Sunday, November 16, 2014

American Colonies Giveaway From The Sweetest Thing

Lauren from The Sweetest Thing is truly the sweetest! :o) She has been creating some awesome nonfiction leveled texts for Social Studies. She finished her American Colonies set just in time because that is what we are learning about in my class!
There are three levels for the passages- below, on, and above. The lowest level is an F&P level R, which for my class is still above level for several of my students, so I did not use the three levels for my class. We all read the level R together and did some annotating, as well as one of my favorite activities to check for comprehension: they made new titles for each section!

We read the passages together each day, and at the end of each section, they went back in and underlined what was most important. Then, they turned to a "knee partner" and discussed what would make a good title for that section based on what they underlined.
Then, they were able to work together to answer questions (that are also included in her pack). Their annotating made it much easier for them to find the answers to the questions.
Do you love the idea of using these passages? Well, guess what?! Lauren is allowing me to give away one of these American Colonies packs! Enter the Rafflecopter below! Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Final Milestone Celebration Freebie!


Welcome to the last day of my Milestone Celebration! Don't forget, all of my mentor sentence products (including bundles!!) are 20% off today- and will return to regular price tonight at midnight EST! There have been exclusive mentor sentence freebies each dayIf you missed day #1, #2, or #3, check herehere, and here!

Here is your final freebie...
This mentor sentence lesson and interactive activity go with the book, The Snow Globe Family by Jane O'Conner.
I love using this book for a great creative writing piece in the winter. Here are some posts I've done about these writing activities in the past.

Thank you so much for all of your love and support! I hope you've enjoy celebrating with me this week!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Milestone Celebration Freebie #3!


Welcome to day 3 of my Milestone Celebration! Don't forget, all of my mentor sentence products (including bundles!!) are 20% off November 9-12, and there will be a new exclusive mentor sentence freebie each day, too! That's right! You'll get four weeks of mentor sentences!! :o)

If you missed day #1 or #2, check here and here!

Here is your third freebie...
This mentor sentence lesson and interactive activity go with the book, Twilight Comes Twice by Ralph Fletcher.
It's a beautiful book to use for personification! Come back tomorrow to see the last mentor sentence freebie I have for you... I hope you've enjoy celebrating with me this week!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Milestone Celebration Freebie #2!

Welcome to day 2 of my Milestone Celebration! Don't forget, all of my mentor sentence products (including bundles!!) are 20% off November 9-12, and there will be a new exclusive mentor sentence freebie each day, too! That's right! In the next four days, you'll get four weeks of mentor sentences!! :o)

If you missed day #1, check here!

Here is your second freebie...
This mentor sentence lesson and interactive activity go with the book, The Stranger by Chris Van Allsburg.
It's a perfect seasonal book to use for adjectives! I love all of Chris Van Allsburg's books, and this one is no exception. There is a neat little surprise in the book too- I won't ruin it in case you haven't read it! It would go PERFECTLY with my newest set of paired texts, which is also on sale for 20% off through tonight! :o)
Come back tomorrow to see the next mentor sentence freebie I have for you... I hope you'll enjoy celebrating with me this week!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Milestone Celebration Freebie #1!

EEEEK!!!! I am so excited, and thankful, and overwhelmed, and blessed... I can't even describe all of my feelings! So I figured, what better way to celebrate reaching an amazing TPT milestone than to have a sale and give my awesome followers some exclusive freebies??
All of my mentor sentence products (including bundles!!) are 20% off November 9-12, and there will be a new exclusive mentor sentence freebie each day, too! That's right! In the next four days, you'll get four weeks of mentor sentences!! :o)

Here is your first freebie...
This mentor sentence lesson and interactive activity go with the book, In November by Cynthia Rylant.
It's a perfect seasonal book to use for figurative language as well as using sentence fragments effectively. We'll be using it this week in my room! :o)

Also, just in case you missed it, my newest set of paired texts has been posted, and it also on sale for 20% off through Monday night! It's been a busy weekend! :o)
Come back tomorrow to see the next mentor sentence freebie I have for you... I hope you'll enjoy celebrating with me this week!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Sparking Student Motivation: Inquiry Circles

This week was a bit crazy, but it was so much fun for me and my kids in science!! We have been learning about the solar system, and this week, my kids got into inquiry circles to learn more about a space topic. My kids have never been more excited about science, so of course, I'm linking it up with my BBB Joanne for Sparking Student Motivation!

My students gave me their top three solar system topics that they were interested in... I put them into groups of 3 or 4 students based on their choices. Then, they came up with three questions that they could research. They used books I had checked out from the library, and they got on our district's Online Research Library to find the answers to their questions.

What makes inquiry circles so great is that the students are so engaged because it's a topic they chose and want to know more about! EVERY kid was totally involved in researching and finding answers. It was amazing!

The fun part of inquiry circles is that the students get to be creative and come up with a plan as a group to present the information to the class. Some groups made posters, some made models, some wrote a play, and one even wrote a song!

The students came up with these ideas all on their own, and even brought in supplies from home! Their motivation to do these projects is unbelievable! If you've never heard of inquiry circles before, check these sites out: Prezi Overview / Video Showing Inquiry Circles.

My students will present on Monday, so I don't have any finished products to show you today, but I will be back next week to share. :o)

Oh and PS... I'm super excited to share something with you on Sunday (and you should be, too!!)... but you have to wait til tomorrow to see what it is!! :o)


Saturday, November 1, 2014

Five for Fr-aturday and Sparking Student Motivation!

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs just a little late this weekend to share some things we did this week!
Honestly, the work week was difficult to start because I was returning from a long weekend in Orlando! I got to see my BBB, Joanne, and went to Hollywood Studios, Universal, and Sea World. It was a jam-packed, awesome weekend!
So even though I would have loved to have stayed with Joanne and the minions and the dolphins, I put on my big-girl britches and had some fun with my kiddos! We are building up to writing about/describing a planet next week (we are currently studying the solar system) using precise language, so this week, we practiced describing food, amusement parks, and monsters! First, I displayed five pictures of hamburgers on the board and told them, "Last night, I ate the most delicious burger! It was so yummy I ate it all... do you know which burger I ate?" Of course, they all looked at me like I was crazy. So then, I showed them which one I ate:
...and they had to help me write about it so that someone would know what burger I had eaten. We just finished working with sensory details last week, too, so they immediately started using that language. It was perfect! I told them I didn't want a list of things on my burger. We needed to describe it so well that someone would want to eat it when we were done! They came up with sentences like, "As I sank my teeth into the humongous juicy grilled burger, some of the sesame seeds from the bun got stuck in my teeth. It was a good thing I had a napkin because there was so much ketchup, it dripped onto my chin. The lettuce added the perfect amount of crunch." I was seriously impressed!

I wanted them to write on their own, too, so the next day, I set up "stations" around the room with sets of pictures. I divided the class into four groups, set my timer, and they rotated every five minutes to each of the sets. They would choose one of the pictures to write about in detail, and do the same type of writing we did with the hamburger. You have never heard a class so quiet!! They absolutely loved this activity! There were pictures of sandwiches...
 ...pictures of amusement parks... 
 ...pictures of ice cream sundaes...
...and pictures of cakes!
Stay tuned next week to see the final product of this writing activity!
We spent the week doing some fun activities with the book, I Need My Monster, by Amanda Noll. I love using this book the week of Halloween! You may remember the monster writing activity we did last year- well it fit perfectly with using precise language, so we had to do it again! :o)
I am linking this activity to Head Over Heels for Teaching (Joanne!) for her Sparking Student Motivation linky, because my kids seriously loved this! The students had to write about the monster they created well enough that someone else could draw their monster without seeing it. It took us two days to do the activity in its entirety. The first day, they drew a monster and began writing about it. We have recess right after writing, so when it was time to go, I told them to wrap up the sentence they were writing and we would finish tomorrow. Usually, that is met with an immediate slam of the notebook closed and everyone jumping up to get in line... well not that day! No one stopped writing! I had to tell them to stop! I guess writing about monsters is better than recess?? :-P

The second day, they finished their paragraph and revised to make sure it was descriptive enough. Then, they got with a partner and read their paragraph while the partner drew- never showing their monster to their partner. Here are just two of the many successes from this year's class!


We finished up using the paired texts for epidemics and germs this week (a freebie!). I explained a couple of weeks ago about how and why I have students annotate during close reading... I updated the post to also include this activity that I have my students do after annotating:
I have the students turn knee to knee and share their thoughts, what was important, and their questions with each other. This often prompts new thinking for the students when they hear each others' thoughts. It is a great way to promote conversation in the classroom!
We have Book Character Dress-Up Day for Halloween at my school. My grade level team dressed up as Magic School Bus characters- I was Ralphie! :o)
So much fun!!

Everyone have a great weekend! Don't forget to set your clocks back an hour tonight! WOOT!