New Back To School E-books are Starting to Roll Out!

This is great news! The 3rd annual TpT Back To School FREE e-books are starting to roll out.
They're all GREAT, but I'm in THIS one!

 Grades 1-2 Back to School E-Book 2015-2016! 

But that isn't the only one!

Grades 3-4 English Language Arts Back to School E-book 2015-2016 is also available! 

As the other free e-books become available, I will be posting the links! Be sure to check back!

I Got My T-Shirt For The TpT Conference!

I just received my t-shirt for the TpT Conference in Vegas!

I will be styling in Vegas for the conference.     

If you are in the market for a super t-shirt, I would highly recommend these folks.  They did a wonderful job of communicating with me.  A HUGE shout out to Elisha S. for making my shirt look darn good!  It was so easy to design my shirt and place the order.  I immediately received notification that they had gotten it.  Elisha was concerned about the graphics for my logo.  As you can see from the picture, no problem!  My shirt arrived 5 days after placing the order.  Can you imagine getting a high-quality product that quickly?  

They are a multi-talented company.  They also do teacher apparel, amazing class shirts, and custom designed products.  If you like bling, they have it!  

Seriously, you should check them out!

These Photographs Are Worth More Than a 1,000 Words

     I am in the process of creating a cross-curriculum project to be used in Science, Language Arts, and/or Social Studies. I am attempting to introduce students to different countries via animals.  

     Who doesn’t like animals, right?  I did not want to use all clip art (as cute as it may be) because I felt it would take away from the information.  Instead, I chose to use photographs of the animals.

Well, since my first lap book/ center activity dealt with elephants, I couldn’t just go out to my backyard and snap a photo.

Thank you, Z is for Zebra! He has wonderful photos.  If you do not believe me, check out this freebie!  

If you are in the market for superbly taken photographs, I highly recommend Z is for Zebra.

     His photographs are making my lap book/center activities jump! His photos would also be fantastic for covers.  

Inside and Outside Character Trait Mini-book FREEBIE!

        I have created a new FREEBIE!  Doesn’t everyone love a freebie?!  
I found that sometimes my students had a tendency to forget there were several types of character traits.  They were so busy finding the physical traits, they forgot about the emotional (or inside) traits (or the opposite). I created this mini-book to take away the confusion.
I am sure this mini-book will help students find, record and prove (through textual evidence) character traits. 
It is quick and easy to make.  I’ve also added a mini-book blank page template (printable) for additional recording of traits. 

This is a great activity to include in a Reader’s Notebook or an interactive notebook.

A Newbie on TpT That You MUST Check Out!

Julie's Learning Station by Julie Miller

I just found Julie’s Learning Station by Julie Miller!  All I can say is, “WOW!”  She only has 2 products posted so far.  However, THEY’RE FREE!  You can’t beat a price like that! 
Her first product is Antonyms Task Cards. 

These Antonym Task Cards are perfect for small groups, partners, stations, or whole group warm-ups. Your students will love the cute kid graphics! Just print, laminate, and you have a ready-made learning station. The clip art is to die for!  Seriously! 

Her other product is Synonyms Task Cards.

 Just print, laminate, and you have a ready-made learning station.  The colors are vibrant!  I love, love, love these products. 

So, go ahead, welcome Julie Miller and her store, Julie's Learning Station to the TpT world by downloading her products and following her!  You'll be VERY happy you did. 

Must Check These Out!

This is hot off the press! 
I have been fortunate enough to meet two AMAZING, creative ladies.  Both have been teaching in the classroom for many, many years.  Their dedication and enthusiasm for education is clearly shown with their inspiring teacherspayteachers products. 

First up:  Sandra Riddle The Brighter Rewriter

After a year of teaching, we’re all looking for something to fill those last few days.  Sandra’s Team Building Activities Task Cards are just what you need.  Have some end of the year fun using these task cards featuring 20 team building games and activities perfect for indoor gym/outdoor fun, stress relief after testing, or field day stations. They would even be great to use in back to school professional development!

Do you have some lucky teachers retiring this year?  Check out these lyrics by Sandra!  Send your co-workers off with a bang with these fantastic songs!

Rosie’s Resources is the place to go for super classroom resources.  Are your students looking for fun, engaging activities?  Rosie’s Resources has what they need.

Daily Language Review for Fourth Grade, spiraled and comprehensive, for the entire year. Do you wish you had a great spiral Language Arts Review / Bell Work / Warm Up Work / Homework / Test Prep resource? Need one that covers every 4th grade Language Arts objective, plus some 3rd grade objectives for review? I was always struggling to pull together resources for all my 4th grade needs, plus 3rd grade skills that needed review. I am pleased to publish this comprehensive Language Arts Review that does just that! This resource is a spiral review of all language arts objectives
covered by 4th grade Common Core and TEKS (for Texas teachers). Also included are many 3rd grade objectives that need review. 

But wait!  That’s not all she has to offer!

As Rosie states in her product description: I was always struggling to pull together resources for language arts skills needs, plus some skills that needed review from the previous year. This comprehensive Language Arts Review that does just that! This resource is a spiral review of all language arts objectives covered by 3rd grade Common Core and TEKS (for Texas teachers). Also included are many 2nd grade objectives that need review. As an added bonus, many reading objectives are also included.

-36 Weeks, 5 Days Per Week 
-Full-Sized 11” x 8-1/2” practice sheet for each day of the week
-Friday Quiz that includes questions covered during the week
-Use for Warm-Up, Bell Work, or Homework
-Easily avoid loss of skills due to lack of practice

Rosie's 5th Grade Daily Language Review will be posted in June. 

As you can see, BOTH of these ladies have super products.  Please visit their stores to find even more incredible products!

The Secret to Classroom Management

     I remember being asked how I was able to maintain classroom management so effortlessly.  I also remember looking at my co-worker with bewilderment at the question and answering, "I don't know".  I wasn't trying to be flippant with my answer; I had just never really thought about it.  There have been many days when absolute chaos reigned in my classroom.  I have spent many nights critiquing my classroom management trying to figure out what I needed to do to bring it back to a stable level.
     I will admit, I do not have a huge problem with managing a classroom.  I may have a few students who disrupt the learning environment, but that is common for any classroom.  Along the way, I have learned three very important rules that I follow that help in management.

3 Rules:
1. Say what you mean; mean what you say.
      If you say you will be giving everyone afterschool detention due to their behavior; you'd better be ready to stay after school to enforce it.  Students will quickly realize your threats are unsubstantiated, thus making them worthless. Be very careful of the "one size fits all" punishments.  They do not work.

2. Remember, your goal is to modify aberrant behavior.
     I believe a lot of teachers do not understand this concept.  If you have a student (or three, four, five) who constantly shouts out, is out of their seat, non-compliant, and/or unruly, the first step is to identify the behavior.  Please notice I used the singular form.  You will only be able to modify one behavior at a time.  Example:  Little student will not stay seated.  Little student randomly gets up and walks around.  You do not want Little Student to walk around the room bothering other children.
     In order to modify the behavior, you must look at the situation and figure out what the trigger might be (talking to the student usually helps to shorten the investigation process).  Little Student tells you they just cannot sit still.   Solution:  Seat Little Student toward the back of the room or toward the side.  Create a masking tape box beside or behind Little Student's chair.  Inform Little Student they may stand (and rock back and forth) only in the square created by the masking tape.  I have used this technique often.
     There are other methods you could employ to help modify the behavior (index cards with stickers that may be used as reminders/warnings, behavior cards (kids earn points for the week and receive a reward at the end of the week).  If you use a reward system to modify behavior, the student must buy into it and the rewards MUST be delivered.  If you do not deliver on the reward, the student will lose trust in you.  Rewards do not need to be monetary.  A note home, phone call home, being first in line, team leader for a day, etc.  Be creative!

3. Be Consistent!  Everyone, and I mean EVERYONE, tests the boundaries (have you ever gotten a speeding ticket?).  Students are no different.  If you have stated and posted your rules and expectations, you must enforce them.  If you say there will be no talking during the pledge(s) and moment of silence, enforce it!  Yes, I know, it can be difficult at times.  This; however, is crucial to classroom management.  Students need to see that you will treat everyone the same.

Obviously, there is more to successful classroom management, but these three suggestions will take you far.

Busy Creating a New Novel Study

I am currently busy working on my next novel study.  I have decided to create one for The Boy on the Wooden Box  by Leon Leyson.  It is a very good read.  It details Leyson's life after the occupation of Poland by the Nazis.  Leyson worked in Oskar Schindler's factory (Schindler's List) during the war.

I thoroughly enjoyed (is that the correct term to use for a memoir about Jewish treatment during WWII?) reading Leyson's account of his life during the occupation of Poland.

As soon as it is ready for publication, I will let you know!

Image result for the boy on the wooden box

I am also beginning work on mini-lessons.  I will try to keep you updated as those begin to materialize.  It takes me a little bit of time to get my thoughts onto paper.  The one I created yesterday for use in my classroom was received very well by my students.

New Novel Study! My Life as a Joke

Woohoo!  I am so excited.  My newest novel study is finally completed and loaded onto TpT!  I am very proud of this one.  I added a lot of new features to it.  

I believe it is important to constantly challenge yourself.  I did just that with this novel study.  Due to the increased use of Reader's/Writer's Workshops, I included numerous components of it  in this novel study.

This novel study is 111 pages!  I have tried to include Everything a teacher would need to teach the book.  It is packed full of goodies!

Included in this novel study:

  • *open-ended questions
  • *turn and talk prompts
  • *snapshot questions
  • *mini-lessons
  • * vocabulary quick checks in almost every section
  • *vocabulary lists with activities
  • *essay prompts
  • pre-reading activities
  • research ideas
  • foldable suggestions
  • character analysis
  • theme activity
  • mood vs. tone activity
  • 4 quizzes
  • 1 comprehension test (will essays)
  • answer key when applicable

Special thanks should go out to Gayle and Sandi for being my proofreaders!  I appreciate your help very much! 

1 Week until the STAAR Test

I am going to guess that the increase in goofy behavior at school is due to the fact that the kids are anxious about the STAAR test.  They will be taking it in one week.

I can tell it is getting closer; I have lost the ability to sleep.  Visions of what I should have done, could have done, and want to get done, keep invading my mind as soon as I close my eyes.

Last minute tutoring sessions, centers, and advice are taking place.

Unanswered questions are finally being asked and answered.

Confidences and self-esteem are being solidified and reassured.

Administration manuals and lectures are being initiated.

Small group testing is being assigned.

Locks on cabinet doors are being checked for durability and test security.

Standardized testing... the new frontier...

Spring Break is over

Well, it's official.  Spring Break is over for me.  :(

I had such a productive week!  Besides finishing my newest novel study, The Raft, I managed to update my TpT store, AND finish half of my newest novel study!

I'm very excited about this novel study.  I have incorporated a lot of new things!  There has been a huge push to implement Reader's/Writer's Workshop in my district.  So, taking the ball and running with it, I decided to put some of the R/W's components into my novel studies.  I sure do hope the teachers like the additions.

I'm excited about going back to school.  I hope I haven't forgotten anyone's name!  :)

Two weeks until our standardized test, STAAR.  Panic should set in at any moment!

The rain has stopped!

I realize we need rain.  However, it has been raining for quite a while.  To break up the boredom and overall dreariness, Brandy, my dog, and I have been weeding the backyard.

This is Brandy.

 Let me tell you, my backyard is FILLED with weeds.  (I'll admit, I am not the most diligent gardener.)  In fact, I hate anything having to do with "beautifying" the yard.  Every year I have to replace the silly bushes in front because they keep dying.  My son got me a solar flower, "So you can't kill it," he proclaimed with a smirky smile.
Oiy!  Anyway, back to the weeding.  I don't know of any other dog who LOVES to weed as much as my dog.  She will ATTACK the weeds.  Yes, she has actually gotten me a couple of times because I've been too slow to react.  Drew blood a few times. Good thing I love her.

This is Brandy weeding the yard!

This is the pile we pulled today.  (Please stop really isn't nice.)

So, that's how I've been spending my Spring Break...are you jealous?

New Novel Study! The Raft by S.A. Bodeen

I am so excited to have finished my latest novel study.  I incorporated a lot of new activities into it.  I hope teachers like it.

This is a 90 page novel study for The Raft by S.A. Bodeen.

This novel study would work great for whole class, literature circles, independent, and Reader’s Workshop.

It includes:
  • ·         Pre-Reading Activities
  • ·         Questions for every chapter
  • ·         Vocabulary lists and activities
  • ·         Snapshot questions
  • ·         Turn-and-talk questions
  • ·         Essay prompts
  • ·         Theme analysis
  • ·         Research ideas
  • ·         Character analysis
  • ·         Foldable suggestions
  • ·         4 quizzes
  • ·         Comprehension test

Answer keys are provided for vocabulary activities, chapter questions, quizzes, and test.

Freebie Alert!

How could I resist?  I've decided to provide a fantastic freebie to those interested!  I have used this product in my classroom often.  The students enjoy it.

If you download this product, I hope you will leave positive feedback.  Also, you may find additional products of mine that fit your needs.  Please visit my store.  

TpT Conference July 9 & 10


TpT has organized another conference!  It will take place July 9th and 10th in Las Vegas.  I attended the conference last year.  It was fabulous!  I learned quite a bit.  My enthusiasm and motivation for creating quality teacher resources increased immeasurably!  I remember feeling giddy after the conference.  All I wanted to do was create, create, create!

I have no doubt the creative juices will be invigorated again after this conference!  I am so excited!

I learned a lot from last year's experience.

This year I will be:

  • engaging in more gatherings outside of the TpT sessions
  • taking along my business cards
  • asking a lot more questions
  • following up with the people I meet at the conference
  • taking email addresses from the attendees
  • making new friends
I have signed up for some very interesting sessions.  I love how TpT listened to the comments from those who attended last summer.  I was very pleased to see that this conference has sessions concerning business practices, taxes, and marketing.  

I cannot wait for the fun to begin!