Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Why I do What I do...homework edition & FREEBIE!

I am linking up with Christina today from Bunting, Books, and Bright Ideas for this informative linky. 

I thought it would be the perfect idea to tell you about our homework plan. To keep myself organized and plan ahead. We copy all of our homework ahead of time. Robyn is the super organized teacher and already has homework for the WHOLE year copies and ready to go. I just have a master copy printed out for each week and will copy a few weeks at a time. 

I found copying homework for the week and creating a packet teaches students responsibility. It helps them plan their time accordingly and puts the ownership on the students to complete the work, not the parents. Last year the best purchase I made on TPT was the Common Core Weekly Reading Homework from Forkin 4th!
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Common-Core-Weekly-Reading-Homework-3rd-4th-5th-Grade-Complete-Set-40-Texts-772040
I love consistency and start giving this homework out to my students at the start of school. When it is time for Open House, I add images into my Power Point so I can explain to parents what the students are expected to complete weekly. Each student brings their homework in on Friday, we correct it together, and I collect it to look at parent comments on the fluency. Last year this routine worked out amazing. The kids loved the high interest readings, their fluency scores definitely improved, and the parents loved the idea of getting the homework ahead of time. I was so proud of hearing my students converse with one another saying, "I have football tonight and tomorrow. I am going to do most of my homework tonight so I will have time!" Now folks, I'm not even making that up! 

I am still on summer vacation for another month...in fact, I'm not even done with teaching summer school, but I am already thinking about next year. I am adding Social Studies and Science into my class instead of just ELA and although I am a little nervous, I'm hoping I'll survive with lots of support from my blogging friends!

Just in case you haven't heard, Robyn and I finally finished our Morning Work For a Year! We are so excited because like the homework, it allows us to prepare for the year, it is Common Core Aligned, and the students LOVE the activities! 

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/ELA-Morning-WorkBell-Work-BUNDLE-PACK-40-WEEKS-ENTIRE-YEAR-Monthly-Themed-1317892

Just in case you need some more persuading, check out the free WEEK of morning work I've uploaded as a sample! 

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/One-Week-of-3-5th-ELA-Morning-Work-Contractions-CCSS-Try-Before-You-Buy-1341011


Being so prepared is definitely taking my jitters away from the back to school craze that is just around the corner. Hopefully these products will help you too! 

Have a great week! :)

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Stop, Note, & Notice Book Suggestions!

Have you heard of this great book? Last year, my coach, Kara and I worked our way through the book and tested out many sign posts together. It was a wonderful way to get the students to look closer at text and think deeply. I enjoyed this book because I could understand what the authors were explaining and could actually picture the strategy situations happening in my own classroom. To improve the book, I would suggest a book list of picture books & chapter books that are perfect for the different strategies. I wasn't the only person who thought about this idea, in fact, when I talked to my coach, Kara, we both tried to brainstorm books to match the sign posts. Somewhere along the line, we were invited to add to a Google Doc of ideas. This was VERY helpful and I am excited to continue to use these strategies this year! To make me remember the books, I compiled a personal list of my favorite books that fit with the sign post strategies. I am going to print this out and put it in my lesson planning book. 


I own all of these books and house them in my classroom. Although some of these books are read over and over again throughout the grade levels and years, I find it perfectly acceptable to reuse them. It's great to reread a book, but for a different purpose. It allows the students to look deeper into the book and to think about it in a different way. It is also a great strategy for struggling readers because it was already preread and pretaught at a different time. This helps them get more out of the new lesson by not focusing so much on understanding the text, but about understanding and using the new strategy.

Since I've been using this book so much, I created my own set of sign posts for a classroom bulletin board. They work out great because the students are constantly referring to them and it is really awesome when they let you know they could use a strategy in their Just Right Chapter Book after silent reading time!

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Stop-Note-Notice-Reading-Strategies-for-Close-Reading-Chalkboard-theme-862279

I'd love to know what you think of this book and what books you would recommend for the sign posts. To access and add to the Google Doc, click on the image below.

https://docs.google.com/a/bethel.k12.ct.us/document/d/1G1i3ldBItHdsOJ0sZAlsZerAEkfKACDnderk9TsdQ4Q/edit


If you haven't read this book yet and teach Reading in grades 3+, I would highly suggest adding it to your summer reading list! What you learn is completely doable and very meaningful!

Have a great weekend!


Friday, July 11, 2014

Five for Friday! Morning Work for the Year & a SUPER Freebiel!

Hello Friends and Happy Friday! For those of you working summer school, I'm sure you are enjoying the day being Friday, I know I am. I am excited to link up with Doodle Bugs today to celebrate the end of another week!

This is how I feel...maybe is has to do with all the bleach I smell from the custodians cleaning the classroom next to us? :)

http://doodlebugsteaching.blogspot.com/


I couldn't be more excited to announce that our morning work for the WHOLE year is now complete! It is bundled to save a bunch of money and it is also sold separately for each month. Being prepared for the whole year is such an amazing feeling. This morning work is Common Core Aligned. It focuses weekly on different topics and skills and is a perfect packet to correct daily and send home on Friday to keep the parents informed.

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/ELA-Morning-WorkBell-Work-BUNDLE-PACK-40-WEEKS-ENTIRE-YEAR-Monthly-Themed-1317892

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/ELA-Morning-WorkBell-Work-BUNDLE-PACK-40-WEEKS-ENTIRE-YEAR-Monthly-Themed-1317892

I'm telling you, if you buy one item for next year, this is what you need. I know it helped my students tremendously this year and I can't wait to hear how much it has helped you and your students.

This is a BUNDLE PACK of morning work for your 3-5 ELA classroom for the ENTIRE YEAR!

This bundle pack includes monthly themed morning work targeting CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.4.1 Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking. Specifically targeting one week of the following concepts:

 *Getting to know you activities
 * Subject *Predicate
*Sentence fragments
*Run on sentences
*Synonyms
*Antonyms
*Homophones
*Prefixes
*Suffixes
*It’s vs. Its
*Prepositions
*Adjectives
*Verbs
*Adverbs
*Articles
*Using Guide Words in a dictionary
*Editing skills
*Different types of sentences
*Alphabetical order
*Nouns
*Plural nouns
*Possessive nouns
*Pronouns
*Similes
*Onomatopoeia
*Personification
*Idioms
*Contractions
*Proper nouns
 *Conjunctions
*Compound words
*A and An
*Past/Present/Future tense
*Commas
*Commas in a series
*Understanding S and ES
*Quotations

 Each week your students will get four days of practice using, understanding, and writing out the targeted skill before the Friday quiz. The worksheets are designed to explain the targeted skill and increase in difficulty as the week progresses. Friday’s worksheet is considered a quiz grade in my classroom. The worksheets are designed to be quick, consistent, and easy to correct. This is the perfect grammar activity for grades 3-5.

January
February
 March
April
May
 June
August: Back to School Special
September
October
November
December

We use this weekly packet as an activity to start our day with. We call it “Bell Work” because as the students enter the room in the morning, they work on their packet before reading Just Right Books around the room. After the bell rings, we correct the morning work for the day. This activity allows us to squeeze meaningful grammar exercises into the day and keep the students focused all while keeping the room quiet. At the end of the week, the students take the corrected packet home. This works great for parent communication and allows the parents to see what their child is working on in the classroom.


Some more excitement to share with you is that I've finally finished our tech cards for next year. I can't wait to print these cards in color, laminate them, and attach them to a key ring. I actually might print a few copies so everyone at my tech station will have access to their own set. I loved this so much, I actually made it a freebie! Go grab these awesome cards and let me know what you think. 

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Tech-Choices-Task-Cards-w-QR-Codes-1317720

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Tech-Choices-Task-Cards-w-QR-Codes-1317720

I just purchased this book and cannot wait to read it. I am going to focus next year on incorporating vocabulary into ELA, SS, & Science. I am also going to be linking up for a Word Nerds book club. Stay tuned for a book review!

We just made 900 followers at our TPT Store and couldn't more excited. When we hit 1000 we are going to have a HUGE surprise! If you aren't following yet, click on the picture below and press "Follow"! This will allow you to know when we post freebies and new products that you won't want to miss out. 

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Pinkadots-Elementary

 It's my husband's birthday weekend, which means we will be letting him decide on the weekend plans. I'm sure it will involve tag sales and a family trip to Cabelas. Have a wonderful weekend! :)


Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy 4th! Free Font Friday!


I am so excited to have finally figured out not only how to make fonts, but how to upload them to TPT and share them with you. In honor of the 4th of July...I have for you our first free font!

drum roll please.....

da da da daaaaaa....

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Pinkadots-Stripes-Free-Font-Polkadots-and-Stripes-1304441

So it may not be perfect, but I can assure you that it looks super cute when printed out! 

I have big ideas for more fonts, but first I need to grab my iPad pen from school. I did this one with my finger, in a thunder storm, while balancing two toddlers on my legs. haha

Let me know what you think! Just click on the picture above to download it from my TPT store. Don't forget to leave some feedback with your thoughts! 

Have a wonderful and safe holiday weekend.

Thank you to The Teaching Tribune for hosting the fun linky!

http://www.theteachingtribune.com/2014/07/free-font-friday-5.html

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Post Card Exchange Info and Tips & Educents Coupon Code!

I am so excited to order my post cards for the new postcard exchange. Have you ever heard of one of these? Basically a responsible teacher creates a sign up list for one teacher from every state. You can find sign up links on Facebook posts, Instagram, or even on a blog. (My friend Emily is really good about finding them and posting the new ones on her Facebook page, here!) There are a few exchanges still looking for participants...1, 2, 3. All you need to sign up is your school mailing address and a promise to create and send out 49 postcards (one to everyone on the list except for you). 

I participated in an exchange a few years ago and created a great card on Vistaprint. I found this company to be the best because the price was right, I could upload both sides of the card, and I could customize everything. Some of the cards I received were generic cards from the states and were perfectly fun to receive and read. Some teachers hand wrote the information, had their students write the information, or printed and taped the information on the back of the postcard they wanted to share with the recipiants. 

 I ended up receiving all the promised cards throughout the year and created a fun bulletin board out of them. I hung a large United States Map in the center of the bulletin board, typed up an explanation of the exchange, and started hanging up the postcards around the map. I then used string to locate the state and attach it to the postcard showing where it was from. The display looked awesome! (The picture in this post is not my actual picture, it was borrowed from Google images and I cannot locate the source.)

If you would like to participate, but aren't sure what to do, don't you worry!  I learned a few tips that I am going to share with you.



#1. If creating a postcard, put most of the information on the front. When it is hung up, only one side is able to be seen (unless it hangs from the ceiling).  I did try photo copying the opposite side of the card, if there was fun information on both sides, but it wasn't as "pretty".

#2. Make your post card stand out. Use fun pictures, colors, and fonts. Make people want to notice your state. You can borrow images from a quick Google search or if you are hand making post cards, cut out pictures from travel brochures or magazines!

#3. Highlight the exciting information in your state. Make your state sound fun and inviting. 

#4. If you are having postcards printed, check for coupon codes through a quick Google search before you place your order on Vista Print. There are many deals online to save you money, you just have to search! Sometimes you can even get them printed for free.

#5. Before school is out (if you remember) have your class write a blurb about your state. They can research important facts and information. The class can combine the information and it can be used for the next postcard. Since these are sent very early in the school year, I like to get them printed in the summer, so they are set to go.

Here is my new postcard. My 2013-2014 class came up with the blurb (that is on the back explaining each picture). The front letters spelling out Connecticut took me about an hour to create. I followed an online tutorial. They aren't perfect, but they are unique.


I am so excited to tell my new class about this project in the fall. I'm sure they are going to LOVE getting mail and seeing the information shared with us on each card. We also study the regions of the United States in Social Studies. This will fit into the curriculum perfectly!

Before I go, have you checked out Educents lately? There are some amazing products up right now! Since I participated in a few bundle deals, they are giving my blog a special code for this weekend only. This code will save you 10% on your purchase! The code you need is: ILOVE3PINKADOTS

Click on the link below and check out the specials available! 


http://www.educents.com/#pinkadotselementary

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Wordless & What I'm Loving Wednesday!

Well it's HUMP day...but even better, no work on Friday! Thank you 4th of July for finally falling on a Friday! I am linking up with the adorable blogs, Sugar and Spice & Covered in Glitter and Glue today. 

I've been MIA lately on the blog because we ended school on June 23rd. We then started summer school on June 30th! Just in case you are counting, that gave me SIX days of summer vacation. In those six days, we were super busy. My daughter finished her first year of dance and had her recital, we saw both sides of the family, went to a few BBQs, and even did some work on the house. 

Now that my husband and I are both doing summer school, we are back in work mode. So I needed this post to give me a positive spin on life. 

I am absolutely LOVING my Jamberry nails. I just hosted a Facebook party and received a ton of free sets. The only problem now is resisting the urge to constantly change them. This is my current Jamicure (my daughter has matching nails now)!



We started remedial summer school this week and are busy taking some assessments for data points.  




 Does anyone else give the dreaded DSA? I hate giving this test over and over if students do not pass the first or second. I also DESPISE grading them.

Don't forget, my friend, Christy, is having an awesome giveaway! Head over to her blog for your chance to win some great prizes!

http://pinkadotselementary.blogspot.com/2014/07/wordless-what-im-loving-wednesday.html




Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Two for Tuesday! 50% off TPT must haves!

I'm in the home stretch with a week left of school. Thank goodness because with 85 degree weather, it is starting to get HOT IN HERE...especially with no air conditioning in the school. I'm linking up today for Two For Tuesday with The Teaching Tribune with two products that are 50% off in my store for TODAY ONLY!


This item that is 50% off is VERY popular and a must have for any teacher. 


http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Reward-Coupons-60-Coupons-PERFECT-for-Classroom-Management-542106

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Reward-Coupons-60-Coupons-PERFECT-for-Classroom-Management-542106

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Reward-Coupons-60-Coupons-PERFECT-for-Classroom-Management-542106

Next up is our amazingly popular Revise the Story Worksheets. If you haven't checked out this product you need too! Especially since it is UNDER $2.00 today! I created it based on my students' needs and they became great revisers. 

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Revise-the-Story-TEN-one-page-stories-for-revisions-figurative-language-1072175

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Revise-the-Story-TEN-one-page-stories-for-revisions-figurative-language-1072175

http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Revise-the-Story-TEN-one-page-stories-for-revisions-figurative-language-1072175

Hope this little sale helps you out! Be sure to check out the other products on sale in the linky today! Have a happy Tuesday! :)