Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Happy Halloween!

First off, don't forget to enter to win my 100 Follower Giveaway! A winner will be picked on Sunday. You could win so many adorable things...

From Debbie at Yearn To Learn
From Mercedes at Surfing to Success
And so much more! Go check it out {here}!

On to the Halloween portion of the blog post. I know that some people love Halloween. I am not one of those people. However, I have learned how to make my life easier at school on Halloween.

It's called Teachers Pay Teachers, people. Today turned out to be a pretty darn great day.

Here's how it started.

Amber at Adventures of a Third Grade Teacher posted about her "Halloween is HERE" Freebie on Monday.

It is adorable. So I downloaded it. Right then and there. You can too (plan ahead for next year). Click {here}.

Click the picture to take you to her post!
First, we used the "Trick or Treats" activity. The class used the letter cards to create as many new words as they could with the letters from the words "trick or treats."
They had a blast trying to find the longest word they could!

Then we used a great product from another amazing teacher blog!

Sally at Elementary Matters posted this on her blog the other day:
Click the picture to grab your Halloween pack from her TPT store!

This is her Halloween Sentence Work pack! She even has a sample on her blog for free {here}. We used her adorable cards to sort complete sentences and fragments.
They loved the sentences and had a great time figuring out which ones went in which categories.

After lunch, we got some wiggles out by going back to Amber's Halloween activities.

The "What Is Your Favorite Candy?" activity is a survey that students take of each other. They tally up the results around the class and then create a bar graph or pictograph to represent their data. They can use the candy provided by Amber OR write in their own candy choices!

 Then we did the Candy Corn Math activity. Each student got a baggie of Candy Corn to count, compare with their teammates, add up and create a subtraction problem. :-)
If you can find two stray 6th graders, your bags practically fill themselves!
If my kiddos had extra time during the day, they completed the Halloween Is Almost Here poem activity! Read a cute poem and answer some great questions. :-)

Like I said, it was a pretty darn good day.

Thanks to Amber and Sally, Halloween might start to be my favorite day of the year!

 Make sure you hop over to their blogs and stores to grab your copies for next year!

Don't forget to enter my 100 Follower Giveaway!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Teamwork! AND {Giveaways to Check Out!}

One of the best things about blogging and being a part of the blogosphere is the amazing amount of teachers who are working together to do great things for students! I've said it before and I'll say it again, when we can steal share ideas with each other, our students are the ones who truly benefit.

Yesterday, when attempting to review the characteristics of fiction and nonfiction, my room sounded like this:


Yes. That's the sound of crickets. 24 of them to be exact.

I stopped my lesson in its tracks, because it was obvious (even with cajoling) that we weren't getting anywhere. And I knew that when I could get on Pinterest or blogs I would find the answer to my cricket problem.

So, last evening, I scoured blog-land and Pinterest looking for a way to REintroduce fiction and nonfiction to my adorable little crickets.

I found this pin:
DAY 29   Partner this book along with Sally Jean, the Bicycle Queen by Cari Best to compare fiction and nonfiction books. make an anchor chart listing differences and similarities. Discuss why you would read each genre. See

which had the idea of comparing The Bicycle Book with Sally Jean, The Bicycle Queen. I really loved the idea of taking the two books and comparing them even though one is fiction and one is nonfiction.

I didn't have either of those books, but I did have Owls by Gail Gibbons and Owl Moon by Jane Yolen.

BONUS: We had read both of these books as a class!

Today, I showed them both books and we discussed what we noticed and how they were different. I was seeing a small glimmer of light!

Tomorrow, we are going to get into teams and look at multiple books so we can make a chart like this:
fiction vs nonfiction
Click the picture to take you to the blog post from Thinking in Third.
I found a ton of great anchor charts on Pinterest...I can't wait to make ours tomorrow! 

Hooray for internet teamwork!

Speaking of teamwork...

Sara at Miss V's Busy Bees is having a ridiculously huge giveaway! So many wonderful bloggers have contributed to the giveaway, she broke it into 5 parts! I'm lucky to be a part of it. :-)

Go check it out when you have a chance! You can win so many great items - including a Thirty-One Bag!

Also, if you haven't entered my 100 Follower Giveaway, make sure you hop over to that post and enter! You can win a $25 gift card, awesome TPT items and even a photo print from my husband!
Have a great night all!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Amazing 100 Follower Giveaway!

When I started my blog this summer, I wasn't sure what I was doing (I'm still not most of the time). I have been so amazed by the blog world and everything that it can offer teachers!

I am so grateful to all of my followers for helping me to reach a bloggy milestone. I really can't believe that 108 people have decided to pay attention to my blog, and I am so happy!

Seriously...thanks to everyone who reads, follows and comments on my blog. You all are the best!

SO, without further ado, my 100 Follower Giveaway! Hooray!

I am also so lucky to be able to say that many of my new-found friends from the blogging world have generously and happily donated some fantastic items to the giveaway! Check all this out:

Kelly from Teaching Fourth is donating her Fall Behavior Management Posters, Buttons and PowerPoint!
Teaching Fourth
Behavior Management Fall Themed Posters, Buttons, and PowerPoint

Caitlyn from Fourth Grade Lemonade is offering any one item from her Teachers Pay Teachers store!
Fourth Grade Lemonade
Fourth Grade Lemonade
Holly from Fourth Grade Flipper is also offering one item of the winner's choice from her TpT store!
4th Gr Flipper


Sara from Miss V's Busy Bees is offering TWO items from her TpT store!
 Miss V’s Busy Bees

Pre-K, Kindergarten, First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth -

Tara from 4th Grade Frolics is donating any item from her TpT store!

3rd, 4th -

Angie from Ms. O Reads Books is donating her Reading Promotion Signs and Bookmarks!
Ms. O Reads BooksSuper Hero Reading Bookmarks

 Denise from Yearn To Learn is donating her Election I Have Who Has...just in time!

Debbie from K is for Kinderiffic is giving away her Bubble Gum Themed Word Family Sorting Pack!
K is for Kinderrific

Tina from Mrs. Crofts' Classroom is donating her Picture Writing Prompts Packet!
Mrs. Crofts' Classroom

Megan from I Teach...What's Your Superpower? is offering any item from her TpT store!
I Teach. What's Your Super Power?

3rd, 4th -

Mercedes at Surfing to Success will be donating her Purple Polka Dot Frames and Christmas Owls!
Surfing to Success” style=

My talented hubby will be donating a 12X18 print of one of his photos - winner's choice!
Terra-Trekking Photography

I had a hard time deciding what to put in the giveaway! Soooo....I decided that the winner can choose a $25 giftcard - Target, Starbucks, TpT, or Michael's!

I can't say enough thanks to all of my amazing giveaway participants and, of course, my awesome followers! Good luck to everyone who enters!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, October 27, 2012

"Owl" Sorts of Fun! On Friday!

I think I've mentioned a million few times that I. Love. Fall. I love the weather, the leaves changing and even the fun activities that can go along with Halloween and Thanksgiving.

I mentioned in a previous post {here} that my mom comes about once a month to do fun crafty activities with my class. :-) Hooray for amazing moms! This week, she came again for a fun owl-themed craft.

We do live in the age of standards and pacing guides, however, so I worked out a way to help it connect to our learning!

For read aloud that day, I picked Owls by Gail Gibbons. She's a great nonfiction author...I love her books!
Owls by Gail Gibbons
Click the picture to get yourself a copy!
Before we read, we used sticky notes to write down facts we already knew about owls. We have been discussing making connections to background knowledge as a reading strategy! 

As we read, they wrote down facts they learned about owls from the book. They used the small stickies again. I used the Sharing Board from Laura Candler's Graphic Organizers for Reading to help them organize and keep track of their sticky notes.
Graphic Organizers for Reading
This is a great ebook! Click the picture to get yours!
As a class we had a great discussion about how new information links to old information in your brain and that's how it sticks!

Later that day, we used our sticky notes and transferred them onto a "Just the Facts" graphic organizer that I got from Christina at Bunting, Books and Bainbridge. It was perfect...the first part asked them to write what they already knew. The second part asked them to write what they learned! And the last part was to write a question they still had. It fit perfectly with this activity. :-)
These are amazing graphic organizers...go get yourself a copy!

Finding more facts to add to the graphic organizer....

After we got all the research and reading strategies out of the way, the really fun part could begin. (Although who can argue that reading strategies with awesome graphic organizers aren't fun?)

We made walnut owls! :-)
Aren't they cute??

When they finished their owls, they put finishing touches on their graphic organizers. I taped the graphic organizer to the owl...
I added a very boring title...
and we have our Owl Bulletin Board!

We had a great kids love when my mom visits! :-) A happy (and successful) day in 4th grade.

Now for Fun Friday...a great linky party hosted by Kelly at Teaching Fourth. This linky party fits perfectly with my fun Friday owl activity! Check mine out and then go link up yourself!
Teaching Fourth
Fun Pin, Ms. O Reads Books
One last 100 Follower Giveaway is coming...tomorrow! Make sure to stop back by and check it out!