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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Easter/Spring Freebie

It's about time, teachers, ... for Easter.  To celebrate the arrival of spring and the Easter bunny, I'm filling your basket with Easter/Spring Patterns & Sorts.  

This unit is best suited for Pre-K -- 2nd grade.  However, the letter cards can be used as a fluency exercise for older students.  Challenge them to make as many words as they can using the letters in Happy Easter, Happy Spring, April and/or egg.  A recording sheet for this is included.

The letter cards could also be used by pre-readers to do letter sorts; sorting by color, upper case/lower case, short/tall letters, and vowels/consonants.

Easter/Spring Patterns & Sorts includes a printable page that combines color word review with identifying patterns.

There are 18 color picture cards that can provide patterning practice and/or sorting practice.

You can find this FREEBIE unit at either my TpT Store or in my TN Shop.  So hop on over and scoop it into your basket. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

April Fools' FREEBIE

It's about time, teachers, for April Fools' Day.  Are you bummed that it's not on a school day? Never fear, it will be on Monday next year to start the week off on a celebratory note.  In the meantime, enjoy an April Fools' poem and some teaching suggestions to go with it. 

If you like this poem and the teaching possibilities that accompany it, you may like my product, Poetry Possibilities for Spring.  The poem above comes from that unit.

You can find it at my TpT Store or in my TN Shop.

You can find many more spring units at Mrs. Lirette's Learning Detectives' linky party.

Check it out!  You'll be glad you did.

Many, many thanks to Heather at Beg Borrow & Teach for giving me the One Lovely Blog Award.  You have made this newbie blogger feel very special!  

The rules for this award are to:

  1. Link back to the blogger who gave you the award.  
  2. Pass the award on to 15 other lovely bloggers.
  3. Follow the person who sent it to you.
If you haven't discovered Heather's blog, go there now.  Her blog title surely speaks to teachers everywhere.  We're all beggars, borrowers & underpaid teachers.   (I only crossed out the "underpaid" to be p.c.)   Her blog is filled with wonderful ideas and, right now, she is offering a FREE Reading Comprehension bookmark. 

It gives me pleasure to pass this award on to:
  1. Ms Emily @  My Crazy Life in Kindergarten
  2. Delighted @ First Grade Delight
  3. Ashlyn @ The Creative Classroom
  4. Roaming Around 4th Grade
  5. Katie @ Queen of the First Grade Jungle
  6. Wendy @ One Happy Teacher
  7. Katherine @ Third Grade Teacher Files
  8. Ms Winstead @ Fabulous Fourth Grade
  9. Mark Lyons @ readingwarmupsandmore
  10. Susan Hardin @ 3rd Grade Grapevine
  11. Mrs. K @ The Teacher Garden
  12. HoJo @ HoJos Teaching Adventure
  13. Mary Bauer @ The Artistry of Education
  14. Mrs. McCumbee @ Mrs. McCumbee's Class
  15. Felicia @ Adventures in Teaching: Learning as I Go
Many of these blogs are new, like mine.  Do them a favor and check them out.  They represent a treasure trove of new ideas.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Easter Hink Pinks

Are you egg-cited about checking your answers for the Easter Hink Pinks and Hinky Pinkies?  Or are you egg-ravated that you had to wait?  Are you cracking up at my egg humor or do you just want to yolk choke me?  Before I reveal the answers, I have to share the following egg humor:

This cracked me up, no yolk-ing!  (I think the season has me deviled.)  

Egg-nuff already!  Here are the answers:
     9. Twin rabbits = hare pair
    10. Royal leader of the season = spring king
    11. Egg coloring belongs to me = my dye
    13. Chocolate bunnies by the ocean = sandy candy
    14. Tall building made of lilies = flower tower
    15. Bunny's routines = rabbit's habits

How did you do?  Did you find them to be hard boiled and frustrating?  Or were they over easy?  

One of the things I love most about Hink Pinks, Hinky Pinkies, and Hinkity Pinkities is that they require ALL students to really think.  Even "Gavin Gifted" can't produce the answer before you finish reading the clue.  That alone makes them worth their weight in gold! However, I will admit that the more of them you present to the class, the quicker the response time.  I like to think they are building new neural pathways in their brains.  

If you are intrigued by these riddles, you may be interested in:  
These are FREEBIES:

As you can see, I'm really into Hink Pinks.  This is just a fraction of what I have in my files.  Do you think I need an intervention?

Friday, March 23, 2012

Easter Hink Pinks Freebie

Eggs-actly what you need for spring -- a fun, challenging, activity that develops vocabulary, practices parts of speech, eggs-ercises synonyms and rimes, all while using Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS).  I'm not eggs-aggerating; I'm talking about Easter Hink Pinks & Hinky Pinkies.   

If you're not familiar with Hink Pinks, you are in for some egg-citement! Hink Pinks are riddles for which the answer must be a pair of rhyming words with just 1 syllable in each word (hink & pink each have just 1 syllable).  Similarly, Hinky Pinkies are riddles with rhyming word pair answers, but each answer word must have 2 syllables (Hinky & Pinky have 2 syllables each).  For example:      

Hink Pink clue: superior bird home  
Hink Pink answer: best nest             

Both you and your students will be egg-cited about learning when it’s this fun!  

These riddles and their cousins, Hinkity Pinkities, have been staples in G/T education for decades.  They eggs-ercise  brain muscles your students didn't know they had.  As a teacher, I eggs-perience great satisfaction when I witness that "AHA!" moment in a student.  

The best way to understand Hink Pinks & Hinky Pinkies is to try them for yourself.  So, try these:


If you're not eggs-actly sure if you solved them, check back tomorrow for the answers. Until then, I hope you have an egg-cellent weekend.


Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Spring Fling Sale! & $1 Words FREEBIE

Hurry over to my TpT Store or my TN Shop and enjoy 20% off of EVERYTHING!

Did you try the $1 Word clues I posted yesterday?  If so, here are the answers:

                   1. cookout          2. chimpanzee          3. violins & autoharp

You will get a lot of bang for your buck when you introduce $1 Words to your students.  The skills they will hone include:

·        Addition computation
·        Calculator
·        Vocabulary
·        Parts of speech
·        Base words
·        Prefixes & suffixes
·        Participles
·        Singular & plural
·        Compound words
·        Spelling & proof-reading
·        Dictionary & thesaurus skills
·        Study skills
·        Internet skills
·        Critical thinking
·        Problem solving
·        Cooperative learning

This is a seriously integrated unit.  Your students will learn to pay close attention to verb tenses and singular/plural nouns. Before too long, they will realize that prefixes and suffixes can impact their calculations.  Encourage them to make an anchor chart of common affixes' values.  

If you make your $1 Words a competition, I have created rules to make it demanding and fair.  In the spirit of teamwork, I require every student to have someone on his/her team verify their answer before giving it to me.  The "verifier" has 2 important jobs:  check the addition & the spelling.  If a clue is turned into me with a wrong answer, the team not only does not score a point, they LOSE A POINT!  If the spelling is wrong, even though the word is correct, the team LOSES A POINT! Your students will instantly become meticulous editors when they see their team lose a point.  Be prepared for some bad sportsmanship and quash it immediately. 

My students write their answers on the back of their "dollar bills."  Both the solver and the "verifier" must sign the dollar. Then I post them outside my classroom under the name of their teacher.  I post correct and incorrect answers so that students may check and challenge MY calculations.  Believe me, they will!!  If an answer is incorrect, I write "-1" in red marker across the face of the dollar.  This saves me lots of explaining.  Similarly, if a student submits a "bonus buck" (one with 2 correct answers), I write "+2" on the face of the bill.  I keep a running tally posted next to the teacher's name.  

If you are wondering why I penalize teams with a lost point for an incorrect answer, the reason is simple.  I have had students who "couldn't find the answer" turn in any old solution in order to get another clue; hopefully an easier one.  If you allow this, you will have expended a lot of wasted effort and paper in preparing the clues.  But perhaps more importantly, you will have allowed your students to evade a challenge.  All of the clues are solvable.  Perseverance is a good thing, as well as a trait of G/T students  If everything you give them is easy, you're not really meeting their needs. 

Over the course of the competition (2 - 3 weeks), my students go through clues at lightning speed.  Thus, I have created more than 400 clues to meet their demand.  You can get more of my clues through my series of $1 Word products, available on both TpT and TN.  (I have not posted ALL of my clues yet.  But more will be coming as soon as I format them. Patience is a virtue!)  You may be interested in:

You can find all of these products at my TpT Store or in my TN Shop.  Of course you will want to start with the $1 Words FREEBIE!

Remember, EVERYTHING is 20% off through Sunday!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

$1 Words FREEBIE

Do you ever shop at the Dollar Store?  I have to say that I rarely do so, but my sister shops there a lot and gets some of the most amazing bargains.  Recently she picked up some lovely gift bags, greeting cards, and even some baby socks for my soon-to-arrive grandson.  Hmmm, I may have to schedule a trip soon.  

In the meantime, her shopping foray made me think about $1 Words.  If you teach intermediate students and/or G/T students, you HAVE to do these with your students!  What??? You don't know what $1 Words are!!!!!
Settle in while I educate you, because it's about time you teach it.  

A $1 Word is any word that has a value of exactly $1 when its letters are added together using the following chart of values:

There is a book by Marilyn Burns about $1 words available on Amazon for $11.92.  It has gone out of print from time to time, so if you are interested, there are currently 8 available.

As the title indicates, it is a riddle book that leads children to $1 words through pictures and riddles.  I love that because too often teachers assign their students to find $1 words without any hints.  Please don't do that to your students.  It completely overwhelms them and makes them frustrated.  How exactly would YOU approach an assignment like that?

Ahh, but I have a solution to offer.  I have composed over 400 clues that can be copied and distributed to your students.  

Try to solve these:

Undoubtedly, you reached for a calculator.  Did you use a thesaurus or dictionary?  Perhaps not; it is the 21st century, after all.  But, those are options you will want to offer your students.  It's a great way to get them to learn about a thesaurus!

In the spirit of the 21st century, however, you can introduce them to thesauri on the computer.  My personal favorite resource is a Reverse Dictionary.  It allows the students to type their clue and then receive a list of words that satisfy that clue.   [Please be aware that the Reverse Dictionary is a dynamic site.  You will get different lists each time you try it with the same clue.  My warning is that, as a dynamic site, it will, rarely, give an inappropriate word.  I have not yet found a way to prevent this.  So, you may wish to preview the list before you set your student free to peruse it.]  

Try the Reverse Dictionary yourself here.  Now, arm your students with a calculator (excellent practice) and their list of possible words.  Then sit back and watch.  It is soooo very rewarding when the 1st $1 word is found!  The successful detective is bound to spring up shouting, "I found one!  I found one!"  Now all the other students will be doubly determined to find one for themselves.

These clues would make a great math center.  They could also be given out as a sponge activity.  In my school, however, I use them as a grade level challenge.  (I'm the enrichment teacher who runs a pull-out program.)  My 3rd graders can hardly wait for the annual challenge to begin!  I think it may be the highlight of their year.  :o)

Pitting each class of 3rd grade enrichment students against the others brings out a flurry of activity that makes the entire rest of the school stand back in awe.  Enrichment students  beg their classroom teacher to allow them to come to me to get another clue as soon as they solve one.  This is spurred on, of course, by my public display of each team's score on a daily basis.  

You are probably curious about the Bonus Buck above.  Quite simply, that clue has 2 possible answers.  I reward the students with 2 points if s/he can find both answers.  Check back tomorrow for the answers to the clues.

In the meantime, if you are intrigued by $1 words, you may wish to check out my $1 Word products.  Begin with the freebie:
You can find it at my TpT Store or in my TN Shop.  It will give you a much more complete understanding of the competition I run and 45 FREE clues!

Before I close, I found the following linky parties that you may be interested in checking out:

Donna at Math Coach's Corner is having a math linky party.  She has it divided into grade levels for your convenience.

Jeannie at Kindergarten Lifestyle is having a K - 2 linky party.  Check it out, too!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Irish Blessings and Teacher Awards

A million thanks to Erika at The Honey Bunch 

for giving me the 

One Lovely Blog Award

The rules for this award are to:

  1. Link back to the blogger who gave you the award.
  2. Pass the award on to 15 other lovely bloggers.
  3. Follow the person who sent it to you

I am passing the One Lovely Blog Award to:

Katie & Steve at Two Can Do It                              Jana at Thinking Out Loud
Margaret at Taking Grades for Teachers               Mrs. Lee at Mrs. Lee's Kindergarten
Jennifer at Herding Kats in Kindergarten                 Scipi at Go Figure!
Mrs. Mac at First Class With Mrs. Mac                    Marcia at Learning Ideas - Grades K-8
Jeannie at Kindergarten Lifestyle                           Brian at Hopkins' Hoppin' Happenings
Amanda at Mrs. McDonald's 4th Grade                  Mrs. Cook at First Grade Smart Cookies 
Sara S at Smiling in Second Grade                         Kaitlin at Beyond Teaching 
Kristi at One Lucky Teacher

Sure an' it's your lucky day!

Monday, March 12, 2012

History Mystery Research Challenge FREEBIE

It's about time, teachers. . .for standardized testing to be over.  That means it's about time to have some fun with your students (finally).   I have a fun, fun, fun project to help propel you through the last quarter of the school year.  It's called History Mystery Research Challenge.

I developed this as an enrichment project that I thought would be good for 3rd - 5th grades; maybe for 2nd grade with some help from the teacher.  But, much to my surprise and delight, the kindergarten and 1st grade classes begged to join in, too.   Even more incredibly, the school secretary, the computer lab assistant, the art teacher, and the Title I teacher joined in on the fun.  

Here's how it works:
  • Copy the clues and cut them apart.
  • Distribute 1 clue each day to each participant.  [The clues are numbered and there is 1 clue for each day of the week.]
  • Award points for correct answers as follows:
    • day 1 = 5 points
    • day 2 = 4 points
    • day 3 = 3 points
    • day 4 = 2 points
    • day 5 = 1 point
  • Keep track of the scores each day, but do NOT let anyone know whether they have solved the mystery or not.  
  • Post the scores AFTER the 5th clue is scored.  [Because I love competition, I made an enormous graph on one hallway wall where I recorded each classroom's score each week.  Great for graph reading skills!]
  • Announce the correct answer the next day (usually Monday) before giving the 1st clue for the next week's contest.
Following is one week's set of clues:

As the school's enrichment specialist, I had access to all the classes in my building.  I made the rule that I would accept only 1 answer from each classroom.  [Thus, I reduced by workload exponentially and fostered cooperative learning.]  It is essential that you not reveal the correct answer until after the 5th clue has been shared and appropriate time is given to submit answers for the 5th clue.  This keeps everyone engaged and prevents that unfortunate inevitability in which someone tells another competitor the right answer.  

If you are not an enrichment specialist or other professional with access to every classroom, you can just as easily conduct this within your classroom, challenging each student to undertake  the research on their own.  Or, in the interest of reducing your work and promoting cooperative learning, create teams among your students.  Another suggestion is to challenge other classes at your grade level to participate.    

Classroom teachers eagerly reported that students who had never shown any interest in library skills, literally ran to the library as soon as they received the day's clue.  How rewarding is that????

This product has enough clues to last 12 weeks.  If you like it, you can find it in my TpT Store or in my TeachersNotebook Shop.  

Now go forth and have fun!