Sunday, November 30, 2014

Word Work Centers For Big Kids and Tips!

Need some center ideas for word work for big kids? I know sometimes upper grades are skeptical about centers because of the management issues, but if you keep them engaged with meaningful activities, you'll enjoy your small group instruction so much more!
TIP: I know this may sound obvious, but think for a few minutes before you set up your centers and ask yourself..."What do my students need in order to be successful?" For most of these centers, they will only need sharpened pencils and a dictionary, but it's the simple things like including a trash can if they're required to cut and will have scraps that will save you from having disruptions.
Here are a few word work activities I use in our classroom:
Building Words {Hands on word building activity}

 Each page is designed with a student tracking sheet and letters that make up a big word at the bottom. Letters are cut off from the bottom of the page for students to manipulate and make new words. This is the easiest way to teach plurals, past tense, root words, etc.! Each page also includes a prefix or suffix that can be introduced. You can differentiate by requiring students to make a certain number of words. Fun while increasing vocabulary and writing fluency!
TIP: Make sure all centers are modeled prior to leaving it out for your students to tackle alone. If I want quality work, I need to model quality work and let them practice with me first. 

One of my favorites!!! This word building activity will be loved by all your students! Expand-a-word is a word work activity I created to "expand" my students' collection of words. Students will make as many words as they can by inserting letters in front, in between, and behind the three letters, without rearranging the order of the three letters. This can be used for whole class or small group instruction, partners, individually, centers, enrichment homework, or an engaging 5 minute filler.This is another opportunity to introduce plurals, base words, prefixes/suffixes, spelling patterns, and new vocabulary! (My store has the "new" version of this activity!)
TIP: If your centers have questions or tasks that are timed, be sure to include a sand timer (nice and quiet). For example, at my Expand-A-Word center I put out 4 cards and give them 3 minutes to make as many words as they can individually. Then they have an additional 3 minutes to share with each other and add new words before moving on to the next card. The timer keeps them focused and moving.
I LOVE Boggle! The best part of this set up is that you don't hear all that racket from the real game with the cubes! {Insert happy teacher face!} And, I do love that it's portable in my pocket chart. Another plus? It's a student's job to change out the letters at the end of each week. Oh, but Joanne, I don't have those letters and I don't have time to make some...problem solved! Head on over to my Facebook page and grab them for free! Yay! It's Christmas!
Your New Best Friend!

Another {quiet} version of Boggle! :) All the guesswork is eliminated with this book. The letters on each page have a special arrangement to make words! Guaranteed success! My Boggle Brainbusters is out of print and only available for $70 (yikes), but the another version has been released, Boggle Brainbusters 2 at Amazon. Click here if you're interested. It's worth every penny!

The Most Amazing Center Keeper

TIP: Make your life easier by keeping all your center materials organized and easy to manage. Once you set it up, you'll be set for the rest of your teaching career! You just put the cards back in the container!
This is by far one of my favorite finds while shopping through the aisles of Michael's trying to figure out how I can use everything and anything in my classroom! I mean, why would I put photos in the photo boxes when I can put Scoot Games, task cards, and center activities??!!
So, if you haven't heard...there's a big sale tomorrow and Tuesday! My store will be on sale plus TPT is giving you an additional 10% off! {Enter code: TPTCYBER}.You can snatch both Building Words and Expand-a-Word for less than a McDonald's combo! You'll have word work activities for the rest of the year! Enjoy your week back with your students!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

What's On Your Wish List? Let's Get Ready For Monday!

 You better start shopping today and tomorrow and adding to your wish list...there's going to be a sale!!! Monday & Tuesday my store will be 20% off and TPT is taking off an additional 10% off!
Don't forget to use the code: TPTCYBER
 Need some ideas for your wish list? I'm going to share two of my most popular wish listed items from my store and an item I plan to cross of my TPT wish list during the sale!

One of the most popular items wish listed from my store is my Multiplication Bundle {Everything to get those facts memorized!}I think many teachers are in the same boat with the critical need of getting their students to memorized their facts. Which is why I made this fun pack to get them motivated to learn them! It's THREE products in one!
Another popular wish listed item is my Guided Reading Questions For Fiction & Non-Fiction {Before, During & After}. It just makes your small groups easier, isn't that what we all want? :) Keeps you focused and always prepared! 
Large poster size to put on this adorable mini-pocket chart stand (directions included) and mini size questions for a book ring! You can leave at a center or put them in your pocket...right at your fingertips! Also included, templates for written responses.

I have several items on my wish list...but the one I plan to grab bright and early Monday morning is Jivey's Winter and Snow Paired Texts! (And, then I'll be using them this week!)
I used her Bats, Owls, and Spiders Paired Texts and my students and I both loved them! Perfect for guided reading and my students will like the seasonal high interest reading material!
Again, it's all about making our life easier! :)
Oh! Maybe you need some extra cash to spend at the BIG SALE! If you haven't entered, today is the last day for your chance to win ONE of FIVE $25 TPT certificates! Click the image to enter!

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!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Spark Student Motivation: Caught Being Great!

Time to Spark some Student Motivation!
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.

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 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! :)

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.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Spark Student Motivation: Flashing Lights


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.

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