Monday, September 30, 2013

Monday Mentor- Snowball Fight!

I found this great idea in a book on Differentiation. Here's what you do: As you are studying a unit or concept, have the students write something they've learned today or the past week on a slip of paper. They come to the carpet and make a circle. Have them crumple up the paper and flex their muscles. At the count of 3 everyone TOSS their snowball into the center of the circle. Next, have a small group of kids at a time reach in and grab a snowball. When everyone has one, at the count of 3 have them TOSS it into the center again. Do this for as long as you can stand it (a minute was all I could take).

Finally, everyone grabs a snowball to read out. You can applaud the interesting new facts students have put in their memory banks and also say, "Let's talk about that," when misconceptions are brought up. Everyone gets a chance to participate without feeling pressure that they might be 'wrong'.

Fun, right?

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Wednesday Writing - Pen Pals

I know some seriously cool bloggers, but Holly at Fourth Grade Flipper definitely tops the bill. Not only was she the first person to donate to my DonorsChoose project, but now she is helping my class find an authentic audience to write to. I've done some writing of letters with my classes in the past, but we've never had pen pals before. Not until Holly posted on her blog that she was on the lookout for a group to swap letters. I didn't see the blog post first, though. My BBBIRL (Best Blogging Buddy in Real Life) Jivey did. She immediately fired off a response to Holly's request. Holly was looking for 46 students to share letters and with my 26 kids paired with Jessica Ivey's 25 we had more than enough.

This fits so perfectly with my original plan for my group this year. We ask our students to write every day in our classrooms, but often times it's just a response to a book or an informational report. The students don't really see their audience for these daily writings. I wanted to offer them some real authentic people to write to, which would in turn give their writing more purpose. We are currently crafting a letter to our Cafeteria Manager to suggest Meatless Mondays in our school to help combat childhood obesity. I plan on having them write to their favorite authors later this year. But nothing will produce such results as Holly's Pen Pal Project.

Jessica has already written about our pen pals on her blog , so you can read more about it there and see some pictures. It was shipped out on Friday, and now we play the waiting game. I can't wait for our letters to get their first reply.

Tuesday Tried It - DonorsChoose items

When I was researching which cameras I wanted to purchase if my DonorsChoose project got funded, I immediately gravitated to the Nikon Coolpix S31. I had googled 'Best camera for kids' and this popped up on the suggestions list. Once I saw that it was shatterproof, waterproof, and had over sized buttons for little hands, I was hooked.

Notice I said 'if' the project got funded. I am still shocked that it actually came through. But it became more real the moment the package was put in my hands at school. They arrived from Amazon in only two days. Maybe they worked out a deal to get in on the Prime membership.

These cameras are seriously cute. I got two of the pink ones and two of the blue. For some reason the blue were discontinued and I had to go in and select something else, but not from Amazon. They rerouted me to Best Buy and I ordered the Canon Powershots. We'll see how those compare.

I can't wait to use them with my Photography Club. We'll use these to learn on in school and then they can go home and use their own cameras or phones to complete some 'homework.'

Monday Mentor - Science Weather Reports

One of the most fun projects I assign my Fourth Graders is to do a weather report. I love watching them get into videotaping themselves give a weather forecast, or create a powerpoint with super cool pictures of tornadoes and hurricanes. Some of them have TOO much personality! I always find myself laughing while watching the videos parents have either emailed me or sent in on a flashdrive.

This is the first time that I grade them on public speaking. Makes for some nervous bunnies on presentation day. And it's usually the kids that talk the most when they aren't supposed to. Yet, when you ask them to speak they get all shy and mumble their words. Why is that?

Here are some shots of my kiddos giving their presentations:

One of the best things from this year was when my newest student, who speaks broken English, came in with a huge bag. When it was his turn to present, he begins handing out papers to everyone with cute little Smiley Face lollipops on them. He brings me this biggest lolly of all attached to a poem he had written. It was incredible as he read it out loud for the class, but I have a sneaking suspicion he was trying to buy votes. Future politician?

Friday, September 20, 2013

Winners List ... Drumroll, please

I've waited all week for this day and I couldn't even ENTER the contest!

So glad you all played with me. We were so close to get 1,000 entries too. Very excited to see that.

No more dilly-dallying.


The Second Prize Winner:

 The Third Prize Winner:

Emails have gone out to the lucky winners.

I can't thank everyone enough for playing. This was such a wonderful experience for me!

Here's looking forward to 1,000 Followers!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

100 Follower Giveaway is Ending... in 5 hours and 41 minutes!

Don't forget to enter for a whole stack of goodies!

100 Follower Giveaway is Ending... in 5 hours and 41 minutes!

Don't forget to enter for a whole stack of goodies!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Wednesday Writing - Peer Editing form

We have been plugging along with our first piece of the year. It seems to be taking a lot longer than usual because we stop every now and then to do an opinion piece, or response to lit, or persuasive piece, or something else to satisfy the requirement to hit all of the genres in one nine week. Not sure if I like this idea, but I digress.

We have made it to the Peer Editing Stage where the students have revised and edited with colored pencils to show their changes. Now they are going to share their story with a partner. I have them swap books so that they can see their writing in a real audience's hands. Then they read each piece aloud so the author can hear their words. This will help them understand that their handwriting and spelling does really make a huge difference. If they know someone else will be looking at, they will try a little harder, right?

Since they only have ten minutes tops to read each other their pieces, I created this sheet to keep them on task. You can get it here.

They can take the sheet back to their seats once the time  is up to finish filling in their thoughts. Once complete, they return it to their partner to glue close to their story's rough draft in their Writer's Notebook. Each can make further changes at this time based on suggestions or questions their Peer Editor had. Then they are ready for the Final Draft.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Monday Mentor - Mentor Sentences

How was your weekend?

If you've read the last few posts of mine, you'll know how amazing mine was.

First I released my 100 Follower Giveaway with incredible prizes (have you entered yet?). Then my favorite new play toy arrives in the mail, the Classroom Friendly Pencil Sharpener. Yes, the caps are necessary because it is that cool! Finally, out of the blue I get notice that my donorschoose projet has been FULLY funded! That was completely unexpected.

The fun continued on Saturday when I got to hang out with my BBB, Jivey, at the Farmer's Market. We shared tomatoes, we shared basil, but for some reason she wouldn't share the fresh made mozzarella. Hmm. Well at least one of us enjoyed a caprese salad.

I also talked to a really helpful crusty Old Salt at the Sport's Authority. He was able to help me pick out a much needed knee brace and give me full details on how to get rid of the pain I've been having in my patella. After icing it a few times, it already feels better. Yay!

So, hopefully your weekend was full of unexpected goodness, good food, and helpful advice.

If it wasn't, I might be able to help. I've been doing some grammar work in my classroom for the past three years called Mentor Sentences. I first heard about it when I attended a Summer Literacy Institute put on by our county. One of the guest speakers was Mr. Jeff Anderson, he of the 10 Things Every Writer Needs to Know fame. On that day he detailed the entire process of Mentor Sentences and the genius behind it simply blew my mind. I knew this was one staff development I would get a lot out of.

I began the school year with this new procedure and found that the students took to it easily and readily. It was so much easier to understand than another worksheet given at random. I used to have my students look at a sentence that had at least four or five things done incorrectly to it. They had to find it and correct it. Boy, was I wrong. Research has shown that students were actually remembering the incorrect way of writing and using that in their own work than recalling how to do it correctly. WHAT?

Jeff suggested a five day plan that would introduce students to great sentences and invite them to find what made them so great. You can read the book that includes your Mentor Sentence ahead of time, but I prefer to read it on the second or third day of the rotation so students can have the joy of discovering the sentence as I read. They get so excited when they hear it. Also, there involvement in the story increases as they attend more to the text. Win-Win.

I decided to use one of my favorite beginning of the year texts, Thank You, Mr. Falker, by Patricia Polacco,  to start out the lessons. I get so much from this book (check out my TpT product: Mr. Falker Activity Pack) and find something new every year. It was perfect for my first foray into Mentor Sentences because I knew the book backwards and forwards. I could find that excellent nugget sentence that would show students the correct way of using a grammar concept.

For this week, I choose subjects and predicates which is always interesting to teach nine year olds. They aren't even sure which words are nouns or verbs and now I am throwing them into the lion's den with locating the complete subjects. Oy. I picked this sentence from the first page:

The little girl knew that the promise to read was at last hers.

I just love that line. It sounds like poetry and offers so much hope. But like life, Trisha's journey is not an easy one. However, Mentor Sentences are!

I printed out several copies of this sentences on one piece of paper, cut them apart, and handed them out to the students to glue onto their Mentor Sentence sheet. 

Now I would print this sheet out for them to cut and glue into their notebook maybe for the first week or so, but then they start writing it out for themselves each week. I don't have a separate notebook just for Mentor Sentences, but I have seen people do this. It is completely up to you. 

If you can see from the Mentor Sentence sheet, Day one is called Invitation to Notice. The students look at the sentence and try to pick out a feature they think I might be focusing on this week. They might write down *Nouns. I have to stress to them to also include what the nouns are in the sentence so they get some practice if finding the different parts of speech. Their notices are usually very simple at the beginning, but we build on it each week. Eventually, their notices start looking like this:

I Notice:
*Nouns - girl, promise 
*Verbs - knew, to read, was
*Adjectives - little 
*Capitals - at the beginning of the sentence
*Punctuation - period - Declarative sentence

For Day Two, I pick another sentence from the same text and display it on the board. They are to copy it onto their Mentor Sentence sheet and then try to decipher how this sentence is similar to the one from yesterday. 

I might use:

The other kids would crowd around her and watch her do her magic with the crayons.

Again, their notices are simple things. Both sentences include nouns, or verbs. Or they are both telling you something with a period at the end. We discuss what they have found whole class. If no one picked up on my focus for the week here is where I point it out. I would highlight the complete subject for both sentences and have them do the same on their sheets. 

Day Three is about imitation. They've seen each sentence and we've discussed them so they are familiar with the format. I invite them to give it a go and try to write a sentence that is similar to the ones we've been looking at. Some kids will copy the sentence but change a word or two, yet others will go off on their own to write different context. Can you say Differentiation? Yay! I am walking around the room as they write their sentences and asking them questions about what is similar between their sentence and Ms. Polacco's. Here is where I can point out capitalization errors or lead them towards a subject that includes at least one adjective. I am also looking for a student or two that has a really great example. I give each a sentence strip for them to copy out their sentence. Then I 'make them famous' as I put their work on the board and we all look at how well they did with the assignment. 

Day Four is the hardcore grammar lesson. The one from the book. You use this time for whole class instruction on your chosen concept for the week. You can discover who is getting it quickly and who needs more attention. 

Day Five is a little quiz to assess their understanding. Jeff Anderson calls this day an Invitation to Edit. The students are presented with the sentence from Day One with a few changes to it. Hopefully they remember enough about the correct way to write the sentence that they pick up on the glaring errors right away. They use proofreading marks to fix the sentence and then rewrite the whole thing correctly. There might be some multiple choice questions about the concept and a short answer for them to explain what they know. This hits all of the angles of assessment that the Common Core would love us to use.

I have been keeping a record of their responses during the week on anchor charts and keep it posted around the room. During the next week I tell them to keep an eye out for other examples of sentences that we could add to the chart. There's a little bucket of index cards for them to copy out any they find and we glue it to the chart.

With Mentor Sentences, I find that my students are watchful and aware of what author's are doing to create good sentences. As we move along their understanding and attention becomes much more elaborate and they can notice such higher order skills such as the author used cultural idiom to help the reader get a better sense of the character. Well, they aren't that eloquent, but you get my meaning. Give them a try. Your students will thank you.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Tuesday Tried it - Genre Exposure

My good friend, Nick over at Sweet Rhyme and Pure Reason wrote about something he called Read Beads on September 7th. I was casually skimming through his idea when it dawned on me just how cool it really was. See, he had read The Book Whisperer and decided to require his students to read across the genres. All except horror which he wouldn't require his students to read (*GASP* my favorite genre!). Then they could fill out a short Book Review before they would earn their 'Bead' for that book. Each student has a string on a bulletin board that they add their beads to as the year progresses.

I began thinking that I'd like to try this in my class as well. So I started with his Reading Interest Survey (you can see the pictures on his blog) and then explained the idea behind the Book Review. Each of them would be required to read a set number of books from each genre throughout the year.

Nick has both of these forms at this link:

These two forms come bundled in my TpT store for just $1.

The students were interested right away, so I started hunting through my craft collection pretty certain that I had some of those colored pony beads Nick used. Yeah, I couldn't find them. What I found instead was a bag of leftover colorful plastic links I had used to make friendship bracelets last year. I got the bag at Jo-Ann's Fabric store for $3.99. One of my early finishers was put in charge of separating the links out into different colors. Then I tried to think of what would have a chain attached to it. It reminded me a bit of a leash. Puppies! I had each student come up and pick an animal.

Then I strung a clothesline across the back windows and clipped the student pictures on to that. I like the idea of having this visual in front of me so I know who to call up to discuss what are they doing to meet the requirements.

We had to talk a lot about what makes a good book review. I modeled several times what information to put down in this section of the Book Review. They kept wanting to just tell me the story and not include any personal opinion statements at all. We had to go back and forth a few times before I started seeing some results I could be happy with. I'm thinking they will get better and more elaborate with their opinions as we progress. 

Thanks Nick for a great idea!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Sad No More - Classroom Friendly Supplies

I was struggling through my read aloud, Wonder by R.J. Palacio, at the end of the day. I say struggling because the Pencil Sharpeners were also doing their job. They were grinding away over in the corner, but as I'm sure you can guess the SOUND was just atrocious and completely blocked out my voice. I powered on because they had to sharpen, right? How else was I going to keep up with all those pencil demons eating our supplies? It was a necessary evil.

Then, just as I was walking my class out the front door to catch their buses, I saw a small box stacked up by the side of the door where our school's bookkeeper usually piles the incoming mail. I turned to one of my students and said, "That BETTER be my new pencil sharpener." I finished my drop off and rushed back into the building to discover that Friday the 13th has indeed become a GOOD OMEN. My brand new green pencil Sharpener from Classroom Friendly Supplies had arrived.

I snatched the box from the floor and instantly started searching out Jessica Ivey to share the joy of this occasion. I knew she'd understand for she had been in this moment before. She wasn't in the hallway, but the front desk clerk pipped up, 'What ya get?' Oooh, I had to show someone. I was just bursting at the seams. My classroom key dangling from my neck instantly become a box cutter as I sliced my package open to reveal the gleaming casing of my brand new sharpener. I raved. I drooled. I explained. I ranted. I told them everything I could about this amazing new product.

As I was talking, two more people joined us. I lifted the goodness from the box and two more people joined the group. By this time Jessica Ivey spied my newest arrival and zoomed right over to join me in some impromptu dancing and screaming. Four more came over. I was pointing out all the fun features and Jessica said, "Do you want me to show you how to use it?" Before I could even respond a chorus of "yes Yes YES" came from the cluster of fellow teachers around the front desk.

So she pinched the top two buttons and slid out the pencil holder and placed the serious dull pencil into the machine amidsts some oohs. The she started turning the crank handle as everyone leaned in to try and pick up some sound. Nothing. Not a whirl, not a grind, not a peep. Seriously. She held up the final product to some serious AAAHHS. Lo and behold a veritable spear of a pencil was held aloft the admirers.

Everyone was firing questions about where did I get his. How did I get this? How could they get one? How much does it cost? Our technology specialist grabbed the invoice and immediately made a copy. I mentioned that she should show and tell this with our principal and maybe get one for each teacher. She nodded vigorously and mentioned that maybe at least our Sunshine Committee could raffle some off.

I had to break the sad news that I must be going. It is Friday after all and I was eager to head home. Everyone stood silent, eyes burning with envy, as I walked away with my prize. It had been another long week at school. But at least I knew that come Monday my pencil woes would be gone. I was now in possession of the greatest teacher product to ever come into play, The Classroom Friendly Pencil sharpener.

Friday Fun - 100 Follower Giveaway

I've been dreaming of this moment since July. I wasn't expecting to have it happen so soon though. I owe thanks to so many amazing people for this honor. But most of all to BBBB (Best Blogging Buddy Beyond Infinity), Jivey. She has held my hand through this entire process and shared her talents and tips and tricks to help me get to this point. I can't thank her enough!

I can thank y'all though. I can thank YOU a lot. Actually I think I can thank you 10 times over. I have scoured the ends of the Blogosphere to find ELEVEN of the most amazing people to ever set their fingers to the keyboard. And each one of them was completely generous enough to donate a prize to my little giveaway.

Can you see the grin on my face? Uh-huh.

Here is a list of the ELEVEN prizes that one Grand Prize Winner will receive!


The Grand Prize Winner will win TWO items of choice from my TpT Store

Is that all? 

Of course NOT. 

There will also be two more winners. I will have a Second and Third Prize Winner. 

The Second Prize Winner will get two products from my TpT Store of their choice. 

The Third Prize Winner will get one product from my TpT Store of their choice.

***Make sure you leave me a comment below to let me know what you've got your eye on in my store.

Whew! I'm tired from just typing this all. 

Here's a set of links for each of the Prize Donations so you can go and check them out yourselves:

Hunter's Tales from Teaching is offering up her Pilgrim dice.
Collaboration Cuties is offering up
-->one item- winner's choice from their TpT store. 
Ideas by Jivey is offering up her Knots on a Counting Rope Mentor Unit.
Head Over Heels for Teaching is offering up her Character Analysis Posters
Sweet Rhyme&Pure Reason is offering  up his Monster Math.  
Fourth Grade Flipper is offering up any item from her TpT store.
Pinkadots Elementary is offering up her Stop, Note, Notice.
E-Z Class is offering up some exotic goodies all the way from New Zealand.  (I'm so jealous!)
Comprehension Connection is offering up her unit on The Fall Festival.
Covered in Glitter and Glue is offering up one item from her TpT Store.
Digital Divide and Conquer is offering up one item from his TpT Store under $10.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As an added bonus, I've asked all of the fabulous souls to link up here with a blog post about what it felt for them to reach that first 100. Since some of them are far beyond the 1,000 Followers mark, I'm definitely going to be taking notes! Make sure you visit their blogs to find out how they achieved their success.

Thanks for playing! See you next Friday with the winning announcement.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wednesday Writing - FABLE-ous Tales

If you remember Monday's post, I was telling you about my co-workers Fable Lesson called Aesop-lutely FABLE-ous. My students were to organize and write their very own fables. I wanted to check back in and let you know how it went!

I think they had some fun with this one. I had a few share their fables and then we had to guess what the moral was. It was interesting to hear some of the tales!

I thought I'd share a few (spelling intact):

From ND
One day there was a fox named billy. He liked to go to partys. When he found out there was a party nearby, he would always lie to his mother and say that he was just going to play outside. But one day he changed his lie. That was a mistake. He said he was going to go to get some berries. When he got back from the party his mom said where are the berries. He said none of them were there. She looked outside and there were thousands of berries there. She said you are in big trouble. Billy decided  to never lie again because the more you lie the more trouble you will be in.

From SG
One after noon an ant was playing with the other ants work. They told him to help But he said No. So finilly thay said that if he did not do the work he would have to always work and not aver get to play. So ant helped and was alowd to play.

From FK
The Fox and the Crane
There was once a crane with a chease in her mouth. A fox came he was hungry when the bird came the fox stared saying nice thing about her he said sing and sing as loude as she can 1 sec later the cheaze fell and the fox gulp it up and ran she was sad she couldn't eat it.

They have some creativity in there, most definitely. Now if only the grammar was up to snuff. Ha!

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Personal Goal - 100 Bloglovin Followers - Friday will be F.U.N.

Ahh, what a great way to start off my morning. Not only did I reach my personal goal of 100 followers, I surpassed it! I currently have 104 Followers!

Totally needed this. Thank you ALL!!

Do you want to know the first thing I did when I saw that this mornign?

I immediately logged onto Classroom Friendly Supplies's website and requested to do a review of their WICKED COOL pencil sharpener!!  If you know my summer, I have been stalking every single blog giveaway and Rafflecopter I could that was giving away one of these. Now I have my grubby little hands all over one! HA. I'm such a teacher.

And guess what? I got the approval letter this afternoon. Oh yeah! So stayed tuned for that review to come out.

Oh, and also stay tuned for this Friday when a little bit of goodness is going to be given back to all you fine, fine people!

Tuesday Tried It - "I Don't Know"

Common situation in any classroom:

You ask a content question of a student and you wait the appropriate amount of time to allow them to gather their thoughts only to be rewarded with a sullen "I don't know."

Meanwhile, tons of hands are waving frantically to get your attention.

Here's a great cure for the "I Don't Knows".

LPerry has created a super cute chart printable for this over in her TpT store. AND she has it as a FREEBIE!



Monday, September 09, 2013

Monday Mentor- I am AESOP-lutely FABLE-ous

I love finding new lessons that just make teaching that much more fun. My grade chair fearless leader, Jennifer, showed us all this super cute lesson on teaching fables to our fourth graders. This fits perfectly with our study on THEME and author's purpose.

We started out the week reading tons of fables, such as the Lion and the Mouse, the Tortoise and the Hare, the Fox and the Crane. We also discussed each lesson the author wanted us to learn. The themes of the short tales were easy to pick out. I went a little deeper and asked them why they thought Aesop would have picked this particular animal to represent in this fable.

The most compelling moment of the lesson came as I explained that Aesop was a Greek slave who's master taught him to read. One of my boys raised his hand to answer my question about why Aesop chose a lion to explain this lesson. He was thinking that the lion could actually stand for Aesop's master and that Aesop was in fact the mouse. Aesop could have done something big to help his master out and that's where he got the idea for the story.

GASP!  What insight! I had to hold my breath for a bit, but thanked him and told him that is probably the most intriguing idea behind the Lion and the Mouse ever told. He smiled and we went on.

After reading tons of fables, we were ready for the next step. I posted three posters around the room that included the title of the fable and its moral.

You can get all six posters Here. I cannot take credit for this file. The images are from Microsoft Clipart and the idea was borrowed. The frame is mine, though!

The children were to walk around and sit near a fable that they have a connection to. They were to write the title, moral and their connection on paper. At the end of about ten minutes they turned and told an Elbow Friend about their connection. This way they could see how many different versions of the same tale could be told. I then explained that through the years, the tales have been retold with different characters.

Here's information from Wikipedia I shared about the Wolf and the Lamb:

The fable also has Eastern analogues. One of these is the Buddhist Dipi Jataka in which the protagonists are a panther and a goat. The goat has strayed into the presence of a panther and tries to avert its fate by greeting the predator politely. It is accused of treading on his tail and then of scaring off his prey, for which crime it is made to substitute.[7] A similar story involving birds is found among Bidpai's Persian fables as "The Partridge and the Hawk".[8] The unjust accusation there is that the partridge is taking up all the shade, leaving the hawk out in the hot sun. When the partridge points out that it is midnight, it is killed by the hawk for contradicting.

We did it again the next day with three more fables. Sometimes it was hard for students to make connections to fables, so I had to get broader in my description. I suggested things like "have you ever had a friend who wanted something of yours" or "you procrastinated on a chore or assignment?"

 Since it was now Friday, I told them that next week we would be creating our own fables. Over the weekend they were to think about a lesson they have learned in the past and what character animals they could use based on their traits to teach this lesson.

I will give out this recording sheet for them to organize their ideas.

And then this writing paper for them to write down their very own fables.

You can get this file from Here. Just remember this is in no way my design, I'm simply sharing a resource!

Next week we are going to delve into Greek Myths (part of our curriculum) and tie them into the concepts of fables. Should be much easier to get this across to them having set up the FABLE-ous groundwork. 

Sunday, September 08, 2013

I love my Followers!!

So tell me how excited I was to see the number of Followers DOUBLE in one weekend?!!?!?!?

Oh yeah. There's going to be some happiness coming your way once I reach that 100 Follower Milestone!

Psst! Only seven more to go on BlogLovin!

LOVE y'all!

Math Must Read Mentor Text Linky - One Grain of Rice

One of my favorite math books to begin the year is Demi's One Grain of Rice.

This is a beautifully illustrated version of the Indian Folktale about the clever Rani getting the best of the selfish Raja who has been hoarding the village's rice supply.

Here's Amazon's review:
Exotic, beautiful, and instructive, this "mathematical folktale" by author-illustrator Demi emerged from her love of India. The narrative and the evocative illustrations combine to create a real sense of the culture and atmosphere of this romantic land.

It's the story of Rani, a clever girl who outsmarts a very selfish raja and saves her village. When offered a reward for a good deed, she asks only for one grain of rice, doubled each day for 30 days. Remember your math? That's lots of rice: enough to feed a village for a good long time--and to teach a greedy raja a lesson.

The best part that the kids really love is about 3/4 of the way through the book, as Rani has requested that the Raja double her gift of rice grains every day for a month, she receives a parade of elephants to bring her gift. There are so many elephants to display, that Demi had to create a cool visual with pages that fold out into four page spread. The kids go nuts with , "Whoa!!" and "Wow!"

It's a great way to show how quickly numbers can grow and to discuss how to read larger seven digit numbers. Great book! 

Saturday, September 07, 2013

THE Jivey Giveaway!

Good Saturday morning, folks.

A little while back my BBB Jivey asked me to be a part of a wee giveaway. I was just so excited to be included in such an idea, I immediately said yes. Well, I didn't realize how many cool friends the girl really has, because this giveaway is THE Giveaway!

Not only am I providing my Chocoholic Paper Pack in the giveaway, but there are six other amazing designers also providing some goodies.

Jivey doesn't stop there, though. She's got a TON of other prizes for helping her get to the 1,000 Followers Mark. There's a chance to win a box full of Mentor Texts delivered to your door, or a set of her bestselling Mentor Sentence packets, and finally the Classroom Friendly Supplies newest PINK pencil sharpener (OOOoOoOooOOoh, I want!) My classroom pencil sharpener bit the dust yesterday, again. I need a replacement.

So jump on over to her site and enter the giveaway for a ton of chances. Remember that there are SEVEN different Rafflecopter linkies, make sure you keep scrolling down to the end to enter for all the goodies!

Good Luck!

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

Tuesday Tried It - Group Caddies

I like things neat. I do. I confess.

Over the summer I attended a Math Summer Camp staff development. The teacher had these great color coordinated caddies that he used for each group. I thought it was a perfect way to make sure that all equipment was put back in its right place and I wouldn't be wandering around trying to figure out which group didn't have enough white boards.

I scoured the Dollar Store for four sets of color coordinated items. I was able to secure a blue, green, and red set of caddies, trash cans, station bins, and book baskets. I had to cobble together the fourth set of purple and black items to make it all work.

Then a colleague who had gone to the Math Camp with me offered to let me use her spray paint for the backs of my white boards. Of course I had to go out and buy a yard of fabric to cover the center areas of each group that matched their colors. It was a bit of a stretch to find space themed fabric in those specific colors, but I made it work. I was done!

The one thing I didn't count on was the children actually using the materials. Man! They just grabbed and snatched and threw things back in willy-nilly. It was looking so beautiful before they arrived. After four weeks of this I had to go through and fix them all up pretty again. It was driving me nuts.

Oh, and I am printing this picture out and gluing it to a stick that will poke up out of the caddies for them to see. Then I just tell them to make their areas look just like the picture. This will work, right?

Monday, September 02, 2013

Currently - September . . . and a new TpT item

September rolls in
on foggy feet leaving damp
footprints in its wake.

How's that for a little Monday morning Haiku?

Yep, it's September. That means one month of school is done. Only nine more to go!

I am linking up with Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade   for her Currently Linky.

But before I get to that, I've got a little treat for you!

A new item has just gone up in my TpT store. This one is dealing with our Science unit about Simple Machines. It's a set of 20 task cards with questions about all six of the machines and some of the other vocabulary such as speed, gravity, and friction.

I didn't want to stop there, though. I had to make it more fun! So, I also added a little game to play. There are six cards you'll need to draw from a deck if you answer one of the task cards correctly. If you get all six of the cards and put them in order, it will create a fun complex machine made up of all six of the simple ones.

Easy peasy, right? Huh-uh. There are also some tricky extra cards hiding in the draw pile. Some say lose a card, and some say take one from another player. Ooooh, burn! Your students are gonna love it!

Best part? It's only $2 for the whole set. But I am not happy with that. If you go and grab it RIGHT NOW it will be ... wait for it ...


But only until 2:00 P.M. EST. So, go now. 

Whew! I'm kinda out of breath from all that fun. Here's my Currently before I forget. 

Check out Farley's linky party. They are always a good time. Enjoy!

Mentor Monday - Saturdays and Teacakes

I thought it was time I posted a completely creepy picture of me manhandling a children's book. Actually, I took this as a joke to show Jivey that my long awaited copy of Saturdays and Teacakes by Lester Laminack had finally arrived in the mail. She got a big kick out of it.

I've been hearing everyone rave about this little memoir story in staff developments and team meetings. I've even met the author when he visited our school, great guy by the way. I finally broke down and bought a copy online. But it was taking so long to arrive that I had to borrow a copy from our media center to read to the kids.

The story just wasn't appealing to me. My own grandmother was a large scary woman who had a loud brash voice, so visiting her was not a happy occasion. I just didn't have the same connection that Mr. Laminack was sharing in his story. After all of the peer pressure, I read it to my class. They loved it. But more importantly, I saw tons of great lessons to use this book throughout the year.

Sigh, everyone was right. It does deserve a spot on your Mentor Text shelf.

One of the lessons I taught last week was about sensory details and how it allows the reader to experience the story hand in hand with the author. I pulled a short selection from the text. It starts with the great crafting of
Pedal - Pedal - P-e-d-a-a-a-l-l-l

and end with the crunching of gravel underneath his bike tires as they shower his Mammaw's flowers.

The kids immediately picked up on the use of the stretched out words to show that the author really wanted to show the effort it was taking to climb the hill on a bike.

I had them make a sensory chart for the five senses and we managed to find something for everything, even Taste which is always hard in a story. They could TASTE the salty sweat as it dripped into his mouth.Umm, ew, but okay. Their responses to the text were fantastic. I can't wait to pull the craft into their writing. Check out this Wednesday's post to find out how that lesson went.

Saturdays and Teacakes is a great mentor text to add to your reading list. I promise!

Sunday, September 01, 2013

Fifth in the Middle 1,000 Follower Giveaway

Oooh, this inspires me. I can't wait until I reach this lofty goal!

But until that day, I am passing on the achievements of this other amazing blogger.

Fifth in the Middle

You could win This! 

Or this!

Or this!

OR even this!

All you have to do is start at Fifth in the Middle and Blog Hop your way through the other blogs looking for the 'secret number.' Once you've added them all up, go back and enter the Rafflecopter Contest on Fifth in the Middle. Just make sure that you let me win the Sharpener, okay?