Saturday, June 29, 2013

July Currently, Teach Like a Pirate, and a Giveaway!!

July Currently
Woop Woop!  It's that time's Farley's July (I can't believe I'm saying that!) Currently! Part of the reason I hate saying it is that I go back to school on July 15th!  Ahh!

My tip, trick, or hint is just to be you.  In whatever you are doing, blogging, creating, teaching, or hanging with friends, just remember who YOU are!  You are what make YOU special!!

Don't forget to link up with Farley, and all of her awesomeness, this month!  Never done her Currently? Just dig in and try's super fun and you "meet" lots of super cool people.  Oh, and she's super cool, and will post her Currently to dropbox a bit early so you can be preparing.

Teach Like a PIRATE

Okay, so last week I posted here about how excited I was about my new book purchases, one of which was Teach Like a Pirate.  Well, my order came in, and I've finished the book!  Let me just say, it was very fast read, and I loved every minute of it.  What I love about Dave Burgess, the author, is that he connects all of his theories and topics to real world examples that we have all experienced.  It makes it easy to read, but also easy to connect to.

I have to admit, I also had a rockin' place to read about half of the book (although the back of my legs are not appreciating the lack of reapplying sun screen!).

One of the pieces he writes about are all of the different types of hooks you can use to engage your students.  As I was reading, the one that particularly struck me was the Costume Hook.  Dressing up like a character or a person from history, or making up a character that would fit your content.  I've been cooking up a list of "characters" I might be able to be this school year!  I think this could be fun!

Burgess also has really good quotes in his liners that make you say, huh? or Wow! or Why didn't I think of that?!

A couple of them are:

1.  "I'm suggesting that when delivering first instruction, especially to struggling learners, you need to leave the comfort of the lounge chair or lifeguard tower and jump into the water with your students."
    * This quote came from the Immersion chapter where Burgess talks about being fully present, even    when watching videos in the classroom.

2. "However, one of the big secrets and shortcuts to engagemetn is to spend less time trying to get students interested in what you are presenting and more time making connections between what you are presenting and what they are already interested in."
  * This piece came from the chapter on Rapport.  I love that Burgess explains how to get to know your students and how to build rapport with your students.  He doesn't just say to do it.

This is an EXTREMELY short list of "ah-ha" moments for me in this book, but I thought I'd share just a little bit with you.  If you have the book, pick it up and read it.  Now!  If you don't, order it.  Now!

Bloglovin' Giveaway Reminder!
Just a reminder to join my giveaway and join me on Bloglovin'!  It's pretty easy, and you get 5 of my TPT products!  Woohoo!  My giveaway ends tomorrow night, so hop on over!

Alrighty, gotta run!  Stay tuned for my 4th of July 4.5 mile run with my sister!  We're getting patriotic and decked out for a fun run in our town!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Five for Friday with 5 $1 Deals! and Giveaway Reminder!

At times it seems that it's been a crazy week, and then other times I sit and think wow, I have time to go to the pool! :)  This week I came across some great $1 deals, and I thought I'd just use 5 of them for today's post!  I hope you can use them!

I've been working on some wedding shower invites for my future sister-in-law, and I hopped into Michaels to get some supplies (well....I hopped in about 3 times this week!)  Each time, I kept finding cool things for $1 or LESS!!

1.  Let's get started!  The first item I was most excited about were these stamps!  They have different fonts, uppercase, and lowercase.  They are fairly small, but you get all 26 letters, and some punctuation for only $1!  Shoot, you can buy 5 sets in case they get lost, and you're still good! I saw these in a Word Work station for Daily 5. 


2. Another item I found was a brand called Scentos (reminded me of Mr. Sketch), but they are big markers and I love the faces on them.  I could easily use this for checking work, assignment notebooks, or something fun that the students write with during the day.  Oh, did I mention these were on clearance for 49 cents!  YEP! $0.49! They had highlighters, markers, and outdoor chalk holders. 


3. I stocked up on some of these twisted erasers because there were 3 in a pack and were also on sale for $0.50!  I knew I'd be glad to have these when it came time for Birthdays, special moments, Christmas, etc.  I think the lady at the cash register thought I was nuts!


4. The next thing is something I hate to spend a lot of money on, but is probably one of the most meaningful things I keep stocked in my desk!  Whether a teacher, parent, administrator, or friend, you need blank cards in your desk!  These were packs of 6 for $1 and I thought the designs were really cute.  Whether a teacher or friend did something great for you or is having a rough day a simple 16 cent (yep, that's how much they would each be!) could make all the difference.  I also liked to use these for parent volunteers every now and then too!  


 5. My final thing is these handy dandy punchers!  They are kind of funky shapes, but that's why they are on sale!  They're easier than stamps because you don't need an ink pad, and kids think they are pretty fun.  If I still had a classroom of my own and checked assignment notebooks, this might be one of my methods.  I also might use it for students to punch their paper after they've put their name on it.  It might be an added incentive for name writing!  :)


 I hope you've enjoyed these Dollar Deals today!  Michaels changes their things out, and I'm sure it's based on what each store has, but it might be another place to add to your list!

Don't forget to enter my Bloglovin' Giveaway!  Check it out and see how you can win something of your choice from my TPT store ('s pretty easy)!

Gotta run, its' FRIDAY!!!  Have a terrific weekend!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Integrating Technology into Reading and Bloglovin' Giveaway!

Good morning!  I'm joining Amanda and Aylin from Learning to the Core for their Tune into Technology Linky!  This week's theme is for how to integrate technology into reading.  I think this linky is great timing since the summer is the best time to explore new sites, apps, etc. and actually have time to play around with them!

After perusing my Twitter feed, I came across an awesome new website called ThingLink.  What I love about ThingLink is that it is super easy to use!  The whole purpose of ThingLink is to make your images interactive.

While reading The Other Side last year, we talked a lot about symbolism and what the fence meant in the story.  I wrote about this book on Sunday if you want more information.  With ThingLink, I found a picture of a white fence and uploaded it to my creation.  From there, it will let you tag anywhere on the image to add more information.  I tagged a place to describe the fence, talk about my favorite moment in the book, and add a link to the author's website.

Here is my ThingLink! It's pretty simple with only a few tags, but remember, this is my time to play!  I can refine later!  The colored dots reflect different tags that I have added about the book.  You may click on it to go to the actual page so that the tags work.

I also wanted to share another one that I found that is all about the song Wagon Wheel, a summer favorite of mine!  This lady has created a great ThingLink with lots of links, information, and even the song. I can't take any credit for it, but notice all of the tags!  Click on it for some good time fun with this song. can you use this for reading? Let me count the ways!
1.  Symbolism - I find this is the easiest connection since the whole premise is to make an image interactive.

2. Character Traits - We've all seen those organizers that point to different parts of a character's body and students write about what they are thinking, doing with their hands, feel with their heart, etc.  With this site, you can have them copy an image of the character or someone they think looks like the character and tag different parts.  

3. Book Retell or Report - What a great way to tell about a story while embedding links or just typing different parts of the book.  

4. Book Talks - An option with ThingLink is to embed video.  What better way to have students share what they know by video taping themselves and including it in their ThingLink. 

Here are just a few of the different ways I've thought of, but I can't wait to get started with my kiddos this year!  I hope you've enjoyed this!

Bloglovin' Giveaway!
I don't know about you all, but I'm loving my daily Bloglovin' emails!  It's helped so much so that I don't miss great posts!  I'm joining the rest of the Bloglovin' crew for a giveaway of one of my TPT products!

Link up and find all the great people who are doing giveaways!  What a fun way to meet new bloggers, and maybe win a giveaway!  

Alrighty, I gotta run, but don't forget to link up!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Ten Pin Linky: Math!

I think I've said this before, but I love math!  I love teaching math.  I love reading about math.  I love seeing the light bulbs go off during a math lesson.  I just love it.  Soooo, when Ashley from Just Reed chose the Ten Pin Linky this week to be math, you bet I was excited!

1.  I've always seen (and used) the beach ball with questions for responding to a book or to use at the start of the school year to get to know one another, but I haven't seen it with numbers.  You could use this for addition or multiplication.  I Like that the kids are up and moving while also working on their math facts.  I would probably want to add a recording sheet for them to write down their problems and answers.

Source: Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas

 2. With ENL as a part of my daily schedule, I really liked this anchor chart with math vocabulary.  A lot of times people think that math crosses over languages since it is number based, but there are a lot of content vocabulary words too.  I love the part on this chart that includes "We can draw it!" and then the students are drawing examples.  For my ENL kids, I might also have some pictures already cut out or posted to help them visualize.
Source: Joyful Learning in KC

3. Another great anchor chart!  I like that you could add these strategies throughout the year as you teach or introduce them.  Students can then reference it as they are solving problems.  Granted, my anchor chart would not look nearly this cute!  Darn you creative writers and drawers!
Source: Sandberg Smarty Arties

4. I loved this game when I came across it because it's so easy to move the post-it notes from day to day or week to week and the target number can change.  What a great way for students to determine different ways to find a target number. 

Source: Dandelions and Dragonflies

5. I really enjoy these I have...Who Has? games so I created one that features money.  This game is divided into two parts with the first half of the cards already organized greatest to least in coin value and the second half has mixed coins.  This way you can easily differentiate for some students.  These games are quick, a great review, and an easy way to formatively assess.
Source: Run Teacher Run!

6. What an easy way for students to feel progress in their math facts and only see one problem at a time.  I see this working really well for some of those attention kids who get overwhelmed with one sheet of 25 problems.'s fun too!

Source: Classroom Collective

7. Easy, fun, simple, and convenient for differentiating!  Enough said!
Source: Teachers Helping Teachers

8. Again, thinking of my ENL kiddos, I like that this has all of these math phrases in one place.  It also lends itself to some critical questions where phrases are listed in two different places, such as in all.

9. This was my students favorite indoor recess game, so I loved that this teacher used it to put measurement conversion problems on each game piece.  You could use this for all kinds of concepts!
Source: Classroom Freebies

10.  My biggest struggle with Pinterest is that some of the items look cute and great, but don't always push students to a deeper understanding of concepts.  The Lesson Plan Diva has created some exemplars here where students really have to think through a problem, and write down their many steps.  Although these are hard, the more the students are exposed, the better they get!  I really liked the way she outlined the work area and didn't just leave a big empty space.
Source: Lesson Plan Diva

Alrighty, well I gotta run!  I can't wait to come back and see what everyone else has pinned for math!  So fun!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Henry's Freedom Box and The Other Side: Soc. St. Mentor Texts

I'm teaming up again with Collaboration Cuties for their Must Read Mentor Text Linky.  This week we're focusing on Social Studies.  I love books that have to do with slavery, the Underground Railroad, and segregation.  I don't love them necessarily because of the topics, but many of them are written in a way that make these grave topics real for students.  At the 2nd and 3rd grade level, some students have not been exposed to U.S. history, after all, we're just trying to figure out the difference between a city and state!  So...I had to pick 2 texts today (I know, I know...I'm totally breaking the rules here!).


The first one is Henry's Freedom Box.  This story is based on an actual man named Henry who had faced the slave trade and lost his family to another slave owner.  Henry is so determined for freedom  that he was going to mail himself north to a safer state.  Yes, mail himself!  It's a riveting tail that makes you hurt, ache, and cry for the character, but then end with smiles, joy, and relief once he makes it.  


 There are some critical questions that really make the students think while reading this book.  I also typically have a reader's response prompt ready for students to write, but they have to write it sitting under their desk and we create a tape "box" around them.  Staying in this area is hard for the kids, but it really makes them think about what they just read.

My second book is The Other Side.  I came across this book this year.  What a I love about the book is how the illustrator portrays the characters through her watercolor art.  The reader can learn so much just by looking at the pictures and discerning the meaning of the story.  

As you can see on the front cover there is a fence that divides the African American side of town where  Clover lives and the white side of town where Anna lives.  The fence continues to be a symbolic part of the book, and the students love this book.  It really elicits great conversation.  

I hope you all have these books in your libraries or own them already...they really are must haves!  Have a wonderful Sunday!

Gotta run!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Five for Friday...I'm a virgin!

I must admit...I've never done a Five for Friday (hence the virgin comment)!  I know, right!  What is wrong with me?!  Summer has been very good to me, and it's given me some time to read, blog, sit poolside, and do some schoolwork too!  Here are some of the things I've been up to this week!
Well, here are my 5 random things!

1. I am super pumped because I came across a Barnes & Noble gift card (totally forgot I had it!) in my wallet, and couldn't wait to finally put some of my wish list books in my cart!  I'm a bit behind the 8 ball with Teach like a Pirate, but I'm excited to dive in, see everyone's blog posts, and find out what they're really talking about!  We have added lead teachers in our building for math (K-2 and 3-5), technology, and high ability.  Our leadership team is going to read Strengths Based Leadership together, so I'm hoping to get a jump start.  And I have a passion for math, so I'm wanting to learn a bit more about that so I can help my staff...did I tell you that I go back July 15th?  Oh right, I'll have to do some extremely fast reading! Yikes!

2. So I was at Target yesterday (told they hubby I was getting cleaning supplies but secretly wanted to check out the dollar spot and their swim suits...sssshhh), and came across these reusable sandwich bags.  They come in a pack of 3 for $1!!!  Score!  For a lot of our math games, they need dice, cards, and maybe one other manipulative, so I just loved these for math games!  And again...they are 3/$1, so if they break they are cheap to replace.   There are some cool polka dot ones right now too! 


3. One day a while back I was searching some free apps and came across a Riddle of the Day.  My husband and I will play it together, but how much fun would this be for the classroom!  As you can see on the right, it will give you clues if you are completely stumped, and the letters below are the only ones you can use.  Some of them are pretty easy, and others are really hard, but it's all about the journey, right? Riddle away!

4.  4-H Season is upon us and it's one of my favorite times of the year!  I was a 10 year 4-Her and now I get to volunteer and help all of the other kids.  Last night was the Queen Pageant dinner where I got to meet all of the lovely ladies who will be coming to practices and vying to be our county queen. 4-H season nears, that means lemon shake ups, walking tacos, and elephant ears!  Woop Woop!

5. I saved the best for last (well, at least I think so)!  Last weekend as many of you saw, I headed to Nashville, TN for a Bachelorette party.  On our drive back to Indy we stopped to use the restroom, and this Teamwork sign was hanging on the wall.  I thought it was h-i-l-a-r-i-o-u-s!  Do they want you to use teamwork while going to the bathroom?  So confused!  There were some other peeps in the bathroom who thought I was a bit crazy for taking a pic in the bathroom, but oh well.  Thought I'd share with you!

I think I like 5 for Fridays!  Thanks for the fun times Doodle Bugs!  Gotta run!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Throwback Thursday - Reader's Response Activities

Well I'm joining Mrs. Cara Carroll in her Throwback Thursday linky.  How fun to look back through your old posts!     Join her linky or check out what others are posting again!

I'm actually going to pull a post where I was a guest blogger for Teachery Tidbits.  I decided on this post because I'm working this summer on how to help my ENL students respond a bit better to their reading (it is HARD!).  Oh, and on #4, I think you can get the full size dry erase boards for $1 at Target right now!

------------------------------------Throwback Post on Reader's Response Activies--------------------------------

First, I must say, I am EXTREMELY excited to be a guest blogger for Natalie at Teachery Tidbits!!!  I'm a crazy running teacher who authors Run Teacher Run! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!  I'm going to share a few ways to have your students respond to their reading in different, yet meaningful ways.  Don't we all need some new things to get us through the end of the year!

1. Post-It Board
I don't have a fancy name for this, but I call it my "Post-It Board".  During reader's workshop I do my mini lesson, then they read, and I like to have them reflect on what I taught them.  This helps keep them accountable, gives me a talking point during my conferences with them, and it also allows me to see their level of thinking with the mini lesson.  Other students can also see what their peers are writing if they need extra help.  I actually got this idea from a classroom I was in a few years back, but I added the example and title boxes so the kids would have a model post-it note to go from and others can see what our focus is upon entering the classroom.

Grab a copy of the template by clicking the picture!

It's also easy to reuse year-to-year, just make sure you add enough squares to fit each post-it note! You could also create a math one to use for "exit slips" or a language one for correcting sentences or parts of speech practice.  It's a great one-stop place to see all of your students' responses!!

2. Chalkboard Paint and Responses
A few years back I painted the back of one of my bookcases with chalkboard paint.  This has been one of the first years that I could arrange it in a way that the back was exposed (I moved classrooms this year).  Write the question you want them to respond to, make a chart like this one, or let it be a "graffiti wall" of open-ended responses.  It's amazing how much more they enjoy responding when they get colored sidewalk chalk!

After all of the responses were tallied,  we could see a pretty clear trend in the books we choose.  We then talked about why this might be, and why it would be important for us to read different types of books.  You can also count the tallies to make sure that all students are responding.

3. Reader's Response Sheets
I created these sheets to assist me with both guided reading and reader's workshop.  They are great because they can go with any book, so all students can be doing the same activity, but with their leveled text.  I used to create individualized activities for each book, and I was drowning due to the time involved.  Now I can use my mini-lessons to individualize and still feel good about what they are doing independently!  They can be found on TpT if you'd like the set yourself!  It includes sheets for questioning, predictions, summarizing a book, finding keywords in a nonfiction text, nonfiction fatures, explaining main characters, and more!

4. Dry Erase Boards
These seem obvious, but I found these smaller boards at Office Max, and the kids really like them.  They were $2.00 for a pack of 6 at the beginning of the school year!  I was sold!!  I love using these during Guided Reading with my small groups because it gives us a different way of responding, and I can easily see/read their understanding.  I also have fun colored markers for them to choose from to spike their interest.  It's just enough room to write a complete sentence when working on rephrasing, write an inference, a prediction, or a list of words they weren't sure about while reading.  

Well, by the looks of it, you made it to the end of my guest blogging adventures!  Thanks for sticking with me, and following Natalie's blog too!  She is the best!  Come on over and join the fun at Run Teacher Run! where I share about my trials and tribulations of running and teaching!