Monday, October 26, 2015

The Best Pencil Sharpener, Now in...

I know I've blogged about these little pencil sharpeners before and have even given a few away, but today they are releasing their newest color - PURPLE!!!! You know you want one...

Not only are they the best at getting a quick, sharp point, they are also WAY quieter than most sharpeners. You know you hate it when kids have to sharpen a pencil and you aren't even able to talk over it. (Unfortunately I still have to deal with this in other classrooms in my building. Maybe I should encourage some of my students to buy them as teacher gifts?)

They're quiet, easy to use, effective, clean, AND they were actually created by a teacher! Plus they come in 6 bright colors. Classroom Friendly Supplies sent me one to test. This time I actually mounted it to my desk, which helped a lot because I don't have to hold it in place. It also came already assembled (even though assembling mine from a few years ago only took a minute or two).

I decided to take a short video to show how easy it is to use in case you don't want to take my word for it.

One little tip that I've learned over the years: avoid cheap pencils. This sharpener is so effective that it will rip the led out of those pencils almost every time. I stocked up on Ticonderoga at the beginning of the year, and they work perfectly!

These really are the best, and prices aren't bad either. You can even make school bulk orders! Go get yours now before they sell out!

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Room Reveal 2015

Okay, my room has been finished for a few weeks now, so I realize this is REALLY late. Like maybe I should have just skipped it and waited until next year. I was waiting to get my bookshelves in to store our new Fountas & Pinnell LLI system, which meant that I was able to get rid of old, mismatched shelves and cubbies used as shelves. It just looks so much cleaner!

I wanted to add a little more decoration to the room, so I bought some lanterns and poofs from Amazon. They add a nice little touch.

And since I'm so late in posting pictures, I also have some fall details that have been added to the room.

Print is free from Nest of Posies - super cute!

Yarn Ghost Garland:

This garland featured on Eighteen25 was just TOO adorable to pass up - plus I had all of the supplies in my room and could do it in a day. Of course mine isn't quite as cute.. 

I made some for my house, but then I realized both of our mantels (yes we have two now) are white, and it just wouldn't show up. Oh well...

Now if only I could get a new filing cabinet and black storage cabinets to match, it would be perfect!

Friday, October 2, 2015

Currently October

I feel like it's been forever since I've linked up for a currently. I guess when you become a mother of two, everything is hard. Anyway, I'm excited to be back for October's currently! :-)

Listening: My room backs up to a bathroom. Fortunately I don't hear toilets or people, but I do have the constant, annoying sound of one of those paper towel dispensers. All. Day. Long.

Loving: We got a new intervention system from Fountas & Pinnell for Title I this year, and it's so great! The books are high interest, and I really like all of the activities that they pair with them. Even the canned discussion questions are helpful (especially since my aide can feel comfortable running a group on her own). I'm interested to see my students' progress with this program.

Thinking: Even though Joaquin looks like it will stay further east and not hit us, we're getting a ton of rain and will have even more from the hurricane. Some schools are already closed for possible flooding.

Wanting: We were supposed to go apple picking last Sunday, but it's literally been raining every day since fall arrived. I'm hoping we get to go...

Needing: We were waiting until payday to go grocery shopping. Now we have to go out with all of the nuts and pray they still have food. #hurricaneproblems #wealwaysneedmilk

Boo-tiful: I just finished my classroom last week (pictures and a post coming soon), but I also decided to add a little fall touch. I want to decorate my mantel at home also, but we need to buy some picture frames. And pumpkins.

Go link up with Farley for the currently, but be sure to also come back and check out The Reading Crew's mentor text hop that we kicked off today! Each blog is featuring a fall book AND a freebie, so you won't want to miss it!

Flipping for Fall Blog Hop

I'm so excited that fall is finally here (although a little bummed that it has rained basically every day of it so far)! There are so many fun activities that I love - apple picking, decorating pumpkins, state fair, football, hot chocolate, etc - and there are also a TON of great books that I love to read with my kids! When our group started talking about doing a mentor text hop, I knew I wanted to be a part of it. The only problem was selecting a book.

As you click through this hop, be sure to grab all of our freebies. They are forever freebies, so you can always mark them and download whenever you're ready. We will also each have a mystery word in orange somewhere on our page. Find those to enter our big giveaway at the end. The winner will receive a copy of ALL the books mentioned! Can you imagine? I wish I could enter!

Before we begin, I want to share one of my son's current favorite jokes since it at least somewhat relates to monsters and scary things:

Knock, knock!
Who's there?
Boo who?
Why are you crying?

I'm sure most of you at this point have read or at least heard of I Need My Monster. This has become one of my favorite books, especially because it works for so many ages. My 3-year-old loves the book, but I can also read it to a group of 5th graders without insulting them.

One thing I noticed about this book right off the bat was the rich vocabulary. Shortly after reading the book, I read Bringing Words to Life, Second Edition: Robust Vocabulary Instruction (and even did an entire book study that you can find here), and I knew I wanted to create a vocabulary lesson for this book. Of course, then I got pregnant and did a lot of nothing extra at all. Fast forward a little over a year, and I finally finished it!

Lesson Introduction

The great thing about this lesson is that you really don't need any special introduction. You could begin by simply reading the book or even doing a mini-lesson on another skill. I like to do a lot of activating schema (prior knowledge) at the beginning of the year, so I would just start a conversation about ideas behind monsters under the bed. As you read, there is no need to draw extra attention to the words you will work on, although you could have students take note of words that were unfamiliar to them.

Working with the Text

Day 1: Read the book, and then give students the monster vocabulary sheet to discuss each word as a class. I would recommend asking students to help you come up with simple definitions (not from a dictionary), but only IF you think they will be able to guess it. If they start getting off track, cut it off quickly and tell them what it means. This is important because you don't want to confuse students with an inaccurate definition.

Days 2-4: I have provided three activities for students to work on independently or with a partner or group. These activities all help students apply the words to their life, which is important for ownership of the words. I avoid matching and looking up definitions because they are not as meaningful

Day 5: Give the short assessment to check for student assessment. Notice that it includes some fill-in-the-blank, but it also has application questions. These will prompt the students to use the words as they apply to their own experiences.

Next step options...

If you haven't already read this book, I highly recommend checking it out! I know vocabulary is one of the major issues with my students, and this book has SO many recommendations for expanding their vocabulary. I also recommend checking out my book study. I plan on creating more lessons like this one, so be sure to follow me on Facebook, Bloglovin, and TPT for more updates.

If you missed it earlier, my mystery word is boo. Download the chart below to help you keep track of all the words as you hop through, then go on over to Andrea's blog for more freebies. Don't forget, there is a HUGE giveaway at the end that you don't want to miss!

Happy fall!

Upper Elementary (3rd - 6th Grades) Blog Hop
Vocabulary from Gay
Imagery from Erin
Inference from Jessica
Characterization from Michelle
Sequencing from Lisa
Inference from Sandy
Vocabulary from Melissa
Summarizing from Andrea
Compare & Contrast from Tara
Transitional Phrases from Chrissy
Character Traits from Selma
Author's Craft from Carla