Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Aesop's Fable Review and Freebie

In June, I read about the book Aesop's 1st Book of Childhood Adventures on Collaboration Cuties blog and I immediately ordered myself a copy.

Then a few weeks ago, I was contacted by Vincent Mastro to review a Teacher's Guide that he created to go with his book. The teacher's guide is a wonderful 87 page resource. One of the things that I love most about it is that it has a copy of the stories in the guide. The pages lay flat, so I can put them under my document camera.

I also love the fact that he has broken the lesson plans down into columns. It states the ELA standards for both second and third grade that the stories/questions answer. It also has writing activities for grades 1-4 in the back of the teacher's guide, (they also state the standard that they support)

If you are looking for a fun way to teach Fables to your kids you should check this product out. You can pick up all of these items from his TPT store here, or you can visit his website here.

Each year I have my kiddos write a fable to wrap up our study of fables. You can download the guidelines and checklist I created for my students here for free. 

 Picture of Free Teacher Downloads at Teaching Blog Addict
Do any of you teach Fables? Which Fables are your favorites?

Another friendly reminder to enter my 400 500 Follower Giveaway

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Back to School Goals Linky

I'm exited to link up with Jess at I {heart} Recess for her monthly goals linky.

Personal: I feel like I have just gotten into a good groove on exercising and now it is time to change my schedule! My goal is to continue to exercise at least three times each week when the stress of school starts. I also need to plan my meals ahead of time so I continue to make healthy dinners...and not go for what is quick and easy.

Organization: Last year was the first year I really used task cards, so I have been trying to figure out how to store them. I'm going to try storing them by unit in coupon holders. I'm hoping that will help me to remember which units I have task cards for! I also need to completely reorganize my math files. They are broken down by chapter, but I am creating new units that align with CCSS so I need to adjust my files accordingly.

Planning: I am still working on aligning my math to CCSS. My current curriculum is aligned to PA state standards, so I will need to create all new tests, tic-tac-toe boards, and assignments for my kiddos. I have some great items that I plan to buy from TPT, but there are some things I want to make myself (like my assessments.) I have three weeks to finish them before school starts!

Professional: I'm in the midst of preparing for a two day workshop that I am co-teaching next week. It's all about implementing the CCSS in a Reading Workshop. I'm really excited to teach it, but also nervous! This will be my first time teaching my peers for an all day workshop. (Never-mind the fact that this one is two days!) The other times I've presented it was a "break-out session," which only lasted 75 min. I am thankful that I am co-teaching! Starting at the end of August I am taking a graduate course, so I am trying to wrap my brain around that as well.

Students: My goal is to get to know my students early in the year. I think its so important to take the time to create a solid community at the start of the school year. It is exhausting, but so worth it.

Motto: This quote is something that always runs through my head at the start of a school year. These kids are new to me, and they need to know that I care about them. It all fits into creating a caring classroom community.

What are your goals for the start of the school year?

If you haven't already, be sure to enter my 400 Follower Giveaway.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Monday Made-it Lesson Planner

Happy Monday! I hope everyone enjoyed the Everyone Wins giveaway yesterday. I enjoyed e-mailing the prizes out. Today I am linking up with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics and Tracey from The Teacher's Chair to share my lesson plan templates that I made this week.

At my school we have to submit our lesson plans electronically, so as much as I love the cute planners, it isn't worth it for me to purchase one. Instead I create a template that I can edit each week. Then I just print out a copy to put in my binder on my desk.

I also worked on creating my official schedule for the school year. I print it on fun paper and give my kiddos a copy to keep in their binders.

I did get covers for my teacher binder yesterday during a flash freebie. I love the yellow and gray polka-dots.

If you like them you can get them here from Meredith's TPT store.

What were you up to this week? 
Don't forget to enter my giveaway!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Everybody Wins Giveaway and a Mentor Text

Happy Sunday! It's time to link up with the lovely ladies at Collaboration Cuties to share a mentor text with you.

This week's topic is social studies. The book I want to share with you is called Train to Somewhere by Eve Bunting.

I normally share this book with my students in Reading Workshop, but it is a beautifully written historical fiction book that would be a perfect share for social studies. It is about the children who rode on orphan trains in the late 1800s. The story is told in the point of view of one little girl Marianne. The story is heartwarming and does a fantastic job explaining how the children probably felt when they were traveling across the country. It is a bit long for a picture book, so I normally read it over two days (10-15 min each day.) It is the kind of story that leads to great discussions and really makes the kids think about what it would be like to be a kid back then. If you haven't read this book I would encourage you to find a copy of it from the library, it is worth the read.

Today is also the big day!

Since I know many of you teach different subjects and grades I'm giving you a few options to choose from. You can receive one of the following products (click on picture to learn more about the product:)
Reading Skills and Strategies Bookmarks and Organizers
South Menu Choice Board

Graphing and Probability QR Codes
There's a Monster in my Room Writing Activity

The Everyone Wins Giveaway is over. All prizes have been e-mailed. Please contact me if you didn't receive your prize.

Don't forget to enter my Rafflecopter 400 Follower Giveaway as well, for a chance to win the Quietest Pencil Sharpener and some other great prizes. That giveaway ends on Friday.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Spark Student Motivation-Building a Classroom Community with Collaborative Writing

Happy Saturday everyone! I survived my week of aligning our school curriculum to the Common Core. I'd love to say that I am finished, but now I need to create new assessments and activities for the topics that I haven't taught before. It will be a lot of work, but to me the creating is the fun part!

I'm liking up with Joanne at Head Over Heels for Teaching to share one way that I Spark Student Motivation.

I teach at a smaller private school, so the majority of the kids that enter my classroom were in the same classroom as third graders. Even though the kids know each other, we still work to create a classroom community. There are always new kids that join the group as fourth graders so I like to do some fun, collaborative writing activities to get them comfortable with sharing their writing. One resource that I like to use to do this is Rory's Story Cubes.
Rory's Story Cubes
On each of these cubes is a picture. The students need to add the item pictured on their cube into the story. I normally start and say a sentence or two to start the story. We then go around the story having each child add a sentence or two. Once the students have said their line, they pass their di to someone who doesn't have one (there are only 9 in a box.) The last person to go wraps up the story.

I love doing this because it teaches kids to listen to each other and to build their ideas off their classmates ideas. The stories are verbal, so students who struggle with the actually act of writing are able to do this without a problem. The stories are always silly, which means lots of laughter.

What activities do you use to build a classroom community at the start of a year?

Don't forget to enter my 400 Follower Giveaway, and to stop back tomorrow for the Everyone Wins Giveaway!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Another Giveaway? Yes Please! And Freebie Friday!

Happy Friday everyone! I'm excited to kick-off my 400 Follower Giveaway with you today! There are two parts to this. From today until next Friday there will be a Rafflecopter giveaway for some awesome prizes:

I absolutely love my sharpener (and so do my kiddos.) You will be able to choose your color from black, red, green, or blue. If you win, your sharpener will be shipped from Classroom Friendly Supplies. You can read more about my experience with the sharpener here.

 A $25 Applebee's gift card for the night you just don't feel like cooking dinner!

 A box of fun school supplies...I still need to shop for this, but I promise to pick out fun stuff!

Winner's choice of any two items from my TPT store.

The only catch is that you need to be in the United States to win (due to shipping the sharpener, supply box, and gift card.) So to make up for that, I am going to hold an:
Be sure to stop back Sometime on Sunday to claim your prize!

If you live in the United States please feel free to enter the giveaway below.
 a Rafflecopter giveaway

I also wanted to share a freebie with you today. Last night I needed a break from working on curriculum, so I cutened (is that a word? It is now) my Expressions and Equations QR Code Task Cards You can download them for free. Enjoy!

Picture of Free Teacher Downloads at Teaching Blog Addict

Don't forget to come back on Sunday to claim your prize from the "Everybody Wins Giveaway."

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tune into Technology-Management and Organization

This describes how I feel after spending four days working on aligning our curriculum to the Common Core. Only one more day...I can do it, right? Those of you that have done this already, do any of you use rubrics to assess the standards? My school is moving toward standards based grading and I'd love to hear what you guys might use!

It is Thursday, and I'm excited to link up with iTeach 1:1 and Learning to the Core for their Tune into Technology linky party. This weeks topic is Technology Management and Organization. Those of you that have followed my blog for a while know that I love using ipads in the classroom. Last year about half way through the year we received a class set of ipads. Before that time (and even after) I allowed my kiddos to bring in their own electronics from home. Many of my kids brought their electronics to use on the bus, and they would leave them in their bags in the cubby area.

After having a conversation with my kiddos about what a privilege it would be for them to use their electronics for activities in school I allowed them to actually "bring" them to class.

At the start of each day students would unpack. When they did they would put their ipads, kindles, ipod touch, nooks etc. on my desk. I had two reasons for storing it on my desk. 1. I would know and be able to control when they could use it. 2. I would be able to keep an eye on them so they wouldn't walk away.

Since the students knew it was such a privilege to use their own electronics (I was the only class that allowed it) they knew if they didn't follow the rules they would loose the priviledge. So what were my rules?
1. They were only allowed to play the assigned/approved apps
2. They were not allowed to play on any other student's personal electronics
3. They were not allowed to download any new apps in school and any updates needed to be done with me. (Didn't want any parents mad about charges they didn't know about!)
4. When I called for electronics to be put away they needed to do it right away.

What are your technology management or organization ideas? Do you allow your kids to use their personal electronics in school? 

I've reached 400 followers on Bloglovin this week! I feel like I just celebrated 200. Be sure to stop by later this weekend for a giveaway!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Things I've learned from Teaching

Happy Wednesday! I hope you are having a wonderful week. I've been busy working with a team to align our curriculum Pre-K-6th grade to the Common Core. It has been a busy two days, but we have gotten a lot accomplished!

Before I head off to work, I'm excited to link up with Miss Kindergarten to share Ten Things I've Learned from Teaching.


This year will be my tenth year teaching! Where does the time go?
1. Never stop learning, there is always something you can learn more about. To be a good teacher, you need to be a life-long learner. Even after teaching for ten years I know that I still have a lot to learn.!
2. Caffeine is your best friend. A morning coffee is great...but another coffee around 2:00 p.m. can help get you through the day!

 3. Don't forget to partner with parents. You may not understand why parents do what they do, but they are doing the best they can. Do what you can to come alongside them and support them. When they know you want to help them and work with them, they are more apt to work with you.

4. You don't have to grade everything! Nor should you grade everything! Grading every single paper and activity your kiddos do will drive you insane. Choose to grade those things that are truly important.
5. Go to the bathroom whenever your kids are at a special-whether you have to go or not. You never know when you will have time to go again...and "holding it" all day is awful.

6. Be encouraging. Letting your students know that you believe in them will help them to believe in themselves. They will work harder if they know you think they can do it.

7. Be honest with your kids. Don't be afraid to tell them that you aren't sure of the answer to their random question. If at all possible, do take the time to find the answer to the question you didn't know the answer to. Kids know when adults are lying.
 8. Classroom management is everything. Don't get caught into the "yelling trap." If you do, you end the day exhausted and grumpy. Find a way to manage your kids that doesn't involve yelling. If you do this, when you do have to raise your voice (think safety issue) they stop immediately and listen because they KNOW something is seriously wrong.

Funny Confession Ecard: Teacher Confession: Once a child is in my class, I will always refer to him as 'one of my kids' - even when he's grown.
9. Get to know your students. I don't mean just as students and learners, but get to know what they like, what sports they play, what their favorite colors are, what they really care about etc. This is the beginning of building a classroom community...we as teachers are a part of that community. The more we put into it, the better it will become.

10. Have fun! Enjoy what you do. If you don't like a subject or topic you are teaching, fake it. Find some way to make it exciting for you. Doing this will keep the kids excited about learning and being in your classroom.

What have you learned from teaching? I'd love to hear your top ten!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Giveaways Galore

Happy Tuesday! I just got home from working on curriculum and am about to head out to meet up with friends for dinner, but I wanted to share a quick post to let you know about some amazing giveaways that are going on this week.

First Teach n' Tex is running a 3 for 3 Giveaway. I'm contributing to the Winner's Choice giveaway.

Next Looking from Third to Fourth is holding a 500 follower giveaway. I've also donated a winner's choice item there as well.

Nick from Sweet Rhyme-Pure Reason has a 350  follower giveaway going on at his blog.


Finally a new collaborative blog The Teaching Tribune is holding a mega giveaway for the next 9 days with a winner chosen each day.

Be sure to check out all of these amazing giveaways...and check back here this weekend for a Back to School Giveaway with some fun prizes!

Monday, July 22, 2013

Monday Made it-The Laminating Edition

Another week has past, and I can't get over how quickly time is flying by! This week I will be at school working with a team of teachers to align our math and reading curriculum to the common core. I just keep telling myself getting up early this week will help me get back into the "school groove."

I am excited to link up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics for Monday made it. This week was laminating week here at the Hunter house. I printed, cut and laminated three different math task card bundles this week from Kristin Kennedy. If you teach third, fourth, or fifth grade I recommend you check out her math task card bundles. You can get them with or without QR codes and they are wonderful. I owe my husband big-time. He helped me to trim all the cards once they had been laminated.

First set we worked on was Blasting Off with QR Codes.

One of the five task card sets

The second set was Camping Out with QR Codes.

One of the five task card sets

The final set we worked on was QR Codes are Sand-Sational.

One of the five task card sets

Another product I worked on was updating my Addition/Subtraction Properties Freebie. This was another one of the first products I posted to my TPT store. Now that I am not in the "thick" of the school year I have time to make these products cute.

Picture of Free Teacher Downloads at Teaching Blog Addict

What have you been up to this week? I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone has created!