Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday Scoop 3/29/15 + a Freebie!

I'm linking up with Teaching Trio for the Sunday Scoop! I think I have gotten into this particular linky because it makes me appreciate the end of my weekend, and it mentally prepares me for the week ahead! This is our last week before spring break, so I'm even more excited to participate!

We are continuing with figurative language in my literacy class this week. I created a few entrance and exit slips for them over the past few weeks. I just made an entrance slip for personification. As I brainstormed on the topic(s) I would use to review this skill, I noticed in my school bag a set of freebies I got at the French Lick Spring Blogger meet-up (#springteacherbloggermeetup2015). They are a bag of small (1-inch) weather cut-outs. My students will choose one of the weather cut-outs. They can choose from a cloud, a rain drop, a lightning bolt, a sunshine, a snowflake, or a group of rain clouds. They will glue the cut-out to the strip of paper, then write a personification sentence adding a human characteristic (or comment) to the type of weather they choose. This should give me a quick view of who can apply their knowledge of personification to non-human objects! Easy-peasy!

Click here or on the picture below to download the Weather Personification entrance slips! Leave a comment for me letting me know if it is something that will be useful to you, or if you have better ideas or suggestions as to how I can improve them (or just add to them!).

Thanks and have a great spring week! Don't forget to add your link and comment on a few other bloggers' Sunday Scoop posts! :)

Friday, March 27, 2015

It Figures (Figurative Language)! Five for Friday + a Freebie!

I'm linking up with Kacey from Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday!

We actually had standardized testing this week. I teach at a private school for kids with learning differences, so our standardized testing is a little different from public schools. We only tested for 3 days. Sooooo, I started my figurative language unit last week, and I continued it on Monday, then we picked up with it today (Friday). 
On Monday, we practiced some personification skills. I showed them some YouTube clips that had personification in them. (You can search "personification" in YouTube and pull up a ton of options.) Then we did some examples together. They were pretty comfortable with this, considering they are seventh graders. All of my students struggle with using figurative language in their writing and understanding what it means when they come across it in their reading.
So, I cut out some pictures from magazines. I circled an object or an animal in each picture. I had my kids partner up, and they had to write a sentence giving the object or animal a (human) emotion. "How would that object feel right now?" I also had them write a sentence giving their object or animal a voice. "What would your animal or object SAY right now?"

I thought they did a GREAT job with this, which was a good thing. I knew they wouldn't come back to my class until Friday.

My technology classes were on schedule since we only had testing in the morning. We have all of our special area classes in the afternoons. With one of my intermediate groups, I tried an activity called "Crazy Stories" from Christina Gill-Lindsay (TPT: Computer Teacher Solutions). The students typed a story starter at their own computer (I used "My computer teacher..."), then I set a timer for one minute. The students furiously typed. I used a fun bomb timer from It was a great visual AND sound for them to rotate after a minute. They kept rotating after a minute of typing, adding to the story at the current computer. They LOVED it! Click here to see this product! It's fun! If you don't have a class set of computers, you could easily have kids write on paper and rotate to each desk!

My middle school technology students wrote a "Wishes and Fears" poem this week. I use a poetry forms website called "Instant Poetry Forms". This website is GREAT for my kiddos who struggle with writing original pieces, heck, all writing in general. Anyway, this site gives a lot of poetry types where students can fill in blanks, but the poems are not generic-sounding when they finish. Some of their poems were so raw, so real, I wanted to cry!
I also borrowed a craft from Amy Lemons'  "We're All Poets -A Poetry Writing Unit". I used the band-aid with a heart on it. I explained to the kids that we all have fears (the band-aid symbolized our fears) and the heart symbolized our wishes that could overcome our fears (or at least heal some of our hurts and fears).

Most are really serious and emotional, but the first line on this last one made me laugh a little. "I'm afraid of Thomas the Tank Engine" - my two-year old son is obsessed with Thomas right now! LOL

Thanks to Jennifer Drake, I used her "Get Crackin' Editable Word Center" activity for my figurative language activities this week. Her PPT file is geared more toward lower-elementary kids for phonics activities, but I really wanted to use my hoard of plastic Easter eggs for some of my activities. So, I edited her file with examples of figurative language on the cards and put them in the eggs. The kids opened an egg, read the sentence, decided what type of figurative language was being shown, and wrote that answer on their (cute) egg form! Thanks, Jennifer!

Today, I needed to do some review of the figurative language we've learned so far. So we quickly went over similes, metaphors, idioms, hyperbole, and our most recent one covered - personification. I made up some quick little "centers" for some of these skills. Normally, we use Fridays for catch-up work and corrections, but since we had standardized testing this week, there wasn't anything to finish or correct. 
One of the "stations" I made up was a "Personification Station" with more magazine pictures and questions about the items circled in each picture. You can get the recording sheet here or click on the pictures to download them. 

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Spring Blogger Meet-up 2015!

Wow! What a weekend! There were flood waters, choo-choo trains, good food, and that was just what my family and I did outside of the 2015 Spring Teacher Blogger Meet-up.  
 (Here's my son ready to go!)

I had the pleasure of attending the Blogger meet-up in French Lick, Indiana! It was an amazing experience! Not only did I get to see many bloggers that I stalk follow every week, but I got to meet so many amazing teachers/sellers/bloggers. It’s always so refreshing being in the same room as teachers who are invested in their students as I am. Teaching is a great profession, and I wouldn’t change it for anything, but that doesn’t mean that it’s not challenging as well. Being recharged by others helps! That is exactly what it did for me this weekend.

Did I mention that I won something??? I won a $20 gift certificate to Crystal Springs Books gift certificate! I never win anything! I was so excited, and did I mention that every.single.teacher got an Erin Condren planner? OMG! It was like an Oprah moment. When Holly Ehle announced that Erin Condren was a sponsor and gave away one planner last year, and that she graciously donated again this year, we all thought it would be a surprise giveaway of one planner. Oh no! Holly screamed, “You get one, and you get one, and you get one.!!!” It was amazing!!!!
Thank you Erin Condren (and Holly)!

Thank you Crystal Springs Books!

There were other awesome sponsors as well Creative Teaching Press gave away some cute stickers. Vera Bradley and Lakeshore gave us some cute bags, because what teacher doesn’t need more bags to carry all of our shtuff? We got some cute Scentos markers and pens, and there was just more than enough. Again, I can’t thank Holly Ehle enough for organizing this weekend’s events. There was a pajama party Saturday night and a goodbye breakfast Sunday morning, but unfortunately, my son got sick and we had to head home after the afternoon meeting. But I still feel so lucky to have been a part of this event and getting to meet all of those amazing teachers. I am always in awe of them when I read their blogs and buy their products, but I was even more impressed with all of them in person. Greg Smedley-Warren was so much fun. Deedee Wills was hilarious. Deanna Jump was so kind and funny! Christina Decarbo was so generous and knowledgable about all things TPT. I learned so much! Thank you ladies, again and again and againI am recharged and ready to take all that I learned to my students! Isn’t that why we do all of this anyway? J