Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Teachers Notebook Sitewide Sale! April 16th -April 18th

Did you hear that Teachers Notebook is having a Sitewide Sale from April 16th through April 18th? They are giving 10% off at checkout on all your purchases. I decided to put my shop on sale, too. Everything in my shop is 20% which means you will get almost 30% at checkout. Hope you will stop by and checkout all my Earth Day and Spring units. Just click on the picture above.

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Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

National Poetry Month Free Resources

April is National Poetry Month and a great time to get your students excited about poetry. There are so many benefits to adding poetry to your classroom reading activities. Look at the poem below:
There are so many ways to use this for teaching many of the components of a balance literacy program. When students read aloud they develop expression, phrasing, and most of all fluency. Have you ever tried Echo reading? This a great way to get all your students to participate. First you read a line or stanza and then they read it. You can start by having students echo a line and then a stanza. Repeated reading helps develop fluency. This poem also helps to teach vocabulary. Look at the words blooming and waddling. Students can act out these words as they are reciting the poem. This poem describes the many signs of spring, perfect addition to a Spring Science Unit. How about comparing and contrasting what happens in spring to what happens in winter?  Depending on your grade level you could do a phonics lesson on the "ou" sound in ground and and "ow" as in town. What other phonics lessons can you think of? I always like to add a writing activity with my poems. Students can write about what they like most about spring. This poem is part of my "Spring Has Sprung With Poems, Plays, and Writing" Unit . You can read more about it and get a free poem by clicking HERE

With April being National poetry month I have put together some great free resources, free lesson ideas, poetry book resources, and freebies for you to access for all your April poetry needs.
Most of you know how much I love to write poems, chants, and plays and explore the different poetry forms and share them with you. Sometimes a poem just pops in my head when I go out for a walk and I have to rush home to write it down. I'm thrilled when I can remember it since I just turned 65. A few days ago I was thinking about rain as we had so much of it in March and at the beginning of April. All of a sudden I wrote "April Showers" and then 5 more poems about Rain. I had so much fun that I decided to put them in a new product called, "April Showers Bring Rain Poems." Here is a sample of the 6 original poems. Just click on the picture to see some samples and download the Preview to see all the poems and writing activities.
There is a Haiku, called "Raindrops" and a Craftivity Activity where students will write their own Haiku about Raindrops and paste it to a Raindrop like the one below. Think of a bulletin board full of Raindrop Haiku.
One of my favorite poems in this packet is "Can You Hear the Rain?" It is a great poem to have students close their eyes while you read it and imagine the sounds and visualize the rain falling. Students will then find and sort plural nouns, adjectives, and verbs.
I have also put together some great websites with free resources for celebrating National  Poetry Month. First is Scholastic. You will find so many free resources, lesson ideas, and poetry book ideas. Just click on the picture below to access them.
I love all the free resources at Reading Rockets. There are so many links to Learning through Poetry to access including lessons, different forms of poetry, and using poetry for English Language learners that you don't want to miss. Just click on the picture below.
If you are looking for some free resources of different forms of poetry to use with your students just click HERE. You can also find more forms of poetry with instructions by clicking on the picture below.
Finally, you will find free poetry lesson plans and resources at Education World by clicking on the picture below.

Of course I have a freebie for all my followers and viewers. It's a poem and writing activity from my new "April Showers Bring Rain Poems" packet. Just click on the picture below to download your free poetry product. Hope you will leave some sweet feedback.

Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students. Hope you don't have too many April showers!
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Thursday, April 3, 2014

Be an Earth Protector! Free Resources, Projects, and Activities

Earth Day is only a few weeks away and while I was researching my new product, "Why We Need Earth Day" I read some very disturbing facts about how we are harming our earth. Did you know that the average person throws away 4 pounds of garbage a day? Although the United states has only 5% of the world's population it contributes 40% of the waste. I decided to try to turn the negative statistics into some positive action. Although Earth Day is only 1 day a year, there are lots of things we can all do each and every day. They say that politics is local but I believe that helping our earth is local, too.

What We Know:
We know that we need to recycle, reduce, and reuse. That's easier said than done. The recycling rate of the United States is only 28%. We need to do a much better job. We know that recycling, reducing, and reusing saves energy, water, and land as well as decreases the amount of pollution in our air, water, and land. Here are some activities that your students can do with their families and hopefully get your whole community involved.

Take the Shower Challenge
We all like to take long, hot showers. Did you know that the average person uses 12,000 gallons of water a year. We can save water and energy that it takes to heat the water by taking shorter showers.

  • Have students time how long it takes them in the shower from turning on the water to shutting it off. They can get another family member to time them. Have them write down the minutes and seconds and share it in class. As a math activity you can have students find who took the longest and shortest shower.
  • Then have them try to reduce their shower time each day. Record the time and chart their progress. 
  • This would be a fun activity for the whole family!
  • This will not only save water and energy but can lower a family's utility bill!
Be an Earth-Friendly Detective:
Have you ever gone around your home or yard to find things that are not earth-friendly? Challenge students to go home and look in each room and outside and make a list of what they see. Were there lights left on in rooms, water dripping from a faucet, or things thrown away that could have been recycled? This is one of the activities in my "Why We Need Earth Day" Packet.
Keep an Earth Log:
Have students keep an Earth Log of what they do each day to recycle, reduce, and reuse. They would probably do a lot more if they had to keep a daily log. Here's my Earth Blog from my packet.
Saving Food Scraps for Composting
Find out if there are places that make compost near you. Apple cores, banana peels, and other food waste can be recycled into compost. Compost makes a rich fertilizer. Special bins can be set up in your school cafeteria to collect these wastes and then can be transported to one of the composting sites. A great science activity would be to learn how to make compost. Click HERE to get a free power point on how to compost with kids.

I found many Earth Day projects on Pinterest. Click HERE to see them. 
I also found some great lessons, projects, and activities at Education World which you can access by clicking on the picture below.
You can also check out my new product, "Why We Need Earth Day"  for Grades 2-3 by clicking on the picture below. There are a variety of reading and writing activities to teach students about the history of Earth Day and what we can do to help our earth. You can download the preview to see all the materials and activities in the packet and get a free activity. All the activities are differentiated at the 2nd and 3rd grade levels.
If you are looking for free resources, craft ideas, and free activities for K-1 just click on the picture below.
Finally for all of my followers and viewers I have put my "Be an Earth Detective" and "Earth Log" in a freebie that you can download by clicking on the picture below. Hope your students enjoy it.
Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students. I hope we can begin to do more to take care of our earth each and every day.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Spring Sentence Writing with Sentence Frames and a Free Activity

Spring has definitely come to Tallahassee. The trees are in full bloom, bushes are blossoming with flowers, and the grass is turning green. It is the perfect time to get students writing about Spring. There are so many wonderful vocabulary words associated with the season of spring. The more vocabulary words your students know, the more words they will be able to use in their writing.

I have revised and updated my "Spring Edition of Making Sentences with Sentence Frames" to include a Word Wall of Spring Verbs like the ones below:
I have also updated my picture/word cards.
Students will engage in whole class activities to demonstrate their understanding of what a sentence is and isn't, and learn the parts of a sentence using sentence frames.
I like to make sets of the cards above to give to each student. Then, when I hold up different cards with sentence parts, they can hold up the card that describes the part of the sentence. It is a great way to get 100% class participation and informally access your students' understanding of the parts of the sentence.
Once they have demonstrated their understanding, they can work in centers making sentences with sentence frame parts that are color coded and cut into parts.
You can see all the materials and activities in this packet by clicking on the picture below and downloading the Preview file. There are free activities from the packet when you download the Preview.
Although it is designed for students in Grades 1-2, I have had several kindergarten teachers who have left feedback that they will be using it with their Kindergartners. I was so excited to get feedback from ESL teachers who loved the way the activities were scaffolded to help build on previous knowledge and practice. 

To go along with this writing packet I created a free Spring Picture/Sentence Match which you can download by clicking on the picture below. Students will practice matching a sentence about a spring activity with a picture.
These picture/sentence cards are also a great edition my What Happens in Spring? Reading and Writing Unit. You can access lots of free spring resources and free activities by clicking HERE

Thanks for all you do to make a difference for your students. I hope Spring has sprung where you live and we can leave that long cold winter behind us.

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