Mentor Monday Linky 3/31/14: Visualizing


We are all glad to see Emily back hosting Mentor Monday.  She has been spending time with her new little one, plus juggling two other kiddos under 3!  If you wonder what that is like, be sure to check out her Mentor Monday post about the salt incident!  You will enjoy learning her most recent experience when she noticed her child was just toooo quiet.  I know all of you moms know what that means.Laughing

This week’s topic is visualizing, which is dear to my heart.  Successful readers have a mind movie playing while they read, while students who struggle often don’t understand this strategy.  I remember a fourth grade student who broke my heart stating that he just didn’t have a movie in his head while he read!  

Since April is the beginning of National Poetry Month, I will suggest a poetry book for visualization.  This is a wonderful book I introduced to some fourth grade students today. They were literally begging to read the poem for each color!  Since I wanted them to write their own color poem and use their creativity and visualization, they had to wait to read the rest of the book tomorrow!


In honor of  spring, I’ll share one page of “What is Green?”


What is Green?
Green is the grass
And the leaves of trees
Green is the smell
Of a country breeze.
Green is lettuce
And sometimes the sea.
When green is a feeling
You pronounce it N.V.
Green is a coolness
You get in the shade
Of the tall old woods
Where the moss is made.

I hope your visualizations were stunning!  After modeling one of the poems, and discussing the metaphors created using the five senses, my students selected their own color from several swatches of paint samples.  


We have selected our colors, brainstormed for images, and written rough drafts.  Tomorrow, as writers, we will be creating mind movies for our readers!

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Spring Sales Event

I linked up with Nancy, at Teaching With Nancy, to advertise a Spring Cleaning Sale.  Everything is 20% this weekend, no code required!  This is a great opportunity to make purchases and get things off your wishlist.  Don’t forget to leave feedback on your current and past purchases to earn credits for future purchases!

Spring Sale Event

Click to visit my TpT store!

Enjoy shopping this spring weekend!

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Spring Has Sprung and Games are Fun Blog Hop

Spring Has Sprung Blog Hop

This weekend I am teaming up with an awesome group of bloggers who are set on celebrating the arrival of spring with a freebie and giveaway blog hop!  The hop begins Friday morning and runs through Sunday evening.  I know many of you are still having a wintery spring, but I hope this hop warms your hearts with the awesome giveaways and freebies you will find along the way. Smile

I just finished working on a spring themed counting unit which is jam packed with foundational math skill activities for your little ones.  The activities and games are differentiated so they can be used across several levels, or challenge students as they develop the necessary skills.  There are 17 printables and 2 games, one of which includes several additional printables that extend the game.  Below is a preview of what is included in this 44 page product available here.  Each game is also sold separately in my TpT Store.

Spring Into Counting Printables

Spring Into Counting with Ten Frames Sping Into Counting Ants on a Log Game

Buttterfly printable

Sample printable

Ants on a Log

Ants on a Log Game

Counting on Spring Game

Counting on Spring Game

This weekend I am giving away the bundled unit to one lucky winner of the rafflecopter below!  Be sure to enter to win.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

As part of the blog hop I am giving away my Counting on Spring Game  for free this weekend only!  You can get it by clicking here!  Please be sure to leave product feedback!

Counting on Spring

Click here


Be sure to hop over to the next spot, Lapbooks in the Library at!  I hope you have enjoyed this blog hop!


Keep on hoppin’ into spring!

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Spring Has Sprung Poetry in Elementary Blog Hop

Poetry Blog Hop

Since April is National Poetry Month, what better way to celebrate than a blog hop to pick up some tips and resources to use as you bring poetry to life in your classroom!   Starting tonight through Sunday evening, each step along this hop will provide a free resource, as well as possible giveaways to brighten your spring activities.  

The week before spring break I worked with my intervention group of third graders using the product I will be contributing to this blog hop.  Since this was their first experience writing poetry I was super excited with their results.  Our school writing teacher was ecstatic too as we focused on using our senses to enliven our writing!

Formula poems  encourage enthusiasm for writing poetry.   Student focus is limited, in this case to word choice, therefore they are successful and eagerly participate in the writing process without feeling overwhelmed.  We began our unit by writing a poem together, one that features a popular event at our school, Field Day.  

Each line of the poem focuses on one of the five senses, so each student brainstormed to create a list of items related to field day using their assigned sense.  After creating their list, they were asked to choose their favorite item from the list, and add descriptive language which would create a picture for the reader.  Then we wrote our poem together, each student handwriting their line.  The students enjoyed this activity and their naturally occurring authentic collaboration. 

class poem third grade march 2014 2

Next, I let each student choose their own topic and individually complete a holiday formula poem. After brainstorming we used a planning page to add descriptive writing. Here are a few planning pages: 

fall planning page

summer planning page

The last step was publishing and illustrating:

Fall Poem

summer poem

Scholastic has a nice set of poetry resources.  You can find them here.

To download my product, which includes the formula and planning sheets, click on the product below.  It is free this weekend during the poetry blog hop!

Holiday Formula Poetry Unit

Click to download.

Be sure to hop over to Christy’s blog to download her resource!  Just click on the button below.

poetry blog hop next button

Happy Hoppin’

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Mentor Monday 3/24/2014: Memoirs

Mentor Monday

I personally found the two Mentor Monday posts written by Krista from  the Teaching Monster to be thought provoking.  As a push-in inclusion teacher that focuses on reading intervention, I rarely provide writing instruction.  However after reading her posts I am intrigued with doing a personal narrative unit with my students.  

My students already love  to share personal stories and anecdotes during our reading lessons, so providing them the opportunity to focus on writing that highlights some of the “big moments” in their lives should make them very happy! Wink If you are interested in memoir writing with your students be sure to check out the posts and linked posts on Emily’s Blog The Reading Tutor/OG.

One mentor text I plan to use is Donald Crews book BigMama’s.    This is what Publishers Weekly has to say on Amazon  about this book: Crews’s first book in five years is a departure for this gifted author/artist, and a truly joyous celebration. In his dynamic tale of family togetherness, an African American man recalls boyhood summers spent at his grandmother’s rural home in Florida. Each year the vacation began with an adventurous three-day train ride to Bigmama’s (“Not that she was big, but she was Mama’s mama”) in Cottondale. The hot, hazy months that followed were filled with relatives, fishing and good times. A backyard coop “where Sunday dinner’s chicken spent its last days,” the barn and pond all begged to be explored by rambunctious visitors. Even the stars shone brighter in the night sky at this wondrous place. Like the title character so lovingly depicted within, the book’s jacket is warm and enticing–vibrant, boldly outlined letters draw readers into a fragrant slice of Americana. Crews’s rich earth tones perfectly portray the rustic life of this bygone era, while the lanky, barefoot children embody the relaxed–and utterly relaxing–freedom of summer. In the manner of exemplary works for children, Bigmama’s works splendidly on more than one level. The evocative text provides plenty of action to interest younger readers and–for their parents–the nostalgic tone cannot fail to lovingly recall carefree days long past. Reality, in the form of a present-day metropolis viewed through a window, brings the story to an appropriate close, as the narrator, older and bearded, “even now” longs to recapture the essence of enchantment that was found at Bigmama’s.

 The other mentor texts, which continue the rural days-gone-by theme, are two books by Cynthia Rylant, The Relatives Came and When I was Young in the Mountains.   Coming from a rural background, I adore both of these books and they will help my “city” kids develop some background knowledge at the same time…a win win situation!  Both books focus on meaningful family relationships, country living, and memories.

How have you used memoir writing in your classroom and what mentor texts did you use as a model?  

Until next time,


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