Sensational Product Spotlight and Linky

I have a new seller that I would like to introduce you to. Her name is Samantha Harrell and she has some great products for you. One of her newest additions to her TpT store is called Coordinating and Subordinating Conjunctions. If you teach language arts, you need to check out this product.

Coordinating and Subordinating Conjunctions
This product is a wonderful resource to use when teaching coordinating and subordinating conjunctions, as well as forming compound and complex sentences. It is targeted for students in third grade through fifth grade. It is aligned to the Common Core Standards.

Included in this product are cards for your word wall and centers, booklet templates for both coordinating conjunctions/compound sentences and subordinating conjunctions/complex sentences, and assessments with the answer keys.

Above is a photo of two students working in their conjunction booklet. The students put their own books together using the page numbers. This booklet is awesome! For pages 1-10, the students receive instruction from the teacher. Pages 11-17 are independent practice designed for the students to demonstrate their understanding and knowledge of coordinating and subordinating conjunctions. There is even a page designated for partner sharing and collaboration. One thing I really like about the booklets is that there are two of them, one for coordinating conjunctions and one for subordinating conjunctions. (If you look behind the students in the photo, you can see some of the word wall cards that some with this product.)

I am sure that you will love this product! It is very teacher/student friendly and keeps the students engaged! Visit Samantha's store and follow her for resources to use in your classroom.

Now, it's linky time! I am so excited about this new blog and our very first linky party! The wonderful thing about this linky party is that the products are free! Yes, that's right...FREE! Head on over to the All Things Upper Elementary Blog and pick up some fabulous products. Be sure that you thank those donating by following their stores and leaving positive feedback/comments for them.

Picture This! Friday Free Writing Samples

This week's Friday Free Write was a picture of the waves crashing. I know, it is still January! But I just couldn't help it. It was a bit chilly yesterday, and I was really wanting to think warm thoughts. The students did a great job with their writing and sharing! When I asked for volunteers, all hands flew into the air. This week they took ownership in their work and were proud of it (maybe the picture sparked warm thoughts for them, too!). They were all so descriptive. Here are a couple of the samples of writing from yesterday.

Student 1:
The crashing waves
The sandy beach
The things I crave
Are at my feet

There's nowhere else I'd rather be
Not castle, nor creek
Nor mountain high
Nor flying in the vast, blue sky

The beach is my home
With salt in my hair and sand at my feet
I watch waves covered with foam
It sets my soul free

Here, I will always stay young
With the air's salty taste on my tongue
Dancing waves put me in a daze
And the world flies around me twirling, twirling

Lying on the beach, nothing can beat
This feeling I have
It makes my heart flutter
For this feeling, there is no other.

Student 2's Introduction:

I watched as the waves crashed against the shore. I saw the salty foam creep up and down the shoreline as I made my way to the water. As the salthy froth touched my feet, I turned back and set my things down. Taking a running start, I rammed an oncoming wave and felt the shocking cold creep from my head to my toes. I stayed submerged for a moment trying to adapt to teh temperature, but I found myself needing to breathe. I rocketed toward the foamy surface. As I broke through the still water, I felt something hit me on my side. Terrorized, all I could think was "SHARK"! ...

Upclose Look at Deforestation

This week in one of my social studies classes, we have been discussing deforestation and the effects it has on the environment in Africa. We have had some interesting conversations and discussions. One of our discussions stemmed around the American scientist Michael Fay and his 465-day, 2000-mile walk through the forests in Central Africa. The students could not fathom why anyone would want to take a journey like this one. I explained to them that scientists have various interests, and Fay's interest was to follow, observe, and collect data on what he saw along his journey. Ultimately, the data collected can help  preserve lands. By preserving lands, animal and plant life can also be spared.

I found it interesting that one day this week, after our discussion in class, logging trucks were able to wipe out many acres of trees right down the road from our school. I noticed it one day on my way home from school. A lightbulb went off, and I pulled over on the side of the road and snapped a couple of pictures. I thought, "What a wonderful illustration for my students...right down the road." So the next day, I displayed the picture and asked the students to tell me what was happening. Immediately, one of my kiddos said, "Hey, it's like what we were talking about the other day." I just smiled. Then we talked about the reasons people cut trees down here and how important it is to replant once we clear trees.

These are two pictures I took while on the side of the road that I shared with my students.

I love how my students were able to visualize the process, even though the reasons and motivations for the land clearing may not have been the same as in Africa.

Happy Friday!

Product Swap: Meet Lauren

Today I want to introduce you to Lauren from Life in Middle School. She is a wife,  mom, teacher, and hockey player. In her spare time, she creates wonderful lessons and puts together fantastic resources to help teachers around the world.

I had the privilege of reviewing and testing out Lauren's Literature Circle Start Up Guide. As soon as I received the product, I began thinking of all of the ideas I had for how to use this effectively in my classroom. Teaching English Language Arts provides numerous opportunities to use this resource on a daily basis, but I was even coming up with ways to use it in my social studies classes as well.

To test the Literature Circle Start Up Guide out, I chose one class to use it right before we got out of school for Christmas Break. I arranged my desks into groups of six. I chose the number six because the jobs worked out evenly that way, and it worked well with the number of students I have in that class. However, it would work with students in groups of four to six.

When the students walked into the classroom, I assigned them a number. The number coorelated to a group in the classroom. When everyone was seated I handed out the folders with all of their information in it. (Don't worry! Lauren's instructions are phenomenal! She explains the process, why you should use Literature Circles in your classroom, how to manage the process, and how to create the Literature Circle folders! It is all there in her instructions.)

When the students received their folders, they had the task of choosing their jobs. The jobs include a Discussion Director/Team Leader, Illustrator, Word Finder, Character Captain, Plot Planner, Summarizer, and Setting Superviser. It was fun walking around to each group to hear how they were choosing their jobs. One part about this Literature Circle Start Up Guide that I absolutely LOVE is that ALL students will eventually perform each job!!! I love this because students are able to experience all of the jobs and all of the responsibilities of each job. It is a great learning experience!

For the Literature Circle "trial" in my classroom, I assigned a short reading. I wanted to see the interaction, the thinking, the questioning, and how the students were going to do working together. I was very pleased at their interaction and excitement to use this concept.

The students loved it! They each did a fantastic job following the guidelines and doing each assigned job.

We are beginning a new novel study on Monday, and I cannot wait to use this Literature Circle Start Up Guide for the entire study. The students are excited, and the teacher is excited!

I hope that you will visit Lauren's Life in Middle School Blog. She has numerous ideas to use in your classroom that I know you will find helpful. Also, check out her Teachers Pay Teachers Store to view all of the wonderful products she has available.

But don't stop there! You need to head to Mrs. Stanford's Class Blog to view all of the other fabulous Product Swap reviews! I hope you have a Super Saturday!


Oh, How I Love Penguins!

Whenever I think of winter, I think of penguins! I think those little creatures are so cute! In addition to being super cute, they even made them tap dance...I am a tap dance teacher, so that just made my day!

I created a Penguin Noun Activity that helps students demonstrate mastery at identifying singular nouns and plural nouns. The students sort the noun cards into singular nouns and plural nouns, record the nouns on the recording sheet, and celebrate their successes!

I was able to teach my daughter a lesson on singular and plural nouns. I set her work table up, and we were ready to begin. She was so eager to learn, it brought a gigantic smile to my face.

After her lesson, she began sorting the nouns into the two piles. She was so proud of herself (and I was one proud mommy) that she got all of them correct the first time.

She then began to record her sorted nouns into the correct columns. AC took her time writing down every word as neatly as she could.

She loved this activity. It is work wonderfully as a center activity in your classroom if you teach singular and plural nouns. To take a closer look at the resource, click HERE. There are two additional worksheets to use with this resource.

Do you have a favorite winter activity you like to use in your classroom? Tell us in the comments below.

Happy Teaching!

Hurry, It's a Peanut Gallery Giveaway!

For all of you who love free stuff (myself included), you need to head over to The Peanut Gallery blog and follow the steps that will get you on your way to possible winning one of the awesome prizes up for grabs. The prizes include a $25 gift certificate to Barnes and Noble, a $15 Starbucks card, a $15 Hobby Lobby card, and a $15 Target card. Even better than the gift cards, the winners receive a FREE items from the Peanut Gallery's TpT store of their choice! That is worth entering for one the fantastic items from the store!

So, what are you waiting for? Hurry and enter now. I believe there is one more day left to enter!

January Currently

I have been reading everyone's Currently posts, so I decided to head over to Oh Boy Fourth Grade... to join in on all of the fun!

Listening to my daughter sing and dance
I have a four-year old daughter who wakes up singing and dancing. All throughout the day, she has been singing, skipping, dancing, etc. I just wish I had her energy!

Loving getting to sleep in a couple more days
Oh, how I have been lazy this break! But I think I must have been exhausted because I have never been this lazy on a break before...ever! I have also enjoyed staying in my pajamas or athletic clothes most of the day. Don't let the athletic clothes fool you- I have just simply been wearing them to try to motivate myself not to be so lazy!

Thinking about all of the essays I need to grade before Monday
Umm...I need to get busy is all I can say. It is Friday, and I have over 100 essays to grade and return when we go back. I need the grading fairy to visit my school bag, grade those papers, and help me out! Seriously, I will begin grading them tomorrow.

Wanting a laptop
I do not own a laptop, iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire, etc. It is not that I don't love technology...I do! I just don't own any of those right now. I have a desktop PC that has logged many hours. I would love a laptop to be able to sit on the couch and work while my husband watches football or my daughter watches cartoons. This, hopefully, is coming in the very near future!

Needing to organize my home office
I wrote a post earlier today (before reading everyone's Currently, which prompted me to create a second post for today) about how every year I resolve to do many things. Well, it is time to organize my home office. I know my husband cringes every time he walks into it because he likes everything neat and orderly. Let me tell you, my home office is neither! There are papers, books stacked everywhere, reminders posted here and there, supplies out because I have not bought proper storage for them. I am making this one of my January goals...get that office organized!

One Little Word
Blessed! Yes, I am blessed beyond measure. I have a wonderful husband, a spunky daughter, a supportive family, great friends, a stable job, and all of the needs in my life are fulfilled. God has blessed me with so much!

It's a New Year!

It's a New Year! Every January I reflect back on the previous year...I look at my resolutions (that I most likely did not keep), my finances and how I can improve or save more, my organization, and I venture to include new ideas and goals that I hope to accomplish. This January is no exception!

As I reflect back on my resolutions for 2012, I just shake my head. Now, this is both "good" shaking and "bad" shaking. I will confess the bad before I tell about the good. I wanted to run another marathon in 2012. It didn't happen. I didn't train like I should, and I just did not seem to have the motivation. I thought about it many times, then I would start back running, and then stop because, well, I don't exactly know. Another goal I had this past year was to save more money per month than the year previously. Well, that didn't happen either. There were some months that I was good, but there were other months that I wasn't.

Now to the "good" news from 2012. I become a seller on Teachers Pay Teachers. Who knew that people would actually buy something I created and use it in their classroom! I had never heard of TpT until I was looking for ideas to use with a new novel I was teaching in my class. When the search returned, one listed TpT as a source for information. I clicked on it, registered as a basic seller, and then did nothing with it. That was in February. At the end of March, I decided to begin to put together some of my teacher-created items that had worked well for me in the past and give it a "selling" try. I will always remember that first "sold" email I received. I do not look at TpT as just a financial win. It is more than that. It has helped me become a better teacher by creating activities that my students love and gain mastery by completing the activities. It makes me think ahead at what I want my students to learn and master. Collaborating with other TpT sellers has really been the best professional development I have ever had.

Fast forward to 2013...this year is going to be epic. I have teamed up with some of the best upper elementary teachers, and there is a new blog in town called All Things Upper Elementary. There are 14 contributors to this new blog, and each will bring their own voice, ideas, freebies, fun, and expert knowledge. I am so excited to be a part of this wonderful group of teachers and bloggers! Make sure you hop on over and check it out and follow us. (There is a button on my sidebar that will take you straight to it.) My introduction will be on Tuesday, January 8th.

Since it is January, I feel that I will publish my resolutions so that I am held accountable for them. Make sure to hold me to them, please!
1. Blog at least 2 times per week on this blog. (I will be on a rotating basis on the All Things Upper Elementary blog.)
2. Tithe more...enough said.
3. Get organized! I think at times I am organized, and then I look around my desk at school. It looks like a bomb exploded. I have got to get better!
4. Be an example for my daughter. She is still young, and I want to make sure that my actions and reactions are positive (even when it is hard to be positive).
5. Serve more...I use to be the President of the United Way for my county. I served at this position for several years, and then I rolled off the board. I would love to get back into serving my community. I also want to encourage the spirit of volunteering in my family.

I hope each of you have a blessed New Year, and that 2013 is good to all of you!