Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Who doesn't love a good sale?

I hope it's not you!  I hope you love a good sale!!!  I sometimes gets me into trouble!  Does it you??

I'm just popping in to see if you've heard about the MEGA TpT sale that will be going on starting Thursday?  Well, if you don't know about it (and I'm sure you do by now!), now you know!  We will have our TpT store on sale Thursday-Sunday.

I wanted to be really organized and share with you some of the things on my wishlist, but I just couldn't pull it all together.  We are in the midst of parent-teacher conferences and I STILL have a horrid head cold (or something) that is filling my head with junk and I can't quite think straight!  So, instead, I'll leave you with some links to some of my wonderful blogging friend's TpT stores that are also throwing a sale!

Happy shopping my friends!  Oh, and DON'T forget to enter that TpT code (TPT3) when you check out!!!  I"ve done that before and I wanted to kick myself!!!!
Feel free to add your store to this linky and post the linky code you can find HERE on your blogpost too!  A huge thanks to my friend Theresa who set all of this up!

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Redcoats and Petticoats- A must read for the American Revolution!

Hey there!

How are you?  How's the weather?  Yes, I really want to know!

We went from ice and snow last week to 70 degree weather this week.  It's mind boggling.  The 70 degree weather was so wonderful!  I didn't want to come in from recess!!  They aren't kidding about vitamin D from the sun.  It really does make you feel so much better to sit in the sun for even 10 minutes!  It totally changes your mood!  The gray and cold is pretty depressing to me.  Is it to you?  I think it makes me lethargic.  Does it do that to anyone else?  To those of you who live in the north and who have been beaten down by these storms, bless your hearts!!  I really feel for you!!

Anyway, I'm sure you aren't here to hear about the weather.  If you're like us, it's all that they have on tv when we are amidst a storm.  It gets old quick, so I'll move on to my must read for this week!!  The topic is social studies!!
If you've been reading our blog, then you know we've been working on the American Revolution.  It's my favorite subject in social studies.  I spend way too much time on it because I love it so much!  And, since I love it, my kids usually do too.  I need to remember that when I have to teach about government in our next unit, which I do not love.  If I pretend to love it, maybe my kids will get just as excited about the three branches of government as they do about the Battle of Lexington and Concord, right?  Maybe not.  But, I'll try!

Anywho, there are so many wonderful picture books that go with the American Revolution.  It's hard to pick the ones we have time for because I want to do them all (I know you aren't surprised!).  Well, this week we read Redcoats and Petticoats by Katherine Kirkpatrick.
This is a great story for upper elementary or even for middle grades.  The illustrations are beautiful and the language is excellent.  You can do so much with this book!

This is a historical fiction book based on a true story of Nancy Strong, a spy during the Revolutionary war from Setauket, Long Island.  It has great information in the back of the book that explains the "true story" part behind the book.

Basically, the British took over Setauket towards the beginning of the war. Nancy's husband is considered a traitor and the Redcoats come in and take him away.  Because of the Quartering Act, British soldiers move into their home.  Nancy moves her family out of the home and becomes a spy.  She sends her son, Thomas on errands and he unknowingly provides her with information on the whereabouts of the Patriot soldiers.  She then communicates with another spy across the bay by using her petticoats.  Thomas thinks she's lost her mind for doing so much laundry and for hanging dry laundry on the line, but she refuses to tell her what she is doing so that he is kept safe.  You don't find out until the end of the book, when George Washington comes to visit, that she was actually sending messages that helped Washington in the war.

Also, it talks about her husband being taken to a prison ship, the Jersey, and that Nancy and Thomas went to trade fresh vegetables (scarce at the time) to get her husband off of the ship.  Her husband then has to go into hiding and doesn't return until after the war.

And, in case you're interested, in the information in the back of the book, it tells how the Setauket spy ring was instrumental in keeping the traitor Benedict Arnold from taking over West Point.  It's not what this book is about, but I think it's interesting to know since we teach about Benedict Arnold as well.

This is a great book because it shows what the Americans were going through and how they rallied together during this difficult time.  The kids are also amazed that it's based on a true story!  I think it is a great example of historical fiction, and the author even explains in the back how she used what really happened and how she tweaked it to write the story.  There is no proof that Nancy's son actually helped in the war, but by having a child playing a role in the story, she made it accessible and engaging for students.  We actually talked about that and my kids totally understood when I explained that Thomas may not have actually helped.  I asked, "Why do you think she put him in here as a character, then, if maybe he wasn't really involved?  How does this effect the audience?"  They said, "Well, kids will like the book even more if they know that a kid was helping a spy for George Washington!"  Hooray!!
So, what did I do with this book besides read it?  Well, we used it in Language Arts (you know how I love to integrate!)

First off, when I read it the first time, we made inferences.  (Sorry for the dark picture!)
On the second read, we worked on cause and effect.  It's a long story, but I did read it a total of 3 times.  Within it, I had picked out a few places to do a close read, and honestly, the more you read a book, the more things you can find to engage in discussion and questioning.

We worked on cause and effect because I knew my students needed a review.  On our last social studies test, one of the questions said, "What was the effect of the Boston Tea Party?"  Most of them got it, but I had quite a few students just give me the events of the Boston Tea Party.  So, we needed to review it because I wanted them to understand what effect meant!
Hopefully this helped.  We did it together and they pasted it into their reading journals!

When we were out of school last week, I knew I would be reading this book, so I had a chance to make these sheets.  There is a ton more you could do with the book, but I've only used it for a week so far.  You could do two weeks for sure!!  So, I created a product with all of the possibilities.  

There are flipbook activities as well as sheets you can paste into notebooks and there is a "quiz" that you can use once you are finished with the book.  We still have a lot we can do with this book!!!  If you could use this resource, click any of the images above and check it out!

Well, I'm off to work on getting prepped for parent-teacher conferences for all of next week.  I have all of my students' files that I brought home and a bunch of paperwork I'm behind on filing that I need to share with parents.  If you want to help, you are more than welcome to come over and help me file!  



Next week's linky- Language Arts

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Line Plots with Fractions- Tricky Math?

Hey there!

We have been working on fractions in our 4th grade class this week.  We are sooooooo behind after having so many "snow" days.  I'm feeling the pressure.

So, I was super psyched that my friend Holly created this awesome resource for making line plots with fractions because it made my life a WHOLE lot easier!!

We used this yesterday and it was a huge hit!!  I haven't really talked a lot about line plots, but they had seen them a little last year.  So, we just jumped right in!

We did it as a class first.  I knew I wanted to use it as a center, but since we hadn't really worked with line plots, I wanted to be sure they understood it.  I think this works great as a whole group activity AND as a center!!

I put the line plot page up on the document camera.
I told them we were going to have a pizza party and we needed to earn enough for the whole class.  I had them estimate how many pizzas we would need if each pizza had 8 slices.  (This could have been a whole other lesson, but we will come back to estimation AGAIN later...we need to keep going on fractions!)
Then, we started pulling the fraction pieces out one by one to "earn" pizza for a pizza party.  As each student pulled a pizza card out, we plotted it on the line plot.
I had the students also creating their line plot on their white boards.

Once everyone had pulled a pizza card, we added up all of the fractions to determine how many pizzas we earned.
(I promise that's a paper towel that he's using to erase his board, not a tissue!!  I know it looks gross!!)

We added them all up by combining the fourths, halves, etc. and then we even drew pictures to see how to combine them into mixed numbers!!  They did really awesome at it!!  And, they had a lot of fun!!

There are a total of 40 pizza cards.  We only used the first 20 because that's how many I had that day in my math group.  The first 20 cards use fourths and halves.  The next 20 (#21-40) have fourths, halves, and eighths.  So, it can be differentiated.  The first 20 cards are easier but if you throw in the next 20, they have to really think and be able to make mixed numbers.

Today, I had it out as a center, and two of my boys worked on it together.  They were very excited to inform me that they used all 40 cards and earned 10 and 3/4 pizzas for their party!  They LOVED it!!

And, do you know what?  Lucky you!!  This product is one of the products in this amazing Tricky Math bundle that's priced at a GREAT deal on Educents right now!!
All of these amazing resources are ONLY $10.99!!!  Can you believe it???  That's a steal!!!!!  If you teach tricky math like I do, you have GOT to go check it out!  Here are some of the items included:
  • Equivalent fractions
  • Comparing fractions
  • Building fractions
  • Operations with fractions
  • LCM & GCF
  • Multiplying and dividing decimals
  • Multiplication of single and multi-digit whole numbers
  • Line Plots
  • Word Problems
  • Real life situations

So, if you have to teach some tricky math, I highly recommend that you go check out this bundle!  You cannot beat the price, I promise you!!!

And, if you don't know what educents is (it's like a groupon or like a deal on!) then you can click here to check it out and sign up for it!


I'm also linking up with my good friend Jessica for her Tricky Math Workshop Wednesday!

How do YOU teach tricky math?

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Incredible Reptiles! Ecosystems and Adaptations (Must Read Mentor Text for Science)

Happy Sunday!

It's time for our Mentor Text Linky! I am here to share a fabulous Science Mentor Text with you! :)

But, get's a little scary if you don't love reptiles!!!  ;)

This is Planet Earth's Incredible Reptiles book! I just LOVE the cover!!! Definitely will grab my students' attention!

Here is a description from These adaptable animals can be found almost everywhere, from lush rainforests to harsh deserts, and make unique contributions to their various habitats. This scrapbook highlights the distinctive relationship between these cold-blooded creatures and their environment with bite-size facts and full-color photos.

I love this text because I know that it will capture my students' attention, and it will generate some awesome discussion. I am still deciding how I want to use this I want to read it as a Read Aloud or do I want to place it in my classroom library and see what happens? :) I think I will use it as a read aloud first, and then let my students get their hands on it. 

In fourth grade, we teach ecosystems, food chains, and adaptations. This book will be great for all three of those skills! I know that as soon as I read one page, the kids' hands will be shooting up....what? how? why? Their questions will be endless!

The beginning of the book explains the major groups of reptiles and the habitats where they can be found.

Each page describes a different reptile. It includes information about the reptile's weight, length, where it lives, favorite foods, and interesting facts.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE the amazing photos!!! 

This book will be a PERFECT introduction to our unit on ecosystems. It will spark my students' attention and will generate great questions. I think I may integrate our informational writing this this year with our study of animals and ecosystems. This book will be a fabulous reference for students. 

Do you have some favorite ecosystem or adaptations texts? I would love to hear about them!  :)


Have a Happy Sunday!

Next week's linky- Social Studies

Friday, February 14, 2014

Lucky In Love- What we're lovin'!

Hey there!  Happy Valentine's Day!

We are here today to link up with our adorable friend Molly from Lucky to Be in First for her Lucky in Love linky!

Here are some things that I'm loving right now!
My youngest just had his 3rd birthday yesterday and it was snowing!!  That's so rare in GA so I'm so glad that this happened on his birthday!!!  And, today is my husband's birthday!!  I guess you'd say we celebrate birthdays more so than Valentine's, which is totally fine with me!

Most of this is pretty self explanatory.  However, I will explain a little about this bottom pic.  With 3 adorable kids, I don't have a lot of time to go shopping.  Well, lets be honest, I don't want to drag them with me.  It's not that fun.  So, I do a lot of online shopping.  Well, not a lot, but if I shop, it's usually at the LOFT, which is right near my school, or it's online.  I just started using Jamberry for my nails and I LOVE them.  I don't have time to go get a manicure and if I paint them myself, it's already chipping the next day.  This is the perfect solution!  I just got my first Stitchfix last month and it was really fun to get a box in the mail knowing someone picked it out, just for me.  I will say the items are a bit pricey though.  I do REALLY  love  Their daily deals come straight to my inbox each morning.  It's honestly the first thing I check when I get up because you have to be fast.  They sell out of the good stuff quickly!

So, that's what I'm lovin' right now!  Next up is Stacia!

We are also having a sale for Valentine's Day because we LOVE our followers!!!  We'll be having a sale in our TpT store all weekend!!  Happy shopping!!

Frame From Krista Wallden

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Decomposing Fractions with a Math Must Read Mentor Text- Full House

Hey there!

We began our unit on fractions this week!  I'm feeling really behind, but hopefully we will get it all in, and if not, my hope is that my kiddos will at least know what I've taught them REALLY well!  We shall see!!

We started by reading the book Hershey Fractions and using Hershey bars to create equivalent fractions and parts of a set.  You can read more about how I use this book HERE.
Friday, we made our own fraction strips.  We do have fraction bars as part of our manipulatives, but I do think it's helpful for students to make their own fraction strips.  They are manually folding, cutting, and labeling them so they can hopefully SEE the parts and WHY it's 1/2 or 1/8.  Of course, cutting in 5ths, 6ths, and 10ths isn't that easy, but they were great sports and we did quite a bit of problem solving to figure out how to fold and make them even.
We put them in our math journals by sticking them in this pocket (free from Ashley Hughes!).  Now, they have a resource they can use anytime plus they know how to make a fraction strip if they don't have my fraction bars right there or they need them on a standardized test!

So, onto why we are here today!  A math must read!!

I'm sort of cheating this week because I am sharing a book that my good friend AMC at Looking From Third to Fourth shared several months back!  The book is called Full House by Dayle Ann Dodds.

Here is a synopsis from Amazon:  "Miss Bloom runs the Strawberry Inn, and she loves visitors. All through the day she welcomes a cast of hilarious characters until all the rooms are taken. It’s a full house! But in the middle of the night, Miss Bloom senses that something is amiss — and sure enough, the guests are all downstairs eating dessert. Readers will be inspired to do the math and discover that one delicious cake divided by five hungry guests and one doting hostess equals a perfect midnight snack at the Strawberry Inn. Piece of cake!"

This book is really cute!  It rhymes and has some really silly characters, which students love.  I wanted to do this activity and THEN post on it but we didn't get through as much as I had hoped this week, so I haven't done this lesson yet, but will this week.

This book is really simple in regards to fractions, but it's so fun I had to think of a way to use it!  We have to teach composing and decomposing fractions, so I thought I could use this book to jump off on composing and decomposing fractions.

As each guest comes into Miss Bloom's house, we will compose our fractions (also basically adding fractions).  Then, we'll use the book to pull apart the fractions as well (or decompose them).  Also, all of the guests get a piece of Miss Bloom's cake and it's in the shape of a circle.  I'm going to use this book in small group, and we are going to use the circle fraction pieces to make the cake.  Then, we'll start with 6ths, since that's in the book, and compose and decompose the fractions.  Then, we'll make "cakes" with the other fraction circles and practice composing and decomposing those as well!

Hopefully that makes sense!  I wish I could have pictures for you today, but I'll have to add them in this week!

Also, here is a poster I found on Pinterest.  It was a dead link, so I can't give credit unless you know who made this?  I hate not giving credit because I love this poster!
Here's another poster:
I hope to remember to come back and add my pictures this week!!!  I hope everyone has a wonderful week!

Next week's linky- Science

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Point of View with Primary Sources and American Revolution Articles

Hey there!

I wanted to share something we did recently that I was really excited about!!

We've been learning about the American Revolution in Social Studies.

I'm sure you know what a primary source is, right?  It's basically an artifact from history that's real.   It was created by someone that lived during that period or around it.  Yep, that's my official definition.  :O)

I usually use photographs or paintings, etc, as a primary source document.  Or, a copy of the Declaration of Independence.  Something like that.

Well, we were talking about the Boston Massacre, and did you know that Paul Revere used propaganda???  Yep.  He did.  And I totally used that word with my students.   They were like, propa what?  I was like PROPAGANDA - because saying it louder means they'll understand it, right?

Um, no.  They didn't.  So we talked about it.

Here's the picture that Paul Revere engraved (yes engraved) in 1770 about the Boston Massacre and then copied it for all of the colonies to see.

So, in this picture it would appear that the British lined up and started shooting at the poor unsuspecting colonists.  However, this is not how it REALLY happened, which Paul Revere knew since it happened in his home town of Boston.  But, he wanted to fuel the flame of anger and discontentment with Britain so he swung it the way he wanted to...which = propaganda!

What REALLY happened was that the colonists way outnumbered a lone British soldier (Redcoat) and they were taunting him, throwing snowballs, sticks, and rocks at him until he called for help.  A few more Redcoats came to help and the colonists continued their mob like mentality until they clubbed a soldier, he fell, and his gun went off (or at least that's one theory).  The general yelled DON'T fire but maybe they didn't hear right and so a few more fired. 

But that didn't quite play into Paul Revere's hand, so he dubbed this a massacre and it spread through colonies like wildfire. (again- propaganda)

Well, I also found another picture (primary source) when I was creating my Causes of the American Revolution Articles that I found interesting.  


This was created in 1868 by Alonzo Chappel.  It was about 100 years later, but this picture tells a different story.  So, I had my students compare and contrast the two pictures.  They did really well!!  Here are a few of their sheets!
They really nit-picked what was different and why.  I was very impressed with the conversations going on!!  And, they were totally engaged and LOVED it!!  (This activity is in the Articles and Activities pack that I mentioned above!)

We are also about ready to test on the Road to Revolution so we are having our students make picture notecards of the events to help them study.  Basically, they can draw anything they want on the front of the index card that represents that event to them and then they just label it on the back.  Here is an example:

So, we'll be moving into important events of the American Revolution and I'm excited to say, I have finished the articles that are a sequel to my Causes of the American Revolution set!!

As you can see, I have another activity in this pack that also uses a primary source (plus all of the articles have primary sources in them as well) and this one is on the painting of Washington Crossing the Delaware (because you know it didn't really happen this way, right?  I doubt he was standing in the boat!)

File:Washington Crossing the Delaware by Emanuel Leutze, MMA-NYC, 1851.jpg

I wanted to note that these articles are perfect for grades 4-6!  For grade 4, you'll probably want to read it with them and do much of it whole group.  5th and 6th grade would be more independent, and you can always use this to differentiate within your classroom!

So, since I have finished these articles, I would love to give some away!

You can pin it to win it!!  Yep, you got it!!  You have the chance to win them!!

Here is the pin:

Click on the pin and repin it.  Then, copy the URL of your pin and paste it in the comments.  Also, leave your email address so if you win, I know where to send it!  I'll choose two winners!!  

Thanks so much for reading about how I used primary sources!  I'm linking this up with my friend Erin for

Be sure to check Erin's blog for more ideas!

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