IT'S A SALE.. That you can stay in bed for!

I know many of you brave the elements, and the crazies that are out for some great Black Friday deals, but I'll admit, it is not high on my to do list! I'd much rather sit and enjoy my day off in my warm and comfy pj's and shop online!
{In honor of my new fav movie.. Catching Fire! I couldn't resist :) }

That's why the TPT Cyber Monday and Tuesday sale is PERFECT for me! My wishlist is ever growing (it's seriously embarrassing how many things are on it... like, triple digits people!) I can't wait for this sale to purchase some of my most wanted items! 

EVERYTHING in my store is an additional 20% off, which means you'll get 28% off total! An absolute bargain if you ask me. :)

I have received some fabulous feedback on some of my products lately that can hopefully give you some inspiration for your wishlist!

The first is from my favorite new pack: Reindeer Games ELA Centers



The second is from another one of my favorite packs that has been SO beneficial for me with implementing common core and a lot more Informational Text in my classroom. It is my Reading Informational Text CCS Response Pack.


I could go on for days about all of the fabulous items on my wishlist, but here are a few of my MUST haves that I'm definitely purchasing!


We are really focusing on using text evidence in our comprehension, and we do Gingerbread Houses as a holiday activity, so this Gingerbread Language Arts Pack from Pinkadots Elementary is a MUST for me! I can't wait to get it and use it :)
I am always looking for ways to give my strugglers a little extra grammar practice, but in a fun way. These Parts of Speech Mystery Picture packs are PERFECT for that! I can't wait to try them out :)

I swear I own everything Erin has ever made, and I LOVE her Interactive Notebooks, but her clipart and frames are AMAZING, too! I'm obsessed with her seller's toolkits, and can't wait to pick up this one! 
I  can't wait to start our Greek Mythology unit in the new year, and this pack by Fourth Grade Flipper will be so perfect for my higher leveled kids to challenge them and help them grasp higher level concepts! I love that it's a DBQ pack!


I'm linking up with Christina, too to share all of the goodies:)

What's on your wishlist? Make sure you shop the sale to get some amazing deals! And don't forget to leave feedback on all of your previous purchases to get TPT credits! Happy shopping, friends! :)




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Writing Workshop Motivation and a Giveaway!

I love Wednesdays because it means it's time to link up with one of my first and best blogging buddies, Jivey! I love her linky because I enjoy reflecting on ideas that have worked in the classroom, sharing them with others, and learning SO much from reading other's posts!

Today's topic is getting those reluctant writers to write. Here are a few ways I do it!

1. Give my writer's choice! I have found that my most reluctant writer's will write when given choices. This allows them to pick options that are not too daunting for them, and they are interested and confident in. By me choosing what they choose from, I still have control that they are improving their writing through the activities. Some of my daily choices during Work on Writing include:

My Interactive Writing Board.

Students can pick from any of the 9 common core aligned writing options. They have directions and a scaffolded organizer to guide them (my reluctant writer's LOVE these options.)

My Whole Class Writing Journals
I have 10 of these in my room and my students absolutely LOVE reading their classmates writing and responding or writing their own entry. This is probably the favorite for most of my students!

My Roll and Write and Pull and Write story starters.

 Students love how by rolling a die or blindly picking a laminated card they can build the basis of any fun or silly story. This REALLY helps my reluctant writers because it gives them a framework to build off of.

2. Encourage writing with Writer's Workshop.

My students LOVE writer's workshop. To create a positive atmosphere I play music softly (sometimes classic, many times country.) This gets students focused. I also give them a focus board for what they should be working on, and a timer so they can keep track of their progress.

Some of our Writer's Workshops include:


There are 10 prompts for each month and they are common core aligned. Sometimes I pick one and read it to the class for everyone to respond to, other times I let each person pick which one they want to work on.

We also do reflection journaling during this time. I'll have students write 2 positives about their life, 1 problem they're having, and 1 gratitude for someone in their lives. I try and do this at least once a week and the kiddos love it!

Another thing that all of my kiddos love to do is picture writing prompts. I will just pull pictures from the internet and project it on the board. I will ask students to either: A. Describe the picture in as much detail as possible B. Tell a story about what is going on in the picture C. Write a letter to the person or object in the picture. This is always a huge hit!

How do you encourage your writers? I'd love to hear your thoughts :)


AND.. I AM EXCITED TO ANNOUNCE!!!

A bunch of bloggers have joined up to say THANK YOU.  Thank you for following us.  Thank you for your support, encouragement, and friendship.  We have learned so much from you.  

So we wanted to say thank you with a Gift Card Giveaway.  

Simply fill in the rafflecopter below and you have a chance to win one of 3 prizes. 
(You can fill in the rafflecopter on any of our blogs, it's all the same one.) 

3 lucky winners will win a $25 gift card to TPT.  


Good luck!  



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Tried it Tuesday-Center Storage

If you're like me, you are always finding/creating/discovering new ideas for centers to keep your kiddos engaged and learning.

Of course, this also means A LOT of randomly placed task cards, recording sheets, direction pages, etc that just never seem to have a place that is easy to keep stored, organized, and easily accessible.

Fingers crossed, I think I found my solution!

So I am linking up with one of my BBB's Holly over at Fourth Grade Flipper to share with you what I have been trying lately... new center storage!

I was at Office Max a few weeks ago and of course I couldn't walk by the sale section without looking (you never know what amazing new pens or folders you might find that you NEED of course!) And I saw these...
They are poly-plastic envelopes with a snap closure. I had a revelation and thought, "These would be AMAZING for centers!" They had packs of 3 for $3, so I bought every one they had (12 packs total) and I had a coupon for $10 off a $40 purchase, so when I combined it with the ink I was buying, too.. I saved some money :)

So I took them to school, got out my handy dandy hot glue gun, and went to work! 

Next week we will be doing Thanksgiving themed centers, and I have A LOT of options for the kiddos to choose from. My "Owfully Thankful ELA Centers MEGAPACK" has 8 fun and interactive centers that I know the kiddos will love. 
I also picked up Diane from Fifth in the Middle's two fall centers: Fabulous Fall and Thanksgiving Common Courses. They are wonderful! 


Two of my awesome volunteer moms helped me cut and laminate everything to get them ready to go!

To store them, I am using an envelope per center. First, I hot glued the laminated directions sheet on the outside of the envelope, then placed all of the task cards or pieces and parts in baggies inside the envelope. I also placed plenty of copies of the response sheets, answers keys, recording mats, pencils or pens, and any other parts of the centers that needed included. 
{Main Dish Main Idea Center from my Owlfully Thankful pack}

{The inside of the Main Idea Center including Thanksgiving Placemat and Place Setting for organizing task cards, task cards, and response sheets.}
{Nonfiction text structure and Text Features Turkey Trot board game from my Owlfully Thankful pack}

{The inside including game rules, game pieces, board game, spinner with paperclip and pencil, question cards, and "director's" answer key.}

I love how they are all organized, easy to access, and have a place!! I can't to use these. I decided to use  some extra empty crates I had in my room to store them in. I organized all of my centers by the time of year I use them or the theme (season). 




Now when it's time for centers kiddos can just sort through and pick the one they want to complete or haven't done yet. They know exactly how to put everything back, and I can easily access them all! 

Here's to hoping it works :) How do you organize your centers?



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Homework Club motivation and a FREEBIE

We are getting to that part of the year in room 219 where some students have fallen off the homework wagon. I'm sure many of you know what I'm talking about. The time of the year where the newness has worn off, students are excited about the holidays, and some of those frequent homework missers are  coming out of the wood works.

Then you have those amazing kiddos who not only do their homework every night, but they do it diligently and make you so proud! Those poor muffins sit there while you lecture the class on responsibility, and respect, and how it doesn't hurt you, it hurts them when they don't do their homework. Do you all know what I'm talking about? Can you relate? Need a solution?

Well, I think my teaching partnaaa and I have finally found one! (At least we think so... it's working so far! Fingers crossed!)

I know many of you already do homework clubs, and it is not a new concept. But I wanted to share with you today how we do ours, and give you a little freebie to make your own!
I don't have pictures from it set up in my classroom (I forgot to take some.. I know, BAD blogger! I promise to update with some!)
Here's a picture :)
Here's what we do.

All of my students have their names on a laminated 2" circle with a magnet on the back. On Monday, all of their names are up on our homework board!

Throughout the week, if a student misses a homework, he or she has to take their button down and put it in a bin. They are no longer part of the "homework club."

On Friday, if their button is still up, these students get an extra 25 minute recess at the end of the day! Now in 4th grade, we are not allowed to do an "extra" recess every day, so our kids ONLY get 10 minutes of recess a day (right before lunch.) So this 25 minute recess is a coveted thing in our classroom!

What do the students who don't make the club do? They stay inside with either my teaching partner or myself (we take turns who takes the kiddos out and who stays in) and write a reflection sheet on WHY they had to miss recess. This paper has to go home over the weekend and be signed by a parent and brought back on Monday.

I also keep track of when each student makes or misses a homework club. I use this to help me with some areas of personal achievement on their report card, and for conferences.

It's simple, isn't it? But it is definitely sparking motivation in our students. I love that it gets some of our frequent flyers to start getting their homework done, and actually rewards those kiddos who diligently do what they're supposed to. To make your own homework club like ours you can click here to download this for free from my TPT store!

Do you do a homework club? Or do you handle homework differently? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

 http://www.classroomfreebies.com/2013/11/MM-11-18.html



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Workshop Wednesday-Where the Red Fern Grows

I love the topic of this week's Workshop Wednesday... love my BBB Jivey, too! :)

Every year my favorite thing to teach, and the kiddos favorite parts are when we do whole group book studies! Sometimes I change the books, but there are two that I always teach. One of those is an CLASSIC.

Where the Red Fern Grows


This post is perfect timing, because we just started the book this week, and I couldn't be more excited! This year, when I sent out the newsletter letting parents know we would be starting the book, I received 9 emails back saying how it was their favorite book they read in school! And 6 of those emails were from dads

Of course my kiddos came to school Monday SO eager to start it! In fact, I was probably asked 5 times during Social Studies when we were starting. I calmly reminded them we were doing a different subject right now, but I secretly openly LOVED their excitement.

There are so many activities we do with this novel, and the teaching possibilities are endless! I am working on a pack right now to add to my TPT store, and I will hopefully have it done soon! 

Here's what we've done so far this week with the book:
Monday- I introduced the novel by showing the movie trailer (this always gets them excited!) 



Then, we read all about Wilson Rawls!
{part of my pack!}

We discussed his background and story, read his bio in the book, and answered some questions about him!
                                                                                              {part of my pack!}

This is a great way to tie in Author's Purpose, and we talked about it a little bit here! We previewed our Chapter 1 vocabulary and defined the words. By this point, my kiddos were literally drooling with anticipation to read! There were many cries of "FINALLY!" when we started the book. We only read pages 1-5, but they were already hooked!

Tuesday-We started by finishing chapter 1, and discussing the chapter. We wrote down the page numbers for our vocabulary, and wrote sentences of our own using the words. Next, we had writer's workshop time where students responded to chapter 1 questions.
{part of my pack!}
We then began to talk about the setting of the novel. In chapter 2, we switch from the older Billy Coleman's life, to the story of young Billy and his hounds. The story is set during the Great Depression, in 1932, on a small farm in Oklahoma. We read a little about the Great Depression and discussed it.
                                                                                              {part of my pack!}
Next, I read aloud the picture book Potato: A Tale from the Great Depression by Kate Lied.
We talked about how the main character in this story might have had a similar and different experience than Billy. It was a great discussion, and my students were SO interested in learning more about this time period. I checked out a bunch of books for kids on the Great Depression from the library, and many of my kiddos read them during Read to Self.

Wednesday- Today we defined our vocabulary for chapter 2 and read chapter 2. We wrote down notes on the setting of the novel because it is described in detail in this chapter. Afterwards, students completed 5 response questions during Writer's Workshop. We also discussed First Person, Third Person, and Omniscient Point of View. We added a foldable to our Interactive Notebooks and figured out what point of view our book is being told from.


{Some of my kiddos hard at work!}

Tomorrow & Friday- We will be working on the setting worksheet! Students will be comparing their life now, to what Billy's would have been like during the Great Depression. Students will also be making a detailed drawing of the setting with physical land features. 

Next week is one of my FAVORITE activities with this book: We make our edible map! I will be blogging in much more detail about this next week, but this is another one of the ways I tie this novel in with Social Studies.
{this photo is from the internet, I couldn't find mine from last year so this is just an example!}

I make a large batch of the dough at home, and get blue and red licorice, m&m's, sprinkles, chocolate chips, and other candies to make the physical features. We make a map of Oklahoma, with the Ozark Mountains, Cherokee Land, rivers and everything. I have parents come in and help, too. The kiddos LOVE this every year. (This year I have a peanut allergy though, and my recipe calls for peanut butter... any suggestions on a substitute?)

Check back next week to hear all about how it went, and here more about this book study! And to pick up your copy of my novel unit :) THE PACK IS DONE! You can pick it up here in my store! :)

My new FAV clipart designer, Sarah, is making me a pack of clipart for this book! I can't wait to see what amazing images she comes up with! Her prices are SO reasonable and I love that she includes the B&W and colored versions in her packs! You can find her clipart in her TPT store Educlips and check out her blog Edusong. She is so talented!
I used A TON of her clipart in my newest Owfully Thankful ELA Centers Megapack, and I love how it turned out thanks to her creativity!


Lastly, just a few things I want to remind you of and share with you!

I am so excited to announce that I will be part of a collaborative blog with 20 other amazing bloggers! We are having a contest this week to name the blog! If we pick your creative name, you will win an item from every one of our TPT stores! That's 20 total items! Leave your name suggestion in a comment with your email so I can contact you if you win! :)

Also, don't forget about the amazing Educents deal I am a part of! There are SO many phenomenal products in this deal! I have already used 4 of them this week! Click here to head on over and purchase! And don't forget to enter my Pin it to Win it to win a free item from my TPT store! The contest is through Saturday!


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