Friday, November 28, 2014

Liebster Award

Thank you, Jennifer at Mrs. Grisham's Little Lighthouse Learners  for nominating me for the Liebster Award! What a super cute blog she has, so if you haven't visited her, you should head over there to visit. Well, I am honored to be nominated for this award as I have only recently made a concerted effort to jump on the blogging wagon...even though I've actually been plugging away at this for a couple of years.

When I started my online store with Teachers Pay Teachers and met some very supportive teaching professionals, I have found more meaning and purpose in blogging. I have started to realize (well, I'm a late bloomer) that a blog is a truly authentic way of recording and sharing successes, in addition to reflecting those tough times we face each day. A blog is more than a journal...for me, it's a reflection of all that I'm doing to make a difference in my students' learning, as well as an opportunity for me to re-learn or learn a-new the things that I thought I was doing well. So truthfully, blogging is helping me become a better teacher--even though I've been at it for many years! Again I'm a late bloomer, and it's taken me this long to figure that out!!

So, here goes...I am nominating 11 other new bloggers out there who have fewer than 200 members.  I am honored to pass along the Leibster Award to these 11 people. Now, remember people, I have less than a handful, so this is a big deal for me! 

There are SO many wonderful bloggers out there, but these bloggers really have such interesting blogs...each one is different, yet professional, friendly and sincere...and are definitely worth checking out! I love the sharing of ideas and the honesty in these blogs. Many have a big dose of humor, too! See my list below. I'm hoping that these nominees below will be as excited about this as I am!

With all that said, I cordially nominate the following for the Liebster Award:

  1. The Library Patch 
  2. Kim's First Grade 
  3. A Library and a Garden  
  7. Growing Grade by Grade 
  8. My Colorful Classroom 
  9. If You Give a Teacher a Treat 
  10. Creative Critters-Teaching Resources 
  11. Patterson's Porch 


Please copy these questions into your own blog, so that your readers will learn more about you!

1. Why and how long ago did you start blogging 
I started a few years ago as a tool for reflecting my teaching methods, approaches, successes and failures. But when I joined TpT, I realized I could add my online community and interests to my reflections. I really only want to blog when it's meaningful to me and hopefully to my "audience" out there...although I'm not sure who reads my posts! My blog will always be a work in progress!

2. What one word sums up the heart of your blog and why? Reflection! I'm finding that the more I write, the more I read blogs written by other teachers, the more I'm learning and reflecting...and the end result of that, of FUN! Can I change this to two words now?!

3. Is there something you learned late in your blogging journey you wished you knew before?
Well, since I have been teaching for quite a number of years, and am of that age where you'd think maybe I'd be retiring....I can just say, I sure wish I had started this long ago...even if only for myself, as an outlet. But I used to do blogging the old-fashioned know, those things called diaries. I do wish I had known about how to use Photo Shop and Illustrator in order to make clip art sooner!

4. What is your favorite past time other than blogging? I enjoy kayaking at our nearby lake, gardening in my woodland perennial garden, and painting. All of these are my most favorite activities...but I can't leave out how I enjoy creating language arts resources for teachers and parents. That's been a huge learning curve for me...and although extremely time-consuming...I would say it's turned out to be one of my favorite past times.

5. How many hours per week do you dedicate to your blog
Maybe about 1 hour a week, or every other week. I blog when I'm inspired, but I do not do it regularly. I don't want to just blog about anything...I want to blog when I think I have something to offer...Not quite as relaxing as a bubble bath, it's definitely a relaxing alternative to TV!

6. What category of blog posts do you enjoy the most?
I really enjoy those sites that are thoughtful (and attractive, not necessarily flashy, but pictures that mean something to them)...because I admire anyone who can create a blog like that. But mostly, I just love interesting people, and the interesting things they do~ and if they've got some even more interesting things to share...then I'm hooked. But to be honest, teacher blogs and parent-home-schooler blogs have the most interesting posts because of ALL the ideas they have to share and the creative resources they come up with!

7. Where does your blog inspiration come from
I would love to come up with the one inspirational blog/blogger here. But the truth is I am inspired by so many that I'm following right now--Each one has its own flavor and personality....and I'd say when you put them altogether, that's what inspires me. I want to emulate a little something from everyone.

8. Which post that you've written are you most proud of? I'm working on that.

9. Is there any post you have been planning to do, but have been postponing it for a while now?

I'd like to blog the advantages of the Orton-Gillingham approach to reading for strugglers, and other reading strategies and approaches that are effective for improving fluency.

10. What is your favorite aspect of blogging?
Sharing and writing to an authentic audience....which is so different from diary writing (from my teenage and early motherhood years). I am just starting to get into the collaborating and socializing aspects of blogging...all of which is pretty new to me. I'm not a big Facebook person, so blogging to me is more "me".

11. Which recipe, project, or idea on my blog would you be most likely to try yourself?
(Brain cramp here! I'm not sure if this question is asking me what idea I like on another blog or what I have that you, a nominee would most likely try. I'll have to take a rain check on this question .... come back to this!  But I think you nominees should revise this question!)

Congratulations, Nominees:
Now its your turn (nominated bloggers) to participate - here are the official "rules" for accepting:

1.)   In your post link back to the blogger who nominated you as a thank you and "shout out".
2.)  Answer the 11 questions given to you (the ones I answered above)
3.)  Nominate 11 blogs that have less than 200 followers each. Provide them with 11 questions (listed above) to have them answer.
4.)  Let your nominees know they've been nominated and provide them with a link back to your post so they can accept.
5.)  Send your nominator a link to your post so s/he can learn more about you as well. (You can just put your post link in the comments below.) 


Free! 2 Poems and a Craft

Here's one of my favorite creations for this season. Click on this link and get your copy of this holiday resource. It's just right for kids in first through second grade. Enjoy!

FREE! Eight Little Candles--2 Poems and a Craft

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Free Stocking Writing Prompt

Here's a stocking you can save to your computer and print out. It's a writing prompt for some of those anxious little kids out there who just can't wait to let Santa know what they want for Christmas!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Frosty and Friends: A Readers Theater

Frosty will never grow old! Nor will the tale of this affable guy.  But this is just a twist on his story. I would love to put up a readers theater on the famous Frosty the Snowman, but the lyrics and he, himself is copyrighted! So I created one that has a little glimmer of the ol' tale.  (I can still hear the voices of Jimmy Durante and Jackie Vernon, whose TV version still entertains children five decades later!) But Frosty and Friends has a different script and twist at the end. 

This little readers theater takes all of 10 minutes to perform, but it's a fun way to get your readers to improve their fluency and comprehension!  I hope you will let your young readers give it a try. Being a little kid at heart, I had a blast writing it, and thanks to My Cute Graphics, it's dressed up with clip art that's bound to get the kids interested in reading. So, whether you want a quick activity for your reading group...or you are thinking about putting on a short little performance for the parents at Open House or Holiday Celebration... here's something that will add a little winter time cheer to the occasion! 

Dress them up in hats, mittens and scarves...and they'll all be the cutest little performers--and of course, no other props are needed! After all, it really is all about the kids.....and your kids will be the stars...because no matter how they read (whether it turns out to be a comedy of errors or not), it will be a memorable performance!

Below is a preview of the cover and the first page...just to give you a peek!
If you do happen to purchase this resource, I would love to hear from you. 

Friday, November 14, 2014

Christmas Story Starters Motivate Kids to Write

Ready for the holidays? I'm not yet, but I'm having a good time preparing for the busy season. I love making holiday resources. This pack was a lot of fun to create, so I am hoping that it is equally fun for kids to do. It's revised from my earlier version from last year. This narrative-packed set is aligned with the common core standards for narrative writing, grades 2-4. When it comes to writing about Santa, you will find that kids do get engaged in the writing process, especially if it is about him getting stuck in the chimney! So check this out soon, if you have kids itching to write about Christmas and want to make a cute craft to accompany their work. Cute patterns included!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Those party store magnifying glasses....

These little plastic things are such a hit with my first grade reading group! (I have four kiddos.) Getting them to do word reading can be a struggle for some who are less than attentive...Whether one is twirling in her seat, or another is more concerned with tipping his chair back--get one of those cheap little magnifying glasses and play word detective! They love using them after we've read a book (a close reading)--even though it's more of a literal "close reading", word hunting is fun detective work.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Turkey Writing: Short Research Writing, Challenges & Activities

       It's been awhile since I've been on this it's good to be back. It's hard to believe another Halloween has come and gone...and now sadly, the candy is, too!
       I thought I'd post my latest revision of a resource that's been a popular one for beginning researchers. Four main topics are presented with pre-writing maps, and templates to get young writers going. My students have a tough time getting started...and I have a tough time figuring out where to begin. But a solid prompt that interests them (key factor!) and a pre-writing template can make a big difference in their success. It's my experience that this time of year is most interesting to the kids...NOT because of Thanksgiving...but because they are interested in the way our ancestors lived, dressed, and ate. They particularly want to learn more about the Native Americans who were a huge part of our American history. Squanto, Massasoit, and the Wampanoag are hot topics with third graders. There are so many opportunities to expand research...and making artifacts is just one way to extend their studies. This resource will give them a start....and you'll find plenty out there to expand on these topics! 

        I think the improvements I've made in this product will make a difference...and that teachers find this to be a way to motivate and scaffold hesitant writers, too. Let me know what you think! 

The image below shows just a sampling of the 23 pages in this pack. Thanks for checking this out! ~Karen