Friday, September 27, 2013

How to Buzz

Last week we taught a lesson called, “How to Buzz.”   In this lesson, we try to build the skills needed for good discussions over fiction or nonfiction text.

After going over this anchor chart, we read a short article.

sorry for the poor pic quality... you get the gist.

I had the students write a two-column chart called “It says/ I say” in their writer’s notebooks.  On the “It says” side, students found 2-3 quotes from the text that seemed important or interesting.  On the “I say” side, students add their own thinking or response to the text.  This gave them some talking points for our buzzing convos.

Check out this great buzzing in action:





How do you build students up for book or text discussions?  Any good tips?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Monkey See, Monkey Do

**The give-away is now closed.  Congrats to Mikala!!**

I am so excited for an awesome give-away from MonkeySeeBoutique.  The lovely Michelle has the cutest Etsy store of personalized goods, ranging from clutches to homegoods to office supplies.  I first found her shop through my friend Janelle’s blog, Simply Love.  Janelle ran a give-away of these super cute clutches that she gave as wedding gifts to her bridesmaids.


 Even though I didn't win, I couldn't help but buy one.  And then I couldn’t help but end up with a cart full of gifts for others and myself—including this notepad holder and sweet lunch bag.  It’s those little things that make the school day better sometimes, right?

Personalized Acrylic Notepad Holder
Michelle has this pic as the sample on her website... holla!!

Right now you can win your very own monogrammed basket-weave lunch tote from MonkeySee Boutique!!!  You can choose the color options above (I think mine is pretty cute!), or personalize it with tons of different fonts and colors of your own! 

To win, leave a comment below telling me about one of the supplies/ goodies that makes your school (or work) day better.

The giveaway will run through October 2 at 11:59 PM. You must have a US address to enter/win.

Be sure to check out MonkeySee Boutique either way. But consider yourself warned of its extreme cuteness!


Personalized 5 Quart Halloween Bucket - More Designs Available

monogrammed ROUND CAKE STAND with decorative ribbon

Halloween Tumblers
personalized monogrammed SILVER water bottle - perfect for team gifts

Personalized Jumbo 40 ounce Hand Sanitizer

Monday, September 23, 2013

Girls' Writing Weekend

This past weekend I was honored to be included in my sweet friend Lisa’s “Girls' Writing Weekend.”  We went to a quaint country cottage down in KY and relaxed and talked and wrote. 

I worked on a few projects for personal writing.  We also did a writing marathon just like I’ve done in my classroom in the past, but no one wrote prompts about a teddy bear apocolypse like my students did this spring. 

Check out sweet Lisa’s lovely documentation of our dock lounging.

I promise there WAS writing… just less documentation of it.

I hope we can do this again.  What a great reminder of the importance of writing time—especially when it’s not for teaching or grad school or a workshop or project. 
Make Time For Your Writing (mini doodle magnet)
from Artsyville on etsy

Friday, September 20, 2013

Revision Glasses

Since 'revision' literally means 'seeing again,' ATP had the brilliant idea of allowing our students to use special glasses when they're in the revision stage of a piece.

We use past 3D movie glasses with the lenses popped out for a cheap (and fun) way to mark the revision stage.

Check out the students using them this week during writing workshop.

It's the little things, I tell ya!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

I AM Poems

A few weeks ago we wrote "I Am" poems.  It's a great way to get to know students.  (And a great thing to display for parents and visitors!)

They turned out beautifully and gave me some interesting insights into our young writers. 

Check out the beautiful language, specific details, and creativity in this one! 

(Sorry to scan in B& was lovely and colorful!)

Check out a sample from Read Write Think here.  Also, if you want to use this template, click here.

Happy writing!

ps... sorry for the lack of posts lately...silly cold.  That's what I get for bragging about my excellent teacher immune system!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Those Magical Moments

Friends keep asking me how this year is going... and quite frankly, it's off to a great start!  The students are sweet and eager and seem really into reading, especially.  In fact, we have already had TWO perfectly magical read aloud moments. 

Do you know what I mean by that?  Those moments when students seem to be hanging on your every word and just totally enthralled in the story?  It makes me melt.

ATP even documented one of them.  That's right, 55 kids looking up at ME!

It's almost an out of body experience and one I totally don't take for granted.  It's those moments that make you remember "THIS is why I wanted to be a Language Arts teacher!!!"

So what books were we reading, you ask?

The first (the one in this picture) was Fly Away Home by the incomparable Eve Bunting.  It's a powerful and touching story about a homeless boy and his dad who live inconspicuously in an airport.  We were using it to teach "Fix Up Strategies," but it's also great for theme, symbolism, and powerful social lessons, too.

Friday I read Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude by Kevin O'Malley as a way to introduce fiction genres.  It's a hilarious read aloud about a boy and a girl who have to work together to write a fairy tale.

Check out both... you won't be sorry!  Maybe you'll even have your own perfectly magical teaching moment!

Monday, September 9, 2013


This week ATP introduced me to a great vocabulary/ review game, Splat!  The game is super simple and all you need is a couple of fly swatters.  We played using geography terms like latitude, globe, and specific physical features. 

To play, first write all the terms on the board.  Then have students line up in two lines.  The first students in line listen as you read the definition then have to be the first to "splat" the word with the fly swatter and call out the correct word.  We didn't keep points, just kept it moving fast to help students grow in their familiarity with the terms.

I forgot to take a picture of our class, but here is a pic from another blog (2nd Grade Pad) with a math fact review game so you can get the gist.  You could totally use the desk tops with cards just as easily as writing the terms on the board.
SPLAT! Math Games Equal Fun Learning!

Friday, September 6, 2013

Newest Decor

Last year I shared how I create a pillow out of past team shirts in this post.  (By the way, I still get excited to say stuff like that because it means I've been blogging for a year, woot!)
Well this past long weekend I created the newest in my line up.  Check it out!  And kiss yo' brain while you're at it!  :)

My students are loving it already!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Books as Cool as Ice

Okay... cheesy, I know....but check out my newly reorganized teacher bookshelf using $2 ice buckets from Walmart!

It just looks so much better and now I can actually FIND the book I'm looking for based on the unit or concept.  I'm trying to decide if I'll label them, or leave them open with the possibility of regrouping and shuffling around throughout the year.
PS- A very happy birthday to the best sister a girl could ask for!  Love you forever, Kathleen!

Monday, September 2, 2013

Perfect PINK Pencil Sharpener GIVE AWAY!

Exciting news, Troy at Classroom Friendly supplies has announced a new color in his line-up of seriously amazing pencil sharpeners...PINK!

Precious Pink

You may remember my give away this summer of one of his sweet pencil sharpeners.  (Check out the link for my full product review, but bottom line: you want one of these!)

The best part is that $1 of every purchase is going to cancer charities  Caleb's Crusade and Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

And awesome Troy contacted me about running another giveaway for a pink (or blue, green, black, or red) sharpener!  Woot. 

The give away will run until September 9 at 12 am. To enter you must “Like” Classroom Friendly Supplies on Facebook. Leave me a comment below to let me know you entered and spread the word. 

Must be a US resident to win.  Check out more info and purchase your own sharpener shipping included! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*This giveaway is now closed.  Congrats to the winner, Kathleen Butler!!