Recent Product Winners!

Hello friends!

Just popping for a short post to announce some lucky winners!!!

If you've been reading my latest posts, you'll have noticed I am giving away two of my newest products!
I've decided to give away TWO copies of each! :)

Drum roll please...
And the winners are...
If you didn't win, thanks for pinning and commenting!
You can check out these packets in my TPT store HERE!!!

Must Read Mentor Text: The Tiger Rising

My friends, Amanda and Stacia, blog over at Collaboration Cuties and they host a fantastic weekly linky called "Must Read Mentor Texts" where they invite teachers to share their favorite read-alouds. If you haven't checked out the plethora of books that are linked up each week, you need to! It's an excellent way to enhance your curriculum (and fill your Amazon cart!)

Today I want to share a great book that I've recently read...and am still thinking about!
The Tiger Rising is an excellent, thought-provoking book by Kate Dicamillo. The book tells the story of 12-year-old, Rob, who finds a caged tiger in the woods behind his house. Rob befriends a new girl in school, Sistine, and his life is never the same. Filled with powerful symbolism and emotion, this book will leave you thinking long after the final page.
I found this awesome "Book Trailer" that introduces the kids to the major plot points in the book

There is SO MUCH TO DISCUSS in this wonderful book. I didn't want to simply read it to my students - I wanted them to interact with the text and really grapple with the issues that it brings up. So, I have created a FUN, ENGAGING, and HASSLE-FREE Novel Study Packet to accompany this thought-provoking book:
This MEGA packet is the perfect supplement to a study of the book, whether you're doing it as a whole-class, a small group (i.e. reading groups or literature circles), or as an individual project. It includes activities for before, during, and after reading that can serve as comprehension assessment, writing prompts, and/or valuable practice determining different story elements.
Here's the Table of Contents:
 Here is a preview of everything that's included in the packet:
Click HERE to check it out :)

I would love to give away a FREE copy of this packet to one of my loyal blog followers! If you would like a copy to try in your classroom, please leave a comment below with your name, your e-mail address, the states you're from, and the grade you teach. I'll choose a winner tomorrow evening (Monday 3-31) at 8pm EST.

Personal Narratives Writing Project

Do your kids like to write?

My students have half and half - some love it...
Grammar Memes - Mr. MacFarlane's Classroom Blog
some would rather have a root canal :)
So, when you can't think of anything to write, look up cat memes made by other people who also have no idea what to write.
I went to a writing workshop today at my teaching conference and it gave some excellent tips when it comes to teaching writing:
1. Break it into small bites - instead of focusing your students on the final product, break the process down into small steps they can handle. This will help to keep them from getting overwhelmed.
2. Make it concrete - give them real-life situations to write (writing letters that will be read, sharing their published work with others, etc.)
3. Use technology to engage them
4. Enjoy the journey

Writing is a PROCESS and in this culture of instant gratification it can be hard to train your students to WORK for SOMETHING! But it's an important life lesson and one that is worth your time to teach.

We all teach our students the writing process - and I have taken this last tip and put a little spin on the writing process to show my students that a process is a journey...
Packet includes 5 posters in both Color and B&W
Click HERE to check out the product in my TPT store :)

Now, onto the real meat of this post:

We recently finished up a writing project that my students really enjoyed.

What do students like talking and writing about more than anything else?
So when they were asked to write a personal narrative about an important moment in their lives, we got right to work.
Each student brainstormed a list of important events in his life.
Then he chose one event and wrote as many details as he could about that day.
Once the rough drafts were written, we switched with partners to revise and proof-read. 
Finally, we published our pieces, putting them together in big books and sharing them with the class.
Here are some examples from my students:
I had them design a front and back cover and then glue their story and the "About the Author" section on the inside :)

I've created a FUN, ENGAGING, and HASSLE-FREE packet for you to use to walk your students step-by-step through the process of writing a personal narrative. 
Here's a preview of what's included...
Plus the packet includes my Writing Journey posters! :)
Simplify your lesson planning today - Click HERE to check it out! :)

Grace Transformation, Not Behavior Modification

Happy Friday, blogging friends!
Agree means to have the same opinion, view or feelings about something.
Anybody else with me? :)

It's that time again - time to share something that has FUELED your FAITH this week!
My tidbit comes from an awesome workshop that I went to today (as part of our school's P.D.) on grace and classroom management. The session, taught by Esther Wilkison of BJU Press, was so challenging, convicting, and encouraging. So much of what she said resonated with me - it affirmed certain things I was doing in the classroom and definitely rocked the shaky foundation of my classroom management. 

Here's a great quote to chew on:
(I've paraphrased her)
As she said this, I felt a thumping in my heart and a lump in my throat - how often do I pray that my students would that my day will go smoothly.  ??? That is a selfish prayer - one that has nothing to do with lasting heart change and everything to do with my comfort and my pride. When a student misbehaves, I should not be surprised. We are all fallen. We all need to be reminded of who we are called to love and serve. And I need to be the ultimate role model to my 10- and 11-year-olds. I need to be the example of someone who struggles myself with loving God and serving others - but one who looks to her loving Creator for help. 

On Judgment Day, I will not be held accountable for Billy's bad behavior - I will be held accountable for how I handled myself as a result of that behavior. Did I grow frustrated with him? Did I punish him? Did I plead with him to behave? None of those things will work - they may silence him for the moment, they may scare him into submission, but they will create no lasting change.

I will be held accountable for whether or not I used that moment to point him to Jesus. 

Time to reflect (and this may hurt a little)...
Are you seeking to grow these hearts and minds that you've been entrusted with this year? Or are you just looking for a class of silent robots who are sitting at their desks, busily filling in worksheets?

We only get one year with these kiddos - and we will be held accountable for what we poured into them, the life lessons that we taught them, the ways that we did (or did not) encourage godliness.

I don't know about you, but this is going to change my classroom management, my outlook on my students, and my perspective of myself as the Teacher. Thank goodness we have a compassionate God who gives us a huge responsibility - and the One we can lean on for support, guidance, and strength.

Now it's YOUR turn!

A Week of St. Patrick's Day Fun!

Today I want to share some fun activities that we did last week to celebrate St. Patrick's Day!
Looking for FUN & ENGAGING St. Patrick's Day activities to use in your upper elementary classroom? Check out this blog post, chocked full of fun ideas - most of them free! Plan a St. Patrick's Day your students will not forget!
I hope you can use some in your upper elementary classroom - or even with your own kiddos :)

We Treasure Our Classmates
St. Patrick's day felt right during our study of adjectives, so I thought this idea (adapted from activity from Amanda of Collaboration Cuties) would be perfect. Each student drew the name of a classmate and was given a gold coin. On that coin, they wrote three kind adjectives to encourage that classmate: 
And then we thought we would make one for our Principal - just to brighten his day :)
He loved it!

Blessed to be Family
Secondly, we took the project "Lucky to be a Family Shamrocks" 
(made by Denise at Sunny Days in Second Grade)
FREE Lucky to be a Family Shamrock Project
and slightly adapted it...
As a class,we discussed how a lot of people talk about luck around St. Patrick's Day. Then we discussed how, as Christians, we believe that God is in control and that nothing happens just because of luck. So we filled out shamrocks about our families and the reasons we're BLESSED to be a part of our family.
Here are some of the shamrocks:

More than Gold
A celebration of St. Patrick's Day also focuses on treasure. So we put a little spin on the idea and wrote about WHO (rather than what) we treasure.
This idea is FREE from Lindsey at The Teacher Wife.

Shamrock SCOOT!
One quick game that we played today was Shamrock SCOOT!
You know by now that I (and my kiddos!) love playing SCOOT! Anything that is out of our normal routine excites them - and the opportunity to move around the room while working on math? Super motivating! 

Because our seats are in table groups this month, traditional SCOOT is a little bit harder than usual, so I taped the cards up around the classroom and the kiddos went on a Scavenger Hunt:
At the end of 5 minutes, the kiddos returned to their seats and I put up the answer key:

I also have a Shamrock SCOOT for younger kiddos - Simple Subtraction Shamrock SCOOT
Green Competition:
We also had a competition for who could wear the most green. 
These two cuties won:
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