Friday, 16 August 2019

Building Classroom Community

If this is your first year teaching or your twentieth, you know that students come to you from very different backgrounds, languages, experiences and needs.  Getting to know your students is never easy.  Even with parent conferences, documentation from previous teachers, or questionnaires, your goal is to know your students well while providing a safe place to learn and grow.  My greatest memories as an elementary school teacher are not of the students who were outspoken, commanded attention or were "good" at everything.  It was of the students who came into the classroom painfully shy, uncertain and a bit overwhelmed.  Those were the students who needed me most.  They needed a boost of confidence and a place the build their self-esteem.  The suggestions I provide  may not work for everyone but they certainly helped with ways to jump start discussions and to build a classroom community.  Here's a snippet of my latest resource. 

The Magic Box

At the beginning of each school year, a decorative “Magic Box” is passed around to each student.  Ask students to look inside the box but to not say a thing. At the end of the Magic Box sharing session, students are asked to talk about what they have noticed.  Inside the box is a mirror.  Student are encouraged to talk about their own reflections and why “they as students” are the most important component of a classroom community.   

For additional ideas on how to build a classroom community, take a peek at my Classroom Community Activities Pack. 


Tuesday, 6 August 2019

TpT Giveaway & Back to School Sale August 6th and 7th


I've teamed up with some fabulous TpT authors for a back to school TpT card giveaway.  the prize is a $100 Teacher Pay Teachers Gift card organized by Kelly Malloy from an Apple for the Teacher and Co-hosts include: .The Fun Factory180 Days of Reading1stgradefireworksKelly McCownIt's a Teacher ThingPeas In A PodMickey's PlaceChocolate 4 TeachersLIVIN' IN A VAN DOWN BY THE RIVERMrs Wenning's ClassroomA Plus KidsSandra NaufalTeachingLifeThe Chocolate TeacherStar KidsLeah PopinskiWalk with Me a SecondMs. KRoots and Wings, and Think Grow Giggle.

Giveaway ends 8/13/19 and is open worldwide.  Use the Rafflecopter to enter.


Are you a Teacher Blogger or Teachers pay Teachers seller who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your store and social media?  Click here to find out how you can join our totally awesome group of bloggers! 








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Monday, 15 July 2019

Learning to Write Procedural Text

Procedural Writing provides a reader with directions or instructions on “how to” do something.  Some examples of procedural writing include:  recipes, giving rules for games,  sports or situations, giving directions to go to a location, conducting experiments, taking care of something, constructing something, etc.

Procedural Writing:

Gives a clear reason for the procedure.

Provides a list of materials required to conduct the procedure.

Addresses any safety precautions or rules that need to be followed.

Includes all necessary steps for the procedure.  Steps should be in proper order (using transition words like “first”, “next”, “then”, “finally”......).

Is easy to follow and implement.  Directions should be clear.  There should be no confusion.

Examining the Structure of Procedural Writing

Learning Goal:  Teaching students to explore the features of a procedural text. 

Materials Needed:  Have students bring in a variety of procedural texts.  Examples include:  recipes, manuals, instructions for games, directions from an online site (for example, getting from a student’s house to school), craft assembly manuals, toy assembly manuals, and so on. 


Brainstorming SessionsStudents are encouraged to work in groups to complete this activity.  Place several different procedural manuals on each table.  Have groups of students explore the text features of a procedural manual, recipe or instructional guide.  Students are encouraged to record their findings on chart paper.  Call all students together to gather all ideas.  Create a large anchor chart to assist students (see sample anchor chart to follow).  


Procedural Writing Unit

Saturday, 6 July 2019

TpT Gift Card Giveaway!



Rules: Use the Rafflecopter to enter.  Giveaway ends 7/13/19 and is open worldwide.



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Monday, 10 June 2019

Fun Science - "Fuzzy Creatures"

Here's a fun hands on activity.  You can do this as part of a plants and soils unit.   Students have created their own "fuzzy" creatures.  Here's a list of items you need:


  • soil
  • grass seed
  • knee high nylons (one per creature)
  • spoons
  • baggies
  • measuring cups
  • pans or trays
  • spraying water bottle
  • pipe cleaners, toothpicks or googly eyes

1.  Give each child one full cup of soil.  Add 2 heaping spoons of grass seed to each cup of soil.  Place soil and grass seed in baggies that can be zipped.

2.  Have students mix the soil and grass seed together.  Make sure the baggie is zipped tight and have students shake until thoroughly mixed.

3.  Scoop mixture into knee high nylons.  Spritz water when nylon is filled half way.  Add more mixture.

4.  Seal nylon with a pipe clear.  Decorate creature with embellishments.

5.  Place creature on tray.  Spritz with more water.

6.  Place creature in direct sunlight.  Sprintz daily.  Soon enough you'll have your own fuzzy creature. 

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Guided Reading Conference Tips

If you're looking for one of the most effective formative assessments for reading, the reading conference is it.  You will gain insight into your students' reading interests, habits, and strategies.  The reading conference is an essential part of the Independent Reading time. You may view a post about Independent Reading here.

Creating a reading conference binder is a way to quickly flip through anecdotal notes and checklists I have created.  These include question prompts for reading strategies.  I have a focus on  Retelling, Relating & Reflecting for Fiction and Non Fiction texts, Activating Prior Knowledge Prompts, Monitoring Comprehension Prompts, Sensory Images Prompts, Questioning Prompts, Determining Importance Prompts, Inferring Prompts and Synthesizing Prompts.  A binder cover sheet, an Independent Reading Observation as well as a Summary of Reading Observations Form is included.     

I use a binder and dividers (one divider per student).  Prompt sheets are placed in each student's slot.  I also provide a running record using the PM Benchmark running records toolkit.  I start the school year with a reading interest inventory.  It's a snapshot of my students' reading interests.  It also helps me choose materials students are interested in reading for my classroom library and future literature circles.


For a free printable reading interest inventory, click on the link below:

Monday, 6 May 2019

Win a $100 Teachers Pay Teacher Gift Card

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter to enter.  Giveaway ends 5/13/19 and is open worldwide.

Are you a Teacher Blogger or Teachers pay Teachers seller who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your store and social media?  Click here to find out how you can join our totally awesome group of bloggers! 



a Rafflecopter giveaway