Thursday, July 31, 2014

How to effectively utilize Task Cards in your classroom

Task CardsNot too long ago I had no idea what a task card was or how it could effectively be utilized in the classroom. I did some research and what I found was that task cards were simply worksheets, broken down into individual questions posted onto cue cards and I wasn't really that impressed. I started thinking about what I could do to make task cards into an engaging, high energy review game. Since then I've started amassing a diverse supply of activities which are listed below. Elementary Mathematics: Area and Perimeter of Polygons Word Problems Converting between Decimals, Fractions and Percentages Decimals - Four Basic Operations Multiplication and Division Word Problems Fractions High School Mathematics: Solving Quadratic Equations Polynomials - Binomials and Trinomials System of Linear Equations Measurement of 3D Objects Science: Space - The Study of the Universe Biology: Cells and Body Systems Chemistry - Atoms, Compound Naming and Chemical Reactions


These Task Card resources are unique. They can be utilized in a clue gathering, puzzle solving, highly active and engaging activity and/or as an alternative to worksheet review in an individual or group setting.
These activities are 45 minutes of high energy, competitive engagement that sneaks in a lot of review even for those students who are usually against such things. Alternatively, you could utilize them within your math centers/stations or individually on an overhead for whole class review. Task Cards

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Island of the Blue Dolphins Map Project

4th-6th Grades

The descriptive language of Scott O'Dell helps students to visualize the setting in Island of the Blue Dolphins. Created by Tried and True Teaching Tools, students take notes on geographic land features while reading the novel, then sketch out a map of the island using their notes. This is a GREAT way to teach writing with detail and description, story setting, as well as involve those visual students! Student samples included.

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FREE LANGUAGE ARTS LESSON - “First Day of School Activity - What If Poem”

by Happy Edugator
1st - 5th Grade 

First Day of School Activity - What if Poem. Read the poem by Judith Viorst "The First Day of School" and then have students write their own "What if..." poem.

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

English Language Arts Idea - "Bulletin Boards with Brain Brawn"

By Connie Casserly
Grades 6-12

Bulletin Boards with Brain Brawn
Creating bulletin boards for secondary classes that are visually eye-catching, mentally stimulating and that build on the concepts promoted in the grade level’s Program of Studies can be difficult. The key is to create eye candy with mental muscle while showcasing existing lesson concepts through completed student work.
• Bulletin boards based on general concepts such as Read! Write! Think! leave room for a plethora of ideas while covering the basic components of Reading Comprehension, Writing, Grammar, Usage, Mechanics, Sentence Structure, vocabulary and thinking skills.
• All bulletin board designs use material that showcases the lesson’s Common Core Standards and Bloom’s Taxonomy objectives.
• Teachers may take each idea in this product and transform it to fit a whole bulletin board, or they may choose to divide the board into parts. I had one very, very large board that I often divided as follows:
1. Information Section: this permanent segment changes information as needed, with some of the elements remaining for the whole year. Information: class times, class rules/policies, cafeteria information (menus and what academic areas ate during which time frame), Honor Code rules (permanent), quarterly Honor Rolls, the school Mission Statement (permanent), etc.
2. Reading Section: This segment of the board showcases the students’ comprehension for the text they are studying. It displays
·         completed student assignments , or
·         the elements that students need to complete a warm-up or in-class exercise.
3. Writing Section: This segment of the board concentrates on what students have written or should write. It displays
·         completed student assignments , or
·         the elements that students need to complete a warm-up or in-class exercise.
4. Thinking Section: Although all of the sections of the board show students’ thinking skills, this part is intended to promote the development of specific types of thinking skills i.e. Creative, Critical, Analytic, Inductive and/or Deductive. It displays
·         completed student assignments , or
·         the elements that students need to complete a warm-up or in-class exercise.
Teachers can cover the whole board in one paper color/design, or designate a specific color/design for each section. If dividing the board into sections, do staple or pin borders between the segments. Keep the materials colorful and visually appealing. Foam stick on letters and other crafty materials add oomph. Make sure to keep any graphic elements age and class-level appropriate.

Because a number of the cards and charts are left blank, teachers can use them for their own bulletin board ideas. Seven graphics...infinite possibilities.

Happy Teaching,

Teach It Write
Building Powerful Academic Homes

Art History for Elementary School Students

2nd-5th Grades

This Art History packet by Tried and True Teaching Tools is the perfect complement to teaching about specific artists or art time periods. Included in this packet are forms for students to record notes as the teacher shares information from books, online sources, or video clips (or as students research on their own). After taking notes, students draw or paint their own picture in the style of the selected artist or time period. Forms include a small picture frame for student’s sample or have the students do their sample on a separate paper and post on a bulletin board next to their Art History form. Save in an art portfolio all year, then bind into an Art History book at the end of the year for each child!


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Monday, July 28, 2014

FREE MISC. LESSON - “Back to School Ice Breaker”

by Fourth Grade Frenzy
3rd - 5th Grade

This back to school ice breaker game will get your students up and moving on the first day of school. Students will mingle with classmates, ask questions, and get their new friends to sign off on their paper. Students try to finish by getting each classmate to sign only one box. That way students are encouraged to talk to as many classmates as possible. Once the class is finished, begin sharing some information about each student. You might want to begin the discussion with a question like, "Who can tell me something about Brianna?" Continue until all students have been named. The students love it when their teacher joins the game!

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Back To School "Things on a String"

by ART ACTION - Laurie Carpenter

Grades K - 6 (adaptable in difficulty)

Classroom "easy art", Language arts, Visual arts, Home School


And it is so very important to kick things off with lots of activity on the very first day, especially projects like this one, that can then be continued for several days to come...eventually creating a unique bulletin board or ceiling art.

 This project provides the children with a fun art experience focusing on" back to school things". This "easy-art lesson plan with patterns can be used easily in the classroom, as well as done with more complicated creativity in the art room - TWO options are presented.
* Lesson also gives children an opportunity for group discussion, and a chance to write about their thoughts about this happy time of the year.

PDF lesson plan with motivational procedure
Step by step photos

Another fun back to school lesson to get to know new classmates is:

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Christmas in July Sale!

Christmas in July Sale!!

If you've had your eye on anything in my store, 
this is the time to get it!
Looking for a close reading guide aligned to the CCSS?  I have guides for:
and starting tomorrow...
A Diamond in the Desert

There are plenty of other products too.
Check it out!

TPT store:  LisaTeachR


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FREE MISC. LESSON - “Back to School Let’s Put Away Our Supplies Scavenger Hunt”

by KinderKay
Pre-Kindergarten - 1st Grade

What to do with all those supplies that come to school those first days? Play a game with your students and make the task fun!   Clues are written in a silly rhyme format. You can put the clues in a pocket chart and have parents help their children put away their supplies OR
you can read the clues and have a class scavenger hunt!

Here is how the game works:
The clues show the supply that is to be put away. The clue describes a picture that must be searched for in order to find the spot to put away the supply. Put tubs or boxes in which supplies will be stored close to the picture. 

Of course, your supply spots may not be the same as mine, which is the reason I have given you blank picture cards that can be used to add your own words. 

Included are supply picture cards with words can be used as labels for your storage bins or tubs.

This is a fun way to start the year and also a great beginning to teaching your students where supplies are stored!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Alice in Wonderland: Close Reading Guide

Lisa Robles

      Alice was first published in 1865 and most found the novel to be utter

nonsense.  However, the illustrations provided by John Tenniel garnered 


      Over time, people have come to appreciate it for it's logic play and is 

considered a prime example of the literary nonsense genre.  Today it a classic.

     Personally I've always loved the book and when a colleague suggested I 

decorate my classroom with Alice, I was intrigued.  Here are some images 

from my classroom.

     Of course I wanted to read the novel aloud to my students but I wanted to 

go even deeper.  I decided to create a close reading guide so that we could go

deeper with the literature.
     This 45 page close reading guide has an outline of the components of 

authentic literacy and what it looks like in the classroom. I formatted the unit as

follows. There are possible focus questions for each and every chapter as the

story progresses. It also includes explicit gradual release of responsibility 

formatted lessons sprinkled throughout. I included a close reading sheet for 

each of the explicit lessons.  I also included the common core standards.  At 

the end, there is a blank sheet for planning and to use with close reading of 

different chapters as well as a rubric for scoring the close reading. This isn't a 

bunch of worksheets as I don't teach that way. This is for going deep with the 



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Friday, July 25, 2014

Tips from the TPT Seller's Conference

TPT Seller's Conference
By Lisa Robles

        Wow!  What a great conference!  I learned so, so, soooo much.  I didn't even know about the Seller's Forum and how incredibly useful it is!  Thank you to all the amazing presenters- you all are such an inspiration.  I went to the fantastic sessions presented by Jenn Kelley and Amanda Nickerson, Nikki Casassa, Rachel Lynette and Melissa Dillard.  I put all my new learning into a Powerpoint.  If you'd like to be able to download it for your files, please go to my TPT store. Here is the direct link to the free product! Enjoy!

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Thursday, July 24, 2014




by ART ACTION - Laurie Carpenter

Grades 1- 4

Download includes:
PDF lesson plan
Motivational questions
Suggested poems
Supply list
Preparation required

"What is better than a sunny day?"

"How does the sun make you feel?"

"What do you like to do outside in the sun?"

"What does the sun look like?"

To provide the elementary student with a fun classroom activity combining language arts and visual arts into the same creative experience. This project is easy adapted in difficulty for various developmental levels. The experience includes group discussion and interaction, development of writing skills, and a 3-dimensional craftivity developing artistic abilities. If you like this, take a look at "Spring Swing" -An Easy-art Craftivity

FREE MISC. LESSON - “Free: Back to School Bingo”

by 2peasandadog
5th - 9th Grade

Get your students moving during the first day or week of school. This is an interactive way for students to get to know each other, plus get to know their teacher. 

Students move around the room looking for someone that meets the description in the bingo box. 

For more back to school tips check out this blog post:

Customer Tips: 

How to get TPT credit to use on future purchases: 

  • Please go to your My Purchases page (you may need to login). Beside each purchase you'll see a Provide Feedback button. Simply click it and you will be taken to a page where you can give a quick rating and leave a short comment for the product. I value your feedback greatly as it helps me determine which products are most valuable for your classroom so I can create more for you. 
Be the first to know about my new discounts, freebies and product launches: 
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Clip art Freebies!

I know some of you are busy creating products for your stores this summer just like I am. I thought I would share a few of my clip art freebies for you to check out.

by KB...Konnected

Back to School – “Teaching Lifesavers-Twelve Classroom Management Forms”

By Connie Casserly
Grades 6-12

Knowing that behavior issues can be stymied with good classroom management, over the years, I created, revised these forms multiple times in an effort to help me organize and manage my classroom.

My main objective was to create a safe and exciting learning environment. In order to accomplish this goal, I knew that I had to thwart disruptive student behavior before it even began, and to ward off encounters of the negative kind with administrators.

I offer these  12 Teaching Lifesavers to you all who are still leading classrooms.
Teaching Lifesavers-Twelve Classroom Management Forms

Note: If your school district has forms that they require teachers to use that coincide with various policies, use them, of course. If they don’t, download this packet, “Get thee to the copy room, and in a few minutes you will be ready for whatever left hooks the year might toss your way.

As Summer rolls down the hill toward Fall and the Opening Day for the 2-14-2015 school year, I will be posting many Free and Priced Back to School items for you to add to your repertoires.

Except for the Lesson Launch examples, teachers of all subject areas can use these forms. Teachers for grade levels 4-5 can adapt the Lesson Launch idea to fit their students’ needs.

Welcome Back, Teachers!

Happy Teaching,

Teach it Write
Building Powerful Academic Homes

FREE MATH LESSON - “Simplifying Algebraic Expressions Task Card Activity (SCOOT!)”

by Math on the Move
7th - 8th Grade

Get your students moving! Great activity for Scoot!
Place the 30 task cards around the room. Students move from problem to problem, copying the expressions and simplifying them. 
Expressions include exponents and distributive property.
This is a great activity for differentiated instruction, or to check for student understanding! 
Answer Key included!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Back to School Sketch Book

Class room activity- Social interaction, visual arts, language arts

Laurie's lesson for...BACK TO SCHOOL SKETCHBOOK

Grades 1-6 (developmental drawings)

by Art Action - Laurie Carpenter

This is a detailed lesson plan with printable pages, that provides the elementary student with a classroom  drawing experience that relates to the world around him, his daily experiences, and his interests.

Motivational procedures are included with the printed pages that provide items for quiet seat work activities that can be utilized and added to ALL YEAR LONG, but it works well to introduce it as a BACK TO SCHOOL ACTIVITY.

The lesson also provides the challenge of creating his personal book and enjoying personal involvement in the "picture story".

This project can be adapted to all grade and ability levels, and can even be repeated year after year.

The lesson is not only a visual arts experience, but also provides experience with literature, printing, and writing skills.  Social interaction is involved as the children share their books and experiences.
The created book is a valued assessment tool, as it will illustrate the student's growth and development throughout the year.



Saturday, July 19, 2014

Framing Questions with Depth and Complexity

Gifted Conference 2014: 
Depth and Complexity
Lisa Robles

     So in June, I had to opportunity to attend the Gifted Conference at USC.  I'm sure you're all familiar with the icons.

        I wanted to learn more about how to use these in my classroom.  I do not teach the gifted cluster but I believe all kids have talents and it's up to us to give them the tools they need to access them.
       In the beginning, I was worried it would be another program, just another thing to try to add to my day (which is already too short).  But I've come to the understanding that it's more of a way to frame my lessons.  It's a way to help my students go deep with the material, which is what I'm always striving for. My friend, who had subbed for me, once stated that my kids are earning PHD's in my class.  Good!  I want them to feel smart and challenged.
     So let's talk about the icons:
The icons associated with depth are:
  • Language of the discipline
  • Big idea
  • Essential details
  • Rules
  • Patterns
  • Trends
  • Unanswered questions
  • Ethics
The icons associated with complexity are:
  • Change over time
  • Multiple points of view
  • Across the disciplines
       Sandra Kaplan said in her keynote that the purpose of depth and complexity is to provide key words that provide entrance to inquiry.
Some examples from my Alice in Wonderland close reading unit:
Language of the Discipline:
  • In what ways do the language games at Tea show the inconsistencies of Wonderland?
  • What do they mean by "Saying what you mean is not the same, they tell her, as meaning what you say."
Big Ideas:
  • The Cheshire Cat explains to Alice that madness is the chief resident of Wonderland.  Do you agree?  Why or Why Not?
  • How does the White Rabbit behave to those above him in
    society? How does he behave towards those below him? 
Multiple Point of View and Change over time
  • How does Alice's view of Wonderland change over time?  Support your thinking with text evidence.

     So to wrap up, use the ideas of depth and complexity to help your students go deeper with their thinking.

The White Rabbit and I LRThe White Rabbit and I at Disneyland!

TPT Store: LisaTeachR

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Teaching Your Students How to Write Complete Sentences: Your Guide To Success!

In all of our years as elementary classroom teachers, we have never had so many students not be able to know about or write a complete sentence. After constantly reminding students what is a complete sentence, we decided to make an interactive slide show that will engage and entertain your students while teaching them the basics of a complete sentence.

Included in the activity is:
-time for students to use think-pair-share to answer questions about sentences

-examples of "caveman" talk vs. complete sentences

-a game show where students can earn points for correct answers

-a complete sentence check card for students to tape to folders or notebooks

-a poster using the word SENTENCE as an acronym that you can display in your classroom

And so much more. There are 28 pages included!

Let's get our students back to writing in complete sentences! Click here to get this now!