Wednesday, February 26, 2014

3 Million Teachers Strong Sale On Teachers Pay Teachers and Pin it to Win It

(image credit: Rachel Lamb for Blog Hoppin')

Can you believe that Teachers Pay Teachers is already 3 million teachers strong!  That is a whole lot of resources and support!  I can honestly say that Teachers Pay Teachers has been an amazing blessing to both my family and my students.  The quality of my teaching has improved tremendously thanks to the resources that I have not only made, but have purchased from other sellers as well!  My wish list is way too long to even talk about, but with the great sale taking place Feb. 27 - 28th, I will be able to make a major dent in it!  I will  be having a  20% sale on all of my products at my store. Teachers Pay Teachers adds an additional 10% to that when you use the code TPT3 (You effectively save 28%).

I am linking up with Blog Hoppin' with a bunch of other sellers who are also throwing sales at their stores. Several of these sellers have products that are on my wish list!  Be sure to check them out and get ready to save on some amazing products!

As a special thank you to my followers, I am having a Pin it to Win It party for the next three days.  Pin your favorite item from my store and you can get it for FREE!  Limit one item per person.  Simply leave the link to your pin and your email address in the comments and I will send you the file as soon as I can.  Thank you again for all of your support!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Increasing the Level of Students' Writing

I am linking up with Fourth Grade Flipper today for Tried It Tuesday!

I don't know about you, but sometimes I will watch a teaching video like the one below and wonder, "How did the teacher get their students to talk like that?  On their own no less?  How do they push their students to go beyond "He is nice' when asked to describe a character?

I had an AH-HA moment a few weeks ago when I showed my students the video Austin's Butterfly which I have shared again below because it has been SOOO powerful in my class.

 I previously blogged about my students recreating the drawing assignment similar to the one in the video where they had to provide specific feedback to each other to improve their drawings.  We have now transferred that critique skill to our writing, and also our math work!  It has been amazing to say the least, and I wanted to share what we have been trying.

We have been reading The One and Only Ivan, and I wanted them to write about the characters in a deeper more meaningful way, referring to the text specifically.

(The question in the picture was an old one, not the current question).  

We started the process by sitting in our critique circle.

Then I asked the students to share what they had written so that we could all add specific feedback to make their responses better.  We use Marzano scales, so I used the language, bringing our writing up to a level three or four.

The first student to share was the one above, and it caused a bit of controversy.  In it he stated that Stella compliments Ivan's belly.  One of the students asked, "Did she?  I don't think Stella did that."  Then the most amazing part (in my humble opinion), one of my more reluctant readers who rarely shares said, "Yes, she did!"  He grabbed my book and said, "Look it says it right here." He defended the answer using the text!!! Are you kidding me?

As the students gave each other feedback, I encouraged them to remember about how in the video the students were very specific in their feedback.  They didn't just say, "Make the wings better." they said, "Make them shaped more like a triangle."  I encouraged them not to say generic things like "Add more details." but instead to offer feedback like, "Could you add more about what she looked like?" or "What did Ivan think about her?"  

Another student shared this:

And there it is, that teacher dreaded "She is nice" for describing a character.  But, this time, I didn't say a word. I let the other students offer feedback.  Here are a few of their responses:

"Who is she?  Can you be more specific with the character's name?"

"Why doesn't she like the clawstick?"

"How is she nice to Ivan?"

Their comments were very specific, and on point!  Here is his revised version:

We still need to work on spelling, but his content improved by leaps and bounds!

What have you been trying in your classroom?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Luck of the Irish Giveaway

When you are born with the last name Dempsey and you marry into the last name Malloy - you just have to LOVE St. Patrick's Day!  I am even more excited this year because I am joining Kristin from Easy Teaching Tools in her Luck of the Irish Giveaway. I feel so lucky and blessed to be a part of an amazing network of teachers - some as far away from Australia!  I wanted to share the luck by participating in this amazing giveaway just in time for the big sale over on Teachers Pay Teachers (they are now 3 million strong - mind boggling isn't it??).

If you're still reading {love you!},Kristin has a great FREEBIE for you!
Have a wonderful week!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Five For Friday February 21 - With a Few FREEBIES

Time for Five For Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching!  It was a short week, but a busy week nonetheless!

We had fun playing math games this week.  One of the favorites was this freebie from Bunting, Books, and Bainbridge. 

We also have been loving this equivalent fraction bump-it  game from Classroom Game Nook.

I can't believe that I forgot to post this last week - must have been the excitement from Valentine's Day!  But... I bought my ticket to the TpT conference this summer and am soooo excited!

Is anyone else going?  I am looking forward to meeting some of my bloggy pals in real life!

I have an extra duty position as a drama director for the Intermediate School in our town (5th and 6th grade).  We started rehearsals for our Spring production this week.  They have been amazing - and I am blessed with their talent!

While we were rehearsing, Luke kept himself busy doing his homework.  He got really quiet, and I went to check on him, and I had to snap this adorable picture!

I got a nice surprise mid-week when I stopped at Starbuck's for my usual morning treat to find out that the car in front of me had paid for my order!  It was a fairly big order to because I ordered for me and two of my boys.  The boys thought it was amazing to have someone do that for you.  So... we decided to pay it forward the next day!  Somehow, the Starbuck's tasted even better after our random act of kindness!

We also had our science fair this week, and one of my students was a top place finisher!  She will be going to the regional competition for the third year in a row!  I am so proud of her!

If you have a science fair coming up soon and are looking for some graphic organizers to help your students focus on the scientific process, you may want to check out Let's Enter The Science Fair - Graphic Organizers.  22 pages of science fair goodies!
Let's Enter The Science Fair - Graphic Organizers

The first three people to comment with their email address will receive free copy!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Five for Friday February 14th

Happy Valentine's Day!  I survived the sugar rush that was our Valentine's Day Party!  It is Friday Saturday and time for a belated Five for Friday post with Doodle Bugs Teaching!

Speaking of said sugar rush here are a few pics of our "Love Fest"

My haul - good thing I have a few boys at home to help me eat all the goodies!

I tried to tame the sugar monster a bit by having a Heart Healthy Breakfast.  I think it is going to be a new tradition - the kids loved it!

Speaking of healthier eating - I know I have to be better about this.  I was really good at the beginning of the year, but as soon as I got bronchitis and pneumonia right before Christmas my good habits went out the door.  Being sick made me crave all of my comfort foods and unfortunately that includes sugar.  I lost a ton of weight when I gave up sugar during my last pregnancy (I had gestational diabetes), but I went back to the sugar and gained it all back and then some. I know I have to change permanently. So for the past three weeks I have gotten back on the exercise habit and this week was the week to get back on track with my healthier eating. I rarely have time at school to sit down and eat, but I am a snacker. Usually I munch on candies or other quick things to eat.  I knew I had to have quick and easy snacks on hand to help out.  I was inspired by this pin from Pinterest to bring some healthy snacks to school.

My Version

What types of healthy snacks do you bring to school to keep the hunger at bay?

Another fun Valentine tradition that has developed in my class is hair bows.  Because I have rolled up with my class, I have the same students this year that I do last year.  One of the girls in my class has brought hair ribbons to school for all of the girls in our class (including me) every Valentine's Day.  Here is a pic of the girls modeling their bows:

And then the boys had to get into it too.

And on a final parting note:

Yeah, not sure what to say about that exactly :D

Hope you had a great Valentine's Day!  Hubby had to work last night so we are going out to dinner tonight.

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