Monday, February 23, 2015

Hey, Teacherheroes...

Yes, you. Teacher friends, TPT is launching a 2015 Teachers are Heroes sale on February 25th. Go ahead and load up your carts to save cash on classroom necessities and fun stuff! I'm already going through my wishlist and filling up my cart with goodies <3 I have to say, I love the support I get from other teachers as a blogger and a teacher seller, and it is just as good of a feeling to spend my money on classroom resources created by other teachers. {I love the thought of them hearing "cha-ching"! and getting that little happy feeling no matter how hard of a day they are having}.

I have made a ton of purchases this year, so I thought I would link up with Gena at Speech Room News for "What's in Your Cart" to share what should be in every 4th/5th grade teachers' carts--these are stores and products that have made my world so much easier this year as I transitioned to a new school and back down to 4th grade. (I really want to title this post Can't Live Without!!! resources!)

Concept Sorts:  A Set of 5 Fraction Sorts for Grades 4 and 5Anything from The Teacher Studio makes me happy these days, but I have especially found her Fraction Concepts Sorting Cards helpful. I have used these cards to launch our fractions unit--they are perfect for collaboration (I had students work in groups of 3); by listening to students' conversations and asking questions, I have really been able to see the depth of their understanding and heard misconceptions. As a bonus, students have been fully engaged! 
Fractured Fractions:  A Set of Puzzles to Teach DecomposinToday I picked up one of her latest products {Fractured Fractions: A Set of Puzzles to Teach Decomposing and Composing}, and am so excited to use it tomorrow! When I saw this activity (differentiated and all), I couldn't wait for a sale, I had to have it today!!
Of course, I can no longer run a math class without task cards. They make learning so engaging, and most of all, I find that students are more willing to ask for help when working with task cards versus a worksheet. Some of my go-to task card stores include Chili Math and Dennis McDonald (and my own of course ;) I find that Chili Math and Dennis McDonald's task cards ALWAYS provide a variety of levels of challenge. Chili Math is especially good at asking questions that require interesting applications of seemingly *simple* concepts, while Dennis McDonald always has extra goodies with his task cards like student handouts or smartboard displays, accompanying worksheets that can be used for fast finishers or as assessments, and the last product I bought also contained a spinner game!

Poetry: Mentor Poems for Teaching PoetryThis year, I wanted to implement Poetry Workshop again. I had a folder of poems (and tons of anthologies) that I planned to pull from. Planning for these lessons each and every week started to feel like I was spending way too much time trying to find poems using different literary devices. I decided to search TPT and boy am I glad I did! I found this set of Mentor Poems for Teaching Poetry compiled by Lorrie L. Birchall. This has helped me keep my poetry Friday's care free when it comes to planning. I just search  through the poems and print the section I want students to have for their poetry journals. 

In hopes of creating more accountability around our read aloud book and the discussions we have, I decided to implement written responses to open-ended questions. Through these questions, I am teaching students to tease out what kind of thinking the question really requires, how to decide on an appropriate graphic organizer for planning out their response and collecting evidence, and in turn improving their ability to respond to open-ended questions in written form. We are reading Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli, and this packet (HUGE) of questions and language arts focus activities for Maniac Magee has been a LIFE-SAVER for me! It's from Secondary Solutions. Secondary Solutions will be my go-to-store for future book studies! The sale is a great time to pick up one of their book sets; I fortunately had a parent gift card when I bought mine!

What's in my store that I can't live without?
My Morning Meeting Made Easy series have made my morning meeting so much easier! With everything planned out (linked resources, picturebook ideas, student journal pages, and the bulletin board display), morning meeting has never been easier for me! And, my students LOVe having these moments to connect and have conversations about the "real" stuff that matters in life!

Happy Shopping!

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