Monday, February 28, 2011

Communication: An Educator’s Greatest Tool for Student Success

Communication is an essential part of our everyday lives. As educators, we understand that communication between school and home can be one of the most powerful tools that we use to ensure student success.
            Educators face the daily challenge of building a community of learners in their classrooms, even though these learners come from a variety of backgrounds. Effective home-school communication is one way that we can level the playing field for our students. By providing equal access to important information, we never have to worry about someone being left out.
            What are some ways that we can communicate between home and school? Our new digital era has provided wonderful tools such as wikis, blogs, Twitter, web pages, and email as ways to share information; however, does everyone have equal access to these forms of technology at home? In some areas, this may certainly be the case, but in others there may be a significant number of families who are out of the loop. This creates a communication gap that provides yet another hurdle to teachers who are trying to keep their students’ families informed.
            So how do we close the communication gap? First, we must know our students and their families. Through the use of surveys and interest inventories, we can find out a tremendous amount about the home life of our students and the access to technology they have. If your school collects email addresses from families at registration, then you can send out an email invitation to complete an online survey. There are many free online survey sites, but I have found Survey Monkey ( to be an easy site to use and share. Providing online and paper copies of the same survey insures that no one is left out of this information gathering process.
            Our next step in closing the communication gap is providing as much information as we can in as many formats as we can. Many teachers send home paper newsletters each week or month to keep their families informed of school happenings. How about posting that same information on a class wiki or blog? A weekly email blast with the newsletter attached and important information highlighted in the message is another great way to share what is going on in your classroom. I currently have a class wiki and a Teacher Web account (as our digital scrapbook). I also send home weekly newsletters and occasional email blasts to keep my families informed. It’s important to print out any emails you send to your entire class and send them to those families who do not have access. One way to manage this task is to give yourself (and any volunteers or student helpers) a visual guide to which students need paper copies. To do this, you can use a sticker on the folders or “mailboxes” that you use for sending home papers, to show which students need the paper copies.
            Don’t forget that communication goes two ways. Make sure your parents have several ways to contact you. Have you thought about generating a QR Code containing your contact information? You have probably seen these blocky-looking bar codes around. Apps are available for many smart phones which allow the user to scan the code and get the information. When you generate a QR code with contact information, many of the apps will even open up your contacts to allow you to save all of the information quickly. Include your contact phone number at school, your email address, the school’s mailing address, and your blog or web page. This would be a good thing to share at your open house or registration day. Of course, you’ll want to provide this information in regular text as well for those who are not equipped. An easy QR code generator can be found at, and a good basic QR code reader app is Red Laser, which is available for iPhone and Android.
            Lastly, communication is an ongoing process that will only get better as you use it more. You have to stay up-to-date with your district’s communication policies and allowable practices, but don’t be afraid to try out new forms of communication. I just found out about Eye Jot (, which is a free video email service. Using your webcam, you can produce a simple video message then send it out to your contacts. Everyone may not have email, but you may be able to produce a similar video and burn it to a DVD to send home with those who don’t. A similar tool, FotoBabble (, allows you to load a photo, or a series of photos, and add audio commentary. You can also tag images with “hotspots” that link to related web pages. Imagine having each child record a sentence or two about a class project, or even capturing a photo of a note passed in class with an audio message to Mom and Dad! Depending on your district’s policies, you may be able to achieve a similar result with text messaging. The non-technology equivalent would be to print a photo with a quick typed message underneath.
            Though it may add a little extra to our already-busy workload, effective communication is a great way for teachers, students, and their families to stay on the same page. It may even save you time in dealing with miscommunications or confused parents! The products below may save you more time in organizing your home-school communication.

John Blake, Ed.S.

Additional TPT Products

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Thursday Round Up #6

Welcome to Weekly Round up #6. Once again we have a wide variety of teaching resources all on sale for three days only!

St. Patrick's Day Math & Literacy Activities grades 1-2
Have fun learning during the month of March with this St. Patrick’s activity packet. This packet includes 25 pages of math and literacy activities to use with 1st and 2nd grade students.
Teacher Gone Digital

St. Patrick's Day Numbers Game grades K-1
Celebrate St. Patrick's day while playing with these four-leaf clover math puzzles. Each clover represents a number, and students put the clover together by matching numerals with number words and corresponding groups of four-leaf clovers. There are 10 clovers in all, divided into forty cards, and this game can be done in small-groups, as a whole-group activity, or placed in math centers.
FlapJack Lapbooks

St. Patrick's Day - Leprechaun Emergent Reader grades K-2
Kindergarten,first and second grade students can strengthen their emergent reading and writing skills as they celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Great for guided reading or as a literacy station activity.  Two formats are included - a mini-book to print, fold and staple and a larger version in which the students can write their own text. Both versions include the cover and 8 pages.
D Conway

Homophones:  Lessons, Homework, Tests, Writing grades 4-8
This eighty-six page resource covers thirty-one sets of commonly used (and misused!) homophones (sixty-six individual words).   Each lesson is organized in sets of sentences that can function as instructional examples, homework, and a test.  Students will also use the words in original sentences and in compositions.  Comulative tests are included along with full answer keys.
Margaret Whisnant

Math Enrichment Worksheets - 22 Pages with Answer Keys grades 3-6
TpT Top 50 Product! This is a bundle of 22 challenging and fun math activities. These activities reinforce basic skills in fun and interesting ways. Most require some logic or critical thinking. They can be used as supplemental materials with an entire class, with highly capable students, at a math center, or as homework
Rachel Lynette

16 Reading Worksheets to Use with Any Picture Book or Short Story grades 3-8
"This pdf file contains 16 reading worksheets & activities that can be used with and fiction picture book or short story. Most of the worksheets can zbe used with novels as well. You can use them for the whole class or small groups (book clubs).
Lisa Frase

Find it First!  grades 1-12
It's such a simple concept, and SO much fun! I've played this game with elementary students and high schoolers alike, and they just love it! (The high schoolers are pretty funny-- they love to feel like a kid again!)
Here are just a few ideas to try with the gameboards: -Time -Vocabulary Words -Numbers -Conjugated  verbs -Math problems

Holiday and Season Slides to Greet Your Class, 2011-2014 grades K-4
Be prepared with welcoming slides for holidays, special days, and the changing of the seasons for 2011-2014.  All dates are listed on the  slides, most have animation, and all are highly illustrated.
Wise Owl

Middle Ages - Package of 5 Engaging and Fun Projects grades 4-10
A collection of some of my BEST SELLERS on TpT - Everything you need for 5 great projects to use during a Middle Ages Unit.  Can easily be adapted to different ages ranges / abilities! 
Addie Williams

Let's Make Words! Short Vowel Word Family Literacy Station Activities grades K-2
Working with word families is an effective way to get kids reading and help them learn to decode longer words. This book can be used in a variety of ways, to make learning to read a hands-on experience. This book is packed with 65 different word families to get your students well on their way to becoming awesome readers!
Hilary Lewis

Checklist for a Foolproof Field Trip grades PreK-8
Field trips can be a valuable educational experience with some prior planning. This two page checklist helps you think through the critical details while not neglecting the key components that provide an educational and safe experience for both you and your students. The checklist is divided into eight main categories.  Simply place a checkmark in one of the three response columns as you plan – "Yes", "No, but Should Have", and "Not Needed".

March Reading Writing and Math Ideas grades  grades 3-5
March is full of fun events: Read Across America Celebration, St. Patrick's Day and even the NCAA Basketball Tournament. This 36 page activity packet is full of great ideas for those special events.
Wise Guys

Preschool, Kindergarten, & First Grade Reading & Math Games--
These games are a great way to connect with parents.  I send them home so students get extra skills practice in a fun way while parents get to see what their child is working on at school!  This collection includes 11 math games and 12 reading games.  Check out the "download preview" for a FREE sample reading game! 
Teacher Tam

Viruses and Bacteria Powerpoint with Notes for Teacher and Student grades 7-10
This powerpoint is on “Viruses and Bacteria”. It consists of 58 slides that are colorful, informative and visually stimulating. Pictures and diagrams are included that will greatly enhance your instruction to your students. This product also includes a set of notes for the teacher (10 pages) and a set of notes for the student (12 pages).
Science Stuff

Spanish Conversation Cards - Oral Speaking Activity grades 7-12
Get your beginning Spanish students speaking! Over 168 questions for your students to ask and respond to. Cards to be printed measure 2.75 x 3.8 inches. Divided into 8 topics covered in Spanish I and makes a good review in Spanish II.

Probability PowerPoint grades 1-3
This highly engaging power point will help your students learn the concept of probability in a variety of ways. (One of my best sellers)

EQUIVALENT FRACTIONS Card Game Math practice activity - Fraction Match grades 4-6
This is a 24-card game for practicing identifying pairs of equivalent fractions. Kids spread out the cards and take turns trying to find equivalent pairs. Kids can check the cards' backs to see if they are correct! Afterwards, students can complete the accompanying worksheet, recording all of the pairs they found and writing multiplication and division rules for each pair.
Patrick Shaffer

Plants Reader's Theater Script grades 2-5
Tie fluency and science together with this 4 1/2 page script about plants that is ready to use in your classroom. The script focuses on the parts of a plant, the life cycle of a plant, and what photosynthesis is. The script is set-up for a small group / center, but it can be easily adapted to include more students.

Springtime Math and Literacy Centers: Grades 3 and 4
Catch spring fever with these colorful and engaging springtime math and literacy centers! All centers are "laminate-and-cut" style and can be used year after year in your classroom. Skills include: addition, multiplication, contractions, prefixes, suffixes and more!
Shelley Gray

Spring Making Words Lesson grades 5-8
This is a spring themed making words lesson. All words are derived from the mystery word "precipitation" and are based on certain word families. The resource includes a worksheet for students, an answer key and word cards placed in presentation order.
Terry-Lynn McLeod

That's it for this week. If you submitted a product and it isn't here, it means that you didn't turn in your form soon enough to make this week's Round Up. Look for your product in next week's Round Up. We have several products ready to go for next week, but there is still room for more. If you would like your product to be included, just fill out this super easy, handy-dandy form. All TpT sellers are welcome to participate and new sellers are especially encouraged to submit. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Special Needs Students

As a Special Education teacher, I struggle every day with how to best accommodate students with learning disabilities in the regular education setting.  With more and more districts pushing for full inclusion, teachers everywhere are being faced with students with reading and/or math skills that are often several grade levels behind their regular education peers.  How to we provide excellent learning opportunities for students of all abilities in the same class?!?
With that in mind, I thought I’d share 1 quick and easy accommodation I use with my students (all of them, regular education and special education) that seems to have the huge returns as far as their performance, understanding, and just plain enjoyment of being in class goes.  
Guided notes
How do you get a student who can’t read on your grade level to complete a homework assignment of reading 5 pages and taking notes on what he read?  How can you get a student who can’t spell (or who writes illegibly!) to answer comprehension questions in a way that is useful to them and readable by you?
Guided notes can be one solution.  By taking the time to go through the section you want your students to read and giving them guided notes you will be providing your students with an assignment that clearly shows them exactly what you expect them to know.  Struggling readers are able to use the context clues in your notes to help them find the information, advanced students who want to get it all right are assured that they are on the right path, and in the end, you know that if your students have completed the notes – they have an excellent study guide.  It’s an easy way to make note-taking and reading comprehension a bit more accessible for all of your students.
For example, if your goal is to have them read from your text book and then list the 4 main reasons immigrants come to America, what a noun can be, different types of angles, etc.  Then your guided notes might look like a larger version of this:

Name _______________________________________________ Date _____ / _____ / _____
Social Studies Notes:  Chapter 4
Important Vocabulary:  Find the bold words on pp. 33-35.  Add them to the organizer and then complete it with what the word means and what it looks like to you.
Vocab Word:

What it means:
What it looks like to me:

Vocab Word:
What it means:
What it looks like to me:
Key Concepts:  Read pp. 33-35, then complete the chart below with the information you learned from your reading.

4 Reasons Why Immigrants Came to America
It might seem overly simple – but some of the best ideas are.  And after years of watching teachers grow frustrated with how long it takes students to copy notes from the board, how students often take notes without knowing what the critical information is, and watching students with learning disabilities struggle with writing legibly, finding the crucial information, and reading the material, I have learned that guided notes can save both teacher and students a lot of grumbling!
I hope that you give guided notes a try if you haven’t yet.  I think you’ll find them helpful.  I know I do!

Meghan Mathis

Related Products

 Cooking Through Reading Activity

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Thursday Round Up #5

Welcome to this week's Thursday Round Up! As always you will find a wide variety of terrific TpT teaching resources, all on sale for three days! There is something for everyone, so take a peek!

Patricia Polacco Author Study grades 3-5
This week long author study includes everything you need to teach about Patricia Polacco. The author study includes 5 mini lessons and whole group activities and a Choice Board with 9 different activities that students can complete during their independent reading time on selected Patricia Polacco picture books.

Author's Purpose Mini Lesson for Nonfiction grades 3-8
This ready to go mini lesson (10 page file) includes: (1) a semi scripted mini lesson, (2) nonfiction category cards and examples to use for modeling, and (3) student category cards for reading and sorting (answer key included). All you need to do to prepare is copy & cut (although I recommend laminating the cards for durabilty and future use). Students learn the four types of nonfiction: inform, express, persuade, and instruct.
Lisa Frase

Creative Book Reports grades 3-8
Tired of Book Reports? Here are 15 engaging and fun Book Projects. Each project includes a student handout explaining what to do and a grading rubric.
Rachel Lynette 

President's Day Power Point Lesson and Interactive Quiz grades 1-6
This is a fun 29 slide President's Day Power Point Lesson. It includes information about the history and traditions of President's day as well as information about Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. Both February birthdays! Check it out!
PowerPoint Maniac

Poetry Package - 7 Great Assignments to Engage and Involve Students grades 4-10
Some of my best selling items on TpT all bound together into one package of "Poetry Awesomeness".  Seven great poetry assignments that I've had success with in the classroom. Can be adapted to different grades easily - just change the amount of output required from each student.
Addie Williams

Character Tags Literature or History Activity grades 6-12
 If you need a fun way to review characters or historical figures, use this character "tags" activity. Students make comparisons with characters from pop culture and defend their choices. It promotes critical thinking and creativity.
Tracee Orman

Seasons of the Year Lapbook File Folder Fun grades K-3
Explore the seasons of the year with this file folder activity filled with mini books, games, flashcards and more. Use in centers or have students create their own as a portfolio to share with their family and review what they have learned in the classroom. A detailed instruction guide with helpful links and visuals is provided.
FlapJack Lapbooks

March Writing Center grades 2-5
This ready to use writing center includes 24 writing activity cards with topics appropriate for March. Print, cut and put in a basket (or small black leprechaun’s kettle) and allow students to choose a topic to write about. Increase verbal expression by using these cards as oral discussion cards too. Erin Go Bragh!

Listening Journal Activities grades 4-8
The listening activities in this 12 page booklet can be used in conjunction with a unit of study into any music style/genre. Music is the universal language, so you will be able to find music to tie in with whatever theme or unit you are presenting to your students. There are activities to suit various age levels.
Aussie Music Teacher

15 Spanish 1 Projects grades 7-12
15 Projects for the Level 1 Spanish Class including Group Projects, Individual Projects, Projects for the Main Themes of all Spanish I textbooks (Expresate, Realidades, Avancemos, etc.) such as food, family, school, clothing, doctor, and more. A Majority of the projects include rubrics for easy grading and clear expectations.

Making Generalizations Smartboard Lesson grades 1-3
This 16-slide Smartboard lesson will help your students understand what generalizing means. It provides an explanation, some practice passages and a link to an online story.

Science Made 4 Middle School (4th-8th)
Includes 11 super fun labs with teacher pages and student lab sheets!!!  All on Sale!!! Check it out!
Tech Girl

Beginning Spanish Reading Comprehension - Cognates! grades 6-12
Students practice their reading comprehension abilities and keep that ""Affective Filter"" (Krashen) open!  Students gain confidence in their reading abilities when they can recognize words and make connections between English and Spanish.

Kindergarten Sight Word Cut and Glue Sentences grades PreK-1
These cut-and-glue sentences provide sight word practice for students, as well as the opportunity to improve cutting and gluing skills. Such a simple concept, but it's great sight word practice for 30 words!
Teacher Tam

Let's Learn to Use and Build A Dichotomous Classification Key grades 7- 10
In this product students will learn why classification is necessary, the definition of a dichotomous key, and how to use a dichotomous key.  Students will analyze the included pictures of 7 different cone-bearing plants, using the included dichotomous key to classify them.   Finally students will learn to construct a classification key of their own.  Students are given pictures of 12 different primates and asked to make their own classification key.
Science Stuff

Lesson Plan Templates (3) that are Simple and Easy to Use all grade levels
This handout includes three lesson plan templates - a generic lesson plan and two specifically designed for mathematics (elementary or secondary) and reading. Checklists are featured on all three plans; hence, there is little writing for you to do. Example of the various checklists are: Bloom’s Taxonomy, multiple intelligences, lesson types, and cooperative learning structures.  Simply, look at your lesson plan, and then check off what it includes

Sailing Through Expanded Notation Learning Center  grades 3-5
There are 15 boats with numbers written in either standard notation or expanded form. Students use the recording sheet to write the answer in either standard notation or expanded form. It is simple center that is easy for your students to use independently or in a small group to reinforce this skill. 

Individualized Spelling Program for Treasures Reading 2nd Grade
After 17 years of teaching spelling to my students, I have finally found the system that works perfectly for my students! I've paired an individualized spelling program with the word lists found in the Treasures Reading Series (2nd grade) to create a dynamic spelling experience for my students; each word list has also been supplemented with a list of challenge words that are in the same word family, thus allowing more advanced spellers a chance to have their own words. This is a 36-week program that will take you through the entire school year!
John Blake

Rocket Lab Report grades 3-6
Students will love cutting, coloring, and assembling this oversized lab report almost as much as you will love having a bright and beautiful display for your bulletin board. Use this lab report for any force and motion lab. It even comes with a rubric for teacher and student self-evaluation.

Main Idea and Detail Game - Hey, What's the Big Idea? grades 2-12
Hey, What’s the Big Idea? is a wonderful word game that helps strengthen language processing, word retrieval, and organizational abilities. It develops students’ understanding of main ideas and details – a fundamental of reading and writing! This game can be played individually, cooperatively or competitively.

EQUIVALENT FRACTIONS Card Game Math practice activity - Fraction Match grades 4-6
This is a 24-card game for practicing identifying pairs of equivalent fractions. Kids spread out the cards and take turns trying to find equivalent pairs. Kids can check the cards' backs to see if they are correct! Afterwards, students can complete the accompanying worksheet, recording all of the pairs they found and writing multiplication and division rules for each pair.
Patrick Shaffer

That's it for this week. If you submitted a product and it isn't here, it means that you didn't turn in your form soon enough to make this week's Round Up. Look for your product in next week's Round Up. We have several products ready to go for next week, but there is still room for more. If you would like your product to be included, just fill out this super easy, handy-dandy form. All TpT sellers are welcome to participate and new sellers are especially encouraged to submit. 

Poll Results and New Poll

Year-round school

Results were close....
The next poll question has nothing whatsoever to do with teaching, I just think it is an intriguing question, so I threw it in there.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Celebrating our Presidents

Nearing the end of winter and cold, long days, the calendar approaches Presidents’ Day.  The elementary classrooms are full of snow pants, boots, wet mittens, and even wet homework papers from damp backpacks.  What an excellent time to study Washington and Lincoln, and turn a corner in the school year!  These great leaders demonstrated perseverance, and they give us a chance to apply this idea in our classrooms as the calendar days march on and we persevere through the dreary end of winter. Washington and Lincoln exemplify strong values and character.  This is an opportunity to discuss role models who are not always considered in today's world of video games and television. Presidents’ Day presents many other teachable moments as well. You can incorporate the holiday into your classroom by trying some of the following ideas. 
                Compare/contrast the two Presidents using Venn Diagrams.
                Study character traits in non-fiction sources.
                Sequence historical dates.
                Infer:  What is leadership? What does "Father of our country" mean?
                Discuss differences between long ago and modern life.
                Compare the two historical time periods of their presidencies. How were presidential elections different long ago?
                Make art projects to brighten up the elementary classroom, and take those wilting snowflakes down! Perhaps your students could make silhouettes of each President.
                Distinguish fact from myth in their lives.
                Consider and evaluate:  Do the myths also help us?  How?  What do we learn?  Why do those stories persist?
                Silently read the numerous fiction and non-fiction books about Washington and Lincoln available in many elementary school libraries, putting aside modern fiction and fantasy for awhile.
                Genre study:  What is historical fiction?  What non-fiction conventions do students notice in the reading?
                Don't forget a chance for an educational video or two and a little breathing room after the 100th Day, Valentine's Day, and helping children with boots and zippers. Whew!
                Lincoln studied by firelight and wrote on shovels.  Washington had little formal schooling.  What do today's students think is an educational hardship . . . having the Internet down? This is a chance for some great classroom discussion.
                General Washington led the war at Valley Forge, and was reluctant to become President, but he sacrificed self for country.  Have the students had to make sacrifices? 
 More books have been written about Lincoln than any other human being (16,000).  This gives us a hint of the importance of Presidents’ Day.
Many years ago, my kindergarten son asked me, "Was that the war with the rags on their feet or the one about slaves?"  History through a child's eyes is fascinating, as elementary educators know.

Teachers Pay Teachers - Wise Owl

Carolyn Wilhelm


President's Day Powerpoint

President's Day Interactive Poster Activity

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Thursday Round Up #4

Welcome to the Thursday Round Up - a great place to find terrific TpT products all on sale for three days! Once again, a great group of resources from sellers we know and love and some new ones too.

This week there were twice as many sellers wanting into the Round Up as we need! But don't worry, if you didn't make it in this week, you'll be in there next week.

Inference Mini Lesson On Character's Feelings Grades 3-8
This 5 page pdf file includes a complete scripted mini lesson for teaching students to infer character’s feelings. The lesson includes an active engagement activity for small groups, a full sized example of the modeled text, and a Character’s Feelings & Emotions poster to hang in your classroom
Lisa Frase

"Hunger Games" Panem to Panem, game similar to Apples to Apples Grades 5 - Adult
You've read the book, you've done the worksheets and activities, now it's time to play the game! Your students will love Panem to Panem, a game based on the popular party Game Apples to Apples®. Everything you need to play is included along with instructions.
Rachel Lynette

Winter Math and Reading Activities Grades PreK-1
46 pages of fun, engaging math and reading activities featuring snowmen and penguins. There is an original beginning reading book with a matching printable book, a penguin rhyming words match, snowman beginning addition, counting 1-25, word families, ending sounds, sight words, and more! Several games come with matching cut-and-glue activity sheets.
Teacher Tam

Reading Informational Materials PPT Grades 7-12
This powerpoint presentation provides an overview of how to read informational materials including consumer documents, workplace documents, and functional documents. Specific examples and features of informational documents are included. Works with Reading Comprehension 2.1 and 2.7, understanding and analyzing functional and technical documents.
Melissa Soeltz

Packet of New Practice Exercises for Simple Steps to Sentence Grades 7-adult
An entirely new set of exercises, tests, and writing connection pages to be used in conjunction with the notes, students lesson plans, and overhead projection pages in Simple Steps to Sentence Sense. Now you can use the book with more than one grade level.
Charlene Tess

Valentine's Day Coordinate Graphing Grades 3-5
Teach or review coordinate graphing with 3 "sweet" Valentine's Day pictures.  Students can complete an easy Hershey kiss, a cute flowering heart, or a tricky cupid.  You decide the challenge level by choosing the picture to give each student. These make a nice display in the hallway when they are finished.  Marked down especially for the holiday.

Valentine's Activities for Primary Students: math, literacy and more! Grades 1-3
A 50+ page collection of activities for the week surrounding Valentine's Day. Activities are well-suited to learning centers, whole-class activities or partner-based learning and cover a range of math and balanced literacy skills.
Shelley Gray

Valentine's Math:  Counting Back Interactive Slides and Printable Game Grade 1
This is an interactive Valentine's Day theme lesson which has a focus on counting back.  The slides ask questions such as, "What are the next four numbers counting back by 4's from 39?"  The printable game may be played by partners.
Wise Owl Factory

Idioms and cloze activity with George Washington Grades 3-7
With the help of America's first President, your students will have a ""whale of a time"" learning idioms and understanding their meanings. This 23 slide presentation discusses what an idiom is, and gives 20 examples of commonly used idioms. You'll laugh along with your students in a memorable presentation, full of animated graphics!
Teachers Unleashed

Area of Irregular Figures: Using Rectangles math resource 10-pg packet Grades 4-6
10-page teacher resource packet on finding areas of irregular shapes (such as L-shaped and U-shaped figures) using rectangles (no triangles). Step-by-step explanations and examples of strategies for solving problems by adding smaller areas inside the figure or by subtracting missing pieces from a larger rectangle. Includes a 3-page section to help teach how to find and label missing dimensions, by adding and subtracting other labeled sides.
Patrick Shaffer

21 Literature Worksheets for ANY Book Grades 1-5
20% off my best selling product!!! 21 quality graphic organizers that can be used with any picture book or short novel.

Read Across America Day Treasure Hunt Grades 2-5
This is a four page document that is guaranteed to put some fun into reading for Read Across America Day or any day in school. This Treasure Hunt activity will have students searching for authors, genres of books, lengths of books, and other fun topics. Watch them scurry around your room trying to get the treasure (which can simply be candy or the award that is attached as well). Have fun with this creative activity!
Wise Guys

Mitosis and Meiosis (Cell Growth and Division) Powerpoint and Notes Grades 7-12
This powerpoint is on Mitosis and Meiosis (Cell Growth and Division). It consists of 55 slides that are colorful, informative and visually stimulating. You will also receive a teacher set of notes and a student set of notes.  Students will fill in their outline of notes as the powerpoint is being presented.
Science Stuff

Exercises for the Classroom Grades K-8
 I created this Smartboard activity so that my students can get up and move around for a minute or two before moving on to the next subject. Gym or no gym, doing a few exercises is motivating. There is a scrolling banner across the top to tell the students what to do for one minute, and there is a timer to keep track.

Detecting Capital Letters Center Grades 2-4
Your students will be ready to solve the case of the missing capital letters! Included in this purchase are 24 magnifying glasses, which have text typed in them that are missing capital letters (ex: mrs. caffelle, washington d.c.). There is an included recording sheet to track "case notes" aka words with capital letters, and all you need to include is the "case envelope"- a manilla folder to put the pieces in.

Seven Greatest Classroom Irritations for Teachers with Solutions All Grade Levels
This short, four page resource offers a number of practical ideas on how to eliminate those day-after-day aggravating problems that keep resurfacing in your classroom. Seven problems are discussed including Children Who Are Always at Your Desk and Use of the Pencil Sharpener. Underneath each topic, a number of doable solutions are recommended.

15 Spanish 1 Projects Grades 7-12
Group Projects, Individual Projects, Projects for the Main Themes of all Spanish I textbooks and classes.. 24 pages including rubrics for easy grading and clear expectations for a majority of the projects. Themes include Food, Health, Vocab, Clothing, Family, House, and more!

Author's Purpose:  Resources for Language Arts Grades 5-10
This 30 page resource contains various activities for you to use while teaching the literary element of Author's Purpose (to persuade, to inform, and to entertain). This resource includes: posters, bookmarks, activity ideas, reading response prompts, internet resources, book list, an anchor chart, and two rubrics.  It also contains 7 graphic organizers for reading, 3 different writing activities (Pizza Purpose, Writing a Newspaper Page, and Creating a Menu), and an oral communication activity.
Runde's Room

Graphing Booklet- Sports Theme Grades 2-5
Sports Graphing Booklet: Create a tally chart, pictograph, line plot, bar graph, horizontal bar graph, and answer questions based on frequency chart data about sports. I have other themes of the graphing booklet as well.

Kate Chopin Mini-Unit Grade 7-12
This mini-unit is a 3 day student-centered activity set for Kate Chopin. Student handouts are provided for each day and all reading materisls are provided with online links. Includes a biography scavenger hunt, a timeline activity, a short essay writing prompt, a reading guide, and wrap-up questions for review.  Allow your students to learn to love reading and the great authors of our past!
Michele Luck

That's it for this week. If you submitted a product and it isn't here, it means that you didn't turn in your form soon enough to make this week's Round Up. Look for your product in next week's Round Up. We have several products ready to go for next week, but there is still room for more. If you would like your product to be included, just fill out this super easy, handy-dandy form. All TpT sellers are welcome to participate.

Poll Results

We are all good teachers (or at least we think we are!)

What grade would you give yourself as a teacher?

This week's poll is about year-round school. If you want to comment on the poll, this post is a great place to do that.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Valentine's Day Learning

You know it’s February when you walk through the halls at school amidst a sea of pink and red:  red ladybugs with little hearts, tissue paper hearts on windows, and hand-written poems on pink hearts backed by doilies.  You know it’s February when you head to the supply room and find the pink and red paper completely cleared out.  You know it’s February when the custodian doesn’t dare throw out a box, knowing they will be needed for Valentine mailboxes (covered, of course, in pink and red paper).
         Every Valentine’s Day I watch in amazement as the piles on my students’ desks grow with  cards, pink pencils with heart erasers, sugar cookie hearts with pink frosting, red cinnamon hearts (my personal favourite), and chocolates, chocolates, chocolates.  Is it generous?  Yes.  Is it appreciated by the students at the time?  You bet.  Is it necessary? Absolutely not.
         What is absolutely necessary in my class is for all my students to know they are thought of and cared about every single day.  They don’t need cards and candies to tell them this, but they do need to be told.  What’s more, it’s our job as teachers to make sure they are told.  I try to tell my students every day, but on Valentine’s Day, I show them too.  About a week beforehand, I hand out a class list (enlarged onto 11 x 17 paper) to every student.  Each student must write 2 sentences (the more specific the better) about every student—a great opportunity for a mini-lesson about writing with details or making rich sentences.  I take the completed lists and turn the sentences into  a paragraph for each student.  I then go to, click ‘create’, and copy and paste the paragraph into the box.  (Hint:  Write the student’s name down an extra 5 – 10 times to ensure it’s the largest word on the page. You can also repeat any key words you would like to emphasize to make them larger.)  When I’m satisfied with the Wordle, I print it.  I also print and glue the original paragraph to the back of the Wordle.  I laminate the final products before giving them to the students.  It is a bit of extra work, but no more so than baking and icing two dozen cookie hearts with pink icing, and the final product means so much more to the students. It’s a keepsake that students can treasure for years to come. 
         Valentine’s Day is about caring.  As teachers, we care every moment of every day – it’s our job, and we love it!  But on Valentine’s Day, take an extra minute or two to make sure your students know just how much you care. 

mmm, chocolates

Additional products for Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day Heart Art Grid

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thursday Round Up #3

So many reasons to be excited about this Round Up!  There are lots of terrific Valentine's Day Activities as well as many other high-quality resources - all on sale till Saturday evening! The Round Up is becoming more popular as more and more buyers and sellers learn about this terrific opportunity. This week there was an overflow of product submissions. We have lots of new sellers this week, too! Great to see so many new "faces."

So, take a peek and if you find something you can use, be sure and leave some feedback for the seller. We sellers love to hear from happy customers!

Valentine's Day Stations: Fun Activities for Students grades 3-6
Here are some great activities that you can make into kid friendly stations for a fun Valentine's Day in your classroom!
Wise Guys

U.S. History Bingo Game grades 3-12
This game won the Creative Child's Game of the Year for educational products!  I created this game as a way to provide students with a fun way to learn about the important people of American History. 
Rosshalde Pak

Valentine's Day Math Smartboard Lesson grades 1-3
This 10-slide Smartboard lesson can be used on Valentine's Day to help practice and reinforce important math concepts. It includes place value, even and odd, graphing, plane shapes, 3D shapes, money, greater than and less than, time, probability, and fractions.

Tic-Tac-Toe Literature Response Choice Grids for Any Book! grades 3-8
Here are 45 literature response activities arranged in five grids of nine activities each to make a Tic-Tac-Toe format. The Tic-Tac-Toe format forces students to make choices, weighing one activity against another. . These can be used with any chapter book and are great for independent reading.
Rachel Lynette

Valentine's Math Activities and Center Board grades 3-5
Have fun and learn on Valentine's Day with these 9 different Valentines themed math activities and centers grid. Product includes teacher directions, centers grid, recording sheets, and student directions for all 9 activities. Skills and concepts practiced are: problem solving, computation, measurement, geometry, data analysis, reading and writing numbers, and more.

Main Idea and Detail Game: Hey Whats the Big Idea grades 1-12
This is a fabulously fun word game that helps strengthen language processing, word retrieval, and organizational abilities. It develops students’ understanding of main ideas and details – a fundamental of reading and writing! This game offers three levels of difficulty and can be played individually, cooperatively or competitively.

Valentine's Day: El Dia de San Valentin! grades 4-12
Celebrate Valentine's Day in your Spanish classes with an assortment of activities.  This packet includes: Songs, Vocabulary Lists, Poetry, Word Searches and Grammar activities.

Research Skills - Templates and Organizers to Use for ANY subject and ANY project! Grades 5-12
A great set of graphic organizers and templates to use with students while they work through a research project. Includes brainstorming sheets, note-taking templates and more! Detailed lesson plan and examples included.  Can be used with any subject and any type of assignment - paper, poster, pamphlet etc.
Addie Williams

Tuck Everlasting: 6 Vocabulary Crosswords by sections grades 4-6
This is one of over 550 word puzzles I have created based on classroom books of all levels--over 100 titles! The various puzzle types challenge students' reading, vocabulary, and spelling skills, as well as their general knowledge of the English language. Fun teaching--and learning!
Pegi Bevins

Heart Quips: A Problem Solving Activity for February grades 5-9
Heart Quips is a 13 page handout (with answers) that features 22 pictures of hearts which represent different heart expressions. (e.g. “From the bottom of my heart”). Each day, leading up to Valentine’s Day, put up one Heart Quip as a student focus activity, OR, put two or three up at one time or all of them up at the same time. Students are to figure out which heart expression the Heart Quip represents. It can be fun, but also a very challenging Valentine's Day activity!

French Oral Practice - Prepositions grades 2-10
This is a listen and repeat Powerpoint containing 30 slides for either French Second Language classes in the older grades or for French Immersion students in the younger grades.  It focuses on using prepositions and house vocabulary.  Also included are worksheets to consolidate the language learned in this Powerpoint.
Ms. Joanne

Biology Unit on CD: Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA), RNA, Protein Synthesis grades 8-12
This is an entire Biology unit that will be shipped to you on a CD.  This unit has everything that a Biology teacher needs to teach a unit on DNA, RNA, and protein synthesis to Biology I students. You will receive:  A 69 slide Powerpoint Presentation, Teacher Notes, Student Notes to be filled in as the powerpoint is presented, 4 Homework Assignments, 4 Quizzes, 2 Labs, 3 Jeopardy Review Games, 2 Crossword Puzzles, Study Guide, and 3 Unit Tests. 
Science Stuff

Rainbow Crow Lesson, Centers, Prinable Pages for K-1
"RAINBOW CROW is a wonderful Lenape story about why crow has a hoarse voice and black feathers.  Crow was selfless and helps others in the story.  Word sort and poetry center printable pages.
Wise Owl

Myth of the Dreamcatcher Art Project grades 5-9
This is a common art project that the students really enjoyed. Students listen to the ""Myth of the Dreamcatcher"" and then make a dreamcatcher for themselves. This download includes the lesson plan, myth read aloud (written by me), assignment sheet and listening rubric.
Terry-Lynn McLeod

A Lesson Plan for Teachers, New and Old! Grades K-12
To be a teacher in today's classroom it takes patience, skill, knowledge, and most importantly, HUMOR!  This 82 page downloadable version of A Lesson Plan for Teachers will guide you through some of the pitfalls of teaching with specific direction and a touch of humor.  It's a must for all teachers in today's classrooms. 
Michele Luck

Valentine Homophone Heart Game grades 2-5
This Valentine's day themed activity is a twist on Old Maid matching homophone pairs... or pears? There are 36 pairs of homophone words, CUPID cards (Old Maid) and extra hearts to customize your game.

Newspaper Template for School Newspaper / Newspaper Club  grades 4-8
A Microsoft word file that you can use as a template for your school newspaper or classroom letter. 4 pages. I used this template when I supervised the newspaper club. You can even use as a project when students write a mock newspaper as part of a journalism or language arts class.

SMART Soil Sleuths for grades 2-5
Take your students on a fact finding mission to learn all about soil layers, components, organic and mineral matter, vocabulary and more! External links and teacher notes help clarify concepts and aid student comprehension.

Chris Van Allsburg Author Study for grades 2-6
This file includes 23 pages of photographs, anchor chart headings, fluency passages, and response sheets to launch a Chris Van Allsburg Author Study.
Mrs. Nickerson

Valentine's Day Activities Pack for Elementary Grades grades K-3
Your students will love these fun and easy-to-use activities during your Valentine's Day festivities or centers. Included in this packet are 5 Valentine's Day activities: a word search, a dot-to-dot puzzle, a word hunt, a scrambled word puzzle, and a do-it-yourself Valentine card.
 John Blake

Reading Comprehension Strategy Binder grades 5-10
This HUGE 183 page resource contains everything you need to support your students’ learning of the reading comprehension strategies (Asking Questions, Determining Importance, Inferring, Making Connections, Summarizing, Synthesizing, and Visualizing).  Each section includes posters, bookmarks, activity ideas, reader response prompts, a variety of graphic organizers, and a rubric.
Runde's Room

That's it for this week. If you submitted a product and it isn't here, it means that you didn't turn in your form soon enough to make this week's Round Up. Look for your product in next week's Round Up. We have several products ready to go for next week, but there is still room for more. If you would like your product to be included, just fill out this super easy, handy-dandy form. All TpT sellers are welcome to participate.
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