29 July 2016

Back to School Sales and Contests!

The Back to School craziness is fully upon us!  Since I know way too many of us use our own hard-earned money to buy school supplies, I am joining up with other TpT authors to giveaway a TON of goodies!  

Julie Faulkner and Lauralee, at The Language Arts Classroom, are hosting a giveaway contest August 1-5 on Lauralee's blog!  Click the link above to learn more about it and enter!

We have 87 amazing secondary sellers joined up this year and over $400 of excellent secondary resources for all subjects!  Here's a sneak peak at the Middle School English prize pack!

There are prize packs for all subjects at middle and high school levels!  

And....here's the coolest, biggest news!

Teachers Pay Teachers is sponsoring this event!  Along with grabbing over $50 of free curriculum from awesome TpT sellers, the winners will also get a bag full of Teachers Pay Teachers SWAG!

How cool is that?!?

Personally, I've been busy getting ready for the Back to School season updating and creating new Back to School activities!  I'm really excited about my First Day of School Activity Stations pack! I can't wait to use it with my middle schoolers!  Instead of kids just sitting and listening to me drone on about expectations and curriculum, this set of 7 activities will get the kids up and moving!  The activities include: 
1. Syllabus Search
2. ELA Attitude Continuum
3. Book Recommendations
4. Goal Setting
5. Confidential Questions
6. What Makes the Perfect Classroom/Student/Teacher?
7. Selfie Station

Each of these activities will help the teacher get to know their students, and help the students get to know the teacher's expectations and get them interacting with others!  The set also includes blank templates, so if you want to change any of the stations to better fit your needs, you totally can!

Another fun Back to School product I've updated is my Editable Class Rules Posters Set! This set includes posters in "teen talk" asking about common classroom procedures and expectations with the teacher responding in a clear, yet fun way.  This set is also fully editable for you to include your own picture to the teacher's speech bubble, or to add your own questions and answers if I didn't cover all your needs.  This is a Power Point slide show, so I always show it to my kids on the projector the first week of school, then print the posters and hang them in my room for year-round reference.

Here's a sample poster.  You can upload your picture or use an avatar with the bottom speech bubble! There are 2 sets of 11 different designs: 11 with rules already written, plus 11 blank templates.  Also included are a set of late homework passes.

I also have a quick print-and-go ELA Interest Survey that is perfect for middle school and high school and it's only $0.50 for the month of August!  

I wish you all the best of luck with everything Back to School!  Don't forget to check out The Language Arts Classroom blog August 1-5 to enter to win lots of great products and swag!

28 July 2016

Class Dismissed!

Ms. Bryce has been teaching FOREVER, but this class is the WORST she's ever had to deal with!  One day, a science experiment goes wrong and Ms. Bryce gets fed up and quits...right then and there!  The only problem is that only the students of class 507 know she's gone!

Class Dismissed, the latest book by author Allan Woodrow, is one of my favorite new books this year!  The comedy of events that lead to the students of class 507 having full control of their class for TWO WHOLE WEEKS before the principal or any other adult finding out their teacher quit is hilarious, yet somehow believable!  

There is a cast of main characters who tell the story from their multiple points of view.  Kyle is the troublemaker; the student who is considered the class clown and never does any work.  Samantha is the spoiled, rich girl who is more concerned with fashion than learning.  Adam is the resident creative mind.  Eric is the quiet, studious kid who is afraid to stand out in class.  Maggie is the resident "know it all" and outspoken leader.  Brian is the class bully. Each chapter has a different character as the speaker, which is a GREAT way to explore point of view and narrator with your students!  Each of the main characters change throughout the story, as they learn about themselves as students, grow as leaders, and realize that their way of doing things is not always the only way or the best way.

This middle grades (3-5) novel is the PERFECT back-to-school read!  It works well as a read-aloud, but it's even better as a novel study!  Your students will love reading about how the class figures out ways to hide their secret from parents and administrators, and how the kids negotiate roles in the group to "teach", keep guard, and manage the class.  You will love that the students soon realize that they actually do need a teacher and that teaching is not an easy job!  

If this sounds like a book your students would love (and I promise they will!), I've created a print-and-go novel study unit that is perfect for grades 3-5!  This unit includes vocabulary words, comprehension questions, character study, point of view exploration, figurative language practice, stages of plot, narrative and opinion writing prompts and more!  You can use all of it, or some of it, whatever best suits your students' needs and your time.  Click on the picture below to find the unit in my TpT Store!

This is an 40+ page study guide and includes answer keys for each vocabulary word, comprehension question, character chart, and plot diagram.  

Here are some sample activity pages...

Happy Reading!

19 July 2016

Christmas in July!

Merry Christmas (in July!)

Even though I'm sitting in the sand this week, my mind is still on my classroom and TpT!  I've been busy creating and updating products to get ready for a new school year.  To celebrate taking the week off to be with my family at the beach, I've decided to throw a "Christmas in July" sale with some of my TpT friends!

This is a one day sale only, but hundreds of products will be 10-20% off! It's the perfect time to stock up on back to school goodies!  My entire store will be 20% off all day July 20th!

You can check out the sale in a few ways:

1. Click on my logo to go directly to my store to start shopping my sale!

2. Search TpT with the hashtag: #TptChristmasInJuly!

Many products have been tagged, so this search will lead you to many sale products!

3. Go to http://bit.ly/29KYoUt

This will take you to a Google Sheet with a list of all the stores participating in the sale, as well as links to their stores!

Have fun stuffing your bag full of goodies!  As soon as I get back from the beach, I'll be back at creating new products...so stop by my store and take advantage of the sale tomorrow, and then come back again later this summer to see what else I'll be creating before school starts again!

12 July 2016

Help Students Become Comma Rock Stars!

I just found out that I will be teaching 6th grade this year!  I taught one section of 6th grade my first year in middle school, and was just trying to keep myself one step ahead of the kids while I learned new curriculum!  Now that I'm feeling confident with my 8th graders and 8th grade curriculum, this is a great time to dive back into 6th grade, too!

So, guess what have I been up to this week?  CREATING new activities!

The major grammar focus in 6th grade is commas.  Commas can be so confusing to kids because there are SO MANY rules about when to use them!  Commas are either over-used or under-used by novice writers...some people sprinkle them all over their work, and others avoid using them at all costs!  I've always been pretty confident in my comma usage - I was taught to use a comma anytime you take a breath - I still think about that when I write, but that was pretty much my entire education regarding commas. It wasn't until I began teaching with a heavy focus on grammar that I really researched ALL.THE.RULES.  I never realized how many different ways the cute little comma is used!  Nor did I realize that standards involving comma usage are found in all grades (1-10) in the Common Core State Standards!  That means that every single school year, students are being explicitly taught how to use commas in their writing!  That's awesome!  Our students will be comma rock stars by the time they hit high school and never misuse that cute little comma, right?

WRONG! Even though teachers are teaching commas starting in 1st grade, 8th graders don't always know when and when not to use commas.

Now that I'm teaching 6th grade, I've got the time to really dig deep into commas with my students (and hope I won't have to spend as much time re-teaching commas with them as 8th graders!).  This month, I've been busy creating activities to help me review and teach commas.  The first thing I did is create anchor charts to hang in my room to answer this question:

I created one poster for each major comma rule (10 in all) ranging from 1st grade standards on up through 8th grade standards.  I know it seems odd to be reviewing 1st grade skills with 6th graders, but believe me, they need reminders!  (Of course, I won't tell them which are 1st grade standards, like using commas in dates and lists, but it sure doesn't hurt to review!) No matter what grade you teach, you can use some or all of these posters in your room! You can see samples of all 10 posters in the product preview in my TpT Store.

Here's a sample of a poster for a 6th grade standard:

Once I finished the posters, I got busy making a few new Color By Code activities!  My 8th graders loved these and actually asked me to make more!  If 8th graders actually admit to liking something school-related, it must be good!  So, I made 2 versions to review commas- one with elementary comma rules, and one with middle school comma rules!

In the process, I discovered a super-cool new clip artist who calls herself "Mae Hates Mondays" and draws big-kid friendly clips. Even her store name is PERFECT for middle schoolers!  I'm loving her clip art teens so much that I had to make another picture with them!  So I made a third Color By Code activity to help students identify simple sentences, compound sentences, complex sentences, compound-complex sentences, and sentence fragments.

I mean how great are these characters???

So now, I'm ready to head back to school to teach these 6th graders how to use commas like rock stars!  Click on the pictures of each product to learn more!  I hope you find them useful, too!