Saturday, October 11, 2014

CNN Student News Freebie!

Do you use CNN Student News in your classroom?!  I LOVE it!  It's one of my most favorite memories of being a 5th grader!  My teacher used to record it nightly on the VCR and play the recording for us every morning before we started our day.  When I became a 5th grade teacher 3 years ago I knew I wanted my students to have the same memory!  Obviously in 2014 it's played online and no recordings or VCRs required! ;)  Sometimes I get flack from co-workers about spending 10 minutes of my day watching the news with my class; which inspired me to create an accountability component to the news.  


Each morning students grab their clipboards and news tracker and come to and around the carpet.  I show CNN Student News (previewed by me the night before to make sure the content is appropriate...sometimes not all of the news can be watched).  Students then watch the stories and choose one story to complete the chart for.  At the end of the week I collect them for an informal Social Studies grade.  Occasionally, our Time For Kids magazine aligns with CNN Students News and then we discuss how the stories are similar/different in presenting the information using a Double Bubble Thinking Map.  You can grad your free copy of the the news tracker by clicking the picture above!  If you download it, I would appreciate feedback on how you use it in your classroom.  Until next time...

Friday, September 19, 2014

Thinking Maps Idea

Hi There!
It's been a while since I've had the chance to blog.  The husband has been traveling, life with an independent toddler, back to school has kept me busy, and training for my first full marathon is consuming most of my time.  I haven't had ANY time to create freebies or products for my TPT store, but I did want to share something that worked well in my classroom this year using thinking maps and a fun book.



We read Spaghetti in a Hot Dog Bun to discuss student individuality and how to embrace different ways of thinking and being.  My 5th graders enjoy listening to picture books read aloud!  I will tell you this makes my heart melt since it's one of the things I miss most about being a lower grades teacher I like 5th grade, but wish I could be in 1st or 2nd grade.  

Back to Thinking Maps...Our school/county is obsessed  huge with Thinking Maps, so any opportunity you can use a map you should they would argue you can use a Thinking Map for anything, #sorrynotsorry!  We read the book and then created a Circle Map on a paper plate defining ourselves.  Thinking Maps suggest using lots of color with the maps, but most importantly to frame the map with what people/students take away from the data.  I actually sat in on a super long, could've been a few hours workshop during the teacher work days before the new year started. The focus was on making the frame of the map rigorous and relevant.  We used plates and large construction paper for our maps because of the title and events in the story.  The reading and Thinking Map was one class session and the framing information/decorating was an additional class session.  Thinking Maps are awesome and I'm hoping they make a difference with the state testing scores/growth this school year.  I have one other Thinking Map to share with you later this weekend or early next week.  I would love any thoughts/comments on my posts.  Happy Weekend until next time!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

2nd Quarter (another 9 weeks of fractions) Now Available at my TPT store!

Happy Tuesday Night!

My first blog hop was a success.  I'm looking forward to future hops/linky parties this school year. I was so inspired by the response of the blog hop that I FINALLY completed the 2nd volume of my newest TPT product "Fraction of the Day"!  Honestly, I had no idea creating fraction problems would be such a time consuming task!  I'm super proud of the product I'm creating and hope it's something you can use as well.  If you missed grabbing your freebie version of this monster, you can grab it by clicking here.  If you like what you see, consider purchasing the first two quarters by clicking the picture below.  Thanks so much for all of the support!  I'm beginning the 3rd quarter pack later this week.  Stay tuned...





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Friday, August 8, 2014

Back to School Blog Hop (and a Freebie)

Happy Friday Everyone!

I’m so excited to participate in my first ever Blog Hop!  I'm joining other fabulous 5th grade teachers to offer this Back to School Blog Hop!




I remember my first day of teaching 5th grade, I was unsure and intimidated! I was a K-2 teacher previously so jumping to the "big kids" at a new school was a beyond nerve-racking experience!! The kids were so big and I was the "new teacher" in the building.  I felt like they could smell my fear.  I knew pretended like I knew I was the one in charge so I began teaching procedures like I've done every other year with K-2 students.  Well...I learned in the first hour, on the first day of school that modeling the "don'ts" of chair behavior/raising hands is unnecessary in 5th grade. BEFORE I learned this humiliating  valuable lesson, I demonstrated for the class what NOT to do (jump/climb out of your chair trying to get my attention).  I demonstrated this using my rolling chair not the brightest idea on my part.  I landed in the chair wrong and fell out of the chair and into a book shelf.  I was completely humiliated wanted to crawl in a corner and die, but quickly recovered, playing it off as if I meant to fall and injure myself.  The positive in all of this was, I never had students trying to climb out their seats that year. :)  The long and short of it is, 5th graders need routines taught in those first few days; just pick and choose the "bigger" routines to teach because it's not their first back to school "rodeo" like the smaller kids.  It also helps to remember 5th graders are just as nervous as you are; however, you're in charge and it's not always going to go as planned. Typically, nothing is ever perfect on the first day, just don't let them see you sweat...you meant to do "that".  In hopes of getting your year off to a great start, grab my freebie by clicking the picture below.




You can see more great Back to School tips by visiting Kate over at Kate's Classroom Cafe. Our group of bloggers has a great pack of goodies to send to one lucky winner to help your year get off with a bang!

Enter below for a chance at this awesomeness: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

State Testing Vocabulary Idea {Freebie}

Happy Wednesday!

We've been slowly unpacking from our family beach vacation and I figured I needed to share something that worked very well for me last school year.  It's called Word Rock and it's from Lady Bug's Teacher Files.  I found it on her site and printed out the complete file.  Below are the steps I took to implement her clever idea in my own classroom.

Binder available for student use any time

A completed Word Rock form 

A list of direction vocabulary found on our state tests.
  1. I used the colored boom box sheet and placed it inside a binder for student access.  
  2. I copied several sheets of the black and white boom box for the binder.  
  3. I downloaded several Kidz Bop versions of popular songs I knew my students would like (i.e. party rock anthem, what does the fox say, moves like jagger, etc).  
  4. I filled in the information on the black/white boom box sheets using state testing vocabulary words often found in directions.
  5. On a Monday, I introduce one of the words to my class by playing a Kidz Bop song for about 10 seconds. 
  6. I slowly turn down the music on my SMART board and introduce the track of the day.  On Day 1 I read the information in a fun upbeat way while displaying it from my document camera.  Days 2-3 I call on students to give me the information in their own words (without displaying the information on the sheet).  I introduce and practice 2 words a week.  Once I get to 5 words I do a review of each of the words (1 a day before introducing any new words).
  7. When we've practiced the new "track" for the 3 days, I put it in the binder (referenced in step 1) for the children to access whenever they would like.  
It's been a blessing and a fun/quick way to cover important "direction vocabulary" students will encounter on the state tests.  I hope you can find a use for the free resource as well!  Until next time...


Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Fraction of the Day Freebie!


Happy Tuesday!  I only happen to know what day it is because of my gym schedule.  Don't you just love the summer?!  Anyway, I'm back again with another freebie as I occasionally think about school.  This year the only changes I plan to make are to my math instruction.  I started Guided Math late last year and it wasn't as effective as it could've been. I will continue Guided Math from the very beginning this new year.  After reviewing my state test results for math from this past school year, I decided I needed to refine my craft and try to do better.  A team member of mine does a daily math problem with team points.  This was the jumping off point for my Fraction Problem of the Day idea.  Also, in North Carolina, a majority of the state testing focuses on fractions; therefore, the two things combined helped inspire my newest product!  I don't believe in teaching "the test", but clearly there are things I needed do better this year.  :) 


I'm planning to use the Fraction Problem of the Day as part of the morning work.  Students will come in, get settled in the morning routine (completing morning seat work, getting homework out, writing in planner, etc), and then individually come to the front of the room to solve on a scrap piece of paper the problem of the day.  This freebie begins with 4th grade problems and will progressively get more challenging as the days go on.  I will have 180 fraction problems (a problem a day for the entire year)!  My hope is that the children will become fraction experts and will be able to apply their knowledge to ANY fraction problem.  The problems will be mixed operation calculations and problem solving.  I'm looking forward to seeing if this new addition to my daily math exposure for students will make a difference.  Ok, back to the table points.  Basically, each student will answer the problem and place the answer in their table group pile, container, or however you want to organize it.  My team member uses the magnetic pen containers you put on white boards (at Dollar General) and has one for each table group. Anyway, to begin her math lesson, she has the class help her solve the problem of the day.  Then, she quickly checks each groups answers submitted.  She gives a point for each correct answer submitted to the table groups. I think this is fabulous because there are no consequences for incorrect answers and only positive rewards for correct answers.  The problem of the day can go in a clear plastic frame or in a page protector on a small pocket chart table stand (how I plan to display them).  I hope you can use this product however it fits the needs of your class!  You can grab your copy of the freebie by clicking the picture above.  The remaining weeks will be available at my TPT store in the near future (by September 1st).  Thanks for hanging in there with me to explain the how and why behind my newest product.  I would love to hear what you think if you choose to download it!  Have a great week! 


Monday, June 30, 2014

Weekly Common Core Spiraling Review Freebie in one download!

Happy Monday almost Tuesday!

I've been truly enjoying summer break and have been slack on all things school related!  I LOVE being a teacher, but really think I needed a mental break for a few weeks before considering looking at anything school related!  Over the past couple of weeks I've been a workout machine, pool regular, Pinterest chef/baker, and household organizing fanatic!  While doing everything mentioned above, I've been enjoying our little nugget and ALL the extra time I get with her in the summer months!  There's still tons to do and play dates to host; however, I'm ready to look at and think about school again a few days a week!  

Several people have requested the morning work spiraling review be located in one central spot for an easier download....your wishes are my command! ;)  You can download weeks 1-12 by clicking the picture below.  I don't have past week 12 because I ran out of time this past year.  I'm also not sure how I plan to use them this upcoming year or if I want to try something a little different...more to come on this!  Leave a comment if you like my work or have suggestions for other items you would like to see. Until next time....