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Happy Canada Day!

Tomorrow is my first official day of holidays (FINALLY), and to make it even a little more perfect, it's Canada Day!  We love Canada Day - for us it's a fun-filled family day of crafts, cooking, backyard BBQs, and all topped off with some fireworks - what could be better???

We <HEART> Canada Day!

We made these super cute Canada Flag placemats two years ago.  My kiddies were ages 1, 3 and 5 then, so this was a nice and easy craft.  We simply picked maple leaves from our tree in the front yard, painted them red, glued them onto white paper, and added red stripes down the sides.  I laminated them, and the kiddies used them for their Canada Day suppers.

This year I'm going to something similar.  I'm going to draw the flag image on a piece of white paper, and let the girls cut out all sorts of red images from old magazines.  They can then glue these pictures onto the stripes on the side and the maple leaf in the centre, and voila - a Canada Flag collage.

For dessert I'm going to make a Jello Poke Cake with a Canada Day Theme.  My sister made this last year, and it was a HIT!  We have a great crop of strawberries from our garden this year, so I thought this would be perfect!  I can also get my girls involved by letting them mix the cake, and then poke all sorts of holes in it.  The more holes, the better for this cake.  They can also spread the cool whip on the top.  You can check out her recipe here. She just posted some new Canada Day recipes today - you can check them out here.

I LOVE summer holidays, and I LOVE Canada Day!  Looking forward to tomorrow!  Happy Canada Day!

Wordles - Kicked Up a Notch

I just found the COOLEST site tonight - Tagxedo.  You've just got to check it out!  It's just like Wordle ... only better.  You can enter text from any site, blog, search, etc.  The site automatically turns it into a word cloud, but with Tagxedo, you can CHOOSE a shape!  You can even pick a picture or photograph from your computer to use.  How ridiculously cool is that?  It took me about 5 minutes to make this apple - I entered the URL from my blog for the text.  The site also includes a link to a google doc slideshow for 101 Ways to Use Tagxedo.  You could use Tagxedo to summarize books, create logos, create autobiographies with students' pictures (would be so fun for a back-to-school activity) ... the possibilities are endless!  If you'll excuse me, I'm going to go play a little more with this site.  I'm sooooo excited!

How would you use Tagxedo in your class?

Cafe Binder ... Check!

It was a shopping night tonight.  Tomorrow is my kids' last day of school and daycare, so out we went for appreciation gifts.  It started out as a family affair, but then my middle girl decided to have a full-out meltdown in the first store.  Welcome to my life!  It ended up alright, though.  I went back out with just my oldest, and we had a great time shopping together - she even managed to talk me into a few impulse buys (OK - maybe more than a few).  We're ready now - bring on the last day - presents are chosen, and cards are written.  And each teacher, E.A., and daycare provider truly DESERVES our appreciation.  My girls are truly blessed with wonderful adults in their lives.

Remember those impulse buys I mentioned???  I found the first one in the first store (yes, even though we were in the midst of the now infamous meltdown).  I've just finished The Daily 5 and The Cafe Book, and am starting to sort through how I'm going to set it all up.  And now I'm one step closer.  The Cafe Book recommends keeping one (cute) binder for all your language notes, assessments, conferences, etc.  Okay, maybe it didn't say 'cute', but that's how I read it.  Well, look what I found:
Oh my goodness - isn't it just the CUTEST?!?  Matching binder, duotang, notebook, AND dividers!  LOVE IT!  I can't wait to start filling this baby up ... and the motivation of THE perfect binder is all it took!

Too Many Eggs!

I have too many eggs!!!  Five dozen, to be exact.  Why, you might ask?  Well, I work at a rural school, and I get fresh eggs delivered once a week.  I sometimes forget to bring them home ... I'm juggling two kids and at least two school bags every day on the way home, and have no extra hands left for eggs.  Last week I saw a post by A Special Kind of Class, where she had her students participate in an egg drop.  I thought this would be a perfect and fun solution to my egg problem.

I told my students about it last week, and today they came prepared with materials for our egg drop (well, most of them did).  Our custodian was going to throw the eggs off our roof.  Unfortunately, today he was away, so our "Egg Drop" turned into an "Egg Chuck" where the students got to throw their protected eggs at the school wall, or throw them into the air as high as they could.  We invited our junior kindergarten reading buddies to join us.  The students made predictions on whether they thought the egg would break or not.  Even though two thirds of the eggs ended up breaking, we had a GREAT time!  SO.MUCH.FUN.

Throwing the eggs:

Some eggs survived:

And some did not:

What a fun day, and the perfect solution to too many eggs!

Don't forget to download your free copy of my comprehension bookmarks - they are only free until midnight tonight.  And don't forget to leave a comment for your chance to win a copy of my Reading Comprehension Strategy Binder - keep those comments coming - I LOVE them!  At the end of this contest I will compile all the ideas and resources from the comments and post a handout for you to download.  See this post below for all the details.

150 Followers!!! Thank-you So Much!

I did it!  (With your help, of course.)  I reached 150 followers - well, actually SURPASSED 150 followers!  I've been waiting to share this thank-you with you.  I didn't really celebrate 100 followers as I was part of two very big giveaways during that time ... so now is the time to celebrate!

I was inspired by all the fantastic blogs I follow to create my own blog.  At first I was worried I wouldn't have enough time with three little ones at home, working full time, soccer games, dance classes, the list goes on.  But like everything else, we find the time ... and I've been LOVING the whole blog experience.  I thank-you for your interest, your kind and inspiring comments, and all of your great ideas.  You guys are FANTASTIC!  

First, I'd like to share my reading comprehension bookmarks with you.  This is a collection of 9 bookmarks for different comprehension strategies.  I laminate them and give them to my students as we study each strategy.  My students keep them in their independent reading novels, and use the sentence starters when writing a reading response.  They also use the sentence starters to ask their partners questions when we do a pair/share.  After I conference with a student, I have them write their current reading goal on the back of the bookmark with an erasable overhead marker.  If their goal changes while we are still studying the same strategy, they can erase the current goal and write a new one.  My students have really enjoyed these bookmarks this year and look forward to starting a new strategy to get a new bookmark.  This file is normally one of my priced products at my TpT store, but as a thank-you to you, it will be FREE until Monday at midnight.  Click here to download your own copy.  Enjoy!!!

Second, I'd like to giveaway one copy of my best-seller - Reading Comprehension Strategy Resource Binder. This HUGE 183 page resource contains everything you need to support your students’ learning of the reading comprehension strategies. Resources can be used to study ANY text. Strategies included in this resource are:
• Asking Questions
• Determining Importance
• Inferring
• Making Connections
• Summarizing
• Synthesizing
• Visualizing
Each strategy section contains 3 colorful posters, strategy bookmarks, a full page of class activity ideas, a full page of reading response prompts and questions, 12 – 15 graphic organizers, and an assessment rubric. Some strategy sections also include anchor chart ideas and activity handouts.

To have a chance to win this resource, be a follower (current or new) and leave a comment below telling me your favourite tried-and-true activity or book you use while studying one of the comprehension strategies.  I'll choose (randomly) one winner from the comments on Thursday, June 30th.  A perfect way to celebrate my last day of school!!!

Anyone Want to Play Yahtzee?

How about a Saturday Freebie?

I had a great time playing Yahtzee with my oldest daughter last night.  She was having so much fun, she didn't even realize I was making her practise her adding skills with every roll.  Since I'm looking for fun ways to fill our time during the last few days of school this week, I decided to make up a version of this game for the SMARTboard.
I just uploaded it to my TeacherspayTeachers store.  Click here to download your own copy.

If you are looking for other games for your SMARTboard, I also created a version of Boggle to help your students practise their spelling skills and strategies. Click here for the download.

If you like these games, please consider leaving a rating on the product.  Ratings are always welcome and very appreciated.

If you want to download these products, please become a follower if you are not already one.  I only need 3 more followers to hit 150!!!

Happy Saturday!

Let's Celebrate with a Friday Freebie!!!

Do you feel like celebrating?  I do.  I want to celebrate my more than 10,000 page views (not bad for my first two months).  I want to celebrate that I'm so incredibly close to 150 followers (welcome, new followers).  I want to celebrate that I was nominated for a "Really Good Classroom Blog Award" (thank-you!).  I want to celebrate I finished my report cards, and the graduation slideshow (yay!!!).  But most of all I want to celebrate that it's my last Friday of the school year ... just four more days to go.

Let's celebrate with a Friday Freebie.  For the next 24 hours my Book Talk resource will be FREE at my TpT store.  My students presented their final book talks of the year this week, and they were fantastic!  For their final book talks, I have them use their favourite book from the year.  This way my students always leave my classroom full of ideas for books to read over the summer.  Click here to get the link.

If you're not already a follower, please become one.  I'd LOVE to hit 150 followers this week - I have a GREAT resource I want to share with you when I get there.  And, if you like my Book Talk resource, ratings are always welcome and appreciated!

Enjoy!  Happy Weekend!

A Harry Potter Confession ...

I have a confession to make.
It might be quite shocking.
Okay ...
here goes ...

I've never read any of the Harry Potter books.

Whew - feels good to get that off my chest.  It's actually quite unbelievable considering I'm an avid reader and have had at least 60 students read the series while in my class.  I have two full sets in my classroom library.  My husband has read all the books, and we have all the movies ... I've just never really wanted to read them.  I always figured I've heard enough book talks and read enough book reports to get by ... right?  WRONG!

A few weeks ago my oldest daughter (in grade 2) came home super excited to tell us that her teacher was reading them the first book, and when they finished the book they were going to have a Harry Potter party.  She was loving the book, so I shared in her joy, without revealing my little secret.  A few days after that she told me that all the students in her class had been grouped into "houses" and she was part of the Hufflepuff house.  Mmm hmmm ... sounds good, dear.  THEN she proceeded to tell me she had to dress like one of the characters from the Hufflepuff house for her party.  OH.  I had to admit to her that I had no idea who was in the Hufflepuff house.  After she got over her shock that there was a book I didn't know and love, we turned to the internet.

She ultimately decided she wanted to be Tonks.  (It looked like a pretty cool choice).  Well then the hunt for a costume began.  Do you know how hard it is to find a Halloweenish costume in June???  But, it's now the night before her big party, and I think we're set.  We had to enlist the mother-in-law's help to finish a cape, my husband whittled a wand (and has the blisters to prove it), and he had to take all three girls on a shopping trip while I was at graduation ... but we're ready.

I think she looks fantastic!  And she LOVES it - which is all that matters.

I wanted to do something special for her party, so I decided to make some treats.  Now keep in mind I only just finished writing my report cards 5 hours ago, so I was looking for something quick and easy.

I decided to make magic wands.  They were super easy to make, and thankfully didn't take a lot of time once I had tracked down the ingredients.  I melted some chocolate to dip the wafer straws in.  Then I rolled them in black sprinkles.  I used maple cookies for the tops (they were the closest in shape to stars, and I didn't want to make cookies from scratch).  I covered the maple cookies in white icing, then dipped them in yellow sugar.  Once the chocolate wafer straws had set, I dipped the ends in more melted chocolate so I could attach the stars to the top.  30 magic wands ... done!

So, I think I survived the whole "Harry Pottergate" incident unscathed.  But I have to admit, I've put it on my summer reading list.  And I need to finish it quickly because Elizabeth is already asking me to start reading the second book to her.  ;)

The Length of a School Year Math Activity

For all you poor teachers (like me) who are still in school (9 days left and definitely counting down), or for all of you super-organized teachers who are already stockpiling activities for next year, here is a great math activity to keep your kiddies busy during those last few days.  I adapted this activity from a Scholastic book I picked up for $1.00 during their fantastic sale - see, that $1 has already paid off!  I think the book was Real-Life Math Problems.  What makes this activity so great is that it can be adapted for any grade - and differentiated to match students' abilities.  I introduced the activity to the students, then had them come up with the different problems to solve.
Here is the chart we came up with in class - I apologize for the "roughness" - it was definitely a work in progress.  We have 188 instructional days (notice I had to change the number ... I over-estimated a bit - it's felt like a long year).  When we were done coming up with problems, I paired the students up and they began solving all the questions.  When each pair finished, I checked their work and assigned them one particular problem to solve (this is where the differentiation takes place).  Each pair was given a large bubble to write their problem and solution on.  If a group finished early, I had them complete another bubble with the problem the pair had come up with on their own.  When everyone was finished, we posted our results on a bulletin board in our nutrition area (like a mini cafeteria).  It has been so fun listening to the conversations students not in our class have had while reading the bulletin board.  My favourite conversation snippet centred around a group of students discussing how much toilet paper they have used at school this year.  Not your typical lunch-time conversation!

On a personal note, it was my middle daughter's first dance recital today.  They danced to "Daddy's Little Girl" and half way through the routine, the daddies joined them on stage.  It was so incredibly cute, and I must admit, it brought a tear to this proud mommy's eye.  How sweet!!!  To the right are all three of my little girls dressed for the show.  I'm one lucky mama!

Happy Father's Day to my wonderful hubby and all those fantastic dads out there!  I hope you all enjoy your day.  I have promised my husband I won't be on the computer all day, but with my report cards due tomorrow, I'm not sure I'll be able to keep that promise.

Origami Father's Day Cards and a Friday Freebie

We made the cutest Father's Day cards today.  I wish I was organized enough to show you these earlier, but such is the way my week has gone.  (If you have pinterest - my new favourite obsession - you can "pin it" for next year).  Anyhow, I found this idea in one of my Martha Stewart magazines (yes, I want to be Martha).  Unfortunately, I found the instructions a little difficult to follow.  So I was very happy when I found this video on youtube.  I played it once through in its entirety for my students, then played it through again, pausing at each step until all students were ready to move on.  The results were fantastic!  Each student created a wonderful and unique card.  I let the students make any message they wished inside the card - some wrote an acrostic poem, a few wrote personal messages, and one students even made a haiku.  The youtube video recommends using scrapbook paper (which I think would be really neat), but we used cardstock and had great success.
This is the video I showed the students:

Okay - I've got a Friday Freebie for you as well, today - "Lights, Camera, Action - A Collection of Commercial Assignments". This FREEBIE has three different media / drama activities that I have used in the classroom. We've been making commercials in class this week, so I wanted to share this collection with you. Click on the picture to bring you to my TpT store to download your own copy. It's got a 4.0 rating and has been downloaded over 4000 times already!

Have a great Father's Day weekend!!!

T2T Mega Contest!

Attention! Attention! You don't want to miss out on this awesome opportunity. THIRTY-THREE teacher-sellers at Teachers Pay Teachers donated top notch classroom products for our T2T MEGA CONTEST! There are 3 major contest categories: K-2, 3-6 (1 winner each), and Middle School / High School (5 winners -1 per subject area: English, math, science, social studies / history, and fine arts).

Contest Dates: Starts Thursday, 6/16/11. Ends Sunday, 6/19/11 at 12:00 p.m. Midnight / Central time.

How to Enter: 
  • You receive TWO entries for each contributing seller you follow at Teachers Pay Teachers!
  • You receive ONE entry for each contributing seller's Facebook page that you LIKE.
  • You receive ONE entry for each contributing seller you follow on Twitter.
  • You receive ONE entry for each contributing seller's blog you read and leave a comment on.
  • You receive ONE entry for leaving a comment on this blog post telling us which category you entered and who you followed.
  • You receive TWO entries as a BONUS for every TEN entries you make.
In order to be officially entered in the contest, you must fill out the contest entry form for the appropriate category.  Click on the pictures below to bring you each entry form. 
K-2 Entry Form 

3-6 Entry Form
MS/HS Entry Form

Contributing Teachers Pay Teachers Sellers

Lisa Frase (K-2, 3-6, Fine Arts)

Runde's Room (3-6, MS/HS English)

Shelley Gray (K-2, 3-6)

Sunny Days (K-2, 3-6)

Scipi (K-2, 3-6, MS/HS Math)

Lesson Plan Diva (K-2)

Mrs. Magee (K-2)

Dijobaker (K-2)

Anna Brantley (K-2)

The Teaching Bank (K-2, 3-6, MS/HS English)

Hilary Lewis (K-2, 3-6)

From the Pond (K-2)

Amanda Myers (K-2)

Lisa Rombach (K-2)
Heidi Raki (K-2, 3-6)

Victoria Leon (3-6)

Karla Banks (3-6)

Runde's Room (3-6, MS/HS English)

Beverly Teacher (3-6)
Nyla's Crafty Teaching (3-6)

Mary J. Bauer (3-6)

Vintage Teacher (3-6)

Ashleigh (3-6)

Michele Luck (MS/HS English, Social Studies / History)

Addie Williams (MS/HS English, Social Studies / History)
Tracee Orman (MS/HS English)

Melissa Soeltz (MS/HS English)
The Enlightened Elephant (MS/HS Math. Fine Arts-Spanish)

Science Etc. (MS/HS Science)

Science Stuff (MS/HS Science)

Aussie Music Teacher (Fine Arts)
Justin-B (Fine Arts-Spanish)

Teacher Tam (K-2)

Rosshalde Pak (K-2)

I am pleased to include two products for this contest.  

My 3-6 entry is Reading Between The Lines With Chris Van Allsburg.  This is a 4.0 rated unit plan (over 140 pages!)| focussing on inferring with various Chris Van Allsburg books.

My second entry is for MS / HS.  It is a 4.0 rated complete resource (over 150 pages!) for various literary elements.  It includes graphic organizers, book lists, posters, bookmarks, response prompts, activities and rubrics for each element included.


Are you looking for a reason to smile??? I know I am - I have the craziest week! Kids' soccer games last night and tomorrow night, dance dress rehearsal tomorrow (have to get off school early), dance recital Saturday, Father's Day party Sunday, report cards are due on Monday, and need to have the gr. 8 graduation slideshow finished for Tuesday (graduation night)! YIKES! Good thing my body thrives on stress ... and coffee!

Anyhow, when I saw these cute little smiles on my sister's blog, I knew I had to share them with you. She made them for her kids' first visit to the dentist (she does the cutest fun food), and I thought I would make them for my kids' upcoming visits. But I also thought they would make a fun summer snack to celebrate a happy day or special day. They could also be made for school on a day where the dentist visits, or during a tooth unit. The kids could help make them and complete a procedure writing activity. So cute!!! If you haven't seen my sister's blog already, you really need to go on over and Meet the Dubiens.

Did you read my last post where I shared about the new word I learned? Well, I actually learned TWO new words that day (feeling smarter by the second). Have you noticed my new FAVICON? (That's the new word, by the way). A favicon is the little symbol in the left corner of the page tabs for your websites. It also shows up beside the website names in your favourites or bookmarks. I love it!!! I saw the idea on Ladybug's Teacher Files - she has so many wonderful ideas. If you want to make your own (it's very easy, trust me), check out her post here.

Don't forget to enter the super summer giveaway - it's the last day. Tomorrow at 6:00, two winners will be chosen to receive $100.00 worth of products from participating TPT sellers. Even though it is set up as a secondary teachers giveaway, many of the participating authors have products for younger grades. I know I do, and I'm a participating author in the sale (in fact, most of my products are for grades 4-8, and can easily be adapted to grade 3). Get all the details for our giveaway here.

I Learned A New Word Today ...

Do you know what a paraprosdokian is? I didn't until I received an email from my mom full of them. And I'm totally embarrassed to admit my ignorance, seeing I'm an English major, and all. A paraprosdokian is a humourous figure of speech in which the beginning part is commonly known, but the end is often surprising or unexpected. For example: "I want to die peacefully in my sleep, like my grandfather. Not screaming and yelling like the passengers in his car."

My students love figurative language activities - especially those with idioms. I thought it would be fun to make up a little activity to keep them engaged and entertained during these last few weeks of school. I had quite a few chuckles researching paraprosdokians on the internet to make this activity (for that matter, trying to pronounce the word is worth a few laughs).

In this activity, students learn what a paraprosdokian is, read a few examples, create some of their own, then create a final piece where they illustrate one of their paraprosdokians. This final piece could be handed in for a quick assessment, or posted to create an entertaining bulletin board. Click on the picture to bring you to my TPT store to download your own copy. If you like the item, please consider giving it a rating.

I can't wait to see what my students will come up with!

Super Summer Giveaway! Have You Entered Yet???

Welcome to the 6-12 Secondary Teachers’ Contest where 17 outstanding teacher-authors have collaborated to bring you the biggest contest of the summer! You could win up to $100 by following our TeachersPayTeachers stores, becoming a fan of our Facebook pages, or by subscribing to our blogs.
Every ‘follow’ counts as one entry, which means you can enter this contest 44 times! To enter, click the links below and follow/like/subscribe the sites.  Then submit your entry by filling out this Contest Entry form. You can earn another entry if you post this contest on your own blog.
Two winners will be selected. That’s up to $200 of teaching resources being given away!!
Winner will be randomly selected Wednesday, June 15th, at 6:00 pm ET so be sure to enter before then! Winners will be allowed to choose up to $20 worth of products from each of their choice of 5 sellers participating in this contest.
English/Language Arts:
Runde’s Room
Tpt Store:
Tracee O.-
TpT Store:
Addie Williams:
TpT Store:
Michelle Luck’s Social Studies and English
Tpt Store:
Tools For Teachers by Laurah Jurca
Tpt: Store:
The Teaching Bank
Tpt Store:
Charlene Tess’ Grammar, Writing, and Creative Writing Store
Tpt Store:
Vintage Teacher
Tpt Store:
The Mr. G Show (Language Arts, Science)
TpT Store:
TpT Store:
Minds in Bloom
TpT Store:

Foreign Language

Tpt Store:
The Enlightened Elephant (Spanish and Math)
TpT Store:
MadameA (French)
TpT Store:


Science Stuff         
Tpt Store:
Addie Education (Language Arts, Earth Science, Social Studies)
Tpt Store:


Aussie Music Teacher
Tpt Store:
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