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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween and a sale!

I'm back at school (for today only - I'll be out with Keagan the rest of the week), and I checked my TpT stats this morning only to make a frightening discovery! My total as of this morning for the quarter so far is $66.60! Of all days, on Halloween. Anyway, I HAVE to make a sale. Plus I thought it would be the perfect time for teachers to start buying up items for Thanksgiving. 

Like my button? Feel free to grab it!

Maybe even by the end of the day I'll have my Thanksgiving literacy centers. After all, most of my teachers are playing catch-up, so I've got most of the day for planning. It's benchmark time here PLUS we've been out for two days PLUS it's Halloween, so today's just going to be craziness. Oh, and did I mention I got an email from my AP saying he needed to observe me this week. For me, that means TODAY! Eek!! Good thing I have a plan, now he's just got to be able to come in one of my few time slots for the day!

Btw, what do you think of my new design? I love Leelou blogs, and I just HAD to make my button match my new design. Feel free to grab it and my sale sign! I'm so proud of them!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Fun Friday linky and Frankenstorm

I found a fun new linky today during my day off. Yes, I said day off. We're out in preparation for Frankenstorm, and we'll probably be out again tomorrow. So far, it's just been a lot of rain, but they're expecting the winds to pick up later this evening, so we may be without power. Oh well, that just gives me more time to spend with Keagan!

Anyway, this linky is hosted by Kelly at Teaching Fourth.

Go check out this linky, then stop by Nichole at The Craft of Teaching for her 100 follower giveaway!

Update:  No school again tomorrow! Oh, and we might even see a little bit of snow. It's already snowing less than an hour away from here!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Halloween Sale!

It's been a great month for sales in my store, so I thought it would be perfect to end with a little sale! 

Thank you for creating this adorable button, Abby!

Fill up your cart with plenty of treats! Apparently there are a lot of great bloggers joining in on this sale, so be sure to check your wishlist. This could be a great time to stock up on last minute Halloween items, or you could even start preparing for Thanksgiving. I've already got two of my Thanksgiving units up (still working on my literacy centers I'm SO excited about - I even purchased some cute clipart from KPM Doodles today).

My Halloween bundle complete with the bats unit, pumpkin main idea/supporting details, and a pumpkin writing craftivity

Two Thanksgiving units - both brand new this week

And be on the lookout for my literacy centers. I wish I could finish them before Monday, but we might lose power over the weekend with this "Frankenstorm". Have you heard about it? Apparently it's a hurricane wrapped in a Noreaster with a winter storm wrapped up in it somewhere else. Eek!! My school is in a VERY rural county, so we could be out for a few days.

Happy shopping, and if you live anywhere close to me (although that could mean the entire east coast), stay safe!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Thank you, Sarah - Thankgiving writing unit

Have you ever read this book?

I had not until this week when I was looking for good books about Thanksgiving to create my units for next  month. I almost passed this one up, but my librarian highly recommended it, so I actually opened the book. I am ashamed to say that I was not aware of the story of Sarah Hale. As a self-proclaimed "history buff", this is especially embarrassing. She is a fascinating woman (although I have to admit she would really annoy me if she were still alive today - I'm not a huge fan of complainers overachievers).

Anyway, as I was reading the book, I felt like it lent itself PERFECTLY to a great writing assignment, and I can't wait to begin it with my 5th graders! On the last page of the book, it says "Pick up your pen. Change the world." Our students always seem to struggle with writing, and they could also benefit from some extra practice on persuasion. Why not have them learn about Sarah Hale's story AND look at the actual letter she wrote to Abraham Lincoln (who is "only" the FIFTH president she wrote a letter to asking for Thanksgiving to become a nationally recognized holiday). Then they can come up with a list of things they would like to change and write their own letters to someone important. 

So here it is. My new "baby". I guess it's a good thing when I get so excited after I create the product. It includes 2 graphic organizers, a brainstorming sheet, a link to Sarah's letter, a character word splash, sequencing page, and a letter template (that's 10 pages!). I hope you love it as much as I do!

Monday, October 22, 2012

My first literature unit!

I have been so excited about all the sales that I've made with my Halloween products, and now I'm starting to think ahead to Thanksgiving. I have some great ideas floating around, but most of them are still in the incubator stage. However, today I finished my very first literacy unit!

Since I work with struggling readers in grades 3-5, I am always looking for good books that catch their attention but are on a low enough reading level. Magic Tree House has become a favorite of mine for 4th grade. They're almost all level M (beginning 3rd grade), so it's right where most of those kids are now and hopefully where my 3rd graders will be soon!

Right now we're reading Lions at Lunchtime, and I'm teaching them how to stop and jot with post-it notes. We're doing pretty well with it, but I wanted to put together a packet for them to work through and practice answering a variety of questions like they do in their classroom. I'm so proud of this packet, and it's perfect for my next book. There are 6 pages (covering a maximum of two chapters at a time) with a variety of questions from reflections to definitions. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, and keep an eye out for more Thanksgiving AND more literature units soon (just not too soon)!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

October Tell Me Something Good

Jennifer at Rowdy in First Grade is hosting another Tell Me Something Good linky party, and I decided to yet again join in.

Something Good from School: I have been pulling my groups for about a month now, and things are going really well. I have a lot of children at this point (36, which does not make for ideal small groups), but I've made some adjustments and have started getting into a routine. I push in to classes in the morning, then I pull students back to my room for small group in the afternoons. I still have 16 fourth graders alone, but I think I'll be able to release 4 of them at the end of the nine weeks next month! That will mean I can just have a morning group and afternoon group for 4th grade to get them where they need to be!

Something Good from Home: My mom came to visit this past week (she left this morning), and we had a good time. She helped keep the house clean, which I was EXTREMELY grateful for. Then yesterday was actually my first Saturday without a band competition (next Saturday is the last one - praise God!), so we headed up to Carter's Mountain in Charlottesville to go apple picking. She'd never been before, and we didn't make it last year, so we were really excited to go.We loaded up on tons of apples - enough to make an apple pie, apple butter, AND have plenty left over to last us forever! I posted all about it with more pictures at my personal blog, The Dalton Gang, but here's one to enjoy.

Now go link up!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Huge Halloween Giveaway!

Who loves Halloween? If so, you've GOT to check out this giveaway hosted by Antonia from Forkin4th! This is an especially great giveaway for those of us who work with the older kids because there are 19 products from upper grades teachers! Oh, and did you see the $25 Amazon gift card? Who couldn't use that?

I'm giving away my entire Halloween Bundle with this giveaway, so go check it out!!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Yet another giveaway!

I told you to keep your eyes open for more giveaways. This is the first of two that I'm helping out with. My friend Andrea is hosting her 300 follower giveaway, and there will be 3 different winners! I am donating the winner's choice of one item from my store. Go check it out!

And the other giveaway goes live tomorrow, I think!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I've been BOO-ed, and another giveaway

Yay for the bloggy love! I've been BOO-ed TWICE!!

My sweet friend (and fellow VA Reading Specialist), Andrea from Reading Toward The Stars included me in this fun game. Then before I had a chance to make my post public, Caitlyn from Fourth Grade Lemonade (and another sweet VA blogger friend) BOOed me too! Once you've been BOOed, link up with Tori's Teacher Tips to see who else has been BOO-ed and what their favorite fall resources are.

If you've been booed, copy and paste the above pic and these "rules" into your post.
  1. Give a shout out to the blogger who booed you and link back to their site!
  2. Share 3-5 October activities, books, products (yours or someone else), or freebie(s) that you love!
  3. Share the Boo love with 5 bloggers - make sure you check this link to see that you don't boo someone who's already gotten the love: And don't forget to tell them that they have been BOOED!
  4. Link up {hereso that others can find you and read about your October ideas! And while you are there...check out the other great blogs!

So here are 3 of my favorite fall resources:

I loved this writing craftivity even before I jazzed it up a little this year. The students are always so creative with it, and it's just a lot of fun!

Last week, I bought Amy Lemon's Fall Literacy Centers and LOVE them! I still need to get them laminated and ready to go though...time is not something on my side right now.

Pinned Image

This Witch Crash activity is from Valerie Young, and it could be a fun lead in to Chris Van Allsburg's The Widow's Broom.
Pinned Image

I'm BOOing:
Katie at Dirty Hands and Lesson Plans
Jessica at Mrs. Stanford's Class
Brittany at Underpaid and Overblessed
Stephanie Ann at Sparkling in Third Grade
Allie at The Gypsy Teacher

I also have another giveaway that I wanted to share. Caitlyn, one of my friends who just BOOed me, is celebrating 100 followers with a giveaway. Go check it out!!

Monday, October 15, 2012

Giveaway and more to come

I found another giveaway to send your way!

Keep your eyes peeled for more giveaways very soon!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Parent freebie

I think I mentioned Wednesday that I had put together a packet to send home with parents at their conferences. It's uploaded onto TpT now for free! I have it available in color and black-and-white.

The packet includes a letter, Somebody Wanted But So template, and an IPICK flyer. Click on the letter below to download, and please don't forget to rate me!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Giveaway winners

Ugh, today has been SUCH a long day! It's parent-teacher conference day, so I've been all over the school meeting with teachers and parents. Then I also had two child study meetings for students I work with. Good conferences, but I just want to relax and do nothing for a little while. I'm actually still at school, but we just got the go-ahead to leave. So this will be quick.

The main reason I wanted to post is because my giveaway is over, and we have 2 winners.


I will be emailing you shortly with the packets. Thanks to everyone who participated!

Monday, October 8, 2012

My first Donor's Choose Project

I'm so excited to begin my very first Donor's Choose project! I've been wanting to get some technology in my classroom, and today I took my first step. I have a project that will (hopefully) be posted later this week to raise money for an iPod touch. I would like one of these for my listening to reading station. Please help fund me! Even though it hasn't already posted, you can still give for future projects!

And even better news: this week is friends and family week. If you donate money, enter the match code PUMPKIN, and every dollar donated will be doubled!!

Also, don't forget about my giveaway! It has grown since Saturday. Lauren from Teacher Mom of 3 has agreed to offer her Perfect Gift writing packet as well, so there will be two winners! Go enter and check out her blog!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Product Swap with Teacher Mom of 3

It's product swap time again!


This time I had the luck of being matched with Lauren at Teacher Mom of 3. She's amazing if you haven't already visited her blog! And she's a reading specialist like me!

Anyway, I chose to review her Perfect Gift writing activity. I loved this, and it was perfect to do with my students for the beginning of the year. First, we started with a lesson where I told them that I had a gift for them, but it was something that couldn't be seen. We discussed the difference between concrete and abstract nouns, and then we read the writing prompt together.

Lauren really thought about how to help writers prepare for their assignment. She created a great system that we completed together. Students list their Form, Audience, Topic, and Purpose for writing.

We did this together and talked about how it was something they could use to prepare for a writing assignment any time. This was especially important for my 5th graders who take a writing SOL in the spring.

Once we knew what we were going to write about, it was time to brainstorm, or "Drain Your Brain". Once again, we did this together (mainly because my students are not very confident and need a little extra help). On the board, I had them help me come up with some abstract nouns (I told them to think of character traits) that they might want to work on this year to help them be a better student. My two most popular were patience and self-control, although I had some others as well (effort, kindness, etc). Students put a star by the one they felt was most important for them to work on this year.

The next day, I had them work on organizing their thoughts with a four-block page that Lauren included.

Here's a close up.

Once they finished filling that out, I had them form the block ideas into a paragraph. Since the lines on the paper were made for younger students, I had mine simply cut out their writing and glue it in the middle of the paper. Then they decorated their gift boxes (some were very artistic), and we put them up in the room to remind us throughout the year. Unfortunately I left Friday and forgot to take a picture, so I quickly put one together this morning as an example. The kids really enjoyed this, and I'm hoping they continue to think about it as the year goes on.

Lauren has many other great products, so please go check out her store and blog! And don't forget to visit Jessica's blog to see all the other great products that other bloggers are reviewing!

Oh, and in honor of the product swap, I'm hosting a giveaway. Lauren is reviewing my pumpkin writing craftivity, and one lucky blogger will have a chance to win it!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 4, 2012

October Currently and a freebie!

Yay! I knew it was the beginning of the month, but things have been so hectic that I completely forgot about looking for Farley's Currently. It was a very pleasant surprise to see it pop up on my reader yesterday evening because I love to link up and see what everyone else is posting. (Note: I'm scheduling this post because Thursday are CRAZY for me - band practice, then straight home to eat and go to small group)

So funny that Farley and I chose one of the same books. I mentioned a few posts ago how Chris Van Allsburg is one of my new favorite authors, and I'm making it a mission to familiarize myself with all of his books. I saw The Widow's Broom a few weeks ago in the library while searching for another book (I ended up using The Wretched Stone to teach plot), so I checked out both books to make sure it was mine for the month of October. I'm still working on exactly what my lesson will be, but I read it today during my planning time and loved it!
The Widow's Broom

As far as The Graves Family goes, this is a Patricia Polacco book (another favorite author), and I just got this book with my beginning of the year order. I started reading it with one of my 4th grade groups today. We're going to use it to find the main idea and supporting details. They love it so far!

Oh, this book is also GREAT for predicting! We're doing that a lot naturally. The family is very strange. I laughed because my kids were debating if the family were vampires because they moved in at night (and had red hair). They decided on their own that was not true.

And now for my freebie! I posted a few days ago about my main idea and supporting details pumpkins. I thought about it and decided I would rather give that away as a freebie. So click here to download it and use in your classroom! I'm hoping to get those pictures of it being used later this week, but no promises. Tomorrow will be crazy, too (Friday night football)!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Giveaways Galore

I have been seeing quite a few giveaways recently and wanted to share them with you!

Amy from What Happens in First Grade is having her 100 follower giveaway, and there's two things I love about this. One, she's a fellow VA blogger!! And two, did you see she's giving away a LOFT gift card? How exciting!

Ms. C at Just Wild About Teaching is having different giveaways each day.

Stephanie, Kathi, and Stephany from Primary Possibilities are having 3 different giveaways!

April at The Idea Backpack is having a 400 follower giveaway.

Brandi at Success in Second Grade is having a birthday giveaway. How sweet to share with us!

And finally (for now at least), Dana from Fun in 1st Grade is having her 500 follower giveaway.

Good luck, and "may the odds be ever in your favor!"

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Halloween main idea, book of the month, and a bundle

Is anyone else just drained? Keagan's been sleeping through the night, but for some reason I feel like I'm completely out of energy. I'm blaming band competition this weekend. Hopefully I can find my energy soon. We're not even halfway through the week, and this weekend includes a football game AND another band competition. Can't wait until November gets here!

As far as my full time job goes, we're in week 2 of pulling students for Title I, and so far things are going well. I have so many kids that I've had to split them into smaller groups, but that made it easier to work with them on their most appropriate level. Fourth grade alone has 3 groups, and the others have two. I push in to classes in the mornings and then pull out mostly in the afternoons.

Third and fourth grade have been working on main idea and supporting details, so I've been trying to find activities to do with them. Yesterday, I made pumpkins with a different main idea listed on each one, and I gave it to my higher group of fourth graders so they could each come up with three supporting details. Then I typed them up (and changed a few to make better supporting details) and put them all into a file. Later, I'm going to give them back the pumpkins and supporting details all cut out, and I'm going to have students sort them to match the correct main idea.

You can download the packet here. I want to print my pumpkins on orange paper, and I'll take pictures to show after they've done it.

Then I also took this packet, my bat research unit (which I added more pages to), and my pumpkin writing craftivity, and I bundled them all together for one big Halloween literacy unit. It's on sale for the rest of this week, but the price will jump up $2 next week!

Oh, and I found a linky that I had to join! Tammy at 123 Teach With Me is hosting a book of the month linky that she'll have each month. For this linky, you need to choose a book that relates to the month in some way.

I have two books this month. One is the book I based my bat unit off, and it's quite old. Actually I realized while searching for the book that it is now out of print. I'm checking mine out from the library, but I think I may buy a copy from Amazon later.
The Great Ball Game: A Muskogee Story

This book is about a huge ball game (sounds like lacrosse, maybe?) between the birds and the beasts. The bat keeps trying to find his place, and both teams end up pushing him away. I remember reading this when I was in school, and it always stuck with me.
The Widow's Broom

Chris Van Allsburg is one of my new favorites, and I found this book in the library last week when I was searching for a book. I haven't planned exactly what I'm going to do with it yet, but I had to check it out before it went missing.  Just a quick synopsis I found online: A witch leaves behind a broom that can't fly anymore, but it can still do chores for the lonely widow who befriends it. But the neighbors think it's evil and want to destroy it. 

I can't wait to see what other books people are posting!