Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Martin Luther King and Black History Month

The Story of Martin Luther King Jr.A Picture Book of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Picture Book Biographies)Martin's Big Words: The Life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Henry's Freedom Box: A True Story from the Underground RailroadFreedom on the Menu: The Greensboro Sit-Ins
The Story Of Ruby Bridges: Special Anniversary EditionThe Other Side

January is quickly approaching!  Prepare for Martin Luther King Day and Black History Month (Feb.) with the following resources. The books pictured above are great resources for your classroom library. 
You can find a reader's theater for Freedom on the Menu by Carole Weatherford here.  It is about a child who wants to eat a banana split in a drugstore, but can’t because she is not white. The author offers a great lesson plan on her website.  She uses a Langston Hughes poem, photographs, and links to Jim Crow Laws.  This book is based on the Greensboro Sit-Ins of 1960. Check out her entire Website!

Sarah Chauncey developed a wonderful website that is now archived.  You will find reader’s theaters, Ebook links, poetry links, and much more.   Download The Grandview Library’s Reader’s Theaters ppt. for grades K—3.  These are short and perfect for shared  reading.  A more lengthy play (Martin Luther King, Jr.,THE STORY OF A DREAM, a play by June Behrens)  and perfect for a school presentation can be found here
Several Ebooks on famous African Americans, including Martin Luther King can be found here.
An activity for middle grades and high school, If You had a Dream, can be found here.  Students rewrite portions of the speech into their own words.

PBS has a lesson plan for grades 9-12 using MLK’s I Have a Dream Speech here.

You can find several days of lesson plans, including resources here at Teachers.net.  This is an oldie, but a goodie! Lessons adapt well to balanced literacy.

The following were simply typed and made ready for print.  I am not the author.  They are available on many sites.

Download Choral Reading by Joan Nichols

Download Speech by Joan Nichols

More ideas:
ReadWorks has grade level comprehension passages!
Preschool Ideas...Wonderful resource!
Using your read-alouds, create a timeline of MLK's life!
Listen or Watch to Dr. King's speech
Arts and Crafts activities to promote diversity
Great activities from KidsActivites.net
Black History Clipart...Free from Phillip Martin
TLC Writing and Art Display (archived) Makes a great Classroom display!  You can see an example over at "Chalk Talk" of this activity, as well as many others.
And finally.....

My Dream for K-2


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Country Christmas

I love this Santa that a local farmer creates every year.


Santa wishes you a Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Snowmen at Christmas Writing Prompts

Snowmen at Christmas

Snowmen at Christmas by Caralyn and Mark Buehner is such a fun book for sparking imagination in writing workshop!
 What would your snowman do at night while you are asleep?  Do they enjoy Christmas as much as we do?  
Here are two writing prompts to use with your class after you read the book!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Counting Fives and Tens Free Now!


Hope you are ready for this last week of school!  This week you can download the Counting Fives and Tens at my TPT store.  I like to use cookie sheets and this adapts well.  Students can put the presents in order, then practice!
Hope you can find a use for this!   Download here!
Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Sunshine Award

Thanks to Victoria Jasztal of Jasztalville: Where Inquiry and Creativity Rule, I have my first award!  This is super exciting!

Here are the rules for accepting this award:
1. Thank the person who gave this award and write a post about it.
2. Answer the following questions below.
3. And pass the award other fabulous bloggers, link their blogs and let them know you awarded them.

My answers to the questions:
  • Favorite color?  Green
  • Favorite animal? Dogs!  Especially Andy, Henry and Bella
  • Favorite number? 3 for my three kids
  • Favorite drink? Sweet tea and water
  • Facebook or Twitter? Facebook!
  • Your passion?  Books and teaching about books...literacy
  • Giving or getting presents? Both. 
  • Favorite day? Every Friday!
Here are the blogs that I am sending Sunshine to:
She has been through a difficult time and needs some Sunshine!  She will be posting soon!
Mr. Shu is a great resource.  He is a teacher-librarian who knows his books!  I love his book trailers.
I Love 2 Teach
Belinda has wonderful resources!  Daily 5, phonics, Literacy Centers, more...more...more!
First Grade Fanatics
Leslie and Erin have wonderful blog with plenty of ideas.  I love the idea of two teachers blogging together!

These may have already received the Sunshine Award, but who can't use a little more Sunshine!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Magical Message from Lita Judge, Author


I am excited to share a little background for the new book "red sled" by Lita Judge.    My last post was to share this little gem, and how happy I was to get it in the mail!  I quickly emailed the author to thank her for such a lovely book. With her permission, I want to share her response with you

Oh wonderful. I’m so happy you like it and thank you for writing!! It’s lovely to hear reader’s reactions. This story was a labor of love, something I think my imagination has been working on much of my life. 

When I was a little, I lived with my grandparents a lot in their old farm house in the Wisconsin woods. Our family had a tradition. If someone left the barn light on by mistake my grandfather proclaimed, “Alphonse must have done it.” If a mitten went missing, or a door was left open we all proclaimed, “Alphonse did it!” I grew up thinking this mischievous little character lived in a mythical cottage near our home. On wintry mornings I’d race outdoors to find tracks left in the snow by woodland animals and I’d search to see if I could find Alphonse’s tracks. I never did, but instead my imagination found a story. The little character in this story with the red hat is how I imagined Alphonse to look. Hope this story adds to your writing workshop.
I don’t think Alphe was really boy or girl, he/she was so mythical in my mind. But I went to sleep at night comforted by the fact that Alphe was out there somewhere, looking over things, even though Alphe seemed to create a lot of mischief. 
Thank you for writing.
Warmest wishes,

Thank you so much Lita for responding and sharing this wonderful story.  There is a lot of love on the pages of your new book!  I can't wait to share what our children learn from the "red sled" next month!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

red sled

Red Sled

You don't want to miss Lita Judge's, red sled.    From the "scrinch scrunch" of the first page, to the "Wheeeee" on the last page, you will be in love!  I can't wait to use this book in Writing Workshop!  Students will have a great time narrating the story.   Even older students can use this picture book to spark their imagination.  I can imagine red sleds and writing all around the room in January!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Special Education Info/Help!

I would love to hear from special education teachers about what they are using in their classrooms!  If you know a special teacher that would answer for me, please pass this post along to them!

Do you have "Programs" that you are required to use? Are they scripted?  
What works with your students in reading and math?
How do you monitor your goals?  Do you progress monitor...and how often?
What role does the computer play in your instruction?
Do you have guided reading and writing workshop in resource classrooms?
Do you have lots of books and use independent reading in your classroom?
Do you use inclusion?  
Do you write standards-based goals?
How do you communicate with teachers?
What are you using for Present Levels?
And one more.......What would you like to change about special education?

Thank you so much!  I appreciate your help!  

Sunday, November 27, 2011


Fair isn't always equal.  Wow, does that statement create debate!  Teachers should have a document (504/IEP) to provide modifications and accommodations but many do not think that it is fair to do so.  (Sometimes I worry that students don't receive their modifications/accommodations.)

I have seen the following statement floating around the internet.   I  couldn't find an original source, but I do believe that it rings true.  What do you think?  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Random Integer Generator

Here are your random numbers:
Timestamp: 2011-11-22 22:17:29 UTC
The winner of the 100 Followers giveaway is Martha!
Martha said...

I am now following you on TpT as well!

Thank you so much for participating!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Celebration Giveaway 100 Followers!

Wow!  It 's time to celebrate!  I have 100 followers!  I love the blogging world, and especially blogging teachers!  I find incredible inspiration and joy from your writings, pictures, and gifts.  You bless the world with your energy and talent.  Children are better for it and so am I!
$15.00 Gift Card from Amazon
To win this card:
1.  Follow me and comment (just comment if you already follow)
2.  Blog about the giveaway and comment.
3. Add me to your blog roll and comment!
4. Follow me on TPT and comment here about it.
I will announce the winner on Wednesday, November 23rd. Post by midnight 11/22.
Please put your email address on your comment post.
Four chances to win!  
Happy Thanksgiving!
Must be 18 or older to win.  Contest is over 12 midnight EST on 11/22.  Winner chosen randomly.  Prize code for card will be emailed.  If unable to contact winner, another will be chosen.

Monday, November 14, 2011

More Fry Phrases to Download

We have been busy working on fluency!  Working with the phrases is so much better than reading the isolated words.  I hope you grabbed my Fry phrases for Levels 1 and 2! (You can download them here.)  Levels 3-5 are ready!  Let me know how you use them in your classroom, and if you are seeing gains in fluency!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Thanksgiving Freebie

Thanks for Thanksgiving

Thanks for Thanksgiving is one of my favorite books for grades K-2.  Julie Markes and Doris Barrette just shine in this simple and beautiful book.  If you don't have it, you must add this one to your list!  There is a page in the back of the book where you can write your thankful thoughts each year.  I have created a page for you to use with your students.  They can write their thankful thoughts to share with parents.  There is one for a boy and one for a girl.  I also did one with lines and one without.  Enjoy!
Click picture to Download

Monday, November 7, 2011

Fry Phrases Freebie

Nothing directly impacts comprehension like fluency!  Yet, we spend so little time building it.  One way to practice fluency in a quick manner everyday is to use Fry Phrases.  (Dr. Edward Fry's list of the most used words in reading and writing, delivered in phrases.)    
For students in grades 3-5, you can use Tim Rasinski's list found here.  There are several Power Points online that use the phrases like this one! Students read the phrases as they appear.  As fluency increases, you can speed up the slides. 
For younger readers I needed a set of lower-leveled phrases.  I decided to put these on cards.  Students can master the phrases in small groups.  We plan on spending a few minutes everyday practicing fluency with the students who need it.  Click below each picture to download.
                        SET ONE                           

Print on cardstock and laminate. (French Fries back of card).  I will add more sets soon.
Other ideas for using the cards:
Students can pick a card and write a sentence.  Points can be given for the correct number of cards read.  Students can graph their progress.  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Halloween Freebie

The Itsy Bitsy Halloween Spider
Here is a poem to read, and a poem to write!

Download poem here.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Just Write

October 20th was the National Day on Writing over at the NCTE. Teachers were asked to participate and write on that day.  I thought a lot about writing.  Mainly, why I don't write.  (Well, since I have been blogging, I have written more.)  I worry about punctuation, messing up, embarrassing myself, fearing that I won't sound smart enough, or worse yet, appearing too high and mighty.  Maybe no one will like what I write.  Oh my!
I thought about what I have told students in class.  I decided that I am a hypocrite.  Yes!  I told children this morning that they can be authors.  That they can write poetry.
So, here is what I am going to do about it!  My own writing on display for the world to see.  I am going to "just write".

Just Write

It rises up inside of you
In spite of you

Those feelings in your heart
Will help you leave your mark

On a world that needs to hear
Your voice, My voice

Just write 
Tell the world
Who you are


Saturday, October 22, 2011

I Spy

Just wanted to share some neat things that I saw this week at school and at home!
This was a brown coffee filter with hot glue applied for detail.  Then painted with watercolor.  I got the idea from this post.  I shared the idea with a teacher, and she added the poem.  Love them!

South Carolina loves her Palmetto Trees!  Third-graders painted these in art.

Look at this cute wreath made of hand prints!

How many ways can we praise our students and co-workers?  I love this poster and have already made one!  You can find it here!
If you need a quick treat that is yummy, try Boogity.  Beantown Baker has the recipe! Love my new pumpkin dish , too.

And finally, I like what I see when I come in the back door after a long day at school!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Paper Plate Continent Cut-Outs

Wow!  I have almost 1000 hits for my Paper Plate Continents idea.  Jody from Texas asked for the pattern used for the continents.   Amy  in third grade chose the pattern for the plates.  It was harder than I thought to find a "just right" pattern.  She enlarged one she had on file.  Thanks to Amy...you can download it

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Count Down to Fall

Sylvan Dell Publishing has "Count Down to Fall" by Frank Hawk as the free ebook this month.  It comes with a 34 page activity book for you to download.  The illustrations are beautiful!  I think that this is a great book to add to writer's workshop.  Just looking at the book makes me want to write about falling leaves.  You might want to purchase this one to add to your fall theme.  If you grab the activity book now, you will be ready next year!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Scarecrow and Cow Words-Two voices of OW

Helping children remember that OW has two voices can be challenging!  These activities use the cow and scarecrow to help them remember the difference.  I have included a list of possible words for you to introduce to your students.  The idea is to glue the cows and scarecrows to the top of a large craft stick.  You will write the word down the side of the stick or glue the word strip to it (provided).  They will identify the words as "cow" words or "scarecrow" words.  There are worksheets to use in literacy stations.  Students can read the words in pairs and record them.  There are poems to use in shared reading or in a whole group lesson.  
I find that struggling readers need a "hook" to help them remember.  The cow and scarecrow serve as the hook and reminder of the sounds.  
Click on the picture below to download!
You might find another way to use them!  I would love to hear about it!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Reading Fiction and NonFiction

Stephanie Harvey says that reading fiction is like watching a movie, and reading nonfiction is like watching the news.  I  made these simple posters to help students remember this idea.  It is all about that inner conversation in our head.  What are they thinking when they read?  You can download them here!