R-Controlled Lovin'

In my small group intervention time I've loved my newest group. Working with small groups of kids will probably be one of my favorite groupings to interact with, but this particular small group has just been a fabulous mixture of personalities. Between all of the quirks and laughter we've had a great few weeks reviewing R-Controlled vowels.

One of the best ways to see movement of students is repetition and application. Repetition is great for the first couple of days, but after that it can become boring. Although we do different activities with word tiles, white boards, and iPads... I'm always trying to find different activities to keep the kiddos engaged.

This go around I threw together 3 games with a couple of variations (nonsense words included for two of the games.) My students loved the change up and requested that the games were brought out to be played throughout the week. Students learning and enjoying themselves while they learn? I'll take that any day!

Click below to see them in my TpT Store!




Quick Check In

Hello all!

I've been enjoying all this Christmas break has held immensely so far. Which has meant much for productivity in the kitchen, a little around the house, and not much school related...yet. Tonight we are hosting a bowl game party for some of our friends. {Go State!}

I will be back to posting more school related goodness in the following days. I hope that you enjoy the last few days of 2013 with family, food, and fun!


Operation Organization: Clip Art

In the last year my clip art, frames, and background collection has grown. Exponentially. It's been fun to make things for my students, but sometimes in the midst of creating things for my classroom, I can't seem to remember if I have a certain piece of clip art, or I can't find the border I've been thinking of, and sometimes I forget the terms of use and spend extra time to make sure I have everything correct.

Until now. (Hopefully). 

Sometimes, I have O.C.D tendencies. Usually at the most inopportune times. Last week, in the midst of the messiest week of my classroom (nothing like procrastinating on art projects) and finals week for my grad classes, I decided it would be the best time to organize my growing clip art collection.

Most of my clip art was previously stored in a folder, with clip art separated into subdivided by clip art artist. Until I was a wee bit lazy and didn't always separate things out. Even then, it was hard to remember all of the individual items.

This time, I opened finder (on my Mac; a window with documents open on a PC should work too) as well as PowerPoint. For each slide, I put the artist at the top, the terms of use at the bottom, and images of the clip art. I found that I really, really, really enjoy preview images when they are included. Other wise I'd pull over several samples and leave a note as to how many colors or variations. As I was going along, I made sure that the artist names at the top of page coincided with the folders I have my clip art stored in.

This document can be printed off... but for now I like being able to have it pulled up along with a new document and just create away with the ability to see what all I can choose from in one spot, as well as the ability to copy and paste credit information.

I'm hoping this will be useful and keep me organized as my addiction collection grows!


Holiday Brain Breaks

I don't know about you... but this week is stretching on into eternity. I could have swore that it was Thursday as I was finishing my last minute preps for the day. However, I was sadly mistaken.

My kiddos have been a bit amped up with the impending holiday season. As a result, brain breaks have become quite popular so there is a lot of music and movement throughout the day in my room.

A few ideas to share:

I love Pandora, especially this time of year. During my reading class and a few of writing time blocks I've been playing instrumental Christmas music, lowering the lights, and enjoying the Christmas lights/natural light from the windows. It's worked well at helping students stay on task.

For those moments with the wiggles are beginning to take over, I've played on of the following three brain breaks.

Santa Claus Song... simple steps, repetitive tune, and a hit that students will ask to be played over and over again.

Santa Claus Clones....several variations in the music genres, really gives kids a workout!

Jingle Bells.. sweet and simple, a little nicer for calming than the others.

Hope these brain breaks can help you through the last few days until break!


Figurative Language & Holiday Fun {Lots of Fun & Photos!}

I had super duper intentions of blogging regularly this week. We've been busy brushing up on some figurative language & getting into the holiday spirit. However, it's also the last week of my grad classes... and unfortunately final projects won out over blogging... until now!

I've tried to boil things down into 5 bigger topics over the last week or so. There are lots of pictures and ideas below!

1. I may or may not have spent a little money at the TpT sale. With the hectic holidays, changes in weather, and the anticipation of students getting a little crazy in the excitement and anticipation, I decided to stock up on some new seasonal items. Boy, I'm glad I did!


First up, Lovin Lit, has some amazing resources. The products I'm currently loving of hers, come from her Christmas pack. Three separate set of lessons that are no-prep. Just print and go. Erin, does a wonderful job of getting down to the last detail; it's all done for you.

I used her Common Core Christmas pack with the holidays around the world watching guide. Incorporating a YouTube video that my students LOVED! It was humorous, educational, and entertaining a perfect match!!

A great brain break comes from the video that my kiddos absolutely LOVE! You can check it out {here}.

2. Figurative language has been a focus in our room this week. A topic that is pretty fun, and offers itself as a good release during this crazy time of year.

First we reviewed synonyms and antonyms. I saw this awesome idea on Third Grade Bugs Instagram (I'd take a screenshot, but my Instagram feed is having issues). I found a picture of a snowflake from Google Images to use as the template. Students wrote synonym on the front and the definition, then filled in various synonyms along the outer edges of the snowflake. When checked, students were able to cut out the snowflake then repeat the processes with antonyms on the back.  They've added a fun touch to our room!

3. Our next figurative language movement was to similes and metaphors. I found a fun video on YouTube that several students complained was stuck in their head all day... muah haha, my plan of them retaining what I teach is working! :)


I also used {freebie!} task cards for student practice from Teaching with a Mountain View. My students enjoy bopping around the room. Adds a little movement to a normal worksheet.

4.  Just for fun and some holiday cheer, I totally and completely copied this adorable idea from my friend Sarah's instagram. She posted her 5th graders caroling reindeer and I knew my fourth graders had to do that project too. Seriously so cute!

5. During the big sale I also picked up a holidays around the world research project from More Than a Worksheet. This pack has a nontraditonal report template included: sharing about your country through a song format: The 12 Days of "the country's holiday".


I added on to this project, by first have students work in small groups to research their countries. Then, they were to research that country's version of Christmas and the symbols of that holiday. From there, I had the students create an ornament for the tree that symbolized that country or the holiday they had researched. After that, the students recorded their songs on Educreations or iMovie to share with the class.

This project, though slightly time-intensive was so much fun! I loved being able to turn the students loose to create and showcase their knowledge in a variety of ways. I will definitely be tweaking and adding to this project next year.

I'm going to use this project as my start of the December link-up for Classroom Applications. Do you have a way that you are using the iPad in your classroom? Be sure to link up all month long and check out the tab above for ideas from previous months.

Hope I've helped to inspire a few last minute ideas!


Remembering Sandy Hook

As educators, we remember and honor our fallen colleagues and their students from Sandy Hook School. We honor them each day in our classrooms in which we continue their dream of teaching our children. We honor their memory with our service. Join with teachers everywhere in committing random acts of kindness to show our love for Sandy Hook. #love4SH



Student Motivation Saturday: Power Writing!


Although I often glean a ton of wonderful ideas from Joanne's linky, it's been awhile since I've linked up. I tried something new to me this week and I just had to share! I apologize in advance that I forgot my iPad at school and can't share the few pictures I took.

Last school year I read this post from the Collaboration Cuties {a gem of a blog if you haven't been there before!} that introduced me to Power Writing.

The Just: Give your students two random topics and three minutes to write as much as they possibly can. It doesn't matter what they write about, the just need to keep their pencil moving! When time is up, students total their words. Then you do it again. A new pair of random topics is given and students try to write more words than before.

My initial thought: I honestly wasn't sure that my students would buy in and do this. I assumed that there would be a handful of students, particularly those who do not enjoy writing, that would do the normal, stare at the paper/mess with my pencil/find anything other than writing to do.

However, this week I tried it. I had 10 minutes to fill and thought, why not?

I introduced this activity by telling students there are times when they seem afraid of the paper. It can be daunting to write, that sometimes its hard to get that pencil moving across the paper. As authors we want to move past that. We've been working on our editing and revision skills this year and that is where making the paper correct and better occurs. The first time we put our pencil to paper should not be the "perfect" paper--that's a lot of pressure to put on ourselves.

Then we began the challenge. I gave the topics of shoes and Pizza Hut. To my surprise, the students were truly into it! They hurriedly counted up their words when time was called. Even my struggling writers were into it!! I wrote two new topics on the board, snow and Christmas. The same procedure was done. I only needed to give a couple of gentle reminders for students to keep those pencils going.

My final thoughts: My students actually asked for another round of writing. The room was quiet, pencils flying: the students were engaged. A few students complained when time was called because they wanted to finish their story. The co-teacher in the room said, "Wow, we have to do this again." Doing this activity again is something we will most definitely do. We can always look back at these writings and add on to them in later projects.

I truly hope that you'll try Power Writing!


Have You Seen This Yet?

I'm pretty honored to be apart of this year's TpT Holiday eBook 3-6 Edition! A big thank you to all of the time and effort that the editors put into gathering the materials and compiling the books! I've downloaded it, and spent my evening finding a ton of resources to help supplement my lesson plans for the next couple of weeks! Not to mention several new bloggers and TpT stores to follow too!

Click the picture to download. A primary edition is available as well from {here}.

We've been up to several fun activities in the classroom this past week. I hope to update you all later this weekend. Final projects due in my graduate classes have been eating up all of my spare time, but I don't have much longer to go!

Happy almost Friday!!


Winter Planning Giveaway Stop C-14 {EVERYONE Wins!!}


I still cannot believe it's December. Already!!

It still seems like it was just a couple of weeks ago that I was prepping my room for the start of the year, now I'm prepping my room for the holidays.

With all the hustle and bustle of the season, planning can sometimes be a little hard. Have no fear! Some of my best blogging buddies and I are here to offer a giveaway where everyone wins! To learn more about how to gather up all of the goodies, head over to I'm Lovin' Lit to get all of the details and begin your scavenger hunt! (It will make more sense, I promise!)

For my part of the giveaway, I'd love if you would follow my blog by clicking on the sidebar or the button below.
Follow on Bloglovin

And/Or Facebook or Teachers Pay Teachers

If you follow along, you will find a former K-5 special education teacher, turned general education ELA teacher teaching in a 1-1 iPad district from the middle of the heartland. Most of my posts/products are geared toward upper elementary. 

Speaking of products.. my donation to the giveaway is a group of winter centers perfect for December and January.

Just a reminder as your gathering up goodies, that TpT is having a HUGE sale. My store is 20% off, and you can get an even better deal by applying the code "CYBER" at the checkout.

Have fun & happy planning!


Deck The Halls... TpT Link Up

Happy Sunday!  Are you as excited as I am about the TpT Cyber Monday {and Tuesday!} sale?  I'm so excited, I got the party started early, with my store 20% off starting today!

My cart is full and so is my wishlist.  I can't wait to get shopping tomorrow! Everything in my shop will be 20% off Monday and Tuesday... and if you use the code CYBER when you check out, TpT will give an additional 10% off of that... so everything will be 28% off!!Now, that's a deal to get excited about! :) 

I'm linking up with Christina with her fun linky in preparation for the big sale!


There are a few tunes that I would like to share with you!

You can find the centers here
I love, love, love math centers and place value was a huge struggle for many of my caseload students last year. I taught in a math class that had several students on IEPs and each student was at a different level. I incorporated these games to meet the students where they were at, and reinforce the concepts we were learning in class. 

You can find the telling time activities here
You can find the ELA Centers for Upper Elementary here


The first, is a surprise for my co-teacher who is also the 4th grade special education teacher. Many of her students are struggling with telling analog time, but I'm hoping the sweet graphics will help out! :)

The second product, I've got printed, laminated, and ready to go. I LOVE using centers and hands on activities in my ELA classes. This pack addresses skills that my students still need some practice with. 

You can find the novel study here

 Last song of the day is for my Stone Fox Novel Study. I love this book and created this pack over the summer. In January we will be reading this book and I cannot wait to use these activities with my students to dig in a little deeper with what we are reading and work with the text in new ways.

Thanks for "listening" be sure to head back to Christina's blog to check out more great playlists. While your here, if there is an item {does NOT need to come from my store} that you cannot wait to purchase, leave a comment or link to your blog post below. I don't want to miss out on any stellar resources!

 Happy holidays & happy shopping!