Saturday, April 27, 2013

Love That Class!

So we've been working on poetry for a few weeks now, reading poems, writing poems, learning figurative language, and having an overall great time with poetry! I know I talk about how amazing my class is all the time, but I must say that I am, as always, lucky to have such a wonderful group that really "buy in" to whatever I am teaching.

Each year during poetry, we read Love That Dog by Sharon Creech.

If you haven't had the chance to read this book, pick up a copy ASAP! Each year, my students LOVE it and they really connect to the main character, Jack.

I decided to tackle summary writing using this book. We started by focusing on the main idea. A few years back, I learned name it, verb it, end it at a training. Since this book is set up in journal entries, we decided to summarize each month of entries. For the first week, we just did name it (ex. The March Entries), verb it (author's purpose), and finish it (the main idea). My students did a fantastic job with it and soon they were writing a very successful summarizing sentence. Here's an example:

Then we moved on to three important details in sequence. This took us a couple of weeks. I spent a lot of time talking about how to identify the important details and be sure that they supported the main idea. We had a lot of "oh no's" at first, but by the end of the book, my students were very successful with this. 

Once my students could fill up the whole organizer, all they had to do was put it all together for a beautiful, four-sentence summary of each month of entries. 

Of course, the true test of all of this was to see whether they would be able to use what they learned to write a successful book summary on their final test. Well....they did it! In fact, when my students tested on this book, they did exceptionally well! I'm currently working on a literature pack for Love That Dog and hope to post it on Teachers Pay Teachers soon. In the meantime, if you'd like to use the graphic organizers above, I have them listed on Teachers Pay Teachers at Summary Writing Organizers

Even though poetry month is winding down, my students have begged for us to read Hate That Cat next. Good thing that I already have 30 copies handy! Now to decide what strategy to focus on with this one...

I'm off to see Les Misérables today. It's been a great week. I won $100 gift certificate at our Festival of the Arts raffle at school to a venue that has lots of great shows each season! I never seem to win anything and I am a musical fanatic so I was thrilled to win! We're already season ticket holders to another venue that does a Broadway series so winning that raffle means even more shows for me! I am really looking forward to Les Mis today, since I have yet to see it and held off on seeing the movie. I am sad, however, that it will be the last show of the 2012-2013 season and I won't likely see another show until November.  So far my favorite one this season has been Mary Poppins, but we'll see after today!

Tomorrow I am running in my first 5k. It's called Color Me Rad. You get blasted with non-toxic paint the whole time you are running. I've walked a 5k before, but this will be my first run with my very athletic hubby. Hopefully I can keep up with him! 

Wishing you all a wonderful weekend! 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

I'm in a creative state of mind...

Or perhaps I am just an amazing procrastinator...

Either way, I've been hard at work the past few days. I found some amazing clip art from Michael Rawls and ever since I purchased it, I've been in a creative mood. I am now not only well prepared to start talking about figurative language and dive into poetry with my students, I've also added some awesome resources to my Teachers Pay Teachers account. So even though today is Sunday, which marks the true end to my spring break, and my favorite basketball team, Syracuse, lost last night, I am still in good spirits!

So now I have a poetry writing bundle, each poetry writing style listed individually in case people don't want all 8, a freebie of seasonal poetry, an idiom bundle with task cards and practice with literal and figurative language, AND a simile poster pack. Gosh, I am a creative machine! LOL

Of course, I also did my Sunday TpT purchasing (although during this break there's been a lot more than just Sunday purchasing). I love the task cards from Rachel Lynette so I picked up a main idea, a summarizing, and an author's purpose set. Voila! There's an independent center for my next 3-week unit. I'm pretty sure that I am spending twice what I make on TpT, but hey, it all evens out in the end, right?

Here's a preview of and link to each of my new creations. I hope to get more up in the next few days too, though I know the first few days back will prove to be a tad overwhelming.

Gotta put the freebie first!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Things I LOVE Waking Up To on the Weekend

Spring break is officially over, but it's the weekend! The hubby is in a new position at work so he wasn't able to take the break off with me :-( That means that even though I've been off, I've still been looking forward to the weekend. I woke up a bit ago to two adorable cats, a handsome hubby, a beautiful view, and Starbucks, which the hubby went out to get since he's the sweetest! Life is very good! Here's a peek at things that make my weekend go 'round!

Brewster Man!

Tucker, also known as Muffin, or Fluffernutter

My best friend aka My handsome hubby!

 The view from our condo.

Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha, Skinny & Decaf = no guilt!

I hope that you are all waking up on this wonderful weekend and loving what's surrounding you! 

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Farley Currently Link-Up

I am linking up with Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for a currently.

Here it goes!

I can't believe it's already Thursday and that my spring break is more than half way over. I am already beginning to think of lesson plans, grading, and working on report cards. Nooooooooo! I'm not ready! Can't I just have one more week? 

I have been blog-hopping quite a bit and see that many schools are already in test prep mode. I am thankful that we won't begin our next tests until the end of May. That gives me at least a month before everything goes all "test prep mode" and people get way too high strung and edgy. Testing is by far my least favorite part of the year. My students were great with their writing tests in March though, so I really think that this year will be the least stressful testing time that I've experienced yet. Let's hope that I am right!

My spring break has been filled with a lot of trips to the vet. My one cat, Brewster, needed a dental cleaning. My other cat, Tucker, has had some serious stomach issues going on so we're working to change his food and hoping that will clear it up. My cats are my babies, but all these trips to the vet are draining my wallet and making my spring break a tad too busy! I am hopeful that they are both on the up and up! 

Anyway, I am officially about to work on procrastinating from writing my math lesson plans. If I can get math done today then I will at least enter the weekend with one item checked off of my list and with one look at the pile of papers I need to grade, it might be a very good idea! 

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Poetry Month - Your Students Are Poets and You Know It!

Woohooo! Spring break has finally allowed me some extra time for creation. Well, to be honest, it's allowed me time to pull a file out and type up a unit that I created years ago. I have a 4 drawer filing cabinet in my office and it's filled with files on every possible subject, many of which contain my own creations, some of which are saved on computers, many of which have not. As I was thinking about poetry month, I realized that I have had students write many different styles of poetry, usually creating a poetry book. Of course, all of my work is not saved on my computer, nor did it have cute borders and clip art, so I decided that my goal of the spring break was to TpT-ify my unit. I created a unit that follows a pretty simple pattern: introduce the style, show an example of the style, write the style. Of course, this means that my pack is filled with my own cheesy poetry examples, but I'm pretty excited about what I have finally put together and I can't wait to get back to school next week to use this set with my students when we return next week. I know that they will love poetry!

Here's the link to my new set and a preview of its contents:

Poetry Writing Pack

Hmmm...I've still got a few days of break left. I wonder what file I can pull out and TpT-ify next?

Monday, April 1, 2013

Spring Break Blogging

Oh gosh...where does the time go? I have no excuse for my lack of blogging. Oh wait, yes I do! My husband came home at the end of January after being in Afghanistan for 8 months. Between working hard to make this my best year of teaching yet, preparing for our writing tests that we just completed in March, and planning our much-overdue honeymoon, I've had little time for the extras. That means that blogging and TpT creations have gone a bit to the wayside. I have a list of at least 100 items I'd like to create. Now if I could just find the time, I'd be all set!

First up is a poetry writing packet. I have always loved poetry, probably beginning with the first time I picked up Where the Sidewalk Ends. Needless to say, I LOOOOOVE poetry month! In the past, I have had students write a number of different styles of poems focused on one special person in their life. When the month wraps up, they type up all of their poems, add a cover, and make it a gift for that special someone. My second year of teaching, we created poems for mothers and we had a brunch for all of the mothers (or a special woman in their lives for those who may not have mom in their life) and students shared their poems aloud. It was awesome. I'd really like to do something like that again.

So as I work on my poetry packet, I thought I'd share my spring poetry board that I created right before we left for spring break. I am totally obsessed with the new Boho Birds collection from Carson-Dellosa. OMG...they are so stinkin' cute! Here it is:

Happy Spring to all of you! I hope to share my poetry packet very soon!