Sunday, August 31, 2014

A Peek at My Week {8-31-14}

Thanks for stopping by this week's edition of A Peek at My Week, my weekly linky party where we can all share our plans for the upcoming week.
So here we go...

Tuesday is the first day of school!  Back in June, this day seemed so far away.  I am super excited for this year!  We will spend much of this week building community,  learning routines and expectations, and of course, reading a lot.

The first read aloud I am going to share is a book I read over the summer that I absolutely loved, The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z by Kate Messner.  I usually begin with The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, but I am saving that one for the Global Read Aloud in October.
The beginning of the year is a great time for goal setting.  However, in years past, students have set these really ambitious goals then they get filed away and forgotten about.  This year, I am going to have my students write out their goals on this form and we are going to slide the paper into the front cover of their 8-pocket plastic folder.  This way, the goals will be front and center all the time, for both students and parents. :)  You can grab this form for FREE by clicking on the picture..
Font:  KG Fonts
Graphics:  Creative Clips
To begin our writing year, students will write "Five Things I Want My Teacher to Know About Me."  This will help me get to know them personally and as writers.  We will also set up our Writer's Notebooks using my Writer's Notebook Divider Pages and my Writer's Notebook Reference Pages.
In math, we will be working on getting those math facts fluent again and practicing some helpful mental math strategies.  I am excited to teach math again this year.  (I never thought I would hear myself say that... :).

I hope you enjoy this long weekend and have an amazing week!  Don't forget to stop back for Positive Thinking Thursday.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Positive Thinking Thursday {8-28-14}

Welcome to Positive Thinking Thursday!  I am glad you are here.
This post is going to be short and sweet because it's a crazy time of year so here goes...
Heather's Heart: teacher inspiration
Never forget that you matter!

Wishing you an amazing day!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A Peek at My Week {8-24-14}

I'm not sure how it happened, but here it is Sunday already and time for another edition of A Peek at My Week.  Thanks for stopping by and I hope you will link up and share your plans for the upcoming week!
It's time to go back to work.

* Sigh *

Seriously, while I am not looking forward to giving up the carefree days of summer, where life is slower and can be savored, I am very excited for the upcoming school year.

All teachers report back on Tuesday and will spend this week in meetings and getting our rooms ready.  I am not stressing about having my room ready.  I've done a little bit here and there and that is a good thing because while I was running last week, I sprained my knee and am needing to stay off of it as much as possible.  (Yeah, right...)  This, again, proves that I am allergic to exercise.  I think this shirt was made for me...
I Don't Run
Thursday night is Back to School night.  Students can come to school with their parents and drop off their supplies.  I've been teaching fourth grade for seven years now and have had many siblings of students who are in my class this year so I already know many of the families.  I have a great class of 23 students this year!

Don't forget to stop back on Thursday for Positive Thinking Thursday!

Wishing you an amazing week!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Engaging Student Writers

Do you have students in your classroom who are looking for a little extra challenge or engagement when it comes to writing?

You know the ones...Those students who create the most amazing stories or writing pieces with little effort while others are expending major energy on just building five minutes of writing stamina.

If you do and you are looking for a way to engage and excite your prolific writers, have you seen this new website for student writers (ages 10-18), KidsAreWriters?  I just came across it on Twitter last night and thought it looked pretty amazing.
On this website, student writers are offered activities and ideas to take their writing to the next level.  They have fun writing activities and picture prompts like this one:
They even just finished a virtual writing summer camp for students with daily writing prompts.  (Oh, how I wish I knew about this website back in June...)  As students complete their writing, they are able to submit it to the website via the comments section for feedback on a first come, first served basis.  How fun!

So as I begin this new school year, I will be adding this website to my teaching toolbox to use to help me meet the needs of all of my student writers.

What tools or resources do you use to help differentiate your writing instruction?

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Positive Thinking Thursday {8-21-14}

Welcome to Positive Thinking Thursday!  Thanks for visiting and (hopefully) linking up.  :)
This week's positive thought comes from my little friend, Kid President.  You've seen many of his inspirational videos, I'm sure, but here's a new one about being a hero.  It would be great to show to your class.
So don't forget, you are somebody's hero.

Like mine...

Thank you for all you do and for the support and inspiration that you provide me every day!

Have an AMAZING day!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

A Peek at My Week {8-17-14}

Welcome to Sunday and another edition of A Peek at My Week, my weekly linky party where we can all share our plans for the upcoming week.
This is my last week of summer vacation.  * sigh *  I know so many of you are back already so you know what that "last week" feels like.

I am having this internal struggle over this week....Do I spend it trying to cram in as many projects as I can to get ready for school, or do I spend it relaxing and doing almost nothing because I know it will be awhile before I get free time again?

What would you do?

Yesterday, I wrote about celebrating all of the things I didn't get done this summer over at my writing blog, Sweet Writing Life.  I don't know about you, but if I look back at my list of goals to be accomplished this summer, the list would still be long.  However, instead of stressing about this, I am going to celebrate all of the things that I DID accomplish this summer -- relaxation, making memories with my family, and connecting with other educators online and via Twitter.  (You can take a peek at that post here if you would like.)

So, as I look toward this final week, I ask myself -- how much can I really accomplish this week?  Is it worth it to stress myself out over trying to cross tasks off my to-do list?

Probably not...

So my plan is going to be to take it very easy this week, to not let the feeling of what is to come overwhelm me and stress me out.

It might not be easy, but it will be worth it!

I hope you find some time for relaxation this week!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Positive Thinking Thursday {8-14-14}

I'm very excited for today's Positive Thinking Thursday link up.
My contribution this week is a little more than a thought.  Earlier this week,  Linda Baie of TeacherDance shared this amazing poem on the Slice of Life link up and I instantly fell in love with it.  I typed it up on pretty paper (because that makes me feel happy), and thought it would be perfect to share as this week's positive thought:
Isn't that a beautiful poem?

So as we begin this new school year, I challenge you seek out other voices that are different from your own and experiences that take you outside of your comfort zone. This is where our true learning occurs.

Have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Writer's Toolkits -- A Workshop Must-Have

Have you ever had a student who spent more time during writing class looking for a pencil than actually writing?

Yep, me too.

Last year, I decided it was time to put an end to this excuse by giving each of my students a Writer's Toolkit at the beginning of the year.  This week, I have been working on putting together the Toolkits in preparation of school beginning on September 2nd.

What goes in the Writer's Toolkits?

  • A pencil
  • A highlighter
  • Two pencil cap erasers
  • One pink eraser
  • A red pen
  • A green pen
  • A small pack of Post-Its 

All of these writing supplies go inside a plastic pencil case.
Then I put a label on the front of the box and write the student's name on the top of the box.
You can download the label for free from my TPT store if you would like.

In our writing workshop, students are taught to get their Toolkit out when they go in their desk to retrieve their writer's notebooks.  They also bring it with when they conference with me.  That way, we don't waste time trying to find a pencil to take notes or a pen to work on editing.

What tips and tricks do you have for your writing workshop?

Sunday, August 10, 2014

A Peek at My Week {8-10-14}

Welcome to A Peek at My Week, my weekly linky party where you can share your plans for the upcoming week.  Thanks for stopping by!
From what I'm reading, it sounds like a lot of you are heading back to work this week.  If that is the case, I wish you a great week and the best year ever!

Today, we are having a shrimp boil at my aunt's house on the lake.  This is so much fun (and so yummy!) but it is also bittersweet, because we always do this at summer's end.  


Last week, I attended EdCamp Lake Country with these wonderful gals.
That's Heather from Books del Sur
and our school librarian, Ginny, who doesn't have a blog.....yet.

This week I was supposed to attend EdCamp Oshkosh, but family duties call and I won't make it. :(

Also this week, I plan to...
Sit and read on my patio
Watch the sunrise
Take lots of walks and enjoy the view

Life is good, friends!

Have a great week!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Positive Thinking Thursday {8-07-14}

Happy Thursday!  Are you ready for some positive thoughts today?  Welcome to the Positive Thinking Thursday linky party. I'm glad you are here!
Thank you for all your wonderful comments from last week's positive thought.  I'm glad it connected with so many of you.

This week's positive thought is also about mindfulness.  I am making a more conscious attempt at being more mindful every day.  It is sometimes difficult to just stop my forward motion and be still in the moment, but it is so worth it.
Live in this moment.
Give it a try!  Leave me a comment below to share how you practice mindfulness.

Have a beautiful day!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

A Peek at My Week {8-03-14}

I hope this Sunday finds you well and ready for the first whole week of August!  I'm glad you are here.  It's time for us to all share what we've got planned for the week with A Peek at My Week.
I know many of you are getting ready to go back to school.  If you are one of those people, I wish you your best year ever!  I go back on August 26th, with students starting September 2nd.

On Monday, I am teaching a class about writing for my district.  I am very excited, but also a lot nervous. Last week I wrote about posting class information using LiveBinder and it generated a lot of questions and comments.  If you'd like to take a look at the LiveBinder I created, you can find it here.  It was pretty easy to put together and I like that it can be a resource that I can keep adding to.  Let me know what you think if you take a look.

On Tuesday, I am so excited to be attending EdCamp Lake Country.  This will be my second EdCamp and I am taking along a few teachers from school and our principal.  If you've never been to an EdCamp, you really MUST find one in your area. (You can find a directory of EdCamps here.)  They are amazing PD opportunities!
Also, this Monday and Tuesday, I will be doing a lot of shopping at the Teachers Pay Teachers Back to School SALE!  Many stores (including mine) are going to be up to 28% off with the code BTS14.  My cart is loaded and ready for check out.  I'm really glad I finished my Writer's Notebook Reference product in time for the sale.

250 × 120

Have a wonderful week!

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Currently August, A Sale and a Winner!

Welcome to August!  Thanks to Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade for this monthly link up of what our lives are Currently like!
Have you heard about the big Teachers Pay Teachers sale that is next Monday and Tuesday?  My entire store will be 28% off if you enter code BTS14 .  That is a HUGE savings. I've got my shopping cart packed and ready for checkout on Monday.
250 × 120
As for my own store, this would be a great time to pick up my vocabulary program, Word Parts We Know.  I have had so much success with using this program in my classroom and am looking forward to beginning it again this year.  Basically, students learn five new Greek or Latin word parts a week, which gradually builds their vocabulary to help them learn new words. It is not overwhelming and is a lot of fun!
My other product that I am so excited about is my new Writer's Notebook Reference product. If you teach writer's workshop, then you want to check out this product!  It can make your life so much easier!
Earlier this week, I offered one copy of Writer's Notebook Reference to a reader who pinned my new product.  I'm happy to say that the winner is Monica Roland!  However, I'm sad to say that I cannot send her the product because she is a "no reply blogger" so I don't have her email.  If you are Monica, please drop me an email and let me know how to find you!  :)

Thanks for dropping by!