Wednesday, September 30, 2015

"The Chapter Book Club" Books for Early and Transitional Readers and tons of FREEBIES!!

Hello everyone!
This is Laura from Where the Magic Happens Blog  and  I hope everyone is having a great year so far. I am just starting my 3 week fall break in the company of my boys and my beautiful family who came to visit from out of town.
As the first quarter came to an end, I had many meetings with my students’ parents regarding their present levels, needs, strengths, etc.  There are a couple of questions that usually come up in most conferences:
What kind of easy chapter books can I read with my child at home?
What kind of books in my child’s reading level can I get from the public library?

I always begin by explaining parents that hooking a reader goes beyond any reading level.
It all starts with book choice and “just right” books.
I am no Donalyn Miller WHATSOEVER, but I have learned from experience that readers are motivated when they feel successful and the find their book (or text) interesting and meaningful.
I have spent the first days of my break compiling some books and series  that are classic, engaging, and perfect for those students who are itching to read more challenging text.
In my classroom, I  send the following letter to parents first. {Please click on the picture to download}
I make a HUGE deal about it! And I encourage parents, grandparents, guardians, and caregivers to do the same!
I provide each student with a chapter book club membership card, I alert the librarian and encourage my students to display their card with pride.  I take a picture of my students and glue on the card and laminate.{click on the picture to download}
I created the following posters to guide my student in forming book clubs, or duos, or trios. It doesn’t matter how many students are there per series or book! All that I really want is that my students are reading, and that they are reading something they like. CLICK HERE to download!
I  laminate the posters and hang them on the wall… I am kicking myself for not having a picture. Anyways, my students write their name on the poster  of the book or series they are reading. That’s how The children keep track of their group. They meet during morning work, and during Daily 5…
I hope you enjoyed the post, until next time!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Fun on the Farm FREEBIES

We have been hard at work learning to read, write, and count numbers 0-5.  Soon we will begin working with numbers 0-10.  A "farm" theme is in our near future as well, so I made a few counting pages with lots of cute farm animals!!

There are two pages where students will read the number and color the correct number of animals.  (one is 0-5 and one is 0-10)

There are two pages where students will count the animals and write the correct number.
(both of these are 0-10)

Hope you can use these freebies!  Get all four pages here at my TpT store.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Fighting for Fiona

Who's Who and Who's New blog is jam packed with awesome people who care about and want to give back to those in need. To begin the 'giving back' spirit of things, we are holding a fundraiser for a little girl named Fiona from Indiana.

Three year old Fiona Waller’s only cure is a bone marrow transplant...her medical bills are overwhelming as well. 

Fiona was born with a rare, life threatening immune deficiency which requires her to undergo painful weekly infusions. A bone marrow transplant would replace her defective B-Cells and T-Cells. Karen Waller, Fiona's mom worries that, "the only other option is to continue treatments and wait until she gets sick."
  • The family’s medical insurance requires an $8,000 out of pocket deductible each           January.
  • Fi’s medical bills totaled over $80,000 in the first 6 months.
To help this wonderful family with expenses for this beautiful baby girl, Who's Who is holding a fundraiser to help pay for her medical bills. Our initial goal is to raise enough to pay for the family’s 2016 deductible. Maybe we can even raise enough to pay for the actual bone marrow transplant!

All proceeds from the sale of these educational resource bundles, will go to Fiona and her family. Please check out some of these resources from the links below. You will get some AMAZING resources AND you will be helping out a family in need.

·         To donate directly to Fiona's Fund - 
·         To watch the video -                      
·         To follow Fi's mommy's blog -      


Sunday, September 27, 2015

Foldables in the Classroom

Hi, fellow educators! It's Shelly Rees from Appletastic: Blossoming in Fifth Grade. I am excited to share my love of Foldables, Flip Flaps, Flappables, and anything interactive! 

You've heard them called by many names, but foldables have taken over many classrooms, and for good reason. Since I started using these nifty little treasures, student interest has picked up and retention of concepts has increased. Here are several ways you can incorporate foldables into your students' learning:

 Take notes under flaps of major historical events. Draw arrows between the events and number them to show their chronological order.
 Have students create fact cards about a specific event and then keep them inside a pocket glued to a notebook page. They can refer to the fact cards for study and review.
 Side-opening flaps are great for having students solve problems on the front and writing the answers beneath.
 Timelines are more memorable and exciting when students construct them by gluing together shorter event strips. Add the long timelines to a bulletin board to make an eye-catching display!
 Foldables are great for bulletin boards, too! Staple the flap to the board and place the information beneath. Students can refer to the flaps for practice and review.
 Fold a file folder inward to create a lapbook. Add flaps and foldables to the lapbook to make it truly interactive. This is a great way to showcase student work and to create a culminating project! You can find an easy-to-follow lapbook tutorial HERE.
 Pockets are perfect for sorting information. Create a pocket for any topic and have students sort words into the pockets. This works for any subject (nouns and verbs, solids and gasses, prime and composite numbers, etc.)!
 Mini file folders are a wonderful way to take notes on a specific topic. Each tab of the folder can be used as a subtopic. Watch a video of how I use these mini file folders HERE.
 Foldables don't have to be square! 
 Create a mini booklet by having students glue end over end of small pages or simply staple the old-fashioned way.
 Make geometry more hands-on by creating foldables of 2-dimensional shapes and listing the properties beneath the flaps.
 Create doorways by gluing the outer edges of 2 rectangles to a page. Place notes, graphs, or illustrations behind the doors.
 Staggered booklets are great for studying a topic more in-depth. 
 Have students put 2 or more parts together to find a bigger concept. This can be as simple as compound words or as complex as understanding the words of the Preamble!
 Loving these mini-books!
 Cover portions of an information table with flaps. This is a great way for students to study and review.

You can see why I am flipping for flippables and foldables! My fifth grade students really do love using them, and they beat old-fashioned note-taking any day of the week!

If you are interested in any of my Social Studies Interactive Notebook Units shown in the pictures above, you can find them all right HERE at my TpT Store!

One of my favorite Social Studies units is my

Thanks and Happy Folding!
Shelly Rees

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Top 5 Tips for Mastering Multiplication in a Month

Every year it is the same. I give my new 5th graders a 25 problem single digit multiplication assessment and it is obvious by the results, most do not know their facts.

I know it was taught in previous grades, but yet the retention by many just isn't there. For my first few years of teaching I basically just drilled all students expecting them to master the facts in a timed pressure cooker. What I wasn't realizing was that some students just don't learn that way. I finally changed my ways about 15 years ago and started offering different strategies to my students.

Below I will highlight my top 5 tips to mastering multiplication in a month.

1. Make up Raps
Yes, you heard me right. Allow the students to make up a rap about the facts they are having trouble with. It is amazing how much more they will retain if they are given the freedom to create their own raps/rhymes about the facts they struggle with. I have a created a rap for the 6s, 7s, and 8s. You can download it for free here.
FREE Multiplication Facts Rap Game Activity for 6, 7, and 8s

2. Game Boards
This one is quite simple. Grab any old game board where students have to shake dice to move forward. The catch is that whatever number is rolled on the dice relates to counting down in the flash card pile and solving that problem. For example, a student rolls a "5." The student would go to the stack of flash cards, count down to the fifth one, and solve the problem. If s/he gets it correct, the game piece stays on the spot. If the answer is wrong, the game piece goes back to the starting point before the dice was rolled.

3. War
This is by far my students' favorite game! Break your students up into partners. Take out the kings, queens, and jacks. Leave in the ace as a value of 1. Deal out all the cards face down equally to each player. Then when a players says "go," each person flips up a card. Whoever multiplies the two numbers correctly first wins the cards. Play continues until one person has all the cards. To add a little challenge you can use the kings, queens,and jacks as well with values higher than 10. 

4. Practice strips
These are real easy to make. Basically, you type out the multiples of each number up to 10 in rows in a Microsoft Word document, making sure to leave spaces between each set of numbers. For example, on one line you would have: 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, 21, 24, 27, and 30. Then on the next line: 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, 28, 32, 36, and 40. When you have finished with the facts you want, you cut them out into strips, copy them on to card stock, laminate them and then bind with a ring at the top corner. Now you have made an easy flip book of multiplication facts for your students! Click here to download this free resource.

5. Practice at Home
Students still need to practice their facts. At the beginning of the year, I send home the flash cards that come with our math curriculum. But you can find free flash cards online as well. Have parents make it a special time with their child. You may want to  Click here for some free flash cards to download.

There are so many other great tips out there to mastering multiplication. We'd love to hear what you use in your classroom!

Click here to purchase our super bundle of multiplication intervention activities with over 50 pages or resources included.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Interesting CAFE Lessons

Well it finally feels like we are in the swing of things at school. CAFE is an excellent way to help your students become a better reader. Here are some of the lessons I do while we go through the CAFE strategies.

Tune in to Interesting Words with Dr. Seuss! Throughout the reading of Oh, The Places You'll Go! students put up their hands when they heard a word they found interesting. After each page we added the words to our anchor chart. This was a fabulous book for the lesson because in typical Dr. Seuss fashion there are a ton of "interesting" words.   
One of my favourite CAFE lessons is for Make a Picture With My Mind. I always use the fractured fairy tale Trust Me, Jack's Beanstalk Stinks! 

Students can relate to it because most of them have already heard about Jack and the Beanstalk. 

Before the lesson, I chose 6 spots in the story to stop and have students sketch what image is in their head. At the start of the lesson we talk about what a sketch looks like (no colors, quick drawing, very little details) and I demonstrate on the board for them. I hand out the papers for the activity (see below for a free copy) and tell students they will only have 1 minute to draw each sketch and then we will move on. This is key. Don't give them too much time or they will get hung up on the details and be upset when you have to move on. 
It always amazes me how silent the student are while I am reading. They don't get to see the pictures in the book so they have to listen closely. When I give them the signal to start sketching, EVERY student quickly goes to work. Yup, EVERY student. When I signal all pencils down, that happens too because they don't want to miss out on the next part of the story.
Here are  a few examples of what I got from my students last year :) 

Last year's class was pretty excited about the wedding at the end, hence the kissing pictures. Most years I have had pictures of the giant looking through the clouds at Jack and his mother.

Click on the image here to get your free copy of the graphic organizer.
I hope your students enjoy this as much as mine did.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Keeping Kids Engaged This Fall {Plus a FREEBIE!}

Happy First Day of FALL!!! 

It's Allison from Stuckey in Second and I love ALL THINGS FALL.  I want to share some ways that I'm keeping my kids engaged this time of the year. (Especially my boys!) I hate to admit that this early in the school year, I'm already trying to keep them entertained....but, we all know the reality. I'm grasping at anything to keep these kids entertained and engaged! Same skills in many different ways and novelty works! 

I didn't think I'd pull out my fall math games until October, but I had to go through them and introduce any "fall" games that they could do right now because we needed a change in math games during our station rotations. It's important to keep these games fresh and relevant to make sure that your math stations/rotations go smoothly! I'm sure you know, you always have to be on top of your "game."

My students love all of these fall themed games, especially the ones that require a partner! I keep all of my games in laminated envelopes and teach the kids how to put all of the pieces back in place (and RIGHT SIDE UP!) so pieces aren't lost. 

Last week, while watching my students complete these math stations, I thought to myself that the kids sure would like some football games! So, I started planning and thinking about what my 2nd graders need help with in math and I came up with a new set of football themed games. I introduced them today and the kids were so excited!

Another way that I've been keeping my kids engaged at this time of the year is by purchasing these blocks from Target's dollar spot after seeing several teacher bloggers' ideas on Facebook and Pinterest. I made a few different sets with blends and with CVC words. My lowest reading group is very difficult to engage and keep on task, especially because we are working on such low level things. Well, I can tell you that this group was HIGHLY engaged when I introduced these "Legos" to them. They couldn't get enough!!! I do think that I need to rewrite the letters with a Sharpie again and go over it with clear nail polish though. The marker started to wear off pretty fast! 

Last, but not least, I'd like to share two freebies from my store. I think you'll find these engaging for your kids this fall!

If you are interested in the FALL and FOOTBALL math games/centers that I mentioned above, click below to add them to your TPT wishlist! Just remember, to keep your kids engaged this fall, add some fun and novelty type items. It can be the same skills they were working on before, but if you add a little picture or hands-on activity, it will keep you sane too! :) Good luck!