Holiday Ideas

Early Learning

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freebies, literacy, reading

Reading is Thinking!

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I’ve noticed over the years that my students are great summarizers, but not so great at connecting with, talking about, and thinking through their reading. Their discussions are mostly limited to summaries and retellings. Focused lessons on thinking deeply about reading help push us to the next level.

When we’re ready to move to written responses in our reader’s notebook, I have my students underline their responses using colored pencils. We use red for statements that are just within the book and green for statements that are thoughts extending the book. The goal is to include just enough red statements to provide a basic understanding of the book.
Over time, my students have learned to be great thinkers and use more green than red in their responses. I love that! You can download our Reading is Thinking chart for FREE in my store, so click on over to get one for your classroom. =)


Leap Day Sale!

Teachers Pay Teachers is hosting a sale in honor of Leap Day. Many sellers (like me!) are offering an additional discount to bring your total percent-off to 28%. I know, I know… it’s not 29%, but it’s as close as the TpT format will allow.  

Here’s how it works:

  • Items in my store will be on sale for 20% off automatically on Leap Day. That’s Wednesday in case you’ve been stuck in your classroom too long. (just kidding!) While you’re there, be sure to “Follow” my store too.
  • Enter coupon code L2P9Y at checkout for a bonus 10% off the discounted price for ALL items throughout the entire TpT site.
  • This brings your TOTAL discount in my store to 28%.
Click here to visit my store

PS- If you aren’t already following me on Facebook, click on over to do that. A FREEBIE is on the way for followers only in March.

Here’s a linky party for Leap Day Sales too!

Linky Party

literacy, reading, science, social studies

National Geographic Explorer

I’m sure you’ve heard of National Geographic Magazine, but did you know they have student editions too?  A few years ago I requested to switch to National Geographic Explorer from our previous classroom subscription. I decided to create a packet to go with each magazine that would activate background knowledge and provide extension activities.  After the first year, I only had to plan every third one since my grade level teachers are now taking turns planning the packets.

Here’s what I love:

  • The magazines integrate reading, writing, science, and social studies.
  • The students are excited about our National Geographic week
    every month and get to take the magazines home when we’re finished with
  • The online teachers’ edition has lesson plans, worksheets,
    and interactive whiteboard lessons for free. You can also use the digital edition for projectors.
  • It comes in two reading levels. They both look alike and have the same topics and pictures, but one is written at the second-third grade level and one is written at the fourth-sixth level. You can mix and match to create differentiation within your classroom this way. Because I teach third grade, I use the Pioneer Edition for all of my students. It challenges my higher readers, but my lower readers are able to participate with extra support.
  • Each magazine comes with a two-sided poster in the Teacher’s Edition. I display the posters during the week and then put them in our classroom auctions.
  • The website has ecards, games, videos, vocabulary challenges, and related articles that update to match the magazine each month.   

If you’re looking for a new way to engage your students with nonfiction, I’d suggest National Geographic Explorer.  Click on over to check it out for yourself.


Permission to Pin

I’m breaking the Good Blogger rules to post a second time today. Sorry!

There’s a new issue going around with Pinterest because of a line in their terms that says you agree to only pin your OWN images or those images you’ve been given permission to pin. Teachers bloggers and store owners are granting permission through their blogs and the red pin button you now see over on the right side of my page.  You can find out more by clicking the button.

I think Pinterest is a great way to share products, freebies, and ideas. However, I think it’s wrong to pull pictures off of someone’s page and post the pictures on a different blog before pinning them. I promote always pinning from the original source so it links back to the original creator.  So in order to avoid any confusion, YES you may directly pin away to your heart’s content from my blog, Facebook, and store pages. 

Pin, pin, pin away! Have a great weekend, too! =)


Kids Say the Darndest Things Linky Party

Jeannie at Kindergarten Lifestyle is hosting a just-for-fun linky party about the funny things that happen in our classrooms every day.  I started a notebook my second year teaching so I could write down the cute things that happen in our room, but I’m not always the best about writing the moments down before I forget them. There are just too many things to do every day. I’m sure you can relate to that! =)

Here’s one that just happened on Thursday.