Saturday, November 28, 2015

$15 FREE items from my store giveaway and MORE

I'm thankful for so many things this Thanskgiving weekend!  Most importantly my family and our health, but also I'm thankful for my friends and coworkers, my students and also my blogging buddies like YOU!

I'm also thankful for the small gift of additional time.  With the extra days off my crazy busy family has gotten the chance to relax, eat together (sadly it's rare with evening sports), watch movies together, and put up our Christmas decorations.

I've even gotten some laundry folded, lesson plans finished and a little bit of time to update and work on my favorite hobby - Teachers Pay Teachers.  This extra time has rejuvenated and excited me so much that I want to celebrate with a giveaway - just in time for the HUGE Cyber Monday TPT sale.

Is your cart stocked up yet, mine sure is!!  I stocked it during the Ohio State/Michigan game since I couldn't bear to watch the TV screen!!!

In the spirt of thankfulness, I'm going to give away $15.00 of products from my store - YOUR CHOICE - and a copy of one of my newest products - my Math Vocabulary Instruction Pack!  You can choose between either 4th or 5th grade.


These packs include over 250 pages of graphic organizers for students to use to practice new math vocabulary, quizzes and answer keys!  To read about how I use this product with my students click HERE, HERE and HERE.

To see how a friend of mine is incorporating my math vocabulary instruction pack into her classroom take a peek at the following pictures.

As she introduces the new vocabulary unit for the week (units are already determined within the product) she adds them to her word wall for students to reference.

Each day she goes over a new math vocabulary word with the class and they complete the corresponding graphic organizer to build an initial understanding.

Students then complete the graphic organizers individually and check them over with partners so they have time to think and discuss their learning about the new words.


Students continue to practice using the new vocabulary words throughout the unit and she assesses them at the end to determine mastery and possible intervention groups for students who need further practice.

So you can see why I'm so excited by this new product!!!!  Never before has my math vocabulary instruction been so deliberate and intentional.  I'm consistently using these words in my language of instruction and my students are using them too and even applying them in their daily math journal responses!!!  One happy, thankful teacher here.  And all it took was organization and routine!

I want you to feel the same way so enter my giveaway below.  The giveaway ends Monday night at midnight so don't delay!  Not only will you win a math vocabulary instruction pack of your choice, but also $15.00 of FREE PRODUCTS FROM MY STORE of your choosing!  Good Luck!!!  And happy shopping!

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Thursday, November 26, 2015

5 ways to enhance your academic vocabulary instruction - #3 - KEEP the Words

I'm back (and so relieved to be here after a three week forced blogging vacation due to a broken charger port on my lap top) with installment three of my "5 Ways to Enhance your Academic Vocabulary Instruction" series.  If you're interested in Way #1 - SEE the Words - Click HERE, and Way #2 - WRITE the Words Click HERE.

Way #3 is KEEP the words.

As you know, from reading posts number one and two, it's critical for students to SEE several visual representations of a new vocabulary word (examples, models, drawings,word wall cards, representations, etc.) and it's imperitive that they have time to WRITE about the new vocabulary word (descriptions, definitions, examples/non-examples, synonyms/antonyms, meaningful sentences, graphic organizers, and so on).

The next strategy students need for vocabulary success is to KEEP the word in a location, along with all the other words they are learning, so they can reference the new vocabulary words throughout the year.

There are many creative ways your students can KEEP their new vocabulary words.

My way of choice is in a Vocabulary Envelope like these that you can purchase at any office store.

Quality Park Clasp Envelopes, 6 x 9 - Inches, Box of 100 (37855)

We simply use 6" by 9" manilla envelopes, and each time we learn a new word, students make a flash card with the word and a picture on the front and the description/definition on the back. They place the flashcard into their vocabulary envelope for safe KEEPing.  The envelope clasps shut and takes up little space inside the desk but is large enough to find quickly when needed (even in the messiest of desks).  We use the words we KEEP in our envelopes for so many games and other purposes throughout the year - I'll divulge more about our favorite games in future installments of this series.

Here's a picture of some flash cards we use for our favorite vocabulary game Headbandz.

A second way your students can KEEP their vocabulary words is on a book ring like the ones below.

  The Classics 1-Inch Diameter 50 Count Book Rings in Assorted Bright Colors (TPG-189)

You can find these at an office store near you.  They're cheaper in silver but I love the bright colored ones and also use them to hang labels on baskets in our classroom.

After students make their flashcards (on index cards for durability), just have them punch a hole in the card and add it to their book ring.   Students can store the book ring full of vocabulary cards inside their desk, inside a manilla envelope, or even on a bulletin board.  All you need is a few rows of numbered push pins so students can hang their book ring up and find it easily when needed - like this example of displayed brag tags.

(Photo from Cara at The First Grade Parade blog)

Or this example from Jamie at Diary of a Not So Wimpy Teacher.

Another way students can KEEP their vocabulary words safe is in a vocabulary folder.  All students need is a three prong folder like the ones below.

I have a parent helper copy the vocabulary graphic organizers that we use to WRITE about our words, three hole punch them, and place them into the folders before I distribute a folder to each student. Then, whenever we learn new words, students simply pull out their folders and add them to the ongoing set of graphic organizers.  The folders also serve as a great vocabulary reference throughout the year.

Here's an example of my teammate Stephanie's (from Forever in Fifth Grade) vocabulary folders.

You can find her social studies vocabulary word cards and graphic organizers HERE.  They are a MUST HAVE for any 5th grade social studies teacher.

Stay tuned for post #4 all about how we PLAY with academic vocabulary words in our classroom - to keep those words fresh in our minds!!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Trick or Treat Blog Hop full of goodies

Happy October teacher friends! I'm joining up with the Classroom Game Nook blog for a Trick or Treat blog hop this weekend!  And we sure have some goodies in store for you!

But first, I have to let you know that my laptop broke this week.  Ahhhhhhhhh.   My life is on that laptop - so I'm crossing my fingers that the Geek Squad will come to my rescue on Thursday when I'm scheduled to drop it off.  However, it means that I'm computer-less for who knows how long.

So, without a computer I have to throw it back with a previous post I wrote last Halloween about how I use task cards in my classroom.  I hope you haven't read it and you'll find the trick to be helpful with your task card usage.  If you have read it already, just go right ahead and skip on down to the good stuff -  a freebie treat for you and a giveaway too!

The trick that I'm sharing is how I use task cards during math workshop - scavenger hunt style.  We all know about the MANY, MANY awesome ways you can use task cards in your classroom.  From scoot, to partner quizzing, to independent practice, to self assessment, the list goes on and on. I've tried almost all of them, and in the end, the task card trick that works best for my class is a task card scavenger hunt.

We call this our Task Card Center during Math Workshop, and students know that when it's their turn to complete this center, instead of doing problems out of of their math book for independent practice, they are going to search out the problems around the room. They LOVE this activity because they get to be up and moving around.  I LOVE this activity because I only have to print one set of task cards in color, laminate and cut, and they stay in great shape because no one is touching them except me......ha ha ha.

How do I set up the scavenger hunt?  It's super easy.  Print and cut out your set of task cards. Laminate if you wish for better durability. Print out enough recording sheets for each student. Before class, tape the cards around the room - I make some pretty easy to find, and some a bit more "tricky."

When class starts, instruct students to use a clipboard and their recording sheet and walk around quietly searching for a card.  When they find a card, they write down the problem on their recording sheet and begin to solve the problem.  Some choose to solve it right there, some choose to return to their seat to solve.  Then they find the next card, and etc.  After 10 cards I require students to check in with me so I can spot check their progress with the answer key.  They fix any mistakes and then head out to search for the next 10 and so on.......

For us, it's the perfect way to review for a quiz/test or get in that needed pencil/paper practice. And it's way more fun than doing problems out of the book.  If you're looking for some task cards to try out a scavenger hunt, I have many in my math center packs - appropriate for 4th-6th grades.  You can find them HERE.

The treat I'm sharing with you - for a limited time only - is my Fall Multiplication and Division Math Centers (you can try out a task card scavenger hunt) for FREE!

Two sets of task cards, two days of independent math work and two math games - all appropriate for 4th-6th graders and Common Core aligned!   Grab it now before it's too late!!!

Fall Themed Multi-Digit Multiplication & Long Division Mat

Secondly, the treats are still coming!!!!! Enter the giveaway below for a chance to win a free copy of my best selling Common Core Critical Verb Vocabulary Cards!

Teachers from 2nd-8th grade love these cards and the test-taking prep they provide. These verbs are tricky and students cannot perform well on THE TEST if they do not know what the questions are asking them to do!!!

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Monday, October 5, 2015

Halloween Blog Hop

October is here and it's one of my FAVORITE months - sweatshirts, boots, pumpkin spice EVERYTHING, honeycrisp apples and HALLOWEEN bloghops!!!

Since I love October so much (it's also my son's birthday month and my wedding aniversary month) I'm starting it out right with a blog hop full of FREEBIES and GIVEAWAYS!

The first thing I'm going to share with you is my favorite Halloween freebie - Spooky Multiplication Roll.  We play this every year on Halloween to review our multiplication skills and it's tons of fun! Who doesn't love dice and a little competition?!?!

 Here's how you play.........

The great thing about this game is you can differentiate it to any level - students can roll for one digit all they way up to four or five digit factors.  Students can use multiplication charts or calculators if needed.  Everyone can play!

The second thing I'm going to share with you is an AWESOME giveaway full of great Fall and Halloween related goodies and some pretty amazing gift cards too.

Want a chance to win more TREATS, OOZING with Halloween fun?! Check out the TREATS (no tricks here) that are EERILY EXCITING in this giveaway! This CAULDRON of TREATS features fabulous TpT products for grades 3rd-5th, as well as a TEACHER TREAT BAG that is to DIE for!

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Lastly, knock on the door to see who you'll be trick or treating with next! Get your treat bag ready, I have a feeling you'll need it again!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Five for Friday books and photos

It was a busy week in room 206 and I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to share it with you!

We started the week with a new desk arrangement!  I'm not usually a fan of rows, but we're going to try it out and see how it goes.  I get bored easily and like to switch things up pretty often.  What's your favorite seating arrangement?  I'd love some new ideas for next month!

We also received our September book order this week.  My students couldn't wait for the coveted book box to arrive and when it finally did we made a big production of passing out new books and book talking all the new freebies we got for our classroom library!!!  Check out these amazing titles! I'm glad I snapped this picture when I did, because I haven't seen them since. New books don't stay in the bins for very long in our classroom!

I was most excited about the brand new released baby-sitters club graphic novel that came in the mail from Amazon this week - Mary Anne Saves the Day: Full-Color Edition (The Baby-Sitters Club Graphix #3): Full Color Edition

It was a pre-order and I was beyond happy when it finally arrived.  This series was my absolute favorite as a kid and I love sharing it with my 5th grade readers!


My students were most excited about the Notebook of Doom books - The Notebook of Doom #1: Rise of the Balloon Goons (A Branches Book)  I started a few of my reluctant readers on this series a week ago, and they haven't put them down since.  They are cruising through them this week and I couldn't be happier.  These books are perfect for level 30-34 readers, or disengaged readers.  You've got to try them out.  I personally recommend any title from the Branches library for struggling readers!

In writing, we immersed ourselves in personal narratives this week to prepare for writing our own narratives next week. We read many amazing stories and came up with a great list of things authors do when writing fiction.  I'll share that soon once it's complete.  But for now, here was our favorite mentor text of the week - Thank You, Mr. Falker


Lastly, even big kids love to GoNoodle!   We enjoy taking a few minutes each day during our snack break to refocus and reenergize and prepare for the rest of the day!

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