Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Giveaway Winner and a Sneak Peek: Heroes and Villains {FREEBIE!}

First, a BIG congratulations to:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I'm emailing you all of your goodies as soon as I click the post button. :) Yay!

Now for the freebie and lesson...

As we're working our way through our Heroes and Villains unit, I thought I'd share an activity my kids enjoyed while I was out one day.

Prior to completing this activity, we have spent several weeks working on character traits and talking about the differences between heroes and villains. It has been such fun for the kids to make such great connections between our Readers and Writers Workshop time.

I also make sure every student has a copy of this character traits list in their Reading Journals. I would rather my students pick out a fabulous character trait from a list and support it with evidence from the text than let them write down some tired and overused word because they can't remember "that word" they heard last week during our mini-lesson.

Click Me!
We use the list above from Beth Newingham. I shrink it to 85% on the copier and it fits beautifully in the resource section of our Reading Journals (composition notebooks).

For this particular reading response, I had the sub review the difference between and hero and a villain before reading  Red Riding Hood.(I love the James Marshall version below!)


Click Me!

Afterwards, they completed the response page independently. I had the sub stress this, but I wanted the kids to support their thinking with evidence from the text. (Remember - this is something we have done several times already in class.)

I was so proud!


They even used the thinking stems we've been talking about all year long!

One of my unmotivated and struggling readers - he LOVES the heroes and villains unit!

I just about flipped out of my chair when I saw this next one. This sweet smartie amazes me every day. It wasn't enough for her to do just one character trait - she had to do two... for both! LOVE. THIS. CHILD. 


 
We had so much fun with this that I decided you needed to have the same fun as well. :) Click on the picture below to download this freebie from Google Drive! Think of it as a sneak peek of the lessons I'm working on for my Heroes and Villains unit! :) 


 For some reason, the border isn't showing up on the Google Drive viewer, but it should be there when you go to print. :) 

Enjoy!

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Sunday, January 27, 2013

Updated: Groundhogs Galore!

I'm excited to tell you about my latest update!

Click Me!

This sad little 11 page unit was PUMPED full of new goodies to give you 35+ pages of groundhog goodness!

In addition to the activities from last year, I've added:
  • a synonym sort that correlates directly with the poem 
  • 2 mystery words and 1 mystery phrase
  • an acrostic poem template
  • recommended read alouds with response options for fiction/literature
  • informational passage you can use with an additional response page


I'm marking it down to $4.00 until Monday morning. After that, the price for the updated unit will return to $5.00. If you were one of the lucky ducks who bought it last year, go download it again!!

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Saturday, January 26, 2013

Adjective Antics, Games, a FREEBIE, and a GIVEAWAY!

First, I need to thank every one of you who left a comment or sent an email to me this week. You lifted my spirits, let me know I was not alone, and most importantly - completely normal. I know the blog world is full of incredible classrooms, cute children and fabulous ideas on a daily basis. I appreciate being able to have a "real life" moment with all of you. :)

Now onto the fun!

Once again, I've been revamping an older unit and packing it full of more goodies for you. Make sure that if you've already purchased this that you click on over and grab the updated unit! (The BIG Bookworm Grammar Bundle has also been updated!)

Click Me!

As you saw last week, my kids loved the scavenger hunt we took around school. We looked for nouns first, and then came back to the classroom to talk about adjectives and create our anchor chart.




After we created our anchor chart, I asked the kids to come up with adjectives for each of the nouns they found. I didn't introduce adjectives before we left for our "hunt" because I wanted the information fresh on their minds as they sat down to write. I work in a school with a high ESOL population (around 70%) so I try to do as much scaffolding as possible.


I noticed during the work period that many of the kids were just using color words.

"Hands in the air, kiddos!"

"Are color words the only kind of adjectives?"

"Noooooo!"

"So why am I only seeing color words on your recording sheets?"

"OH!"

"Yes... Oh. You may only use ONE color word as an adjective on this entire sheet. Use the anchor chart and your brain to come up with other adjectives that are more creative."

(groaning and moaning)

"Thank you."

See how I fixed that? :)


That night, they repeated the activity for homework (with the one-color-word-rule still in place). It was a hit! I even had one parent email me and tell me how much fun her child had walking around their apartment looking for "the best" nouns. HA! :)

This was just one of the "new additions" I put into the unit. I hope you'll click on over to check it out.

Later in the week, we played a new game to reinforce forming and using adjectives correctly. Peeps and lurkers, I present...

Click Me!

We have played this several times during the last couple of weeks and my kids LOVE it!!

During our planning one afternoon, we talked about playing a well-known fruity describing game with the kids. However, because we work with such a large ESOL population and our inclusion students are all very visual, we needed something a little different.



The picture cards worked beautifully for my struggling readers! They were able to play with confidence without having to worry about sounding out a word.


So, like the "other game" students have to match adjectives with a given noun. However, in "Apply the Adjective!" there is a noun picture in the middle and students have to come up with their own adjectives to describe the noun. One person in the group is responsible for choosing "the best" adjective, and this responsibility rotates as the game progresses.




The student who wins the round puts a "check mark" under the winning adjective column. Everyone else in the group writes it down. I added this step because I want them to remember the stronger adjectives they heard and saw - especially during Writers Workshop! If they were in charge of the noun card, they simply mark a line through the "my adjective" column for that round.

I have 2 more versions I'll upload soon to my stores - a winter edition and a February edition as well.

So... the freebie!

I found an adjective song on Pinterest , but there wasn't a printable option. So I made one!

Click to download from Google Drive (color and b&w)

The kids and I have been singing this for two weeks and they LOVE it! They have even asked for copies for their Super Skills Journals. :) I hope it's something you can use. I tried clicking around yesterday afternoon to find the source of this fabulousness.. I found some nakey websites (EW!) but I never found the original blog. SO, if this is yours, please let me know!!

Last but not least, a GIVEAWAY!

I'm giving away every product I mentioned on the post tonight to ONE lucky winner!

I'm even going to keep it simple.

You only have to:

- be a follower of this blog

and

- follow me on Facebook

That's it!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

I'm making this a quick giveaway because I want the winner to be able to use all 3 Apply the Adjective games. Good luck!

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Horrible, Terrible, Turned Around Very Good Night

There is no full moon tonight.

I checked.

So WHY did I have one of THOSE days?

You know, the ones that make you say...


I seriously had to step away for a few minutes and go cry in a corner.

You know, the angry-frustrated-I-don't-want-to-harm-the-children-cry? 

Yep, it was one of those.

And then I took a deep breath, and walked back to class and started all over again with my afternoon group.

They were wonderful angel babies.

They had heard about my morning from their friends. :)

I hope your day was better.

Mine got insanely better once I got home.

I came home to find some laundry started, litter boxes emptied, a toilet fixed, a cleaned kitchen and a sweet husband willing to pick up my favorite frozen pizza for dinner.

Day saved!!


In other news, I am working furiously on a new conventions packet. My sweet teammates are being guinea pigs and I am trying to get it out and ready as soon as possible.

However, there was a HEATED debate over the cute little orange graphic you see in the cover below. He makes an appearance frequently throughout the pack and if he's not working, I need to find an alternative ASAP.

Would you do me a favor and vote?






I'll be back tomorrow Thursday with a freebie, an update and an awesome adjective post! :)

I will leave you with something that brought me back down to Earth today with a good giggle.


So true. So incredibly true.

Here's hoping all of our tomorrows are better than today. :)


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Friday, January 18, 2013

Five for Friday!


This is my first time linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching! Here we go!

1. If you live in Georgia, you know that even the hint of the word SNOW causes mass chaos. Grocery stores run out of milk in just a couple of hours. It's bad. It also causes teachers, students and principals to pray for a snow day. Heck, I would've taken a workday! I even shared the following "Keep Calm and..." with my Georgia peeps because our hopes for snow were dashed at the last minute and the best we could hope for was...


As my sweet friend Pam at Teaching 4 Real said, "I guess 3 days off will do!" :) 


2. We continued working on adjectives this week. Below is a picture of my sweet things on our adjective-noun scavenger hunt. They had so much fun. We weren't 10 feet down the hall before one of my boys said, "Mrs.Spann! Wait! I can't keep up with all these nouns!!!"



I'm posting the updated Adjective Antics pack this weekend. If you've already purchased it, make sure you look for the updated version under "My Purchases" on TpT. I'll also add the updated version to my Bookworm Grammar Bundle this weekend as well. I'll be sure to let you know when to re-download those!

3. We also started working on a new writing project - Heroes and Villians: A Fiction Writing Unit.



I meant to get a picture of our anchor chart as well, but I'll have to post that once the unit is finalized. I am so excited to get it ready to share with you. The kids are LOVING it and so am I! It has really motivated my reluctant and struggling writers.

Disclaimer: There will be no Angry Birds clipart in the pack. They do not play well with TpT sellers. :(

But...  I can use it in my classroom all I want! :)

4. I finished a really good memoir this week - Wild by Cheryl Strayed. It is the story of a very lost and broken woman who puts herself back together by hiking the Pacific Crest Trail from the Mojave Desert to Washington State. Alone.




There were nights I stayed up waaaay past my bedtime because I could NOT put down this book. I was fascinated. I'm not a memoir "reader" - I usually stick to Jodi Picoult, James Patterson, Anna Quindlen, etc. - but this was really interesting.

5. As I am typing this, I cannot help but giggle. My sweet husband has FINALLY made an appointment with a sleep apnea specialist to see if we can get this snoring business stopped. Peeps, I for reals have married a Snor-a-saurus Rex. It is AWFUL.

I am not kidding. Not even a little bit.

I have several videos. I am tempted to post one. But I might end up on Divorce Court, so I won't. :)

Happy Friday, Peeps! We made it!



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Monday, January 14, 2013

Word Work Freebie for MLK!

My kids are in LOVE with the mystery word and mystery phrase activities I occasionally put out for Word Work. I love them because they work for every learner in my room. The kids can partner up or work independently. My struggling readers feel successful and so do my advanced students. They have so much fun manipulating the letters and "discovering" words along the way. I love seeing them spread out all over the room with their scissors, scrap paper, letter tiles and recording sheets. :)

I also love leaving them when I have a guest teacher (sub). Sometimes I think the kids look forward to me being gone because they know I am going to leave them with a mystery word activity! :)

Disclaimer: Now, I do have to write in big SHOUTY capitals: DO NOT TELL THE STUDENTS THE MYSTERY WORD. You know I had to do that because one guest teacher wrote the mystery word on the board and gave them sheets of notebook paper. Even though the activity sheets were sitting.in.my.sub.binder.

I just so happened to have an in-school training that day.

And I walked in right as she was destroying their fun.

"MRS.SPANN!!!!! SHE TOLD US THE MYSTERY WORD!!!!!"

I walked over to my sub binder to make sure I had not lost my mind and forgotten to include the activity pages.

Nope. They were there.

Right along with a bright green sticky note that reminded her NOT to give them the sticky note.

She is not invited back to be our guest teacher.

Ever.

I'm sharing all of this fun with you because I just added a third mystery word/mystery phrase activity to my new MLK packet. This is the third time I've updated this packet, so if you've already purchased it make sure you go back and re-download for some extra goodies!

Even sweeter, I'm sharing the third mystery word/phrase with you all!

Click to snag the freebie from my TpT store!


I hope you and your students will have some fun with this! If anything, it should be something fun to get you through to what I *hope* is a long weekend for everyone! I would love for you to leave a little love if it's something you can use!

If you like it, make sure you check out the MLK packet - 25+ pages of literacy activities and printables!

Click here to check out the big packet!


 One day down - 4 more to go!


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Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Magical Product Swap: Fraction Benchmark Fun!

I missed out on all the fun last time, but I am so excited to be a part of The Magical Product Swap that the lovely Jessica Stanford puts together every so often.

MrsStanfordsClass

I was even more excited when I found out my partner was Fern Smith from Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas!


Click to visit Fern!

Now, I know some of you out there are thinking... what in the world is a bookworm going to do when paired together with a math wizard? :) Lucky for both of us, we each needed something for a tutoring group. Viola! Swap success!

By the way, if you are not following Fern you are MISSING out. She is FULL of fabulous freebies, classroom ideas and wonderful products. I love her! 

Some of my inclusion kiddos are really struggling with fractions right now, even in their small group instruction. Fern was sweet enough to send me not one, but TWO of her newest fraction games!

Click me!


Now, I do not have permission to take pictures of my after-school cuties, so these pictures of my prep work with my helper Charlie will have to do. :)

My *new* laminator for home! LOVE!
Charlie coming over to help sort the fractions. He's a genius.
Charlie's finished sort for one third!

 I love that Fern included a cute cover for teacher and student directions! It is so important with my inclusion kiddos that they have a visual reminder of what to do. Many times, students with learning disabilities will "get it" when you are working with them in a whole or small group setting, but when they go back to their seat... or the next day.... it's gone! The simple instructions keep me from running from group to group re-explaining what to do AND it keeps their skill practice independent.



 Fern also included 2 ways for students to practice - one set of papers labeled with the fraction, and one without. I loved the gradual release for this activity! When my students can identify the fraction without the word prompts, then they can use the blank pages. Brilliant!



There is also a fabulous student recording sheet and answer key. My co-teacher and I talked about how the recording sheet would be a great assessment tool once our kids have played a few time to see if they can create the fractions correctly on their own!

Click Me!

Fern has also created the C-U-T-E-S-T valentine version of this product! I cannot wait to bust this out in February for a fun review. 

Click Me Too!


I will leave you with instructions to GO check out these fabulous products (and the rest of Fern's fantastic store)... and one more picture of Charlie.

Charlie says, "Fractions with Fern are fur-tastic!" :)



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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Back to Real Life + MLK Goodies

Looking for adjectives in our new poem!

It was back to "real life" today. Today we started a new read-aloud, brainstormed heroes and villains for our new writing project and dove into a new unit on adjectives.

Here's our new read-aloud:



It's listed on Scholastic Book Wizard as a Level R, so it makes a really nice extended text for us to dive into. The kids are in LOVE with it - especially the boys. Bruce Coville is a wonderful fantasy author and since we will be working on make-believe stories for the next couple of weeks, this is a perfect fit!

I'm also in the middle of testing out some new additions to my adjectives unit. As soon as I have them "kid-approved," I'll have another re-vamp ready to share with you.  A giveaway, perhaps? :)

I did manage to squeak out a new unit just in time for Martin Luther King Day. My kids are in LOVE with the "mystery word" activities. I also added a "mystery phrase" activity for this packet.

It is one of their absolute favorite things to do for Word Work, and it also makes a really easy sub activity. When I told them today that I would be out for "teacher school" tomorrow, one of their first questions was, "OOOH! Do we get to do one of those mystery word things?" Yup! You sure do! :)

Here is a peek:

Click Me!

The pack has activities best suited for 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade classrooms that include:

 - an original poem, perfect for elementary classrooms
- primary and intermediate poetry connections
- 2 mystery word/phrase activities
- timeline activity
- 2 creative writing options
- character traits response (primary and intermediate) with book recommendations

I've listed it in my TpT store right now, but I'll add it to my TN store tomorrow.


I'm also linking up with my friend Denise at Sunny Days in Second Grade for her MLK Show and Tell. Make sure you hop over and check out the collection of fabulous resources she's found this week!

Click to visit!

I hope you're all adjusting well to being back at work. I know it was p-a-i-n-f-u-l when my alarm went off at 5:00 a.m. this morning! I missed those sweet faces, but I really enjoyed sleeping in!

I'll be back later this week with a freebie, a giveaway and a look at what's new in the world of adjectives!

Right now, you should go enter my sweet friend Aileen's book giveaway. A mutual friend of ours has recently published a book and Aileen is giving away a signed copy on her blog!




Head over and check it out!!

iTeach

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Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Currently!

Here we go again!



Listening:



Passion is an annual conference held here in Atlanta every year for students 18-25 and their leaders. I am theriouthly tho thad I am too old for it. The speakers and worship leaders are amazing. Lucky me, you can watch the live feed for free! This morning, I listened to Beth Moore speak and Matt Redman leading worship. It was incredible!


Loving:

I cannot remember the last time I was at home for 4 days - with all 3 of my sisters and my parents. We all "snuck" into town in early December for a photo shoot with a friend who is starting his photography business. For Christmas, we printed out several of our favorites and let my parents pick one to print on a large canvas. The secret weekend together was fun, but my parents' faces when they saw the pictures were even better!! Here is a peek at our pictures...





IF you are in North Carolina on the western-ish side and you are in need of a good photographer for weddings, engagements, senior pictures or family photos, our friend Woody is AWESOME!

Click!


Thinking:

I know some of you are already back at work, and I tho thorry. Really. But I'm not. :) I have to tackle this very large and ugly stack of papers tomorrow. Yuck. I'm hoping it will be (relatively) quick and painless.


Wanting:

I *think* I am going laptop shopping this weekend. The hubs agrees that I need one - yay! - and this weekend is the first opportunity we've had in awhile to seriously look. I'm excited!!!


Needing:

I was amazed and relieved when I found ingredients to make French toast and bacon tonight. Yes, I said tonight. I haven't been grocery shopping since we got out of school for break. Yes, you read that right too. :) My goal is to hop onto Pinterest tomorrow, find some yummy healthy recipes and start a nice big grocery list! Any recommendations?


One Little Word:

I know I already talked about mine, but it's worth another mention.


I want to be a light - to my husband, my family, my students, my co-workers... everyone around me. Even you! If I am a follower of Jesus, people should notice something "different" about me - my light. :)

I hope this post finds you rested and ready to go back - whether you're already back or have a few more sweet days like me! Make sure you link up if you haven't already! I just looked at the link-up... I think I'm a little late to the party! :)


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