Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Make Your Own Flipbook Online

Do you love foldables? I used them all the time in my classes last year (more for literacy and science/history) and the kids seemed to love them because they were a different way of recording information.  Most older kids have no problems making these booklets and writing tabs for them, but I found the problem was that young kids had a hard time writing out the tabs for the flipbook.  So, I found a program online that does this for you!  The only catch - you can't save it, but you can PRINT it and keep if for future use.  I know that for a teacher with limited time, this was a fast way to create a flipbook that looks nice!  I also used it with the older kids as a model in an independent workstation - it gave them an example to copy from.

Flipbook Interactive from Read Write Think!

So to show you what kind of product you will get from this, I developed one that I am creating for my City of Ember unit.  If you have read Ember, then you know that it's an awesome book for teaching similes.  I can't take credit for this entire idea as I got the simile titles from Elizabeth Hale's Crafting Writers K-6 and have kind of put my own spin on it.  It's full of amazing ideas to teach kids how to write by examining some high quality writing.  If you don't have this resource it is a great one.  I have an exercise book for my kids that is all about the writer's craft strategies and this is my go-to resource.  I'm planning for September and I always start with similes because they are fun and easy and can be included in recount writing.  This allows them to become great simile experts before they begin writing narratives! 

Here is the assembled product (flipbook) that I created on this website!  It's simple to create and makes the booklets look a little more "elegant".  It is quick and easy to use if you don't have time to fool around with making your own templates.  One year I had my grade two's print out their procedural writing final copy this way.  They typed the instruction from their rough draft and then they illustrated the picture to go with it in the empty box.  They turned out really well and I was able to put them on a bulletin board for their parents to view.  Wish I had taken a picture at the time to post for you!!  Anyways, hope you enjoy this DIY foldable project!

Happy Wednesday!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

DIY Sunday!!

So if you are like me and have young children at home,  you KNOW just how crazy an un-structured weekend can be...

Yesterday, my daughter Natalee missed gymnastics (which she LOVES) to go to a birthday party, but all kinds of chaos broke out as a result of an out of routine day.  SO...that led to this morning's DIY project which has been on the back burner for some time now. This DIY is so crazy simple, that I'm not sure why it took me so long to do, but it was the perfect remedy for a laid back Sunday morning.  The best part of this project was that my daughter got to help and feel "special"!  This project had "NO BABIES ALLOWED" stamped all over it.  My little guy, Avery had some quality time with his daddy!

So what was the project you ask?
Dollar Store Clear Stones
We made alphabet buttons using some simple tools that you can buy from your local dollar store.  We made two sets of alphabet letters (lowercase and uppercase) in two different colours.  I bought one package of stones from the dollar store (which just happened to have the exact number I needed for both sets), some clear glue and some white cardstock and used two different coloured permanent markers which I had here at home.  Some of you who have lovely printers and beautiful fonts may choose to make these using the computer, but because it was a last minute project we used permanent markers and my handwriting.

Here is Natalee with our lowercase letters!

The letters turned out pretty well!  I just wish the picture would have shown you how nicely!  Right now these little letters are perfect for using at a literacy station, but you can also add magnets to the back of them to use on the chalkboard.  Check out the close up below!

This little idea led to my next creation...if you are a scrap-a-holic, then you know the oodles of scrapbook pieces you have laying around.  I took some of my pretty paper scraps to make these "button magnets" below, again, perfect for using on the chalkboard!

Scrappin' Magnets

TIP:  If you choose to do this little project, make sure that you can use the stones that you buy from the dollar store by checking them out in the store.  Not all of these little stones will be so clear. Also, if you are using them for letters, make sure you test a letter before printing them all out.  They do magnify whatever is behind them.  Also, not all of the stones are the same size, so it is best to do a letter and trim it for the particular stone you will be gluing it to!  

Another Idea:  Modify these little stones to use as punctuation marks! Use them at the end of sentence strips in a work station!

So, that was today's DIY project!  I hope that you like it and find it useful in your own classrooms.  If you have kids at home, it's a great way to do a purposeful craft.  We are going to donate these to Natalee's Kindergarten class tomorrow as a surprise for her teacher who just came back from Maternity Leave!! This little project took me back to my primary teaching days not so long ago!

Oh yes, I couldn't post a picture of one of my babies without posting a picture of the other, so here is my little man in his new space dogs jammies :)

Avery - 8 months

Have a Super Sunday!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Some Bunny Loves Runde's Room!

Bunting Books and BainbridgeOk, so I'm a new blogger, and as I have been hopping around (lol...seems appropriate) from blog to blog in this new world of teaching madness, I have come across this super cute linky from Bunting, Books and Bainbridge!  I have to tell the story of how I became a blogger here to recognize a blog that I think it truly fantastic and inspiring, and that is Runde's Room.

Jen Runde is absolutely amazing, so if you haven't checked out her blog, you need to!!  I started this blogging journey by checking out Pinterest and from there, I found Jen Runde.  I'm new to the upper grades and my little guy is now sleeping at least an hour at a time, so I have time to blog stock and look for inspiration for the upcoming school year.  As posted before, I will be teaching grade 6 (with a few 7's) so I am in need of inspiration.  Runde's Room provided this for me!  Jen showcases a lot of pictures of her student's work as well as freebies.  I LOVE that her posts are about her teaching and not just about buying her items on her TPT store, although I must admit after perusing her site, I have already bought her interactive math journal book.  The reason that I bought it was because she posted so many great pictures of her math foldables and it left me questioning and wanting to find out more!  This is the mark of a great blogger and for this reason, I am giving this award to Runde's Room!  I also know that Jen is a mommy and I know how hard it is to balance school and home and have time to inspire others!  So this is another reason that I believe Jen deserves the award.  I'm hopeful one day I can offer the same inspiration to others that she has offered to me through her blogging! Thanks Jen!  Please see her InInteractive Math Journals, I promise you won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

FREEBIES -Teaching with National Geographic Explorer Magazines

Have you taught with National Geographic Extreme ExplorerNational Geographic Explorer  or National Geographic Young Explorer yet?  I thought that this would be a great opportunity to blog about these magazines because you can access FREE
proectable versions of them all online!  The lessons and activities also match the common core standards!

As you can see, there are three different magazines.  Let's start with the youngest, just because it makes sense.  The National Geographic Young Explorer is for Kindergarten and Grade One.  When you visit the site, you will see that they have two different teacher's guides, one for Kindergarten, and one for Grade One.  You can access the FREE projectable edition of the March 2013 magazine here and grab the FREE pdf teacher's guides below. As you know, these can also be adapted for grades two and three as well.  We always need differentiated tasks as well!

Kindergarten Teacher's Guide March 2013
Grade 1 Teacher's Guide March 2013

Here's a peek at the teacher's guide for grade one so that you don't have to download it and delete it if it isn't for you!



Next, there is the National Geographic Explorer Magazine.  This one is a little bit tricky because they use the same website but have to different versions of the magazine.  One is the Pioneer Edition which is for grades 2-3 and the other one is the Pathfinder Edition which is for grades 4-6.  The sample that I have is for the March 2013 Pathfinder Edition.  To take a look at the interactive copy, click here . It comes fully loaded with FREE a teacher's guide, plus it has great non-fiction articles which really captures struggling readers attention! Click here to access the entire Pathfinder Edition teacher's guide in pdf format for the March.  The interactive version allows you to highlight and make notes to the magazine as you read it on your interactive whiteboard!  The only thing it doesn't do is allow you to save it!


If you teach grades 2-3, you can still access the March 2013 materials for the Pioneer Edition below.

Finally, the last magazine is the series is for middle school, grades 6-8.  It is called National Geographic Extreme Explorer.  Again, you can access the projectable version online for FREE and download the teacher's guide for activities and blackline masters!  Click here for the March 2013 Magazine and click here for the pdf teacher's guide.



The great thing about teaching with these magazines, is that you could use these activities multiple ways in your classroom!  I have used the magazine articles for my shared reading in order to integrate science or to model writing or reading strategies. I have also used them as literacy stations and science stations (depending on topic and activity).  Many of the lessons have great links to video and other information online so it can even turn into an interactive lesson if you are lucky enough to teach with ipads or even laptops.  There's  also an ipad app for all of the magazines, which I believe you can try out for free and then subscribe to.  Check out some of the guides below to see what kind of lessons and activities you will find in the teacher's guide!  The only down side to the interactive magazine edition is that you can't save it for future use and you have to work with this month's magazine, but, if you really like something, you can head over to Promethean Planet where they sell the projectable version so you can have it for future reference.  However, if you print the magazine from the interactive version, you will always have a printed edition for future use.

Please let me know if any of the links do not work, including the pdf guides.  If you are liking what you see, head over to the websites because the April 2013 Edition of all the magazines is already ready with the teachers guides to download!

Happy Reading!

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Oh Technology..How I Love Thee

So I have been surfing the blog sites as well as the internet and have come across some truly amazing ideas that I have to try in my classroom!  They are technology related and for some people this frightens them, but I think if we all embrace it, we actually see how helpful all of this stuff can be!

 I actually found this one just randomly playing around trying to find ways to make clip art.  I remember surfing the blogs and seeing someone with a giant monopoly board on a bulletin in their classroom.  This tool I found allows you to create your own community chest.  It's actually pretty neat and I created one of my own.  Click here to see the large list of things that you can create - you will find this generator!  It is #50 on under the heading Make Graphics With Your Text.  They have 12  images cards to choose from.  So, even if you didn't have a monopoly theme, you could create your own game cards or just use them as fun incentive tickets.

Here's the QR code for the one
I made!

The next one (above) I found was to create text messages for your students. I just copied the URL code and put it in my blog!  The idea could be to create dialogue between two characters that you want the students to make an inference from, or could be anything about any topic.  The great part is that there is a QR code so that the students can scan to see the text message that you have created OR you can embed the code on your blog and display it for everyone to see.  The only thing is that you can't print it.  But still, pretty neat...the possibilities are endless - you could even do a secret message or something for students  who have their work done!  Click here to check it out!

Soaring Through Second
This one (see below) is the ultimate...and I have to thank Technology Tailgate first because that is where I saw the post and then I need to thank the real star, Soaring Through Second for her awesome post about using this new site to create real time KWL charts and lessons using Padlet (formerly Wallwisher).  You have to check out her post, it is simply amazing to see how she used the KWL chart using this website!  She has a class set of ipads, but still, as a grade 6 teacher fighting cell phones, here is a way to finally embrace the technology I've been fighting.  This concept is a real winner for any grades because you can use the QR codes for students to scan to bring them to the different pages that they need to visit and converse on.  I've taken an example from "teaching" on their website so you can see the real time conversation cork board.  This one is a Harry Potter discussion.  Neat thing is that you don't have to keep refreshing every few minutes to keep the conversation going.

Ok, so that's it for today's post.  There are soooo many things that I can't wait to try.  I am just so greatful to everyone who has been kind enough to share all of these tools for us to use as well as ideas on how to use them!

Happy Saturday!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Getting Aquainted Linky appears I need to get to know quite a few people, so I snapped up the opportunity to join this getting aquainted linky party from Flying Into First.
Sharing 3 things about yourself that you like or like to do using your initials.

Well my initials are JLM so I am hoping that I can come up with some satisfactory things

J - jogging - I love to run, but jogging is a more suitable word right now as I am really not in shape after the birth of my second child.  Running allows me some time away from all of the labels like "mom", "teacher", "sister", "wife", etc.  I love this time away because it is usually when I have time to reflect, think and come up with creative ideas!  I've also done some fun races below - usually 5k races and have tried to work my way up to a 10k!  See my pic below with my hubby and daughter.

L - lending resources.  One of my favourite things to do is to scout out new books, ideas and activities to recommend and share with other teachers.  If there could be such a job, I would be the activity researcher within the school.  Tell me what you need and I'll look for something that looks fun!  If I were a care bear, I would be Share Bear!!

M - menu planning.  My new favourite thing to do since I have been off on MAT leave is to plan our dinner menu for the week.  I came across this idea in one of my magazines, only they suggested doing this for the entire week - which is just too much for my brain right now...but three days works perfectly.  It allows me to plan three dinners and record all of the ingredients I need to make the dishes.  I have been trying new things for fun and I absolutely love my new recipes.  Now, when I return to work, I will have more dinner ideas to choose from instead of the same old ones.  Some of my new favourite recipes have been:
* Butter Chicken - first ever!
* Jambalaya - thanks Emerill!
* Beef Meat Pies - a great way to use left over beef roast in an interesting way!

For anyone who loves making lists, I suggest doing this - all you have to do is search for three new recipes to try and record the ingredients.  Most website recipes have the list for you to print - how simple is that!!  My favourite recipe site is because they have this feature and they also have tons of ratings on all of their foods!!

Ha ha...would you know that there is an app for this specifically for - how lucky am I to just find that out.  Check it out below! that's it.  I hope you enjoyed my post enough to become my first follower!!


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Linky Party at Minds in Bloom - Task Cards

PhotobucketMinds in Bloom is having a linky party about task cards!  Since I am new to the junior grades, I'm also new to task cards because my littlest learners couldn't manage the reading.  So...I thought that I would post an idea that came to mind while I was reading about the task cards created by Rachel Lynette.  Check out her site, she has a free set of task cards to download  for free if you are new to them like me!

Storage is always tough and many times students move a task card and it becomes lost and you have no idea which task card it is until you are packing it all up at the end of the day and you can't find it anywhere on the floor.  So, I thought of these ideas for organizing and using the task cards.

*Put Velcro on the back of all of your task cards and have the students velcro them onto a poster board with the corresponding numbers at the end of the activity.

* Put a little hole in the upper left or right hand side of all task cards and call out the task card number to collect them and store them on a three ring clip.  Then you could hang them on a bulletin board behind your desk using a push pin and students who need to finish one up can easily find the one they need.

* Buy a small photo album and label it Current Task Cards that you can use to display the task cards you are using in that week.  I guess you may need more than one if you use task cards daily, but this gives your students the option of flipping through the task cards for one that they didn't complete and shows off your beautiful cards without further damage.  When you are done using them, simply take them out and store them somewhere and put the next set in.

* Someone may already be using this concept, but for accountability, you could draw a task card number from the completed set out of a bag (when you are sure everyone has had adequate time to complete the cards). You could also pull out just one piece of assessment criteria out of the bag as well (content, organization, complete answer, correct answer, etc.) so that students would need to follow your criteria all the time because they never know which one will be pulled for marking.  This would be sort of like rubric category expectations.  For this idea, you would need to have a list of criteria that you generated with the class for task card work.

For example -  Today you will be handing in task card #13 and I will be checking it for Organization (I organized my answer in a way that is easy for the reader to understand and follow).

Let me know if you like any of the ideas!  Again, I haven't used the task cards, but these are just ideas that came to mind!


Tuesday, March 12, 2013


*Update - you can now click on the links to download my documents more easily from google docs rather than scribd!

Ok, so I found this little quote online and just love it and felt that this was the perfect opportunity for me to use it in my blog!  Many times, we feel so powerless and so do the kids, but what we don't realize is that we are all very powerful creators!

Today was one of those days for me.  My husband was taking care of my little ones and as I stood in the shower with the hot water pelting my sore back I received inspiration. Sometimes our ideas just come to us when we aren't really trying!  This then led to my morning's work which I whipped up after this idea I had this morning about math!

I remembered a time when I was teaching last year where the students just didn't get fractions, ratios, decimals or percentages.  It seems so easy for us to do but they need daily practice!  I don't know what you do in your classroom for attendance, but I use my interactive board to do it. The kids love coming into class and moving their names.  So I felt, why not have "board work" (that is math at the same time) while the students are waiting for the national anthem and announcements come on. Maybe if they practiced this concept daily in an applicable, meaningful way, they might just understand these concepts.

So I came up with the worksheets below for students to use with interactive attendance.   See the worksheet freebie below!  You can download it here from google docs.

I also created a second sheet where you could have the kids write in what they were comparing so that you could choose the numbers that you wanted everyone to do.  This works best when you would be modelling so that everyone would be using the same numbers.  Please see freebie below.  You can download it here from google docs.

Then I also thought it would be a good idea for the kids to calculate the mean, median, mode and range of the total number of students present and absent at the end of the week.  Another way of fitting in math concepts in a fun way.  Please see the freebie below.  You can download it here from google docs.

Also, after a few weeks when kids get the hang of it, you could switch to using questions as the interactive attendance. This way when students move their names they are answering a question.  You can use the same type of organizer, but I've left the table blank this time to record the different answers.  For example, a question might be, "How do you get to school in the morning?" and you might have a few options (car, bus,  walk, city bus, other (for multiple ways).  Then your fractions, ratios and percents would be based upon a data management question and you could also turn it into a graph at the end of the week.

 Click here for the freebie from google docs.

So, for the record, I haven't actually tried this activity in my classroom because I'm on MAT leave, but it's something I would love to try.  If you use it in your classroom, could you please post how it went or how you would modify it?  By the way, I would love to post these in my TPT store, but I'm not sure about the image copyright?  I can't find any information.  What do all of you TPT creators use for your images?


Saturday, March 9, 2013


Happy Saturday Everyone!

So, I found out my position for next year.  I think I'm feeling pretty pumped about it and am already thinking of ideas for next year - I have a grade 6 with four grade 7's.  It's going to be pretty much a straight grade as my grade 7's will all be half days in the learning centre.  But you never know, things can change, but it sounds pretty good to me right now.

So here's my Currently for March - hope I'm doing this right as I'm brand new to all of this, so feel free to give me some pointers!  Also, question - where are you all getting your little cartoon person with your digital signature and how do I do that??

By the way, please leave me your number one place to learn about all of the cool things you can do on blogger!!


Friday, March 8, 2013

Tween Tribune

Hey Everyone! Happy Friday and for those on March Break here in Ontario, 'Happy March Break'! Ok, so I'm anxiously awaiting news about what grade I will be teaching next year. Hopefully today is the day that I find that out so I can start thinking about my classroom for next September when I return to work! People think I'm a little crazy because I'm on MAT leave and I'm still thinking about school, but when you love what you do, how can you not? Well...maybe I am a little bit crazy. So, my first post was about a website (Teach Kids the News) that you can use to teach with. It has current news written at the level for kids as well as curriculum questions for k-6. As I was skipping along, looking at a bunch of different teaching blogs, I came across another site that has great articles for kids as well. I wish I could remember the blogger so I could credit him/her but if I do come across it again, I will definitely give them a shout out! Anyways, this site can't produce a pdf version of the article and it doesn't have questions but it is a great resource for hot topics! I just copied and pasted the text and then exported it as a pdf to my files. If you don't have a program that does this you can download Open Office and use it. It's very much like Microsoft Word and Powerpoint, but it's free so I'm a fan! I am going to post a couple articles that could be used as hot topics down below so you can see what the articles look like. The thing that I like is you could use the topics for debates or for persuasive writing. The website has tons of potential because it covers everything from sports to entertainment. It's called Tween Tribune! I hope you are just as excited as I am about this! There is also a Tween Tribune Junior and a Teen Tribune as well. I haven't explored either, but I'm assuming you could find topics for younger and older students. Since I can't post the pdf's that I have created, I will post the pictures of the topics that I found that may be of interest to you and the link to the article. If anyone knows a way that I can link these other than using Scribd, let me know as it isn't allowing me to show you the entire article. Take a peek at the hot topics below!

             Is It Fair to Tell Teens to Turn it Down?

                         Is Cheerleading a Sport

These are just a few of the hot topics that you could use!  Happy reading and Happy March Break to my fellow teachers!


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Reading for the Love of It 2013

Hey Everyone!  Thanks to everyone who stops by to check out my blog!  I'm new to blogging so please leave me a comment!

Even though I have been home on MAT leave this year, I attended the Reading for the Love of It Conference in Toronto.  I go every year, and this year was no exception!  I just love going and listening to the speakers. w I always come home inspired and usually find a new resource that I love as well.
This year I got to attend a seminar by Lisa Donohue.  Her presentation was based on 100 minutes (the literacy block) but I enjoy using my Daily Five and decided to stick with that, but  I looked at her books and she has some amazing stuff.  Even though I have a grade six assignment, I found her ideas in the presentation really interesting and came home with two of her books.  Our board is really into success criteria and learning goals, so this resource seemed perfect as it has success criteria for grade 2 and grade 6 writing!  Check it out!

I also picked up her independent reading book below.  It has some great ideas for all of the reading comprehension strategies for K-6.  I will try and take some pics to post of some of the samples.

One of the great ideas that she had was to create a twitter handle for your classroom!  She assigned one child a media relations job for the entire day and that student was responsible for taking pictures which she would then post through twitter.  She said she had a 50% following and the parents loved seeing what was going on and the students loved the media relations job.  It takes the home-school connection to a whole new level!

Friday, March 1, 2013


YEAH!!  My first post on my new blog.  I have to thank everyone whom I have come across online for inspiring me to create my own blog.  I've read so many great things that I thought it is my turn to share some of my resources and ideas as well!!  SO, THANK YOU for the inspiration!!!

I've been teaching for 10 years, mainly at the primary level and am currently off on Maternity leave with my second child - he is absolutely amazing and I am now having some extra time to get back into teaching.  My current grade level is grade 6/7 and last year was my first year in these grades, boy did I learn a lot! is my first blog share - I use a site all the time for shared reading activities that I absolutely love!  Some of you may have come across it already, but if you haven't, it is wonderful because it really can be used all across the board from k-8.  The great thing about this site is that it has discussion prompts for each article at the primary, junior and intermediate levels and when you click to print the article, you can change the font size to the size for your students and save it as a pdf file!!  Then you have an option to email it right away to a colleague or to the students!! Check out Teaching Kids the News 

I've posted an article below that would be relevant to our curriculum in Ontario (space) but interesting nonetheless. Check it out. Space Mission Will Study Asteroid in 2018 by