Resources we LOVE!

Saturday, February 11, 2017
I am so excited to be teaming up with some amazing teachers to share our 
most treasured resources that we could not live without during our day! 
Special thanks to and for organizing this event!

Nothing helps this panicked teacher more than having a central location for all of my JUNK that I need to survive the day!  Honestly, I get so engrossed in what I am teaching/doing, that I tend to leave things around the room and before you know it I am constantly looking for EVERYTHING! 

In order to solve this problem, I have created a teacher SURVIVAL tote. My rule? Anything I take out must IMMEDIATELY be put back when I am finished with it. This has been a complete LIFE SAVER for me! As long as I can find my tote, I can find the supplies that I need. 

The good news? I am giving away the exact survival tote you see below, INCLUDING all of the goodies that go along with it! If you are the winner, I will ship this bag to you! :)

Take a look at the teacher tote that I am loving! (Thanks to my hub for taking the pic) ;)

This craft tote has loads of pockets, perfect to lug supplies around my room!
And, some people have asked me about what I put in my teacher survival tote…my must have contents are listed below! These will all be included to the winner of my Teacher Survival Tote.

LOVE these Paper Mate Ink Joys for writing notes to students and parents.
Jumbo Glue Sticks because you can never have enough glue. 
These Crayola markers are the BEST for making anchor charts!
Since my school only supplies red, blue, green, and black the multicolored pack is a MUST!
These markers make my hand hurt less while grading….they write like BUTTER! :)
Highlighting for days with these markers!
Gotta have colored pencils for shading in examples and drawings.
Am I the only one who can never find the tape in the classroom??? 
Everyone needs pink scissors.
I can not live without these mechanical pencils.
I never have a sharp pencil lying around so these make my heart happy!

AND, for those Target lovers out there, we are giving away a $100 Target gift card so you can pick up even more goodies for your classroom! Enter that giveaway below.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Hop to the next blog, Teach at the Beach, to find out about the awesome game she is giving away!

Good luck on all of these amazing giveaways! 
What is your favorite must have for your classroom?

6 Mini-Lesson Ideas for Teaching Effective Dialogue

Thursday, November 10, 2016
The past couple of weeks I have incorporated 5 different mini-lessons that 
taught my students to effectively add dialogue to their writing. Hopefully! ;)
Mini-Lesson #1: Dialogue Models
I used the form seen below to introduce basic dialogue models to the students.  Under each individual model, the students wrote their own example.  Students also looked through the novel they are currently independently reading and hunted examples of each model.  
dialogue models, upper grade writing, dialogue lesson, 5th grade writing
Mini-Lesson #2: Color Coding Models
In the next mini-lesson, I gave each student 4 different colored index cards which they cut apart and arranged into the different models.  This provided a good visual as long as they stayed with a consistent color pattern.  The pattern we used was:

ORANGE: subject or speaker
PINK: speaker tag (how the speaker spoke)
YELLOW: what was spoken by the character
GREEN: quotation marks and commas

Students are keeping this in their writing folder so they can pull it 
out throughout the year when needed!
speaker tag lesson, dialogue lesson, color coding dialogue
Mini-Lesson #3) Speaker Tags
Students brainstormed different ways to say more basic types of speaker tags like the ones seen below.  After students independently researched these speaker tags using the chrome books, we made a classroom anchor chart where students came up and added one word to each square.  This created a good discussion tool as some of the words were great examples or synonyms for more common speaker tags, and how others were not very good examples or wouldn't make sense. 
synonyms for said
Mini Lesson #4) SAID is not DEAD!
As teachers we often use the expression SAID is DEAD! when teaching dialogue. However, said can actually be a very powerful word when it is paired with a prepositional phrase. As we were looking through novels that the students were reading and finding examples of dialogue, we noticed that many authors used long phrases to explain how a character sounded or looked when they were speaking.  Since we had been previously studying prepositional phrases, students were able to incorporate this into their writing.
"Watch out! The bowl is going to tip over!" My mom said.
"Watch out! The bowl is going to tip over!" My mom said with a distraught look on her face.
Mini Lesson #5) Writing Dialogue with Comics
Students were so excited when I pulled out this comic of Charlie Brown talking to Linus. The students rewrote the comic using dialogue models.  This allowed the students a lot of practice with writing speaker tags to create the appropriate mood and tone as well as changing speakers. They loved it!
comic strips in the classroom, comic strip mini-lesson
Here is another example! We talked about how important it is the vary your dialogue models so that there is variety in your conversations.
5th grade, writing mini-lesson, narrative writing with dialogue
Mini-Lesson #6) Students Create Comics 
Finally, it was time for students to create a comic based on their narrative draft that we had been writing.  The students read over their narratives and pinpointed a place where they would want to add dialogue.  They used the template seen below to draw the comic. 
After students drew the comic, they wrote the conversation below and finally added it to their narratives! She was able to add this conversation to her narrative and it really took her writing to the next level! 
writing, 5th grade, panicked teacher
Click on the image below to get this free template!
Other templates seen in this blog post can be found in my narrative writing unit! 
Click on the link below to be taken there!
Please share your tips or tricks for adding dialogue!

Pumpkins, Prepositions, and Poetry!

Monday, October 17, 2016

We are in the middle of studying prepositions! We kicked off our preposition studies with the Preposition Song seen below that I still remember from my sixth grade English teacher! 
The kids are loving learning this song to the tune of Yankee Doodle Dandy.
I also made this anchor chart based on the wonderful visual I found on the website found here.
To have the students get in some real world practice, their homework for the night before was to find 3-5 prepositional phrases from the book that they had read! As I checked their homework, kids took turns going up to the chart seen below to record their prepositional phrase. This was not an easy task, but they came through and it was also nice to have a public view of what each student was reading.
Finally, the students took a crack at writing the prepositions in a poem about pumpkins. A great sentence starter we used was, "A Pumpkin Grows" which students then chose a preposition from the song and wrote a phrase that made sense to them. They came up with some great poetry! Click on the picture below to get more detailed templates that you can use with your students! 
Below is the finished product. The students typed their poems on the computers and inserted a picture of their rough drafts along with inserting a picture of a real pumpkin. They looked great on our door!

Johnny Appleseed for the Bigger Kids

Sunday, September 25, 2016
Can the big kids celebrate Johnny Appleseed Day??? Well, yes they can!!! I teamed up with my teaching neighbor Teaching in Room 6 to end the week off with some apple fun.  I searched the internet and found some awesome passages that I was able to print out for the students. Recently, we have been discussing the importance of having multiple sources while doing research, so this was the perfect opportunity for students to break out into groups, research different articles, and then compare information that was found.  Here are the links to the different passages that I found!

Johnny Appleseed Article #1
Johnny Appleseed Article #2

Since we have also been focusing on Close Reading, the students used the following paper to target the different Close Reading Annotations with their groups. Click on the template below the picture to use this in your classroom.
My class is also focusing on Idiom/Adage/Proverbs of the Week this year, so this was the perfect opportunity to get thematic and post an "apple" related Adage. What better than, "An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away?" At the beginning of the year, my students had a pretty firm grasp on Idioms, but Adages/Proverbs? I had to look up that one too! Since it is a major standard in 4th and 5th grade, I have an entire bulletin board dedicated to it.  Click on the picture below to get a more in depth look at how I post this in the classroom AND the week's worth of posters to display in your classroom! Also, there is a"Wonderopolis" article on this adage/proverb which is a great introduction for the students to read AND great if you have Chrome Books or a technology center in your classroom. 

I am finding that focusing on ONE Idiom/Adage/Proverb of the Week is a great way to incorporate this standard into my weekly routine.  The students usually work on this as part of their morning work!

Since we are a STEM school, we found this amazing idea from Kerry Tracy, called Apples Ahead, and it just fit in perfect with what we were doing. Students had to build structures that would be strong and sturdy enough to carry an apple while they participated in a relay race. This was a great opportunity for students to build hands on models using creativity and teamwork! They were given 35 minutes with specific materials (cardboard, yarn, planters tape, brown bags, pipe cleaners, aluminum foil, pencils, brads, string) to SHARE in order for each team member to build a sturdy model.  
Here is a picture of the kids in action! Each group had 4 team members working on their own individual structure. The 35 minutes went by quickly as they made their models. Some teams realized that they needed EVERY structure in their group to perform well in order for their team to be successful, whereas others acted more competitively within their team, realizing later that they needed to all do well in order for their team to succeed!    
Here are a few pictures of the teams in action!
This was one of the structures that the students voted the STRONGEST! She zoomed through the relay race since she made such a strong base for her hat (and her self-confidence was just beaming which was awesome!)
This girl won the most CREATIVE since she used every single type of material that was given to her. It was great to see the kids proud of their structures and comparing and analyzing why some structures did better than others.  
All in all, I was so excited about giving the students a "break" from their regular routine! Take a look how my friend Stephanie celebrated Johnny Appleseed day! I am LOVING all of her tips with how to incorporate Google Classroom with her legend vs. truth activity…..Take a peek into her room here!
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