Thursday, February 27, 2014

Shop 'til You Drop!!

My store is on sale 20% today and tomorrow. Add on the 10% discount using the code TPT3 and you'll get 28% off everything in my store!! Click the picture below to visit my store.

Happy Shopping!!

I've already filled and emptied my cart one time and I'm on the lookout for a few more products to help me finish out the year! 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Late Valentines and Fun Finds {Five for Friday}

It's been a crazy week! We missed last Friday for snow, so we came back on Monday to a 2 hour delay AND Valentine's Day parties! We also had a Valentine's Day dance scheduled on Friday and it was rescheduled for today.  I'm joining Doodle Bugs Teaching for a recap...

We had a great little party and my sweet kiddos had all sorts of goodies for me!

With the dance we had a crazy schedule today, so I decided to work in all those Valentine's Day centers and activities we'd missed out on because of the snow. 

Have you checked out this website? I discovered it today and there are some great FREE graphics on here. AND you can use the graphics on free and paid TPT products!!

I put up a few shamrocks before I left school this afternoon. I'm a sucker for anything green!! 

I am addicted to school supplies! I found these file folders at Target a few weeks ago. There were other things that matched and I'm going back tomorrow. I think I need more foxes! 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

A Main Idea Week in 4th Grade

Hi, everyone! I wanted to stop in and share some ideas about teaching Main Idea! I don't know about you, but this is a skill my students seem to always have difficulty with. 

First of all, the students glued this foldable into their Interactive Reading Notebooks. Each time I asked them to find the main idea of a passage they looked back in their notebooks and followed the steps we'd practiced. That first day's practice was some simple paragraphs I put up on the Smartboard. 

The next day started out with a review using our notebooks and then I had the students glue some practice paragraphs onto the other side of their notebooks.

These little passages all came from this 3rd grade lesson on It was great practice for us and I love that everyone now has this glued in their notebook and can go back to see how we applied the process from our foldable.

On the third day of our study the kiddos reviewed the steps and then got into pairs to work on finding the main idea of the passage below. 

They used this free graphic organizer from Wendy Gilstrap on Teachers Pay Teachers. 

I like to have my students work on coming up with the main idea using their own words rather than choosing a specific sentence from the paragraph or passage to be the main idea. That's not to say that we don't use sentences from the passage as main ideas, but I don't really give them the option of just looking for one sentence to choose. I want them to think it through in their heads and then see if they can match a sentence or phrase from the paragraph to their thinking. It seems to me that so many standardized test questions now are asking students to formulate a main idea on their own rather than just pick one from the story/passage.

After all the groups were finished we went over the passage together as a class to discuss our ideas and come up with what we thought were the best supporting details for the main idea the students chose. 

I had the class do this routine a couple times until I felt like everyone was ready to try the skill on their own. I gave all my kiddos one of the main idea sheets from the Reading Passages section on Readworks to try the skill on their own. Then, we discussed the questions and answers in class. Finally, I used another of the main idea passages as an assessment. 

Quick Tip 

I always teach my kids to use tally marks when they are answering main idea multiple choice questions. For each answer choice go back to the paragraph and count up all the evidence that supports that idea. Each piece of evidence gets a tally mark and the answer with the most tally marks wins! It is an almost fail proof system to answering those questions if students will take the time to use it! 

Do you have a favorite main idea lesson you'd like to share? I'm always looking for something new to add to my bag of tricks! 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Mystery Student Test Review {Spark Student Motivation}

I'm linking up with Joanne from Head Over Heels for Teaching to share an idea for motivating students during test review. 

Even though our state test isn't until May, I've started working in practice tests here and there. After a test I always like to review it with my classes, but we all know that can be a invitation for students to "check out." 

Monday morning I needed to review a test and a way to engage all my students. I remembered the posts I'd read about choosing a mystery student while walking in the hallways and thought that I might be able to use that same idea during test review. 

This cute clipart is from Dancing Crayons Designs.

I explained that I'd already picked out a mystery student to keep an eye on while we reviewed the test. If that student paid attention and participated during the review everyone would be rewarded with a piece of candy. It was a success! 

I had everyone's attention and participation went way up! The very next day I had several students ask if we could play that mystery game again. I think this will be a quick trick to pull out when I need everyone's attention! 

What's in your bag of tricks for getting everyone's participation when the topic is less than exciting?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Problem and Solution and Snow {Five for Friday}

Happy Valentine's Day! Thanks to 11" of snow I'm enjoying a 4 day weekend, so it's time to join up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday. 

We started our work on Problem and Solution by adding this shutter foldable into our Interactive Notebooks. Even though we've made a zillion different types of foldables my kids were fascinated by this one....sometimes they baffle me!! LOL 

We used this set of texts and activities from Emily Kissner to work through the problem and solution process. This is a great pack that includes texts on a lot of different levels and a wide variety of before, during, and after reading activities. 

We had some great momentum going at school and then this happened! We had an early release day on Wednesday and we've been out ever since!

What snow day post would be complete without snow pictures? 

This last one is my favorite. My Charlie Bug usually doesn't mind the snow, but I think this time it was just a little to deep for him! 

In honor of Valentine's Day I just had to post one of my most favorite pics of my Valentine. He's the strong, silent type and he's had my heart from the moment I laid eyes on him! 

Monday, February 10, 2014

{Monday Made It} Silhouette Cameo Style

It's the best time of the month - Monday Made It!! I just love seeing what everyone else has been creating! I was enjoying my Christmas break a little too much to link up last month, but I'm back to join Tara from 4th Grade Frolics in all the fun! 

I'll start out with the one and only school made it for this month. 

I got my Valentine gifts ready to go early this year!!! I used my Silhouette Cameo to cut out the hearts and it made the project super easy! 

Now for the home made its. I'm gonna back up to Christmas, shameful I know, but this was one of my favorites and I just had to share. 

That little heart is my little piece of VA! Since my sister moved to the "big city" I thought this would be the perfect touch for her home away from home. 

Here it is up in her house. I love this wall - it's so her! 

Finally, what February post would be complete without some Valentine's Day cards? 

I'm a sucker for Valentine's Day!! 

Friday, February 7, 2014

Peace, New Pens, TPT Finds and Desktop Organization {Five for Friday}

I made it through a full week of school and I'l still standing, well sitting in the recliner, but I'm not asleep yet!! I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching to share some random fabulousness from my week!  

To celebrate making it through a whole week of school for the first time in 7 weeks I wore my Peace Frog shirt!! My sister got it for me for Christmas and it's so soft and comfy. I couldn't wait to wear it so I pushed the weather just a bit (it was only in the 30s today)!! 

Have you tried these pens? Oh my....I'm in love!! I'm officially declaring them the best pens ever! I got mine from Amazon

We used these task cards from Ms-Lies. We were reviewing reference sources and my kiddos did such a great job with them! We've had a talkative crew this week, but everyone was so focused during this activity. Here you see two students paired up working on the cards together. I made it a partner activity for one class by placing two cards in each location and letting the wander around the room. 

We also got in some nonfiction text structure and test prep with this activity pack from Classroom in the Middle. It is FREE and was fantastic for my 4th graders. I would highly recommend it. 

I did a little desktop revamp on my school computer. What do you think? I always love to change the background with the season, so I'm afraid I might miss that, but the second one looks so much neater! I used this tutorial and file from Moritz Fine Designs for my redo. 

What do you do for desktop organization? 

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