Sunday, October 5, 2014

SPOOKTACULAR [Common Core] Way Keep the Learning Going Around Halloween Time!

Candy? Costumes? Parties? Parades? Spooky stories? Staying out until dark? 

Can you blame them for being a little rowdy this time of year? 

Grab a Pumpkin Spice Latte, and relax. 

This Halloween Close Reading lesson requires students to read nonfiction passages from National Geographic about unique, spooky animals. Each of the animals have qualities that are similar to either a vampire, ghost, or monster. Students will then be expected to infer which animal is considered a vampire, ghost, or monster, and provide evidence from the text to support their claim. 

These passages are fascinating, and had my students saying, "MS. MILLER, DID YOU KNOW...?!" 

Have a Spooktacular time, and be sure to spruce up your room with some banners as well by stopping by my TPT Store! 


Friday, August 15, 2014

DIY Class Decor in 5 Minutes: How to Make Hanging Tissue Paper Decorations!

Have you gotten classroom envy from some of these Pinteresting teachers and their elaborately decorated classrooms, too? These quick tissue paper crafts will spruce up your room. They're super easy, too! In fact, I had my coworker's first and third grade boys help me. She's REALLY thankful I taught them, too, because now she has some new decor in her house ;).

She also gets to enjoy a little reminder of me ;) haha. 

So funny! Anyway, here's how to make these lovely little guys! 

Here's what you need:

  • 4 pieces of tissue paper 
  • scissors
  • glue gun
  • glue stick or Elmer's glue
  • string/ribbon
  • 1 pipe cleaner (cut in half) or 2 pipe cleaners
Step 1: Get two pieces of tissue paper and line them up. 

Step 2: Fold the tissue paper like an accordion or fan (about 1 inch thick).

Step 3: Repeat steps 1 and 2 to create a second tissue paper "fan."

Step 4: Fold each fan in the middle and wrap a pipe cleaner around it. 

Step 5: Put the middle parts together, and tie a long piece of string or ribbon around. This is the ribbon that the pinwheel will be hanging from. 

Step 6: TRIM so they're all the same length, then GLUE the sides together. 

Step 7: Spread out to create a circle. 

Step 8: Glue ribbon in place. 

Step 9: Hot glue sign in the middle. 

TA DA....Tissue Paper Pinwheels! 

The puffy ball shaped ones (which my coworker's children called, "Cha-Cha Balls," are just as easy! 
Here's what you need: 
  • 7+ pieces of tissue paper (I usually use 8-10 with bigger puffs to make it more full)
  • scissors
  • string/ribbon
  • 1 pipe cleaner 

Follow steps 1-4, but instead of creating two fans, you are creating ONE fan with 7+ pieces. 

Steps 1-4: See above.

Step 5:  Cut round edges on both ends of the fans. 

Step 6: Pull individual pieces of the tissue paper toward the center, but BE CAREFUL! It rips easily! Alternate sides as well. 

Side 1
 Flip -- Side 2

Step 7: FLUFF, and make it full!!


Download the table number signs from my TpT store in the "Back to School" section! 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Teacher Hack: Easy Way to Get FREE Clipart for REUSE!

I've really enjoyed my experience with Teachers Pay Teachers, and have been pleasantly surprised with how successful my sales have been. Ever since, I've been convincing any teacher who will listen to start an account on Teachers Pay Teachers. 

The most common excuse not to was, "I use a lot of clipart, and I'm nervous about Copyright infringement!" And, "I don't want to pay for images." 

Fear not my fellow cheapskate teachers! I, too, am not a fan on spending money to make activities that will hopefully sell...unless it's REALLYYYY CUTE. Then I'll buy it. 

 This trick just takes a minute: 

  1. Go to Google Images and type in the image you'd like to search
  2. Click "Search Tools" 
  3. Select "Usage Rights" once the menu drops down
  4. Choose "Labeled for Reuse"
Obviously, this limits your search, thus limiting the cuteness of the clipart, but sometimes you'll find a gem. For me, this is a guilt free method if I need to add a little somethin' somethin' to a worksheet. 

It's so easy that I started to have my students do this. I stress the importance of citing sources and not breaking any copyright infringement. Any time they publish something online, I make sure they filter out any images not labeled for reuse. 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

New NONFICTION Common Core Close Reading Activity!

Nonfiction reading is a really large focus of the Common Core Standards. In Social Studies my students learn about the first 3 settlements: Plymouth, Jamestown, and Roanoke. Our textbook doesn't get very "meaty," so supplementing with more engaging text is extremely important to me. Why not throw in a little bit of close reading and technology while I'm at it?

I've expressed my love of LearnZillion in previous posts, but it's a free website with Common Core close reading lessons organized by standard. It makes me want to shed a tear, but I'll try to keep it together for the rest of this post.

I find it difficult to follow through the lessons without any sort of graphic organizer for my students to use, so I've used LearnZillion's resources, and created my own supplements to make the lesson a little more student-driven and require them to be a more text-dependent.

Take a look at the lesson on LearnZillion, and get the enrichment component through my Jamestown Common Core Close Reading product in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

I have a similar product (my personal favorite) with the Casey at the Bat poem. Love the poem. Love the rigor. Loveeee this activity! Download here.