Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Dusting off your childhood, one book at a time!

So many books to read, so little time! Probably the biggest dilemma every working book nerd faces. I seem to keep collecting new books to read but can't find the time to sit down with them. The balance between work and family is already a delicate one... throw in setting aside time to read for pleasure and the whole system falls apart! Perhaps once summer vacation begins I will have a little more time... (said no teacher/mother ever!)

However, I have been following a great book blog for a little while now called "The Perpetual Page Turner". Yesterday she featured a fun little post, sending her readers down memory lane. The post was a top ten list of her favorite childhood books you would read again (if you had the time!).  She had some staples from my childhood on her list. Who didn't love a good Sweet Valley High melodrama! And I practically lived off of anything RL Stine wrote.

So up into my closet I went to dig up a box of dusty paperback memories from my parents house.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Sunday Scoop is Back!

I haven't joined up with Teaching Trio for the Sunday Scoop in a little while, so I think it's time to get back in the game!

Tomorrow my class starts taking the SBAC (Smarter Balanced) Assessment....!!!!!!! I'm a little nervous for my kiddos. This test is INTENSE! I think they can handle it academically, but I'm worried about their stamina. The performance task asks them to read 3 pieces of text then answer questions and write an essay... all on the computer! Students have to scroll through the 3 pieces of text on one side of their screen while answering the questions on the other side. Hopefully I will find time today to make them some little care packages with encouraging notes.

I've started to work on creating a series of tech tips that I will post here and on my TpT store. Check out the first one below (click on the image to download the full tutorial FREE on TpT!)

Thanks for stopping by, and don't forget to join me for my new monthly linkup to share your Inspired Ideas! My inspired idea for the month is my new classroom Readbox display! Stop by the linkup to check it out!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

When PINspiration strikes... Classroom Readbox!

It's time to join in with what inspired you this month! Check out what inspired idea I put into action in my classroom. Then follow the directions at the end of this post to link up your own inspired ideas. I can't wait to see what everyone's been up to!

I was a little late to join in on the Pinterest craze... but once you sign up, it is like falling into a black hole of crafty DIY inspiration! One of my fist times flicking through "pins" I saw this great idea to create a Redbox in your classroom to use as a book display. I'm sure you're all familiar with the amazingly convenient Redbox movie dispensing machines. Well this clever idea uses a play on words to turn Redbox into "Readbox". GENIOUS, and a great way to get students inspired to read!

About 2 weeks ago I finally put this inspiration to good use. There was an old wooden bookshelf in my classroom with faded and dirty blue paint. One Monday afternoon while my students were at chorus, I dragged it out behind the school and attacked it with some red spray paint. The transformation was amazing...

After painting the shelf I enlisted the help of my students to level our class library. The books on my readbox shelf are all new arrivals from Scholastic Reading Club (They had some great deals last month and I cashed in some bonus points to update our selection). To level them I used AR Bookfinder, operated by Renaissance Learning (STAR testing). We use the STAR assessments in our school which provides students with an independent reading range. This helps students select appropriate books to read independently.

I used a sharpie to write the AR book levels on all of my new books, then sorted them into baskets to make it easier for students to find their "just right" book. For more information on AR Bookfinder, download my FREE Reading Celebration Packet. It comes with tutorials for using Accelerated Reader in the classroom (plus an awesome Battle of the Books bracket tournament!).

Here's how my finished display came out:

My students are so excited to "rent" these new books! Now they can't wait for our independent reading time after recess each day. Stop by my TpT store to pickup my Readbox packet. It comes with all the signs and labels pictured, a sign out sheet to keep track of books, bookmarks, and a book review form. Click {HERE} to check it out!

Your Turn: Linking up is simple!
  1. Copy the three images from this post (linkup logo, lightbulb,  & my great idea title) to use in your post.
  2. Write a post on your blog about your inspiration for great ideas in your classroom. 
  3. Link your post back here by clicking on the InLinkz button below.
  4. Visit at least 2 others who have linked up to comment on and be inspired by their great ideas!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

We've got cabin fever... and a flash sale!

Here we are with yet ANOTHER snow day!!
It's tough being cooped up in the house with 3 little boys, but at least we've made some new friends:
This cute little guy has been visiting us on our back deck at our kitchen window. Poor little guy can't find his nuts with 3+ feet of snow on the ground. So we've been tossing him a few peanuts here and there. Yesterday he started digging tunnels in the snow piles on our deck! Very entertaining to watch!

And nothing helps you get through a snow day like a new Oscar winning Disney movie! We picked up Big Hero 6 last weekend and it has been on a constant loop in our DVD player ever since!

This movie is filled with uplifting themes, positive messages, and non-stop action. My boys are in LOVE with the huggable, marshmallow-y Baymax (and I am too)!

I curled up on the couch with my boys and we were all mesmerized. As the credits rolled, I found myself looking for a way to use Big Hero 6 in my classroom. The abundance of interesting characters, plot twists, and positive themes makes this movie perfect for a Literary Analysis!

Big Hero 6 deals with loss, grief, the importance of friendship, and vengeful feelings. Baymax's impeccable morale code influences the other characters and helps them to see that revenge is not the answer. "Our programming prevents us from injuring a human being."

Baymax teaches kids that every life is worth saving and anything is possible with the support of your friends. Seriously this movie is an emotional roller coaster from start to finish! (I cried at least 3 times!)

Stop by my TpT store to grab my newest product (and all other products) 20% off today only!
Click on the image below!

Designed for grades 4-8
Activities included in this packet:
Character analysis
Character traits
Conflict between characters
Static/Dynamic characters
Setting analysis
Discussion Questions
Plot Pyramid
Science behind Baymax informational article (main idea & details)
Character trait graffiti wall craftivity

All Answer keys included!

Check out this video clip used in the packet to support the "Science Behind Baymax" article:

undefined on Disney Video

If you take advantage of this flash sale, please leave me some feedback. 
I'd love to know what you think!

Here's my 5-year old's illustration of Baymax, so cute! This is his first ever drawing with details!!

Happy snow day everyone (hopefully it's the last!)