Friday, May 19, 2017

The End of the Year is Approaching!!

Here we are, Ladies and Gentlemen!! Down to 16 days left in the school year! To say my schedule is packed would be an understatement. Of those 16 days, three of them are all-day kid events, 2.5 of them will be professional days for me, and one is the last of school/yearbook signing. 


I'm exhausted just thinking about it! Oh, and I am also moving classrooms, so add to that: PACKING!!

Anyway, my posts will likely be few and far between for the rest of May and June. But, I'll be back in full-swing during July and August when I'll be sharing all my lessons that I've created for our summer learning program. Everyone seemed to love the series I did last summer, so I've decided to bring it back with all new writing lesson plans that use mentor texts.

I think this summer we are going to write our autobiographies in the form of a picture book and I'm checking out the books below to use for mentors. Stay tuned for those lessons!!

If you are on Instagram, I've teamed up with some amazing secondary teachers to create of quick, easy, and free gifts for big kids. Just search #EOYGiftsforBigKids and you'll find some great stuff to make this time of year a bit easier!

Here is my contribution:

Lastly, I've got a little self-promoting to do. I've been using the project for the longest time, and in all seriousness, it is a life-saver!! For real! This project keeps my antsy, tired, almost eighth graders focused until the very last day. And that, Friends, is simply priceless!!

Grab yourself a copy of this resource today and I promise you won't be disappointed!!

Alright, Folks! If you are already finished for the year, CONGRATS! And if you are still counting down the days, HANG IN THERE! Hopefully this summer will be a time of rest and recharging so we can return in the fall fresh and ready to educate tomorrow's future!!

Monday, May 8, 2017

Interactive Anchor Posters

Ladies and Gentlemen... I've got something so AWESOME to share with you!!

THIS, my friends, is an Interactive Anchor Poster and it is the ANSWER to those of you that love the philosophy behind Interactive Student Notebooks (ISNs), but have no time for all that cutting and gluing!

If you've read my blog, then you know that I am a huge fan of the ISN. I've used them for years and I cannot express enough how much I believe they help my students in the classroom. Of course, there is boat-loads of research that support their use (just ask Siri), but beyond the "research," I've watched their effectiveness with my very own eyes for a long, long time.

One of the biggest complaints that I've heard from fellow teachers over the years is that they take a lot of time... and a lot of cutting... and a lot of gluing... did I mention a lot of time?!? And, they do. There is no way around it. Typically the kids need to cut, and then glue, and then fill the organizer in, and then color. But, again, it's so worth it!

Anyway, next year, my schedule is changing. We are shifting around teams and times and periods. Loooong story short, my ELA time is getting cut... by almost 20 minutes! In playing around with my plans for next year, I came to the conclusion that something needs to go from my current lesson plans... something that is not part of the curriculum (because I have to teach that!)... and for me, that something is likely going to be my precious ISN.

Knowing that there was NO WAY I could totally give up my favorite tool, I started to think about ways to get around all the cutting and gluing. How could I get kids to still work with the interactive organizers, getting all the "good stuff" they have to offer, in a quicker, easier (re: less cutting and gluing) way?

The answer? These anchor charts!

So basically, these anchor posters are big versions of the interactive foldable organizers that we put in our notebooks. This allows the teacher to create them (saving time!) and the kids to use them during lessons.

Above, you can see some of my students working with the Plot Elements poster during their book club meeting. I had made five of these posters and laminated them. Then, I gave one to each book club and let them fill it in with a dry erase marker. This allows them to get the benefit of using the organizer without having to make it themselves. And since they used a dry erase marker on the laminated poster, they can just erase after they finish and I can use the poster again!

Oh, my! I think this are truly going to!

These posters are available in my TpT store. I won't lie, they do take some work to put together.

First, you need to print the pages and trim them.

Then, you need to tape them together to make a 16" x 20" poster. (Then laminate!)

Next, you need to prep the "foldable" parts. (I laminated these parts after I colored them.)

And then secure the foldable parts to the poster. (If you are dealing with laminated pieces, you will want to use hot glue or packing tape to secure them together).

It does take time, but look at how nice!! And again, if you laminate them and use a dry erase marker to write then you can use them year after year!

Another way that I plan to use them is to give the students all the pages in a packet and have them color and assemble their own. They can use their reader's workshop books to fill in the information. It will make a nice alternative to a book report or reader's response activity. Wouldn't these just look so beautiful all completed and hanging in the hallway!?! Gah!! I can't wait!!

So, these are my latest creation... and they will be 28% off for the next two days during the TpT sale, so now is the time to pick them up! I'm so curious to hear what you think?

Currently I have three posters available:

What others would you like to see? I'm thinking some comprehension organizers and definitely some for nonfiction.

Go shop the TpT sale! Don't forget promo code THANKYOU17.