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literacy, writing

Student Treasures Book Publishing

Are you looking for new ways to motivate your students to write?  Are you tired of publishing student work the same way each unit?  Have you heard about Student Treasures?  If not, Student Treasures is a company that will send you kits to turn your students into published authors.   Best of all, it’s totally free!

There are several options, but we use the school-wide program.  Primary teachers create class books with their students.  In this project, each student contributes a single page to the class book.  One free copy is bound for the class.  Intermediate teachers create individual books.  In this project, each student writes an entire book.  The book is bound for free.  Extra copies can be ordered for both types of books for around $20, but teachers can purchase copies for much less.  I’ve purchased several over the years to use as examples for future classes.  Student Treasures can be used for any grade level, not just elementary.

I’ve found this unit to be an authentic way to teach the writing process.  While our class publishes one project each month, the unit that results in a hardback “real” book is always the best.  I typically start the unit in early December and wrap it up at the end of January.  In the sometimes chaotic Christmas season, Student Treasures keeps students motivated.  It’s also proved to be a great way to teach time management because we’re on a deadline to mail the books out for publishing.

The last few years I’ve used alphabet books for this project.  I use several mentor texts to show that alphabet books come in many varieties and aren’t just easy books for developing readers.  We also create anchor charts and idea lists to generate quality writing.  Then the students select their theme and are off and writing.  Some of our past topics included  movies, sports, holidays, and school.  When the bound books return in the spring, we hold an Author Party to celebrate and share.  I love it!

If you’re interested in Student Treasures, click on over to their website.  If you decide to try it with your class (or school!), I’d love to refer you and earn Scholastic dollars for our school library.  Drop me an email and we’ll trade information.  Thanks, and happy writing!


Super Bowl Halftime Sale

I know I just posted about the Valentine’s Blog Hop a few days ago, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to share the Super Bowl Halftime sale too.  Many teachers are offering their products half-off during the halftime show.  Lots of them are already on sale now and will remain that way through the Super Bowl so you can enjoy the festivities. =)

I’m offering one item from my reading, writing, language and math shops. These are on sale NOW and will stay on sale through halftime.  Don’t miss it!  

Reading: Chocolate Touch Book Club Packet
Writing: Amazing Animal Research Unit
Language: 10 Parts of Speech Posters
Math: Three Digit Subtraction PowerPoint Game
You can find all of the sales on the Super Bowl Sale Pinterest page.

literacy, reading, science, social studies

Do You Quizlet?

I heard about Quizlet last summer and was eager to try it with my students this year. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s definitely worth checking out.  Basically, it’s an online flashcard program that allows you to create your own flashcards and then use them to play games. There are also assessment options.  As a bonus, everything you create is printable too.  It’s not just for vocabulary either.

I used Quizlet for the first time in October to help my students study for our social studies unit test.  They enjoyed playing the games and were really engaged while we used our classroom projector to study as a class.  A few of them logged on from home too.  I love it when that happens!  

Unfortunately, I sort of forgot about Quizlet and haven’t used it since.  Oops.  As I was updating our classroom website, I came across our Quizlet links and decided to use it again for our upcoming science unit test.  It took me less than five minutes to type in our vocabulary words and definitions.  I have games ready to go for tomorrow and an assessment for next week.  I’ve already shared the link on our classroom Facebook page for home use as well.  It really is that easy.

I’ve made it my goal to upload more flashcard sets ahead of time so they’ll be ready to go for our upcoming units.  You can also browse from a ton of premade sets.  I plan to use Quizlet more frequently in our room, and I think you’ll find many ways to use it too.  Hop on over and check it out!

freebies, Valentine's Day

Valentine Blog Hop

I’m participating in my first ever blog hop, the Valentine Blog Hop sponsored by Effective Teaching Articles.  You can follow the links below to collect a Valentine freebie from each blog.  You can also sign up to participate in each blog’s give away, with winners from each blog being chosen on February 15th. 

My Valentine Freebies:

Heartfelt Creations Valentine Art and Writing Project

This isn’t a download, but it is something I love to do with my students each year.  Give each student a sentence strip and a handful of large conversation hearts.  Have them create a comic strip by drawing their own characters and gluing conversation hearts as the dialogue. Challenge them to write their own dialogue too.  It’s a great way to review punctuation marks and have fun too!

How to Play:
  • Visit each blog to find your free Valentine’s Day teaching resource.
  • Enter each blog’s giveaway for a chance to win fabulous teaching resources from TpT.
  • Help promote the Valentine Blog Hop to your colleagues and teacher friends through word of mouth and social networking.
  • Bloggers love comments! Please take the time to check out the teacher-bloggers posts and leave relevant comments.
How to Enter Ms. Fultz’s Corner Valentine Blog Hop Giveaway:

  • Become a follower of my TpT Store and this blog.  Leave a comment on this post with your name, email, and what you teach. You may use AT instead of @ and DOT instead of . to keep spam away.  
  • You can earn an additional entry by sharing a new way you will use the Heart Matching Game freebie from my blog.  I love new ideas! Just leave a second comment with your idea.
  • I will use to draw one winner on February 15th.
  • The winner will receive a $10 TpT gift card to purchase ANY item from ANY seller.  The winner may also select a free item from my shop if I have something that’s appropriate for your needs.

freebies, literacy, reading

The Evolution of Reading Workshop Book Clubs

I love reading workshop!  My favorite part of reading workshop is doing book clubs with my students.  I’ve tried several different ways over the years.  When I first started, I would meet with groups one at a time.  We’d work our way through the chapters together, taking turns reading aloud and silently. We’d discuss as we moved through the book and discuss questions after each predetermined section.  Groups were usually made of students with similar needs and reading levels. I was the discussion leader and this was more like guided reading than I had wanted.  It worked fine, but I felt like there was more I could do to make it mirror real world reading.

Hoping to get more out of these units, I tried assigning the literature circle roles made popular by Harvey Daniels.  I backed off as a teacher and encouraged students to do more independently.  I wanted to be a member of their reading circle, not the leader.  I didn’t prepare discussion questions or activities and I let students determine their reading chunks and deadlines within the unit.  While many of my stronger readers blossomed, this layout just didn’t work for all students.  I also felt like many groups were missing key parts of the books and still not reaching the higher level of discussion I desired.  The roles were too restricting.

I decided book clubs needed to be a marriage of all the things that already worked well for me in reading workshop.  Guided reading is great and students need my support.  Literature circles are more fun, allow students to make more choices, and breathe new life into reading workshop.  How could I put both of those together to achieve book clubs that worked for everyone?  Book club packets ended up being the answer for me.

I started doing book club packets a few years ago.  I select several books within a comfortable reading level for the majority of my students. Sometimes the books share a common genre, theme, or topic.  Sometimes they don’t and are instead just favorites from previous years.  I like to allow students to choose their own book, though this doesn’t always work out.  I create the timeline and generate discussion questions to help guide students through the books.  These discussion questions are used loosely as students gather to discuss their reading and are tweaked through multiple readings of the books with different groups of students.  We alternate days spent reading the book (usually independently though sometimes students choose to buddy read) and days spent doing activities about the book.  I can stagger my groups on alternate days so that I don’t have to be in so many places at once.  While half the students are reading and answering questions, the other half are discussing and creating. The activities they create include character comics, alternate endings, cause/effect charts, etc.  All of them help bring meaning to the books and grow my students as readers.  They’re learning strategies and ideas to take with them on future books, not just working through their current one.  Additionally, I’m able to alternate between being a leader and a member of the group.  This marriage between guided reading and literature circles is my favorite part of reading workshop.

It’s time consuming to research books, read the
individual titles, generate discussion questions, map out the unit, and
create meaningful activities. 
My packets are always evolving, but having a variety of activities to adapt for multiple chapter books has helped the planning tremendously.  I’m including a freebie of one of my book activities.  You can find entire book club packets and a selection of book activities that I’ve created over in my TeachersPayTeachers Store.  I hope they’re what you need to get started creating book clubs that work for you and your students.  Happy reading!

Click here to download two book club activity samples. All 21 activities can be purchased in my store.