Five for a Birthday Friday!

I'm taking a few minutes to link up today with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday! It just so happens to be my birthday too!  I really don't make a big deal about birthdays, I mean after a certain point, who wants to keep count?  What's weird about this birthday is I've reached the minimum age at which you can retire in my state, and with the five years I bought, I actually will have 30 years this spring.  It is so hard to believe that this year that  I thought would never come is here!  In reality I'm not even thinking about retiring.  I mean, it's not even on my radar.  I always said...I will be that teacher who taught fifth grade for forty years.  Well, I'm getting close!

One of my favorite authors is Jane Green.  Whenever I discover a new one of hers at the library, I move it to the top of my To Read pile.  I was lucky enough to come across two books of hers that I hadn't read over Christmas break.  

I really enjoyed the first one called Another Piece of My Heart!  It was a super quick read for me.

I might have enjoyed the second one even more...

I had a hard time putting it down each night when I should have been going to sleep!  If you need a good read, check out any book by Jane Green!

Okay, over break I also got totally addicted to crack...

Trivia Crack!  Anybody else recently discover this highly addictive game?  It's like Trivial Pursuit for dummies, which is perfect for me!  One of my favorite things about it is all the questions that I know the answers to because of all these years teaching American history in fifth grade Social Studies!

The other day Timm and Jake decided to go back to the pond and test out the ice.  I suggested they take Emmitt along, because he really doesn't get the chance to run around the yard like he loved to do at the old house.  We have neither grass nor a fence!  I thought he could run around with them on the golf course for a little bit and have some fun in the snow.  First problem...getting him through the huge snow drift.  Second didn't come along...

In honor of my birthday, I have a new freebie gift for you!  I created a goal sheet to use with individual students who need to work on a specific area.  

For instance, maybe every time you look at a particular student during reading workshop, he is looking at you instead of his book.  You and the student could sit down and set a goal for better engagement during reading workshop time.  From now on during workshop you are going to put a tally under Book or Teacher or Other, depending on what he is looking at each time you glance his way. The criteria for success could be that he needs to be looking at his book 75% of the time.  You would also determine the rewards he can earn.  If he meets the criteria, he would get one step on his goal chart.  Once he hits the third box that has a star in it, he would earn his first reward!

You can find this freebie at my TPT Store!

Have a great weekend and check out the Five for Friday fun at Doodle Bugs Teaching!

Monday Made It for January

I'm very excited to be linking up with Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It, especially since my two Made Its have been in the works for quite a while!

My first Made It is a product that I have been working on for weeks (really more like months)!  Last year I really wasn't happy with my opinion or persuasive writing unit and when it came time to teach it again this year, I was determined to create a unit that was a blend of free choice writing time and writing to set topics.  I thought I would have tons of time over Christmas break to get it done, but you know how that goes!  So this weekend, I finally buckled down and finished it.  

My students have been doing a really nice job with their persuasive pieces, and I'm pleased with how the unit progressed.  I really enjoyed leading the students to discover on their own what makes good persuasive writing at the beginning of the unit.  

One activity we did involves creating an outline of the different elements of a good persuasive essay.

You can find my Persuasive Writing Unit Bundle at my TPT Store!

My second Made It is something I have been looking forward to for office! We were able to move into the house right before Thanksgiving, but my desk wasn't built until a few weeks after that.  

Finally, over break, I was able to put all the finishing touches on it.  Timm did the hard work of putting things together, painting, and finding a way to deal with the massive amount of cords, and then I got the fun part of finding little bins for organizing and decorating.

Welcome to my office!  Emmitt is the greeter!

I've got all my favorite books and knickknacks...

For the first time I have an actual filing cabinet, not just a file box!  I found this great filing cabinet online at Home Depot.

Here's my desk which is a perfect amount of space and right where I can see out the front window, and of course...

this is where you will always find Emmitt when I'm working, right at my feet!

Make sure you stop by 4th Grade Frolics and check out all the other Monday Made Its!

Free Your Time Blog Hop and Giveaway!

I'm so excited to be linking up with my blogging buddies from Fifth Grade Freebies for our Free Your Time with Fifth Grade Freebies Blog Hop and Giveaway! 

Yesterday was a fun-filled day in my classroom!  We had our first reading celebration of the year since all of the students have now read at least ten books on their way to the 40 book challenge!  My inspiration for much of our day was from this adorable book that you can read for free online...Snowmen at Night.

Click on cover to go to online text.

So, we started our celebration by reading the book on the big screen.  

One of the things the snowmen love to do at night is have hot chocolate and who doesn't love to snuggle up with a good book and a cup of cocoa on a cold winter day?  

Here's our hot chocolate station complete with snowman marshmallows that I decorated with icing gel.

After reading and enjoying the cocoa, the students created pictures using oil pastels.  I found this idea on A Faithful Attempt, an art blog.  Click on the picture below to go to the post.  

Miss shows kids how to create shadows on their snowmen with color blending and mixing. I am definitely not an art teacher, but I thought my kids did a great job!

The last part of our reading celebration came from another great Pinterest find...

adorable monster bookmarks at Tally's Treasury!  She gives great step by step instructions showing how to draw and fold the bookmark.  I knew it would be much easier for my students to make these if I gave them a template that they simply had to cut out, fold, and glue.  I copied it onto card stock and gave them a bunch of scrapbook paper to embellish their monsters.

One of my kids even created a great Spongebob bookmark!

If you would like to make these bookmarks with your kids, you can find the templates I created at my TPT Store for free!

Make sure you head over to Fifth Grade Freebies to gather up all the other freebies in our Free Your Time Blog Hop and enter to win one of three Teachers Pay Teachers gift certificates!

January Pick 3 Linky

I'm linking up today for Pick 3:  This Month's Top Pinterest Picks with Pawsitively Teaching and Inspired Owl's Corner!

I spent some time browsing Pinterest the other day looking for ideas for our first reading celebration of the year.  I told my class we would have a celebration when everyone had finished ten books, and we got there right before the holiday break.  So the Friday when we return we will be taking some time to celebrate our reading success!

My first find was at Classroom Magic.  Selina had a link to the online version of this adorable book.

Click on image to view original Pinterest link.

It's such a fun book!  I decided it would be a great read on our projector during the celebration.

Then I thought it would be fun to do an art project to go along with the book, especially since my students don't get any art classes.  :( 

I found two projects that are very similar.  The first one is from For the Love of Art and uses colored pencils, the other one is from A Faithful Attempt and uses pastels. They are both beautiful!  Which one should we do?

Click on image to view original Pinterest link.

Click on image to view original Pinterest link.

My last great Pinterest find could be done anytime of the year!

Aren't those bookmarks from Tally's Treasury adorable?!  And they are also perfect for our reading celebration!  

Make sure you check out all the other Top Pinterest Picks at Pick 3!