Sunday, August 31, 2014

Fabulous Freebies: The Back to School Edition

For some of you, school is already back in session.  For the rest of us, it will be shortly.  So, here are a few freebies to check out...

The first one is a packet with useful back to school printables.  It includes gift tags, sign-in sheets for back to school nights, posters, etc.  

The next one is a cool game to teach students the importance of rules and working together.  Students play a game without any rules.  After they do this the class holds a conversation about why rules are useful, why some groups made up their own rules, what problems groups had playing a game without rules, etc.  It encourages critical thinking skills and sounds like a good way to have a bit of fun in the beginning of the year.


Finally, check out this Back to School pinterest board.  It has over 50 pins with activities, decorations, articles, teacher gifts, student gifts, jokes and more that are all back-to-school themed.  Quickly peruse this and you're sure to find something you can use, no matter what age you teach!

Monday, August 25, 2014

My Favorite Websites for Teaching High School English

I have a pinterest board dedicated to useful teaching websites.  Here is a list of my favorite ones to use with my English classes...

Poem Hunter will provide you with the poems from any number of poets.  I use it all the time.  Whenever I need to find a poem it is the first place I look.  It has short bios on a ton of well known poets along with online texts of their writings.  It is very handy.  The site is super user friendly and comprehensive.   is a website that allows students to make cooler versions of power points.  It takes them a class period or so to play around with it and figure out how to use all of the tools, but once they know how, they love it.  They can add videos, pictures, objects, colors, themes and pretty much everything else that they can do with powerpoint.  But, the visual effects are unique and fun to play around with.  They can save them online and share them with anyone who has an email address.  It is definitely worth checking out.

Purdue Owl is a great resource with a wide variety of writing tips.  The material is most appropriate for  students in middle school through college age students.  I use it all the time as a reference for how to create bibliographies and citations using MLA formatting rules.  Once my students have shown me they know how to format their bibliographic entries, I let them cheat by using

6 + 1 Writing Traits  is a well known writing, teaching and assessment framework.  The title refers to the traits in writing that we want all of our students to develop over time: ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, conventions and presentation.  The common language is useful in aligning teachers across contents and grade levels to provide united expectations of students.

Writing Fix and English Companion are websites that have a ton of resources for teaching writing and reading.  They include strategies, graphic organizers, etc.  They have a wealth of information and are worth perusing.

Finally, Grammar Bytes  has a wealth of grammar activities to help reinforce grammar rules with yours students.  The sentences are fun and contemporary.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Fabulous Friday Freebies for the Daily 5

Yesterday, I wrote a quick summary and top ten highlights of The Daily 5: Second Edition by Boushey and Moser (2014).  As promised, here are some freebies to use if you are planning on implementing it in your classroom this fall...

1) The first freebie is a set of posters with key terms and graphics for the Daily 5 and CAFE.  They are well done and will give you some quick graphics to go along with the anchor charts you will use.

2) Here are templates for the five I (independence) charts you will make for each of the Daily 5.  You can enlarge them and make anchor charts or fill them in and run them off for students to keep in their book boxes/bags.

3) One important piece of managing the Daily 5 is accountability.  This tracking chart will help you do just that.  It has a table with the days and five components.  There is also a place to record the books they read, their reading partners and the materials they use.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Summary of The Daily 5: 2nd Edition by Boushey and Moser

I just finished reading The Daily 5: Second Edition by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser (2014) in preparation for my new job as an elementary school literacy coach.  The two sisters, as they refer to themselves, have been sharing their strategies with the rest of the world for awhile.  Their latest edition is a book worth reading, though, if you are an elementary school teacher who is familiar with their work but wants to hone your skills.  For teachers who are unfamiliar with the daily 5 framework, it is a must read.

This is the daily 5 in a nutshell: read to self, work on writing, listen to reading, word work and read to someone.  Each of those is just what it sounds like too.  It is not a curriculum, but rather a way to manage that time of day when students are working on reading and writing so that all students can engage in meaningful, independent skill building while the teacher confers with students individually.  Students are taught to read books, write and improve their vocabulary during self directed sessions, building their stamina throughout the year.

I am not going to summarize the whole book right here and now, but I will list ten reasons it grabbed and held my attention as I began to investigate what quality ELA instruction, especially at the elementary school level, looks like.  Here they are:

1) The daily 5 structure teaches routine and procedures so that students can learn to become independent.
2) The book is replete with references to the most prominent experts and latest research.
3) The structure engages students in meaningful, authentic reading and writing.
4) The book addresses the ever important issue of stamina and how to build it in students.
5) It addresses the latest research about the connection between time spent reading and reading scores and proposes a simple way to increase the number of minutes students spend reading each day.
6) It provides sample lessons and tips for getting started.
7) It addresses what to do with students who struggle to become independent and offers helpful tips.
8) It responds to high frequency concerns the sisters have heard as they've travelled around visiting other teachers.
9) It makes suggestions for how to differentiate.
10) It frees up teachers' time so that they are engaged in meaningful instruction rather then tedious work.

Check back in a couple days for a collection of freebies to help you get started using the daily 5!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Save up to 28% at the one day TPT sale!

Boost your impact as an educator and save up to 28% in the Teachers Pay Teachers one day sale! Tomorrow, August 20th items on TPT will be up to 28% off. Use code BOOST to get maximum savings. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Fabulous Freebies: How Teachers Can Travel For Free

As a language and literature teacher, traveling to other countries is more than a personal interest of mine.  It is where I've honed some of the skills I need to do my job.  Some of my best memories and learning experiences come from travels to Mexico, New Zealand, Spain and other expensive destinations.  Obviously, money can be a barrier, but it doesn't have to be.  There are some great ways to travel for free.

#1: One of the most popular routes is to apply for a Fulbright Scholarship.  Numerous countries in Asia, Europe, and Africa offer scholarships to teachers covering travel and living expenses.  The experiences are designed to facilitate a cultural exchange and foster a deeper understanding and appreciation of others.

#2: Another option is to take a group of students on a trip with you.  There are a number of companies that organize trips for students.  Depending on the size of the group, teachers travel at free or reduced rates.

#3: Research the vast body of grants and scholarships available.  If doing a bit of traveling peaks your interest, take a few minutes to start doing a bit more research.  You never know where it could take you.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Back to School Deals & Steals - 8/10-8/16


Here is this week's best back to school deals and steals!


Free ream of paper and highlighters - See our post!

Deals Under a Dollar
$0.17 - Staples one subject 70 page notebooks
$0.25 - Staples wooden 12" ruler
$0.39 - Staples white glue
$0.48 - Staples white index cards
$0.50 - Crayola 24 pack crayons
$0.75 - Staples poly covered composition notebook
$0.82 - Staples filler paper
$0.96 - Staples pink erasers
$0.97 - Crayola 12 pack colored pencils
$0.97 - Crayola classic markers - and use in ad coupon for 50 cents additional savings!

Other Good Deals
$1 - Paper Mate mechanical pencils 5 pack
$1 - 10 pack Bic Cristal pens
$1 - RoseArt 12 pack colored pencils
$1.99 - Staples 1" binder
$1 - Staples graph ruled composition book
$3 - Expo fine tip marker 4 pack
$3 - Sharpie 5 pack permanent markers

Office Depot

Deals Under a Dollar
$0.01 - Office Depot one subject notebook, limit 3 with $5 minimum purchase
$0.25 - Office Depot 12 and 24 pack mechanical pencils
$0.25 - Paper Mate Inkjoy pens
$0.50 - Office Depot plastic 2 pocket folders

Other Good Deals
$1 - Expo marker 4 pack
$1 - Office Depot 3 hole punch
$1 - Paper Mate Inkjoy pen 8 pack
$2 - Elmer's disappearing purple glue stick 6 pack
$3 - Crayola super tips 20 pack markers
$3 - Office Depot copy paper ream, plain and colored


Deals With Card
7/$1 - Wexford 12 inch ruler or two pocket folder
$0.49 - Paper Mate mechanical pencil 5 pack
$0.49 - Elmer's school glue
$0.49 - Wexford one subject notebook
$0.99 - Dixon pencil 25 pack
$0.99 - Sheet protector 50 pack
$0.99 - Steno book, writing tablet or legal pads
$0.99 - Mini stapler
$0.99 - Wexford 1 inch binder
$0.99 - Black ball point pens 20 pack
$0.99 - Three or five subject notebook

Deals Using In Ad Coupon
$0.39 - Wexford highlighter
$0.39 - Wexford scissors
$0.39 - Wexford mechanical pencil 3 pack
$0.39 - Sticky page markers
$0.39 - Wexford pencils 8 pack
$0.39 - Wexford compass
$0.39  - Wexford dome hand pencil sharpener
$0.39 - Penway crayons 24 pack
$0.39 - Shatterproof ruler
$0.49 - Carry all case
$0.49 - Protractor
$0.49 - Wexford index card case or index card pack
$0.69 - One subject poly notebook
$0.69 - Wexford glue stick 3 pack
$0.79 - Wexford filler paper
$0.79 - Wexford poly composition book
$0.79 - Penway 12 pack colored pencils or 10 pack markers

Have fun shopping!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Fabulous Freebies: Free School Supplies

This week you can get some school supply freebies!


FREE  Hammermill Copy Paper Ream - Free after easy rebate! Print out the coupon here.
FREE Sharpie Accent Highlighters 5 Pack - Free after easy rebate!

Check out more back to school deals and steals tomorrow for a full line up of cheap deals!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Poll our readers!

With school coming up I was curious when everyone is starting back and thought I would post a poll about it. Thanks for participating!

When do you start back teaching this year?

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Fabulous Freebies: Back to School Freebies

For this edition of Fabulous Freebies, I want to recommend John Hughes linky party. This weekend he hosted a link up for lots of TPT sellers to link up their back to school freebies. I linked up my Zoo Animal Math Game since games are great for back to school time. There are more than 80 freebies for back to school there so I'm sure you can find what you need!

Also, below that linky is a second linky with links to TPT sellers most wish listed products. There are a ton of great products there with great reviews. I posted my 50 Fast Finisher Art Activities which is my most wish listed item. Now is a great time to check those out before the big TPT sale begins tomorrow!


Friday, August 1, 2014

Blast off to savings!

Gear up for the next big Teachers Pay Teachers sale! On August 4th and 5th you can save up to 28% on all TPT items! Many sellers, including myself, will be offering their stores on sale at up to 20% and you can save an additional 10% with code BTS14! Mark the dates on your calendar since site wide TPT sales only happen a few times a year!

Check out all the items that are on sale at my TPT store!

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