Thursday, March 5, 2015

No Worksheet Wednesday (On Thursday)

Yes, I know... a day late to the party. But I could not pass up the opportunity to link up with the lovelies over at Primary Chalkboard! I had every intention of linking up yesterday, but I had a fun night with friends instead, and it was much needed! :o)
We are having a great time in math with geometry! We definitely don't want to waste our time on worksheets with all the fun that can be had with protractors and geoboards!
We are classifying triangles by their angles, so what better way than to actually measure them to prove if they are right, acute, or obtuse?

We are also having some fun with this game called Triangle Splat in our technology station:
I hope this gives you some fun ideas of things you can do to save some trees and have some fun with your kiddos in geometry! :o)

Go check out Primary Chalkboard for more ideas to be worksheet free!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Latest Mentor Sentence News... {GIVEAWAY!}

Hey friends.

I've been super busy creating and not super busy blogging. I really apologize for that.

I promise this week I'm going to have a MEANINGFUL blog post that you will love, not just to give you updates, like this one. But updates are important, too, right?!

First of all, two very sweet bloggers shared how they are using my second grade mentor sentences in their classroom, and they are both giving away the first set!

First up is Hilary from Second Grade Is Out of This World:
She used The Three Snow Bears and her kids did so great!

I love that she said, "We labeled all of the parts that we could. They love saying big words like collective noun and possessive pronouns." That's what it's all about! Exposing them to new skills! They aren't going to know what every word is- they don't at first in the upper grades either. But they do start to understand how they work together and that's what is most important.

And then, Monique from More Than Math by Mo also used The Three Snow Bears (must be that time of year, huh? You might remember, Dirt Road Teacher also used this one!)
I love that she said, "I was very impressed with the variety of skills I was able to cover during this one week with one simple sentence from our read aloud!!!" This is EXACTLY why I love Mentor Sentences! I cover and review so much grammar every week, AND my kids improve on their writing each week just from one sentence each week, 10-15 minutes a day. It's awesome!!

Make sure to visit each of their blogs to enter to win the first set of second grade mentor sentences!

And, second bit of mentor sentence news...
The fourth set, which can be used ANY time of year, is now available! It is also on sale for the first 48 hours! These are great books that can be stuck in when you need a little review, or when you have a seasonal book coming up in one of the other packs, but it's not quite time for it yet. The books in this one  are:
-The Important Book by Margeret Wise Brown
-Parts by Tedd Arnold
-Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
-Corduroy by Don Freeman
-Click, Clack, Moo Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
-A Chair For My Mother by Vera B. Williams
-Stone Soup by Ann McGovern
-Smelly Socks by Robert Munsch
-Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco
-Don’t Let The Pigeon Stay Up Late! by Mo Willems
Such great books, right?? It made me miss my first and second grade babies back when I taught those grades!

I also bundled all four second grade mentor sentence sets, just like I did with the upper grades!
If you missed my post about how I would suggest using them in the lower grades, click below:
... or if you want to see all that I have ever posted about mentor sentences, click here!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Saving One Classroom at a Time Linky!

I can't wait for the upcoming sitewide TpT sale! Some of my friends and I want to help you find "heroic" products that have helped others in their classrooms. Feel free to link up and share your heroic product, too!

I recently received some wonderful feedback on my Mysteries of the Deep Paired Texts. All of my paired texts were written with our new assessments in mind. I struggled to find passages that I could use to practice with my students that would also keep them engaged, so I began writing my own! All of the passages are high interest and rigorous, and the questions are all aligned to the Common Core Standards.
Click on the image above to see Mysteries of the Deep Paired Texts, or click here to see all of my paired text products.

Speaking of feedback..... make sure to go leave feedback on your purchases to get credits to help get an even bigger discount during the sale!Wednesday is the big day! Don't forget to use the code, HEROES, to save an extra 10% on your purchases.
Browse around the linky for other heroic products, and feel free to grab the graphic and link up your own! Link to a blog post that contains one heroic product and its feedback. Use the graphic if you wish. (No direct links to stores or products, please.) Include the linky button and link it back to this post so others may find great heroic products.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Sparking Student Motivation in Science: Light and Reflection!

It's been a hot minute since I've blogged! But I had to share this fun lesson with you, and of course link up with my bestie, Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching for her fun linky!
We just finished our light unit, and I always like to do fun activities and experiments to help the students apply what they've learned. Plus, it keeps them motivated during the lesson knowing something fun will be happening at the end! I like to use my light interactive notebook activities with our science textbook during my lesson to help keep them engaged, too.
The lesson idea I'm sharing with you goes with reflection. I teach them about the law of reflection and how the reflected light bounces at the same angle as the light shining on the reflective object.
To apply this information, I grouped my kids in my classroom and gave each group a flashlight and 5 mirrors. Each group had to stand facing each other (3 on each side per group in my class). The first person on one end shines the flashlight at the mirror across from them, and the goal is to try to hold the mirrors so that the light reaches the last mirror on the other end. The reflected light bounces between all the mirrors to the last one! They have to make sure they hold their mirror still (and the flashlight) once they get the angle just right or it will mess up the next person trying to angle their mirror at the next mirror! I'm so mad at myself for not getting any pictures, but hopefully you can take my word for it when I tell you, they were all successful in getting the light to the last mirror!
Image from Our 2nd Grade Journey
Another idea that I just thought of (and so now we'll have to "review reflection" next week just so I can try it!) is to have them figure out how to arrange themselves so that the person with the flashlight actually ends up with light shining on their back! (They wouldn't stand in a line for this- they'd almost stand in a triangle or square shape to bounce the light around.)

Also, here is a fun computer game from Math Playground they can play!
I hope this gives you some good ideas! Make sure to check out the other great ideas in Joanne's link-up!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Sparking Student Motivation: (Free) Math Game!

Well, I'm a day late to Joanne's party, but I know she'll forgive me. :o)
I wanted to share about a free game that has been in my TPT store for a long time, but oldies are definitely goodies if you ask me! Kids LOVE math games!
I am currently introducing my students to decimals in math. Make One Whole is a great game to help them understand that decimals are less than one whole, and that hundredths are smaller than tenths. I have my students use base ten blocks to represent their tenths and hundredths as well, so they can see the model as well as the number form.
Above is an example where I helped a student a bit- she wanted to use her 6 as six hundredths, and we talked about how far away she would still be from one whole if she did that. She decided it would be a good idea to make tenths instead since she only had two turns left.
This student made EXACTLY one whole in her game against her partner!!! I asked her if she rigged the die. Ha! I'd never actually seen a student do that until this year!

Go grab this game if you teach decimals- your kids will love it! And of course, I would love some feedback if you do use it! :o) Make sure to check out the other link-ups over on Joanne's blog, too!

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)