Monday, December 14, 2015

December What Are You Reading? Linky!

My 5th graders love when I read to them. I think they love picture books even more. I started incorporating more picture books into the curriculum a few years ago when I started using mentor sentences by Ideas by Jivey. Once I started using them, I was hooked. Not to mention my kids love it. I love that she includes holiday/seasonal picture books into her units. This week we will be reading The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg. It is such a magical book. Even if the students have read it before, they do not mind hearing it again.

Head on over to Focused on Fifth to see what the other teachers are reading.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Unwrapping the Holidays: Seasonal Stories

There are so many wonderful holiday stories and so little time.  One of my favorite holiday novels is The Best Christmas Pageant Ever. 

This is such a great story and my students always find it hysterical. I also love using this freebie from Nicole Shelby.
She has a great form for the students to keep track of the characters. I use it for the students to document character traits of the characters and site evidence to back it up. There is also a great Sticky Note Summary sheet. The students summarize each chapter on a Post-It note. It's a great way to help them keep the summary short.

Just before we head out on vacation, I pass out candy canes and we watch the movie version of the novel.
This version is a super cute made-for-tv movie starring Loretta Swift as the mom. It follows the book pretty closely and is just under an hour long. It's a great way to end the last day before the holiday break. You can get a copy of the movie here. I use the movie every December. It was definitely worth purchasing.

Now hop on over and check out what the other bloggers have to share.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Unwrapping the Holidays: Teacher's Little Helper

One of my first holiday products that I created is this cute little elf. I use it every year with my students. It's a great way to review order of operations. 

 I also created a page so your students can show their work.

If you are interested in purchasing this product (It's only $1) you can click any of the pictures above or here and it will bring you to the product.
Now go check out all the other holiday products these other bloggers are sharing.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Pick 3: December Pinterest Linky!

Who doesn't need some inspiration to get through those last days before the holiday break? I am once again joining PAWSitively Teaching  and and Inspired Owl's Corner for their Pick 3 Linky.
Check out this adorable way to bring the holidays into your classroom and teach poetry at the same time.
Click the image to see original pin

It's a Poet-Tree! 
How cute are these water bottles? My students would love to find these on their desk just before the holidays.

Click the image to see original pin

I am always looking for holiday crafts that my students can make. These craft stick ornaments are perfect.
Click the image to see original pin

Be sure to check out all the great ideas on all the blogs below.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Unwrapping the Holidays - Holiday Themed Math

The holidays are a wonderfully crazy time of year. It's also the time of year when we have finally hit our stride in the classroom. The student know the expectations and are up for a challenge. It is not a time of year when we want to slow down. If anything we need to pick up the pace. At the same time. we want to enjoy this special time of year. 
One of my favorite activities to do with my students in math class is the Holiday Math Tree. It's a simple Christmas tree with eight ornaments on it. You can use it for almost any math topic you teach in December. 

This year I will use it to assess my students understanding of adding and subtracting decimals. The students will pick a decimal from the hat and write it in the star. The example below shows 1.2. The students are then required to fill in the ornaments by creating 4 addition and 4 subtraction problems that equal the amount in their star. The students put their name on the trunk of the tree. 

You could also use it to show off their knowledge of fractions. Have the students put a fraction in the star and then have them fill the ornaments with equivalent fractions or addition/subtraction problems that equal the fraction in the star.
 Then have the students color and cut out their trees. It makes for a festive display.

Would you like a copy of my Holiday Math Tree? You can get it here for free!

If you download it, I would love if you would leave a comment below and let me know how you plan to use the Holiday Math Tree in your classroom.

Now check out all the other amazing ideas from the bloggers below.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Holiday Product for Payday!

It's that time again. Each month, those of us at Focused on Fifth share a product just in time for payday. This month it is also just in time for the TpT sale. On Monday and Tuesday my entire store will be on sale for 20% off. Use the code SMILE at check out and get an additional 10% off.

This month I am featuring my Holiday Numerical Expressions Task Cards. I just gave this product of little facelift. I am so happy with how it came out.

Student match the words with the corresponding numerical expression. An answer key is provided so students can self correct. There is also a record sheet to use in a center.
The cards can also be used as a memory game if you choose.
The set comes in black and white for easy printing.
Interested in purchasing this activity? You can find it here.
What's on your wish list? What have you been waiting to purchase? Can't decide, hop on over to Focused on Fifth to see what the other bloggers are highlighting this month. I am sure you will find some great must-haves.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


Have you heard about Bloomz!

It's a great education app that I started using this year to stay connect with the parents in my homeroom. Are you interested in finding out more? Head over to Focused on Fifth and read about all the amazing things this app has to offer to teachers.

Monday, November 16, 2015

A Cornucopia of Teacher Tips

I am so excited for this blog hop! I am always looking for new/better ideas to make my life as a teacher easier. Check out the idea that has saved me hours.

One of the common practices of my 5th grade team as well as many others in our school is to require the students to get their graded assessments signed by a parent. This is a great idea. It insures that the student is sharing their assessments with their parents/guardians. But when you teach math to 60 - 70 students plus teach ELA to your homeroom, you are giving and returning some sort of assessment every week. I not only felt like I was always collecting signed assessments but I was constantly chasing kids down that hadn't passed back their test. I was going crazy! It felt like such a time suck. It needed to stop.

My solution - labels!

Every student is given an agenda book on the first day of school. The parents are encouraged to check them each night and some teachers require them to be signed each night or weekly.
At Open House I inform the parents that although the other 5th grade teachers require tests to be signed,  I do not. I let them know that on the day I pass back an assessment a label is put in their child's agenda stating which assessment has been passed back. I let the parents know that they should be checking their child's agenda each night or at the very least weekly.

My labels look like this.

It says: Mrs. Quinn passed back my NBT.4 assessment today. Ask me how I did.

I use these Avery labels.
This is my second year using this and it has been great. I haven't had one parent complain (hope I am not jinxing it) and it has saved me so much time! This year I even had a parent donate in a huge box of labels. Talk about a gift I can use!

Now continue the hop by heading over to Liz at the Big Kids Hall.

Monday, November 9, 2015

What Are You Reading? November

Today I am sharing an oldie by goodie. My class and I are reading Frindle.
For those of you that don't know the story, Frindle is about a boy named Nick who may or may not be a trouble maker. Nick's language arts teacher inspires him to think about "Who says a pen has to be called a pen? Why not call it a frindle? And so his best plan ever begins which starts a "war" with his teacher. 

My students love this novel. It sets off a great debate each year as to whether Nick is a trouble maker or not. The students get so committed to their view that they dive into the novel to find evidence to support their point of view.

As we finish up this novel this month I am trying something new. I am going to have my students create their own "product" to market. I got the idea from Intermediate Antics.  You can get the freebie here.

What are you reading? Head over to Focus on Fifth and link up with us. We would love to hear all about it. Also, don't forget to see what the other 5th grade teachers are reading.

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