Pin it to Win it - WINNERS!!!

25 November 2012
Thank-you so much to all who entered my "Pin it to Win it" giveaway.  I used the random number generator to choose TWO winners for $25.00 gift certificates to TPT (and if their wishlists look anything like mine, they'll need them!)  ;)

Congratulations to Karen Hester and Sarah Reese!!!  Karen - I sent you an email through your google account, but Sarah, could you please send me a message with your email so I can get you the code?

As a special treat, I would also like to send both of you my latest product at TPT. 

I just posted these Story Elements Question Fans about an hour ago.  I have had a few requests to create these, so here you go!  These question fans cover plot, setting, character, conflict, and theme.  (And they're currently on sale!!!!)

To all of you emptying out your TPT wishlists on Monday and Tuesday, ALL my products are on sale for 20% off, and don't forget to enter the code CMT12 at the checkout for an additional 10% off.

Happy Sunday!


Pin it to WIN it!

22 November 2012
You guessed it - it's that time again ... TeacherspayTeachers' GIANT Cyber Monday (plus Tuesday) sale is right around the corner.

From Sunday, November 25th until Tuesday, November 27th, ALL my products will be on sale for 20% off.  On Monday and Tuesday, when you enter the code CMT12 at the checkout, you will receive another 10% off your order.

Pretty sweet, right?  Well, I want to sweeten it a little more for you.  On the evening of Sunday, November 25th, I will be giving away 2 - $25.00 gift certificates to TPT.  To enter, simply "pin" something from my TeacherspayTeachers store (by clicking on this link or the images in this post) to one of your boards on Pinterest.  Please leave a comment below with the link to your pin.  You can enter as many times as you want, but please pin a different product for each entry.  I will be drawing two names (using the random number generator) from the comments left below.  Happy Pinning!!!



One, Two, Three ... Show Me!

19 November 2012

About a month ago I posted on Classroom DIY about my Two-Sided Dry-Erase Boards.  These little boards were super easy to make, and my students LOVE using them.

I bought white and black bristol board to make the dry erase boards.  I cut each piece of bristol board into 6 pieces of 8.5 x 11 size.  Place a white and black sheet into a laminating pouch, and laminate.  That's it!  (Told you it was easy).  Yes, I know you've all seen many variations to make the dry erase boards, but I LOVE the black side of this one ... know why? ... we get to use the neon dry erase markers!  So cool!!!  I don't have quite enough neon dry erase markers for a full class set (I'm waiting for a sale - those things are expensive!), so I hand out the neon markers as a reward to students when using the boards (students who have finished all their homework, or showed good character, or whatever I feel like rewarding that day).

Right now we're using the dry erase boards to practice our multiplication skills - and my students CAN'T WAIT to use the boards.  Every morning they come in and BEG to use the boards ... so, of course, I make them use their best persuasive language (we're writing persuasive paragraphs in writing right now) and let them think they've convinced me.  They work with their elbow buddies for a bit on some questions I've put on the board, then we do some whole class review.  When all students are done, I call out, "One, two, three ... show me!" and the students hold their boards up for me to check.  I can quickly see who needs some extra help in a small group, and who has got it.  

At the end of last week, the students asked if we could use these boards in language, too.  I think it would be a lot of fun to use them during our Word Work this week when we're looking at parts of speech.  Do any of you fabulous teachers have any wonderful tried-and-true ideas for working with parts of speech and the dry-erase boards?  I want to go beyond the obvious listing of them and really make it engaging for my students.

Happy Monday!!



Lest We Forget

13 November 2012
I wanted to share some of our Remembrance Day activities with you.  We had our school assembly on Friday, but our remembrance activities have continued into this week.  Our school annually participates in the Royal Canadian Legion's Remembrance Contest.  My students have been working very hard on their posters and poems (last year one of my fabulous little writers placed 2nd in Ontario for his poem - what a great moment for him!).  My students have done such an amazing job with their poems this year, I wanted to display them in a way that did the poems justice - and I think I achieved this.  Each year I get a set of "Canada Remembers Times" from Veterans Affairs Canada, and we use these newspapers for various literacy activities throughout the weeks leading up to Remembrance Day.  I've kept all my sets, and now as a result, have a rather LARGE stack in one of my cupboards.  I used an older set to create frames for our poems - and LOVE how they turned out.  For a finishing touch, the students used pastels to add a poppy to the frames.  I posted these on the wall outside our library, where our librarian had set up a small display of books and media for Remembrance Day.  (I'm still waiting for a few more to finish up, but I couldn't wait to put them up!)

I also wanted to share a beautiful display one of my coworkers made for Remembrance Day.  She gave out doves to the students in the school.  On each dove, the students wrote about PEACE (what is sounds like, feels like, smells like, etc.).  The small doves were all cut out and she arranged them all into a large dove shape.  This was the breathtaking display we first saw when we entered the gym for our Remembrance Day assembly.  So beautiful ... so perfect ... so peaceful.

How does your school honour Remembrance Day or Veterans Day?

Happy Tuesday!



Math Journal Sundays - Data Management

11 November 2012
I'm sorry - I was busy with my progress reports last weekend, so I didn't get my math journal idea posted.  The good news ... I have two journal ideas for you today!

We are deep into our Data Management unit right now.  The first journal entry is for stem and leaf graphs.  To be completely honest, when I first started teaching 13 years ago, I had no idea what a stem and leaf graph actually was.  As a result, I have to admit I probably didn't pay as much attention to it as I should have.  Long story short ... when it showed up on our provincial testing and my students were completely ill-prepared, I made sure it my students knew it from that point on.

We used the results from our last math test to make our journal entry for the stem and leaf plots.  Whenever possible, I try to incorporate as many real-life examples as possible into our math investigations.  We listed the percents from our math test as our set of data, then turned those results into a stem-and-leaf plot.  We used a simple flap template.  We wrote definitions for the graph on the outside of the interactive tool, and wrote the numbers for the graph on the inside.  My students really like this type of graph, so I won't be surprised if it turns up on our final assignment for this unit.

Then we moved on to mean, median, mode, and range.  We used our shoe sizes to study these data management techniques.  For our journals, we used 4 index cards for the 4 concepts.  We attached the index cards to the journal page using a brass fastener.  My students already know how to find mean, mode, median, and range, but it always amazes me how quickly they forget which one is which.  By having these cards in their journals, they have an easy reference.

For even more math journal ideas, you can check out my Interactive Math Journal Resource over at TeachersPayTeachers.  Just click on the picture to head on over.

I've just recently added two new drama circles to my store.  The Thanksgiving Drama Circle will have your students "acting" like they're ready to help make Thanksgiving dinner.  The Winter Drama Circle centers around the excitement of a snow day.  Both are perfect for drama activities, cooperative learning activities, improving listening skills, morning meetings, and just plain fun in the classroom.  Just click on the pictures to get a preview of the activities.

Happy Sunday!


Net Books ... Now What?

08 November 2012
I am SO excited!!!  Look what I got this week ...

Yep ... that's right ... a full class set of brand new net books all bundled in a shiny roll-y cart - it's like Christmas!  Okay, so they're not ALL mine - I do have to share them with another class in the school, but every second day, all day, they're ALL mine, and I'll take it.  We don't have a computer lab at my school, so for the past few years we've been making do with 3 computers in each classroom, but now that I can get all my students on at the same time, it's opening up a whole new world - a world I'm so excited to teach in!

So far, the only requirement is that my students spend time each session on a program called "All the Right Type" to build their keyboarding skills.  Right now we're aiming for 20 wpm, but as some are already making that goal, it will be raising to 30 soon.  We've got our learning goal posted right on the net book cart for all to see.

Tomorrow we're integrating them into every class - we're going to build graphs on the computer during math, do some research during social studies, and we're publishing Remembrance Day poems in Language ... but that's just the basics.  I want to do more ...

So now what???  I always get the best advice from all of you.  As my students hit their 30 wpm goal, I want to let them try other programs during this 15 - 20 minute block.  What are some of your best tried and true websites to engage students during computer time?  I am also looking for some fabulous resources to use during all the subjects.  Please leave me a comment, and let's compile a FANTASTIC list of resources ... for any subject.  Can't wait to hear what you all come up with!

Happy Thursday!