Thursday, September 28, 2023

Fall Themed Book Report: I'm Nuts About This Book!

 Fall is my favorite time of the year and so I always look for ways to bring it into my classroom. 

                         We have been working on learning all about the elements of a story. 

This prop and visual is my go to for reviewing these important elements before reading a fictional story.  I used one of those clapper hands to hot glue the pieces onto.  After summarizing using these elements we can clap for ourselves and the story!  Fun!

My kids have been getting so good at this skill!  After lots of discussion, we have now started writing simple book reports.  Students report on who the characters were, what the setting was, the conflict and the resolution.  There we go...a super simple summary!  I created this fall acorn template to add a bit of fall fun to it all!

It makes a great display and way for kids to share the books they are reading!

Our first one was a response to the super cute book: 
Squirrel's Busy Day. 

I liked this one because it has a very clear cut conflict and resolution.

You can find this "I'm Nuts About This Book Template" in my TPT store. 

Nuts About This Book Response

Happy Fall, Y'all!

Friday, March 10, 2023

A Super Simple Science Investigation: Candy Rainbow


It's not hard to get kids hooked on science when you incorporate experiments leaving them saying, 'WOW!"  This is one such investigation!  I like using this one while introducing the scientific process. 

Students learn that scientists work through a series of steps that include: Question, Hypothesis, Procedure, Observation and Conclusion.  They begin with thinking about Skittles and what might happen if warm water touches the candy.  We use our background knowledge as we think about what happens to this candy in our mouths.  What do our tongues look like after sucking on one in our mouths?  Students make a hypothesis.  I like giving students possible hypotheses to begin with while they are still learning how to make one themselves.  We always state these in When...then... statements.

Then we get into our science circles and conduct the experiment.  For this one, I want my kids close to the action so they can clearly see the result. 

Then students illustrate their observations and write a conclusion. 

I added this to my TPT store as a free resource. 

You can check it out here: 

Monday, January 2, 2023

Using the High Five Habit with Kids: Story and Activities to Encourage Perseverance

 Happy 2023!

Are you making resolutions? Setting intentions? 

My winter break has given me an opportunity to read for pleasure, and along with fiction, I love to invest time into nonfiction reading.  I am a self help junky and find myself picking books from this genre. I have recently read some books by Mel Robbins.  

Her new one is called The High 5 Habit. 

This book has a 4.8 rating on Amazon.
More than 2,000 people gave it high marks. 
Here is a snippet about the book: 

Imagine if you gave that same love and encouragement to yourself. Or even better, you made it a daily habit.

You'd be unstoppable.

In this book, Mel teaches you how to start high fiving the most important person in your life, the one who is staring back at you in the mirror: YOURSELF.

If you struggle with self-doubt (and who doesn't?) ...
If you're tired of that nagging critic in your head (could somebody evict them already?) ...
If you're wildly successful but all you focus on is what's going wrong (you're not alone) ...
If you're sick of watching everybody else get ahead while you sit on the couch with your dog (don't bring your dog into this) ...

...Mel dedicates this book to you.
The High 5 Habit is a simple yet profound tool that changes your attitude, your mindset, and your behavior. So be prepared to laugh and learn as you take steps to immediately boost your confidence, happiness, and results.

Does this resonate with you?  
It did with me. 
As teachers we are constantly encouraging and praising others, but rarely give this positive attention to ourselves. 
I found this book to be an interesting read and an easy habit to implement. 
You can read it yourself...
Click the link below:

As I was reading this book, my thoughts went to my kids. 
Would our students benefit from such a routine? 
Kids are struggling.  Many are behind and no one knows it and feels it more than they do. 
My kids are such rockstars.  They come in every day to do work that is HARD and it is easy to get frustrated.  I want them to know that with time and practice they can achieve.  More than anything, I can't have them give up. 
So I bought a mirror for my classroom and we will give the High 5 Habit with my kids. 

I wanted a way to introduce this new habit with my kids. 
I wrote a little story about a penguin named Polly who felt discouraged and embarrased because he couldn't do something all his friends could...he couldn't swim. 
He gets advice from Sammy the Snowman and gives himself a high 5 everyday. 
It takes time, but he doesn't give up and in the end, he achieves his goal. 

I have this story as a powerpoint slide show so I plan on reading the story with the students first and then will print out and put together booklets for kids to read a second time on their own or better yet, with a partner. 

I also created some follow up activities to use after reading. 
I created the This is what I'll do in 2022 with a hand print (high five) for the 0. 
I want my kids to pick something they want to work on just like Polly in the story. 
We can talk about how they need to give themselves time to learn. 
Then they can give themselves a high five when they enter the room each day. 

I have these in my TPT store if you are interested: 

How are you keeping your kids motivated and positive? 
Would love to hear!
Comment or email at

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Writing Through the Curriculum: Snowflake Adventures

I think all kids should learn how to make a paper snowflake...don't you? 
It's just one of those childhood memories that I have held onto.  
We would make a ton of them, big and small, detailed and simple.  It was great fun. 
I wanted to relive this joyful activity with my class so I came up with a way to integrate snowflake crafting,writing, and science. 

First we made snowflakes.  Many of my kids had never done it before. 
Now they are hooked and want to make an endless number of them!
We choose our favorite and turned it into a character for a story we were about to write. 
We added eyes, mouth two arms and some mittens. 

Our snowflake characters were ready to go on an adventure!
We reviewed our learning about the water cycle and how snowflakes are formed. 
We recorded this on our brainstorming sheets. 

We decided to write an adventure story about our snowflakes in three parts. 
The first scene would have the snowflake falling from the sky. 
The second scene the snowflake would land. 
And finally, in the third scene, he would melt and evaporate...up he would go!

Students drew three pictures detailing what would happen in their stories. 

In  this one, the snowflake landed on the wing of an airplane!

This snowflake never did melt and got made into snowcream, placed in the fridge and made friends with the milk and baby bottles!

Before actually writing down the story, students met with a writing partner to tell their stories. 
We call this the oral rehearsal.  It gives students a chance to think through their entire story and get feedback from a peer before writing.  This step really helps my young writers. 

Then students were ready to write!

They loved seeing their writing displayed and enjoyed reading each others!

I have added the materials for this lesson to my TPT store. I threw in a bonus snow poem and nonfiction passage and question set about snow too. 
You can check it out here: 

Water Cycle and Winter Writing: The Adventures of a Snowflake

Please visit me at my new Youtube channel!
I will be sharing more activites there!

Happy Writing!

Sunday, February 28, 2021

A Look into My Hybrid Classroom

Wow, a lot of time has passed since I last wrote on this blog! 
Covid has definitely forced all of us to pivot and adapt to a new way of teaching and learning.  
Like most, I had to figure out a way to teach kids virtually.
Now we are back in the classroom in the hybrid model and it's back to the drawing board as we try to figure out the best way to instruct kids who are at home AND at school. Those who are not educators  can not fully grasp just how overwhelming this year has been.  
Nonetheless, I am so grateful that I get to teach some of my students face to face each day. 
It has inspired me and has renewed my spirit. 
I want to document this transition and so here I am blogging once again after a long while. 
I hope you will join me as I try to make the most of the time I have left with my kids. 
They have been through a lot and we are all SO excited to be back!

There have been many changes to be made in the actual physical environment of my classroom. 
Come take a look: 

Desks are no longer grouped in table teams, instead we are spacing desks 6 feet apart.
This allows kids space next to, and behind their desk to get up and take a physical break or sit on the floor if they want to get out of their chair.  
Students are expected to spend the majority of the day in their "learning zone". 
They are doing remarkably well with this!
A laundry basket beside their desk gives them a place to put their bookbag, lunchbox and coat. 

Instead of using the coat hooks for coats, they now hold math manipulatives for each child. 
Base ten blocks, dice, counting chips, etc. have been placed in gallon sized bags labeled with each child's name. 

We have not been able to use math manipulatives as I would have liked to when teaching virtually.  
I will be sure to give kids lots of time with these as we move into our last grading period. 

Because my kids are sharing a desk with another child, they keep materials in these green trays. 
I found these at the dollar store and they fit exactly into their desks. 
Kids keep them in their desks for the two days they are in school and then place them back in their cubby.  Desks are deep cleaned in between groups. 

I am streaming in kids virtually for part of the day. 
I use this computer on top of a rolling cart so I can stay mobile as I teach both face to face and virtual kids at the same time. 
This is a challenge but we are figuring out how to make this work. 

Another addition has been these rubber mats that my kids use to get out of their chairs. 
Kids can sit or lay on these during some work times and for independent reading time. 

Kids all have their own, put we also can easily sanitize them down with spray and wipes between uses. 

These little rockers from Walmart are also a big hit with my kids. 
They can earn the right to use one once in awhile. 
I am on the look out for seating that can be easily sanitized.
These are perfect for another kind of book nook!

     Finally, my kids are all masked through most of the day.  
Again, they have adapted beautifully to this and are doing a great job.

Although it has taken time and effort to figure out how to transition back into the class, 
I am so grateful to be back again. 

Are you back in the classroom? 
How have you adapted?  I'd love to hear how it is going for you!
email me



Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Remote Teaching with Video Tutorials and Practice Pages: Math Problem Solving with CUBES

Hello Friends!
It's been a while since I have posted anything and what a different world we live in!
How are you managing?
Have you jumped enthusiastically into your role as a remote teacher or are you dragging yourself through it each day? 
I will say this has been a learning experience for me!  

We are closed down for the rest of the year so the challenge is how to teach and review important concepts before I send these kiddos to the next grade level. 
One focus for me must be those power standards. Those real life skills that are necessary but sometimes challenging to teach and to learn. 

We are sending home a weekly learning slide show.  
It includes daily lessons in each subject area. 

For math, we are also sending home review problems to keep already taught skills sharp. 

Problem solving is one of those power standards. 
This year we used the CUBES strategy with good success. 
Before using this strategy, my students would read a problem and immediately announce, "I don't get it!"  Now I'll reply with, "Did you use CUBES?"
The CUBES strategy helps students break down a math story problem. 
The letters in the word CUBES remind students of what good problem solvers focus on when solving story problems. 
It goes like this: 

I created a video tutorial for my students to watch to review what we learned in the classroom. 

I can send this link through a Google Classroom or even through Class DoJo. 
Being able to see and hear the strategy in action was so helpful to my students and parents! 
Then, I can send them the problem solving pages to work on and they can practice using CUBES themselves. 

Here is the video tutorial:

Are you trying to review good math problem solving strategies? 
You can find this set in my Teacher Pay Teacher Store: 

Problem Solving With the CUBES Strategy - Great for Remote Learning

You can find the video tutorial along with some others here: 

I'd love to hear how you are adjusting to your new teaching role during this challenging period of time! Wishing you the best!

Comment or email me @