Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Pirate Perimeter...ARRGGGG!!

As a follow-up activity to my lesson on area and perimeter I handed out pirate task cards to each group. The kiddos love any and every activity that doesn't involve a workbook! The cards are differentiated with easier tasks for my lower groups and more challenging tasks for my higher groups.

The cards can be used for finding both - area and perimeter, or for finding just area, or just perimeter. I cut them out and laminated them for future use. You can download your copy HERE.

In addition to the task cards, each student received a matching recording sheet. Two sheets are included for each set of cards. One recording sheet is for area and the other recording sheet is for perimeter.

This student used the red cards to solve for area...

And this student also used the red cards, but solved for perimeter...

You can download your copy HERE too.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

For Boston...

Such a beautiful tribute for such a terrible tragedy. One of my students asked me today, "Did you hear about the Boston bombs? Are we safe?"  Heartbreaking  =(

Thank you to Nikki over at MelonHeadz for allowing me to repost this image to my blog...

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

State Test Jitters

First you don't hear from me for about a month...and now you can't get me to stop rambling! I have a tendency to do that =)

This morning was day 1 of the ELA state test for my 4th graders. I know they were all a little nervous even though I repeatedly told them that they are extremely bright and can handle this. Soooooo...I decided to leave them a little surprise on their desks when they walked in this morning....

Kids always love getting a treat from the teacher, and I felt this was a cute motivational treat right before the test. If you'd like to do the same for your kiddos you can download these for FREE by clicking HERE.

I hope your kids enjoy it as much as mine did =)

Free, Easy and Useful Creation Tools Your Kids Will Love

I try to incorporate as much technology as I can in my classroom. Sometimes I find it difficult to find relevent sites that will support my instruction. Today, as I was doing some reading, I stumbled upon an article from the NYTimes that included some really useful (and FREE) tools that I could use in my classroom.

New technologies is a powerful way for teachers to take their instruction to the next level. With so many choices, the trick is to locate user-friendly tools that allow you to craft differentiated learning experiences that engage students and help them develop 21st century skills.

In that spirit, below are 5 ways to support student creation and learning using online technology tools. These tools are easy to understand and easy to use, and they can make your classroom more interesting,  interactive, and student-centered.

1. Visual Tech Tools: Wordle, Tagxedo

Examining word clouds can not only provide new vantage points for literary and language scholars, but also help English-language learners, and others who have trouble with complex texts, to see patterns.
Students can play with the font and colors and make as well as save and reuse “Wordles” of their own, so the possibilities are endless. They can use their own writing to see what words they overuse, perhaps, or create Wordle versions of a famous poem, speech or song that visually reflects the way the text “feels” to them.

Wordle: Hamlet Act 1, Scene 5
Wordle Illustration

2. Make Content Comic - Tech Tools: ReadWriteThink’s Comic Creator, Professor Garfield’s Comics Lab or MakeBeliefsComix

On any of these sites, students can pick from a wide range of story elements – characters, expressions, actions, settings and dialogue boxes – to create unique visual narratives. They can use these tools to illustrate any concept or curricular content, such as a scientific process, historical event, personal narrative or literary text. Suddenly every student can access his or her inner artist, and you’ll have material for a great display of student work.

3. Make Interactive Time Lines -Tech Tools: Xtimeline, or Timetoast

Timelines, of course, organize information and events that have developed over time. They display order and sequence as well as relationships. Why go online to create this traditional graphic organizer? Interactive versions are not only visually engaging, but also easily incorporate multimedia such as video and audio clips and link directly to source material.

4. Design Interactive Presentations - Tech Tools: and Museum Box

Powerpoint  is not the only tool students can use to present concepts and ideas visually. Two classroom mainstays – the poster presentation and the diorama – have digital counterparts that students can use for class projects (and that you can use to present course material in engaging ways).
With students can create posters enhanced with multimedia. The interface walks you through the creation and gives students a wide range of scrapbook-inspired templates.
(Note: be sure you go to the .edu edition of Glogster. The regular site contains some content that is inappropriate for a classroom setting.)
Museum Box takes the old standbys – dioramas and presentation cubes – and kicks them up a notch by enabling the creation of 3-D dioramas with a series of interactive cubes.

5. Map and Brainstorm Ideas - Tech Tools:, and Cacoo

A basic program to start with is The “start brainstorming” button will get you underway, and a click on the “help” menu on the left hand side of the interface gives you all the general instructions you need to start “pinning” bubbles into a mind map. and Cacoo are collaborative programs (CoSketch has a particularly easy interface) that allow people on different computers to work together in real time – even from different locations, so students could collaborate on maps on their personal computers for a homework assignment.

I hope you find these tools useful.

Monday, April 15, 2013

The Magical Product Swap


WOW! This was without a doubt, a MAGICAL swap. I cannot thank Jessica enough for pairing me up with Jivey over at Ideas by Jivey. She has so many amazing products to offer that I COULDN'T (not wouldn't, I honestly couldn't) choose just one! Thankfully Jivey was kind enough to swap TWO items. That's right, you heard correct...not one, but TWO AMAZING PRODUCTS!!

Make sure you stop by her blog to see some of the wonderful "ideas" she has...I'm so happy that I did =)

The first product I tried out with my class was her Figurative Language About love: Scoot!
My kids had so much fun "scooting" around the room as they tried to determine what type of figurative language was being used - such as metaphor, simile, personification, alliteration, and more!
The best part about this was my assistant principal walked in and LOVED it so much that she wrote me a beautiful letter for my file regarding how motivated and actively involved ALL of my students were (so thank you for that too Jivey ).

Included was a cute recording sheet pictured above.

And some very adorable figurative language cards that I laminated so I can use again.

The second product I used with my class was her Memoirs of a Goldfish Mentor Text Unit.
This was a GREAT book to use for sequencing, cause and effect, problem and solution, and character's reaction. The activities created by Jivey for this book were simply amazing! Once again, ALL of my students were actively engaged with the activities created by Jivey. I couldn't choose just one activity to do with my class because they were all wonderful! So, I decided to break students up into groups. I told each group that they would be completing a different task based on the story.

One group had to summarize the story...

Another group sequenced the events and identified the character's reaction to each event...

And another group identified causes and effects...

The last group created a character map...

I printed the worksheets in black and white, but you can print them out in color too...

This truly was an amazing experience and I look forward to participating in the Magic Product Swap again in the future. Thank you so much again Jessica Stanford and Jivey!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

New Blog Design

Thank you so much to the Honey Bunch Design for creating my new blog design. I absolutely love it. It's PERFECT =)

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Spring Is In the Air

I love this spring weather. It's perfect for taking a walk with the baby in the stroller and getting some fresh air! It's also the perfect time to release my new poetry unit...after all, April IS poetry month.

Your kids will love learning about the elements of poetry as they use the elements to create their own poems. This Poetry pack includes everything you need to introduce poetry elements (such as alliteration) as well as teach students how to write specific poems (such as Haiku).

At the end of the unit you can have students create their own poetry books to display on the bulletin board (ALSO INCLUDED).

The element charts give a clear explanation and example of what the element is...and the poetry charts clearly explain how to write each type of poem along with a child friendly example!
Poetry Charts include directions & an example

Element Charts include a description, an example, and a question or task

Elements covered:                       

Poetry Forms covered: 
Alphabet Alliteration Poem
Color Poem
Concrete Poem (shape poem)
Five Senses
Grammar Poem
I wish...

Also included are colored templates and B&W templates to create poetry books.

You can download this packet from my TpT store by clicking HERE.