Saturday, March 30, 2013

Must Read Mentor Text- The First Linky We are Hosting!!

We are so excited to be hosting this linky!!  We hope that it is going to be a great way to share mentor texts (books) and how we use them in our classrooms.

I have TONS of books in my classroom.  I'm a bookaholic!  I see books and I have to have them!  Then, I put them on my shelf to use later...


they sit there.  Mainly because I don't always have time to go back and read them to figure out how I can use them.  Our hopes is that this linky will give us ways we can use books we may already have but also introduce us to new books and how we can use them, too.  (because I really need another reason to buy new books!)  ;O)

I will explain all about how you can link up at the bottom of this post!

If you read our post from yesterday, you saw that we had the book fair this week at our school.  And, you saw that I bought a bunch of books.  Just because.

Here is one of the books that I bought:

Now, obviously this looks like a fun book.  And it is!!

Brief synopsis:  Gilbert is a goldfish and he wants a pet.  In the story, there is a dog, a mouse, and a fly that he wants to make his pet.  In the end, he gets a pet.  A CATfish!!  How cute is that?

After I bought the book, it was sitting on my back table and several of my kids were asking me who the book was for.  I said it was for ME (wink-wink).  Then, I was reading it to myself and a student asked me about it.  I was telling her about the book.  All I said was that it was about a goldfish that wanted a pet.  She looked at me for a minute and then said, "He should have a catfish."

I said, "Have you read this book??"

She looks at me funny and says no and then she realizes she got it right.  She laughed and said, "Well it just makes's a CATfish!"

So that got me thinking.  Wouldn't it be fun for them to write a story about a different pet (dog, cat, turtle, etc) that has a pet?!?  And, even better if they can do it in a clever way, especially at the ending.  Before you get to the last page of this book, the illustration shows the shadow of Gilbert's new pet.  It looks like a cat.  So, when I was first reading it, I thought, seriously??  Surely this author is not going to have the fish get eaten by a cat, right?  Nope.  It was a gotcha, but the perfect time to make an inference!

But not only that, the book uses great language and text features that makes it fun to read.

So, I came up with a few little sheets that could go with this.  I hope it encourages you to try this book, just for fun!  And, while you are having fun reading it, you can work on a few skills, too.  Hopefully this will work for upper grades and lower grades!

Another reason I wanted this book is because I also love this book:
This is a great opportunity to compare and contrast these two books.  They are very similar, yet very different.  You can get into the differences in text format (memoir/diary versus narrative) and compare and contrast the themes of the book along with the characters.  Just another reason to get these fun books!!

Here's a little sheet in case you want to do a compare and contrast!

(I like the compare/contrast H better than the Venn!)

Ok, now I hope you'll want to link up a book that you like.  Your post can be as simple or detailed as you want.  We really want this to be QUICK and EASY.  No stress!!
 If you want to use the template for a "quick look" at the book (for our readers that are skimmers) you can, but you DO NOT HAVE TO.  Whatever is EASIEST for you, friends!!  Some weeks you may not want to say a whole lot about a book, and you can just fill this in.  That totally works!
Our end goal is to have all of these posts organized on a separate page/tab on our blog so that many people can come there and try to find a book, recommended by you, excellent teachers!  (I will try to figure out how I am going to make a new page with links when we have spring break after next week.)  :O)

Below are just some things to consider but ARE NOT A MUST.  We are not huge on rules!  So, these are not rules, but things to consider since these posts will be linked to a page that will hopefully be a place full of mentor text ideas.  You are more than welcome to link your blog button and with your blog name, no worries!

For this week, you can link up any book!  After this week, we will post based on subject area (language arts, math, science, and social studies).  We wanted to be able to organize all of these great recommendations in a way that visitors can come, find the subject they are looking for, and then click on the posts to see if they can find something that will work for them.

Example:  If I am looking for a book to use when I'm introducing measurement, I can go under the Math Mentor Texts tab and just click through those posts to see if I can find a book recommendation.  I don't have to click through every single post left by every blogger to see if they are even about math, let alone measurement.  Does that make sense?

We did not want to narrow it too much by topic because then that becomes difficult for bloggers to have to worry each week about the topic.  These are the topics and it won't change.  We WILL put the next week's topic in our post just as a reminder, but you can always come back to this post to double check.  Next week's topic- Language Arts (this can be reading, writing, or grammar related)

This week- anything goes!!!  You can link up any mentor text, and we hope you will!  We can't wait to see what you link up!!  Feel free to link up products or freebies that go with your books, but you don't have to!

If you are not a blogger, but have great books to share, we hope that you will comment with the book and how you use it.  It will be here for all to see, as well.  We know some awesome teachers are not bloggers but we still want to learn from you!!

Happy Easter!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Five for Friday- Free Background Paper and Border and a New Linky

Happy Good Friday!!

Did you have off of school today?  We did.  There's something about a 3 day just makes you feel like you have sooooo much time.  We are still counting down to our spring more week to go!

Five for Friday, here we go!

1.  We are still slowly adding to our geometry terms {kinesthetic} bulletin board.  You can see it's a slow process since I'm so stinkin' behind in math and I'm trying to get through decimals and geometry at the same time.  I'm fairly certain I won't get through everything before the stupid state test in 10 days but I'm not worried (I'm lying- if you watch "The Middle" you know exactly what I did there).

2.  Stacia had the idea to do an egg writing activity.  We gave the students a paper with an egg outlined and had them decorate it.  We then told them that they could make a choice on what they wanted to write about it.  They could either write a very descriptive paragraph using amazing adjectives and figurative language to describe their egg OR they could write a story about finding the egg that they decorated anywhere and suddenly it cracks open...what is inside?  A lot of them were very excited about creating a story with something crazy coming out of that egg!!

3.  We had the book fair this week at our school.  I've already told y'all I'm a bookaholic.  Here's the proof:

I bought all of these with my own money except 3 of them.  I told you.  I have problems!!!!  And the proof is in the 900+ books I have inventoried in my classroom library (and there are bunches that aren't on that inventory!).  Problems, I tell ya!

One of the books I got is not pictured.  I'm going to tell you about that book tomorrow in our new linky about Mentor Texts because it is too cute!!!!  I'm gonna leave ya hangin'!

4.  We are starting a linky!  We are very excited about it and can't wait to see what books everyone links up!!  It will be a weekly linky that will be posted on Sundays but you can link up anytime.  It's all about mentor texts (books) and how you use them in your classroom.  We are planning on creating a page on our blog that will link all of these books (posts) in one place and will be a place that anyone can come to and find books they can use with ideas on how to use them, plus great bloggers with great ideas.  For this week, since it's Easter, we will start the linky Saturday and anything goes!  Any book!  Any subject!  Starting in April, it will be a little more organized.  We want it to be fun, quick, and easy!  We'll explain all of that tomorrow, so we hope you'll come back and link up!  If you don't link up, we hope you'll at least come and see all the great books that will be shared!!  I obviously have a ton that I can share!  ;O)

5.  And last, but not least, our Friday Freebie!!

Here are some background polka dot papers and free frames and borders! You can use them on any of your products! Just click on the picture to download for free from our TPT store.
Polka Dot Papers
Border Freebie
Frame Freebie
And........if you want some more borders, our colorful scalloped borders are only $1.00! Yep, only $1.00! Click below to check them out...they come in white and transparent centers....
Scalloped Borders
And..........Finally......Very excited to share our new *SPARKLY* polka dot papers! Only $2.00 in our TPT store...Click below to check them out!
Sparkly Polka Dot Papers

A big thank you to Kacey  and Amanda for letting us link up to her for our short week!


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Grandpa's Teeth- Mentor Text for Mystery and Strong Lead

We are here to share a great book that we use when teaching writing workshop!  Have you read this book?

If you haven't I sthrongly recommend it!  It'th a great book!  It'th got everything you need: mysthery, sthuspense, and missthing theeth!  

You get to talk like you have no teeth!  Who doesn't love that?  ;O)

The book grabs you in immediately with a strong dialogue lead- Grandpa is screaming (minus teeth) that there has been a disasther and everyone needs to come quick!  (I don't think I'm aloud to quote directly from the book, or I would- anyone know the rules on that??)

Then the book goes through Grandpa trying to find his teeth and the town trying to prove that their teeth are their own and not stolen!  The ending is the BEST but I won't give that away!  You'll never guess where the teeth end up!!

This is a GREAT example of a mystery, and has all of the elements that can be seen very easily by students.

I was going to "whip up" some organizers to go with this but then I saw that Beth Newingham has already done this, so why reinvent the wheel!!!  You can click her name to go see what she posted on the Scholastic Website.  (And if you don't know who Beth Newingham is, you are going to want to put aside a few days hours of your time to read about her and all of the wonderful things she does in her classroom!!)

Using that graphic organizer (the elements of mystery) you could have them fill out the information about Grandpa's Teeth first, so they can see how this author may have planned out the story.  Then, they can plan their own mystery using the same organizer.

We linked up with Jessica at Ideas by Jivey for:

Also, Stacia and I are planning on hosting our own linky, starting this week, about using mentor texts in our classroom.  We thought about just doing a series, but then realized that if we could all link up our mentor texts (a.k.a. books) that we like to use in our classrooms each week, then we'd have one place we could look for new ideas!!!  We are planning on creating a page on our blog with each week's linky on there so there will be easy access for anyone to find a great book with ideas on how to use it.

We will usually post the linky on Sunday, but you can link up at any point during the week.  The post can be as quick OR detailed as you'd like, depending on how you feel (or how your week is going).  We'll have more information Saturday and a post you can see, but normally the link up will go live on Sunday.  We hope that you'll link up whenever you can!!  Let us know what you think about our idea!  :O)

Sthoooo, what do you think about Grandpa'sth Teeth? ;O)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tried It Tuesday- Constitution Lesson Ideas

We are so excited to link up to our friend Holly's blog at Fourth Grade Flipper for her very first Tried It Tuesday!


So...I thought and thought about what I had tried that would be fun to share with you...and I decided I would share some ideas I tried as I taught the Constitution  (well I am STILL teaching it...I know I am sooooo far behind.....but I will catch up eventually, right?)

1.) Awesome book- We the Kids- my students LOVED it! What a GREAT way to teach the Preamble...

Product Details
2.) Schoolhouse Rock Video- The Preamble and the Constitution- it's a classic and if the kids sing along, they learn the whole preamble! :) (oh, and you can watch it for free on youtube! yay!!!)

3.) AND I AM GOING TO TRY...a website I found about Constitution has an interactive lesson and then a matching game for the students to play to review at the end. It is also divided by grade level like K-1, 2-3, and 4-5. This would be awesome to do as a whole class projected on the board or individually on student computers. 
I hope you and your students can try some of these activities! 

Happy Tuesday!
-Stacia :)

Monday, March 25, 2013

Let's Get Acquainted, a Multiplication Freebie, and a Winner!

We are FINALLY linking up with Latoya at Flying into First for her

I could not link up last week because I am HORRIBLE at making things up.  However, this week's topic I can handle!!

The NOUN Game
The noun game is where you simply just name your favorite person, place, thing, and animal.

Here are Amanda's nouns:

Here are Stacia's nouns:

We also wanted to share a freebie!  I knew I had to make something with Krista Wallden's free peep clipart!!  We are in review mode, so if you need to review 2-digit by 2-digit multiplication, here you go!

And last, but not least, the winners of our Spring Centers from yesterday (and today) are:

Congratulations ladies!  
We hope you've had a great Monday!  If you download the freebie, please let us know what you think!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Spring Activities for Big Kids- You can win it!!

Hey there!

Since Stacia made such adorable clipart, I had to create something with it!!  Since testing is coming up, I'm all about reviewing, but in a fun way so they don't get burned out!  My 10 year old students LOVE anything that looks like a center, even if they have to write down their answers and get a grade for it!  So, here is what I came up with:

Of course, we never create something without sharing it with our followers, too!

You can win these fun activities by doing the following:

1) Pin the picture of the activities on Pinterest
2) Leave a comment with your email and the Pinterest ID in the comment (all you have to do is copy the URL after you pin it to your board and then paste it into the comment section).

That's it!  I will use a random number generator to find the winners tomorrow night (Monday). I will give this away to 3 lucky winners on Monday night!!! Thanks for entering!  :O)

If you can't wait to find out if you have won these tomorrow, you can check it out in our TpT store by clicking the pictures.  You can also go there to download the preview file!

If you love the clipart, click below to find out more!  We are doing a FLASH SALE OF 20% for today and tomorrow if you just have to have them!!  ;O)

If you don't here from me tomorrow, then it's because I'm building an ark to get away from the mess in my backyard...Georgia red clay does not soak in any water!!!  We'll have our very own lake in our backyard soon!!  Thankfully it stopped raining for a little while yesterday so some of it could soak in before we got poured on again!  ;O)

Happy Sunday!

If you have a chance, go by and check out Jenny's giveaway!  It's a good one!!

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