Friday, February 12, 2016

Free Verse Poetry

Do you teach free verse poetry to your students? It can be a difficult unit to tackle with young ones. Getting some kids to "think outside the box" can be tricky. After struggling to teach this to MANY literal thinking students, I came up with all of the ideas in my Looking Like a Poet pack!
I first want my students to begin looking at the world differently, like a poet. What does this exactly mean? It means looking at everyday things in life differently. Instead of a child looking at grass as just green stuff on the ground that grows, he/she sees grass in a whole new way... like a warm, soft, blanket for the ground! This can be very very hard for some young children, particularly literal thinkers and English Language Learners. So front-loading a free-verse poetry writing unit with LOTS of opportunities to observe the world in this new way, is imperative!

I created this mini- unit to flow into Lucy Calkins' lessons from her poetry unit. After students have lots of opportunities to observe their ordinary world through the eyes of a poet, they are ready for the mini-lessons from Calkins' book.

First, I begin by having my students understand the differences between seeing the world as a scientist (literal), and seeing the world as a poet (in a fresh new way). 
Students complete a scientist/poet observation sort to help them differentiate between the two.

I have students observe ordinary objects (they get to bring objects in from home to observe) and take notes on these objects in 2 ways, like a scientist first, and then like a poet. I ask them to look at these everyday objects in an imaginative way and record their observations on the notes pages included in my pack. After 3-4 days of doing this, students come away with "notes" that will become the springboard to their free-verse poems. See example below:
This boy brought in his flight pin to observe and imagine it in a fresh new way!
He used his notes seen above to write this wonderful free-verse poem called "The Pin"
I love what this little girl wrote about her heart hair tie!

This student looked at a pipe cleaner in a fresh new way!

A bell becomes something magical!
A pom pom ball becomes a creature!
After my students have observed everyday objects for a few days, we take our "poet eyes" outside! I love reading The Looking Book by P.K. Hallinan to my class and then handing them their very own pair of "lookers" (just black plastic glasses) to wear! Students take their Poet Notes pages outside with clipboards and begin seeing the outside world in fresh new ways!

This little poet records her outdoor observations on the Poet Notes page included in my pack.
This pack includes everything seen below PLUS 5 days of detailed mini-lessons not pictured here! Just click the picture below to take a closer look in my TPT shop :)

Monday, November 9, 2015

Copy Room Makeover!

As we all know, teachers spend plenty of time in the copy room! Since so much teacher time is spent in this particular room, I thought it deserved to look "pretty"! I asked my principal if any funds were available to spruce up this part of our school and he said yes! So my wheels immediately started turning as I tried to come up with a nice "theme" for this space. So where does one go when inspiration is needed? Why Target of course! I found myself in the Target Dollar Spot as soon as I entered (well that's not entirely true... I hit up the Starbucks counter first!). I found these adorable teacher goodies and knew that I wanted to incorporate them into the prettied up copy room!
I couldn't find my original picture so I snagged this from my instagram!
I wanted to incorporate something else with the chalkboard and the tan/wood accented Target goodies screamed BURLAP to me! So I quickly set to work on chalkboard/bulap teacher quotes signs to hang around the copy room. 

These cute little black chalkboard clipboards
were also one of my finds from Target!

I wanted to use the little clipboards to hold photos of each grade level team. I decided to make a staff bulletin board with them. I had an old cork bulletin board already. I sprayed it blue first. Then I got thick burlap ribbon from Hobby Lobby to create a border. I just used a hot glue gun and went down and up with the ribbon as I glued it to the frame. I finished it off with a black burlap flower in the corner and love how it turned out!

I created a second bulletin board to put some of my teacher quotes on.
This one has black fabric as the background to coordinate with the chalkboard clipboards!

This corkboard is from Target! I loved the pattern and thought it would
coordinate well with the chalkboard/bulap look I was going for!

If you'd like your own chalkboard/bulap teacher quotes to add inspiration to a space in your school click the image below!

If you have a less than "pretty" space in your school, see if there are funds available to do some decorating!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Managing Papers....from school to home!

I use take-home folders every year as one way to communicate with families. I'm always trying to think of ways to improve this form of communication between home and school.  I want my first graders to be able to manage the contents of the folders. My students are in charge of bringing their take home folders back and forth between home and school. They stuff their own folders at the end of the day. They turn their home work in every day from their folders. They bring me their lunch $ from their folders. And last but definitely not least, they complete the daily check-in page at the back of their folder. Read on to find out more about each part of my take-home folder system!
First, my team decided to purchase 4 pocket folders from, pictured below.
We loved these folders for so many reasons! First, there are 2 extra pockets inside these folders. We wanted to make one pocket for lunch $ envelopes and another pocket for our school lunch menu. The right and left side pockets would be used for papers we send home and homework. Then on the back, there is another spot to put something. This is where we will keep our "daily check-in form." Finally, we loved that you could slide a cute cover in the front!

I created editable Melonheadz covers for my folders this year. My pack includes 9 different editable covers to choose from!

As pictured here, the cover slides right into the pocket!

The bring right back pocket is where students put their math homework or important notes that need to COME BACK to school! I used this system last year and it really works!
The to be left at home pocket is where we send home finished/corrected school work. Students know that this pocket should be empty each day!

These can be easily printed onto Avery 2x4 labels

This is new for me this year! I'm hoping that my students will not come up to me in the morning with a $5 bill saying, "here's my lunch $!" I'm hoping parents will read this label and follow through! I will be one happy teacher this year :)

Simply print these on Avery 2x4 labels and stick!

This is new for me this year. I created it because I was tired of having students keep a book log, math home-work check in sheets, and a behavior calendar. I'm hoping that this new DAILY CHECK IN page will help keep students organized and keep everything in ONE SPOT!

I also included an editable DAILY CHECK IN page in this pack.  I made the headers blank so you can type in what you need!

Click on the cover below to see this in my store!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

7 Days til Baby SALE!

I'm so excited to be throwing a week long sale to count down the days until our baby boy arrives! Each day a different product will be 50% off and will remain that way until my scheduled C-section. So if you happen to miss a day, you'll have time to take a peek and see if it's something you could use for your classroom and still get it on SALE!!!

Follow me on Instagram to see what will be going on sale each day!

The countdown begins tomorrow... July 1st :)

Make Your Masterpiece TPT Challenge!

Even though I'm not officially participating in the TPT Seller Challenge, I decided to jump on board with this week's challenge. It really motivated me to get this little freebie up and ready to share with all of you!

This freebie contains all you'll need for a completely allergy friendly day to celebrate the birthday boy/girl! I loved the idea of having a "birthday in a bag" for just the special birthday boy/girl. Included in this freebie is:

* a birthday in a bag letter to parents explaining what they need to do for thier child's birthday in a bag

* birthday in a bag tags to stick to bags (color & black and white versions)

I also like to send the birthday boy/girl home with a special birthday card book from their classmates. So.... I also included the following in this freebie:

* an explanation page of how to use the Barenaked Ladies song "If I Had a Million Dollars" to create a fun and memorable birthday book from the class

* a happy birthday booklet cover (color & black and white version)

* a "If I Had a Million Dollars" page for students to fill out (compiled pages get stapled inside cover booklet above)

I hope this freebie helps make things easier for you in your classroom as you celebrate birthdays!

Click on the picture below to snag a copy from my store. Don't forget to follow my store so you can get updates on future freebies and products!

Thanks to the following ladies for doing this fun challenge!

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Organizing Curriculum

I'm always searching for the perfect way to organize curriculum to make planning time easier! Although our entire district urriculum is housed online, I like to have a hard copy at my finger tips for lesson planning. Logging into the system, searching for the subject area, and then locating my units takes too much time.  For a while I bound my reading and writing units seperately, but found that they ended up all over my desk area in different places. I wanted to organize my language arts units so that reading/writing units went together and were easy to find.

I decided to put unit 1 reading/writing together, unit 2 reading/writing together, and so on. Although I feel like I have a zillion binders...I ended up putting the units in binders! Of course I had to create some cute to look at binder covers and spines... Click on the picture below to check out these editable binder covers in my store!

Six different melonheadz covers and matching spines  to choose from and edit :)

Now I can easily grab the reading/writing units at a glance!