Monday, December 19, 2016

New Product: Endangered Animals Context Clues Task Cards

Happy to have this new product finished. I enjoyed learning about all of the magnificent creatures. However, it makes me sad that the number ONE culprit as to why they are endangered is humans.

Your students will build vocabulary while learning about these endangered animals.

Click on the link to learn more about this product: Endangered Animals Context Clues Task Cards

Video preview of product:

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Genius Hour Preparations in the Classroom

Do you have Genius Hour in your classroom? After reading about it all over the Internet and hearing about it from numerous educators, I decided to give it a try. This is my second year to incorporate it into my classroom. I honestly have to say I'm so glad it's a part of my regular class routine now.

Is it a lot of work? Yes! Is it worth it? Absolutely, without a doubt!

Just like last year, I set Mondays as our designated day to have Genius Hour. On this day, students research and work on visuals, books they're writing, songs, commercials, skits, etc. It's a wonderful time for me to walk around and listen to all the creativity taking place.

If you do decide to give it a try, I'd say that conferencing is one of the MOST important parts of the process. It's crucial to be able to give suggestions and see just how far your students are moving along. Another VERY important component of this process is having students perform their presentation for their parents. I ask parents to time the presentation, make sure eye contact is given and that it's smooth and engaging. We certainly don't want to sound like robots for our classmates. I absolutely love hearing all the constructive feedback from parents.

This past week was full of projects starting to come in, putting finishing touches on speeches/visuals, students helping one another, last conferences with students, and much more.  Now the "magic" begins this coming week. I LOVE hearing about all the creative ideas, props, visuals, replicas, powerpoints, tri-boards and much more. Now I'm getting excited about our upcoming week. It should be a fun week of learning MANY passions from our peers.

Enjoy a few of last week's preparations, conferences, and finished items coming in...
Until next time,

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Looking for a Time Saver?

Are you looking for a HUGE time saver? Well, I was! I teach 115 students reading. I was looking for another way to spend my Sundays other than sitting at a table grading papers. Have you seen the new Google Forms Self-Grading Quizzes? AMAZING!
I highly suggest you check out this video from Teachers Tech (thank you for such an incredibly informative video). I have my first NEW Google Form ready for tomorrow. This now takes the place of the former Flubaroo Add-On.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Teaching 9/11 in the Classroom

It's that time again when we are all sadly reminded that America was under attack in 2001. The unthinkable happened. How do you teach your students what happened?

Yesterday I showed my students a couple of kid-friendly videos, a heartfelt song, and then we took a virtual tour of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City.

First I showed Tim and Moby's video on BrainPop. This is a paid program that I highly recommend. I'm extremely fortunate that our school purchases a subscription. BrainPop features highly informative, kid-friendly videos that include ready-made quizzes.

The next informative video I showed is from Randy Maurer, a principal at Eastern Elementary School. He does an incredible job of teaching what the New York City skyline looked like before 9/11 and how it looks today. He tells the events of this tragic day and how America stood strong and fought back. I love how he emphasizes that we should be thankful for our every day "superheroes" around us.

After this informative video, I showed a song written by Dave Pasquarello that is heartfelt and emotional and includes a message that our students should all take away from this tragic day. Heroes do not wear capes. Our everyday heroes were visible and in action on 9/11 - fireman, policemen, EMT, and every day civilians. The
song can be watched here:

The last thing we did was "buckle up" and depart for New York. We took a virtual tour of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. The students can choose where they want to go in the halls of the museum. The site is here:

Next week, my students will complete more 9/11 activities using a CHOICE BOARD. The choice board includes context clues task cards, poetry, a synonym and antonym match, creating a timeline and/or a WORDLE, and other engaging activities that allow students to learn more about this day's unthinkable events and how America stood strong. To learn more about this product that's available in my TpT store click HERE or on the picture below. 

I'd love to hear what 9/11 activities you include in your room. As we approach the anniversary of this fateful day, let's all remember those who lost loved ones and those who truly were heroes, putting others before themselves. God Bless America!


Monday, August 8, 2016

In the Words of my Father... It Takes Hard Work!

Well, summer 2016 is coming to an end! Yikes! Do I really have to think about it? It's been a summer to remember - a sad one, yet a productive and fun summer as well. With my dad's passing, it's been unbelievably sad. I've been in a spot that I've never been in. I just can't seem to get out of this "tunnel." With school right about the corner, however, I MUST!

On a positive note, this summer has also been productive because I've gotten so much done around the house (organizing like crazy to keep my mind extremley busy), and it's been full of fun with some travels and memorable times with my amazing family.

I'll start this new school year like never before (with an emptiness, an aching heart, and not being able to call Dad on the way home to share my classroom happenings). However, I'll keep in mind what my dad always taught me - work hard and do a job to the best of your ability. Give it 110%! As I ready my classroom and do ALL the work it takes to gear up for a new school year, I'll remember my father's wise words. I'll also know that he's smiling down on me as I'm in my classroom working hard to inspire lives and build inquisitive minds.

I love the quote below because it conveys and sums up my dad's work ethic, and he absolutely LOVED Vince Lombardi. In addition, as teachers, we don't back down from new, hard work. We have an important job to do, and we JUST DO IT.

Wishing all my teacher friends a fantastic first week back and a hugely successful school year.

Remembering you, Dad...

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Positive Thinking

I'm a huge lover of quotes - always have been, always will be.  With summer coming to an end, negative thoughts can start to creep in. Vacation time is over, time to get to work, no more lazy days, etc. I remind myself that I've got big things to do and lives to change. When I saw this quote, I loved it and wanted to share.

Hopefully it will inspire my teacher friends as we get down to the business of inspiring minds and changing lives.

Until next time,

Friday, July 22, 2016

Celebrating 3 Years with TpT

Well, it seems like just yesterday that I was pondering on whether or not to join TpT. I'd been buying products for quite some time, but just couldn't seem to take the plunge on creating my own store. You see, those negative voices kept telling me, "You can't do this!" "No one will want your products!" "You don't know how to create products!"

Thank goodness, I stopped listening to those voices and just dove in. Thank goodness for youtube, Pinterest, helpful teachers like you, and hours and hours of dedication. I went for it! Looking back, I'm so glad I did. I've met so many wonderful, hard-working teachers, gained so many creative ideas from you, made extra income, and have built my confidence. It goes back to that old saying we've all heard so many times..."if you set your mind to it; you can do it!" Achieve it!

To celebrate, I've put my entire store on sale from 7/22-7/29. I'm also giving away a $10 TpT Gift Card (we can all certainly use that).

I can't thank you all enough for sharing my posts, following me, laughing with me (sometimes to the point of tears). On a more serious note, my father just recently passed away. Many of you reached out to me in texts, messages, and cards. Wow! Do I need to say more? YOU ROCK!

Thanks for being you and for blessing me and my little ole TpT Store.

Click on the link or photo below to head on over to my store:

To enter the $10 TpT Gift Card Giveaway: 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Until next time,

Saturday, June 11, 2016

ELA Growing Task Card Bundle Set 1 Just Grew

I absolutely love "GROWING BUNDLES" - making them AND buying them. It feels great to make a "one time" purchase and then keep getting products and savings as more products are added at NO cost! Can't beat it!

One of my favorite "growing bundles" that I've been working on is my ELA Growing Task Card Bundle. Well, I'm happy to announce that it just GREW. Woo hoo! This product now has 17 sets of task cards for only $32.50. That's a $16 savings and 6 products for FREE! As task card sets are added, you will continually get them for FREE.

How about an even BIGGER savings this summer? For the next 48 hours, this ELA GROWING BUNDLE will be 20% off.  Check it out! This bundle includes task cards to review pertinent reading and vocabulary skills. I recommend using these task card sets in grades 3-6.

You can read about this product by clicking HERE or on the picture below.

I can't wait to add more to this "growing bundle!" As of right now, I'm working on Civil War-Themed Context Clues task cards. Therefore, I've got to get back to work!

Until next time,

Monday, May 2, 2016

TpT Teacher Appreciation Sale May 3-4

160 × 200

In honor of all the hard-working, dedicated teachers out there, EVERYTHING in my store will be on sale 20% off on May 3-4. Use the code CELEBRATE when checking out to save even more (up to 28 % off)

Check out my interactive activities, task cards, flip books, vocabulary resources, and best of all, BUNDLES.

Click HERE or on the image to head on over to my store. Happy Shopping and Happy Teacher Appreciation week!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Day 7 - Second Passion Projects

Hats off to another day of incredible learning! These “experts” taught, demonstrated, experimented, and impressed us with their knowledge. On this day, we learned about Adrian Beltre, the pros and cons of a sewing machine, the history of basketball, the history of Play-Doh and how to make it at home, 3D drawing, war dogs, the solar system, how to make an edible water bottle, dachshunds, and we learned some interesting facts about a few safe cars.

 Here’s a sneak peek into this day’s wonderful learning ~ enjoy!

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Day 6 - Second Passion Project Presentation

With almost 130 fifth graders, our incredible Genius Hour (or Passion Projects) continue. We're still learning from "experts" galore.

On this day, we learned about the Beatles, optical illusions, goats, Albert Einstein, what it takes to be a painter and an effective hunter, the negative effects of smoking, the pros and cons of tanks, Robert Downy Jr., how humans are similar to gorillas, stop motion movies and how they're made, how to make a shelter and a fire, Anime, the Titanic, Canada, the acoustic guitar, watched a milk and soap experiment in action, the Eiffel Tower, sugar gliders, dogs and the colors they see, Emmitt Smith, and the Warriors basketball teams.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Day 5 - Passion Project (Genius Hour) Presentations

More Passion Projects occurred for our learners! On this day, our "experts" taught us about Pediatric Oncology, the pros and cons of hoverboards, what the future might look like, the difference between a 20 gauge shotgun and 243 rifle, the difference between aluminum and wooden bats, all about labradoodles, global warming and its effects on arctic animals, Pearl Harbor, Osmo and its different games, Michael Irvin, the Bermuda Triangle, various spiders, and how to do a DIY project to help with school work and organization. What a fun and educational day!

 Here's a sneak peek into these fabulous presentations. Enjoy!


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Day 4 - Second Passion Project

We continue to be taught by some fabulous "experts" in the classroom.

Today, we enjoyed learning what it's like to be a game warden, all about the osprey and how it catches fish, we learned about law enforcement (cops), we learned about Haiti, mechanical leverage, how to survive in the wild, how color blindness affects people, the sinking of the Edmund Fitzgerald, the history of sniper rifles, France and what it's like, backyard biology, watched milk create "magic", how Play Doh was discovered, and we were told all about elephants, cats, and four kings of the Bible. What a fun and educational day! I'm so proud of our "teachers!"


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Day 3 - Passion Project Presentations

Today we enjoyed more "experts" presenting their passions. We learned about Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD), fishing and various lures, pros and cons of owning chickens, the history of soccer, sign language, the life of an orca (killer whale), the sinking of famous ships including the Titanic, the characteristics of three snakes, red pandas, and gymnastics with disabled children.

Here's a sneak peek into this fun and memorable day! So proud of our experts!

Monday, April 11, 2016

Genius Hour Presentations - Day 2

Today, we enjoyed more Passion Project presentations (Genius Hour presentations). Our experts were incredible! I love seeing my students' passions!

We learned about one of our classmates who lived in Germany, the different stages of Alzheimers, how to ride a Segway,  the pros and cons of Hoverboards, how the Volkswagen was used in the army, how a student became closer to God, the history of the MLB, the red panda and how they aren't good with people and why, how to make rock candy, Victorian dolls, how crystals are made and how to grow homemade Borax crystals, random acts of kindness we can show others, 4 types of doctors and what they do, how scabs are formed and how they prevent us from getting infections, about giants and their differences from normal-sized humans, and the Chernobyl disaster.

Wow! Here's a little sneak peek into this educational and memorable day! Enjoy!


Saturday, April 9, 2016

Genius Hour in the Classroom (AGAIN)

Do you do Genius Hour in your classroom? It's been one of the most incredible, memorable, and engaging things I've added. We've completed two projects this year, and I'm so glad I evaluated the pros and cons and went with it.

Check out my students' first day of their second Passion Projects. Students research, and present, on a topic they're passionate about. On this day, we were “wowed” with topics such as what it's like to be a firefighter, we learned about the history of drones and how useful they can be, the pros and cons of airplanes, how to build a doghouse, how to make wacky sacks (we all got one of these to keep and take home), how cars are made, how the DEA was involved in bringing down one of Colombia's largest drug dealers, Pablo Escobar ( we all got DEA ribbons and stickers of our own), we learned about the spinosaurus, the Bermuda Triangle, and we heard the results of a sports survey taken by our fifth graders.

SO proud of these "experts"! Here’s a sneak peek into this fun and educational day!


Sunday, March 27, 2016

STAAR Test Motivation Video

For those of you who live in Texas and are "lucky" STAAR test takers this week, I ran across a very motivational video that I'll be showing my students. It's so's not just about the test but about applying yourself and meeting the challenge. Fantastic job, Marcus W. Johnson "MJ" (the creator of this video).

Good luck to everyone! Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Flocab's in the House - FREE trial

Do you use Flocabulary in your classroom? If not, you're missing out! When my fifth grade students enter (before going to their enhancement class), we start the day with an upbeat video (or two or three) from Flocab. There's not ONE song that my students haven't loved. You can see heads bobbing, smiles growing, learning occurring, and feet tapping.

Check out my students interacting with a video pertaining to Point of View.

Each Monday, we enjoy "The Week in Rap Jr." There's also a Week in Rap for older students. We learn a lot about the world's major happenings from these informative songs. Check out an example of "Week in the Rap Jr.

One of my favorite components of Flocabulary is the ability to create classes. Flocabulary gives you a unique code for each class. Students will then enter that code to JOIN YOUR CLASS. You can see below that I've created five classes. By doing this, I can assign each child a video to watch. Even better...a quiz can be taken for a snapshot, or formative assessment, to see if students are getting the concept.

Here's a quick shot of my students completing a "digital classroom" lesson. Check out the total engagement. All students are working at their own pace. How beautiful is that? Once they submit their quiz, I can assess the data to see who need additional help with that particular concept, or lesson.

So I guess you can say that I'm a full-fledged Flocabulary fanatic (wow, check out that alliteration!) I highly recommend using Flocabulary in the classroom.  Right now, they are offering an extended 75-day FREE trial for those that sign up using the following link. Click HERE or on the image below to sign up.

About Flocabulary

  •  Flocabulary is a web-based learning program for all grades and subjects that uses educational hip-hop music to engage students and increase achievement.
  •  Teachers in more than 50,000 schools have used Flocabulary’s standards-based videos, instructional activities and formative assessments to develop core literacy skills and supplement instruction across the curriculum.
  • With new and expanding resources for writing and project-based learning, Flocabulary is a springboard into student-centered instruction. Check out our Writing Academic Rhymes resources to lead students in their own educational rap-writing!
  • Flocabulary offers more than 700 videos with accompanying classroom resources and formative assessments to support instruction in math, science, social studies, ELA, vocabulary, current events and life skills, with new content every week.

So what are you waiting for! Sign up today!

Until next time,

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Commercials Galore- One of my Favorite Units

I always get excited when it's time to teach media literacy. This past week, my fifth grade students were introduced to media literacy and many of the persuasive techniques used to convince us to buy various products. 

Some of the techniques we discussed were the bandwagon, snob appeal, and the emotional appeal techniques. Throughout the week, we watched various commercials and discussed the music, camera angles, graphics, formality and informality, persuasive language, and how all of these factors in commercials CAN manipulate, and convince, us.

Students then worked in groups to create their very own commercials. They were hired as an "advertising team" to invent a product they thought others needed. Each student had a job (chosen by them or the team based on his/her talents). Students then wrote scripts, designed slogans, jingles, and logos, directed, illustrated and collaborated.

I'm so proud of the jobs effectively accepted, practiced, and performed by our hard-working students. Sure, initially some students struggle with their "job" and "other employees." However, in the end, it's a total joy to watch these initial struggles be worked out cordially among them and life lessons learned in the end. 

Here's a look into this past week's hard work. 

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Genius Hour in the Classroom - 2nd Time Around!

On Monday, I had some very excited children. I even had one jump up and hug me! Passion Projects #2 have begun! We had such fun with our first Passion Projects that I've had students begging to start again. Now that the holiday break is over, (yes, we have to accept it), it's time to begin our 2nd projects.

 I showed a very motivational video to encourage them to dive deep, engage, and learn. Even though this video is meant for a person desiring to be an entrepreneur, it seemed to fit perfectly for Genius Hour.  Here's the video we watched.

 I also shared with the students some of the positive feedback they gave me from our last Passion Project. Here are a few examples:

  •  "I started my own band."  Bailey B. 
  • " I was super nervous, but when I was up, I overcame it.  I was so surprised." Hope A. 
  •  "I learned that my great grandfather got a Purple Heart." Dylon J.  
  • "I got to learn how to weld and spend time with my family." Mackenzie G. 
  •  "I worked with my dad putting in the lights on my tri fold board. "I did not know I had a family member that was in WWII."  Mitchell C. 
  •  "I would have never had done this with out Genius Hour. I love doing research and loved making my volcano and learning about them. I also loved spending time with my family and was scared to do my presentation, but now I am not."  Justin S. 
  •  "I learned how to embed a video on my blog." Deegen V. 
  •  "I got to spend time with my mom, and I gained more confidence."  Ayden B. 
  •  "I learned how to make a Powtoon." Jake Y.
Lastly, students were to come up with a driving question for their 2nd Passion Project. We've got some topics that I can't wait to learn about. It should be another fun "ride" and journey.

Until next time!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year ~ 2016!

Happy 2016!
Wishing you a Happy New Year with the hope that 
you will have many blessings in the year to come.