Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Triple Duty Resources

There's never enough time for all you need to teach your students. That's why it's so important to, whenever possible, use resources that do double or triple duty.

Back in the day, I had a morning routine that my students followed. When they entered the classroom, they put away their backpacks, signed in for attendance, and got started on CUPS. (Read more about CUPS here.)

When they finished CUPS, they started on Vocabulary. I've taken the concept of Vocabulary and translated it into a resource you can use easily. It incorporates vocabulary, context clues, and dialogue.

Each resource includes a set of 20 task cards. Each card contains a set of dialogue that provides several context clues to help students define the word. Here is a sample:


You can see that there are examples of all three types of dialogue - tag at the front, tag at the end, and interrupted dialogue. Punctuating dialogue is a difficult skill to master. Seeing it presented several times can help reinforce the rules.

You can also see that I've provided several context clues. Those on the card above happen to be synonyms for the vocabulary word. Other cards include more types of context clues so students have practice in multiple types.

I've included an answer document for students to record their answers and an answer key. Keep in mind, though, that student definitions may vary from the "official" definition. As long as they get the basic meaning, I'd count it as correct.

You can use these cards as an independent review activity or or with a group of students for a concentrated reteach on context clues. 

Each set comes with both color and grey-scale backgrounds.

Click on the product cover below to see them in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

         


Friday, April 1, 2016

Currently April

Gosh, I've been gone from the blog for a while. I'll explain in the Currently below!



  • I am listening to The Amazing Race. I love this show. I could never be a contestant because I would have no patience with my partner. Nor am I athletic enough, although I can swim and drive a stick shift.
  • I am loving the weather. Not too hot, which I just can't. 
  • I'm thinking about April Fool's Day when I was a teacher. I loved to prank my kids.  I'd deliberately swipe a green marker on my cheek. When my students told me about it, I said, "Sure, sure. You just want me to go look so you can say April Fool!" The ensuing begging and pleading to listen to them was too funny. I had trouble keeping a straight face. They tried to rope in other teachers - tell her she has marker on her face! I held firm. Tee hee!
  • I am wanting to win the lottery. I had surprise gall bladder surgery last month and then we had to replace the heating/air conditioning unit in our house. Ouch.
  • I am needing to get back on my exercise bike. 'Nuff said.
  • I love KG Fonts and it really hurts to use Comic Sans on this Currently, but I'm going with it!
Okay, it's your turn! Go on over to Farley's blog, add your link, and check out some other folks while you are at it. Don't forget the Rule of Three!
Oh Boy It's Farley

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Leap Day Sale!



All of the products in my Teachers Pay Teachers store are on sale for 20% today through tomorrow. Happy Leap Day!

Thursday, February 11, 2016

SOS - Save Our Sentences


After talking with a former colleague yesterday about the upcoming STAAR Writing test for Texas fourth graders, I decided to take this idea and put it in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

My students always struggled with the revision questions on the test, and it was because they had difficulty recognizing sentence fragments and run-on sentences. I came up with the idea of SOS. Students are given a set of three "sentences." They have to identify whether each one is a fragment, a run on, or a whole sentence. Then they have to fix the fragment, repair the run on, and spot the sentence.

We did this every Friday for several months before the test, and my students aced the revising questions. An added bonus was that I saw a lot fewer fragments and run ons in their essays.

Click on the picture above and it will take you to my TpT store.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Somebody Loves You

One of the lessons I always tried to teach my students was about having empathy and showing kindness towards others. Valentine's Day offered the perfect opportunity to do so.

This is one of my favorite books. (Clicking on the link will take you to Amazon, where you can purchase the book. Note - I get a very small commission when you use my link to purchase, but it doesn't cost you anything.)


I loved reading the book to my students. They could easily identify with Mr. Hatch since there were times when all of them had felt lonely. We talked about how he felt after he received the anonymous gift.

Then I talked about how wonderful it felt for us to get Valentines from our classmates and our friends, how that made us feel loved. I said I loved the Valentines I got from my class, but that not all the adults in the school had a homeroom class to give them Valentines. We brainstormed a list of everyone that might be in that position - custodians, people who worked in the front office, cafeteria workers, teachers who provide pull-out services. Then each student selected one of the people from the list and made a special Valentine for them. We decided to sign them with this closing - From Someone Who Loves You. We thought that might make them think of all the people in the school who truly cared about them, like Mr. Hatch did.

At the end of the day, I slipped the Valentines into the mailboxes of the people who were to receive them. I lingered in the area so that I could hear any comments made and relay them to the students. My class was so excited to hear that they had a hand in making some of our special employees feel the Valentine's love.

If you try this with your students, please let me know. It will make me feel loved.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Fish Bowl!

This party game is totally adaptable to the classroom!

Fish Bowl! A fun game that can be adapted for the classroom. krazytownblog.com

We hosted some of our good friends for a game night a few weeks ago. We have played Taboo, Loaded Questions, Cards Against Humanity, and some other games in the past, so I wanted to try something new. I put my Google skills to work and located a game called Fish Bowl! It was a blast!

We started off the evening with food. We set up a make-your-own-chalupa bar and our guests brought an appetizer or a dessert. While we were eating and chatting, I told everyone to take 3 slips of paper I had cut in advance and write the name of a famous person everyone in the room should know on each slip. Then they folded them up and put them in a bowl.

When we were ready to play, we divided up into two teams. This game has three rounds.

Round 1: Taboo
Team A needs to select someone to go first, while Team B needs a volunteer to watch the timer (set at one minute). We used the timer on someone's phone. The person from Team A grabs a piece of paper from the container and tries to have his/her teammates guess the word on the paper using only words and sentences as hints, without using any motions, "sounds like..." hints, or spelling hints. The person tries to have their team guess as many words as they can in one minute. It's important for both teams to pay attention because you need to remember the guessed words/phrases for subsequent rounds.

If the team is unable to guess the word/phrase, the person has the option to "pass", put the word/phrase back into the container and continues with a new word/phrase. The person can only pass once during his/her one minute.

After one minute, Team A counts the number of successfully guessed words/phrases. Each guessed word/phrase counts as one point. Team B is next, and selects a volunteer from their team to start. A person from Team A will watch the timer, set at one minute. This alternating process continues until all of the words from the container have been used. When the words run out, place all the words/phrases back into the container for the second round.

Round 2: Password
Following the same process as the first round, the next team will select someone to go first, while the other team sets the timer for one minute. However, in this round, the person can use only one word as a hint for their team to guess. The team needs to recall the words/phrases in the previous round. Once all the words in the container run out, place all the words back into the container for the third round.

Round 3: Charades
In this final round, the person needs to act and use motions as hints for their team to guess the word/phrase. You are not allowed to speak or make sounds. When all the words run out, tally all the points. The team with the most points wins the game.

We had a blast playing the game. Some of the names in the bowl included Kim Kardashian, Hitler, Tim Duncan (plays for our local NBA team, the Spurs), our much-detested former school superintendent, and Albert Einstein.

After we finished the game (my team won!), we talked about ways this game could be played in classrooms. You could use vocabulary words for the words in the bowl. Wouldn't it be fun to play with the names of people you honored during Black History Month? What about science or math concepts? Spelling words? Let me know in the comments if you think of a great way to implement this!

I've made a freebie for you with the directions. You can download it here. Have fun!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Currently February

Can you believe January is over and it's time for another Currently? I didn't do very well with my resolution to blog more, did I. Sigh. Well, anyway, here is my contribution to the linky.


  • I am listening to reruns of The Big Bang Theory. It is probably my most favorite show. I always watch reruns of it if there isn't something new on that I am dying to see.
  • I am loving that the primaries have started. I have very strong opinions about politics. Don't worry, I won't share them here.
  • I'm thinking about the Krispy Kreme doughnut I just scarfed down. We went to a birthday dinner for a good friend, and the restaurant happened to be near a KK store. I am powerless to resist when the light is on. The struggle is real, y'all.
  • I am wanting to empty out the storage unit I am still paying rent on. I'm embarrassed to say that it's been half done for quite a while now. First it was too hot, then it was too cold. We have beautiful weather right now, so I need to be like Goldilocks and get it done.
  • I am needing a clean house. Again. Ugh. I just don't understand Why won't it stay clean after I get it done. We are having a few people over to watch the Super Bowl, so that is giving me motivation.
  • I'm swooning over all the new blog designs out there. I just took the plunge and asked Kristen from Chalk & Apples Design to give mine a makeover. I'm loving the sleek, modern approach.
Okay, it's your turn! Go on over to Farley's blog, add your link, and check out some other folks while you are at it. Don't forget the Rule of Three!
Oh Boy It's Farley