Classroom Tested - Teacher & Student Approved Episode 10 {GIVEAWAY!}

It's been awhile, but I'm back with another episode of my Classroom Tested - Teacher & Student Approved series!
If you missed previous episodes, here's what we have going on:  I've sent a number of the craftivity resources I've created to fellow bloggers.  These individuals have agreed to use the craftivity in their classroom sometime this fall and then blog about their classroom experience with it!

For Episode 10 today, I am linking up with Staci at Let's Teach Something.
Click HERE to check out her post describing her experience using my Synonym Roll craftivity in her class

Thanks again, Staci, for "classroom-testing" this Synonym Roll craftivity resource!
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Synonyms-craftivity-grades-3-and-up-Synonym-Rolls-390696

In keeping with the format of my previous episodes of Classroom Tested - Teacher & Student Approved, I'll share some of the feedback that has been left at my TpT store of this product:

Orangepeonee commented:  "Can't wait to do this, this year. I may repeat it with make-your-own-synonyms pairs afterwards, and plan to experiment with that set being on paper plates, I really appreciate the super detailed instructions and tips."

AllisonKelly89 left this feedback: "My third graders had so much fun creating their Synonym Rolls! Thanks!"

I created this activity last year in January, and my third graders really responded well to this activity.  I will never forget the day in April when we were preparing for a spring assessment, and I overheard two kids talking.  One of the kids asked, "What is a synonym again?"  His partner answered, "Don't you remember... the synonym rolls we made??"  The first student replied, "Oh yeah!  We had to write a word that means the SAME on the frosting!  Synonyms mean the same thing!"

I am already looking forward to doing this particular craftivity with my third graders this year shortly after we return from winter break!

Would you like to use this Synonym craftivity in YOUR classroom?  Enter the giveaway!  One winner will receive it!

a Rafflecopter giveaway Finally, if you missed previous episodes of this "series", I have links to them in the Classroom Tested-Teacher & Student Approved tab above.

Thanks so much for stopping by today,

The ABCD's of Student Engagement {Freebie!}

Hi there!  Today is my day of the month to blog over at All Things Upper Elementary.  There, I shared with readers a little bit about a book that has profoundly impacted the way I teach.  Actually, I was so "on fire" with the engagement strategies laid out in this book, that once I tried them for myself and witnessed firsthand the positive impact they had on my students' learning and retention, I gave a series of after-school teacher enrichment presentations to fellow colleagues in the district.  I would say that the things I learned in this book had an impact district-wide!

Not a cover that really grabs you and shouts “READ ME!”, huh?  (Fortunately, I got past the cover and into the book.  Check out my post at ATUE for the full story on what enticed me to open this book and further details on what I found in it.)

Basically, while reading, I found many similarities between the upper elementary classrooms in which I co-teach, and the ones that Wiliam described.  (Wiliam describes a classroom where a handful of dedicated students constantly raise their hands and contribute to the class discussion, while the remainder of students in the classroom doodle, daydream, or fly under the radar.)  When I returned to school on Monday, my hunch was 100% verified.  A handful of students constantly raised their hands, while the other students either sat quietly or simply “spaced out”.  Wiliam concluded that the achievement gap is widening in such a classroom... and I had to agree.

My co-teachers and I soon put some of Wiliam’s engagement strategies into action, and we saw a remarkable difference.  I shared my #1 strategy over at ATUE, and if you haven't been there, yet, I highly recommend checking it out.)  Below I describe the #2 change my colleagues and I made that seemed to make a significant difference in increasing student engagement during lessons.

#2- ABCD Cards (an all-student response system) 
First, each student was given a set of ABCD cards.
FREEBIE!  Click on the image for a set of ABCD cards like these you can print for your students!
Whenever we used a PowerPoint that included multiple choice questions, or displayed a multiple choice worksheet using the doc camera, students were instructed to get out their ABCD cards. (FYI - In some classrooms, students kept their cards in an envelope in their desk.  In other classrooms, teachers attached a library card envelope to the top of the desk, and students kept the cards in the envelope for easy access.)

(After being instructed a few times), whenever students were shown a multiple choice question, they knew to choose the letter they thought was the correct answer, place the card on top of their stack, and hold the stack close to their chest.   Once every student had an answer, we said “Show your answer.”  Students turned over their stack to display their answer, and we teachers were able to quickly identify which students understood the topic, and which were needed further instruction.

There are many more excellent strategies for keeping your students engaged during lessons, but I think that’s enough for this blog post! I will save other ideas for future blog posts!

A Peek at My Thanksgiving Week

I am linking up again with Jennifer from Mrs. Laffin's Laughings for her weekly A Peek at my Week!
http://mrslaffinslaughings.blogspot.com/
I don't know about the rest of you, but I am very thankful for TpT this week!  I found so many great Thanksgiving resources that will allow me the opportunity to both continue teaching the standards, while at the same time recognize that it is Thanksgiving week, too!  Here are some great ones that have made their way into my lesson plans for the coming week...

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Thanksgiving-Common-Coreses-ELA-Centers-for-Upper-Elementary-962082I absolutely cannot wait to use Dianne's Thanksgiving centers with one of my fourth grade groups.  We will be using these fun Thanksgiving cards to review Author's Purpose, Figurative Language, and Greek and Latin Roots.  I highly suggest checking out this creative, engaging product if you haven't already.  I just know my students will love making their way through these "common core-ses"!

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Differentiated-Thanksgiving-Graphic-Organizers-987888
With my third graders, I am planning to read a handful of Thanksgiving books, and we will compare and contrast along the way.  I was so excited to find Kayla Root's Differentiated Thanksgiving Graphic Organizers. They are adorable, and my students can use the Venn diagram included in the packet to compare and contrast.  We are going to compare and contrast Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade, a biography by Melissa Sweet and Milly and the Macy's Parade, a historical fiction picture book by Shana Corey.  We will also read two fun turkey stories, The Amazing Turkey Race and its sequel, The Amazing Turkey Rescue.  Both books are by Steve Metzger, and the kids love them!

Also, I shared a few of my own Thanksgiving resources with the fifth grade classrooms in my school.  (I'm experiencing 5GW* this year; I really miss working with my fifth grade friends.  Although I worked with this grade level the past two years, this year's schedule did not allow me to work with them again, unfortunately.  However, I still pop in and offer my lesson ideas!)  I know that they are working on Main Idea right now, so I shared my Main Idea Turkey craftivity and my Main Idea/Best Title Thanksgiving worksheet packet with them.  I love that the fifth grade teachers often allow students to come show me their completed projects!
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Thanksgiving-Main-Idea-and-Details-craftivity-matching-main-idea-and-details-935179

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Main-Idea-and-Best-Title-Worksheets-Thanksgiving-test-prep-411395
It's going to be a fun-filled, jam-packed Thanksgiving week!  Before I wrap up, I'd like to say thank you to YOU for reading my blog!


*5GW = 5th Grade Withdrawl!

Third Grade Writing in a Coteaching Classroom

Today I want to share a little about the efforts that my coteachers and I are making with writing this year - we are seeing positive results already!

This year my entire morning consists of coteaching writing - in all three of my school's third grade classrooms and one of the fourth grade classrooms.  This is actually my second year of coteaching writing, and I have found that I really enjoy witnessing the progress of my students' writing from where they begin in third grade to where they are at the end of fourth grade!  What growth occurs in these two short years!!

Our third grade team got together at the start of this school year and decided to make two significant changes to our writing program: 

1.  We are teaching the writing process very explicitly to our students.  What exactly do I mean by that?
Last year: We progressed through the writing process and used the vocabulary repeatedly, but the students never took ownership of the writing process.  (This became obvious last year at quarterly assessment time when students skipped the brainstorming and planning stages, and went right to writing a rough draft.)   
This year: We have posters displayed in each third grade classroom, and we move the arrow as we progress through the writing process.  (I purchased these adorable Writing Process Anchor Chart Posters from Sabrina Barr at TpT!)
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Writing-Process-Anchor-Charts-and-MORE-863681

I also created the tracking sheet below that students keep in their writing folder.  Students fill in each arrow as they progress through the writing process.  Not only do the students love coloring in the arrows as they complete each step, but we teachers find that it is extremely helpful to us, too - at the beginning of our writer's workshop time, we have students hold up their cards.  We catch a quick glimpse of where each student is in the writing process!
Click HERE to download this PDF!
2.  We record conference notes.  Each student has a copy of the Observation Notes sheet below.  They keep it in their writing folder and bring it to their individual writing conference.  As you can see, we record their writing strengths, but also weak areas that we specifically addressed during the conference.  This is very helpful in a writing classroom where coteaching is taking place. This allows us both to be "up-to-speed" on the nature of each student's most recent writing conference.
Click HERE to download this PDF!
Here's an example of how a coteaching classroom in particular benefits from use of this resource: If Miss Henderson (the classroom teacher) discussed using capital letters for proper nouns during the last writing conference, I can quickly glance at the conference notes, and begin the new conference with a statement like "I see at your last writing conference, you and Miss Henderson talked about capitalizing proper nouns.  Let's look at this writing piece to see if you remembered to use capital letters to begin proper nouns when you wrote independently."

Results?  I am pleased to report that we are seeing significant progress... when we write a comment for "developing skill", we usually DO see progress on the next writing piece!!  It also comes in very handy when it's time to fill out report cards and/or have parent-teacher conferences!

I'll update you later in the year with how things continue to progress!

Classroom Tested- Teacher & Student Approved Episode 7

Hi everyone!

Thanks for stopping by for another episode of my Classroom Tested - Teacher & Student Approved series! 
If you missed previous episodes, here's what we have going on:  I've sent a number of the craftivity resources I've created to fellow bloggers.  These individuals have agreed to use the craftivity in their classroom sometime this fall and then blog about their classroom experience with it!

Grade 4 BuzzFor Episode 7 today, we link up with Lisa at Grade 4 Buzz.
Click HERE to check out her post describing her experience using my Author's Purpose PIE'ED craftivity in her class.

Thanks again, Lisa, for "classroom-testing" this Author's Purpose PIE'ED craftivity resource! 
So, are you reading this and saying to yourself  Huh?!  What is PIE'ED?!  If so, I would love for you to read this previous post detailing this more comprehensive approach to Author's Purpose that I use with my upper elementary students.

In keeping with the format of my previous episodes of Classroom Tested - Teacher & Student Approved, I'll share some of the feedback that has been left at my TpT store of this product:

Susanne K commented:  "This is one of my all time favorite TPT lessons. It totally engaged my 3rd grade students, and I saw them cross-checking with each other and with me because it really MATTERED to them that they got the concept. Excellent!"

Second, I can't resist sharing this, since I'll bet most of you will recognize this name...Jennifer Findley left this comment: "I can't wait to use this! I just love your upper grade craftivities!"

This was the VERY FIRST craftivity I ever created, so it admittedly holds a special place in my heart.  I've thought about "jazzing up" the cover page a few times, but like your Grandma's original apple pie recipe, it just doesn't seem right to mess with it.   :)

Do you want to use this Author's Purpose PIE'ED craftivity in YOUR classroom?  Enter the giveaway!  One winner will receive this craftivity!  (As always, if you win it after you've already purchased, I will send you another product of your choice from my TpT store that's of similar value.)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Finally, if you missed previous episodes of this "series", I have links to them in the Classroom Tested-Teacher & Student Approved tab above.

Thanks so much for stopping by today!

All things INTERACTIVE {Multi-Blog Giveaway!}

I must say... I was so excited to be invited by Joey Udovich to be involved in an All Things Interactive Giveaway!  What a great opportunity for this Iowa gal to connect with you all on this rather HOT topic of late.
Many of you may be hopping to my blog from your other favorite bloggers... THANK YOU for taking the time to visit me today!  (I hope to make it worth your while...keep reading!) 

First, a bit of info on where I come in on the whole Interactive Notebook "spectrum"... Like many of you, I am a USER of interactive notebooks, not a seller.  In fact, I am using them with my students for the first time this year. I am soooo excited about the potential of these notebooks!  As the year progresses, students will have more and more of the standards at their fingertips for constant reference. As an ESL teacher, I truly appreciate the visual aid or graphic organizer attached to most notebook entries. I really feel that ALL students will benefit years from now from their use with interactive notebooks in elementary and middle school.  Several times already this fall, I have found myself asking, “Why didn’t I start using these years ago?”

There are a number of excellent “out of the box” interactive notebook products available. However, my plan is to have
Inference craftivity added to notebook.
students add elements of my craftivity resources into their notebooks.   For example, when our focus is the concept of “inference”, I will have students complete the “Let’s Make S’more Inferences” craftivity.  I will make an extra set of photocopied s'more elements for each student.  I will instruct them to write a description for text clues, background knowledge, and inferences inside the appropriate items. Further, rather than gluing the entire set of s’mores on the paper, though, I will instruct them to take one and glue it to the next page in their interactive notebook.


Likewise, when we focus on “Author’s Purpose”, I intend to reduce the size of the pie “cover” on the copy machine, and then have them glue it to their notebook. When they lift the flap, they will write the definition under the flap.
Definition under each flap.
Pie sized to fit in notebook.
















 So… that’s my plan! I am hopeful that these visual references will help students retain all of the skills we will be learning and practicing throughout the year. I’ll keep my blog followers updated on how it goes!
Now the fun part...I've got a freebie for you! Just click on the image above to get it!  It includes the materials for interactive notebook pages that focus on:
          • Main Idea and Supporting Details
          • Context Clues
          • Prefixes
          • Suffixes
          • Themes in Literature
I hope you find them useful.  (Also note that this is a "flash freebie" available for free exclusively on my blog this weekend only ... get it now!)  And if you want to see the complete craftivity that “inspired” these pages, check them out at my TpT store.

So, everyone gets the above...what am I giving away in the raffle?  The big winner of the raffle giveaway gets ALL 5 of the full craftivity resources that are featured in the freebie!


Click to take a look at the prizes and the awesome TpT sellers offering them to all of you!  
Get a closer look at their blogs by clicking 
on the links below the pictures. :)


 


*Nicole will give away the notebook of the winner's choice!



*Deb will be donating these five products that would work PERFECTLY in any interactive project!




*Jennifer will be donating the fourth or fifth grade notebook of your choice!

Have FuN checking out our links, but please remember that you can only enter this giveaway on one blog!  Please do not enter on multiple blogs, as it is all "going into the same pot!" :)

Thank you for your participation...now it's time to get started!  
Enter AwAy!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 
One last item before you move on to the next blog... If you're not already following my blog, I invite you to do so! You'll find lots of craftivity giveaways, and a milestone celebration giveaway coming soon, too!   Actually, you just missed out on a craftivity raffle that ended on Friday - Staci S. was the winner of that giveaway.   However, stop back Monday when I will start another giveaway!  Good luck!

Classroom Tested- Teacher & Student APPROVED Episode 4

We're rolling now... onto Episode 4 of my Classroom Tested - Teacher & Student Approved series!
If you missed previous episodes, here's what we have going on:  I've sent a number of the craftivity resources I've created to fellow bloggers.  These individuals have agreed to use the craftivity in their classroom sometime this fall and then blog about their classroom experience with it!
Shearerly Sadler 4th Grade
For Episode 4 today, we link up with Tobi at Shearer-ly Sadler 4th Grade.
Click HERE to check out her post describing her experience using my Subjects & Predicates craftivity in her class.
 
I thank Tobi for "classroom-testing" this Subjects & Predicates craftivity resource!  This is actually one of my newest craftivity resources, so she is most likely among the first to use it with students!  That said, I was particularly excited to get to read about her take on using it with her students.  Whew!  I'm glad it went well!

This craftivity also features a teaching poster (shown to the right). ----->




One unique aspect of this craftivity that you won't find in all my craftivity resources (...not yet anyway)!  I have added an optional interactive notebook entry component!  I recognize that MANY teachers are now using interactive notebooks for ELA, so this facilitates incorporation of the hands-on craftivity into a notebook entry.

In keeping with the format of my previous episodes of Classroom Tested - Teacher & Student Approved, I'll share some of the feedback that has been left at my TpT store of this product:

Johannes commented, "This is a great visual for students! I am also happy that you included a Interactive Notebook version. Thank you for sharing! I will be back for more!"

This comment was left by TeachingMetamorphosis: "As usual you provide a quality product. My students love craftivities. I love the train icon."

PowerPoint
I will also briefly mention that in addition to the craftivity, I have a "matching" train-themed Subjects & Predicates PowerPoint resource...
BUNDLE



...as well as a BUNDLE if you are interested in picking up ALL of my Subjects & Predicates resources at a discounted price.


Do you want to use this Subjects & Predicates craftivity in YOUR classroom?  Enter the giveaway!  One winner will receive this craftivity!  (As always, if you win it after you've already purchased, I will send you another product of your choice from my TpT store that's of similar value.)

As an added BONUS, Tobi is giving away one of her resources as well!  One winner will receive the craftivity PLUS Tobi's Setting Conflict and Character Interactivity! The posters in this set are perfect for fall, and the three posters are topics that I introduce and focus on during the fall! I will be displaying the posters on my cart ( I travel between classrooms), and my students will get to fill out this interactivity organizer as they read their books! I also love that students are required to cite evidence as they fill out the organizer!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Come back next Tuesday for the next "episode" of Classroom Tested-Teacher & Student APPROVED (including another giveaway)!  Take a look at the tab toward the top of my page called "Hey Bloggers! Wanna Collaborate?" to see who else has signed on to test one of my craftivities in their classroom.  (Also, if you missed previous episodes, I have links to them in this tab, too.)
 
I'll "see" you soon!

Classroom Tested - Teacher & Student APPROVED- Episode 2 {GIVEAWAY!}

I am happy to share Episode 2 of my new Classroom Tested - Teacher & Student Approved series!
If you missed Episode 1, here's the scoop:  I've sent a number of the craftivity resources I've created to fellow bloggers.  These individuals have agreed to use the craftivity in their classroom sometime this fall and then blog about their classroom experience with it!

The Bookish AdvantageEpisode 2 features the experience of Molly at The Bookish Advantage.
Click HERE to check out her post describing her experience using my Main Idea Earth Foldable Craftivity in her class.  
Cover of foldable

Finished product opened

I thank Molly for "classroom-testing" this Main Idea craftivity resource!  I am, of course, also very pleased to see that both she and her students enjoyed their experience with it.

In keeping with the format of Episode 1 of Classroom Tested - Teacher & Student Approved, I will also share some of the feedback that has been left at my TpT store of this product:

Amy commented, "LOVE this! It is a perfect culminating activity for our Earth layers and Earth Day units! AND hitting main idea and details to boot! A+"

Amanda shared this feedback: "Great resource! Love that it works on a difficult skill but let's the students have fun too."

A number of purchasers shared that they appreciated the integration of science with the ELA concept of Main Idea...
Just last week, Loberholtzer left this review: "I used this as a mini-lesson in science class. Finished products were hung in hallway during parent teacher conferences."

Do you want to use this Main Idea & Details: The Earth Foldable craftivity in YOUR classroom?  Enter the giveaway!  One winner will receive this craftivity!  (As always, if you win it after you've already purchased, I will send you another product of your choice from my TpT store that's of similar value.)
a Rafflecopter giveaway
More "episodes" of Classroom Tested-Teacher & Student APPROVED to come (including more giveaways)!  Take a look at the tab toward the top of my page called "Hey Bloggers! Wanna Collaborate?" to see who else has signed on to test one of my craftivities in their classroom.
 
I'll "see" you later this week!