered the questions that went with the texts.
I had to include this constructed response answer because he is one of my students that has really struggled this year to follow the "RACE" strategy and write full responses, and he ROCKED it today! I think Santa brought him a RACE Brain for Christmas! :-P
We've been learning about the Causes of the American Revolution, so we completed some Interactive Notebook Activities...
 ...and some Road to Revolution DBQs!
Finally, thanks to that cold weather, we have been enjoying some Go Noodle Brain Breaks! Do you Go Noodle?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Ordering and Classifying Adjectives (4th Grade) FREEBIES!

In fourth grade, Common Core Language Standard 4.1.D says students should correctly order adjectives within sentences... before they can order them, though, they have to understand how to classify different adjectives. I created these cards with various adjectives-
which you can download for free!
I put three of each kind into four Ziploc bags and split my kids into four groups. I quickly made a sorting mat for them on 12x18 paper, folded into eighths, then had them work as a group to figure out where the words fit on their mat.
Some of the words are a bit tricky because they aren't words they hear on a daily basis. Also, opinion and condition words can get hard to determine! I told them to remember a condition can be proven, while an opinion is only what someone thinks and someone else might not think the same... the students rotated to all four sets of adjective cards to practice sorting them.

We are doing this activity with my Mentor Sentence Freebie for The Stranger by Chris Van Allsburg. The sentence has three different types of adjectives, so we talk about the classification of them. The freebie also includes an accordion interactive notebook activity. My students had to write one adjective from each group on their accordion once I told the group that their words were all in the correct places. (By the end of all four rotations, they had four words in each category.)
They did a great job talking about why they thought the words went in each category, and at the end of the day, several of them said it was their favorite thing they did today! (I always ask them on their way out the door to tell me their favorite thing we did that day.)

Tomorrow, I will have them use their words from their accordion to describe a few nouns of their choice- and I want them to try to list at least four types of adjectives (in order of course)! I hope these activities are things you can use, too. Enjoy!