Friday, June 17, 2016

A Little of This and a Little of That!

So... summer break is here! My kids finished school yesterday and now we settling into our new "normal" for the next two months. Late nights playing outside, swimming, ice cream for dinner, picnics, the beach, fireworks... and lots, and lots, and LOTS of dishes! I swear these kids eat 600 times a day! What is that about?!?

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So, these are sitting on my nightstand ready for me to read this summer. I've read bits and pieces of Book Love, but I'm eager to sit and read the whole thing. And I'm super excited for Writing with Mentors. Even though it's written for grades 9-12, I'm sure I'll get a lot out of it. Using mentor texts in writing is my jam! I use Notice and Note in my class already, so I'm looking forward to see what the nonfiction version has to offer. And of course I have to save something from my man, Kelly Gallagher.

What are you reading this summer? Are you a PD-reading nerd like me, or do you give your teacher brain a rest over the summer?

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Also, as I said in my last post, I've got some great FREEBIE lessons coming your way in July! This year for our summer learning program, I'm putting together a creative writing class that uses picture books as mentor texts. I'm stoked for summer school and so excited to share these lessons with you. Here are some of the books that I think I'm using:

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And lastly, I want to share this new product with you that I am just SOOOOOOOO excited about:

I've been wanting to make a product like this for a long time, and I finally got around to designing some pages and trying it out with some of my struggling writers this past school year. I spent the first few days of my summer break (while my own children were still in school!) putting it all together and getting it up in my store.

Basically these are Interactive Writer's Notebook pages. There are over 60 pages that can be glued into a student's writer's notebook to give your kids a little "creative nudge." (Note: if your students do not use writer's notebooks, you can just print the pages and staple them together.) I love these because I so often have students who lack writing motivation/inspiration. They hate when I tell them what to write about, but also struggle to get their act together when I tell them they can write about anything they want.
These pages allow students to have some creative choice, but then also the structure and support they need to get their words on the page. (And I cannot stress enough how much fun all the doodley clip art makes writing!) They were a big hit with 7th graders, especially my boys who are a few years below grade level in their writing.

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So, that's what I've been up to!! How about you? Have you started break yet? Maybe your break is at a different time than ours? I'd love to hear from you!!

Happy Teaching!!

P.S. I will be on vacation for the rest of June, but come back and visit me in July and check out my FREEBIE writing lesson plans :)

Thursday, June 2, 2016

I'm Still Here!!

But, I've just been sooooooo darn busy!! With the end of my school year, my husband's school year, and my kids' school year quickly approaching, I'm spent!! Ahhhh!! My blogging is definitely behind!

Anyway, I have such a love/hate relationship with June... LOVE all the end-of-year festivities! HATE all the end-of-year paperwork! LOVE that summer break is almost here! HATE saying good-bye to my kiddos. LOVE beach days! HATE spending a great deal of my summer preparing food and cleaning my kitchen (how do four little children eat so much?!?).

Anyway, I don't have much today, except for some news!

This summer, I'll be teaching writing to our incoming 7th graders for our district's summer learning program. All of these students will be in my 2016-2017 class, so the lessons that I do with them will need to be brand-new and something that I won't be using during the school year.

That means that I'll need to be creating a whole bunch of all new Writer's Notebook lessons.

I've decided to base those lessons around some of my favorite mentor texts:


In my opinion, picture books make some of the best mentor texts for young writers. I've got some really great lesson ideas in mind and I just wanted to let you know that as summer progresses, I plan to share each and every lesson with you FOR FREE right here on the blog!! EEKK!! I'm so excited!!

So, for the next two weeks, I'll be dealing with all the end-of-year hoopla, so I may be a bit quiet, but stay tuned for a super-exciting July soaked with lots of great FREEBIE lessons that you can use in your upcoming school year!

Hope the end of the year is treating you all well!!

Happy Teaching!!