Monday, May 28, 2012

Candy Themed Testing Motivators

I just uploaded a FREEBIE to my store.  It is 4 different printables for testing motivation.  I am in NC, and we start our state EOG (End of Grade) testing this week.

Each one is meant to be attached to that particular type of candy.  I have made one for twizzlers, tootsie rolls, blow pops, and nerds.  I am unable to use the nerds one (it is the one I am most proud of) because I couldn't find enough boxes of nerds without taking out a loan to purchase 54 of them.  

I hope you enjoy them and are as excited about them as I am!  And hopefully it will help get your students a little more hyped up about doing well on any standardized testing they must do. 

To get this FREEBIE, either click on the link above or click on any of the images.  There are also additional links at the bottom of the page that should hopefully take you to the documents in my google docs.
Attach to a blow pop or blow pop minis.

Attach to nerds (Ifyou can find enough of them - this was my favorite one, but I could not find just a package of a large number of nerds.)

Attach to a larger tootsie roll (Sam's Club) or to a baggie with a few tootsie rolls in it.

Attach this to a snack size package of twizzlers.  I know that I spelled twizzted (twisted) wrong - just wanted it to sort or match the candy!

I have also tried to link this to my google docs account, but not sure that was successful.  You can try it here (it may or may not work!):  TWIZZLERS, TOOTSIE ROLL, BLOW POPS, and NERDS.

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Textmapping was a pinterest find that has really helped my students interact with nonfiction in a way that takes away the dread.  They now feel empowered to dissect and understand nonfiction reading selections.  The idea of textmapping can be explored at the creators website The Textmapping Project.
Students using their nonfiction text features cards to textmap an article on the Greek government.
Creating a "map" key to aid in mapping this article.

Using a teacher directed article to help textmap an article independently.

Almost complete!

Just getting started with the textmapping process.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Social Studies Interactive Notebooks - Yep, Again!

Here are some pictures of my social studies interactive notebook where I have been using lessons from InspirEd Educators to teach how ancient civilizations developed and failed along with our ancient Egypt interdisciplinary unit.
A full page graphic organizer folded and then taped into our notebook.  For social studies, I chose to use a composition notebook instead of a spiral notebook.  The way this is attached, students can still access the page and complete the activities.

This was a flow chart from InspirEd Educators Ancient Civilizations unit on how a civilization develops.

Quizzing students on what is really needed for a civilization to develop.

Another lesson from InspirEd Educators based on scenarios related to survival for an ancient civilization.

This is a simulation activity where students are "color" coded and have jobs to do.  Some students had to draw diamonds for basically no reward while a few others got credit for completed sheets, but had to count the diamonds, while an even smaller group was "paid" just for bossing all of the others around.  Students could see how different social classes came to be within a civilization.

Mapping ancient Egypt.  Students were enthralled with the fact that Lower Egypt is actually located "higher" than Upper Egypt.

Understanding the archaeology of ancient Egypt.

Learning about the gods and goddesses of ancient Egypt.

Figuring out the bartering system of ancient Egypt.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

More on My Social Studies Interactive Notebook

This post includes more pictures of my social studies interactive notebooks we have used this school year.  You will see most of the information in this post are foldables from Dinah Zike and mine is lacking color like the students. 
Global grid system notes

Maps versus globes Venn diagram

Parts of a map foldable

Vocabulary to accompany our textbook

Landforms found above and below sea level foldable

Types of landforms foldable
Cornell notes on South America from our textbook

This is a bad copy of the foldables notebook I used. Hope this helps all of those who were wondering where the book came from and what it looked like.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Inside my Social Studies Interactive Notebook

Some had mentioned they would like to see inside my social studies interactive notebook so I finally remembered to bring it home and snap some pictures.  It is not as creative as my language arts one!  I used some foldables from Dinah Zike, some I found online, and some great units from InspirEd Educators

This is my first year teaching social studies (in middle school, in my career, and in 6th grade).  I teach in NC and our state will be implementing the Common Core starting next school (2012-2013).  In addition, all of our other curriculums have changed to what they call Essential  Standards.  I was put on the Social Studies Essential Standards training team for our county. 

Needless to say, I was panicked and lost at the beginning of the school year.  I started out with the five themes of geography and landforms and then moved to South America which was found in our old textbook while we read The Cay in language arts class.  Since being put on the training team, the team was told after the first nine weeks that we were allowed encouraged to convert to the new essential standards curriculum.  With that came a complete loss for me.  I had no social studies materials to start with, but the change meant I had absolutely nothing, not even the old textbook.  I headed to the Internet to search for materials, lessons, actually anything I could get my hands on and discovered InspirED Educators. 

InspirEd Educators was like this amazing find for me (and in no way am I affiliated or paid to promote their products)!  They have several thematic units on ancient world history which is what our new essential standards is for 6th grade.  These lessons contain a variety of hands on activities, primary and secondary sources, whole group/small group lessons, research projects, and collaborative projects just to name a few. 

So...long story short:  my social studies notebooks started out more interactive but then became a place to glue all the lesson from InspirEd Educators as act as a textbook for social studies.  Here are a few pictures to get started.
The table of contents for my social studies interactive notebook.
Five Themes of Geography flip book foldable.  We took notes on each tab for that theme.  Notice the capital/bold letters spell MR. HELP...this was our acronym to help remember the five themes (found on the Internet somewhere).

One of the tabs from our Five Themes of Geography flip book foldable.

Longitude and latitude foldable using a paper plate and then glued into our notebooks.

Here is the paper plate foldable unfolded in our notebook.

Friday, May 18, 2012

A bet, A loss, A win...

One of my students was struggling to earn his 100 AR points to attend our school's celebration so in my stupidity infinite wisdom, I said I bet you cannot do it either!  He is quite the athlete and is very competitive and said, "What do I get if I get my 100 AR points?"  I said to go to the celebration.  He was like you are afraid to bet me because I can do it.  I commented that I liked a good win-win situation for myself, what did he have in  mind.  So the bet became dinner at the local Mexican restaurant paid for by the loser. 

Monday, he finally earned his 100 points and was able to attend the celebration today.  He has since informed everyone that he beat me.  I paid up today after school.

REALLY?  He did get his 100 AR points, but who honestly won this bet?  We both did!  I am also the winner because he read more than he thought he would or could and is now a little more confident in himself!

Added benefit, another student is also quite competitive and she bet this boy that she would get her points before he did.  This cost me nothing and she did get her points only a minute before he did, but she had bragging rights and I had the thrill of another more confident reader. 

Cost of meal:  $8.00
Time spent with student:  2 extra hours
Confidence and relationship built:  PRICELESS

This is why I love my job and working with middle schoolers.  Just a simple little bet creates enthusiasm and confidence!

The cost of a student reading - lunch ACP and a drink.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Teacher Appreciation

Had to share a quick picture of a text I recieved from a parent (who is also a co-worker).  It made my day as I so respect this teacher and love the child.  Since my student's mother is a 7th grade language arts teacher at my school, I assumed that my student would want to be in her mother's room.  I guess once again I understand what happens when one assumes (but this time it was a good lesson to learn).  I also received a large bag of white chocolate popcorn from this students as well - her mother knows it is a favorite of mine!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Interactive Notebooks - Yet Again

I am determined to get ALL of the pictures I took a few weeks ago of my language arts interactive notebook before the end of school!  I hope to actually get it done faster than that.  I have a few other things I want to blog about before the end of the school year.  Seriously, this is the last set of pictures I have from a few weeks ago.  Any new ones will be newer pictures taken recently.
Here are some more pictures of various activities that we have included in our interactive notebooks so far this year.

Parts of an Essay from a freebie activity on  Students had to put the "blown-up" parts together in a sensible way.  If you haven't checked out TpT, you should do it NOW!  It is full of ideas, units, lessons, activities, etc. created BY teachers and when you make a purchase, that teacher gets the profit.  This activity was a FREEBIE from that site!

Text connections (remember I am NOT an artist!)

Concept of definition/word map
Point of View foldable created from a Dinah Zike template.

Character Feelings anchor chart - found on pinterest!

Character Traits anchor chart - another pinterest find!

Characterization anchor chart - yes, pinterest again!

Inferencing anchor chart- yep, you guessed it...another pinterest score!

Author's Purpose anchor chart - this one is actually my idea.  Students added color to the ones in their notebooks.

Nonfiction text STRUCTURES, not to be confused with nonfiction text features.  I had no idea this phrase/idea existed until I ordered the wrong book.  It was a very educational mistake and I am glad that I did not completely read the title of the book before I ordered it!

More on nonfiction text STRUCTURES.

A really fun inferecing lab using white mystery airheads.  Bought the original packet on TpT, but then redesigned it into a foldable for our notebooks.  It was frustrating in the beginning, but quite an accomplishment when finished - now I know I can do it for many other things!

Friday, May 4, 2012

More on Interactive Notebooks

I am going to post a few more pictures of my language arts interactive notebook that I took a couple of weeks ago.  I have been posting a few with each blog, but am going to post several more of them on this entry.   It has been what seems like a long week, so I am going to KISS this post!  That is an acronym I teach my students:  Keep It Short and Simple.  We KISS a lot of stuff when appropriate!

This is a double bubble map we used while reading The Cay by Theodore Taylor.

This is a summarization strategy I found online call "the incredible shrinking notes" where students start out writing a summary of a reading selection on the large index card.  Students are then given the medium sized card and have to take the information from the large card and condense it onto the medium sized card.  Finally, students are given the small card and must then take the information from the medium sized card and condense it down either further onto the small card.  This is a great way for students to get to the main point/idea of a selection.

This is a brief biography of Theodore Taylor we glued in our notebooks when we were reading The Cay, one of his awesome books that can be integrated into either the study of South America or Central America or World War II.  It also has great examples of dialect.

This is a foldable on poetry terms.

Notes on figurative language with some color coding to make the notes user friendly.

Poetry notes also color coded to make them easier to use and more helpful.

More poetry notes...notice an example is created with each type of poem so students have a reference point to refer to when needed.  Once I teach poetry, it is fair game to require students to respond to any type of reading in poetry form.  I teach poetry between Thanksgiving and Christmas each year, which gives students an opportunity to use their poetry skills for the whole second semester.

Another page of poetry notes.

Our last page of poetry notes.  Note the "I Am" poem rules taped into student notebooks and then our class example written underneath. 

We used "Winter Morning Poem" and a sheet of generic poetry analysis questions to aid in comprehension.  The questions are taped into the notebook so when students open them, they can see both poem and questions/answers together.

This is just another poem where we were marking the rhyme scheme, lines, and stanzas.