Sunday, October 28, 2012

Halloween Freebies

Are you ready for Halloween? Here are a few freebies to help you out this week. First, I have a monster theme Writing Menu. If you missed my post on Writing Menus (plus freebies) and Writing Workshop, check it out HERE. The movie prompt for this menu is Monster's Inc. Click on the picture for your free copy.

Next, I have a free ebook that you just HAVE to read with your students. This book is from We Give Books. You will need to register, but it's free and fast. It is completely worth the time because they have so many great books. Just click the cover of the book for a copy. I also have a little printable to go with it. Just click on the pic for that, too.

And finally, this is the cutest video of skeletons dancing to Thriller. I think I will let my kids do a little line dance to this video.
I hope you enjoy all these Halloween treats. Have a great week!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Building Writing Stamina with Writing Workshop and a Freebie

I believe in helping students develop their own writing ideas and build their writing stamina. The first few weeks we work on developing ideas, and I don't provide writing prompts for students. I feel if I start off providing them with writing prompts, they won't develop the ability to develop topics on their own. After the first 6 weeks, I start providing students with a Writing Menu on Mondays. The writing menu always includes a video prompt and a picture prompt. First, I show the video and read the prompt. Then I read through the rest of the choices. Finally, I ask students for other ideas for writing, and they add these ideas to their idea bank. These menus are just suggestions and not required writing assignments. Students are always allowed to write on whatever topic they want. My students and I love Writing Workshop.
Here is an overview of my Writing Workshop Procedures:
1. Writing Aerobics (see description below) 5 minutes
(On Mondays, I introduce the Writing Menu before Quiet 10)
2. Date Stamp and Quiet 10: (10 minutes)
Students write the date in their writing notebook. I put on classical music, set the timer, and the students write for 10 minutes. (They are not allowed to get up, talk, etc.)
3. Notebook Check (I check their notebook to see if they wrote an adequate amount. If they don't, I have them continue during recess. It is rarely a problem for long.) 2 minutes
4. Writing Mini Lesson (I usually work on one the 6 Traits of Writing) 15-20 minutes
5.  Writing Traits Practice (students practice a skill from the mini lesson) 10-20 minutes
6.  Author Share ( I choose two students per day to share their writing. I set the timer for 2 minutes per student.) 5 minutes
I love using the Writing Workshop model and my students writing stamina is unbelievable by the end of the year. They NEVER say, "I don't know what to write about."
Now the Writing Menus I promised, click each of the pictures for your free copy. The link to the video for the writing menu follows each picture. If you like these, let me know because I have a bunch of these made and can write another blog post and give you more. I'm just not sure how people will like having the video prompt as part of the menu.

This writing menu is Halloween themed. The video for the video prompt is The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. This is a link for a longer clip. If you want a shorter version, just check YouTube.
this writing menu uses the video clip from Disney Pixars, For the Birds. I use RealPlayer to download the videos from YouTube. Then I convert them to mp4 using A little time consuming but it works:)


Writing Aerobics is a spiral writing program that is meant to be completed daily as part of your Writing Workshop. It only takes 5 minutes a day but the results are dramatic. It is 150 days of spiral figurative language exercises. My students become very proficient in using figurative language in their daily writing. I've turned it into a game and the students look forward to it everyday. Click HERE or on the picture to check out this product in my TpT store.
Good luck as you continue to create magic in your classroom!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Measurement Magic: Making it Fun and Easy

I like to use foldables in my classroom. I created a couple of foldables for teaching the Standard and Metric System. This foldable works best on the larger 12' X 18' construction paper. The picture is on the smaller construction paper but you can see the labels are a little over the edges. I have created one for both the Standard and Metric system. You will need to fold both sides of the construction paper toward the middle and cut to make four windows. I've created a graphic organizer of the entire system, and that goes under the system window. I have students keep this foldable as a reference throughout our measurement unit. Click the picture below for your free copy.
Also here is a great product for teaching metric system conversion. It is the Magnetic Metric Staircase from Educational Insights.
Just stick the chart on your magnetic whiteboard. (The magnet is super heavy duty.) Take the two thick foam pieces, cat and shoe, and place them on the staircase. Place the cat on the board first, then decide where you are converting to, and place the shoe on that step.
Finally, the students count how many steps it takes for the cat to get to the shoe and then either multiply or divide by 10 according to the arrow on the chart. Presto! It's magical how easy this concept is to teach with this handy visual. Educational Insights has also included several printables with a visual included. They have done all the hard work for you. You gotta love this product, and I was thrilled to review it for them.