December 2016 archive

Expanding Vocabulary

Word Wheel

When students use the same tired words over and over, their writing becomes dull. The Internet is full of lists you can provide students; however, students learn by creating their own “Wow Word” lists. 

First, decide what you wish to call overused words: Continue Reading

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Free Teaching Resources to use with The Watsons Go to Birmingham – 1963

Free Character Trait Cards to use with The Watsons Go to Birmingham

Are you looking for some ideas to use with The Watsons Go to Birmingham? This post contains several free teaching resources.

The Watsons Go to Birmingham reads almost like a diary detailing interesting events in the lives of what neighbors in Flint, Michigan call the “Weird Watsons.” The story is told from the perspective of fourth grader Kenny. Many of his stories detail how Byron, Kenny’s older brother, gets into trouble. Finally,  Momma and Dad are frustrated to the point that they decide to take a family trip to Birmingham. This is where Grandma Sands lives. Bryon is told he is going to live with his no nonsense, extremely strict Grandma until he can learn to behave. Continue Reading

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Analogy Lesson

Free Analogy Mini Lesson

I created this analogy lesson for a planned observation with a class of fourth graders. The lesson went extremely well. Students were on task which really impressed the supervisor. The full lesson can be downloaded for free at Teachers Pay Teachers.  

Activity #1

I love using response cards in the classroom. Response cards require students pay attention because it is obvious when a student holds up the same card each time or no card at all. As a teacher, I can quickly see if students understand the concept I am teaching or need additional practice. Continue Reading

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When the Shoe Fits – A Writing Project to use with Crash by Jerry Spinelli

Free Writing Project to use with the book Crash by Jerry Spinelli

Red shoes are an important symbol in the book Crash by Jerry Spinelli. This made me think about what types of shoes would represent the main characters. This turned into “When the Shoe Fits – A Writing Project to use with Crash by Jerry Spinelli.” This is a free printable activity that can be used as an interactive notebook activity.


Crash is extremely athletic. Because he excels in sports, he gets attention from the other students in his school. He is especially proud when he can beat the older (8th graders) students. Continue Reading

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Reference Materials Mini Lesson

Reference Materials Anchor Chart

This free ‘Reference Materials Mini Lesson’ contains three activities. The lesson is designed to help students determine which reference materials are needed to locate specific types of information. The lesson goes over six types of reference materials. These include dictionaries, thesauri, manuals, encyclopedias, atlases, and almanacs.

Download either printable and digital versions. Continue Reading

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The Indian in the Cupboard

Free Samples from The Indian in the Cupboard Book Unit

The Indian in the Cupboard was such a big hit with my students. Imagine fifth grade boys asking me to help them find the sequels! There are four of them. A teacher can’t ask for anything more.

The story begins when nine year old Omri receives a few unusual gifts for his birthday. What is he going to do with an old cupboard and a plastic Indian? Omri does what most boys would do. He locks the plastic toy in the cupboard. Unknowingly, he does this with a magical key that belonged to his great grandmother. Imagine the surprise he felt when the plastic toy turned into a real life three-inch tall Iroquois. Continue Reading

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Hot Cocoa Mix Filled Ornaments

Hot Chocolate Mix Filled Ornaments

These hot cocoa mix filled ornaments are a great way to teach writing instructional paragraphs this holiday season. Students can write instructions for how to make the ornaments and/or how to make a cup of hot chocolate using the mix from an ornament.

Be sure to look down the post for the link with free printables. The download includes the recipe as well as cute cards for the student writing activities. Continue Reading

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