Sunday, April 12, 2015

Positive communication with parents + FREE printable!

Positive and on going communication with the parents of children in your class is always important, but often this communication can be quite formal (in the form of reporting and parent meetings etc.) and not especially child friendly.

This 'Just thought you'd like to know' note template is the perfect way to celebrate success in all areas, and one that my class always loved!
Click here to download your free note template!
Keep a pile of these notes printed and ready to go in the classroom, then whenever an amazing effort is made by a child (academically, socially or emotionally) that warrants some extra recognition and praise, send the child to grab a note and fill it out together.  Watching you write the note about how much progress they’re making always causes them to puff up with pride….. and choosing their ‘prescription’ is the icing on the cake!

I've even been known to stop the whole lesson to quickly fill one out (much to the delight of one lucky little monkey!) which also allowed the child to bask in the high fives and shared joy of their classmates.  You can vary the 'prescriptions' on the bottom of the template depending on what might best motivate your students, or even let them suggest some options!  You could also include some rewards that could be used in class (time on the computer out to play 5 minutes early etc.) but there's something really special about them taking the note home to celebrate with their family.

Wishing you a term of cheerful communication,
Grubbily yours,

Friday, March 20, 2015

March Into Spring Blog Hop And Giveaway!

Hello Friends! Tara here from Looney's Literacy! I'm so excited to introduce you to this amazing group of Ladies with Class. We are quite the diverse group that offers everything from literacy, to math,  to fun in the mud with bugs! We decided to celebrate spring with a blog hop full of freebies to show you a little about us and then we wanted to welcome you to this new blog where you can enter for a chance to win a $40 TpT gift card to show our appreciation of your interest! You can click the link below to go to our intro post that gives more info about each of us. 

Be sure and and check out our collaborate with  us links so you never miss any new updates!

Without further ado... I would like to offer our sincerest appreciation by giving you the opportunity to win a $40 TpT gift card! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
In case you missed any blogs, try here:

Friday, March 6, 2015

Free Lucky Division Game

 Free Lucky Division Game
Hi! This is Stacy over at Teacher's Take-Out. I have a Free Lucky Division Game that I wanted to share with you!

This fun game will give your students an opportunity to practice their division facts this holiday. The game uses quotients 1-9. All you have to do is just print and play!

I also wanted to share my Pinterest Board already full of FREEBIES for the month of March. Hop on over to see if you can find something to use for this month.
 March Freebies

Thanks for stopping by today!
See you soon,

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Boosting Student Writing Using the Five Senses

Hi, it's Sebrina from Burke's Special Kids dropping in to share a fun writing tip to use when writing poetry with your students.

Getting students to use their five senses when writing poetry boosts their word choice, creativity, and is so much fun!
Choose any popular activity or upcoming holiday and try this with your students.  Here are some samples my students completed.

The students completed a planning page/graphic organizer prior to writing their poems. They discussed with their partners descriptive words that best reflected their five senses when writing about their chosen topic. This really got the students thinking, talking, and collaborating together.  Of course their engagement skyrocketed!

These templates are available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  I will set them free for the next week (until 3/2/15) so that you have time to grab them!  Click for the direct link {HERE}.

Happy writing!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Bug Hunting + Free Printables!

Ahhh…… creepy crawlies!  For a topic that never fails to captivate children of all ages, you can't go past BUGS!

I have a fascination and interest in all things creepy and crawly... but I most definitely would not like to look down and find one crawling up my leg!!  It doesn't matter if you love them or hate them, they normally produce some sort of response in people (especially children) which is excellent motivation for learning.

Do you live near national parks, beaches or beautiful woodland areas?  No?  Well that’s not a problem, because insects are everywhere…. inside and out!  Even inner city schools will have no problem finding insects and other wildlife.  I love the unexpected ‘teachable moments’ that arise from a creepy crawly popping up in an unexpected place………. and so do the kids! 

The whole topic of bugs is a fantastic spring board for delving further into other areas of the curriculum. Apart from the obvious connections to science, they also inspire amazing artwork; They’re a great prompt for both descriptive and factual based writing; They can provide an unusual starting point for discussing social issues e.g. bullying, empathy & compassion (is it ok to hurt things smaller than yourself?);  They are integral to discussions about environmental issues (honey bees are responsible for much of what we eat, worms are used in recycling etc.)

Looking closely at a special snail shell find!

Here are a couple of points to keep in mind and possibly share with your class next time you all bump into a bug:

  • Many insects are helpful (worms, bees, spiders etc.)
  • We don’t need to harm or make a fuss about things that aren't bothering us
  • We can respect things smaller than ourselves 

Even if you're feeling a bit squeamish....attempt to model curiosity and respect - the kids will be watching your reactions!

You're never to young to have a healthy curiosity in the living world!  My little toddler was excited to find the bug that had been making "the loud clicking noise" (a cicada).

Ensure your classroom nature table has copies of informative insect books handy - if a child spots an insect, you can quickly grab a book, identify it and share some cool facts with the class!  You could compile a class book of the bugs you see.  Another handy thing to keep on you nature table is magnifying glasses (you can get low cost plastic ones at your local dollar store - see my post on 'Magnifying Glass Silliness' here for more information!)
Getting comfortable around bugs includes becoming more familiar with them.  Specifically teach the children how to behave in their presence (as we already do with dogs etc.)
If you encounter a bug where it shouldn’t be, pop a drinking glass over it, and gently slide a thin piece of cardboard under the cup.  Carry the cup outside and release the creature by removing the cardboard.

Click here to find these ~FREE PRINTABLES~ in my TpT store

If you really can’t handle the sight of that humongous cockroach in your classroom, send a child to get a teacher who you know can model curiosity and respect!  “Wow!  What an amazing creature!  Someone grab a magnifying glass and the camera—  who has a good suggestion about how best to capture this bronzed beauty?”

Happy bug hunting,

Grubbily yours,

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Integrating Student Writing with Art!!

Hello Everyone!  I am Susan, a fifth grade teacher from LopezLandLearners! I am sooo excited to be able to collaborate with such an amazing group of talented educators! 

I don't know about you all, but ART is one of the areas that just doesn't seem to fit in time wise! I love art, I am a terrible artist, but I love giving my students the opportunities to experiment, enjoy, and find joy in the many varied sources and styles of ART. SO I had to solve that problem! 

I start the year by creating construction paper portfolios where my students store their masterpieces from the year.  I remember when I first gave back their beautiful work that had hung in our classroom or in the cafeteria and some students would stuff it in a desk or crumple it up into their backpacks!! As a mother, I cherish those works from my own kids so I invented these portfolios for them to keep and in June they could reflect back on all that we had studied, they had learned, and to see how much they had grown as they headed into jr. high.  Art for our year began there!

During my language arts time, students are in groups and we rotate through centers, we now call them Reading Team.  One center is always about writing: either a particular genre we have been working on, free write, Writer's Workshop, guided writing, etc.  You get my drift!  One of my centers is always, always ART! Whether we are just sketching, guided drawing, using paint, colored pencils, oil pastels, computers, whatever we have in our hands we are ARTISTS during those 24 minutes.  Let me warn you, kids will LOVE YOU forever and ever if you can somehow manage to sneak in some art, even if it is once a week!! They don't care! They aren't condescending, critical, or sometimes even careful! They just love the opportunity to allow their brains to flow in a different direction than academics often allows for.


Informational Writing

 Chalk Snowmen

   One of my favorites! Have you used Tagxedo? Students love it! I will have to write about that next time! Here a student described characters, setting, and the problem from How to Steal a Dog along with what Georgina, the main character wanted! You have to read that book!

Oil Pastels and Author's Purpose

Writing also holds them accountable, allows me to see if they understood Author's Purpose, how to summarize, character traits, etc. Free writes and Writer's Workshop gives them the opportunity to grow as writers without being told what to write. It's just them and their pencil or iPad and off they go.  We also blog on Kidblogger which they beg to do!
Watercolors, paper dolls, and character I am poems!

City of Oxnard Water Conservation Calendar Contest Winner !!! Woo hoo Ashley!

Narrative Writing about Being a Shoe, Students drew and colored their own shoe, as well.

Perspective Art.. so much FUN!

Sorry to overload your artistic senses.. but seriously, you just HAVE to have ART and WRITING in your classroom.  It will completely change your teaching experience and your students' lives will be so much more enhanced!  So Monday, go get out the paper, and the pencils and let the artists loose!!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Quality Students and FREEBIES!

Hello! My name is Pam and I am half of SOL Train Learning. I am so blessed to have my daughter Brittany as my partner! I have been teaching for a little over 30 years and I have been on TPT for almost 2 years. My daughter and I recorded a Social Studies CD with songs for K-3, and my son-in-law actually introduced me to TPT. He said that we should sell our songs on TPT, so we did. Soon, we had people asking us to make curriculum to go with the songs, so we did that too!
I have been fortunate to meet some awesome educators on this journey and I am also honored and excited to be joining some of them on this blog.

One of our first songs we wrote was "Quality Student" It is a song about behavior and how to be a quality student. The students learn to spell "quality" as they sing about what each letter stands for. Ya'll can grab the song while we have it for free. After we sing the song, we have a class meeting about what the words mean and how the students should behave. They love singing and dancing to this upbeat song:)

The picture of the penguin is Quality Quentin. He is my classroom mascot. My kiddos take turns taking him home. They just love him! These are a few things they have given him. They also take his journal home and write about their time with him. The great thing is Quality Quentin only goes home with "quality" students, so my students work hard to be able to take him home.

I also talk to students about how they can earn  Quentin Dollars when they are Quality Students.  They also can lose them if they are not being quality students.  They get to go to the store when they earn 10 and they can save up 20 to get larger items.  The cool thing about this is they are learning about saving money to purchase something bigger.  I also had students to use their dollars to buy gifts for family members.  One little girl even asked about getting something for her brother's birthday but didn't have enough dollars, so I loaned them to her and was able to give her a mini lesson on loaning money from a bank.  It was great! And she was so proud and happy to be giving her brother a present that she felt like she earned.  I use these dollars now as my behavior system because it is so much easier and it takes away the pressure from the kiddos when they were changing their signs.  It is a free download in our store.  I just run them off in grayscale.

We also have this free Quality Student poem about behavior. It also has a cute Quality Quentin puppet that your kiddos can color and cut out.

We saw how much our kiddos and other students were learning through these songs, so we decided we wanted to record a science CD, so we need ya'll to watch our kick starter video and see the prizes that are available, and please donate if you can and share the Kickstarter with anyone who loves to teach with music! Just click on the picture below to check it out:)

Thank you so much!