I am so excited to be linking up with Amanda and Stacia, the two amazing ladies from Collaboration Cuties for their new linky. Each week people will be linking up to share their favorite mentor texts and how they use them in their class. Finding new books is one of my favorite things!! Be sure to head over to their blog to get some amazing ideas.

Since it is just about April and April for many teachers is poetry month I thought I would share some of my favorite poetry books. I love, sorry I mean LOVE the 4 season poetry books by Douglas Florian. There is Handsprings, Autumnblings, Winter Eyes and Summersaults.

There are a wide variety of poem types in each book but my favorite are the " What I Love About.." and "What I Hate  About..." poems.  There is one of each poem for each season. These are great list poems that demonstrate for kids that poems be simple and descriptive.

My students are always able to generate a lot of ideas for these poems so I usually use them as our first attempt at writing poetry. I like that there is a book for each season so we can re-visit the poems throughout the year. I have my students aim for a list poem with at least 10 lines. I have included a graphic organiser, working copy and good copy page for you to use with your students. Click here to grab a free copy.

Also today and tomorrow are great days to head over to TpT and do some shopping, tons of stores are having sales (I know I will be picking up a few  - or a few too many -things).  I am throwing a 20% off sale on everything in my little store. Click here to head on over.

Super cute graphic by the super talented Krista.

Also I've added Google + and Blog Lovin as following options since Google Reader is coming to an end July 1st.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Wednesday has quickly become one of my favourite days to read blogs. There is Jivey's Workshop Wednesday linky which I love.

There is also the awesome Write About it Wednesday linky at Across the Hall in 2nd Grade and Second Grade Sparkle which I am joining this week! I love these fabulous ladies ideas. I can't believe the great pictures and freebies that they share and that I gladly steal. So I figured it was time to give back a little. If you have not checked their linky out - you really should! In fact click on the picture to head over there ( in a few minutes though - you are not done here).

This week's theme Writing Portfolios. Only I don't actually use Portfolios -  we have writing folders and binders.

Here is how writing work is organized in my class:

Everyone has a writing folder in their desk (cute little label from the super talented Kristen from Ladybug's Teacher Files - they're free ).

Inside is the work they are currently working on and any checklists, samples or rubrics they need for their current writing. (Don't look at the camera cord hanging down into the picture!)

Also inside the folder is a personal dictionary and a personal thesaurus. These are free resources I found on-line. Click on the words to grab a copy. The dictionary has room to add words and the thesaurus contains commonly overused words (nice, said, big).

Once our writing is finished (evaluated, taken down from a bulletin board, shared with the class, peer evaluated...whatever) it goes into their writing binder. You can see paper sticking out from the top - the reason for this - this is my third year teaching this student and we have kept all of the writing, so the binder is full! I usually teach my students for two years and like them to keep all of their work so they can see their growth.

Inside the binder is this little Table of Contents (click to get a copy -  it is for 8Tab Dividers - I ordered mine from Staples Business Depot). Inside there is a clear pocket for pictures that they bring from home for writing prompts. Students are asked to bring in a binder from home (although I am tempted to buy a class set of binders so they are all one colour and I can put really cute labels on them!). During the 2nd or 3rd week of school we set up our writing binders with the clear pocket, table of contents and dividers (always takes longer than I think it should). Their first piece of writing to go in is an About the Author page with their picture.

The first page in the writing process and ideas section is a checklist for editing ( I have been using COPS). In this section we also keep any word lists that may help our writing (character traits, colour words) and pages that contain - that's right - ideas for future writing.

They keep their work organized in their correct section and put their checklists/rubrics/peer evaluation forms with their work.

This would be in the fiction section obviously - I love circle story writing!

That is how I organize my student's writing - for now. After reading the awesome posts from Kate and Halle I am thinking of changing things up this summer - I'll keep you posted. I'd love to hear how you organize your student's writing so be sure to link up!!

Have a great weekend!

So from the title you can tell this is crazy post with lots of different things - including freebies!

First up, I am linking up with Jivey for her weekly Workshop Wednesday linky. This week's theme is mentor texts you use in writer's workshop.

I am sharing a book I "usually" use when launching writer's workshop in my class.

I love this book! I love the black and white photos of their favorite parts of their bodies. I love that it is written by children. I love what they have to say about themselves. I love that each writing piece is short.

I use this book to show my students that they are real authors - their writing is important and could be part of a "real" book. I use this book to show them that good writing does not mean lots and lots of writing. I use this book to show them that they do have writing ideas and one small thing can be a great idea.

I take pictures of my students favorite part of their body, print in black and white and put it with their writing. They either become a bulletin board for open house or into a class book. I love showing the book to the students when they are a few years older - they love it.

You may ask yourself why is she sharing this book now - it is almost April!! But I do have a reason. I am using this book differently this year. Last year my youngest daughter brought home my Mother's Day gift from school and it was "The Best Part of My Mom" - same idea - she wrote about my best part (hands) and all the things they do (rub her back, make cupcakes, hold her hand etc - it was a tear jerker). So that is how I am using it this year!

I also wanted to share two last minute ideas that you might be able to use tomorrow (or file away for next year!).

The first one was inspired by a fantastic idea and resource from Amanda at Collaboration Cuties and another great idea and freebie from  Liz at The Happy Teacher.

So I took their ideas (okay, stole if you insist) and adapted them for my class. I bought the eggs, numbered their bottoms, put one question in each egg and then hid the eggs in the class (by hid I mean placed around the room in mostly visible locations). Students were given recording sheets and sent off to find eggs, answer the questions and then re-hide the egg. I did two sets of questions - one of basic multiplication facts
 and one with word study questions. Click on the pictures to pick up the questions and recording sheets.

This is actually the wrong font!

Lastly here is a quick little Easter craft we did today - they are called Bunny Butts.

Here's how to make them:
1. put name on bottom of pot (I got 3 for $1.00 at the Dollarama)
2. scrunch up a piece of paper in put in pot (scrap paper)
3. put glue on top of paper
4. put Easter grass on top of glue
5. glue large pompom on top of grass
6. glue smaller pompom on for the tail
7. cut out two bunny feet from fun foam ( I gave tracers)
8. add pink fabric paint (3D paint, puffy paint, whatever) for the pads on the feet
9. glue the feet on, heels pointing to top and near each other

*you could add  mini-eggs (I would just eat them)
*you could turn these into place card holders for Easter dinner

I am very excited to be linking up with Holly at Fourth Grade Flipper for her new linky "Tried it Tuesday". Be sure to check out her blog for links to all the things people have been trying out!


I am going to focus on some websites that I have tried and use often.

#1. xtramath.org

I have my class set up on this site and they can use it at school and at home to practice addition, subtraction and multiplication skills. I like it because parents seem to like seeing their kids do drill practice and I don't have to waste paper. Also the website sends me reports on their progress. I have even used it as a station during a math class - one student starts when they are finished the program asks for the next student and they just rotate through.

#2. Readwritethink.org

I love to use this site for writing. The graphic organizers are a great way for students to organize their thinking and really scaffold the activity for the students. We love the Trading Card activity. I like to use this activity during a novel study. The students create a trading card for one of the main characters - sometimes they even need to infer!!!

#3. BBC DanceMat Typing

My class loves this program. Keyboarding skills are not part of the curriculum - but it is so painful to wait for students to type up their work or even type in a web address. We use this program for a few minutes before using other programs.

#4. Technology Rocks, Seriously - Theme Sites

I love when I get an email from Technology Rocks, Seriously with a list of websites that my students will love that just happen to go with an upcoming holiday. We loved the Christmas sites!!!

Trying to Try it #5 - Storybird Website

See this is an adorable picture to use as a story prompt - but some are not so adorable!

I have been thinking about using this website - have some of my class registered with logins (where I put them or how to access them again I do not know  - it has been awhile) and have even tried making a class story using this website. I love the concept - it seems user friendly. I am not 100% sold on some of the graphics - some just seem a little off or inappropriate. I would LOVE to know if anyone uses this site or what they thought of using it.

Happy Monday!!

I was putting my plans together for today (we are hosting a math workshop at my school, so I was making plans for the substitute) My class will be enjoying this book:

I will be doing some procedural writing follow up on Tuesday and Wednesday but wanted something for the class to do that would not involve a huge lesson. I was thinking of Easter Eggs and one of my teaching buddy found some great Easter Egg symmetry ideas and I thought yes symmetry!! So I put together a mini-poster to remind the kiddos what symmetry was and a few little activities. There are 2 posters and few different symmetry worksheets (draw the line, complete the design, make a design etc).
Click here for a free copy.

Check out Manic Monday for more great freebies!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

As I mentioned we are hosting a math workshop at our school and I have the "pleasure" of teaching a math lesson to my class in the afternoon while around 15 adults watch!! (that is why the morning activities are fun and easy - I am trying to ensure cooperation for my lesson!). I'll let you know about the lesson and how it  went after I recover!

Also I wanted to say thanks to all of you who participated in my first ever giveaway.  Here are the winners!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I am linking up once again with Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday week in review. Click on the picture to head over to her blog and see who else is linking up this week. If you make it to the end of this post you will see who else I am linking up with.

1. Hooray for Spring and Easter decorations - I love unpacking holiday decorations - and things were looking a little bleak after Valentine's around our house. The Welcome Peeps is a new little item my BFF picked up for me on her Spring Break trip.

 2. *Gasp* - this is the noise my class made during one of our reading lessons. The reason my age! We were making predictions and talking about their schema and how they have been adding to it for 8 or 9 or 10 years. Then I said I have been developing my schema for 40 years and they gasped and a few of them whispered to each other "40". That's right kids I am 4 times as old as you!

3. New clip art - I bought new clip art this week and it makes me happy!!

4. Spring Art - I really enjoyed our winter tree/bird art so I decided to do it again but with a spring twist. We used construction paper for the background, trees and sun. We used our 3-hole punch confetti to make blossoms (although some students didn't know what a blossom should look like and there's looked like snowflakes!). We used watercolour to paint simple birds that they drew (tear drop shaped). I like how they turned out. Look closely at the window pictures to see the snow in the background! The cute bird clip art comes from Deniece at This Little Piggy Reads. Click here to get a free copy of the banner!

 I am linking up with Diane at Teaching with Moxie for her March Photo Challenge. Link up with her for a chance to win a TpT gift certificate.

5. My first giveaway - I was nervous to do it but I am hosting my first giveaway! Click on the picture to enter - it is almost over.

Can't wait to hear about everyone's week!

Happy Wednesday! I am linking up with Ideas by Jivey for her Workshop Wednesday Linky Party.
Be sure to head to her blog to read her post and pick up her freebies.
Click on the picture to head over (after you read this post!)
This week's theme is Reading Workshop Graphic Organizers.

I am going to start by sharing something that is not a graphic organizer - but something I use during Reading Workshop and might help others - like a graphic organizer would (why I can never just follow a linky's theme I do not know).

These are fiction and non-fiction reading response sentence starters that I have my students glue into their reading notebooks in September. They are very generic and do not remind the student to cite evidence BUT they have saved me on more than one occasion. Having them in their notebooks right from the beginning and doing a few quick lessons in which we write reading response sentences (in which they are taught they must give a reason) using them allows me to pull them out during emergencies (sub plans, when there is a last minute schedule change or *gasp* when I am stuck and need something quick to fill in time). I have also used them for home reading - reading response journals. I usually tell them to select one from each category.
This picture shows the fiction page only - sorry technical difficulties

Now I will share an actual graphic organizer!
This is one I use during non-fiction units (obviously!). It is included in my Non-Fiction Text Features Unit.
I focus on not just identifying features but focus on why the author uses them and how they help the reader.

This year for our unit wrap-up we did a fun little activity that came to me while using  this organizer.
 I have tried doing the non-fiction feature booklet - but it usually takes a long time and sometimes becomes hard to manage/assess.

 So instead the students:
 *recorded every feature in their guided reading books (I have four reading groups).
*then they identified any features that their book did not have
*then they selected a feature to create for their book (it had to be one that was missing or at least missing from the page it would become part of - not another table of contents!)
*they cut paper so that it would fit perfectly into their book
*they gave it a page number (where in the book it should go)
*they created the feature (fact box, map, labelled diagram etc) and tried to make it look like it belonged in the book (title, print, colour)
*they had to make sure it was based on fact!!

It was a fun way to wrap up the unit - I wish I had pictures of some of their features to share - some students did a great job!

While you are here you might as well enter my giveaway!
Click on the picture to head to the giveaway!

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