Monday, July 28, 2014

Made It Monday - Preposition Center Game

I have awoken my inner crafting spirit.  Not only have I gone back to Michael's and made more crafts, this one is a creation of my own!  I was looking at others blogs and saw an iSpy craft, and my wheels started turning...  Then I walked the dog with my son, and he and I came up with a plan!  So I'm excited to link up with Tara again, and her 4th Grade Frolics - Monday Made It.

Available at my TpT & Teacher's Notebook stores.

All you need is a Pringles can (3 to make a set), 3/4 inch tape, a bunch of junk to put in the cans, and my printables.  I am charging a whopping $1 for this because I'm splitting the profits with my son.  Earlier this year my daughter spent a lot of time proofreading, and suggesting changes, to my capitalization task cards, so I split the profits with her from all sales.  She really got into it, so I'm hoping to now bring my son into the action.  I would recommend this for other TpT sellers with children, it presents a lot of business learning opportunities.  Of course, any money that I earn is really family money anyways, but don't tell them.

Step 1: Print out the Pringles can cover pages and cut off the edges.  I'd recommend cutting off the black lines if you are using any type of Washi tape that might show through.  Use two pieces of regular Scotch tape to tape the right edge to the can.  Make sure that the other side will line up, and that it is just far enough from the bottom for the 3/4 inch tape.

Hard to see the tape pieces at the top and bottom.

Make sure it is the tape's width from the bottom.
Step 2:  Open back up and lay a strip of your 3/4 inch tape along the edge.  I have a gray line that you can't see in this picture to use as a guide.

I would avoid any Washi tape that has see-through parts.
Electrical tape (left), Washi tape, and I found duct tape in 3/4 inch.

 Step 3:  Wrap the cover around and secure the tape.  Then run another length of tape down the other side to balance out the look.  Finally, tape around the top and bottom.  Voila.  Ready to fill with junk.  Of course, you will need someone to eat the Pringles first.  Careful when buying, there are some new ones with sizes that are slightly smaller than the traditional height.

Middle can shows the back.

I got this perfect tray at Tuesday Morning (which I just found) for $5.  I also found similar trays, just not as deep, for $1 in Target.  I added the Washi tape around the inside too:)

So now, using this in a center:  Students take a can (just one), shake and pour the contents into the tray.  They then use sentences with prepositional phrases to have a partner guess their "mystery object."

Who doesn't have this junk around the house????


My mystery object is on top of the penny.  (easy - bottle cap)
My mystery object is inside the rubber band and on top of the leaf.  (I know that's hard to see, but one phrase wouldn't be enough in this case to figure it out).

I knew I'd have to remake these since my home printer was running out of ink, and I think I'd like to laminate first next time too.  So I made a few other changes.  Besides three cans all alike except color, I differentiated them.  Pour #1 just uses one prepositional phrase, although they may need to add another if their partner doesn't figure it out.  Pour #2 requires them to use 2 prepositional phrases, like my second example.  Pour #3 comes with the prepositions on cards, so they need to draw a preposition and then figure out an object that would work.  I'm hoping this will make sure that the same basic prepositions aren't being used over and over.

9 of the 18 preposition cards to be used with Pour #3.

I played around with this with my kids to make sure it worked.  I'm sure this won't be the most exciting game the students will ever play, but it is a hands-on way to learn about prepositions, and hopefully it will help them remember what most prepositions do.

So I made that project early in the week, and got everything typed up for my blog before leaving on my vacation.  Husband can't get the time off for this trip, so my dad is joining us.  As a kid we would just get in the car and figure it out as we went, and that's the general idea of this trip.  So here I am, Monday morning, with free wifi and time to kill before my kids wake up.  We left Thursday morning from Northwest Ohio went to Niagara Falls and then farther into New York for the night.  Friday we got to Boston and walked around a bit.  Saturday we walked around Boston a bit more, then left for Maine.  We made it to Augusta yesterday, and passed the 1,000 mile mark on the trip set just before getting to the hotel.  Today we headed toward Acadia National Park!  We stopped at some great spots along the way, then it rained.  So we found a great place for the night, and hope to have some better weather today to see some amazing things.

Panorama shots have worked out great for some of these sites.

A selfie is the only way to get in a photo....
Loved Boston's Public Garden.
Revere Beach in Boston.
Moose Point State Park

On a side note, I want to thank anyone who has visited my blog.  I've truly enjoyed doing this, and am excited about the networking potential.  I'm sad that it took me this long to embrace this.  Reading my blog feed is now part of my morning routine, and I am inspired daily by the ideas and energy of these teachers I'm following.  I mentioned in a previous post that I'm interested in spicing up my blog, and now am in the process.  Thanks to Kristin at That Fancy Blog Boutique, we are going to start the process soon.  She's just getting started, and her prices are great.  I can't wait to see what she comes up with.  Check her out if you are looking to start your own blog, or change it up like I am.


Thursday, July 24, 2014

Books into Movies

I wasn't going to post until Monday as I'm planning to leave this morning on a driving trip up the East Coast with my dad and kids, but reading Michelle's blog post this morning has inspired me.  And besides perhaps short blog posts during my vacation, Monday's Made It link up is already done.  I'm excited to share what I created, and actually made-up myself.

Now, my post and Michelle's over at Big Time Literacy is about the movie trailer for the book The Giver.  If you haven't read it, well, that's a shame.  Don't read my post, or hers, go get that book NOW!  Like Michelle, it also is tied as my second favorite book of all time, and can easily be read in a few hours.


I wouldn't call myself an avid reader, but that's partly because I think reading is like drugs for me.  Once I start a book I don't do anything else until it's done.  I'm not a good wife, mom, or teacher for a short period of time.  And if the book is part of a series....  Example: Hunger Games series in 3.2 days.  The 0.2 is because we were having a New Years party and my husband MADE me stop reading the final book in my third day to help get ready, and I was less than a hundred pages away from finishing.  He doesn't get it, but had a point, so I finished in the morning.

Now, I don't care to ever watch a movie based on a book I read because I get too upset.  My daughter was all excited to tell me about this movie, because she knows it is my favorite book.  My reaction was simply, "Oh, no..."  Just reading Michelle's top 5 things that the trailer shows how they changed the story is enough, but I also don't like it when the characters don't look the way I imagined, and that's nobody's fault.

So for Michelle's 5 reasons:  Number 1 is a super bummer.  I remember the teasers when Jonas sees glimpses of color a couple of times.  The author doesn't tell you exactly, but let's you know that all of a sudden things look "different" to him.  When you figure out he's seeing color, that is a brilliant moment in the book.

Number 4:  A spaceship, really????  Do we have to add ridiculous action into a movie to get people to watch it these days...

Now back to the book.  It's early, and maybe my brain isn't understanding Michelle's explanation of the ending.  When I read it, I thought that the ending was left to the readers interpretation, which I thought was brilliant too.  Kind of like the ending to the movie Total Recall (did it happen, or was he really just dreaming the whole time).  Did Jonas really find the perfect community to live happily for the rest of his life with Gabe, or was he dead and this was his "heaven"?  I always preferred the latter, as perfectly happy endings are for fairy tales.  And then, sequels to the book.  The Messenger and Gathering Blue were very good, but I still don't like that I found out my interpretation of the book's ending was wrong.  I've not read Son yet, which is the 4th and final component to this series, that came out in 2012.  I'm sure they will find a way to keep going with these movies, and find a way to ruin them too.

My biggest problem with taking great children's books and making them into movies is that kid's will watch the movies first, which ruins the great experience with the text.

BTW - The other book that is tied with this one for me (not a kid's book) is A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini (author of Kite Runner).  I don't know if any of the many people I've recommended this book to have ever read it, but every woman should.  POWERFUL


Now, our goal is to leave here in an hour, heading to Niagara Falls as stop number 1.  So excited:)


Monday, July 21, 2014

Monday Made It - 7/21

I'm excited to link up with Tara again for Made It Monday.  The reason I'm excited is that I have a non-digital creation to share!  For a while now, I have considered myself a sort of digital artist.  I love creating things for the classroom on my computer, but have never been very "crafty" in any other way.  But, after reading through the many great links on her post last week, I was inspired and headed to Michael's.

So, Tara herself inspired my first project.  The others did not come out so well, and even this one had a few do-overs.

I've always loved using quotes, and even spent a day finding the perfect quote to go with the weekly essential questions in our new series.  So her quote bubble chalk board was perfect for me.  My husband is a carpenter, so he usually has any materials and/or tools I could possibly need.  Of course, the chalkboard paint (found a spray paint can for $6.99) and chalk markers (splurged on these $11.99) I had to buy.  At least I found a 25% of everything digital coupon:)

So I used the jigsaw and cut out my shape.  Only, the wood was way too porous, and the marker didn't completely rub off, and I knew it would get worse with each erase.  So my husband found some hard plastic material that I traced around my shape, and cut out with snips.  I used my new spray adhesive (for the other failed project) and glued it onto the wood.  It was previously in a roll, so I added some heavy materials to flatten it while the spray dried.  It worked, so then I reapplied chalkboard spray paint.  15 minutes later went to check, and adhesive bond broke, and plastic was off and curled...  I was done for the day and went up to watch some tv.  An hour later my husband came upstairs and said that he put it back on with HIS adhesive spray (probably not purchased at Michaels) and put on two coats of my chalkboard spray paint.  I know, awww.  So I added some silver border and my own quote.  Can't wait to hang it in my classroom.

 Alright, this is a double post of sorts, but I'm happy with my digital product I created to go with this.  Feel free to see my Friday blog post for more info.


My daughter is also really getting into the crafting thing.  Although her balloon deflated a few minutes after she made this, ruining her project, she had fun.

Probably my biggest accomplishment this past week was helping to make a very successful 90th birthday party for my grandpa.  My dad hosted the party at his lake house, which is on an island on a small lake accessible only by boat.  There was a lot of prep and clean up for this party with 70+ guests.  Especially since he hired a 6 member jazz band, and we had to get the piano over on the pontoon!  Very successful party overall, I love my grandparents!

How sweet is this?

Poor lighting, but a rare photo with me in it!

My kids assembled these completely on their own!

The band - Ragtime Rick

Friday, July 18, 2014

Five for Friday 7/18 - Free Quote posters

I'll be honest, trying to remember what has happened this week is not so easy!  I haven't been sleeping well, and have been in a bit of a funk lately.  I'm not typically a moody person, and this particular mood is almost a new one for me.  Hope it passes quickly!  There are good things to share, and I'm going to get into linking up again with Doodle Bugs - Five for Friday again.

I want to start with an item that relates to McGraw Hill Wonders series for ELA.  Our school just adopted the new 2014 edition, and since I'm only teaching ELA next year, it's been a part of my everyday, and the reason I originally started this blog.  I'm up to 13 followers now (from 1 last Friday!).  I no longer feel that this is a "journal" for myself, so I better get back to writing something that's hopefully worth reading.  I'm working on going through the sea of resources and taking notes on the good, the bad, and the ugly.  I intend to share when done, but here's an item from each category for now.

The Good:
 I'm still not sure where to find this when navigating, but search "ehandbook".  This is much better aligned to CCSS, is interactive, and has models and practice pages.  I had found the online site last year, which has been down for a while, and my colleague Kelley then tried searching for it in the resources!  TIME SAVING TIP:  Click on the star for any resource you like.  It will turn yellow, like in my picture above, and then it's saved under the "My Favorites" tab at the top.

The Bad

Anything (almost) related to grammar.  I cannot say enough how disappointed I am that this series was being sold as CCSS aligned.  Finding a small way to squeeze everything in, without providing solid practice, or integration into assessments is not good enough for the price tag!  Everything about their grammar is old-school style, covers many things that are not in CC, and hardly addresses the newer standards that everyone is so desperately searching for materials for (Ex: relative pronouns, modal auxiliaries, etc.).  Very disappointing.

The.... Interesting (Ugly is too mean of a word)

Search "performances" and I'll let you be the judge.  I will withhold my comments on these performances other than to ask, what is supposed to be the objective with these???

Joining this blogging world has been fun for me, and perhaps expensive.  I've spend $75 at Michaels this week to do some crafting.  More to come on Monday Made It.  My one crafting project inspired me to do more with quotes on the computer.  I love quotes, and I've already integrated quotes into my Weekly spelling, vocab, etc. sheets.  (See my earlier blog post for more info on these.)  I chose not only good, 4th-grade level quotes that are aligned to the weekly essential question, but I tried to find quotes from notable people.  Then I realized, that my intentions of talking more about these individuals might not come to fruition.  So I made these, and I have the first 5 done for Unit 1.  I'm trying something new, uploading them to Google Drive to share.  Hopefully it works!

Sharing my growth on new adventures:

I really started going on TpT in January.  I have now have 34 items, 19 followers, and a 4.0 rating with 123 reviews.  My goal is to get to 50 followers by the end of summer.  I think this will be tough!  I am trying to be creative, and offered my quotation task card set FREE to any new store followers.  If anyone is interested, just add a comment below after following, and I'll email them to you.  Just make sure you aren't a "no-reply" blogger.

I moved my items to Teacher's Notebook at the end of June.  I have 34 followers!  This is mostly due to the Giveaway I started on Monday, when I only had 2 followers!  Giveaway ends today, and since I reached my goal of 20 followers, I will put one of my better items up for free for the weekend.

Blogging started with my first post on June 23.  I now have done 12 posts, have gained 13 followers, and have had almost 600 views!  I'm happy!

iPad menus????  Last night we took my ex-step-mom out for her belated birthday.   Yes, "ex" step-mom, and my mom went too.  Yes, that would be my dad's other "ex".  Love my family!  Anyways, the restaurant had iPads at each seat with the menu on it.  Each item you could pull up a picture and more information about it.  I was impressed, my husband not so much.  Anyone else ever experience this?  Didn't take a picture, but found this online:

Ciao Restaurant in Sylvania, Ohio

Well, I'm feeling better.  Thanks for listening everyone.  I've really enjoyed the connections I've begun to make with my fellow, online, blogging educators.  Next up for me is to find help in getting my blog a little prettier like some of yours.  Any suggestions?  

I'm off to the lake to help my dad get ready for my grandpa's 90th birthday party tomorrow.  The guest count is around 55, so I'd better get motivated.  Happy weekend everyone!!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Making Reading a Social Event - small groups and Post-its

I'm excited to join up with Jennifer from Teaching to Inspire 5th, Sara from Miss V’s Busy Bees, and Alyssa from Teaching in the Fast Lane.  I'll admit, I haven't read the book, as I've just found out about it.  But I requested it from my public library today, and should have it in time to read on our lengthy car trip next week!

But this week's topic is one I'm very excited about.  I've always told students that one of the best things about watching a movie with a friend is talking about it afterward.  Since most students read books on their own, they are missing out on being able to share it with others.  When I moved back up to 4th grade last year, they had a collection of about 50 novel sets (not all complete class sets).  At the end of the first quarter, I created three different groups (differentiated) to read novels together.  I guided all groups through this process, and we worked on how to use Post-its to mark places while reading, and how to share those ideas effectively each day.  I really wanted to encourage participation, so we made the Post-its a quick activity.  Using the small (1 1/2" x 2") Post-its, students would simply label with a question mark and place by something they didn't understand, a crystal ball (quick sketch) when they predicted, a "wow" by something that shocked them, etc.  Each day, these Post-its helped drive discussion, and were fun for students.

From this point forward, students were able to, and encouraged, to continue reading books with a small group.  I organized our 50+ novels sets by taking 4 copies of each, and placing them in baskets on a designated book shelf.  To help groups select books, I made a folder they could look through that was organized by book level, and had screenshots of each book from Accelerated Reader's AR Bookfind website.  Here are some of the sample pages:

There was definitely some fine tuning as the year progressed, but overall it was a big success.  The biggest proof for me was in the average AR quiz scores on books that were read in groups.  This format is more engaging, holds students accountable for reading (they set their own pace - sometimes with my guidance), and the daily discussions help deepen understanding.

I love reading the ideas from others so far in the link that will help me improve this for next year.  My biggest goal is to create a space for students to review the books they read from these selections.

One more quick note, towards the end of the year I would use this to help promote Scholastic book orders.  All points earned would go towards adding a new novel set of 4 books to add to our collection, and the students got to select the book!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

2 for Tuesday

Boy am I really getting caught up in this blog world.  Yesterday I even ran to Michael's and made some crafts.  Almost done with them, and anxious to add them to Made It Monday next week.  My kids even got caught up in the crafting action!

So here's my first link up with Martha, over at The Teaching Tribune.

Here are my 2 products, half off for today at my TpT store:

Free product opportunity:  I'm trying to grow my store.  My goal is to have 50 followers before the end of summer.  If you choose to follow my TpT store, please comment on this post, and I will send you my set of quotation task cards.  They were made after I assembled the task card set below, and are not included in the set of 8.  Make sure you are not a no-reply blogger, so that I can email you back directly with the quotation task cards.

First, my biggest product.  4th grade CCSS language arts task cards sets (8 of them).  Normally $8, today just $4.  That's $0.50 per set!

My product on TpT

8 sets of task cards to cover the following 4th grade CCSS ELA standards:

modal auxiliaries
homophones and commonly confused words
relating antonyms and synonyms (through analogies)
Greek and Latin roots
Greek and Latin affixes
grade-level spelling

My second item is a newly created one for teaching writing traits.  I listed it for $1.50, which means today it's only $0.75.

My product on TpT.

I designed this to use during the "Smart Start" portion of McGraw Hill's Wonder series. I made the presentations (all slides viewable in preview) in Keynote, and created posters of the traits slides for hanging. There is also a mini poster set that students could use for reference, and a template to print labels for the front of student writing spirals.

Zip file contains:
* 17 slide presentation. Editable in Keynote and PPT, with a Quicktime file also included.
* 6 Posters of writing traits, in large, small, and mini sizes.
* 2 styles of printable labels for student spirals.

NOTE: Keynote and PPT are "semi-editable". In order to protect copyrighted artwork, only the smaller text is editable