Winter Fun Hop and Rain forest Writing in the Primary Classroom

We’re having a Winter Fun link up hosted by Mrs. D’s Corner. You can participate in the fun by downloading our free Winter E-Book and entering the rafflecopter below for the chance to win a fabulous prize!

Birthday Celebration

To beat the winter blues, we dove into our informational writing unit with the topic of the rain forest. Interesting topics are a sure fire way to engage students in informational writing in a primary classroom. Since we recently read about the rain forest, I introduced informational writing using a fascinating rain forest bird. Our rain forest writing project was a huge success in our classroom.  

Informational writing in a primary classroom

One of my favorite mentor texts for teaching point of view in reading is The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry.  If you aren’t familiar with the text, it is basically a story which depicts the deforestation problem in the rain forest as told through the voices of the various rain forest animals.  A second grade standard is understanding point of view and being able to read texts using different voices to depict characters.  It is so much fun to share this wonderful book to kids of all ages by reading the various voices of the rain forest inhabitants.  You can grab the book at Amazon by clicking below.  This is an affiliate link, but does not add any cost to you. 

Informational writing is our focus this grading period.  To kick off the unit I introduced my students to a simple layout to plan their writing.

informational writing

I selected a passage from Enchanted Learning about the Toucan.  You can find it by clicking the word Toucan.  We did a close read using this passage. I built their schema through the use of google images and a You Tube video of the Toucan singing. Did you know that they croak like a frog! 

Next I used this graphic organizer to develop the topic and details students would add to their writing.  You can grab it for free here!

graphic organizer informational writing

After completing our writing we did a directed drawing activity which you can find at We Draw To get the students started on their page I created a body template for them to trace using a file folder.

Tucan directed drawing activity

We loved how unique and cute each one turned out!






Be sure to enter the rafflecopter below and hop on to the next blog for more great tips to use in your classroom this winter! Just click the free Winter E-Book image to grab this fantastic prize!  You will find my secret word below.




a Rafflecopter giveaway



End of the Year Learning Can be Fun!

End of the year


I know you think I fell off the ends of the Earth. I’ve just been trying to survive the end of the year craziness like you!

Today I’m blogging  over at our new collaborative blog, Classroom Tested Resources!  Be sure to check out my post and read some of the other amazing posts you will find there.  You can read how I have kept my students engaged and learning up until the very end!

As a teaser I’m including this picture.

Opinion Writing for end of the year fun.

Post Its are a great solution for working on fluency.



You can grab my freebie by clicking the cover below.  Seeing the photos {here} will spark your own creativity!  Happy Memorial Day and thank you Veterans!

End of the year freebie

Click cover.



Bring in a Little Sunshine!

Learning with craft supplies.


I’m excited to link up with Kim over at Life Over C’s as part of her Learning with Craft Supplies: 21 Days Series.  For 21 days bloggers will be sharing how to use a simple and different craft supply to engage students in learning activities.  Be sure to follow along at her blog!  I am linking up today with an activity that incorporates cupcake liners and acrostic poetry! 

Graphic credits: Ashley Hughes, Sonya Dehart, KG Fonts



February Pinterest Pick 3 Party


If you are anything like me, you always turn to Pinterest to find inspiration for your home and classroom!  That’s one reason I love the Pick 3 Party being hosted by Lisa from PAWSitively Teaching and Marissa from  Inspired Owl’s Corner. Take a quick look at the 3 4 pins I choose for February. (I added one just for teachers who love strawberries!)

Quick Peek my top 3 pins.



My first pick is from the Hanging Out In First blog. I love this pin for two reasons. First, it increases home to school connections, second it will be such a fun writing activity.  Send home a large pre-cut heart.  Students fill the heart with words and pictures of things they love.  When they return to school, use the completed hearts to have the students write about the things they love! 


pick 3

My second pick is a game that looks like so much fun.  It is found on Fun on a Dime. I plan to use a big red bowl and the Valentines colored M&M’s.  The directions along with a video are on the blog.  To play the game you need a large bowl, M&M’s, individual cups, straws, and two die.  Basically, each player has to suck M&M’s out of a large bowl with their straw and deposit them into their individual cup.  The person beside them is continually rolling the two die, once they roll a double, the bowl is passed to the person who just rolled the die, and play continues.  It looks like it would be an engaging, giggle filled activity!




My third pick is found at the Housing a Forest blog.  It is chock full of the cutest, heart shaped animals perfect for decorating for Valentine’s Day.  In addition, these animals would be cute to use for a writing or research activity.  I’m not sure which one we’ll make since they are all adorable!  Maybe I should offer a choice!

Heart fish

Last, but not least, if you love strawberries as much as I do, you might want to try this yummy looking breakfast drink!  It is found on The recipe calls for soy milk, but I think I will just use regular milk, strawberries, bananas, a pinch of sugar, vanilla, and rolled oats. Freezing the fruit prior to blending will make it thick and delicious! Note: the tips on the recipe suggest blending the oatmeal in the blender before adding the other ingredients for blending. 

Strawberry, banana smoothie

Note: Links are included on each blog name and picture.  Just click to get to the web page!

Follow my Valentine’s Day Pinterest board for more ideas! 
Follow Sebrina Burke, NBCT’s board Valentine’s Day on Pinterest.



An InLinkz Link-up

Back to School BBQ Blog Hop

Back to School BBQ Hop

Hungry for some yummy, back to school BBQ fun? Then join my friends as we take you on a hop filled with mouth watering recipes!

Pumpkin Cream Cheese 2


You can’t have a picnic or BBQ without some watermelon and delicious cake.  Thinking of back to school and fall, I have included a moist cream cheese filled cake full of pumpkin and cinnamon goodness.  


Click to download recipe



Click to download.






Your kids will love helping you measure and mix. What a great way to practice those real life math skills of measurement.  You can download the recipe by clicking the recipe above.  I hope you give it a try.  The fall flavors will tantalize your taste buds! And how can you go wrong with cream cheese!

Back to School Personal Word Wall and Writing

Click to view product on Teachers Pay Teachers

I just completed a back to school product for students in Kindergarten through grade 2.  This is easily differentiated for Special Education or struggling students.  My students love completing these activities.  It is a great way to get to know more about your students and makes a cute open house project.  The students love looking at these when they are kept in your classroom library.


Two options


Optional covers

You can enter to win a copy of this product by entering in the rafflecopter below.  
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to check out my friend Gloria’s post at 2 Scoops of Kindergarten.  She has a cute post with a delicious apple recipe!


Burke's Special Kids

2 Scoops of Kindergarten

Click to go to the next stop in the hop.



Mentor Monday 4/28/14: Writing Strong Endings

Teaching Strong Endings


While some students are eager to write, others are hesitant or doubtful, and others simply don’t know where to begin.  Teaching students strategies for writing memorable beginnings and endings gives even your most reluctant writer confidence and success. Since today’s Mentor Monday topic is “Strong Endings,” I am going to share with you a wonderful book that provides a mentor text for the strategy of writing circular endings.  As an added bonus,  the book’s main character demonstrates that all students can be authors if they pick up their pencils and write!   

Library Mouse by Daniel Kirk features a mouse by the name of Sam who is an unseen guest in the library.  He sleeps by day but at night reads voraciously.  He begins writing stories and leaving them on the bookshelves where they are enjoyed by all.  The head librarian leaves a note inviting him for an author visit.  Knowing he needs to remain hidden, he cleverly provides a tissue box full of writing supplies and a mirror.  The sign above the box states “Meet the author”.  When the children look in the box, they see their reflection and the writing implements.  Soon all the shelves are filled with their wonderful stories!

If you don’t have access to this book, a librarian reads the book in this YouTube video:


It is easy to see the clever circular ending in this story.  Of course circular endings are just one way to write strong endings.  You can download this handy chart to use with your students as a reminder of other endings you model. Simply click on the image below.

Strong Endings Download

What books do you use to model strong endings?

signature powerpoint png pic monkey


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