Saturday, October 12, 2013

TpT Sale for 100K Facebook Likes!

Just wanted to pass the word along that Teachers Pay Teachers is throwing a 10% off sale (using promo code FB100K) now that they have 100,000 likes on Facebook.  The sale ends on Monday, October 14th.  

Along with this sale, all items in my store will be an additional 15% off until Monday.

Hope you're able to find some goodies from your favorite TpT stores!


FOCUS on 5 and the KSRA Conference

Hi Everyone! 

Kelli and I have been a little MIA lately.  We're very sorry about that!  We've been diligently working to get our presentation ready for the Keystone State Reading Association's Conference next weekend.  We will be presenting information about how to use our Focus on 5 Writing Menu to improve student achievement in writing.  Will any of you be at the conference?  If so, be sure to check us out Friday morning.  We want to make our presentation as meaningful as possible to our attendees, so we'd love to know what kind of things you enjoy when attending a conference.  What kind of presentation has been your favorite?  Do you enjoy hands-on activities, small-group collaboration, time for a question and answer portion, lecture with a PowerPoint presentation?   What can we do to help other teachers in the most effective way?

We are really looking forward to spreading the word about FOCUS on 5 since we have seen such great success with it.  What would you like to know more about writing instruction and assessment?  Post your questions in the Comments section below and we will answer them and share resources with you.  Below you will find the link to our FOCUS on 5 Writing Menu if you haven't already downloaded it.  

Thank you for being followers of our blog.  You have no idea how much that means to us.  We love hearing from you, too, so don't hesitate to get in touch with us!  We will definitely be posting more frequently in the upcoming weeks, and we'll be sharing some wonderful resources we have found or created to improve our writing instruction for our students.  

If you want to download the menu for use in your classroom: Free FOCUS on 5 Menu

Enjoy your weekend!  I hope to hear from you soon!

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Back to School Pennant FREEBIE

I know this is probably a little late for most of you... but if you're still wondering what to put up in the hallway outside your classroom (ahem... like me), this is a quick and easy {and CUTE, of course} activity to get your kiddos to complete before Back to School season is a thing of the past.  I'm always at a loss as to what to put in the hallway at the beginning of the year before students have produced something truly meaningful. Since pennants seem to be all the rage these days, I decided to create my own "getting to know you" bunting.  If you're a more organized teacher than I am and you already have your hallway decorated, you might also like to showcase these pennants INSIDE your classroom and keep them up all year!  I think it would be a neat keepsake to give kids at the end of the year.

I've made different versions for use in Grades 1-6.  CLICK HERE to get yours for FREE in my TpT store!  Please leave Feedback and a Rating if you like them!


Here are my super simple directions:
1. Print one copy of the pennant that you would like to use.  Use a copier to make a set for your class.  (No need to waste your printer ink!)  Use colored paper if you won’t be having your students color their papers.  Use white paper if you plan on having students color their pennants.  Use card stock if you want the pennants to be super durable.
2. Use a paper cutting machine to chop off the diagonal edges of the pennants.  (I like to leave a little bit of a white edge, so I don’t cut the top of the page.)
3. Have students fill in the blanks in pencil.  When a student doesn’t know the spelling of a certain word, write it on a sticky note so that they can copy the correct spelling (since this is a paper you will likely display for others to read!).
4. After a student’s spelling has been checked, s/he may color the heading, stars, and border.  The star frame can be used for students to draw self portraits OR you could place students' photos inside them.
5. If you want to hang the pennants on a string or ribbon, simply punch a hole in the top corners of the pennants.
6. Voila!  You have a fantastic Back to School display!

Happy Teaching!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Nonfiction Short Text Jackpot

Are you suffering from a shortage of high-interest short nonfiction texts to use for whole group and small group lessons?  Well, suffer no more!  I just read a fantastic blog post by Jen Jones from Hello Literacy.  In her post, Jen lists tons of online sources for finding engaging nonfiction texts to use in the classroom. Click HERE to begin your nonfiction treasure hunt!

I also discovered another great site thanks to I'm Lovin' Lit's recent blog post.  If you go to, you can access nonfiction articles written by the Associated Press.  Not impressed? Well... you may be interested to know that ANY of the articles can be translated for ANY reading level from grade 2 - grade 12!  Crrrraaazzzyyy Cool!  Welcome to differentiated instruction heaven!  You can have all the readers in one classroom read *the same* article on their individual reading levels.  So... what's the catch?  You have to pay for a subscription.  Just kidding.  You CAN pay for a subscription OR you can login for FREE like this:

username: CommonCore.Teacher
password: CommonCore.Teacher

The login is case sensitive, so be sure to enter it exactly as shown above.

Please leave a comment below if you have any other nonfiction short text suggestions to share!

Get those kids reading nonfiction texts!

p.s. Check out these fabulous blogs when you get the chance.
I'm Lovin' Lit   Grab My Button

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Mentor Texts

Hey friends!

Kelli & I are happy to report that we successfully made it through another week!  I know I'm definitely excited for a long weekend!  

This week Kelli and I began the preparations for our presentation at the Keystone State Reading Association's fall conference.  Originally we were worried about having enough to say to fill our time, but once we started preparing, we realized we have SO much to say that 2 hours really isn't enough!  One of the things we talked about was our LOVE of Mentor Texts during our Writing mini-lessons.  We both have a lot of favorites, so in the upcoming weeks, we will be sharing those with you.  I decided to start with my absolute favorite picture book, If Roast Beef Could Fly by Jay Leno.  I LOVE this book and so do my students.  The best part is, the back of the book includes a CD where Jay Leno himself reads the story.  The kids really enjoy having the book read by him since he uses funny voices and a lot of expression as he reads.  I use this book every year to introduce the students to the format of a narrative.  We talk about how Jay hooks the reader and develops his characters, how he describes the setting through his vivid details, and how the plot unfolds naturally.  We take the time to list out the sequenced summary of the story on a Free Plot Diagram Printable from Scholastic so we can see the different parts of the plot, and where they all fall on this graphic organizer.  Students then have the visual of how a story is written, and take time to write their own.  

Do you have a favorite Mentor Text that you always use in your classroom?  What is it and how do you use it?  We'd love to hear about it!  

Have a wonderful holiday weekend!  


Saturday, August 24, 2013

First Week of School

Happy Saturday, Everyone!

I wanted to check in now that we have officially made it through our first week of school with our new 4th graders.  My plan was to tell you all about my newly acquired LOVE for Whole Brain Teaching after spending my week introducing students to many of the techniques with Kelli, but she has beaten me to it!!  I feel completely transformed as a teacher using these strategies in the classroom, and the best part is how much our students LOVE them! My heart smiled hearing from so many of our new students that "Fourth Grade is the best!" or "I wish I didn't have to go home for the weekend!"  I can't wait to get back into my classroom with those kiddos on Monday!  

Another awesome classroom management technique that Kelli has brought into my life is Class Dojo. Class Dojo is a free website where you can track your students' behavior and time on task throughout the day.  It's such an amazing tool for teachers!!  Class Dojo is easy to customize so you can improve behaviors specific to your classroom and grade level.  The students receive instant feedback, and they love the adorable monster avatars.  The best part?  Parents receive weekly reports about their child's behavior once they sign up with an email address!  Student engagement, parental communication, and documentation of behaviors...Class Dojo is the best!  Check it out and comment below to let us know what you think!

Have a great weekend! 


Thursday, August 22, 2013

7 Habits of Happy Kids & Whole Brain Teaching

If you ever visit my classroom, you'll immediately discover that I LOVE Whole Brain Teaching.  It has revolutionized my whole-group instruction and classroom management!  I have also recently become fond of Sean Covey's 7 Habits of Happy Kids.  If you've never heard of either of these, I highly recommend checking them out.  Now that I know about them and use them in my classroom DAILY, I don't know what I would do without them!  Thank you, Chris Biffle and Sean Covey!

Click and begin your exploration HERE:
Chris Biffle's Whole Brain Teaching Website - FREE Stuff!
My Pinterest Board for the 7 Habits of Happy Kids

The two worlds of WBT and the 7 Habits magically come together in this video.  Awesome!
7 Habits WBT-Style Video


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Celebrating 50 Followers in 1 Month!

In case you haven't already noticed, I have been spending way too much time on Teachers Pay Teachers this summer.  Becoming a seller has been a fun new adventure!  I'm excited to announce that I have gained 50 followers in my first month of business!  To celebrate, I would like to invite you to do 2 things:

#1 - Visit Learning in Wonderland here for a chance at a $25 TpT gift card and other FREE goodies.
#2 - Write a comment below including your name and email address.  I will randomly select one person to choose any product from my TpT store store for FREE!

Hope you're enjoying the new school year!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

It's that time of year again!  TeachersPayTeachers is hosting its' Back to School Sale!  The sale runs today and tomorrow ONLY!  Don't forget to enter the promo code: BTS13 to get an additional 10% OFF at the checkout!  Click here to start shopping!

My ENTIRE store is also 20% OFF until tomorrow!  Click here to check it out!

Have Fun!

To add to Kelli's post, my ENTIRE store is 15% off until tomorrow as well!  :) Click here to find some new Math, Writing, and Science items!


Sunday, August 11, 2013

Win a $25 TeachersPayTeachers Gift Certificate

ANOTHER great giveaway!  Can you believe it?!  The more time I spend collaborating with the TpT crowd, the more impressed I am!  There are so many wonderful teachers out there blogging and sharing their amazing resources.  I've been trying to connect with as many giveaways as possible to share the love!

This giveaway is HUGE.  There are SEVERAL prize packages that you can enter to win.  One of my products is featured in Prize Pack #5 for Grades 3-5 teachers.  Also, don't miss out on the raffle for the $25 TpT gift certificate.  I'm entering in that one for sure!!!

Click HERE to enter all the great giveaways!

Good luck!
:) Kelli

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Good afternoon, everyone!   I've wanted to post on here for a while, but am finally figuring out how to do it!  I'm so excited that we are going to be able to share teaching ideas, stories, and materials with you through this blog.  

This week, Kelli and I have been extremely busy setting up our classrooms in our new school.  After a lot of hard work, they are starting to take shape!  August is the most exciting, and most stressful, time of the year for me.  Of course I can't wait to meet my new students, but I am always very anxious about those first few days of school, setting routines and learning names.  Does anyone else feel that way?   

Kelli and I are working together to find fun, interactive activities for the first week of school as we get to know our 46 fourth graders.  Since I'll be teaching Math this year, I plan on completing "Math About Me" with my students on the second day of school to show them how important numbers are in their lives.  What are some of your favorite activities for the first week of school?  How do you get to know your students?  We'd love to hear from you!  

Have a great Saturday! 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Another Great Back to School Linky Party

Join me in finding some more fabulous Back to School resources!  Why spend so much of your valuable time creating more resources when there is already so much great stuff out there created by hard working teachers like yourself!  Grab it up!  There are lots of items for FREE!

CLICK HERE to find your some great treasures to add to your Back to School stash!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Enter to Win a Giveaway Valued at Over $100

What could be better than FREE Back to School resources??!! Get lots of fabulous resources from high quality TpT sellers with the click of a button. One of my products is featured in this giveaway!  :) So... get clicking on over to Mrs. Mathis' Homeroom blog to enter. Hurry! The giveaway closes FRIDAY (8.9.13).
Good luck!  I hope you win!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Baby Step #3 - Linky Party!

So... two days ago I didn't know what a linky party was!  I truly feel like a foreigner trying to learn how to live in a new culture as I venture into the world of blogging.  :)  As soon as I {sorta} figured out the whole "linky" thing, I decided to go looking for one to join... and... ta-da!  Here it is.  It's a Back to School linky party hosted by Christine Preslar from Preslar's Place.  Woohoo!  Thank you, Christine!  All you have to do is click on the button to grab some great Back to School FREEBIES and other goodies.
Click HERE to visit the party!
I'm featuring my FREE Common Core Fiction Reading Response set.  It's product #52.  :)
Click HERE to get my freebie!
Find some great new resources and party it up!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

New Common Core Opinion Writing Graphic Organizers for K-6

Woohoo!  I am super excited because I JUST finished my latest project - a set of Opinion Writing Graphic Organizers for grades K-6.  Click here for a description of this resource and be sure to DOWNLOAD the PREVIEW!

To celebrate, I'm throwing a 20% OFF SALE in my TpT Store, Wise Words, until Sunday, August 4th!

Happy Teaching!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Celebrating 100 Downloads of my FREE Fiction Common Core Reading Response Prompts

My teaching partner, Heather, and I are totally new to TpT selling. We just got started this month... and I'm so excited!  Not only have I made a bank-breaking profit of $2.10 so far {it's gonna burn a whole in my pocket}, but today one of my FREE products reached 100 downloads!  Woohoo!  This is a product that I am really proud of because I spent HOURS putting it together for my kiddos at school.  It's actually only a small portion of the larger interactive reading and writing handbook/notebook that I haven't had time to put up on TpT yet.

It's a pack of reading response prompts (including a blank response sheet) that is meant to be kept in a student binder or notebook to be used over and over again throughout the school year.  A teacher could assign them for the whole class after teaching a certain skill, through small strategy groups, or even on an individual basis through one-on-one conferencing. The prompts cover the gamut of Common Core standards from grades 3-5.  They are also scaffolded from the most basic at the top of each page to the most complex at the bottom.  And, YES, there is also a NONFICTION companion to this FICTION set.  I decided to offer the fiction set for FREE so that others can take a good look at the resource and try it out.  The Nonfiction set is priced at $3 right now.  {So essentially, you can get both sets for a grand total of $3... not too shabby, right?}

Click here for the FREE FICTION Common Core Reading Response Prompts!
Click here to check out the NONFICTION Common Core Reading Response Prompts.


Baby Step #2

I guess the best way to become active in the blogging world is to connect with other bloggers. Today I looked up the blogs of some of my favorite TpT sellers and added links to their blogs on the lower right side of our blog {I'm sure this area probably has a technical bloggy name, but I have no clue at this point!}. I highly recommend the resources provided by these teacher blogger-sellers.  Check them out!


Saturday, July 27, 2013

Baby Step #1

Hooray!  I figured out how to change our blog font and add some gadgets today!  Hmmm... what will be Baby Step #2?


Friday, July 26, 2013

Hello! Are we ready for this???

So... we're going to be totally honest.  We have NO IDEA as to what we're doing... with blogging, that is. We have so much to share, but we're taking baby steps learning HOW to share it.  Please be patient with us... and stay tuned!  There WILL be more to come {after we figure it all out}. 

We're excited to begin this journey, but we're feeling techno-illiterate right now.  So if you have any blogging advice or know any useful tutorials, we'd love to hear from you!  In the mean time, feel free to check out our TpT stores (links on the right-hand side).  They're also new and in the making, but we have several FREEBIES already!

Please stop by again!
Kelli and Heather

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