Sunday, January 31, 2016

Sharing Sundays - Planning for Perimeter and Area 3rd - 5th Grade

This is the time of year that I like to really focus on Perimeter and Area.  Even if I have taught the standards previously, this is a great review.  Why do I like doing perimeter and area at this time of year? Well I get to teach and review a lot of standards!

- Adding of greater numbers
- Adding with multiple addends
- Shape review
- Critical thinking
- And of course the obvious perimeter and area

Here are a few lessons, freebies, books and blog posts to help you teach perimeter and area.  Just click on the image to access a PDF file.  Download the file and you can click each link you want.

Head back to the Primary Peach for MORE February fun and freebies.
Happy Teaching!

Friday, January 29, 2016

Weekly Notes for January 29 (Books, Freebies, Lesson Plans, and More)


Book of the week
The current Newbery Award Winner and a Caldecott Honor Book!  Wow, what a book. This is a great book that can be used so many different ways.  The details in this book! This is a great text to use in getting students to dive deeper into descriptions.  You could also use this book to introduce any service projects your school or class may be participating. Last Stop on Market Street is one you can use again and again. 

Lesson of the week
Groundhog Day is approaching. Although it's not a holiday to take up a lot time, I love it. It makes me start the countdown to longer and warmer days. To help teach kids about Groundhog Day I like to use this Poetry Literacy Center. The kids get to have fun while learning.

Fabulous Friday Freebie
Are you still holding on to winter? If so, then check out these Snow Paired Texts created by Ideas By Jivey. She shared this awesome resource on the Primary Peach Blog.

Recipe of the Week
For Christmas my husband got me a bread machine. I have said for years I wanted to try to make my own bread. There is something weird about the way I buy a loaf at the store and a month later it is still hanging around with no mold on it. My daughter loves PBJ sandwiches and I cringe every time I give her a sandwich wondering what preservatives are in the bread. Now I don't have to worry because I know all of the ingredients going into the bread. I found this recipe on and after two tries (I read the helpful reviews and adding the vital wheat gluten, baked it on white bread setting, and used butter instead of shortening) and WOW! My two-year-old eats the bread by itself. It is that yummy. Check out this bread recipe!

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Click this Image to Pin for Later. 

Saturday, January 23, 2016

3 Books You Need to Read Right Now

The past 7 months I have learned so much about writing, creating, and marketing.  I feel like I got a business degree without the guidance of a syllabus.  After months of feeling like my list was growing longer and my mind was racing out of control, I was led to these 3 books.  If you are looking for finding creativity, learning how to connect with others in business, and wanting to find a way out of that giant to-do-list, then you have to read these 3 books.

1. Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert
This book spoke to me from the first sentence.  I felt like Elizabeth Gilbert was sitting beside me on the couch coaching me through my need for perfection and my fear of not having perfect words.  I love that she says that creativity doesn't have to be something you are great at and it doesn't have to reach the masses.  I love creating and I feel that I have to be perfect for people to want it. I love the freedom of just being able to create for myself.  No perfection, no marketing, just plain old creating for the fun of it!

2. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
I am horrible at walking into new situations,  horrible at small talk with the cashier at a store, and horrible about starting conversations with strangers. I don't know where this fear came from, how id developed, or why it still haunts me at 39.  But, this book helped me realize how much I am on the right track.  What gets stuck in my head is the right thing to say.  I care deeply about other people, but I am always afraid that I will offhandedly offend someone.  I now know why this book has been popular for almost a century.  I just comes down to making others feel important.  A simple smile, a kind word, a nice note.

3. Make it Happen by Lara Casey
So I am sticking with this theme of getting over being perfect.  And this book pushed that issue as well.  I love the freedom of perfect.  That freedom has allowed me to write 23 posts in 23 days and freed me from the fear of pushing publish.  Honestly, what horrible thing could happen?  I write a bad sentence, I miss a word, yep that isn't what a publisher or editor wants, but right now my goal is to write and put my words out in the universe.  Lara Casey has dealt with the demons of being perfect many times.  Her advice is amazing and her tips on tackling a to-do list are life and time-saving!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Weekly Notes for January 22 (Books, Freebies, Lesson Plans and More)

Happy Friday everyone! This week has been a whirlwind of a week. I am always amazed at how a 4-day week can seems crazier and busier than a 5-day week. I hope you have weekends filled with joy and time to relax and enjoy.

Book of the Week
A fabulously woven tale about a boy and his sick grandfather. A belief in magic leads this mystery in discovering the miracle that can save Micah and his grandfather. This is definitely one that your fantasy lovers will enjoy.

Lesson of the week
This week I am looking at Perimeter. This is one of those measurement lessons where you get to review your addition strategies in combination with geometry and measurement. This blog post will give you examples to use in your classroom, along with a practice page download, and a suggested performance assessment.

Fabulous Friday Freebie
This Winter Coloring Book by Krista Wallden is fabulous. It has saved me on cold, rainy days. And my kiddos have something to color other than my walls and floors.

Pin of the Week
I have been working on mastering and creating pins. Here is my newest update on my Poetry Unit.

Recipe of the Week - Seaton Sunday Chicken from Once A Month Meals
A Sunday night repeat in our house. This recipe is perfect for a clean eating night and Monday leftovers. The original recipe for this called for soy sauce and we still use that to combine with the mustard. This chicken is so tender. I like to add carrots, an onion, and small potatoes around the chicken to add to the meal. This one is great for cooking with my kids. They love to help add the veggies and create and pour the sauce.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

5 Podcasts to Motivate and Inspire Creativity

Are you feeling a little bogged down.  So many ideas but you don't know where to start or afraid to take the leap?  Well, let these 5 podcasts inspire you!

1. Magic Lessons with Elizabeth Gilbert
I love, love, love this one. The first two episodes were so current in my life.  I felt like they were broadcast just for my ears.  This podcasts goes with Elizabeth Gilbert's new book Big Magic.  I will talk more about this in my next post.  If you want inspiration to create something new, then these podcasts are just what you need to get over the fear and just create.

2. Amy Porterfield
Amy Porterfield is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to social media. She is an expert at list building and Facebook.  And what she isn't an expert at, she has lots of friends and guests who are experts.  Each episode is full of ideas for increasing your business potential and there is a freebie to download and use right away.  Her soothing voice is calming, yet inspiring.

3. Smart, Passive Income with Pat Flynn
This is my newest podcast and I like how Pat Flynn seems so down to earth. He has a wide range of guests on his show and each one feels like a conversation with friends.  He doesn't hide any facts from his successes and failures and the honesty makes me feel a more personal connection.

4. The Tim Ferriss Show
From Kevin Costner to tips on better sleep, Tim Ferriss has you covered on ways to be more productive in less time.  His book the 4-Hour Work Week is a huge success.  After following him on Instagram, I realized he has figured out the work/life balance.  A model for success and a voice of reason.

5. Angela Watson's Truth for Teachers
She has taken Teachers Pay Teachers and turned it into so many things.  Her podcasts are current topics that any teacher could relate to and her ideas are easy to implement.  A great model and teacher to use to inspire yourself and others.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Weekly Notes for January 15 (Books, Freebies, Lesson Plans and More)

This week was full of excitement - from the National Championship game (hate my tigers lost) to the announcement of the ALA book awards. An interesting twist this year was that a picture book Last Stop on Market Street won the Newbery Award!  Yes, I know I should be featuring the winner this week, but I decided to share the book I had picked to win, Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan.  (This book did win a Newbery Honor). 

Book of the week
Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan

I feel in love with this book from the first page. I usually do with Pam Munoz Ryan books but this one more so than the others. The intertwining stories take you through such different points of view of the rise of Hitler and the Great Depression. As the story progresses I miss the characters who have passed. This is definitely a read aloud for fifth grade. Love! Love! Love!

Lesson of the week - Poetry terms
Testing time is getting near and poems always make it on the test. Take some time to review or teach the important poetry terms and standards. Here is a great blog post with the information you need, plus a free poetry book to use in your classroom.

Fabulous Friday Freebie AND Pin of the Week
Need tools to help teach synonyms? This pin was one of my highest repins this month. The free synonyms lesson by Jen Bradshaw is a great tool to use in your classroom.

Recipe of the Week
The White Chicken Chili from Marty’s Musings is a staple in our household! My two-year-old loves it. It takes 10 mins to prep in the slow cooker and 4 hours later dinner is ready! Some corn bread with a little cheese added is a great side. A little sour cream and cheese on top is the perfect addition, but isn't needed especially is you are going eating clean.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

5 Social Studies Writing Prompts that Get Kids Thinking

When you are rushing through your science standards at this time of year, take some time to check for student understanding. I know that time is closing in, you have way more to teach than time left in the day. Let students demonstrate their understanding with these writing prompts. These are great ways to integrate subjects and easy the "time" worry.

What would life be like if the British had won the American Revolution?

Describe what life would be like if the civil war has caused a permanent separation of the north and south.

How would life be different if cars had not been invented? Would you travel as much?

Pick a war you have learned about this year. Write a journal entry as if you are a soldier in that war. Add details based on what you have learned.

Pick a community service member (firefighter, police officer, etc). Write a journal entry decrying a day in your life.

Monday, January 11, 2016

4 Ways to Run a Calm and Successful Writer's Workshop

Follow me on Pinterest for more Writer's Workshop Ideas.

Want more ideas on running a Writer's Workshop?  Check out these items below for more.
(Click on each image to learn more.)



Friday, January 8, 2016

Weekly Notes for January 8 (Freebies, Books, Lessons, and More!)

I am so looking forward to this year. After a few years of fearing the page I have decide to buckle down and get over that fear. One of the poems from the January A Poem Each Week is Life Doesn't Frighten Me by Maya Angelou. I am not going to fear the page and when people ask me what I do I will tell them that first I am a mom and second I am a writer. A writer of children's stories and writer to inspire and make the lives of teachers easier.

Book of the week
What a fabulous book! The images draw readers in and this wordless picture book provided so much detail that my two-year-old could tell the story to me as he flipped through the beautiful pages. This is one I hope to see a Caldecott sticker on soon!

Lesson of the week
Creating character is one of the first things students should so when planning a fiction piece. Watch this video and download this handout for ideas on helping student create strong characters.

Fabulous Friday Freebie
The January Edition of A Poem Each week is ready to download. This month focuses on four poems to promote higher level thinking and having students make connections to the text. Poems you will need for this month:
(found in the book My Hippo Has the Hiccups)
January by John Updike
Life Doesn't Frighten Me by Maya Angelou

Pin of the week
I have spent a lot of time lately reading about testing and assessing.  I loved this article by Mandy's Tips 4 Teachers about getting control of student assessments. 

Recipe of the Week
For New Years this year we wanted something warm and cozy. I fixed this white bean and ham soup that I found at Sweet and Simple and a Dash of Crazy. Since I am a little superstitious I added a few collard greens to bring money in the new year.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Sharing Sunday - Planning for Testing

I am teaming up with The Primary Peach to bring you the January Edition of Sharing Sunday. This month I am helping you plan for standardized testing.  

It took about 10 years of teaching to realize I need to really jump the ball on preparing for standardized testing.  I would feel the crunch as faculty meetings were filled with testing information and the date of the test drew closer.  I finally realized that January was a great place for me to start getting my students ready for testing.  

As a result of starting early, I found that we were all less stressed and were ready to dive in the first day of testing.  My students had ample time to reflect and ask questions so as the days drew closer my test anxiety kids were happier and my students who waited until the day of the test to ask questions that I couldn’t answer asked questions earlier.  

Below you will find reading and math resources, freebies, and blog posts geared toward 3rd grade testing standards. (These can be adapted to meet other grade level standards.) Click on the image to download the PDF that contains all of the links.

Sneaking these test prep activities in your lessons in January, will give students extra time to use these skills on their classroom assessments as well.

Head back to the Primary Peach for MORE January fun and freebies.