Sunday, June 30, 2013

Back to School Mentor Text

I can't believe that today is the last day of June! I am thinking that summer needs to slow down, anyone else with me?

I'm excited to link up with Collaboration Cuties to share a mentor text with you. Since summer isn't slowing down, this weeks topic is back to school books. One book that I use during the first week of school is The Hundred Penny Box. 

 The Hundred Penny Box

This book is about a boy named Michael and his Great-great-Aunt Dew. She has a 100 Penny Box that she loves. Each penny represents a year of her life, and there is a story for each year. The book talks about their relationship and the memories Aunt Dew still has at 100 years old.

I like to use this at the start of the year because it is a quick read-only 80ish pages and it is written on a third grade reading level. This means that most students are able to read it at the start of the year without too much help. I normally spread the story out over several days. I read some to them, I ask for volunteers to read aloud (it lets me see who my confident readers are early in the year,) I also have the students read with a partner so that I can walk about and listen to their fluency.

I also have the students create a penny book. Each student brings in a penny for every year of their life. The students brainstorm with their parents something that they have done each year of their life. (I ask them to do this in my welcome to fourth grade letter that goes home a few weeks before school starts.)The students and I work together to create a few sentences based on the information they brought in to school. It allows me to see where my students are as writers and spellers. The students create a picture book of their life in a little over a week. We push to have it ready for Back to School Night. The parents love having something that their child has already made, and I love being able to preassess the students in a nonthreatening way so early in the year.

What are your Back to School books and projects? I'd love to hear what you use!

Today is the final day to enter into my bloglovin' giveaway. Just click on the button below!

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Currently July

It is almost I am linking up with Farley from Oh Boy 4th Grade for July's Currently.

It is a lazy Saturday so my husband and I are watching old episodes of MacGyver on Netflix, anyone else remember this show, or am I showing my age?

Enjoy your Saturday everyone, I hope you are all able to enjoy a lazy day as well!

Friday, June 28, 2013

Five for Friday, July Goals, and a Freebie

Happy Friday Everyone! I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. Fair warning...not all of these are educational, but what do you expect-it's summer!
On Tuesday I joined up with a bunch of my blogging buddies for a giant bloglovn' giveaway linky. If you haven't check it out yet, you can do so by clicking on the button:
This week I had a Wildtree Tasting party. Wildtree is a certified organic company that has a lot of great products that make cooking meals easy and quick-but still healthy. If you haven't heard of them I would encourage you to check them out-well worth the time.
I created a few new products for my TPT store this week. My Reader's Notebook setup and logs are a new freebie for you. If you download it, be sure to leave feedback and let me know what you think.

This week I also started to read Guided Math. I have really enjoyed what I have read so far. I'm looking forward to sharing more of my thoughts and and discoveries with you during Mrs. Crofts' Classroom's book study.

I have also spent a ridiculous amount of time watching Buffy this week. Let's just say it has been my guilty pleasure while I work.
I'm also linking up with I {heart}Recess for her July Goals linky.

What have you been up to this week? I hope you have enjoyed your summer vacation as much as I am!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Tune into Technology-in Reading

I'm excited to be linking up with iTeach1:1 and Learning to the Core for their new Thursday linky, Tune into Technology.

My fourth graders love anything that have to do with technology. One major way that I integrate technology into my classroom is by using my SMART Board.

I can take a very, dare I say it, dry lesson and create a fun activity on the SMART Board. Doing this instantly engages the class. One website I have used is The SMART Exchange. If you have a SMART Board, be sure to check out this site. It has a lot of great resources that other teachers have created for free.
Another technology resource that I just started using this year was Storia. It is a free app that you can download to a tablet, computer, ipad...almost anything. When you download the app they give you five free books. As a teacher, I was also given the chance to download five new books for free as well. Some of my kiddos needed a larger font than some books are normally printed in, so being able to read on a screen where we could enlarge the font was great for them.

How do you incorporate Technology into your Reading class? I'd love to hear new suggestions!

Don't forget to check out the linky giveaway.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Follow me on Bloglovn' Giveaway

Hi Friends!

You have probably heard by now that Google Reader is going away on July 1st.  Well, Google Reader may be going away, but I don't want YOU to go away, so I hope that you will consider following my blog through bloglovin!  I know that change is some of my blogging friends and I thought we might sweeten it up for you a little bit!

I am doing a giveaway for all of my fabulous followers that take the leap and switch over to bloglovin.  You may have already switched over!  In that case, this will be an easy entry!

If you have not yet switched or are not following my blog through bloglovin, then there are a few easy steps to follow.  You can go to my sidebar (that's the column on the right over there that shows our followers) and you can click the button that says Follow this Blog with bloglovin.  Or, you can go into the Rafflecopter below and click the link in the first entry, and that will take you to my blog on bloglovin.

You will need to set up an account with bloglovin so that you can follow me.  Please be sure to leave your bloglovin username in the Rafflecopter entry.

If you want to go ahead and move all of the blogs you follow from Google over, you can go to this link and it will take you through the super easy steps.  BUT, please go to my bloglovin link and make sure that you are following me through bloglovin.  To be sure, make sure that the blue button at the top of our bloglovin page has been clicked (it should be gray with the word following- if it's blue, please click it to follow!)

So, if you follow me by bloglovin, please enter my giveaway!!  I will be picking 2 WINNERS and each winner will get their choice of 2 Items FROM My TpT STORE!  :O)

*Special thanks to Collaboration Cuties for coming up with this fabulous idea! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway get the InLinkz code

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tried it Tuesday and Giveaway Winner Announced

I admit it, I did it, after reading blog post after blog post I broke down and bought one...

I received a gift card to Amazon and decided to pick up one of these lovely laminators. I decided to try it out this past weekend after I had printed out some of the task cards I had purchased on TPT. This laminator is fantastic. It cost me $32 from Amazon and I wish I had bought it years ago. I spent Sunday night laminating.

My husband enjoyed laughing at my glee while I spent and hour laminating. I am thankful he gets a kick out of my "teacherness." (Is that a real word?)

What have you tried recently? Be sure to link up with Holly for Tried it Tuesday to share what you have tried recently!

Also my 200 Follower Giveaway ended last night. The winner is Ashley C. Congratulations! Be sure to check your e-mail.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

There are big things brewing for tomorrow-be sure to stop back here!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Monday Made It

I am so excited to link up for the first time with 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It! This has been a linky party that I stalk...but haven't had the chance to participate in until now.
Last week was my first full week off from school, and after I survived tackled the laundry I was able to get a little creative.
First thing I made were my Math Workshop buttons. I plan to use these on my bulletin board to show my math rotations. I'm envisioning something like this:
Since I don't have a lot of board space I think it will be the best option for me.I plan to make it all magnetic and hang it on a file cabinet, that way the student groups can change based on where they score on the pretest.

I also started to print off Math Task Cards that I purchased from Mandy Neal. They are fantastic, and will be a huge help as I implement Math Workshop this year.

Finally I printed off a set of Comprehension Question Fans. I still need to cut them and laminate them, but I plan to save that for later when I make a trip to school. I wish I had a paper-cutter at home!

What have you made this week? Be sure to check out Tara's blog for some great ideas!

One last reminder, today is the last day to enter my 200 follower giveaway.

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

A True Book: The Pennsylvania Colony-Mentor Text

Happy Sunday! I am so sad that I missed linking up last week, but I am thankful to link up this week with Collaboration Cuties Mentor Text Linky.

This week's topic is social studies. The book I want to share with you is A True Book: The Pennsylvania Colony by Kevin Cunningham. (If you live in/teach the history of any of the original thirteen colonies Kevin Cunningham has written a colony book on that state too.)

 The Pennsylvania Colony

A big part of fourth grade curriculum is to study our state history. We have an old out of print textbook that we use to teach this curriculum. Thankfully I am not required to use the textbook daily, but rather I can use it as a resource. I stumbled upon this book in my search for interesting nonfiction texts. I have six copies-so I normally break my kids up into groups to do something with a section of the book, or I will use it as a center if I want each child to have their hands on a copy of it.

I love using this book because it shares the facts in a fun, kid-friendly way. I also love all of the text features. With Common Core being so nonfiction heavy it is nice to have a fun nonfiction book to refer to that covers the social studies curriculum as well.

What are your favorite social studies mentor texts? Be sure to head over to Collaboration Cuties to find awesome books to add to your wishlist mentor text suggestions!

Don't forget to enter my giveaway. It ends Monday night!

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Saturday, June 22, 2013

Spark Student Motivation-There's a Monster in my Room!

I had the opportunity to spend last night with four of my students from last year. One of their parents won an auction item which was "Pizza and Game night with Mr. and Mrs. Hunter." We had a great time playing games and eating lots of junk food. My husband is such a trooper...he makes me cool with the boys. :) While they were over we talked a little bit about some of their favorite things from fourth grade (they have had two weeks off.) One of the things they mentioned gave me the idea of today's post.
At the start of the school year I work to build my students stamina in writing. Even though the third grade teacher runs a writing workshop, she does not devote as much time to writing as I do. Add this to the fact that the kids have had a summer off and they need a little time to get use to writing 30+ min. a day.

To help the students adjust in a fun way I like to do There's A Monster in my Room Activity. I like to start this activity by reading the book I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll.

 I Need My Monster
It is an adorable book that helps to get the students in a "monster mood."

In this activity the students draw a monster (in secret.) They then write a paragraph (or two) describing their monster. The key is telling the students to be as descriptive as possible. I let them know that the students goal is to write a description so well that someone could draw an identical monster. Then the following day we do just that. The students receive a classmates paragraph and try to draw the monster based on it. Once they are finished we compare the monsters (normally the next day.) It is a great way for the students to see how important it is to write specific details in an organized way. I wish I had pictures of them, but I wasn't blogging back in September so I didn't take any. I'll be sure to share some pictures this fall when we do it again.

The students love this activity because it gives them a chance to draw and write. I love this activity because it is so memorable. When the students need to be more descriptive or organized I am able to refer back to this activity and they remember it.

Even though I have used this monster activity for years, it is a new product to my TPT store. I'd like to give a free copy to the first three people that leave their e-mail address in the comments below.

What do you do to motivate your students? Link up with Joanne at Head Over Heels For Teaching to share your tips!

Don't forget to enter my 200 Follower Giveaway for a chance to win some great products.

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Friday, June 21, 2013

Five for Friday-My Teacher Always Says and a freebie

Sorry for the double post today, but I didn't want to have a super long post. I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday.
1-My husband graduated on Friday. His family came up from Florida and we had a fun time celebrating.

2-I have been working on cleaning up my Nonfiction Writing Unit for TPT and I finally finished. It is a unit that I have used for the last few years. It allows the students their own personal choice in their writing. If you are interested you can Pin it to Win it. I'll choose a winner on Sunday. Just put the address of your pin and your e-mail in the comments section of this post.

3. While I was busy being productive I created a freebie for my biome writing unit. This is the plan sheet that I used with my kiddos to create our biome posters earlier this year.
Picture of Free Teacher Downloads at Teaching Blog Addict

4. This week I also reached 200 followers. Thanks to some of my blogging buddies I'm holing a fun giveaway. The giveaway ends Monday night, so be sure to enter by clicking the link below.

5. I'm also linking up with Forever in First's linky My Teacher Always Says. When I first read about this linky it made me think of this book My Teacher Likes to Say.
 My Teacher Likes to Say
It is a great book  that has a student sharing about different idioms their teacher says. My students laugh because there are many things I say in that book.
Here are some of my "My Teacher Always Says:"

I normally say this one when the kids are talking or wasting class time. All I have to do is say it in a quiet voice and they give me their attention.

This phrase is something I say all the time...I always want my kiddos to know that our classroom is a safe place to try new things and a safe place for them to be incorrect.

As fourth graders, my students really need to learn to evaluate their choices. When they are starting to make a poor choice I ask them this phrase. For many of them it is all they need to turn it around.

What are your phrases? What do you always say? Hope you all had a fantastic week!  Follow my blog with Bloglovin

200 Follower Giveaway

Happy Friday everyone! It is hard to believe that my blog has reached over 200 followers already. Some of my blogging buddies have donated some awesome products that you have a chance to win this weekend.

Here are the awesome prizes:

All frames are from Dots-Of-Fun. Giveaway will end on Monday night. Thanks for following! Don't forget that Google Reader is going away very soon- Follow my blog with Bloglovin
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