A Glimpse Into My Heart: Favorites Linky

Happy Easter, my dear blogging friends!
What a joyous day it is; the day Christ proved once and for all His victory over the grave - and over our sin!

I'm linking up with Latoya from "Flying into First Grade" for her weekly linky. The theme this week is FAVORITES!

Here's a glimpse into my heart:

Favorite Place to Shop:
For clothes - Macy's

For craft supplies - Michaels

Favorite TV Show:

Favorite Sweet Treat:
This was my birthday cake (delicious - albeti non-traditional) made by my wonderful mother. It's a Reese's Peanut Butter Cheesecake...aka simple goodness!

Favorite Food:
Chicken fajitas - YUM!

Favorite Restaurant:
My hubs and I love to eat at Fridays - it's always a special date night! :)

Mrs. Picollo's Easy Chair

I am so excited to by linking up with my dear blogging friends, Amanda and Stacia from Collaboration Cuties, for their brand spankin' new linky party, "Must Read Mentor Texts."

It's a weekly linky party where teachers can share their favorite, tried and true mentor texts, or books used to teach a lesson. This week's topic is open, so I'm going to share one of my favorites:

I stumbled onto this incredible book in a dollar bin at a used book store - and what a find! 
 The main character of the story is a pink, fluffy, over-stuffed Easy Chair - that is anything but easy! He holds onto his owner with a pillowy grip and refuses to let her go...unless she promises him a snack. Cheese puffs, to be exact. One day the Easy Chair decides to take matters into his own hands - and walks to Friendly Fred's Fine Foods to get cheese puffs himself. Anyone who gets in his way - rambunctious boys, their frazzled mother, the store owner, Fred, and a police officer - gets swallowed up inside his cushions. The easy chair is  finally persuaded by Mrs. Picollo to "burp" up his captives and they all share some lemonade and cookies together.
Mrs. Piccolo
Mrs. Picollo's Easy Chair is an awesome book, filled with fun characters, a humorous plot, and excellent examples of personification. I shared about personification in this blog post - check it out!
I also use this to teach author's imagination - the Easy Chair is a larger-than-life character who is a bundle of laughs. He has a strong personality - without ever saying a word. The author's use of specific details and interesting plot events provides insight into the Easy Chair.
We make predictions all the way through and the kids love the zany twists and turns of the story. It also lends itself to sequencing practice as the Easy Chair eats one character after another :)

If you haven't heard of this book - you must order it today! Your classroom library isn't complete without it

Five for Good Friday

*Friday Dance! Friday Dance! Friday Dance!*
I have the day off of school and spent it with my mom! We spent the morning shopping for my future sister-in-law's bridal shower (she and my little brother are getting married in September!). It's going to be AWESOME!

Tonight we're going to church for a time of worship, fellowship, and teaching on Good Friday. I am so thankful for the sacrifice that Jesus Christ made on the cross to set me free from my sins. It was a dark day in history...but we do not lost hope because we know that Sunday is coming - and the victory that Jesus brings when he defeated death!
Here's my weekly re-cap:
1. The biggest thing that happened to me in the bloggy world is my NEW BLOG DESIGN!!!! The incredibly-talented, inventive, and patient (!) Megan from "A Bird in Hand" Blog Design created it for me!
A Bird in Hand Blog Design
If you're looking to get a custom blog design done - e-mail Megan. You won't be sorry!*I also had something exciting happen - today I hit 150 blog followers and 100 TpT followers!*

2. "Look High, Look Right, Watch POETRY Take FLIGHT!"
I want to show you some examples from our poetry mini-unit: We're going to really dig into poetry during April, National Poetry Month, and to ease them into it (and whet their appetites) we started with two easy, fun, and engaging poetry activities:
Doesn't that board look great?!? I told my kiddos what I had planned for this board and then challenged them to come up with creative title suggestions. I chose one from a sweetie named Hannah - "Look High, Look Right, Watch Poetry Take Flight." I like to get suggestions from students for a number of reasons:
1. It involves them in the process and lets them take ownership of the board
2. It gives valuable practice thinking creatively, using alliteration, catch phrases, rhyming words, etc.
3. It boosts their confidence when their title gets chosen - and brightens their day each time they see it

Acrostic poems:
^Click the picture to go to the original source^

My kids love doing acrostic poems and I wanted a bright and colorful activity to boost their confidence as they write about something they know well - themselves! This is a Pintrest idea my colleague shared with me - they turned out so well!
We planned our poems - using both words and phrases - in our writing journals and then got them checked by a partner. Once the kiddos were ready, they came and got the supplies to create their final project:

Diamante Poems: 


 3. Bible Dress-Up Day! 
Our school has a tradition that on the day before Easter break, we have Bible Dress-up Day where everyone (teachers, students, secretaries, nurses, etc.) chooses ANYTHING from the Bible to dress up as.
This year I chose to be the "Tower of Babel" which is found in Genesis 11. The people were building a tower to the heavens, plotting to commit idolatry and rebel, so God scattered them and confused their languages. My hat says "Welcome to the Tower of Babel...Now Scatter" and on my shirt I drew stones, each with "hello" is a different language."
These are some of my favorite coworkers :) Rosie was the plague of the frogs, Lindsey was the Ten Commandments, and Lauren was Jesus's Family Tree.

4. Cause and Effect:
I did a quick cause and effect activity with my kids a couple of weeks ago...and they bombed it! I was very shocked...but once I got over my surprise, I kicked it into high gear and created this fun and engaging Cause and Effect packet:

Here's a fun partner matching activity that gets kids up and moving around, working collaboratively, and writing creatively: 

 Here's a preview picture of everything included in the 18-page packet:

It has helped my kiddos TREMENDOUSLY! Check it out in my TpT store - you won't be sorry!

5. As I said earlier this week, I spent my week as a South Carolina blogger:

I was down there for a curriculum development teaching conference - and it was INCREDIBLE! It was action-packed, challenging, encouraging, and motivating! I will compile my notes and share the treasures I learn later next week.
I'm having a flash Easter sale in my TpT store - on my favorite five items. Can you hunt them down? :)
20% off now until Monday night.

Workshop Wednesday: Mentor Texts for Teaching Adjectives

Before I begin - I've got to say...

Doesn't my blog look FABULOUS?!?!?!

The incredibly-talented, inventive, and patient (!) Megan from "A Bird in Hand" Blog Design created it for me!
A Bird in Hand Blog Design

If you're looking to get a custom blog design done - e-mail Megan. 
Right now.
Ok, well first read my post and comment at the bottom.
Then go and e-mail Megan.
Right away.
You won't be sorry.


I am stuffed.

Stuffed full of knowledge, teaching strategies, curriculum development processes, and inspiration! And don't even get me started on all of the delicious food I've eaten in the past two days...


I am South Carolina at a teaching conference - and while it's been wonderful, my brain is definitely on information-overload. I am taking a "brain break" to link up with Jivey for her Wednesday Workshop linky party.

This week's theme is mentor texts - oh how I LOVE children's books. 
I buy them all of the time. 
Ask my husband. 
Ask my credit card.
I scour garage sales, pounce on free book tables at libraries, scour Scholastic Book clubs, beg, and plead for more books!

First of all, let me say that I read to my students daily.

Yes, you remember correctly - I teach fifth grade.

aka...Big kids.

Who LOVE to be read to.

I have TONS of great books that I use in the classroom, but today's post is going to be about books I use when we're discussing adjectives (because that's what we're doing now, so I've got adjectives on the brain). Plus - adjectives help develop an author's unique voice and story-telling style.

Here are some great ones:

Book about Adjectives
Great for introducing the concept and identifying examples

Pig, Pigger, Piggest
An excellent choice when covering comparative adjectives

SO funny!

Now, I don't like to teach grammar in isolation, so when we study a specific part of speech (which is feels like we are always doing) then I like to read examples of author's using that part of speech effectively. We go on scavenger hunts around the classroom and through books to find examples of vivid, exciting, thought-provoking, writing-enhancing adjectives.

And to accompany our study of adjectives, I have created this wonderful packet:


This fun and engaging packet that gets your kiddos up and moving - and excited about grammar! can be yours for only $1! 

And for one lucky winner, this can be yours for FREE!

Here's what you need to do:

  • Pin a picture
  • In the comments section of this post, leave the url to the pin AND an adjective that describes YOU!
The winner will be randomly chosen tomorrow night!

Tried It Tuesday - Tuesday Product Trade!

Howdy y'all!

Now, I'm not officially a South Carolina blogger - but I am for this week! I'm down here for a curriculum development teaching conference - and so far it's been action-packed, challenging, encouraging, and motivating! I will compile my notes and share the treasures I learn later this week. 

For today, I'm linking up with Holly from "Fourth Grade Flipper" for her new linky party:

At the end of last week, I TRIED a fabulous product from Melissa at "Wild About Fifth Grade" as part of a Tuesday Product Trade!

Wild About Fifth Grade

It's an awesome packet to be used when implementing current events in the classroom. 

I titled my unit
and introduced the concept of reading an article for information. 

We reviewed the differences between fiction and non-fiction and the different elements of non-fiction writing.

And then I charged my detectives (that's what I call my students) with an exciting task - to read a current events article, identify key vocabulary, answer questions on author's purpose and comprehension, and then write an opinion piece about how they feel after reading the article.

To find current events and new articles, we looked at a Time for Kids magazine, 

in the National Geographic magazines in our library...

...and on this AWESOME website:
10 minute newscasts-Great for Current Events

It has TONS of great news articles and videos - on a kid's level.

Here's an example of a vocabulary sheet:
The students then answer comprehension questions about their articles and shared summaries with partners at their table group. Then the next day I had them think about the article they just read and write a short response piece.

This is a tricky (albeit necessary) skill that needs to be practiced...and practiced again.

I plan to do this exercise once every other week to get the kids invested in world events and practicing reading and responding to non-fiction (to make the Common Core writers proud!)

Looking for a great product to use when teaching Current Events with your kiddos? Check out Melissa's awesome packet by clicking here: "Current Events Authentic Literacy Instruction Template"


Now I pose the question to you...
Do you want to trade a product with me?  If you do, I'll test it out, take pictures, and then post about your product with a link back to your blog and store.

Check out my TpT store and e-mail me (jjawler64@gmail.com) if you see a product you'd like to test out with your class!

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