Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Need Some TPT Cash?


We are so excited for the holiday season that we couldn't help but spread some love! Lots of your favorite TPT Teacher-Authors and I have teamed up to give YOU some TPT spending money. We love you and appreciate you (and we wish we could give all of our fabulous followers some money)!

Enter the Rafflecopter below by simply following our TPT stores, and you will have a chance to win one of five $25 TPT gift cards! Good luck!
I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Pin It!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Spark Student Motivation: Caught Being Great!


Time to Spark some Student Motivation!
CAUGHT BEING GREAT!
I made little note cards (4x6 photos) to give to my students when I "catch" them doing something out of the ordinary or extra for our class or classmates. I also made photos for recognizing great work or accomplishments in our class! (Of course, I had to make one that reads, "I SPARKLED today!," since I love all things that sparkle! :) 

 This young lady was so sweet and rushed to get another student's timed test ready since he wasn't back from another class yet and we were getting ready to start math. I love when students do things without prompting for the sake of each other! I see my class family growing stronger every day: caring about each other, helping each other, encouraging each other, and supporting each other.
 See how sparkly she is? She graduated from her multiplication facts! She worked so hard by studying every night! Her group members would quiz her each day before the timed test too! :)
 This young man has been a reading machine! He made it to the 100 point club, updating me every few points to make sure I was ready for his milestone! :) He was so excited when he made it that he wanted me to take a picture of the computer screen to send to his mother!

My students love these photos and it makes a great keepsake for their memory box or their refrigerator! I just had to explain that I have to recognize their great efforts and they're not given out for every single good deed. I don't want students to "expect" a reward or prize for everything they do, but I do like to celebrate achievements in my classroom, sometimes when they least expect it.

Anyone who links up, gets the set!!! :)

 
***This linky will stay open for two weeks, I will not post a new one on Thanksgiving break.  
I hope you had a wonderful week! Please link up any lessons, ideas, tips, tricks, incentives, ANYTHING you do get your students motivated or excited!
Don't forget to grab my button and link back to this post!
Check out all the wonderful ideas from my friends who link up and don't forget to leave some love by commenting....we LOVE comments!
***Please include the topic in the link up with your blog name.

Pin It!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Five For Friday!

It's been forever since I've had a chance to link up on a Friday!
My students brought in their Disguise a Turkey Projects...sooooo cute and creative! I was so impressed! Seen here: Harry Potter, soccer players, Ronald McDonald, a mummy, a teddy bear, a ninja,  a musician, and a penguin. I got this project from The Fabulous Life of an Elementary Teacher, click here for this awesome freebie!
Our school had its first 5k (Pride Roar) and my whole family participated. Notice I didn't say my whole family RAN! Actually, they all ran except for me! I was multi-tasking, walking and talking! :) Fun time for the family while supporting our school!

 
We had a few cold days in Florida...so we had to warm up by the fire! :) I served hot cocoa and my students loved it! They were very appreciative, which makes me happy! I love when you do something special for your students and they don't ask for seconds or say something like, "Is that all we get?" or "I don't like that!" I know they're kids and sometimes they don't mean it, but it always puts a bad taste in my mouth when I hear kids say those kinds of comments.
(This makes me want to serve hot cocoa again!)
**Burning Fire is a DVD I purchased a few years ago at Walgreens.

Yes, my turkey projects are up, but I couldn't wait another minute to get my new tree up! It's black to match my room (in case I want to keep it up all year!) and is covered in high heel ornaments from so many special students! Isn't is BEAUTIFUL??!!
I didn't have a tree topper so I used my tiara! LOL!
I had to take a close up of this one...
"I'm not afraid of heights!"

We also read The Stranger this week-such a thought provoking book for students. It's the perfect book for students to make inferences, which leads to great discussion! My students were definitely opinionated with their thinking, so we had a few "friendly arguments" and had to reread several parts of the text to find evidence. We used Nicole's (Teaching With Blonde Ambition) text dependent questions (talk about rigor!). These questions really stretched my students' thinking. You can click here to grab her questions. We also used Jivey's mentor sentences for this text-click here to grab her freebie! (Warning: you'll get hooked on these mentor sentences!) 
The illustrations in the picture book are so captivating! My students were hanging on every word!
 
 



 
Don't forget to link up tomorrow for Spark Student Motivation! What have you done to motivate your students or get them excited? Maybe you have something special planned for next week!
***There's going to be a goodie for those who link up! :)
 




Pin It!

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Spark Student Motivation: Post-It Note Bookmark

Happy Saturday Friends! Thank you for visiting!
You're going to get a goodie today! :)


I had something else scheduled for today, but because of my students' overwhelming excitement about something I made them last week, I just had to share!
And, of course, if you follow my blog you know I have a small obsession with POST-ITS. Why hasn't 3M contacted me yet??
I know you're going to LOVE it too! Want to know why? Because it's the simple things we do that get our students to be excited about reading!
Here it is....
Every year I implement Reader's Notebooks in my classroom and every year I seem to have a different thing I need to tweak. I want to make sure our writing to each other every week is meaningful and purposeful. I had several students that were reading plenty of books, but were getting "stuck" when it came to writing about it in their letters. I created this bookmark with some of the things I like them to include in their letters, hoping if they marked them as they read, it would be easier to transfer to their notebooks. Guess what??!! It's working! After a few days, I had them start adding the page numbers to their sticky notes in case they fell out or wanted to "cite specific evidence" from their text.
 I love the simplicity of it! It's a bookmark to hold your place, a reference for annotation symbols, and a holder for sticky notes to hold your thinking!
Of course, you have to have several package of sticky notes in stock because they definitely get excited to use them!! I did a mini-lesson on how to use them "effectively" and not to use them to decorate the pages of our books! Each bookmark has a small stack of sticky notes and students can refill as needed. I'm just so excited to see them using them every time they read!

  I actually had to make two sets for my class because my students wanted to bring them home and some kept forgetting to bring them back. So, now we have twice as many opportunity to keep track of our thinking! Plus, I made a set for my sweet friend who teaches 5th grade (my son's awesome teacher) for them to keep track of their too!
 
Want to make a set for your class or small group? Grab it HERE free! If you download, feedback is always appreciated! :) I just added this page to my Reading With Post-Its II product, so if you own it, you can just download again. If you don't own it, check it out! Templates can be used ALL YEAR LONG, make their reading interactive and hold their thinking! Perfect for whole group, small group, or independent use.
 
I hope you had a wonderful week! Please link up any lessons, ideas, tips, tricks, incentives, ANYTHING you do get your students motivated or excited!
Don't forget to grab my button and link back to this post!
Check out all the wonderful ideas from my friends who link up and don't forget to leave some love by commenting....we LOVE comments!
***Please include the topic in the link up with your blog name.

Pin It!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Spark Student Motivation: Flashing Lights

Let's SPARK some STUDENT MOTIVATION!!!

Okay, are you ready for this?
This is my newest addition to my classroom!!! I think I love it more than my students!

You might be wondering what this little remote does...
Check out the video!

I've always had the red flashing light, but in the past it's been someone's job to turn it on when we have a celebratory moment! Not anymore! With this simple click of a button, my class is cheering their classmates on! Below is a demonstration video:
 
 
This set is in the Christmas section from Lowe's (I stole this from my house! We use it for our Christmas tree lights). It comes with 3 remote boxes with 2 outlets each.
  
These sets cost $20, but have unlimited uses!! We have two at home too! My son uses it for his lights and TV-LOL!
Imagine the excitement you could create with a disco ball!! I'm telling you, it's the little things we do to spotlight our students that make the difference!!
My red light doesn't have a siren so I play some siren sound effects from my computer-the love it!!
Imagine what having an alert signal throughout a room with flashing lights  does for self-esteem! 
I don't use these lights for every occasion in our classroom because I like to keep it special, but they make appearances a few times a week!! 

I hope you had a wonderful week! Please link up any lessons, ideas, tips, tricks, incentives, ANYTHING you do get your students motivated or excited!
Don't forget to grab my button and link back to this post!
Check out all the wonderful ideas from my friends who link up and don't forget to leave some love by commenting....we LOVE comments!
***Please include the topic in the link up with your blog name.

Pin It!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Spark Student Motivation: Holiday Themed Ideas

Halloween is over and it's time to think about Christmas! I know that sounds crazy, but if we don't start thinking about it now, it will sneak up on us!

 
 I plan to motivate my students this holiday season by tricking them with meaningful learning activities with a holiday theme! Add a little cuteness to something and kids love it! I'm linking up with some friends for Holidays Around the Blog! Thank you Mrs. Labrasciano for hosting!!
http://mrslabrasciano.blogspot.com/2014/11/holidays-around-blog.html
I want to share some resources I plan to use in my classroom during the next couple months:
Introducing...My FIRST Craftivity I've created!
A Christmas Reading Wreath-template cut-outs for fiction and non-fiction! Your students will love completing this kind of culminating activity after finishing a text! This would also be an excellent take home project for families! 
Special Offer: FREE Fall Reading Wreath Craftivity for Fiction if you purchase the Christmas Wreath and leave feedback before Wednesday!
 
These Stocking Stuffers are from last year's class and are for Brian from Hatchet. What would Brian want to see in his stocking? I thought for sure some students would say cell phones or video games. They came up with very practical items and supported their thinking-Such critical thinkers!!!
(Oops-this one says Brain! haha) I love the insect repellent! Brian gets eaten alive after he crashes. 
The following pages are from  Snowflake Bentley after we analyzed Wilson Bentley, a perfect story for winter. I blogged about this book and additional resources here.  
Look at some of those traits: tenacious and bright with quotes for text evidence! Yay!
The student featured below told me she tried to think "out of the box" with her traits! (so cute)
Mature, tolerant, determined, and honorable (all with quoted evidence). I think they were motivated to do well on this assignment because I told them they could color/outline their gift packages when they finished!  
I display their "GIFTS" in our hallway bulletin board-I love showing off their hard work!
 
In Florida, we don't get to play in the snow, but that doesn't mean we can't have a  SNOWBALL FIGHT!
Snowball fights are a quick way to review for vocabulary! Each student writes one of our vocabulary words with the synonym and antonym on a piece of white paper. (Don't tell them what they're going to do with the paper-they'll just figured you're going to play some sort of review game). Then have them crinkle it up and tell them they're going to have a snowball fight...{insert lots of squeals of delight}.
 Okay, get ready...
 
THROW!
I let them throw their snowballs for about a minute each time. 
I let them throw them several times before I yell, "FREEZE!"
 Then my students open their "snowball" to review their vocabulary words.
We play a few rounds and they LOVE it and then BEG to for more!
 This could be used for any subject matter...a fun, easy, quick, seasonal way to motivate your students! :) 
 

I hope you had a wonderful week! Please link up any lessons, ideas, tips, tricks, incentives, ANYTHING you do get your students motivated or excited!
Don't forget to grab my button and link back to this post!
If you have an idea, lesson, or tip to Spark Student Motivation, please link up here:


If you'd like to see some other holiday themed ideas and lessons, click on these links or link up your own idea:
 

Pin It!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Spark Student Motivation: Student Goal Setting

You did it! You made it to the weekend! Can you believe October is almost over? 
I already feel like this year is flying by!
Let's spark some student motivation!
 Every year I have my students set goals and usually they're yearly goals, but I wanted them to make some short terms goals at the end of the grading period for the next grading period.
We discussed the importance of looking at what we've accomplished (as a team and individually) and what we hope to achieve this nine weeks.
I explained that writing goals holds us more accountable and can help put us on the right track.
I wanted my students to take ownership of their own learning by setting their own goals and hopes for the next grading period. I stressed the importance of participation and its correlation to learning. Some of my not so eager participators agreed to tally and keep track of their participation to see where they can improve. I explained that in order to participate, you have to listen and be engaged, which means you're learning! :)
 
I met with each student individually to share their grades. I think it's important to share their averages with their letter grade because some As were right at the cut off point or some Cs were very close to being a B. They know they have to start over for the new grading period, but with a little double checking and rereading it could make the difference. :) Sometimes it could average out to be just getting one extra question right on each assignment to improve the nine weeks letter grade. (This sounded very doable to my students and they thought it would be easy!) I like putting things in perspective for them.
 I love the honesty of this student. She expresses her feelings about the difficulty of science and how she plans to make sure she gets an A again.
 This student wants to work on his quiz grade and improve his rating of reading at home. How cute is it that he gave himself a 9 on his homework because he does it every day at 2:10! :) We get out at 2:05, so he must go home and complete his homework immediately!
 I LOVE this student's accomplishments! I work so hard at building a class family and that's the first thing she wrote! We're also working on an anti-bullying campaign. I also like that she appreciates that we have a routine and never give up! They could write class accomplishments and/or individual accomplishments.
This student is an avid reader and has 250 Reading Counts points and is planning to double his points next nine weeks. We brainstormed how to set realistic goals and how to achieve them.
For example if they only earned 30 Reading Counts points, it would be unrealistic to set a goal of 200 points for this quarter.
 
They loved setting these goals actually! Most were pleased to see their grades (report cards haven't officially been released) and what they've accomplished already in this short time.
 
Would you like to use these goal setting forms with your students? Grab them here. I've included a form for Reading Counts and Accelerated Reader. I also added parent signature and comments. I had several parents text or write notes that they loved the idea of their child setting goals for themselves and also how they would help their child at home too. :)


I hope you had a wonderful week! Please link up any lessons, ideas, tips, tricks, incentives, ANYTHING you do get your students motivated or excited!
Don't forget to grab my button and link back to this post!
Check out all the wonderful ideas from my friends who link up and don't forget to leave some love by commenting....we LOVE comments!
***Please include the topic in the link up with your blog name.
Pin It!