Friday, March 29, 2013

Helping Each Other To Help Our Kiddos

As promised, for this Friday's Favorite Find post, we will be doing one of my favorite things!  Considering that "Testing Season" is either newly here or right around the corner for many of us, we all know that the pressure's on - for us and for our students.  If there are ways that we can making preparing for our assessments a little more enjoyable, and therein make taking the tests a bit less stressful, let's share the love!

To start lending a helping hand, I am making everything available in my TpT and TN stores for 20% off  - and making my Common ELA Vocabulary Review Game Pack FREE in my TpT Store from now through this Monday, April 1st (No April Fool's joking going on here...I swear. Lol)!

**What Customers Are Saying**
"Useful tool."
"Another homerun!  Thank you!  I've also subscribed to your blog!  Great stuff!!!"
"Thanks for creating these fun and educational materials!"

Grab it for free while you can!
Please be sure to look around, grab a FREEBIE or two - and share with your colleagues, too!

For the following linky, create a blog post that shares an idea or tip that you've used or found that can help with content review or test taking strategies.  Are there things that you or your school district do to remove anxiety and motivate kids to try their best?  How do you use technology in your classroom to help prepare? Have you created products that make preparing for state assessments more enjoyable - games, activites, strategies and suggestions for home?  A free product, to start, would be awesome...then feel free to add links to a paid product or two as well.  Anything you are ready and willing to share will be greatly appreciated!

This Favorite Find Linky will start a little later this afternoon and be available to link to through April 6th, 2013 - so be sure to come back with a post that shares lots of helpful resources.  Then, look around for some new ideas to take back to your classroom!

To Link-up:

-Grab my Middle School Matters Blog graphic below to place in your blog.

(Please be sure to then attach a link back to this blog post using the above image.)

-Link up your post! :)

I can't wait to see all of the Favorite Finds we can share!  Thank you for trying this out with me.  I would truly love any feedback or suggestions for this Linky in the comments below.

TBA's Ultimate Linky Party

Monday, March 25, 2013

We Are Our Own Best Teaching Resource

Although our spring break dates may vary a little, the season of seemingly endless assessment is just around the corner for most of us.  Good times!  Well, at least preparing for them doesn't have to be awful times, right?  During the next two weeks I'll be sharing different games and activities that I have created and used in my ELA classroom to help with reviewing the vocabulary and practicing necessary skills.  I'll also share the resources that I've found along the way that may be helpful in other content areas as well.  I know one of the greatest resources we have as teachers is each other, and in that spirit, later this week I'll be giving you some chances to share the strategies that you use and products that you've found or created that help your students feel assessment-ready.  Gather your best ideas and be sure to stop by on Friday, March 29th, to link up your favorites!

For today, I'll start by linking up my newest FREEBIE to Charty's Classroom Freebies.  Click on the image below to download my Literary Terms Word Search.  A quick activity to be used at a literacy center or for a "Do Now" or "Ticket Out," this word search will help you find who has an understanding of basic terms often found in middle school ELA assessments. Your students will need to answer the clues and find the words in the puzzle. Several terms are hidden in the puzzle that are NOT answers to the clues, so they will need to be careful...using the puzzle as a word bank may not be the best strategy! :)

(You will find both the puzzle and the answer key.)

I hope this post gets you started in thinking about the ideas you may want to share.  I'm looking forward to seeing how much support we can give to each other during this - the most wonderful time of the school year. ;-)  

Be sure to check back soon!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
Freebie Fridays

Monday, March 18, 2013

SPRING Into a Good Book!

It seems strange to be creating and posting these free bookmarks today, as the county where I live in Upstate New York is under a Winter Storm Warning for later today and tomorrow.  I know that Easter is a bit early this year, but that little bunny is going to be hopping through some crazy snow if Mother Nature doesn't catch up with the start of spring!  So, though I would like to say that I am preparing for spring-themed prizes and/or class gifts ahead of time because I'm am highly organized...I believe the truth is not so much, and it's more out of wishful thinking.

(Click on the link to download, cut apart and share! :) )

It's also a Monday, so I'm linking up to Classroom Freebies!  Be sure to take time to look around at the great resources that are being shared.

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
Have a great week...even if it snows! ;-)
Freebie Fridays

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Lucky Me...Lucky You!

Happy St. Patty's weekend!  Besides the facts that I love weekends, the color green, corned beef and cabbage with a nice pint of Guinness...and, of course, Leprecauhns, I am feeling celebratory for a few more reasons.  Here's why:

1)Lucky me...lucky you! I have some great news, and in the spirit of St. Patrick's Day this weekend, I will share it in the form of a limerick:

There was once a Deal of the Day

That made me so happy to say,
“Teacher’s Notebook’s the place
To put a smile on your face
With forty percent less to pay!”
(Thank you...Thank you...LOL)

What does this mean for you? Well, Teacher's Notebook has started a new program called Deal of the Day. Sellers bid for the chance to be featured, and I won the spot for 7th grade TODAY! This means a 40% savings for you on the product of my choice...which is: Content Area Roots, Prefixes and Suffixes - PowerPoint and Memory Match Centers (Originally priced at $9.00 - today it is on sale for $5.40!) 

(Click on the image to see the Daily Deal at TN.)

In addition, I have put the rest of my products at Teacher's Notebook on sale, too!  

Take a look and click an item that interests you! :)

2) Teachers Pay Teachers SALE - Well, I need to share the luck, I think!  All products at my TPT store are 20% off as well!

(Click on the image to go dirctly to my TPT store.)

BOTH SALES RUN TODAY and TOMORROW - 3/16 and 3/17!
Lucky me...Lucky you!

3) The Teacher's Chair Giveaway -  Talk about some incredible luck...There's still time, my friends, to enter a fabulous giveaway being held at The Teacher's Chair!  Make sure you head on over in the few hours remaining to check out all of the fantastic prizes that will go to one lucky winner.

You have a crazy number of chances to win and you may find some great new blogs to follow in the process.
May our good fortune continue to grow! :)


Friday, March 15, 2013

Friday Favorites!

This was another of those crazy busy weeks where you just don't seem to know if you're coming or going!  Between the usual routine of school and home, getting ready for some St. Patty's celebrating and our son's growing involvment in swimming and Taekwondo...forget about the lion.  This month is coming in like a whirlwind!  One of my favorite moments of the week actually shows how quickly time is going by:

This is a picture of our 6 year old getting his green stripe in TKD.  He looks like such a big boy!  How can this be?  Wasn't he born just yeaterday? ;-)
So proud of him!

Since this day in the middle of the month - known as the Ides of March thanks to Julius Caesar and some amazing play writing talent from William Shakespeare - falls on Friday Favorite Day, I'm also sharing another favorite.  Flocabulary is a fantastic educational website that has several free videos.  One that I have used in my classes is about the elements of fiction, and my kiddos LOVE it!  The information from various subject areas is shared through hip-hop style songs and videos that are so fun.  We all (absolutely including me) sing and dance right along to this one imparticular:

These Are the Five Things: "This song covers the five main elements of a story: setting, plot, characters, conflict and theme. Whether you’re studying a short story, a novel, an epic poem, a play or a film, if you don’t find these five elements, you’re not looking hard enough. With a catchy chorus that’s hard to forget, this “five elements of a short story” rap will get you or your students hooked." -

There is a fee for full use of this site, but there are several things offered for free - including printable lyrics and lesson plans that go with the videos - that make visiting the site worth while.  Take a look...they keep adding new resources all of the time.

To go with my link to this favorite video of ours, I'm also including a FREEBIE!  I have made some bookmarks that students can use to remember the elements of fiction.  Just click on the image below to print your copy, cut them apart and share.

(Click image)

What are some of your favorites from this week?  Consider sharing in the comments below. :)
Have a great weekend!

Freebie Fridays

Friday, March 8, 2013

Friday Favorites

My Friday has been exceptionally nice here this week!  We had a little bit of snow on the ground when we went to bed last night...and lo and behold: SNOW DAY today!!  The only thing better than a surprise snow day as a teacher was seeing my Kindergartner's face this morning.  He was up with the phone call (at 5:46 AM), way before he needed to be, but he was not tired at all.  His was the kind of happiness that only Santa, the Easter Bunny and...some good ol' snow can bring, and it was my favorite moment of the week. :)

This opportunity to have a lazy day with my boy leads me to my first favorite I'll be sharing today.  I happened to catch this craft project on The Chew today, and instantly thought how this would be awesome in a classroom.  It's a DIY Dry Erase Calendar that seems pretty easy to make, and looks pretty sweet!

Picture from The Chew @

Here's the link to materials and directions: Clinton's Craft Corner Coasters and Calendar. (The coasters are petty cute, too!  Scroll down the page.  The calendar is the 2nd project.)  I'll wait a day or two to see if a video clip of the project is added to their site and I'll post the link for that, too.

The second thing I want to share with you for my Friday Favorites this week is a video that has been making it's way around the world of social media.  It was actually brought to my attention recently by a person who posted it on my Facebook wall.  She also made a simple, touching and quite eloquent request.  She asked me to please "tell all of the teachers this. It is true. "Sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can never hurt you," is the biggest lie that parents and teachers tell. Those of us that survived being bullied, did it by believing the bullies were wrong. But we will spend the rest of our lives with the doubt. This is the best thing I have ever seen explaining what it feels like."

I was touched by her honesty and her desire to share something that was so personal in order to make sure that this moving video about the power of words continues to be seen. The To This Day Project is well worth the time to watch for both teens and adults. Containing an important message that is shared in a way that will undoubtedly get the attention of middle school students, this is a perfect catalyst for free-writes or discussions.  If you haven't come across it yet, please think about taking a few minutes to watch...and consider passing along.


Lastly, I just want to remind you that a fantastic giveaway is still going on at The Teacher's Chair!

There's still time to see if March 17th will be your lucky day!  If you haven't checked out all the great prizes (including a product from my store), take time to visit and enter to win!

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

March Currently

Holy March Madness, Batman!  It's the third month of 2013 already?  Where are the days going?  Seriously.  It may be because my son seems to be growing up right before my eyes.  It may be because the 3rd season of Downton Abbey just ended way too soon - and in a shockingly horrific fashion - as I was just getting the story line figured out.  It may be because I will be leaving my 30s behind this year and turning the BIG 4-0 over the summer.  I just don't know...but things are moving a little too quickly lately!

The good part about starting a new month, however, is that Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade has created another Currently!  Here is mine for March:

LISTENING  - our son's favorite movie changes from time-to-time, but since Dr. Seuss' birthday yesterday, we have watched The Lorax 87 times. :)  He knows all of the lines and says them with the characters, which is cute, but nothing compared to a 6 year old dancing around and belting out, "How baa-a-a-aaad can I be?  I'm just doing what comes naturally."  Hysterical!

LOVING - our new healthy banana oatmeal cookie recipe.  Only 3 we added chocolate chips.  Still pretty healthy, though!  Here's a link to the recipe if you are interested:  Skinnytaste Healthy Cookies.  You'll love them, too!

THINKING - about March...see my introduction.  Enough said. ;-)

WANTING -  to look into National Board Certification.  I'm thinking more and more about going down this road.  I know it's a huge investment in time, and it would prove to be a challenge to find a balance between work, study and family time.  I may wait until our son is a little bit older...but I am definitely feeling that I am interested enough to begin investigating my options.

NEEDING - I found a meme this morning that read, "My blood type is COFFEE."  Could not be truer, my friends.

LIKE, LOVE and HATE:  This month Farley asked us to use the first letter of our first names for this category.  My letter is "S" since my first name is Stephanie.  This led to my picks of "spaghetti squash," (yummy alternative to pasta), "son's smile" (sweetness) and "sickness" (Hate is tough for me, as I instantly hear my mom's voice in my head, scolding me for using a very strong word as soon as I think about it. Sickness is something that I can say I feel that strongly about.)

I love this idea and the opportunity it gives me to think, write and share with you.  Be sure to go to Farley's linky party to learn about other bloggers...some may be your favorites that you already follow and some may be new to you.  Either way, there's lots of fun reading there!


Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday Favorites and an Upcoming Giveaway

TGIF!  Seriously.  Just one of those weeks where I'm glad to have a chance to reflect and share with you some favorite things to remind myself of what's important...things including kindness and compassion, a new freebie AND this week, a little news about an up and coming giveaway that I'm super-excited to be a part of because it's celebrating a fantastic bloggy-buddy!

First up is my favorite find of the week.  This video clip has been making the rounds, and though you may have seen it, it's worth a second look.  Consider making time and sharing it with your students and your children, too.  It's another great example of young people stepping up and and showing that kindness and compassion do exist in our schools.  These student athletes have followed the examples of the adults in their lives - specifically parents and coaches in this instance - to go above and beyond in making sure that a very deserving peer is able to experience success on the basketball court.  A must-see:

Love it!!

Next up is a FREEBIE!  March 1st it is (SO hard to believe it's already here) here is the next in my Cooperative Learning Partners monthly themes.  This month it's:

(Click the image to download.)
Make copies on cardstock, if possible, to make them more sturdy.
3-hole punch them along the top so that they can stay in the front of each student's binder for quick referencing. :)

(Click HERE for the October post that started it all and explains how to use them in your class.  Check out my FREEBIES page as well to collect the previous months if you would like, too.)

Lastly, I'm so very happy to share some big news with you!!  I can't give too many details yet, but a wonderful bloggy-buddy is planning to share some really great stuff this Saturday.  Tracey from The Teacher's Chair has created the Teaching Blog Circle (a true example of kindness in and of itself) and many of us in it are participating.  She has posted some details of one part of her giveaway already and I would love for you to see it.  Click on the image below to check it out.  Then, be sure to stop by The Teacher's Chair first thing tomorrow to find out how to enter for chances (That's right!  Way more than one!) to win.  What a great way to start a long-awaited weekend, right?!  Yay!! :)

The Teacher’s Chair
Enjoy the weekend...and good luck!

Freebie Fridays

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