Saturday, July 19, 2014

Spark Student Motivation-Graduation Packages

Happy Summer Friends! I hope everyone is enjoying their break (if that's what teachers call it!)
I have sent GRADUATION PACKAGES since my first year teaching (well, technically since my 8th year teaching since I had to wait for my 4th graders to graduate), but I thought of it my first year so I started saving up my photos. At the end of each school year, I store all of the photos I took during the school year in a tub, along with the class list and addresses. Then, eight years later I get my tub open and start sorting my pictures. :)
You might be wondering how I know if they still live at the same address... As long as they still live in our county, our sweet school registrar can verify their address for me. Surprisingly, about 80% of the students still live in the area. Then, comes the hard part...I also check to make sure they're "graduating" this year so I don't send them a graduation package if for some reason they're not. Our local paper (it's a big one) prints an entire section of all high school graduates by high school. For some of these "ladies & gentlemen" I have to take a double take-they look so grown up and so different from 4th grade!
 I lay out all my addressed envelopes/letters, sort through all my pictures, and stuff all the goodies in a large envelope to be mailed the week of their graduation.
Here's what one package looks like-I wish I could see their faces when they open it!
This is very MOTIVATING to see the success and great accomplishments of my students!
It brings back great memories for me and I hope does for my students as well. Before I even sent out my graduation packages, I received 7 invites to graduation this year! :) Melts my heart that they still remember their elementary teacher, just another reason I LOVE my job!

I just bundled my POST-IT PRODUCTS and would love to give one away!
Pin the image, (click see pin), copy the URL address, and paste into the comments. 
Winner will be announced Monday!

If you don't want to wait, it's on sale for this weekend!
It's like getting one of the products for FREE! :)
POST-BUNDLE {Templates to Hold Their Thinking}

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.

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Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Two For Tuesday!!! Multi-Step Problem Notebook and Idiom Poster Bundled Set

Happy Tuesday Shoppers!! It's time for two products for 50% off!
(Sad news...this is the last week so grab up all the deals you can get your hands on!)
Thank you to The Teaching Tribune for hosting such a great party!
Are you ready? Here's the first goodie:
This multi-step problem performance task notebook was created to meet with the rigorous demands of Common Core Math. My students were having great difficulty with multi-step word problems. There's never enough practice and our current math series doesn't offer any resources or enough practice for students to be more successful with these types of performance tasks.

 There are 30 multiple step problems (3 versions of each problem, with a total of 90 real world problems).  Perfect to follow the gradual release model:
Performance Task 1A “I do” -- teacher model.
Performance Task 1B “We do” -- partner or group work.
Performance Task 1C “You do” -- student completes independently-could be used as assessment to drive instruction.
Each page requires students to underline/highlight important information, cross out extra information, and answer performance tasks in a complete sentence.
Multiple uses: guided math groups, whole group, formative assessments, practice, or homework.

This product was created to specifically meet MP.1: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them and MP.6: Attend to Precision of the Standards for Mathematical Practice.
Perfect for 4th and 5th graders, but would be excellent enrichment for 3rd graders.
This notebook is normally $10, but will be $5 TODAY ONLY!
Next up for grabs is my Idiom Posters Bundled Set!
These 40 colored idiom posters will brighten your classroom!
Use one a week or have them all displayed on a bulletin board!
My posters line the doorways of my classroom.
**Students can mark the idioms with their name when they find it in a book or use it in their writing-that sparks competition to use them! ;)
 Each poster includes a graphic, definition, and idiom used in a sentence. Great visual for students to refer to during writing and my students refer to them daily in their conversations!
Pre-test and post-test included!
This bundled set is normally $8.50, but will be $4.25 TODAY ONLY!
Have fun shopping!
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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Reading in the Wild: Self-Selecting Reading

We're in week 3 of our book study!

Chapter 2: Wild Readers Self-Select Reading Material is a big chapter with several key points, but I've decided to focus on just a couple. It's important for us to give our students opportunities to "self-select" their own reading material. They become so dependent on us for books and sometimes we dictate what can be read and what can't be read. 
This quote says it all! My read aloud time during the day is my FAVORITE time of day! I could read hours to my students. I NEVER get to all the books I want to share with them.
 Donalyn Miller shares all the benefits of reading aloud to your students:
  • Builds community.
  • Exposes children to books, authors, or genres they might not discover on their own.
  • Provides prime opportunities to introduce students to genres they often avoid, like poetry, and non-fiction.
  • Supports developing readers.
  • Reinforces that reading is enjoyable.
Here I am in action...reading Stumptown Kid...{love!}
I definitely have some "favorites" that continue to make appearances in my classroom year after year, but I'm planning on using a new book at the beginning of school with a new strategy in mind. I ordered a class set of Among the Hidden (you DON'T have to have a class set of books for a read aloud, but it does make it nice to cite evidence, debate, and refer back to important moments when every student has a copy). The reason I'm starting with this novel is because it's part of a series and when I purchased a copy of each book at the last half of the year, I couldn't keep them on my shelf! I'm hoping this book opens these new 4th graders eyes to more challenging text and gets them hooked on series or favorite authors.
I plan to implement the idea of book raffles for new book arrivals that enter our classroom. Any time you make a contest/raffle, excitement will fill the room! My friend Catherine, the lovely organizer of this book study, posted about she held book raffles in her room here.
I usually just do a short "book talk" on new books or books I want to be discovered by my students. In years past, I've had my students sign up for books talks and give a little blurb about the book. I haven't done had book talks the last couple of years (you know, that time thing!) and I've missed it, so I plan to bring it back in full swing this year. I just have to carve time out of my schedule and make it happen. It's important for students to hear their friends talk about books and take recommendations from them. What a perfect way for students to select their own reading!
After reading an incredible book, students will sign up to be scheduled to discuss their book in front of the class. I created the Book Talk form to aid students in preparing for their book talk. I don't want them reading from their form and they don't have to answer every question, but this form will give them some guidance to hit the important parts. :)


Want to grab these forms for your classroom? Click here to download this freebie if you're a Facebook Fan! 

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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Two for Tuesday: 50% off Two Products to use ALL YEAR!

Time for Two For Tuesday with The Teaching Tribune! Don't you just love a great deal? Anytime I feel like I get a discount or have a coupon it just makes me so happy! :)
Here are two deals for you! (I hope they make you happy!)
Both of the following items are YEARLONG resources (which also makes me happy!)
These posters were an interactive tool used and referenced all year in my classroom! Character traits are introduced/discussed during read alouds, mentor texts, weekly stories, etc. As characters display the trait, the traits are recorded on the post-its with evidence to support the trait.
This resource includes student tracking sheets of all 50 traits to keep as a reference or interactive notebook. 
Introduce one character trait at a time (weekly character trait) or have several displayed at a time.
Mine are displayed all over the wall in front of my classroom where I call them to the carpet to read so we can be on the lookout for these traits when I’m doing my mini-lessons. The posters with post-its are a great visual of what traits have already been found.
 You and your students will refer back to these posters every time you meet a new character! 
Click here to check these posters out at my TPT Store!
The second deal of the day are these fun Shout Out Cards!
Want to give a SHOUT OUT to your students or co-workers?
 There are 23 different pages of bright colored positive messages (a black & white version is also included). These are perfect for all grade levels and will brighten anyone's day who receives one!  
Click here if you want to use these in your classroom to encourage your students positively!
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you can use these resources in your classroom! 

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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Two For Tuesday: 50% Off Two New Products!

I'm so excited to be linking up for Two For Tuesday with The Teaching Tribune again!
SO MANY great deals last week! Thank you to those who purchased and left kind feedback! I love getting positive feedback, it makes me feel appreciated for my hard work and want to create more!
In case you haven't had a chance to see this linky, let me fill you in...
TWO OF MY PRODUCTS will be 50% off TODAY!
Here's a new product to introduce to you....Guided Reading for Fiction & Non-Fiction {Before, During, and After}...grab this for 50% off today only!
Do you ever get stuck during guided reading or during a reading lesson with questions to ask your students? I created these higher order, perfect with any text questions to keep my students and I on track! I created student recording sheets to monitor their written responses as well.
 Photos and directions are included to make this stand in this resource. Place all questions on stand and flip over as needed.   
Fiction and non-fiction questions are color coded on different colored paper for easy use to elicit oral and written responses during reading. 
And, you can grab this necessity up for 50% off today too! This Multiplication Bundle has everything you need to get your students excited and motivated to memorize those darn multiplication facts!
This bundle includes my newest product Multiplication Bracelets! I know my students are going to crazy over these!
Your students will be so excited to wear these bracelets and the best part...they learn their multiplication facts by staring at them all day!
Students can wear bracelets with answers or fill in the blank. Use accordion style file folder to store multiplication bracelets for easy access to the whole year! 
This bundle also includes my Mastering Multiplication Facts Incentive Program and Multiplication Rings. All three products in one place, all for a discounted price!!
 Grab these DEALS up...they will only be 50% off today!
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Saturday, June 21, 2014

Spark Student Motivation: READ Prize Board

***Due to the summer break, I will leave this linky open for a month-please link up any and all ideas whenever you'd like.
If you follow my blog, you know I'm a HUGE fan of Reading Counts! It's a great incentive and motivator to promote reading. Our school offers incentives (remember the dunking booth!) and I offer incentives in my classroom too. However, I wanted to challenge my students further than earning points-I wanted them to increase their accuracy rate. I created a READ prize board and placed it at the front of my room. Every time a student scored a 10/10 on a Reading Counts test they got to sign a spot on the board for a chance to win a prize. I had several students who read longer text so to make it fair, I allowed them to sign their name on a box for every two points they earned. (If the book was worth 10 points, they signed 5 times).
Once I introduced this new incentive in our classroom, these sheets filled up quickly! It was important for them to double check their answers to aim for that 10/10!
I keep these letters in a bucket and pull one winner when the board is entirely filled.
*It could be pulled at the end of each day or several winners when it's filled-many options.
Simple idea, but motivated my students to read more carefully and it revived some of my readers who were slacking a little! :)
*It could be used anything for reading: 100 book challenge, completed reading logs, improvement on weekly reading tests, Accelerated Reader, #  of minutes on a reading computer program, etc. 
This will be an exclusive FACEBOOK FAN FREEBIE for a LIMITED TIME ONLY! Because there's no way to leave feedback, I'd really appreciate it if you SHARE on Facebook. :)
THANK YOU for liking and sharing in advance!
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.

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Thursday, June 19, 2014

Reading in the Wild: Dedicate Time to Read

I am so glad that I'm a part of this summer book study! (It holds me accountable!)
Thank you Catherine from The Brown Bag Teacher for organizing an awesome book study!
These two wonderful bloggers are hosting this week's book study!
I want to share with you what I read about in chapter 1 of Reading in the Wild (Wild Readers Dedicate Time to Read). When you read a book written by a reading guru like Donalyn Miller and learn that you do many of the things she suggests already in your class it makes you feel great about your practice. It confirmed some of my thinking for my reading classroom and gave me some things to tweak and think about. Let me share...
Donalyn Miller discusses the importance of providing students reading time at school and home, which we all know to be true, but sometimes can be challenging with schedules, state mandates, testing, the list goes on. I have independent every day. It is not a center in my first year of teaching I realized that didn't work for me. I couldn't monitor their reading, it was loud, and I wasn't always sure if they were skipping or doubling up on the reading center since my groups change so much. So, while I pull my first guiding reading group everyone else is reading. It's perfect because if I finish early I can meet with individual students during this quiet time too. You just have to make sure you rotate which group you call first so the same group doesn't miss it every day.
To try to get my parents involved at home, I show this data at open house. I find it to be very eye opening to parents. (Donalyn uses different research in her book, but shows the same results...the more you read, the higher your reading achievement). I encourage my parents to have a family routine for reading time and to be readers in front of their children.
*This chart is a powerful tool to show parents.
One of the first things you should do in your reading classroom is build stamina for independent reading. I usually start off with about 10 minutes the first day and add five minutes a day as they are ready until we get to 30 minutes. I explain it's like runners practicing for a marathon, they don't run 26.2 miles the first time they run. We need to take small steps (together).
**I love the first day when I ask them to stop reading after 10 minutes because it's usually not enough time for 4th graders even at the beginning of the year and they get so mad! LOL! Of course, this builds excitement for the next day! I want my students to BEG me for reading time! Sometimes I surprise them with a Reading Recess (ooooh, aaaaah)! This year I plan to create a class graph of our progress. I think this visual will motivate my students to attain the 30 minute goal!
We talk about expectations before we begin our reading time, so the tone is set, but we revisit our chart after we read that first day after they observe other behaviors they want or don't want to see again. 
*This anchor chart was compiled by ideas from my class 2 years ago. I make a new one each year.
After a couple days of reading, I notice some of my students aren't "reading", so we meet on the carpet to create an anchor chart of what they think fake reading and real reading looks like. I love when they spill all their "fake" reading secrets! Oops!
*This anchor chart was compiled by ideas from my class 2 years ago. I make a new one each year.

One of the ideas I want to implement from Donalyn is recording my observations (for several days) from a student who is fake reading  and then use them when I conference with them. You know those students who spend most of their reading time "looking" for a book, distracted by every little thing around them, or those struggling students you know couldn't possible read The Yearling, but "'pretend" to read it anyway. This will be a powerful tool to use when conferring with them and setting reading goals.
Another idea shared by Donalyn (I like calling her by her first name like she's my friend!) was to talk with your class about their favorite places to read. I plan to record all their favorites to try to make sure our classroom is set up with an environment they will all be happy, motivated wild readers.
One of the challenges I face every year is giving my struggling readers enough time to read every day in class. Donalyn stresses the importance of allowing this time. "We reduce the effectiveness of reading interventions when we don't provide our lowest-performing students reading time and encouragement. Developing readers need more reading, not less." My problem is these students need double reading groups (I am the ESE/Resource push-in class) and need to be "remediated" more often so they lose that time to read independently. I need to balance my schedule and rotation of groups better so these students can practice the skills and strategies I've taught while reading on their own. Definitely one of my high priority goals for next school year.
**Do you have any suggestions or tips for carving out more time for struggling readers?
I'd love to hear your suggestions or thoughts about this post!
Check out all the other great posts about this fabulous book! This subject is such a love for me so it's an easy read! Order a copy today to read along with us! You don't have to be a blogger to comment-the more we share, the more we learn!
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