Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Pass the Prompts, Please!

Usually when I make an anchor chart, it's for students. This one, however, is for a special group of educators I'm presenting for at an upcoming convention. I thought the resources were too good not to share!

Monday, June 11, 2018

Refreshing Reads

Just like that, my tenth year teaching 4th grade flashed by. It was one of the best school years so far because my team and I were blessed with an extraordinary group of kids. (Don't you just love years like that?) Trying my best to be a good teacher and mom has really forced me to put my blog on the backburner, but now it's summer! Here I am again! As I type this. there are two shiny new books on my night table. (Now, if I actually have time to finish them this summer, THAT will be an accomplishment!) I've read the first few chapters of both, and I'm loving them so far!

The Wild Card
By Hope & Wade King

These two dynamic educator-authors teach at the famed Ron Clark Academy. Although they are a married couple, they come from different backgrounds and share how their personal struggles and triumphs have molded them into the educators they are today. The Kings also provide insight on how to be the most engaging, authentic teacher you can be and why it is so important to do so. (Did I mention I just wrapped up year 10? I believe it's perfect timing for me to read this book.)

The Happiness Advantage
By Shawn Achor

My principal did a book study on The Happiness Advantage with some of her colleagues, and she is living proof of its main theme: Happiness leads to success; NOT the other way around! The bits and pieces she's shared with us as a faculty have sparked my interest. I'm hoping to gain a fresh perspective and some useful tools for being a true optimist!

I realize this post wasn't quite what you'd expect given the title of my blog, but what kind of writers would we be if we weren't readers? What kind of teachers would we be if we weren't learners? 

If you are gifted with some quiet time, what books are you reading this summer?

Monday, July 3, 2017

New Favorite Book

Isn't it funny (and a little sad) how teachers finally have time to READ over summer break? If you're a teacher-mom like me, even that time is limited! I recently received a copy of this book at a professional development session I attended, and it's one of those solid gold books that gives you more fresh ideas than there are places for bookmark tabs. 

Jennifer Serravallo (also the author of The Reading Strategies Book) has organized her genius mini-lessons and writing strategies into student goals. Each page throughout the meat of the book provides a new, easy-to-implement strategy such as "Revisiting the Language Gems in Your (Writing) Notebook" to "Finding the Heart" of your story to narrow your focus. Most strategies include an anchor chart or work sample photo, which clarifies a lot for busy teachers. If you are blessed with some real reading time this July, I highly recommend this "gem" of a resource! I already feel like a better writing teacher, and I'm not even back to school yet!

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Sentences vs. Fragments

It's time to dust off the old blog and freshen it up with some new resources! As I've probably mentioned in previous posts, one of the expectations I hold my students accountable for throughout the year is writing in complete sentences. As intermediate elementary teachers, this is something we are all capable of doing; regardless of our content areas. Through mini-lessons or modeled writing, I'm always showing my students that complete sentences must have a subject and predicate. I also try to find opportunities to show them,

"Don't let the LENGTH of a sentence fool you! A complete sentence can be just two words long!"

This can be tricky for them to retain, but it's vital knowledge. I created some task cards to help me reinforce complete sentence skills to my students.

In the fall, I'll use these after reviewing "subject + predicate = complete sentence," but before introducing compound sentences. Since I'll also be teaching science this school year, the content of the task cards is weather-related! Horay for cross-curricular resources!

Happy summer and WRITE ON!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Please Take 20% Off!

Before all the back-to-school hoopla begins, I wanted to show my blog/TpT followers some appreciation and offer you 20% off my entire TpT Store!

All resources, including my Back to School Bundle, will be 20% off Tuesday, July 19 and Wednesday, July 20. Thank you for supporting me, and more importantly, your lucky students! WRITE ON!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Sprinkle Inspiration

I love the fact that I've had this blog for a few years now, and 90% of my posts have been written in the months of June, July, and August! What does that tell you about how busy we are as teachers?! Summer break is surely a well-deserved gift that bestows upon us the 3 Rs: relaxation, refreshment, and reflection. (I disregarded "rest" because I have a 2 year old son, and like many other teacher-moms, that "R" has been R-emoved from my life for now and the foreseeable future!) Anyway, as I spend some time reflecting this summer, it becomes clearer and clearer to me how ALL children, regardless of their home/family life, could benefit from more personal guidance and character education. Sometimes I have to think back to myself as a fourth grader to truly remember just how impressionable, yet insightful, they are at that age. They also thrive so much on structure and appreciate little classroom traditions that their teacher has in place just for them. I thought a sweet way to address both needs would be to post a different "Quote of the Week" in the same spot in my classroom this year. As I change it out each Monday morning, I want the words of someone else other than just me to motivate them. I want my students to do some reflecting of their own by simply looking in the same spot each Monday for a new, positive, thought-provoking message and be able to chew on it throughout the week and (hopefully) beyond. As I assembled my collection of quotes, I was sure to work in the ones that have always resonated with me, like my favorite teaching mantra:

...as well as a few words of wisdom that were quoted by current, recognizable-to-anyone role models. I even worked in Taylor Swift! Michael Jordan, Maya Angelou, Mother Teresa, Nelson Mandela, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and Abraham Lincoln are just a few of the greats that are included. Of course, I also had to throw in a quote that inspires the art of WRITING!

So, whether it's a "Quote of the Week," a set of writing nudges, decor for a peaceful classroom environment, or just a pick-me-up for you to keep at your own desk, I hope that you can use these posters, too, to sprinkle some inspiration into your classroom in the upcoming school year. Just be sure to get in your 3 Rs (or if you're lucky, all 4) first!

CLICK HERE to download all 28 posters!

If you've made it all the way to the end of this post, please build on the inspiration by leaving a comment with YOUR favorite quote! Spread joy!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Writing at Home

I'm very blessed to teach at a school where I get asked by parents, "What can I do to help him/her at home?" In regards to writing, this question is not always easy to answer. There are so many areas under the writing "umbrella" that it can get overwhelming thinking of just one place to start. Spelling? Grammar? Test practice? Starting sentences that don't begin with the word 'I'?" Parents don't need as much guidance from teachers on how to assist their children with more concrete concepts (math problem solving, memorizing, classifying, etc.) Writing is so much more broad and intricate. However, it is our responsibility to be able to answer questions such as these and provide a little inspiration!

Over the years, I've heard positive feedback on a handful of specific, effective activities that parents can do with their fourth graders (or any intermediate-grade child, really) at home. It was difficult to be concise enough to fit all my favorites onto one page, but I managed to do it!


The most important thing to tell parents is that children should have daily opportunities to write, and writing should not stop when the school day stops. Now with this list in hand, we can give them a starting point to make that happen! Enjoy!