Next Round of POPPERS: A Daily Writing Review (And a little bragging)

It’s done!  It’s done!  Set 2 of POPPERS: A Daily Writing Review is up in my TpT store now!  This set is the next 6 weeks in the series.

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Just like set 1, each day is themed, and each week reviews the same skill in different ways.  Let me tell you…my kiddos are LOVING this!  Their favorite days of the week are Tuesdays and Thursdays.  On Tuesdays, they get to draw pictures to go with 3 of the skills.  What kid doesn’t like to draw?  And Thursdays are “Rule Breaking” days.  They think that’s pretty cool.  The funny part about that…Thursdays are the hardest.  This REALLY requires them to THINK!  They have to be able to reverse their knowledge and write things the WRONG way…and that’s pretty difficult to do…but they still love it.  :)

I’ve taken some pics of them working on their pages and thought I’d share them with you.  (If you click on the pictures it will take you to a full screen where you can actually READ them!)  They are doing such a great job!  And I’m so glad that I’m able to spiral all of these skills in a relatively short amount of time each day.  I feel like we are getting a lot of bang for our buck…EVERY day!  :)

Here are are just a few of the days.  We actually haven’t gotten to Journal Day every week because of crazy schedules/assemblies/running out of time, but once they actually did it….WOW!  They totally impressed me.  I even had students tell me that they “don’t like to write that much,” but then wrote front AND back on their page to try to get in all the rules for the week.  Little stinkers!  😉

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I know these show up funky…but I can’t get them to line up.  Forgive me on this one!  😉

This is Picture Day, where the students draw some sort of picture to help them remember the idiom, homophones, and sparkle word for the week.  Even though some of them are hard to draw, they do it anyway…and always come up with something interesting!

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This is Rule Breaking day, where they purposely write the rules the wrong way.  Like I said, this is very hard…especially for some students…but the more they do it, the more they get the hang of it.  And they like to be able to “break the rules” and not get into trouble for it!  After writing sentences and words incorrectly, they pass it to a table mate and have them correct it.  This also opens up lots of conversations about their work.  Some tell me that it’s already written correctly and they don’t have to do anything.  My response: Great!  Now you really know these rules and can see that even though it was supposed to be done wrong, it was actually done right!  Good for you!

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These pics are a little blurry.  Sorry about that.  We usually write with the lights off, and my flash apparently didn’t go off on all of the pictures.  But you get the idea.  This was one of our Journal Days, where students write a short imaginative story, putting in as many of the rules we studied for the week as possible in the amount of time I give them.  They TOTALLY shocked me with this…especially hearing the groans looking at a page with lines that filled the page.  Again…little stinkers!  But they SOOO did it and did it very well.  I am just so proud of how far they have already come!!

So…if you haven’t grabbed a copy of this little gem, do it!  This has already impacted my classroom more than I ever dreamed.  Students are coming up with sparkle words during reading, correcting their own writing during Writer’s Workshop, and looking for words in their everyday reading.  It’s amazing!  I feel like this has somewhat opened their eyes to how writers use rules in their everyday lives.  And let me tell you…it’s a pretty cool feeling.

If you want a copy of POPPERS, you can grab it here.  Or you can click the link over on the right-hand side of the screen and visit my TpT store and look around.  There are now 2 sets of the daily writing review.  You can start with whichever set you’d like.  It starts a little easier and gets harder as it goes, but if you’ve already covered a lot of grammar rules, you may want to just start with set 2.  In all, there will be 5 sets…enough for 30 whole weeks of grammar/writing review.

I’m getting my permission forms ready for my kidlettes to show off their writing they have done during Writer’s Workshop, so hopefully my next post will be our very first published writing piece.  I can’t wait to show you how THAT’S going!  I’m so pumped!  This year has gotten off to a great start!

Until next time…


What Do YOU Want?

Hello, again!  I know, I know…it’s been awhile since I’ve blogged about anything school related.  And you know what?  I’ve enjoyed my hiatus!  😉  I’ve been having fun with the fam and NOT thinking about school.

I’m gearing up to get started on some materials to use next school year…and I need your help!  I want to make some things that will be TRULY useful in the classroom.

Here in Texas we don’t use the CCSS, but our TEKS are pretty much the same, so even if you don’t live in the good ‘ol state of Texas, you can still reap the benefits of products made by us Texas gals!  😉

My BIGGEST project for the summer is a daily writing/grammar review.  I want it to be a warm-up that takes a MAXIMUM of 10 minutes, but really more like 5…

But you know how that goes…some finish in 1 and others can take 10 and still not be done.  I’m going to be working out how to get it simple enough for ALL students to do some quality review in under 10.  Wish me luck!  Ha.

What sorts of things would you like to have to use in your classroom for next year?  I need your input!  Other than a daily review in writing, what ELSE would you go gaga over?

**And…AND…if you suggest it and others comment about the same thing…and it gets made…everyone…EVERYONE involved will get that product for FREE.  Yep…FREEEEEEE!  That’s how much I want you to help out!  I’m all about helping out others who do their part!

Oh yeah…and I’ll be self-contained next year, so ANY subject is appropriate.

So….let’s get this ball rolling.  Comment below on what you would like to have for your classroom next year.

Don’t be scared.  Your wish may just come true…and you get it for free!




Summer Writing Workshops

Whew!  Testing is OOOOOOVER!  Now…the waiting game…  😉

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to summer.  Don’t get me wrong…I love my job…but I love my family even more, and spending the summer with them is priceless, something I look forward to every year.

Speaking of summer, what are your plans?  Are you able to totally turn off school?  I try, but it still nags at me every once in awhile.


I wanted to personally encourage you to check out Gretchen Bernabei this summer if you’ve never had the opportunity to go to one of her trainings.  She is amazing!  (No, I don’t get paid for advertising–this is just how I feel!)  If you are feeling overwhelmed or confused or even confident in your abilities to teach writing, I recommend her workshops.  She will share so many things that make you go, “Oh!  That’s good!”  She truly makes writing make sense…to both teachers and students…of all age levels.  She is the mastermind behind everything…well, almost everything ;)…that I do in my classroom involving writing.


And you know what else?  I’ll be at the San Antonio and Austin workshops!  She has asked me again to set up my table with some student work and to be there to answer questions from teachers about how I use her resources in my classroom.  I did this back in January and had a great time!  I know these workshops will be just as productive and engaging as the last!


The dates are:

  • San Antonio-June 25 & 26
  • Austin-July 28 & 29

You can register through her website here.  You can even purchase your ticket now and pay later, but hurry–the workshops fill up fast!

So go ask your principal if you can attend.  It will be money well-spent!!  I promise!!


Narrative Writing Sample from STAAR 2013

Ladies and gentlemen, let me share with you an awesome narrative paper written to the 2013 STAAR prompt.

We gave our students a benchmark back at the beginning of February, and their prompts were the released STAAR prompts from last year.  One of my students wrote an AH-mazing paper about the simplest thing–getting a positive note home to her parents in her behavior folder from the teacher next door.

I thought this one was worth sharing.  There are lots of lessons that can be taught using this piece, including vocabulary, idioms, and mostly–how to write long about a small moment or something that seems insignificant to most…something that makes the paper so incredibly interesting.  :)

Click here to download and/or view.  Congrats to Sherlyn, the author!  Isn’t she just awesome?!


Writer’s Celebration

Writer’s Celebration Day.  A day that my students look forward to each time they finish publishing.  A day to get lots of feedback from classmates, friends, teachers, and even administrators.  A day to feel accomplished.

Each time my students publish a piece of writing, we have a Writer’s Celebration.  This may look a little different in my room than it does other places, so I thought I’d share how it works.

I have my students put their writing piece out on their desk with a pencil and a Writer’s Celebration page.  I play fun music for the students as they walk around and make comments on each others’ writing.  Students are only allowed to write positive comments.  Not just any positive comment, but a comment that is specific to a skill or craft of the writer.  I always have to go over sample comments which range from idea development or vocabulary use to handwriting or the use of paragraphs.  I like for students to know what it is that others like about their writing.  They get better and better at it the more they do it.

I really love watching their eyes light up when they see what others have said about their writing.  And this is always followed by chatter with their table-mates about their comments.  And smiles.  :)

If you think this sounds like something you would like to do, I’ve posted the Writer’s Celebration page that we use.  Feel free to download it and use it in your classroom.  Be sure to let me know how you and your students like it!  Click here for the download.

Writer's CelebrationHow do you celebrate writing in your classroom?  Leave a comment below.  I’m always looking for new ways to praise students for their accomplishments!



From This to That: Narrative Upgrades

Not much writing for you tonight–just some samples of student work from the last couple of weeks before the Christmas break.  I took before and after pictures of my students’ writing.  I decided to let you actually see what their writing looks like–what we started from and how they made changes to complete their final copy.  For more information on what we did in between the rough draft and final copy, click here.  Enjoy!

Abram 1


Abram 2

Abram-Final Copy












Andrew 1


Andrew 2

Andrew-Final Copy












Chelsea 1


Chelsea 2

Chelsea-Final Copy













Daliyah 1


Daliyah 2

Daliyah-Final Copy













Destiny 1


Destiny 2

Destiny-Final Copy












Julian 1


Julian 2

Julian-Final Copy












McKeanne 1


McKeanne 2

McKeanne-Final Copy












Tony 1


Tony 2

Tony-Final Draft











These are the final products after going back and trying to focus on only ONE event, and then adding in thoughtshots and snapshots.  They appear small in the post, but if you click on them you can read them much better when they enlarge on the screen.  I’m so proud of the work that these kiddos have done so far.  Looking forward to a fun new semester…and learning even more!