Fluency redo and a great giveaway!

Do....you....have....students....in....your.....class....who..... need....to....work....on....fluency?  I do!  We work on phrasing during guided reading groups and then I send students back to their seats with a Phrase Jar and a sand timer.  Students love playing this game, something about timing yourself that makes anything fun!  When I first opened my TPT/TN stores last summer I made three Phrase Jar packets.  These worked fine but weren't very exciting so I decided to give my Phrase Jars a make-over and combine them into one product.

I had to get out my medium jars for this activity.  It has 200+ phrase cards in it so the smaller jars didn't quite work.  You can check out the preview below or head over to my TpT store or TN store to  see it.

Also, Olivia at Liv to Teach is having a huge 1,000 Followers on TpT giveaway!  She has a total of 5 giveaway packages.  Head over to her blog to enter!

Need ideas for indoor recess?

Are you just about ready to pull your hair out from the craziness of indoor recess? I am!  We haven't been outside for weeks and chances are we won't get to go out much this week either.  After a little brainstorming this week, I came up with the idea of a "Recess in a Jar".  The jar comes with 21 activities for indoor recess.  The activities can be done in small groups or whole class.  I made one jar for each of the six tables in my classroom.  I can't wait to try the jars out with my students tomorrow!
The packet is now listed in my TpT store and TN store.  Click on the picture below to see a preview of everything included.

Five for Friday

TGIF!!  Why is it that short weeks are always the longest??  I'm happy it's Friday and I'm to be linking up with Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday Linky Party.
1. I love quotes (and you can quote me on that)!  I especially love inspirational quotes.  I found this quote on Pinterest not too long ago.  It really motivates me and I love the colors.  I decided to have it printed and put in a frame for the painted table in front of my classroom.  It looks perfect!

2. Raise your hand it you're tired of indoor recess (my hand is raised!).  First graders were very easy to entertain during the long winter months of indoor recess.  I had a tub of Hot Wheels for the boys and a tub of Littlest Pet Shop toys for the girls.  Indoor recess can be tough with 3rd graders!  They're bigger and louder than my first graders ever were.  This week I was at my wits end with indoor recess and decided to do something about it!  I'm in the process of making a "Recess in a Jar" product.  It's almost finished and will have around 20 easy and fun activities for indoor recess time.  My plan is to make one for each of the six tables in my classroom.  Hopefully this will bring some order to recess time!

3.  I saw the cutest knit blazer (on Pinterest of course) and knew I had to have it.  I was pleasantly surprised that it was from Old Navy!  Usually when I see  an article of clothing that I love online it is way out my price range.  Not this one!  Old Navy was having a sale and I got it for less than $30!  I think it will go with so many outfits.

4.  On Wednesday my youngest daughter won the City-wide Spelling Bee!  She worked so hard studying the hundreds of words on the spelling bee list.  You can tell by the HUGE smile on her face that she was thrilled!!!

5. And #4 leads to #5...  My husband is all about extrinsic motivation.  Not me,  the teacher in me believes that children need to be motivated from within to be successful in life.  Anyway, he told Payton that he would buy her a puppy if she won the spelling bee (our 13 year old golden retriever passed away two years ago).  I just smiled and said sure because I really didn't think, ok I'll say it.. she'd win!  Needless to say, this is where we were after school today...
They are adorable!  We will find out this weekend if we get one of the two boys in the litter.   If so, I have until early March to prepare myself.

Thanks for reading about my week!  Enjoy your weekend!

Reading comprehension activities

I mentioned in an earlier post that the reading program at my school is Reading Street from Pearson.  Each week we teach or review a different comprehension strategy and skill.  Students are then tested on these  skills during their weekly test.  Comprehension is always the area where they have the most trouble.  I have anchor charts in my classroom to provide a resource for the weeks that certain skills/strategies aren't our focus.  Some students are still having trouble, so I decided to make workstation jars for the areas that seemed to be the most troublesome.  I just finished two of the jars over the weekend.  They are comparing/contrasting and cause/effect.  I have several in the works but the one I'm having the most trouble with (and the one students have the most trouble with- go figure) is generalization.  What activities do you do in your classroom to help teach generalization?

Here are the my two latest jars...
Compare and Contrast Jar
Students choose a card with two items on it.  Next, they brainstorm ways these items are the same and ways they are different.  Included are three graphic organizers for students to record their answers.

Cause and Effect Jar
Students choose a card and decide if it was the cause or the effect.  Next, they brainstorm causes or effects for the card and record their answers on one of the six provided graphic organizers.

Fabulous Finds and a Giveaway!

I'm linking up with Christy and Tammy at Fluttering Through First Grade for their Fabulous Finds linky party.
Every time I go to Target I find a Fabulous Find!!  There isn't a Target in my town, so when I do make it to one I'm like a kid in a candy shop.  I head straight for the dollar spot.  This past weekend I found the CUTEST magnetic dry erase board eraser 2/$1.00!  How adorable are these??!!

They are so tiny, about the size of my thumb.  My students have been using fleece scraps to erase their boards.  Imagine how excited they'll be tomorrow to use an actual eraser!  Only problem is... they'll have to wait an extra two hours because we have a 2 HOUR DELAY!!!  The temp outside is supposed to be between -10 to -20 tomorrow morning.  It's not snow, but I'll take it!

I also want to let you know about Christi at Ms. Fultz's Corner is having a giveaway for her one year bloggy birthday.  Head over to her blog to enter!  I'm sure Christi is smiling this evening.  Her school is on a 2 hour delay tomorrow as well!

Five for Friday

I'm so excited it's Friday and to be linking up again with Kacey at Doodle Bugs Teaching for her Five for Friday linky party.
1. There goes my paycheck!  My youngest daughter got braces on Monday morning.
2. Four years ago my husband and I bought his parents' house.  It's a beautiful house with all the character of the 1920s.  However, our kitchen looks like it hasn't been touched since the '20s!  We stripped the old wall paper a few years ago and painted the walls yellow knowing that the kitchen would need a total overhaul in the coming years (when we're not paying for braces).  To make a long story short, I'm not a patient person.  I couldn't stand the faux marble backsplash with the large crack any longer.  We decided to do a quick renovation and replace the backsplash with faux tin.  I think it turned out very nice!
  3. My school hosted educators from China back in October.  They were very interested observing our style of teaching and we were very interested in hearing about their style.  Our principal announced at a staff meeting this week that our Chinese visitors would like a team of 10 educators to travel to China this summer and teach two weeks of English at their school, ALL EXPENSES PAID!!!  Of course I jumped at the chance to apply for this opportunity.  It will be a few weeks before I find out if I'm chosen.  Fingers crossed and hopefully there's more to come!!
4. I love clothing from Athleta!  Their running clothing is wonderful but I also like their line of dresses as well.  They are so comfortable to wear to work and look really cute.  I was thrilled to see that Athleta was having a clearance sale this week.  I ordered this dress...
The Cassidy dress arrived yesterday and I couldn't be happier.  In fact I was so happy that I immediately ordered it in another color as well.  You'll have to check out their Winter's Last Blast sale!
5.  Where is the snow????  I have to admit that I have been very jealous reading about all the snow days other bloggers are having this week.  It just doesn't seem right that we haven't had a bit of snow since we returned from Winter Break.  I mean this is Indiana, we are supposed to have snow days!!  I'm sure once the end of the school year gets here and we are not having to make up those missed days I'll be thrilled.  But right now I WANT SNOW!!!

Thanks for reading my random-ness from the week!!  Enjoy your three day weekend!

Want to join a giveaway???

I can't believe I'm so close to 400 followers!  I really want to do a giveaway with lots of goodies to celebrate this number.  If you would be interested in joining my 400 follower giveaway, please let me know by commenting below or sending me an email.  Thanks so much!!!

"Too Cute" Tuesday

I'm linking up with Heather at Lesson Planning Zone for "Too Cute" Tuesday!  Her linky gives bloggers a chance to showcase an item they've made.  I'm showcasing my newest item, my Genre Jar.
I made this item to help my students with recognizing the different reading genres.  The pack includes header cards for eight different genres (Realistic Fiction, Traditional Literature, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Historical Fiction, Informational, Biography and Autobiography) and 40 cards with text characteristics and clues for each genre.  Students sort each card into the correct genre.  You can take at look at it at my TpT store or TN store.
If you have an item that is "Too Cute" head over to Heather's blog to link up!!

Standardize Testing Question!! HELP!

In less than two months my 3rd graders will be taking our state's standardize test (ISTEP) for the first time.  It will be my first time giving the test!  My question is... how do you help your students prepare for standardized testing.  Of course, I hope that the near 100 days we've spent together will be preparation enough but I'm just not sure!  I believe that test taking is a genre itself.  I'm now rambling and my face looks like this...
I would appreciate any help, suggestions, resources, etc. that you think might help!!  Thanks so much!

Stomach flu, gas leak and fact or opinion

What do the stomach flu, gas leak and fact or opinion have to do with each other?  That was my day!!  I started feeling sick during the school day yesterday but stuck it out until the kids left.  I was really hoping it was all in my head.  No such luck!  I finally gave in, got a sub for today and went in to school last night at 9:00 pm.  (Possibly the worst thing ever... making sub plans while being sooo nauseous!)  Fast forward to this morning, my phone rings bright and early and it's the principal letting everyone know that there was a gas leak by our school so we were closed for the day.  What are the chances??  However, I am thrilled that I don't have to use my sick day or have to reel the kids back after a sub!  I am feeling much better and was able to finish the Fact or Opinion Jar that I've been working on for a while.  Each week my students have a different comprehension skill and strategy that they practice/review (we do Pearson Reading Street).  I hate that we are constantly switching concepts!  For this reason I decided to make work station jars for the skills/strategies that kids have the hardest time with so they could work on them for more than one week at a time.
Students will have this to look forward to on Monday.  I love adding a new activity to workstations!  I have the packet listed in my TpT store and TN store if you would like to have a look.  Here is the preview of everything in the packet.

Valentine's Day Writing Prompt... Jar of course

I finished my Valentine's Day Writing Prompt Jar and have it listed in my TpT and TN stores.  My students enjoyed the Halloween and Christmas prompt jars so much that I decided to add one for other big holidays.  I have a regular writing prompt jar but the holiday jars give students some new choices every few months.  Included in the packet is everything you need for making the jar (label, instructions), 32 writing prompts and writing paper templates.

Five for Friday (on Saturday)

Better late than never!  I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday!
1. Wednesday was our first day back after a VERY short Winter Break.  I was dreading the thought of going back but the 3 day week went super fast!  

2. I got a Silhouette Cameo for Christmas from my husband.  I love it!  I've yet to make anything for my classroom but did make all the decorations for our New Year's Eve party.
Here are the countdown candles I made for the party!!

If you don't have a Cameo, if HAVE to get one!!

I'm almost finished with my Valentine's Day Writing Prompt Jar.  I'm hoping to have it listed by Sunday evening.

4. I'm finally going to see Les Miserable tonight!!  I know this hasn't happen yet, but it was supposed to happen twice over break!  The first time I was supposed to go, we had a blizzard.  The second time, my friend got sick.  Fingers crossed that third time's a charm!  I saw the stage production in London 14 years ago and loved it!

5.  I bought my husband all four seasons of Modern Family on DVD for Christmas.  I really don't have too much time for t.v. during the week (I'm sure you can relate).  We finished the the last episode on New Year's Day.  That show is HILARIOUS!!  I can't wait to try and make time to watch it each Wednesday evening!

I'm looking forward to next Friday (or Saturday) to read all the Five for Fridays!  Head over to Doodle Bugs Teaching to link up!