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Category Archives: Sharing is Good

Top Back-to-School Posts on All Access Pass

These are some of my most popular and useful Back-To-School posts:

First Day of School Scavenger Hunt – Great ice breaker that  gets kids out of their seats and helps you get to know your students. Download the PDF to customize it for your grade.

Updated Scavenger Hunts – Three levels of first day scevenger hunts to meet the needs of your particular students.

Identifying Student Learning Styles – Two links to PDF learning style inventories and one link to an online tool for determining how your students learn best.

I am a Squiggle Stuck Inside a Square – Another great ice breaker that encourages teamwork. Middle schoolers love this one. Hopefully you have a nice mix of shapes in your classroom.

Great Resources for Classroom Posters – Link to a blog that offers free printable posters of all kinds! My son would love a classroom full of posters like this one of Kevin Durant.

I Gave Schoology a Chance  – A graphic that shows all of the ways I have used Schoology in my classroom. I just realized my old course from last year was wiped out, so this will be a helpful post for me!

Team Teaching Options – Descriptions of five ways to team teach.

Summarizing Short Stories: Story Elements and Conflict – Free PDFs for these basic concepts that are often introduced in Language Arts at the beginning of the year.

Easy Access – This link will take you to one place to find everything that is free.  Wait!!  Everything is FREE on All Access Pass!!  Go here to find an organized list of downloads.


Do you have a favorite Back-To-School post or a post that is wildly popular on your own teaching blog?

Post a link in the comments!

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The Original Team Challenge Cube

I just received an email with a link to the Team Challenge Cube I learned about (and wrote about here) at OMLA a month ago.

We are using a slight variation at our school, and it’s been quite interesting watching our 7th graders get into it.  I will be posting more about it in a week or so. I want to see how it plays out for a few more days.

Meanwhile, go check out Katie’s other videos here. She has a lot of fun and easy  ways to get students motivated and manage your classroom.

Hanging Out at the “Cybrary”

Oh. My. Goodness!

I found the most amazing collection of links to everything a teacher needs. The Cybraryman Internet Catalogue has “Over 20,000 relevant links personally selected by an educator/author with over 30 years of experience.”

Cybrary Man’s Educational Web Sites has been divided into 4 sections (Parents, Students, Educators, and General Interest) and I honestly could look at only the links on his page the entire summer and still not get through everything.

This website feels a little Alice in Wonderland-ish…You open a page of links, click on a link…and you find MORE links. It’s like opening a series of doors and finding options behind every one of them.

I think you need to have a focus as you approach this website.  Otherwise, you will find yourself lost in a maze of good ideas and you’ll become overwhelmed.

After one night of exploring, I realize I am going to have set time limits on the computer for myself, because he is making this just too much fun!

I will try to post a little about the best of the best throughout the summer.

Let me know if you find anything great as well!

My Top Ten Bookmarks for Language Arts

As the year ended, I was cleaning up my bookmarks and folders on my computer.  I decided to compile my favorite websites and share/store them here.  These are resources I use all the time in my Resource Language Arts class.

I know many of them are worksheet based but I simply use the content to make SMART Notebook files and group activities.  Rarely do I just print a worksheet and pass it out for students to complete.

Here they are in no particular order:

  1. Achievement Strategies On a recent professional development day on curriculum mapping, I discovered a great website.  This is an amazing list of templates, tools, and resources for everything Common Core! This is how I mapped out 2 years worth of units for my Resource Room.
  2. ReadingResource Recommended by our speech-language pathologist for teaching struggling readers (specifically labeled as a “Dyslexia Resource.”)
  3. WorksheetWorks Customizable, printable, and free worksheets for math, English, geography, puzzles and other random resources.
  4. Free Language Stuff  Very unique worksheets that I talked more about here.
  5. ReadTheory More details here on these comprehension selections
  6. English for Everyone – Related to ReadTheory but expanded to cover grammar, writing, and vocabulary as well.
  7. Readworks I still stand by this favorite for non-fiction reading.  The fact that you can search by grade, skill, and keyword is the best!
  8. eReading – Printable, but also on-line interactive quizzes I found late this year and only used a few times, but definitely worth going back to.
  9. ReadWriteThink – My favorite activity is the flip book generator.
  10. Daily Teaching Tools: 180 Journal Writing Prompts  180 random and unique writing prompts at your fingertips.

Are any of these your favorites too?

What is bookmarked on your computer?

Share links to your favorites in the comments!

Recognizing Text Structures (Prezi)

Looking ahead to the last three weeks before the OAAs, I am going to be hitting on a few final things.

Next up: Text Structures.

Be warned: I had to put in an annoying, but popular Spongebob segment, because I felt like this Prezi was lacking as far as media.  This commercial is strategically placed right before I ask students to do more practice!

I’ve also created a page for all my Prezis, which you can see in the menu bar at the top of my blog.

What’s next?

I might go back and hit Author’s Purpose again.

Story elements?

Maybe I’ll make a hodgepodge of OAA type questions.

Suggestions? Requests?

I’m open to your ideas!

Identifying Mood (Prezi)

Here is a link to my newest Prezi, “Identifying Mood.” I incorporated this mood lesson into March Madness as we will be completing this next week when we get back from Spring Break.

How cute are these! Maybe, if I have time, I could make a little treat like this to go along with the lesson?

How cute are these!? Maybe, if I had time (and was talented like this) I could make a little treat to go along with the lesson.

Students will have to identify the mood in songs, images, and text. (I chose 4 poems about basketball. These may need to be changed for a younger audience.)

Happy Spring Break to everyone if you are off this week!

We are supposed to get 6 inches of snow tomorrow night.  Not. Cool.

Giant Plot Diagram Challenge

As we finished up Stargirl,I knew I wanted to do a final plot diagram activity.  I found a pretty good Prezi of a story map for the novel.  I had to change some of the vocabulary to make it appropriate for my class.  (The fact that Prezis are editable and reusable is one of the things I love about the whole Prezi concept.)

I printed out a PDF of the plot line and passed out the pages randomly. I challenged them to put the events in order correctly.  As we sat in front of the bulletin board,which I temporarily covered with a giant plot diagram, we took turns reading and placing the events in the appropriate place. We used push pins so that it was easy to rearrange when we needed to.

The final result was pretty impressive and showed me how they understood the story. They loved doing this activity.

Big impact. Little preparation. No worksheets. Win-win-win.

IMG_2469

Instant hands-on activity thanks to Prezi.

More on Current Events and CNN Student News

After a few weeks of viewing CNN Student News, I have decided to change it up a little. It’s a great activity for many students, but my class is still struggling with the ideas of theme, conflict and topic. They’ve got the setting down and they can do a fact and opinion. But we need more practice and a simpler format.

I created a SMART Notebook file of the following writing prompts. I will have to think on my feet and choose an appropriate prompt to go with the daily news program, but I will keep the list handy and consider my options while we view the news.

My first thought was to make a supply of handouts, but I think I will just have them write their responses in their journal.

As always, if you’d like the SMART Notebook file, let me know.

Current Event Writing Prompts

Christmas Countdown!!

The official countdown has begun!!

Tomorrow we will only have 13 days of school left before our Christmas Vacation begins on the 21st!

So today, I decided to do a countdown in my Resource Room that would require them to write a little about the holiday season every day until break. I am most looking forward to their responses on Day 9!!

14 Days of Writing

Informational Text Organizers

Definitely not my favorite thing to teach, but a requirement of the Common Core. It is very challenging for me because I have to find informational text in a lower Lexile range (400-600) when my students should be reading at almost double that.

Here are a few things I made to go with the next chunk of non-fiction reading we are going to be doing in my Resource Room.

Non-Fiction Pre-Reading Sheet

Non-Fiction Glossary

Non-Fiction Diagrams and Captions

Non-Fiction Book Report

Non-Fiction Book Report 2

Non-Fiction Book Report 3

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