Naming What We Do

As I reflect on this year of teaching, I've been thinking about the missed opportunities more than anything. It's so hard for me to celebrate the little successes (although I try to do that in front of my students at every opportunity) instead of dwelling on the things I could've done better. I always tend to focus on those things I want to do better, while not giving myself enough (any) credit for the things I do well. I believe I'm good at what I do. It's just that I'm constantly striving (expecting) to be a little better each day.

I've been thinking about all of the opportunities we have as teachers to specifically name what we're doing (as teachers, learners, thinkers) to make that same thinking and learning easier and more meaningful for our students in the present and future. For example, how often do we refer back to one piece of writing and teach something that will make it better? Guess what that's called? Revision! I have an extensive literacy background, and I have no excuse for not using the term "revision" at every appropriate moment, but I don't always use the vocabulary I want students to know and use. And by calling it different things on different days, aren't I just making more work for myself? Aren't I just making the writing process more complex instead of less? Of course, this is just one example, but others abound. Just last week, I heard myself reminding students to use the words and sentences around an unfamiliar word to help them figure out its meaning. I had JUST taught a lesson on context clues the previous day! Why didn't I say, "Use CONTEXT CLUES to help you figure out the meaning of that unknown word."? After all, if we expect students to use academic vocabulary, we have to do it ourselves.

Consistently naming the strategies I use (and therefore want students to use) is definitely something I need to work on. It's an opportunity to help students build academic vocabulary, and helps make our thinking visible.

What are your missed opportunities? I'd love to hear from you!

Happy Saturday! {A TpT Celebration with Freebies}

Yesterday, Teachers Pay Teachers announced one of the free products I'm offering from my store this week, and I was overwhelmed by the response! In case you missed it, here's my newest product: Superhero Sentences (offered as a free resource through tomorrow).

I can't express how much Teachers Pay Teachers has changed my life for the better. It has enabled me to do things I would never be able to do on a teacher's salary, encouraged me to continue developing as an educator, helped me step out of my comfort zone by stepping into the public realm, and has enabled me to connect with educators around the world.

As the school year comes to a close, I'm looking forward to having some time to reflect, recharge, and even to work on a few products that I used with my kiddos but didn't have time to polish. I hope you have a great last few weeks of school. Be sure to download these limited-time free resources to use during these last weeks... or next year. :)

Happy weekend!

Five for Friday {with Freebies and a Giveaway!}

This is a very special Friday! Starting with Teacher Appreciation Week, and ending with a TpT milestone celebration, I've had a lot to be grateful for this week! Not to mention, there are only 23 days of school left! And to top it all off, I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday!

I'm so grateful for the resources I've found on TpT, and for the motivation it's given me to continue developing as an educator. I was thrilled when they contacted me to include me in their Milestone Celebration! I wanted to show my appreciation to all of you who have supported my store by offering free resources throughout the week. Also, be sure to scroll down and enter to win any product of your choice from my TpT store. Five winners will be selected on Friday at midnight.

Today I'm offering a fluency freebie! We started using these fluency fact cards during our nonfiction reading and writing unit, but my students love them so much that we've incorporated them into our Literacy Choice time. They have such a natural curiosity about animals, so they especially love this batch: Fluency Fact Cards: Spiders and Insects.

As another nonfiction reading and writing activity, my students have really impressed me with their close reading of photographs. It does take a bit of modeling and practice at first, but it really pays off in the end! I especially love that struggling readers can feel successful with this activity. You can check out the free resource I created by clicking on the product pic below. It includes several levels so you can differentiate for a variety of needs.

While organizing some of our classroom book bins, I came across these little sticky note treasures that someone had forgotten to remove. I love this time of year, when everything seems to fall into place...those moments when you smile and say to yourself, "They DO get it!"

I spotted this outside my grocery store yesterday. There's also a children's book section below, not in the photo. I love that people in my neighborhood value reading enough to create this community book loan idea next to the newspapers for sale.

On a personal note, I spent last weekend with some girlfriends in Napa. The sun was shining, the weather was perfect, the wine and food were delicious... and I even had my very first mud bath... which I probably won't be doing again. ;)




Enjoy your weekend!

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Celebrating with Giveaways and Freebies! {Day 4}

Thanks for stopping by to help me celebrate a TpT milestone this week! To show my appreciation of all the encouragement and kind words I've received along the way, I'm offering free resources for the entire week!

Freebie #4 is a resource I created this year to help my students express themselves in their speaking and writing. We spent quite a bit of time at the beginning of the year learning a variety of vocabulary to express our feelings. Then we took it a step further to incorporate these feelings into character dialogue in our narrative writing. The kids loved it... And they're still using the vocabulary in their daily interactions with each other!

Be sure to click on the product pic and download this free resource before midnight! Tomorrow will be a new freebie! :D And don't forget to enter the giveaway to win ANY product from my Teachers Pay Teachers store! Five winners will be chosen on Friday at midnight...Good luck!

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Celebrating with Giveaways and Freebies! {Day 3}

It's Teacher Appreciation Day #3, and today I'm giving away a product that I created this year to help me launch the Writing Workshop with an ELL population: What Do I Write About? helped students generate writing ideas and gave them an easy way to build on those ideas throughout the narrative writing unit.  I don't know what I would've done without it!

Click on the product pic above to grab it! It will only be available as a freebie until midnight tonight.

Also, be sure to scroll down to Monday's post and enter the giveaway for ANY product from my TpT store! This is a small blog, and I'm going to select 5 winners on Friday, so there's a good chance you'll win the product of your choice!

Celebrating with Giveaways and Freebies! {Day 2}

Thanks so much for stopping by to help me celebrate! I can't believe that Teacher Appreciation Week, the huge TpT Sale, AND my Milestone Celebration all happen during the same week! Today's freebie helps teach and practice using context clues to identify and understand new vocabulary... Great for close reading or test prep!

Be sure to grab it quick! It will only be available as a freebie until tonight at midnight! :)
And scroll down to enter to win ANY product from my TpT store!

Celebrating a TPT Milestone!

It's Teacher Appreciation Week, and I want to show my appreciation of YOU! Thanks to all of your kind words, support, and encouragement, I'm thrilled to announce that I've reached a TpT milestone! To celebrate, I'm doing a giveaway AND I will be posting a freebie from my TpT store each day this week! Be sure to stop by my blog to download a free teaching resource each day.

The first freebie of the week is the newest resource in my store: Superhero Sentences! This product provides a variety of writing practice (including 10 different sets of directions) allowing maximum differentiation while everyone works from one set of task cards.

In addition to this limited-time freebie, I'm also giving away any product from my TpT store to five lucky winners who enter below! Just take a look at my TpT store here and enter below to win. Good luck! :)

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