Carla from Comprehension Connection has some great ideas for developing your students' vocabulary. She also has some freebies and a giveaway on her blog, so be sure to check it out by clicking on the picture below!

Hello Friends! I hope you had  wonderful Christmas. Mine was a whirlwind, like always! I'm looking forward to relaxing today with my computer!  :)

One thing I will be doing is ordering my Erin Condren Planner for 2016. I have been holding off, mostly because I can't make up my mind! I have gotten the Life Planner for years, but this year I am thinking about getting a Notebook with a calendar instead. I find that for planning purposes, I mostly use the two page calendar spread. I don't find I use the daily pages as much, but I would like to take a notebook to meetings or to jot down classroom ideas, lists, and other things when they pop into my head. You can click here to see Erin talking about the notebooks and the differences between the Keep it Simple and Deluxe versions. I think I am leaning towards the deluxe version with the calendar, folder, and stickers which are included. Erin Condren planners and notebooks are not cheap, but I figure for something that I use everyday, it's worth the price.

New customers can also receive a $10 coupon code by clicking on the graphic below and creating an account. An email with a $10 coupon code will be sent to you, and you can redeem the coupon upon checking out. (When your order ships, I get a $10 coupon too!)

Do you have one of her notebooks? What do you think of it compared to a Life Planner? I would love to know!
Have a great weekend! :)

Hello! I hope you are either on Winter Break or getting ready to go on break! Today is Day 2 of my break! 
I wanted to share two things from Comprehension Connection. Carla has some great ideas for teaching nonfiction reading and writing. Click on the picture below to see the post. 
Carla is also having a giveaway to celebrate her birthday! Be sure to enter the giveaway and grab the freebies she's been highlighting each day since the 20th too! Her giveaway ends on December 31st! Click on the picture below to see her post and enter!
Good luck and have a great week! :)
My sweet friend Missy from Dirt Road Teacher is hosting a TpT sale with the help of her bloggy friends. Several of us have dollar deals and bundle steals listed throughout this week. All you have to do is enter #CelebrateWinterBreak15 in TpT search bar to see all of the items we've included, or click on the graphic below which will take you straight there! Have fun shopping! And enjoy your Winter Break!

Hello Friends! I just uploaded a freebie pack of thank you notes if you are in need of some. I needed something that I could quickly jot a personalized note on the back, hand them out, and be done! Today will be a crazy whirlwind, to say the least! Click on the picture below to grab them!
Enjoy your last days before break! 

Favorite Things Graphic
Today we are throwing a huge giveaway to celebrate YOU! Last year we blogged about our favorite non-school related things, and this year we have decided that we will share our favorite school things with you! So here we go:
Do you already Kahoot? Kahoot is a game-based classroom response system that can be used for review, practice, and formative and summative assessment. It can give a quick snapshot of students' learning or need for additional teaching. It has added an  element of excitement to my classroom. Last year my students made their own Kahoots to show what they learned. They used them as final projects for their Genius Hour Research Projects
I created the Kahoot below for extra math practice. It took me about ten minutes to make a ten problem Kahoot. What you see on my device is a Kahoot game projected onto my overhead screen. The students have a certain amount of time to answer each question I had already typed out. Fun game show themed music plays and a running clock with a tick-tock sound is heard during play.
This is what the students' devices looked like during play. They choose the color for the correct answer. Messages appeared throughout the game letting the students know how they are doing compared to others. 
Below is a Kahoot a student was in the process of making for his Genius Project. He chose to research the Oakland A's baseball team for his project. He created questions from his research to make his Kahoot. After students have completed their Kahoots, I have them self-edit and revise, then have a peer edit and help them fix any mistakes in their Kahoot. Their final projects will also be graded on spelling, punctuation, and grammar. 
After reading this student's Kahoot, I encouraged him to add four answer choices to make his Kahoot more challenging, instead of making it a simple yes/no answer choice like he did in the picture above. By having your students create their own Kahoots, you can easily assess their learning based on the questions and answers they include. 
Below is what the student's Kahoot looks like in preview mode. Students are able to preview and play their Kahoots, then go back and edit them if necessary.
My entire district received 1:1 devices this year, but I know not every classroom has enough devices for every student. If you have a few iPads, iPods, or other devices available to your students, you could have them work in teams and play Kahoots you give them or have them create their own Kahoots. Students can even bring their own devices from home and link up with you over wi-fi. If all you have is your computer and you are able to project from it, you could use the free printable tablets I created below. Students can point to the color or shape and you could still use Kahoot to quickly assess their learning that way. (You wouldn't be able to print out their individual assessment data, and you would have to choose the correct answer from your device for each question.) This would still be a fun and engaging way to review. There are a few choices of sizes and color and black and white.
Making a Kahoot is just the beginning! You can download each students' score and use it as an assessment. If you decide to do that, I would make sure the students use their name and maybe a number as their username so you can easily see which score belongs to which student. You can also search for already made Kahoots and use them as is or edit them to make them work for your class. 
Below I've included step-by-step directions if you would like to make your own Kahoot. Creating an account and making my first Kahoot was very easy. The most challenging part of the whole process was when I was ready to play a Kahoot with the class. You have to keep the game projected on, but your students have to go to to type in the pin number and log onto your game. 
You can click on the graphic below to get your own copy of step-by-step directions to make your own Kahoot. I've included pictures along with the step-by-step directions.
Click on the graphic below to visit Kahoot.
I hope Kahoot becomes a useful tool in your classroom.  What other websites are must-haves in your teacher technology toolkit? I would love to hear what you can't live without in your classroom!
I love the flexibility and student engagement while using centers and literacy stations. I've gone round and round for years trying to find the perfect way to organize and store all of the files I have. Over the past couple of years, I have found a way of organizing them that works for me. I buy the folders file folders shown below at Staples. These folders have a pocket in them to store directions, task cards, and recording sheets. 
 I keep the task cards and other pieces in 5x7 envelopes that I also get at Staples. (Shown below with labels on them for each center.)
I bought the magazine files shown below at Big Lots last summer. They are great for organizing these packs. I organize them by season and subject. 
So this is how I stay organized without drowning in center or literacy station chaos!
This year my students have proven that they can work independently in groups when their tasks are engaging. I started them out with literacy stations. I have six groups of students, with one Teacher's Assistant in charge of the group. The Teacher's Assistants are in charge of the answer keys and informing me if their groups are having any problems. Having them work this way gives me time to work with my small groups that need extra support. The other students are engaged in meaningful tasks that are more  than just fill in the blank worksheets or busy work. 
Managing six groups and six different stations was a daunting task at first. Trying to keep track of which group completed which center was a challenge for me. I solved this problem by making clothespins with numbers for each group, and rotating them after we finish for the day so the groups have the correct station and don't repeat any until they've completed all of them. I bought the plastic baskets in the picture below in the Target Dollar Spot. My husband spray painted them for me so they match my classroom decor.
Everything the students need is in each basket- task cards, a felt bag to pull the task cards from, recording sheets, and pencils. Simply adding a themed bag or bucket to the center makes it more fun for the students. I have even used small paper gift bags from The Dollar Store to put the task cards in. The students love the novelty! 
I LOVE Erin Condren planners! I have used the Teacher Lesson Planner for three years, and I've had a LifePlanner for about that long. The Teacher Planner is my favorite! These were definitely created with the teacher in mind. The planning pages give you lots of space, there are seating charts, parent contact pages, notes pages, a 12 month calendar, and many other extras that set this planner out from the rest. They are pricey, but I figure for something I use everyday, it's worth it! I love Flair pens to go with this planner. They don't bleed through or smear, and the colors are bright. 3rd Grade Thoughts has some great freebie planner labels here that I love to customize and use. I'm thinking of getting a Notebook this year instead of a LifePlanner. The notebooks are the similar, but have lined paper instead of the  planner pages. You can add a calendar to it,  which is really all I need. I need to figure out what I'm going to get- time is running out!
If you need a coupon for an Erin Condren planner, click on the picture below to get a $10 off coupon code! You will need to sign up for an account, then the code will be emailed to you. Let me know how much you love it if you get one!
Now to the most exciting part of this post! We want to treat you all to our favorite things!!! Check out these great prizes!





Enter the Rafflecopter to win this prizes!!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Come and visit my other teacher friends' blogs for their favorite websites, organization tips and much more!

Link to link up

Welcome to The 6th Day of Christmas hosted by Focused in Fifth. Today we are sharing the holiday products we can't get through the month without!
Yesterday I shared my classroom elf freebies that I use in my classroom. In addition to those ideas, I also have my students write about our elf. Last year we made a class paper bag scrapbook to document our elf's antics in our classroom. Paper bags are perfect for a project like this because when you fold them and staple them to create the book, the open sides create pockets for extras like pictures or extra space for writing. 
This year we are documenting our elf's arrival, his daily antics, and other happenings in our classroom in a memory book format. My students need lots of extra practice with writing. This will make a great keepsake for the students and their families to reflect on. 
Both packs also have extras like bookmarks, passes, and treat bag toppers that can be from you or your elf.  
I love the reading passages below from PAWSitively Teaching! She has included seven comprehension passages with a December theme, comprehension questions for each passage, and graphic organizers that go along with the passages. These are going to last me all month since we spend a long time reading and rereading them. My students have to find evidence from the reading to support their answers, and they love using their markers to color code their answers. These passages are just great! You can see her freebie for this file here. Click on the picture below to see the entire December pack. 
The December Read Alouds below also from PAWSitively Teaching are fabulous! She has included eleven holiday books with comprehension questions to ask as you are reading aloud to your students. It's such an effective use of read aloud time! She has also included graphic organizers in this pack to use an an extension. Click here to see her freebie, and click on the picture below to see the entire pack. 
I love teaching with mentor texts. One of my favorite for the holidays is Memoirs of an Elf. There are so many wonderful teaching opportunities with this book! It's filled with similes, metaphors, idioms, compound words, story structure, sequence of events, cause/effect, fact and opinion, and problem/solution. I have a blogpost of ideas for using the book here. You can also find a simile and metaphor freebie from the pack here. The file below consists of graphic organizers to use with any book, and a pack to use with Memoirs of an Elf.
My students are finally independent enough to work in centers together and stay focused. This allows me to work with groups or individuals, and I can feel confident that the rest of the class is practicing the important skills they need to to know. The pack below covers verb tense and regular and irregular verbs. 
Last week we began the Happy Holidays  ELA Workstations shown below. The students flipped over them! They loved the felt holiday bags that held the task cards. I couldn't believe how focused even my most unfocused students were! They practiced fact and opinion, sequencing, collective nouns, letter and address writing, singular and plural nouns, and editing. They are perfect for students to work on together, with a volunteer, or the teacher. 
Would you like to win all of the products I've shared? Leave a comment about your favorite thing to teach in December and your email, and I will choose a winner tomorrow. Visit  PAWSitively Teaching's blog for a second chance to win all of these products and the products she has shared too!
So this is what December looks like in my classroom. What products are getting you through this month? We would love for you to link up and share your ideas! You can also click on Focused in Fifth's blog button below to see the schedule for each day of this linky.
Thank you for joining me today, and enjoy your Sunday!  

Back to Top