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Happy teacher appreciation week!  This week Teachers Pay Teachers is having a site wide sale.  I will be participating!  You can earn 25% off my store using the code: GIFT4YOU



I spend my time before the sale loading up my wishlist so I can purchase some great things.  I figured I would go over the top 5 wishlisted items in my store so you can check them out yourself!

Top 5 Most Wishlisted:

5. Root Words Worksheets and Activities- There are 49 pages for 32 different roots.  The study of root words is very helpful for students because when they are able to identify word parts they can figure out the meanings of unfamiliar words.



4. STEM Activity Create a Rollercoaster- This is a fun hands on STEM activity comprised of 9 pages which will guide students through the process of creating a rollercoaster for a marble.  It is a great collaborative activity which allows students to work in flexible groups.
Includes:
  • teacher instructions
  • pictures of sample student work
  • student pages: assignment overview, group roles, and rollercoaster blueprint
  • driving question
  • important vocabulary
  • engineer design process anchor chart
  • I can statement


3. Creative Writing Activity Using the Mysteries of Harris Burdick- If you haven't read this book by Chris Van Allsburg run out and get it now!  This is such a fascinating book for adults and children alike.  It is about an author, Harris Burdick, who drops off illustrations that are accompanied by a title and one line of a story who then goes missing.  I have my students pick an illustration and finish writing the story.  Their finished stories are so fantastic and full of creativity!
Included:
  • Prewriting forms (including the elements of mysteries)
  • storyboarding
  • self and peer editing forms
  • teacher conference sheet
  • fishbowl editing form
  • grading rubric

2. Electricity and Magnetism Worksheets and Activities- When I taught fourth grade we were departmentalized.  I was in charge of science, which I absolutely love to teach!  I love that science lends itself to being very hands on and can be magical for our students.  There are 28 pages in this unit on electricity and magnetism and these include hands on activities.
What is included?
  • What is magnetism? reading
  • Magnetism vocabulary: attract, repel, magnetic field, like poles, unlike poles
  • Attract or repel worksheets and answer key
  • Is it magnetic? activity sheet
  • What is electricity? reading
  • Charges worksheet and answer key
  • Electricity vocabulary: atom, electron, nucleus, simple circuit, parallel circuit, static electricity, and current electricity
  • Is it a conductor or insulator? activity sheet
  • Draw the wires to make a circuit sheet and answer key
  • 5 lab stations with response sheet
  • Exit slips and directions


1. Writing Fractured Fairy Tales- I always did this unit at the end of the year with my students and it was always a favorite.  There are 21 pages in the download to help guide your students through the writing process.
What's Included?
  • a Common Core list (4th grade standards)
  • resource list (books, movies, and activities)
  • 3 anchor charts (What is a fairy tale? What is a fractured fairy tale? Point of view)
  • a find it activity- search for fairy tale elements
  • compare and contrast- traditional story vs fractured fairy tale
  • character map
  • conflict map
  • brainstorming sheet
  • list of events
  • editing work
  • editing checklist
  • writing paper
  • rubric


What's on your wishlist?



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Check out some half price deals on Teachers Pay Teachers from now until April 21!


I have reduced my Electricity and Magnetism Bundle and Root Words and Word Work by 50% so make sure to check it out!

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I left the classroom after the 2014-2015 school year when I had my son.  I would love to say I found the perfect work, life balance after teaching for 10 years but unfortunately I didn't.  I answered parent and administration emails at all hours, worked too late into the night, worked an unhealthy amount of time on weekends, and was consumed by all the things in my classroom.

I was just starting to figure out what worked for me in 2014.  I went in to school earlier every day and got most of my work copying and grading done then.  I would plan during my planning periods for the week, and only checked my school emails until an appropriate hour.  I would like to think that if I stayed in the classroom I would have figured out a solution.  The truth is I was tired and burnt out from spending too much time focusing on everyone and everything else but me.

Self care is so important!  I am still struggling with this as a mother to my two children who are 20 months apart.  The quote "You can't pour from an empty cup, take care of yourself first" really resonates with me.  I spent too long trying to pour from an empty cup.  I wasn't taking the time to fill my cup back up while pouring it out for others.  I think this is something many teachers find with themselves so I wanted to share a few quick self care tips.  Take care of yourselves, seriously!

Self care doesn't look the same for everyone.  You have to find out what will fill your cup.  Does a workout sound good?  A quick nap?  Spa time?  Quiet time?   Self care can be done in small doses.  I have a little "me" time after my children are asleep.  Some nights I snuggle down with a good book.  Others I watch a television show or movie for me (not Sesame Street or PAW Patrol LOL).  Sometimes it's as simple as washing my face and doing an at home spa treatment.  Take some time for yourself.  You are worth it!  If you can't do it for yourself then do it for your students.  They need you to be the best and happiest version of yourself that you can be!

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Literature circles, also known as book clubs, are a fantastic way to teach elementary readers.  They teach students to work collaboratively, time management, and to look deeper at the words in a book.  When I taught fourth grade I didn't start off the school year with literature circles.  I wanted to set and establish routines and expectations for my students.  We began with our basal reader and throughout the year would go back and forth between the two.  Once my students understood the classroom expectations and got the hang of the basal I would begin literature circles.  We would read the entire novel as a class and complete the meetings as a whole class in the beginning.  Once they mastered this I would meet with groups of students during our reading time.  It was a process to get students to literature circles in my classroom because I wanted to ensure that the students understood the responsibility and expectations.

How do I get literature circle books?
This was challenging my first year teaching, especially when buying a whole class set!  I didn't want to spend a ton of money on a set of nearly 30 books, but knew that this was something worthwhile for my students.  I scoured eBay and Amazon for cheap books, searched yard sales, and library sales.  However, I got most of my literature circle books from the Scholastic Book Clubs dollar deals.  They have great books and the price of $1 can't be beat!  These books were reused year after year in my classroom.

How do you store all those books?
I was fortunate enough to have a storage closet outside my classroom that the fourth grade team shared.  I bought small baskets at the dollar store and organized each set of books within the baskets.  It was easy when I grabbed books for literature circle; I could grab a few baskets without a problem.  I like to be organized, so I created a spreadsheet with all the titles and number of each book we had and created labels for each basket.  The spreadsheet went on the inside of the closet door.  I also used small stickers to number each book so that students were able to easily identify theirs.

What does a literature circle meeting look like?
My literature circle groups meet two times a week.  I would meet with certain groups Monday/Wednesday and the remaining groups Tuesday/Thursday.  Before we began literature circles the students would record their top three choices on book ballots.  This is how I placed the students into groups.  Once the groups were ready we would fill out the pacing chart.  This allows the students to see each assignment for the book.  My Literature circles had six jobs to complete while reading the book.
Jobs:


  • Summarizer
  • Word Wizard
  • Illustrator
  • Connector
  • Question Conductor
  • Passage Master
If you'd like to purchase my literature circle roles click the picture below to be taken to this product.
Each meeting the students would come prepared with the pages for that meeting read and the job completed.  We would discuss what happened in the book and share our jobs.  I was so excited with the wonderful conversations about books that took place daily! 



Here is a short video of what is contained in my literature circle packets that each student gets.


I also created management cards for the groups that I wasn't meeting with at the time.  These cards helped to keep the students focused. (click the picture to see more about this product)


Do you use literature circles in your classroom?  If you have any tips to share leave them in the comments!
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