Sunday, November 1, 2015

Teaching About Owls

I have a post today on Classroom Tested Resources (our fabulous collaborative blog -- I hope you are following it!) and it has some good tips for teaching about owls. It includes some easy to implement tips for teaching symmetry and comparing owl wing spans. It also tells about dissecting owl pellets and has some free resources and a link to a site that provides small grants for classrooms to get owl pellets free. You can read about it here.

Another helpful resource is my Owl Unit on Teachers Pay Teachers. It includes:
*Vocabulary Cards
*Owl Read the Room (vocabulary activity)
*Owl Memory Match
*Owls Here and There (an original non-fiction book)
*All About Owls (an original non-fiction book)
* Anchor chart titles for KWL and/or can-have-are
*My Owl Book (mini book for students to record what they've learned)
*Measurement Activity
*Owl Facts mini poster - 4 designs
*Label the owl worksheet
*2 student worksheets (Where do owls live? & Birds of Prey)
*List of additional resources

Have fun learning about these amazing birds of prey!

Saturday, September 26, 2015

How I Survived the First Day of School + Blog Hop + FREEBIE

I'm so happy to be a part of the Fall in Love with Teaching Blog Hop. Please read to the end to find a FREEBIE, giveaway from me & the blog hog giveaway! 

I'm sketching out this post a month before it is due. It is currently 8/24 and I have a week until school starts. I am hoping for that blog post title. Being ready for the 1st day of school & surviving are seriously in question right now!! Not only am I moving to a new grade (1st to 3rd), our school decided to renovate right before school starts. We were in desperate need of new paint and carpet and it was provided by a generous donor. The downside is that I am not in my room yet, and I've only been able to prepare some things at home. If I were still teaching 1st grade, I could go into auto-pilot and make this work. It is an extra challenge to figure out a new grade level when my room (as of tonight) has unassembled furniture and all of my things are in another space and can't be accessed. 

15 days before school!!!
My online teacher friends (you all are awesome!) have been encouraging me with talk of a "blank palette". My mind is simply on surviving Orientation (the night before) and the 1st day of school! I am mostly trying to not to think of all the details and keep moving to accomplish something - by the yard it's hard, by the inch a cinch - right? :)

10 days before school!!

Carpet & pain completed - no furniture and can't get to all my boxes :(
Some year, or perhaps this year, you will find yourself in a difficult situation which may even seem impossible. New administration/office staff/teachers, renovations and new grade level are the ones I'm dealing with this year. I want to pass along to you some of the great and encouraging tips that I received from my online friends. Of course, I will also have some teaching goodies along the way so make sure you read through to the end!

1. "This year my room may not be all that I want it to be. But, next year, it will be amazing!" - LOL! This comment made me laugh and think. It was posted by a teacher who will be moving her classroom after school starts. It always helps to know that you are not the only one. Other teachers are dealing with all kinds of situations and we are a strong and creative bunch who know how to make things work. Sometimes you just have to hold on loosely to your dreams and ideals and be willing to let some things go. 

2. "The students will love to help their new teacher set up parts of the room. Bonding experience!" So true! Anything that I can do together with the students will really help build our classroom community. I am likely going to go this route out of necessity. I am looking forward to having an older grade. I've made some lesson plans for the 1st week - can we really call it a plan for that 1st week? It may be more like lesson thoughts, hopes and ideas! I put in a time that first morning for them to sort through the supplies with me and label things and put them away. That will be a first! In 1st grade, you need everything setup and ready-to-go! 

3. "All that room needs is a motivated teacher to love on those students! You got this!!" My favorite comment! This is something that I just need to post above my computer this year. It helps to focus on what really matters - the students. We've been given a gift to have a part in these young lives. I'm so excited about the lessons that I have planned for this year - - both academic skills & character development. We truly have the opportunity to make a difference. These children are the present and the future! Find a way to encourage and inspire your students each day. Those are the lessons they remember long after they've forgotten how your room was setup or the little things that you wanted to get to and just couldn't get finished. Let it go. Focus on the big picture.

BTW, these are all comments from some wonderful Instagram followers. It is such a fun way to share pictures. I am so inspired by the teaching ideas that I find there and obviously the teachers are so encouraging. You can follow me at TeacherTreasureHunter.
A work in progress...
pretty new bookcases
1st day of school! I made it this far. :) Parts of the room look good!
I wish that I had some beautiful pictures for you of my entire completed room. Nope! It is getting close, but still a work in progress. The whiteboard (that I use for everything) was leaning against the wall for the 1st week and little things are being added all the time (new desk chair today and hanging pocket by the door). I'm still waiting for a place for the students to put backpacks and book bags. However, the parts that are finished are looking very good!

**Scroll down to the end of this post to read an update - How I'm Surviving After 4 Weeks!

I hope you found these comments from my online friends inspiring. If you need some practical tips to survive your teaching year, you may enjoy my FREE Classroom Planning A-Z Guide

I will continue to make materials that are suitable for 1st grade since that is where I have the most experience (and it will always have a piece of my heart regardless of other grades that I teach!). I will also be making more products for 3rd grade. I already have several animal products that are a great fit for both of those grades. I've used my animal research packs with groups of 1st-5th graders at the end of the year and they've all enjoyed the researching and writing. I'm going to give away 2 animal research bundles ($20 value each). Just join my email list to be entered into the contest. 

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UPDATE: After 4 weeks of teaching, I feel like I might survive! :) Honestly, it has been a difficult experience but it does help to focus on the big picture. Here are some amazing things that have happened in the last few weeks:

*My new students are totally fitting into the class. We have a small school and it is a family like atmosphere. It's so wonderful when they make new friends right away and feel like they belong. 

*One of my students told me right away that they don't like to read and they only like Minecraft. I tried to suggest some great books and even mentioned Minecraft books. Nope! Fast forward to this week...that student has recorded the most reading out of all the 3rd graders (over 500 minutes) and won a special bead for the reading chains (see picture). He told me "I am so, so proud of myself!" THAT is worth so much!!

*I'm starting to figure out the 3rd grade curriculum and ways to incorporate the kinds of hands on teaching and activities that I love. Yesterday, the students pretended to be parts of the ear (2 students were the outer ear (arch for the sound to enter), the aisle was the auditory canal, 1 student was the ear drum, 3 were the bones of the middle ear (see the stirrup - triangular shaped hands), 1 was the cochlea (those curled up hands are supposed to look like a spiral!) and 2 students were the nerves. Of course 1 student had to be the sound and another the brain! They had so much fun bouncing the sound off the eardrum and through the middle ear and eventually to the brain. 
So, we are getting on to the important work of teaching. I still have a few bulletin boards to put up and some blank spaces on my walls. The kids have never once commented on that! Those aren't the things that matter a whole lot to them. 

One of my sweeties wrote on the back of her paper - I love Mrs. Michael and Lizzy so much! I now rank up there with the classroom gecko - I'll take it! I'm so glad that the students are learning and enjoying the process.

Click on the picture below to go to Jennifer's post at The Blessed Teacher. She has some great tips for teaching grammar!

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Labor LESS blog hop! Time Saving Tips + FREEBIE

Hello everyone!

Main Graphic Laborless

It is Finally here!

Today I am linking with Laura from Where the Magic Happens, Krista from Teaching Momster, and Lisa from PAWsitively Teaching! I have joined forces once again with my bloggy friends to bring you the best, most amazing giveaway on this Labor Day weekend!

All of us have been thinking about  good ways in which to treat our readers and followers.   We thought hard, and I mean it! Really, really hard… and decided that  we can treat you to our best ideas to work smarter rather than harder… at school and home!

I know what it takes to be a great teacher, the stress, the time, the energy… I could go on and on! I also know that we crave time for ourselves and our families.

So here I go!

Here are a couple little tips (and a freebie!) that can save you time in the classroom.
Do you have students borrow pencils all the time and suddenly find that all the pencils at your desk or reading table are missing? A simple solution is to add a little flag to each pencil. Use a small piece of washi tape to wrap around the pencil until the two sides of the tape meet and stick to each other. Trim the tape into a point or just make it easy. Voila! Super easy pencil flag. There are so many patterns and colors of washi tape. You can even choose to use different patterns for pencils that belong in different areas. You can find washi tape at craft stores and even at Wal-Mart for a good price.
I love binders! I would much rather have my teaching materials in binders than in filing cabinets. I like to keep worksheets pages, printables and other ideas separated in monthly theme binders. I just type a list of the included themes on the front of the binder and use tabs to separate the sections.
I've included a free download for you to create your own monthly binders. You can edit the box on the front of the cover to make a list of the included themes. Just click on the picture above to download.
Two of my favorite ways to spend my free time are spending time with my family and reading. Our family loves spending time together. We went on a few trips this summer and that is all my boys can talk about. They can't wait until next summer so they can get out of school :) and spend time camping and relaxing with the family. One is a teenager and one is a pre-teen so I'm grateful they still want to spend time with us! The time is passing way too quickly! Facebook just showed this picture from 8 years ago on Labor Day weekend.
What??  It's hard to believe they were that little. Such precious memories!

Another favorite thing is reading. I have been teaching 1st grade for 7 years and I'm teaching 3rd grade this year. It's only been 4 days of school so far, but I have to tell you that it's been like a vacation! I was shocked that I could actually read with them during the free reading time and they don't need my constant attention. I can actually get lost in a book and share with them afterwards while we talk about what we read. It's wonderful! I finally had a chance to read Wonder (R.J. Palacio) this week. Such a great book! I love this quote from the book...
I stopped at a thrift store today and of course I had to buy even more books for my classroom! A few of these are for my boys, but most are for the class.
BTW, I share these type of pictures on Instagram. I'd love for you to follow me. I'm @teachertreasurehunter
My most popular products at this time of year are my QR codes. They really do make reading centers a breeze. If you do Daily 5 or want to have your students listen to reading - this is the answer. Students can scan a QR code and listen to someone read the story. The links are of people (usually teachers & librarians) reading the stories on YouTube. The links do not go directly through YouTube, but are SafeShare links so that students don't see other videos, adds or yucky comments. My students love these! Click on the picture below to see a bundle of QR packs. They are also sold individually and there is a free pack (Mercer Mayer stories) so that you can test them and make sure they will work in your classroom.

*Follow my TPT store so you don't miss out on freebies and new products. Newly listed products are 50% off for the first 24 hours! :)

Thanks for reading! Enjoy your long weekend!

Top all these great tips and ideas  with these top-notch prizes!

A $100 gift card to Amazon

A $50 gift card to TpT


2 $25 gift cards to TpT

1 $10 gift card to TpT

Thank you for reading! And now don't be silly and get your hands all over this awesome giveaway!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Summer Saleabration Week 5

It's week 5 of our fantastic Summer SALEabration! It's so nice to get these items on sale during the summer when you have time to print them & do your planning. Scroll down to the end of the page to find the stores who are linking up this week or go to Teachers Pay Teachers and search for saleabration. Have a great week!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Summer Saleabration Week 4 - Save big on teaching resources!

Are you ready to save? It's week 4 of the Summer Saleabration so there are new resources that are discounted. Search #saleabration at Enjoy!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Summer Saleabration Week 3

Stock up during the Summer Saleabration! Search #saleabration on TPT to find the great deals!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Summer Saleabration Week 2 - Save big!

I am "busy" enjoying my summer break! In fact, I was having so much fun that I almost forgot to give you a sale this week. :)  I'll post more about my traveling later - including pictures of a little tourist attraction that features one of my favorite children's books! I love it when children's books get some attention.

This week, I am putting my whole Seasonal Poetry Collection on sale! I love using these for fluency practice and working with words. They can be used as a whole class activity. The pictures below show me using them with the document camera and projector. They are also great for individual reading. I have my student glue a copy of the poem into their poetry notebook after we've worked on them together. They keep the poetry notebook in their book bag for read to self time. I've also had them bring the books home at certain times during the year to read the poems to their family. Poems are such a fun way to practice reading! There are often many new & familiar words. The repeated readings help them to build fluency and gain confidence. I 100% recommend adding poetry reading to your daily literacy routine. :) This set is 50% off for this week only.

The linky below has some of the other stores that are participating in this week's sale. Check out the links or search TPT for saleabration to find other great deals.

Have a wonderful week!


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