6 Months ‘Til Christmas Sale! June 24-25

Santa checked his list (and checked it twice!)– here’s a sale for all those who’ve been nice!

6 months till Christmas Sale


I have linked up with a group of teacher/bloggers to bring you a festive early Christmas sale!  My entire store will be 20% on June 24th through June 25th.  Come get some early gifts for your classroom!


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Teach Like a Pirate Book Study: A Crash Course in Presentational Hooks

Teach Like a Pirate

I am excited to be part of the Teach Like a Pirate Summer Book Study.  Today we are going to talk about the chapter entitled, “A Crash Course in Presentational Hooks.”

If you are reading this, you are most likely a teacher.  As a teacher, you know our profession requires us to wear many hats.  One hat, the art of entertainment, helps us to light a fire which increases engagement and ultimately learning gains.  I love this quote from page 75.


“A good teacher, like a good entertainer, first must hold his audience’s attention. Then he can teach his lesson.”

-Hendrik John Clarke

Teach Like a Pirate

Crafting an engaging presentation  offers an immediate hook for our learners.  In order to be successful, we need to make the time to plan, collaborate, and reflect on our presentation with the same fervor we plan our entire lesson. 

Finding time to do all three of these things can feel overwhelming.  Some of the ideas that have been shared with me are to multi-task, utilize downtime, participate in online communities (including blogs as you are doing here), and to share a common planning time. Collaborating with your students can be done in conferences, reflective notes, or exit slips.

Teach Like a Pirate


Our students like visual, auditory, and kinesthetic hooks.  Imagine you were beginning a unit on the American Revolution.  Instead of simply getting out the tattered textbooks at the beginning of the unit, hook your students with an imovie, or other visually engaging method. Your students may be extra motivated to learn if they will be able to create their own imovie as a culminating activity. 


If you haven’t picked up your copy of the book yet, you can get it here from Amazon!



Be sure to read Lauren’s post at Teacher Mom of 3 where she will lead a discussion on “I Like to Move it, Move it!”  


Sebrina B.


What are your thoughts on providing engaging educational hooks in the classroom?


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DIY Magnetic Dice Board Creative Teacher Giveaway! 1 for Me & 1 for You!

Creative Teacher Blog Hop


This week I am teaming up with some crafty bloggers participating in a “one for you and one for me” blog hop.  They have created some eye catching one of a kind crafts for you to win!  Each blogger is duplicating their craft…so not only will they have an adorable craft… so will YOU!  So be sure to visit each blogger’s website!

It has been quite some time since I attempted to be crafty, and I wanted to create something useful for the classroom.  I found this idea on Pinterest. You can find the original pin here.  What I decided to create was a beach themed DIY Magnetic Dice Holder crafted from a cookie sheet.

DIY Magnetic Dice Holder

Here are the directions for how I created my project.

Supplies for DIY Magnetic Dice Holder

Supplies: Metal cookie sheet (Dollar Tree), Mod Podge CS11302 Original 16-Ounce Glue, Matte Finish, paintbrush or sponge for application, 2 sheets of 12″x 12″ scrapbook paper, magnetic buttons, ribbon, hot glue gun, scrapbook embellishments/stickers (optional), and clear food storage containers.  Glad makes a set of 8 perfect mini round containers.  I found this set of 10 at the Dollar Tree for a dollar!  They come in round or rectangle shapes.  You will need a metal hole punch or clips to hot glue on the back as a method of attaching the ribbon for hanging. Of course, don’t forget the DICE!


DIY Magnetic Dice Board

Initially I used a spray adhesive to attach the paper to the cookie sheet, but realized the Mod Podge is perfect for that.  I applied the Mod Podge as an adhesive and as a top sealer.  Be sure to fill in all the cracks. 

DIY Magnetic Dice Board

Try to keep your paper as smooth as possible. Once it starts to adhere, you can’t move the paper without tearing it!  After drying overnight, I applied a coat to the back as an adhesive sealant also. Later I added my beach themed stickers, and applied another coat of Mod Podge.

Dice Magnetic DIY Board

Hot glue magnet buttons on the tops of your containers.  Fill them with dice.  Voila’, you have the perfect go to board for dice! Keeping the dice in containers will end the throwing dice across the table wars!  You and your students will save time with easy access to needed dice for math and reading activities/games.  

I am excited to hang this in my classroom and hope you are too!  Be sure to enter the rafflecopter below for your chance to win the matching DIY Magnetic Dice Board shown above. The containers are included, but you will need to use your dice to fill them.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Continue on to the next stop for another opportunity to win a great craft from Jennifer at Love Teaching Kids! 


Thank you for stopping by my blog.  Come back for more giveaways and teaching ideas!  I love hearing from you, so please comment below.

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Summer Stock Up Blog Hop Guided Reading and Organization

Summer Stock Up Blog Hop


Guided Reading


I hope you have been enjoying the Summer Stock Up Blog Hop!  It is awesome to get so many free ideas to use in your classroom, AND have the time to actually look at new ideas!  Summer is such an awesome time for relaxing and re-energizing.

Since I have been participating in an online book study of Notice and Note by Kylene Beers and Robert Probst, I have been thinking quite a bit about the role that dialogic classroom conversation plays in increasing the rigor of text.  The authors believe that rigor is obtained through engagement and interaction with text, rather than simply subjecting students to text that is too difficult for them.  In the dialogic classroom the value lies in the students generating questions and the give and take of conversation surrounding text.  Students in these classroom learn to think analytically and develop a deeper shared meaning of text. This echos  Rosenblatt’s Transactional Theory in which each reader brings their own knowledge, beliefs, and context to the reading act. Students who engage in book talk that is not totally teacher led, with only one correct answer, develop into critical readers and thinkers.

Based on this research I created a new product that will strengthen and guide students as they develop their conversational skills surrounding fictional text.  This product can be used multiple times as it is generic to any fiction text. 

Catch a Wave on Teachers Pay Teachers

Click this image to view the complete product at my TPT store.

This product contains 3 separate components.  It includes task cards to use during whole or small group guided reading. These cards will assist students in learning conversational stems related to book discussions.  A blank version is included for you to add your own prompts.

Task Card Samples

A literacy center game is included which can be played with two or more students in a small group.  In this game the students will ask questions provided on the card, and the other player must answer the question using text based evidence.  This is a win win situations for both students.  

Catch A Wave Literacy Game

Student self assessment is a valuable tool for informing instruction.  This product includes a printable student self assessment as pictured below.  

student self assessment

Working on phonological awareness skills during guided reading is crucial for building foundational skills.  Two products I use regularly are my Rhyme Sort Literacy Bundle and my best selling Phonemic Awareness Treats.  You can find both products at my TPT store by clicking the photos below or by clicking here.

Rhyme Sort

Rhyme Sort Literacy Bundle. Click to go to my TPT store to see this product.

Phonemic Awareness Treats

Click the image to go to my TPT store to see this product.

I have included the student self assessment sheet and ALL 27 guided reading tasks cards which you can grab for free during this blog hop!

Summer Stock Up Blog Hop


You can purchase the complete product at my TPT store by clicking here!
You can enter to win a copy of the “Catch a Wave With Guided Reading” product by entering the rafflecopter below.  Leaving a comment on this blog is an easy entry!  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog to FB Link

Click Here

Summer Stock Up Organization My goal this year is to be more organized and therefore more time efficient.  With so many things going on as a teacher I found I had lists all over the place.  Here you can see my most recent to do list, LOL! To Do List Pretty sad, huh?  You notice I put in a small picture!  So I created a printable and an editable printable “to do” list to help me with organization.  

To do list 2

Another form that I just love, and used last year is this one.  I kept one in my teacher binder each week to save time and be prepared.  I would just jot things down as I realized they needed to be done. This form definitely increased my time efficiency.

weekly planner

One of my favorite organizational tools are the vertex free printable calendars available here.  I use these as printables in my teacher binder, in my home, and in my office.  When I have many things to keep track of I actually type in the event and can color code the activities, as you can see here. I kept a blank copy in a sheet protector in my teacher binder to add notes and events as they were scheduled.


I used these forms to organize and keep track of my independent reading conferences and the progress of my students during independent reading.    


product 1

You can find the complete 13 page product for organizing and documenting independent reading conferences by clicking the photo below

TPT Product

Click here


The special product I included for you in this blog hop is located on my Facebook page.  I hope it helps you with organization in the coming year!  Follow my Pinterest Organization board for more ideas to use in your classroom and home!


Enter the rafflecopter giveaway below to enter the chance to win one free product of your choice from my store.  This giveaway ends on Monday Night.

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to continue on this blog hop by clicking here, and stock up on some more fabulous freebies!

Blog to FB Link

Click Here

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Notice and Note Book Study Post 2

Notice and Note 2

I hope you have picked up your copy of the Notice and Note text by Beers and Probst.  If you haven’t, continue to read through our blogs as we share our thoughts on this stellar professional text.  2 Brainy Apples is hosting the link up for Section 2, so be sure to read her post and the linked posts on her site.  


Notice and Note Rigor


Rigor, a current buzzword in the field of education, is surrounded by controversy.   According to the authors, rigor resides in the text and evolves as a process through the reader’s interaction with the text.  Sure teachers can assign very difficult text, in the hopes of attaining “rigor.” However this only serves as a punitive and difficult task for the student.  The student then struggles with decoding, vocabulary, developing shallow meaning, rather than analyzing ideas, making connections, or formulating new ideas.  An interesting video featuring the authors further explains their analysis of the word “rigor.”  


Notice and Note Intellectual Communities


The authors believe  there is value in teachers asking leading questions however, the real value of questioning is in student generated questions.  Rather than creating a generation of students that are dependent on an adult to ask questions of the text, students need to learn to “notice” important moments in the text that cause them to deepen their interaction with the text….increasing rigor naturally.  Classroom discourse is necessary to facilitate the development of a classroom intellectual community. When students become part of an intellectual community they learn to listen, frame their thoughts using text evidence, and develop into independent thinkers. Students who are part of such a community learn the language and thinking that is necessary for critical thinking.

How do you encourage classroom discourse about text?

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