Friday, August 28, 2015

Fabulous Freebies - The Civil War

Here are some FABULOUS FREEBIES from TeachersPayTeacher to make your life a little easier!

This product is a cute book for students to take notes about the Civil War. It includes some visuals but no content. Thus, the teacher can determine what information to present to the students. In my opinion, this product would be most appropriate for 3rd and 4th grade students based on the images and layout.

Hidden within this wonderful freebie is a reading comprehension passage about the causes of the Civil War. The passage includes free response questions with an answer key…as well as three other passages on various topics. Another awesome feature of this product is the weekly reading questions for a close read. Students can use these questions to work with the same passage throughout the week. This brilliant idea assists students in retaining the content information.

I'm not a huge fan of word searches, but I hate leaving the back of a worksheet blank. So, sometimes I add them to an assignment for the students who simply enjoy doing them.

This is a very thorough, 37-slide PowerPoint presentation about the Civil War. It can be modified and adjusted to meet the needs of your specific class.

I'm not sure if I would use this product, but I included it simply because I LOVE THIS BOOK! Every year, I read Soldier's Heart, by Gary Paulsen, to my students while we are studying the Civil War. I read it at the start of each class as a read aloud. The students don't even have a copy in front of them, but they are so engaged. They love it and beg me to read more each day. I cannot recommend incorporating this book into your Civil War unit enough. It's amazing!

This product includes a quick check review sheet for basic information about the Civil War that would make a good review for a quiz. In addition, it includes two writing activities; one historical figure research and one to predict the impact of the Civil War. The clipart is really cute, too!

This is a cute perspective writing piece about John Brown's raid that includes a rubric.

This is my product…I had to throw one in here! We used this to kick off our Civil War unit by introducing vocabulary terms that the students will need to know in order to compare the North and South before the start of the Civil War.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Writing Across the Curriculum

"Students should be writing in every classroom!"

Man, if I had a dollar for every time I heard that in a faculty meeting or professional development workshop.

As a teacher, I totally agree with this statement. However, that's all it is…a statement! You can't just tell someone how to do something and expect them to be able to do it well without any direction or experience. That's setting everyone up for failure.

As a new Spanish teacher many years ago, I was asked to incorporate writing in my classroom. I did as I was told, but I knew it was simply superficial and had no positive impact on student learning. Now, as a literacy teacher, I feel partly responsible for guiding other content teachers in effectively incorporating writing in their classrooms. This is especially important with the new Common Core assessments, where students are require to write on tests in all content areas.

POW TIDELL is a mnemonic device that students can use to respond to any constructed response essay questions. 

The first part, POW, helps students with the writing process as a whole with three broad, simple steps. 

The second part, TIDELL, provides students with some guidelines for the construction of the essay, as well as, reminders for editing.

The best thing about using POW TIDELL across the curriculum is that it provides a common guideline for teachers, especially those who do not have formal training in teaching writing. In addition, it gives students clear, consistent expectations s they move from class to class. I am grateful to have this mnemonic device integrated at my school this year and look forward to seeing positive results. 

Do you have any tips to share about writing across the curriculum? 
Has it worked in your school, or is it just another mandate?

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


       The other day I was feeling a little under the weather, and my husband suggested that I stay home from school. Ha! I promptly responded, "It is easier for me to drag my lethargic butt out of bed and go to school than to try to put in for a sub who may or may not show up, type detailed lesson plans said sub may or may not follow, and then plead with overworked colleagues to make copies." He just stared blankly at me, because there is no way on earth he would ever understand!
       As an experienced teacher, I can honestly say that writing sub plans doesn't get any easier with experience. I'll admit, it took several years for me to stop calling my subs in the middle of the day to just "check in" on the class. If you do that, please stop. It not only insults to your substitute but also defeats the purpose of taking off in the first place!
       So, if you are ever in a bind, be sure to check out my sub plans on TeachersPayTeachers. I'm adding a new, close reading lesson today that will be FREE for the next 24 hours. Enjoy!

Friday, August 7, 2015

Superhero Classroom

Since I don't have a classroom of my own this year to decorate and share,
I thought I'd share my friend's superhero classroom.
This year she decided to organize her classroom library by genre to assist her students in the Superhero Class Reading Challenge.
I have never had much luck keeping my classroom library organized, but she is going to assign a library manager at each table who will be responsible for checking it each day.
Each table will also have a box of supplies to use for class activities. 
Since we have two different sets of students, I recommend having one box per table for each class period you teach.
She found this nifty book display at the district warehouse to display books of the week. Each week, a different student will be responsible for choosing the books to display.
This is where she will display her Everyday Heroes submissions.

I hope you enjoyed the tour!