Sunday, 18 September 2016

Answering Questions Freebie

Here is a quick freebie for you. I always want to set expectations at the beginning of the year for how I want students to answer questions. Since I teach grade 4/5 I don't want just one word answers (unless it is an adaptation for a student) but rather more in depth answers that have part of the question in them.
 I always tell my students that I should be able to tell what the question is from your answer. If you write Pizza as the answer, is this "Your favourite food", "What you had for dinner last night". or "Your dog's name"? I want them to be specific. 

This worksheet along with a lesson is a fun way for students to practice writing complete sentence answers.


Saturday, 14 May 2016

Teachers Helping Fort McMurray

I haven't written a blog post in WAY too long but this is one cause that I was sure to be involved in. 

If you have not heard, Fort McMurray, a Northern Alberta town, was devastated by a wild fire that tore through the town. Nearly 90 000 people were evacuated and many of them lost their homes and all their belonging. There is still no date set for when they will be able to return to their homes and start the clean up process. It has been estimated that it will cost up to $9 Billion to clean up after the fires. 

I have family and friends who had to evacuate and I cannot even begin to imagine what that moment was like for them. 

There are so many stories showing up in the news about the amazing heroics of those people involved, as well as how people are helping out financially. 
Canada and the world are coming together to help out those in need, and so are a bunch of Canadian teachers. Myself, along with other Teacher Pay Teacher sellers have decided to donate 100% of our Monday, May 16th proceeds to the Red Cross Relief Fund to help those impacted by the wild fire.   

Click Here to be taken to my TpT store.

Here are all the wonderful, kind-hearted TpT sellers who are donating their profits! 


Sunday, 14 February 2016

Soccer, Soccer, Soccer

When I am not at work I can usually be found somewhere near a soccer field waiting for my son, Parker, to finish practice or cheering him on in a game. I LOVE watching him play soccer. 
He use to be that player who was picking the dandelions on the field and then one day all that changed. 
He decided that soccer was going to be his life. All he wanted to do was play soccer. It didn't matter what time in the morning (yikes there were some EARLY morning games) or what social event he was missing, as long as he got to kick a ball around.
His determination and hard work has been paying off this last year. He was selected as one of the Vancouver Whitecaps Academy players of the year! Very few players in B.C. can say they have earned this honor. To top that off he was asked to play on a team that travels throughout North America and Europe. They will be going to California at the end of April to play a bunch of games. Parker is over the moon excited about this opportunity and can see his dreams coming true. We are so incredibly proud of all he has accomplished.

If you have a child in competitive sports you know that it can be VERY expensive. Parker is fundraising to try and make the trip and we were talking about how I can help him reach his goal. I cannot get a second job because I am too busy being a teacher and soccer mom, so we had to do more thinking. This is when the idea to post on here came to us. I don't normally do this but I am willing to do  anything to help my son reach his goals and see his dreams come true.

 This is where you come in.... 

For every dollar that you donate to Parker's fundraising, I will offer you the same amount in products from my TpT store! There is no limit to how much you can get -- If you donate $5 you will get $5 worth of products. If you donate $20, you will get $20 worth of products. It is as simple as that!!!! We would be so grateful for any support you can give.
All you have to do is go to Parker's fundraising page and donate. Once you have made your donation send me an email ( with the name you donated under, the amount, and a list of all the items you would like me to send you. Then I will send you the products and a HUGE thank you :)

As a thank you for just reading this I have included a freebie, soccer-themed of course :)

These math centers focus on basic multiplication facts and subtracting 3-digit numbers with regrouping.

Friday, 12 February 2016

Journal Writing in Intermediate Grades

No matter what grades I have taught I have ALWAYS had my students write journals. Of course journals in primary grades are different that journals in intermediate grades.

At the beginning of the year when I introduce journals to my intermediate students (this year grade 4/5) my students are like..."Hold on! We don't do journals anymore!" This quickly changes to "Hey, when are we writing in our journals again?" 

Here is how I do journals in my intermediate grades.

The MOST important thing is for my students to know that their writing will only be seen by myself. I will not be sharing it with the class to show excellent writing, nor will it be shown to their parents. I also tell them that I am not marking it for spelling (if they make a mistake I try to write a sentence back with the proper spelling of the word) or proper sentences. It WILL NOT be used for report cards either.  Why would I do it then, you ask? It has been the best way to find out more about my students and find out who they really are as a person and not as a student. 

These are the notebooks I use for our journals (mostly because they are cheap!) but you can use whatever you like. I recommend that you do use a notebook of some sort and not just loose leaf paper. This gives you, and the student a chance to see how their writing has changed and they can keep it as a keepsake if they like. 
The format we use is letter writing. They write a letter to me and I write back. I tell them they can ask me ANYTHING. I may or may not answer their question and I will tell them if I don't feel comfortable answering a question. The same thing goes for them. If I ask them a question they can decline to answer it (as long as they tell me they don't want to answer, so I don't think they are ignoring me.)

BELIEVE ME when I say that journal time is the QUIETEST time in my class. EVERY student is working to write in their journal no matter what their writing abilities are. Sure some need adaptations (a scribe - myself or an education assistant writes on a small whiteboard and they copy into their journal, or they get to write few sentences, or get more time to write) but ALL students write. I also let them know that they can write to me using anything they want -- pens, markers, pencil crayons, etc. Just not anything in yellow. It is too hard to

They are super excited to read what I have written and they ALL try and read what I have written. Those student who can read cursive get the challenge of reading my cursive response.  

I have learned so much about my students, from what they did on the weekend, to why they are sad, to what their favorite things are. 

This is the one activity that I will NEVER give up doing with my students. 
Here are some samples of my students' journal entries.

This one shows how much information I received about the things in my students life  all in one journal entry. 


We all have that student who thinks outside the box whenever they do anything. This particular student decided right away that he wanted to give me "Would You Rather" questions. He is pretty creative in the choices he gives me. He always gives me 2-3 different questions like this and I give him 2-3 back. 
He also is an incredible artist and I wanted to incorporate that into one of his responses so I asked him to draw me a picture of his cichlid. 

This next one makes my heart happy because this grade 5 girl was new to our school and she could barely write one sentence. We started with her barely asking me how old I was, to getting a scribe, to writing this all by herself (with the help of our class word box) :)

When I respond to my students is allows me the opportunities to acknowledge great things they have been doing at school, like being responsible citizens...


Or finding out their interests. These are things that I can bring into other lessons. I found out that this student is serious about hockey so when I am writing Math questions I can incorporate hockey into them.  


I really  find out how humorous my students are when I look at how they respond to my entries.

I am not going to lie... It takes a lot of time to respond to my students each week (we do journals once a week) but like I said it is well worth it. My students open up to me and they get a glimpse into my life outside of school as well. 

If you use journals in intermediate grades, I would love it if you left a comment below telling me how you do it.


Sunday, 3 January 2016

Fun Ways to Dismiss Your Class

I am always looking for new ways to dismiss my class. Whether we are going from the carpet area back to our desks or from our desks to the carpet area or from either place to the door, I don't want my students rushing in a big mob to where they are asked to go. To avoid this I always usually have my students go a few at a time. To add fun to this transition I have a variety of criteria for who gets to go when.

An example is, I say "If you had cereal for breakfast then go _________." Those student move and then I continue. "If you had _________ for breakfast then go ________." and so on until all students are lined up. 

The 25 options I use the most are:

1.)          Month in which they were born
2.)        Beginning letter of first/last name
3.)        Number of vowels in first name
4.)          How they got to school (bus, walk, bike, car)
5.)          Favorite ice cream flavor
6.)          Favorite school subject
7.)          First letter of middle name
8.)          Number of syllables in last name
9.)           Color of pants/skirt/shorts
10.)        Color of shirt
11.)         Color of hair
12.)        Color of eyes
13.)        Color of coat at school
14.)       Color of shoes
15.)        Type of ties on shoes (Velcro, laces, none)
16.)        Type of shirt (short/long-sleeve, color, buttons)
17.)        Length of hair
18.)        Number of brothers/sisters
19.)       Color of socks
20.)       What they ate for breakfast
21.)       What they ate for lunch
22.)      Number of family members living in their house
23.)       Type of pet
24.)      Number of pets
25.)       Movies they have seen

I have compiled the 25 different options on one page that you can print out to have on hand. You can get them by clicking on the picture below.
I hope this helps you have smooth transitions in your classroom!

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Free Place Value Math Game
Hi All,
Just a quick post here today. I am off to work to get things ready for next week but I thought I would post one of my classes favorite place value review activities.

Who doesn't love Duck Dynasty? Students play concentration/memory with the cards to match the standard form of a number to its expanded form card. There are 2 sets of numbers: numbers in the hundreds and the thousands. 

There is also a color version and a black and white version. You chose which ever suites your needs :) 

Click on any of the pictures to get your free copy!


Thursday, 31 December 2015

Poinsettia Guided Drawing

WOW! It has been tooooo long since I have written a blog post for my own blog. I have written many for Classroom Freebies but none for my own blog. It is New Years Eve and one of my New Years Resolutions is to blog more and create more teaching products in 2016. Yay!!!!

I know Christmas is over but I wanted to share a last minute art project we completed where my students exceeded all my expectations. Let me set the scene first.... It is the day before the Christmas concert (3 days before winter break) and my kiddos are WILD. I needed some filler activities because there was no way they would retain any new information. I search the internet for some interesting ideas and spotted a guided drawing activity for poinsettias. Perfect. Our class song for the Christmas concert is Don't Eat a Poinsettia. Connection made!!!! 

I could have left it at that... do a quick drawing activity but NO I had to push them more (Why not? They can be focused at this time of year, right?) So I got thinking. How can I change it up a bit. I looked in my cupboards and saw my oil pastels. Hmmm. After playing around a bit with them I discovered that if you outline the shape with an oil pastel color and drag the pastel to the middle of the shape it makes a nice variegated color. Perfect. 

Here is how I had my class complete their poinsettias:

I precut the card stock to be an 8.5 x 8.5 square and did all the folding (so there are 4 sections - half then half again).

We practiced drawing the leaf shapes on scrap paper before starting the good copies. Because the leaves don't have rounded tips I anticipated this would be a big problem for the students and I was right. I HIGHLY recommend practicing this first. 

Then the papers were handed out and using the smartboard I guided them through each step. It took quite a bit of time but I wanted them to be successful. One thing to tell them is that it doesn't look that great as you are drawing but to stick with it because they turn out great. I reminded them of our focus on having a growth mindset (another connection!) and this helped. I am not going to lie -- there were a few tears but in the end EVERY student loved what they did.

After using pencil to draw each part, students went over their work with a fine liner. Now time for the color. I demonstrated how to outline and drag in the color. It is very important that they do all the red, wash their hands, and then do the green. This will keep the colors from mixing. There will be some mixing but not too much. 

I was very impressed with how their poinsettias turned out and I love how even though they all had the same instructions they were all different. 

I quickly stapled them on the bulletin board outside the classroom and they admired their work. 

I will definitely do this art project again (and may be more creative with the final display if time
Cheers and Happy New Years!


Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Student Planners Are A Must!

Every year I have my students use a planner no matter what grade I teach. Planners help students start working on their organizational skills and is great for school-home communications.
I was going to show you the editable planner I made for this year with pictures but I thought I would try something new and make a video. Please be kind, as it is my first video. I tried REALLY hard to not shake my phone while I recorded the video.  I am not sure why it is so narrow but I will be doing some research to find out why. 

Now for some specifics on other things included. There are a variety of reference pages you can include in your planners.
 Here are reference pages if you are in the United States. For the Math reference pages you can choose between have a 100s chart or a 120s chart!


Canadian reference pages are also included if you live in Canada!


If you teach intermediate grades there is also a page with a multiplication table!


I couldn't forget about a year calendar at a glance so there is one of those included also :)


If you like to have your students record the learning objectives you are focusing on or if you want to do it yourself, there are 3 editable pages, each in color or black line, to choose from. 


Do you have your students complete a reading log? There are pages for that too!!! 

In the video I mentioned that there were a few planner covers to choose they are. Each one is editable and can have student names added or any other info you want on the front.

If you would like a copy of my student planner, check it out here.
I would love to hear if you have other ways you help your students hone their organizational skills.


Saturday, 29 August 2015

Getting Ready for Back to School - Day 3

I feel like I was very productive today because I got a lot of little things crossed off my to do list. That is always a great feeling. I still don't know what I will be teaching so I can continue with getting those things done that aren't planning for a specific grade.

The first thing I did today was complete the bulletin board outside my classroom. I wanted something generic so that no matter what I am teaching (grade 2 or 4/5) it would work. I saw a bulletin board similar to this on Pinterest and thought it would be perfect!

The hardest parts were picking all the fonts for the words and deciding what color I wanted the "You!" to be. At first I had a purple "You!" but it didn't seem quite right so with the help of a wonderful friend and fellow teacher we decided on yellow. I think it really pops.  (Keep reading to the end for a freebie to help with this bulletin board!)
After I put the black paper and the border on the board and before I added all the words, I had to take care of the staples. If you have ever seen me put up a bulletin board you would be shaking your head. Everything goes up with push pins first and then I commit with staples. When I have a black bulletin board all I see is the shiny silver staples ( I probably should seek professional help). A couple years ago I found the solution (until someone invents black staples) that is quick and easy. SHARPIES!!!!!!
After I finished my bulletin board I didn't want to do anything on my to do list so I helped (great procrastination) the above mentioned friend/teacher start on her bulletin board.
Just like I am (some say) obsessed with matching my color theme, she is (some say) obsessed with animal print. She had this Welcome sign that she wanted to use so we came up with a jungle tree board. She is not quite finished but this is what we did today. I am excited to see how she finishes it off!!!

Okay, now it was time for me to get back to my list. I different friend/teacher at my school, asked me if I wanted these flower boxes and because I am a "collecting" (not hoarding) I said "of course!" I am not sure quite yet what I am going to do with them but I knew I didn't want them brown.
 Last year I found this large roll of washi tape that I thought was super cute. Again, no idea what I would do with it but I bought it anyways :) Well it finally came in handy. The large roll made it super easy to cover the boxes with. All I had to do was roll it on, fold the edges, then cut out the handles! Now if I could only figure out what to do with the boxes :) 

 I decided to stick with the taping work and FINALLY cover my second Pringles container that holds my classroom rulers. For a good portion of last year I only had one covered and it bugged my but there were bigger things to tend to. Well now they are both done and off my to do list! 

Every year I have Unfinished work folders for my class and they need to be labeled with students' names. They are plastic folders and most labels won't stick to them so I use duct tape. Easy to peel off and it last the entire year. Even though I don't have a class list yet, I decided to get the labels on all of them to make it quicker later. I have a more detailed blog post about how I use them here if you want to check it out!  

Here is the freebie I promised you above. If you want to create your own "Be..." bulletin board here are some word labels for you to use :)

I am not sure what my next Getting Ready for Back to School post is going to be about but here is a link to my Day 2 post.  
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...