Archives for November 2014


It’s that time again!  Time for CURRENTLY with the fabulous Farley over at Oh Boy 4th Grade.

Screen Shot 2014-11-30 at 9.36.17 PMHave I told you yet that I LOVE Christmas?!?!  It’s my FAVORITE time of year.  I love giving gifts and watching as people open them.  I also love to shop…so this gives me a good excuse to do BOTH of those things!

With that…I’m listening to a Christmas movie playing on the TV…sort of.  It’s what’s on in the background as I surf Instagram.  😉  My little man is also sitting next to me watching YouTube videos of people unwrapping new Mario Kart toys.  He’s a little obsessed, I think…

And…yeah…I am LOVING that Christmas is coming soon.  I always get so bummed when it’s over because I know I have to wait so long for it to come again.  Funny thing is…it comes sooner and sooner every year.  Hmmm…how exactly does that happen?  I guess time flies when you’re having fun.  That MUST be it!

So…life is good!  Hot chocolate.  Christmas tunes on the radio.  Christmas movies on the TV.  Houses enveloped in lights and decor.  The weather getting colder.  Yeah.  Life is good!

However…I COULD use an extra day or two off from school to soak up some more time with my family.  It’s been SOOO nice to have some time off FILLED with family time.

Confession.  I don’t have my Christmas tree up.  Why?  *Ugh*  The stand is apparently not sturdy enough to hold our heavy tree…and it has a serious lean!  We’ve been looking for one to replace it but can’t find one.  The hubs is going to work on it tomorrow to try to get it at least somewhat straight…then it’s GO TIME!  😀

In the spirit of giving, I’m putting a link to my Figuring Out Words posters that I have in my store.  It’s yours…for free.  :)  I hope you and your kiddos enjoy it as much as we do!!!  You can snag it here.

If you haven’t gone over to Farley’s blog, be sure to do so!  There are so many interesting teacher bloggers out there that link up each month for this fun linky partay!



It All Started As An Idea

It’s happening!  I’m blogging!  To all who have been following, thank you for waiting patiently for me.  This year has just been…cah-razy!  But…I’m back!  :)

I wanted to share with you our most recent writing experience…well…in Writer’s Workshop, anyway.  We started the year with narrative, then moved to expository, and now we are back to narrative.  We switch around the entire year to get the students used to figuring out their purpose for writing and showing how it changes.  So…that being said…this is how our narratives have evolved from an idea.

We started out with our text structure and kernel essay.  We do this on our planning page.  You can download your FREE copy here.  For narratives, our structure is always: Where I was –>Moment It Started–>Next Moment–>Last Moment–>Final Thoughts.  Once students get the hang of that, they start asking questions like, “What if I want to put a problem and solution in my story?” or “Can I start with a sound?” or “Is it ok if I put what I hope happens in the future at the end?”  Yes, friends, yes!



IMG_0416For now, we are still getting the hang of using this text structure.  And I’m ok with that.  :)  So we filled out our text structure, came up with our kernel essays, and then began our introductions.  I’m still walking the kids through their papers…at least the first couple of paragraphs.


IMG_0419 IMG_0415 IMG_0409Once we finished our first couple of paragraphs together, I let the students go ahead and finish out their papers on their own…unless, of course, they still needed my guidance.  I don’t freak out right now when students still ask for help.  For one, THEY ARE ASKING FOR HELP!  Isn’t that what we WANT them to do?  And two, some just need more help than others.  It’s my job to help them.  The more experience they have with asking questions (and me modeling the kinds of questions they SHOULD ask themselves), the better…in my opinion, anyway.

When they were all finished, I had them “color up” their own writing.  This is an activity where you have students go back into their own writing and use markers, colored pencils, or crayons to underline their sentences according to what Writer’s Tool they used in order to create it.  If it was a description, they underline in blue.  If it was dialog, it’s red.  If it was a thought, it’s yellow.  If it was action, it’s green.  And then the few that say, “It’s really just a little bit of information.”  Those we underlined in black.

FullSizeRender FullSizeRender FullSizeRender IMG_0461 FullSizeRenderWe actually pulled our rough drafts out of our notebooks and put them onto some manilla paper…not for this activity, but for the one that comes next.  As you can see, EVERY sentence is underlined with color.  Is it important that they get every single one correctly identified?  No…but a little help from the teacher goes a long way with this one.  The purpose is for students to see what they are using and notice trends.

Does my paper have too much of this?  Not enough of that?  Does this paragraph have only one color?  Did I see that one of my sentences WAS my whole paragraph?  Those questions begin discussions of how we can revise (or edit in the case of the last question) our papers to make them better.

After doing some noticing about the colors, we decided what needed to be added to our papers.  We discussed how the best papers have lots of thoughts so that the reader can see inside the writer’s mind…to get a feel for how he/she REALLY felt.  It helps to paint a better picture of what was going on.

That lead us into our revision stations.  These stations were designed to make students question themselves about what could be added to help the reader picture the story.  You can grab a copy of the revision stations here.

FullSizeRender IMG_0510 IMG_0508 IMG_0507We spent about 10 minutes at each station, adding information to our papers.  Students would draw an arrow from the spot where it would be inserted out to the side of their paper where they had room to write it.

At the beginning of each station, I had students reread their papers.  Yes, this meant rereading several times.  Don’t you love it when that happens?  Students were required to reread with the new information to be sure that they placed it in an appropriate place.  Yeah…we’re practicing inserting sentences in a fun way!  Imagine that!

Anyway, students were required to add information that was relevant and meaningful to their papers.  They did not add sentences just to add them.  Some of them chose NOT to write anything extra when a certain color came their way because they already had enough (or too much) of that color.

We finished up the stations by…you guessed it…rereading our papers again.  I asked them to share with a partner, too, so that others could hear what the story sounded like.  Sometimes, as the writer, we feel like it sounds right, but when others hear it…not so much.

The last step is publishing.  We still aren’t finished with that, but when we are, I’ll be sharing the first writing samples of the year.  I’ll try to also post some expository samples as well.

So there you have it.  The process from our ideas to our final copy.  Do I do it this way EVERY time?  No.  Many times we will have mini-lessons to teach a certain skill with our papers.  This time around, it was a quicker process due to time constraints.  But it was fun, nonetheless.  :)



Set 3 of POPPERS Available NOW!

For those of you who have been asking (or just wondering in silence…ha), set 3 of POPPERS: A Daily Writing Review is now available in my TpT store.



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Notice anything different?  Yep.  I’ve changed it up a bit from the first two sets.  But don’t worry…you’ll like it!  I replaced analogies with similes.  Yay!  I replaced punctuation rules with capitalization rules.  And I changed the spelling rule to prefixes/suffixes.  I made these changes to not only help in writing, but to support reading, too.  Don’t you just love how that works?!?!  😉

You can grab a set here.  As always, thanks so much to all of you who are loyal followers…and customers.  It’s people like you that keep me going.  Well…and the kids, too…  :)  Love you all!!



So…I missed the October CURRENTLY.  Things in my world were pretty cah-razy…as Amy Farah Fowler would say!

I’m linking up EARLY this time for the November CURRENTLY linky from Farley over at Oh Boy 4th Grade.  I really enjoy this linky because it’s fun to learn schtuff about other bloggers.  It’s just fun!  😉

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So…EVERY Saturday…college football is on.  Yeah…every Saturday!  But I don’t mind because I enjoy it, too.  Nothing says fall like college football. Ok, cooler weather (which I am SOOOO enjoying right now), too, but still…

I’m loving the fact that I did absolutely, positively NO school work today!  Yay for me!  I just can’t ever seem to get away from it.  Anyone else like that?  If it’s not something for school, it’s something to put in my TpT store…which is something that I use with my kids…so yeah…school, school, school.  Nice to get away…even if for just one day!

Today marked the first day that Target puts one toy on 50% off on their Cartwheel app.  Did you know that?  I’m a couponer, so I look at stuff like that all the time.  But yeah…I’m starting to think about Christmas shopping!  I love it!  It’s my favorite time of year.  I love everything about Christmas.  I *might* have even watched Home Alone already, too…  You’ll never know!

I would love some calm moments at my house this evening.  It’s been…interesting…to say the least!  Our little guy is potty training…and he’s pretty much “trained”…but boys and toilets…yeah…it’s pain staking fun!  Between that and a 14 year old dog that doesn’t want/can’t go down the stairs anymore…just imagine the messes we have right now.  Good thing we invested in a Spot Bot and Tide Oxi!  Those two things are GOLDEN!

Fall back.  THE best day of the year…besides Christmas, of course!  I can ALWAYS use an extra hour of sleep.

Ok, I have to admit…I’m not actually CURRENTLY reading Daily 5…but it’s next on my list.  I really want to try it out with my kids.  We use the Balanced Literacy approach in my district.  I have talked with our Literacy Coach about how I can merge the two together to give my kiddos more teacher time.  I would love to do my mini-lessons in small groups rather than whole groups…and also allow more time for choices about reading and writing.  I’ll be blogging about how it works…if it does.  Pray for us!  If you have a post about how you use it, will you PLEASE comment with a link to your post?  I would LOVE to read how others use it!!

So there you have it…my CURRENTLY list.  And I might even get in the top 20.  Must hurry!

Peace out!