Sunday, June 30, 2013

Back to School Mentor Texts ~ Back to School Ideas and Activities

Happy Sunday, Friends!!! :)

I am SUPER EXCITED about today's topic: Back to School Mentor Texts

Out of the whole year, I would have to say that Back to School books are probably my favorites!!! They are so cute and fun and silly and I just LOOOOOOOVE them!!!  I literally can't wait to see what books y'all link up because I will probably go and place my Amazon order for them tomorrow. Hopefully my hubby is not reading this because he may get mad if I buy too many......hehe.  :)

Okay, so I couldn't narrow it down to just one, because like I said, these are my favorites! So, I have picked 3 of my MUST READS for the first week of school. I know this is gonna be a long post, but PLEASE stick with me...these are awesome books and I think you will really like them too!!!

The first book is Enemy Pie by Derek Munson.

This story is ADORABLE! And look at the earthworms coming out of the pie!!! Ewwwwww! blurb: "It was the perfect summer. That is, until Jeremy Ross moved into the house down the street and became neighborhood enemy number one. Luckily Dad had a surefire way to get rid of enemies: Enemy Pie. But part of the secret recipe is spending an entire day playing with the enemy! In this funny yet endearing story, one little boy learns an effective recipes for turning your best enemy into your best friend. Accompanied by charming illustrations, Enemy Pie serves up a sweet lesson in the difficulties and ultimate rewards of making new friends."

I LOOOOVE this book because it teaches the kids such an awesome lesson about friendship and making new friends. I read it the first week of school because the kids are always a little nervous about being in a new class, and it helps them to see that if they give each other a chance and get to know each other that they may just make some great new friends. Also, it is perfect for reviewing or introducing literary elements and parts of speech. I also do some beginning of the year writing activities with this book that the kids enjoy. But, my favorite activity is creating our own "friendship pie." The students have to brainstorm a list of ingredients that they would use to create their friendship pie. And, I think maybe this year we will really make them...hmmm, Amanda will you help me with that project? We can have a cooking/friendship day! :)

The second book is First Day Jitters by Julie Danneberg.

I adore this book because it really captures how ALL (the students and the teachers) of us are feeling at the start of a new school year. blurb: "Everyone knows that sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach just before diving into a new situation. Sarah Jane Hartwell is scared and doesn't want to start over at a new school. She doesn't know anybody, and nobody knows her. It will be awful. She just knows it. With much prodding from Mr. Hartwell, Sarah Jane reluctantly pulls herself together and goes to school. She is quickly befriended by Mrs. Burton, who helps smooth her jittery transition. This charming and familiar story will delight readers with its surprise ending."

This book really is the PERFECT book to read on the first day of school! If you haven't read it yet, you will LOVE the ending, and I think it will surprise you. :) The kids can definitely relate to this book, and the silly illustrations make it come to life. I use this book as a jumping off point for talking about the new school year. I usually have my whole class sit in a circle (a GIANT circle now that our classes keep getting bigger) and we talk about what we are jittery or nervous about. It is a good way to comfort the kids and help them realize that we are all a little anxious. Then, we talk about all the exciting things we are going to do this year and start to play some icebreaker and get to know you games. I am really eager to try out 2 new activities that I came up with for this year called the "Jitters Jar" and "Jitter-Free Jellybeans." We are going to have a classroom Jitters Jar where we store away all of our jitters about the upcoming year, and we are going to eat some special Jellybeans to help us calm down and realize how wonderful our year will be. I have information about these in my First Day Jitters Pack if you want  to learn more. :)


The third book is Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann.

This book is another favorite because it is a great introduction in to talking about classroom rules. It gets the point across that safety and rules are important in a funny and silly way! And it has a dog, and I love dogs sooooooo.....I have to read it.  :) blurb: "Officer Buckle is a roly-poly bloke, dedicated to teaching schoolchildren important safety tips, such as never put anything in your ear and never stand on a swivel chair. The problem is, Officer Buckle's school assemblies are dull, dull, dull, and the children of Napville just sleep, sleep, sleep. That is, until Gloria the police dog is invited along! Stealthily pantomiming each safety tip behind Officer Buckle's back, Gloria wins the children's hearts. Meanwhile Officer Buckle assumes the cheers and laughter are all for him. As the master comedian Jerry Lewis once explained, every slapstick artist needs a straight man! Children will be highly entertained by the laugh-out-loud, adorable illustrations in this 1996 Caldecott Medal winner, while learning the value of teamwork and a pawful of nifty safety tips."

This funny book teaches the students that safety and rules are important, but it also emphasizes the importance of always sticking with a buddy. My students love the story, and are always laughing at the fun illustrations. I read this book right before I am about to discuss the school and classroom rules. Instead of just telling the students what are classroom rules are for the year, I like to have a discussion with them focusing on why we need rules anyway. Then we talk about the rules we do need and it helps the class take ownership of them. This year, I have decided to make our class rules a sweet treat! Let's just say that some candy is involved...I know the kids love candy...and okay I have to admit I do it should make going over the rules a little more exciting! :)  You can learn about how we will "treat" others how we want to be treated in my mentor text unit

Okay, so THANK YOU for sticking with me through this incredibly tooooooo looooooong post!!! I am just so thrilled to share these books with you! :)

I created units and activities for all three of these texts if you are interested. They are available in our Teachers Pay Teachers store. Here are some previews.

I hope that you will enjoy these books as much as I do! And, keep an eye out because Amanda is working on units for 2 more texts that we love to use at the beginning of the year!  Can you tell we LOVE back to school books?  :)

I'm looking forward to reading all about your back to school mentor texts! :) Thank you again for stopping by!  And don't forget to enter our giveaway!  Only a few hours left!!  Click HERE!


Now, it's your turn!

(If you have never linked up before you can check HERE for more information.)

For the Linky- Please make yourself a SANDWICH!  Please comment on the person who linked up before you and the person that linked up after you.  I know everyone puts in a lot of time and effort to these posts and I want everyone to feel the love!!!  (Haha, see, you're a know...because you are in the middle of the you get it?)  ;O)

Next week's topic- Language Arts

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Southeastern Bloggers- Let's meet up!!

Jivey, Stacia, and I were getting a little jealous of all the cool meet-ups happening. I know Atlanta is no Vegas, but what do you say we have a little meet-up here in Atlanta? ;O)

We like any reason to put on a cute dress and eat some delicious food, so we have reserved a table at the Swan Coach House on July 20 at 11 AM to do just that!

Will you join us? Please RSVP by clicking on the button. 

If you aren't sure right this minute and want to RSVP later, there is a direct link at the top of my sidebar. 

Whether you live in Georgia or in one of the nearby states, we hope to see you there! Summer is the perfect time for a road trip right?? :O)

I'm kinda in denial that it's almost July, but Farley says so...which I still may deny...but I'll link up while living in fantasy land...

Elmo- oh my annoying voice that you have.  Ugh.  But the kids love you and learn at the same time so it's okaaaaaaay (in short spurts)

I love summer.  That's all I have to say about it.  Don't you?  :O)

I can't wait to go to the beach in about a week or so...ahhhhhh...I can almost smell it!

July- July and I have a love/hate relationship right now.  I love that I'm going to the beach in July.  My daughter was born in July.  July is summer.  However, I start back to school July 31st (officially but I have meetings starting the 29th).  I also MIGHT have a birthday in July (which is fine...mostly).  July goes fast...and if I'm not careful, school will be starting before I know it.  July needs to go sloooooooow.  :O)

I need to be working on planning for next year.  However, time is going fast and I turned around and June is almost over.  I need to set alarms and reminders in my phone maybe to get myself going!  :O)

Tips- My blogging tip is to be an approachable blogger.  In your posts and comments.  It can be obvious if you are blogging just to sell a product.  If you make your posts a little about you and a lot about teaching, you're more approachable.  And, that includes in comments.  If you respond to comments, it really helps build relationships and people know you care and will talk to them.  It's hard to reply to no-reply bloggers, though, so get that fixed if you can!  As far as TpT products, it just makes sense to make products that you would use, too.  Right?  :O)

And, you have until tomorrow at midnight to enter our giveaway!  :O)

Friday, June 28, 2013

Five for Friday {Last Friday in June!?!}

Oh my.  It's the last Friday in June.  Where is this summer GOING???  It wouldn't be a big deal except we go back July 31st so....yeah.  I haven't gotten nearly as much done as I had hoped!  I better get to rockin' that to-do list!!  :O)

We are linking up with Kacey for:

My husband has been chaperoning my daughter at camp for the last two weeks.  Why him and not me?  Well, it's a camp he went to as a child and it has to do with music, so it's a better fit for him than me.  I mean, I love listening to music, but I can't read it, play it, or sing it, so I leave that to them!  Anyway, our 13 year anniversary was Monday and he drove down an hour and a half to surprise me and wish me a happy anniversary!  He could only stay for lunch and then make the drive back, so it was super sweet for him to do all of that!!  :O)

(Have you played with the app called PIP Camera?  It's super fun!)

Since my daughter has been gone, we've spent a good bit of time at the pool.  My littlest is 2 and just finally started jumping in on his own.  Check out this video!  He says, "I jump!" as he jumps and then my 4 year old says, "We did it!" (this was their first time trying to jump together) and so my 2 year old says, "We did it!"  Soooo cute!  (I'm videoing and that is my mom in the pool.)
My 4 year old will not swim without a belt that keeps him afloat.  I've done everything I know.  Any suggestions?  He could do it if he'd try!  He's just terrified of "sinking".

 Stacia and I went to a staff development on writing Wednesday.  It was all day.  It was a lot of sit and get.  We heard the guy who's in charge of the department that grades our state's writing tests explain how to teach kids writing.  We saw him take kids through how to write a paragraph.  Basically, I got out of it that kids need a lot of modeling and questioning in order to add the kind of details they need in their writing.  I mean, it was helpful but really looooooooooooooooong.  I wish I had more to share with you about it...
 Then, yesterday, Stacia and I met up at school with the brand new, fresh out of college, teacher that will be teaching 4th with us next year to help her get an idea of what to start with.  I think all it did for me was throw me in a tailspin realizing how much we have to do right out of the gates and how much I have NOT done as far as planning.  I'm pretty sure the new teacher is wondering why I am in charge of our grade level...thank goodness Stacia kept a level head and went through everything without terrifying her (because I was so busy worrying and terrifying MYSELF).  Thanks Stacia!

We are having a giveaway for those of you who will take the plunge and follow us on bloglovin!  You can click over there on the right on our sidebar!  Or, you can click on it in the rafflecopter!  :O)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Show Us Some Bloglovin- a Giveaway for Bloglovin Followers!

Hi fabulous followers!!

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

We are doing a giveaway for all of our 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 our blog through bloglovin, then there are a few easy steps to follow.  You can go to our 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 our blog on bloglovin.

You will need to set up an account with bloglovin so that you can follow us.  Please be sure to leave your bloglovin username in the Rafflecopter entry.  Then, go to this post on bloglovin and "like" it.

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 our bloglovin link and make sure that you are following us 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 us by bloglovin, please enter our giveaway!!  We will be picking 2 WINNERS and each winner will get their choice of 2 UNITS FROM OUR TpT STORE!  :O)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Good luck!

get the InLinkz code

Monday, June 24, 2013

The Best Pot Roast and Winners...

What does pot roast have to do with winners?  Nothing, really, except that I'm linking up with my good friend Christy at Teaching Tales Along the Yellow Brick Road for:

I got this recipe from Crockpot Recipe Exchange.  It's so easy and soooooo yummy! 

You'll want to use the size of crock pot that the roast will fit in.

  • 1 beef roast, any size
  • 1 envelope brown gravy mix
  • 1 envelope Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing mix
  • 1 envelope dry Italian salad dressing mix
  • 1/2 cup of warm water
Place roast in crock pot. Mix contents of all 3 envelopes in a small bowl. Sprinkle the 
mixture over the roast. Pour water into bottom of crock pot. Cook on low for 
6 - 7 hours.

If you try it, you'll have to let me know how you like it!  
I make this about once a month at least.

And, we have our winners from our giveaway on Friday!  Congratulations ladies!  
You have been emailed!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Totem Tale- A Native American Tall Tale {Social Studies Mentor Text}

We are here again to share another mentor text!  This week's subject is social studies.  As I've said before, my goal for next year is to do a lot of integration of science and social studies into language arts.  I am sharing a book today that is probably more of a language arts book, but I am going to share how I'm integrating it.

The book I am sharing is called Totem Tale by Deb Vanasse.

We teach about different Native American tribes in our curriculum.  One of the tribe's characteristics is that they had totem poles.  Since we also teach different genres in language arts, this is the perfect opportunity to integrate!

Here is the book description from Amazon:
"On a full-moon night in Alaska, a traditional native totem pole magically comes to life. The Grizzly, Beaver, Frog, and Raven all stretch and scratch and voice their relief at being free at last. But then the first dawn light appears on the horizon, and the totems have to reassemble themselves in the proper order before morning. Who should be on top of whom? Can wise Raven reason with these contentious creatures? Deb Vanasse’s enchanting text and Erik Brooks’s lively illustrations make this a memorable modern folktale."

Here are a few of the pages from the book:

I love when you get to turn the book sideways!!  :O)

Anyway...this book is adorable!  I love the language in it and the illustrations are so fun!  There are great verbs and onomatopoeia in this book!  And, because I think it's so great, I'm sharing this vivid verb and onomatopoeia scavenger hunt with you in case you want to hunt for verbs and onomatopoeia with your class too!

Ok, so how am I integrating this into social studies.

Well, I wish I had pictures.  Last year, I had students make their own totem poles.  Here's how it went:

I gave them a list of animals and what they symbolized (it came from this website HERE).

I sent home a letter explaining the activity.  It looked like this:

The students went home and chose a symbol for each family member.  Most of them just highlighted on the sheet with the examples and wrote the name of the family member next to it.

Then, we went to the computer lab and they used clipart to make the animals and they typed the names of their family members and the description.

They colored them and then attached those to the paper towel rolls.  They kept them on their desks for a while.  They did a writing piece about their family and why they chose those symbols for each member.  Then, they took them home.  :O)  (I wish I had pictures but that was before we started blogging.)

Totem poles tell a story.  For each tribe, it may be for a different purpose, but this was how we applied it in our classroom.

So, it's not a huge integration, but I just wanted to make the Native American unit fun!  :O)

Now, it's your turn!

(If you have never linked up before you can check HERE for more information.)

For the Linky- Please make yourself a SANDWICH!  Please comment on the person who linked up before you and the person that linked up after you.  I know everyone puts in a lot of time and effort to these posts and I want everyone to feel the love!!!  (Haha, see, you're a know...because you are in the middle of the you get it?)  ;O)

There are 5 Sundays in this month so....Next week's topic- Back to School Mentor Texts

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Sparking Student Motivation Ideas {From Pinterest}

Hi there!

My husband and daughter were away at camp this week so I'm popping in to link up a short post with my girl Joanne so I can get back to loving on them before they go for week #2.  :O)

I found a few cute ideas on Pinterest that I am thinking about incorporating next year.

I think this is adorable and super easy!!  Whether you give them a pencil or not, the high five note would be a great motivator, I think!

I could't find the original Pin Source
This next idea comes from Cara at The First Grade Parade.  If you have not checked out her blog, you MUST because she has the best ideas!!

Celebrity of the Week
The student of the week gets their own star on the Wall of Fame!  She has a bunch more ideas in this post too!  I don't necessarily do a student of the week in 4th grade, but it would be neat to have them do this and then they can post their work underneath to show off what hard work they are "famous" for!

And this one is so simple!!  Just write a note on their desks with expo and have it waiting for them in the morning or after specials when they come back to class!

I couldn't find the exact post- just the blog.
I know this is a short and sweet post but maybe you got some ideas you didn't already have!  :O)

Make sure to go to Joanne's blog to check out more motivating ideas!

Also, we are doing a Pin it to Win it giveaway.  You can win up to 3 packs!  Check out our post HERE!

Have a great weekend!
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