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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Writing a Mystery

Writing a Mystery ~ Try Lesson #1 for free.

Two blog post have been created for The Westing Game. This post goes over “Writing a Mystery.” If you would rather get ideas for teaching the book click here.

As I read The Westing Game for the first time, I was amazed at the twists this mystery took. So many surprises!! I knew students would want to write their own mysteries as they read this novel. This takes a lot of careful planning, so I developed a series of 11 lessons to help students map out and write a mystery. Be sure to head down to the bottom of the page for a free download which includes Lesson #1. Continue Reading

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Christmas Bulletin Board

Christmas Bulletin Board

I love this time of year. Excitement for season is everywhere. Students begin talking about gifts, special activities, travel plans, and food the day they return from Thanksgiving break. I take advantage of this. We read Christmas themed books, and  I teach language arts using holiday activities. Students write using Christmas prompts which are displayed on holiday bulletin boards. Students really love it, and so do I!

I recently presented a workshop for a group of teachers about writing. A small part of the presentation was holiday related. I presented a number of Christmas writing prompts and showed teachers how to make a super simple bulletin board to display student writing. Continue Reading

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Comparing Cinderella Stories – Ella Enchanted

Cinderella vs. Ella Enchanted Activity

Ella Enchanted is a Cinderella story with a twist. When Ella is born, a fairy named Lucinda gives her the gift of obedience. Now whenever anyone gives Ella an order, she must follow it. At first, Ella’s mother and their cook protect Ella. When Lady Eleanor dies, Ella’s father remarries.

As you can imagine, this causes Ella all kinds of trouble. Her mean stepsisters, Hattie and Olive, pull simple pranks. For example, Hattie tells Ella not to eat. Hattie even orders Ella to stop being friends with Areida. Continue Reading

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The Giver Teaching Ideas

Free The Giver Activity on Book Symbols

Enjoy these five teaching ideas to use with your novel study of The Giver including a free downloadable activity and samples from The Giver Book Unit.  

Twelve year old Jonas lives in a futuristic world where prejudice, war, hunger, crime, as well as the freedom to select a spouse has been eliminated. Jonas is chosen by the Elders to receive memories from the past. These memories come from the time before free will was removed from the society. Will Jonas be able to handle the memories of pain and war? Will these memories change Jonas? Read Lois Lowry’s novel The Giver  to see how Jonas’s world is turned upside down by the past. Continue Reading

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Crossword Puzzle Generators

Making Free Crossword Puzzles


Literally billions of crossword puzzles can be found online or in teacher resource books, but they often don’t fit the words you are studying. In this post, I have reviewed six free crossword puzzle generators. I hope these reviews will help you find the site that best fits your needs. Each title is linked to the generator website. Continue Reading

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The Best Christmas Pageant Ever

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever Activities

Mrs. Armstrong breaks her leg, so Mother must direct the Christmas pageant. Everything goes wrong when the Herdmans, the worst kids in the history of the world, are the only ones to volunteer for all the main roles. Will Mother be able to pull it all together?

Read The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson to see how one disaster after another is averted. Continue Reading

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