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Jumpstart January Blog Hop and $50 Target Gift Card Giveaway!

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Thanks for "hopping" around with us!  We wish you the best on your learning-packed return to the classroom.  Be sure to enter this AMAZING giveaway and earn yourself some post-Christmas shopping fun!  

Here are all of those amazing $1 deals!  Snag them up below!

Happy January!  From us gals at Lesson Deli!

Classroom Posters

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Check out this site for great classroom posters.

Here is just a small sample. There are many more on this site.

'Tis the Season for Writing!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

I admit it.....I enjoy writing with my students! I see it as a chance to have a closer glimpse into their unique personalities. I love to see how they respond to specific prompts...and I love how they listen and critique their peers with their writing as well. Recently, I've tweaked my prompts to reflect the types of writing being asked of students with the revised standards. Incorporating persuasive, expository, and narrative writing with engaging topics makes my writing station flourish! I've recently finished a set of 12 prompts that reflect key holidays and events in December, January, & February. In addition, I developed a simple rubric to assess students' writing and reflect on needed areas of growth. Here is a sample:

I really feel that my students have grown in their writing this year....and it helps me to keep them practicing all the types of writing that they may be asked to do. I hope this gives you ideas on how to stay inspired and tackle writing all year long!

Revolutionary Thinking Maps: Causes of the American Revolution

Thursday, December 25, 2014

I started a series this summer on using Thinking Maps to teach about the American Revolution.  I use thinking maps all the time to help students visually represent content.  You can read the first post HERE on using a brace map to analyze the Declaration of Independence

For today, let's talk about the multi-flow map.  A multi-flow map can be used when something has multiple causes and/or effects.  We use them a LOT in history and science.  For example, last week in science we used a multi-flow map to show the multiple causes on why the wetlands are disappearing.  Here's an example of a multi-flow map showing the causes leading up to the American Revolution.
Next time you are teaching and need a graphic organizer to show multiple causes and/or effects, give the multi-flow map a try!

--The Pensive Sloth

PS--Did you know this makes for a GREAT opinion writing assignment?  Click HERE to learn more!

Classroom Party GAME Fun! Unwrap a Party Ball!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

What fun did you have with your students this week?  I am a Pinterest fanatic!  I find that any type of inspiration, event, recipe, paint color, birthday idea, house design, bathroom remodel, etc...can be found on this wonderland of a site.  It didn't fail me this week as I was looking for a really fun game to share at my son, Brennan's, holiday classroom party.

I had pinned this a while back, but was waiting to implement it in my classroom or in one of my own kiddo's.  This past weekend, I purchased all of the goodies and put it together.  Because I was shopping with an almost two-year old and five-year old, I was just throwing the materials in my basket.  You can likely save lots of money if you plan ahead and grab the goodies when they are on sale.  Just a tip, Walgreens does not have the cheapest candy or office supplies!

Here is what I used:
4-bags of treats (I chose Laffy Taffy, Smarties, Nerds and candy canes because they are nut-free)
1-bag of bouncy balls
1-bag of holiday erasers
1-box of Saran Wrap
2-rolls of mailing tape (it is sturdy)
-invisible tape to hold treats in place
1-Ring Pop for the center

I started with the Ring Pop and then just kept layering on the Saran Wrap and goodies.  My son claimed that I made it too hard with so much tape, but those kiddos had a blast tearing and pulling.  I stopped when it was about the size of a soccer ball. It took me about 30-minutes from start to finish!

How To Play:
  1. Put the kids in a circle on the floor.
  2. I used 3-dice as I wanted it to be pretty fast-paced so I kept their attention for the 10-minute game time.
  3. I gave the ball to the person with the closest birthday to Christmas.
  4. Then the person to their right had the dice.
  5. The person with the ball got to tear at it until the dice roller rolled a double.  As soon as a double was rolled, it was passed to the roller.  
  6. The dice kept moving and the ball kept passing.
  7. I had them roll in a little plastic container so the dice stayed contained.
  8. With three dice the chance of rolling doubles was higher, so the game moved quickly keeping everyone's interest.
  9. Students got to keep the candy they pulled out and eat at a later time.
Let the fun begin!

Fun was definitely had by all and I would totally do this again!  High-interest and fast-paced.  Perfect for keeping enthusiastic kiddos' attention.

I would love to hear about fun party games in your classroom!  Keep me posted!

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The Business of Teaching Literature

Sunday, December 14, 2014

My co-teacher and I have a business theme that is the backbone to our 4th grade curriculum. One piece of our academic plan is literature with a business focus. There are many book recommendations (see list below) that portray a main character who gets things going. The character might run a business, be the leader of a project, or become responsible for something significant.

This type of storyline promotes creativity and an entrepreneurial spirit. Many of these books teach students about the basics of business (profit, loss, partnership, etc.). While there is almost always a supportive adult in the story, I like the fact that these books depict children as problem-solvers without a parent or adult handing them the easy solution. 

Chapter Books
  • The Day-Glo Brothers by Chris Barton
  • Everyone Wears His Name: A Biography of Levi Strauss by Sondra Henry
  • Model T: How Henry Ford Built a Legend by David Weitzman
  • Chocolate by Hershey: A Story About Milton S. Hershey by Betty Burford
  • Kidpreneurs, Young Entrepeneurs with Big Ideas by Adam Toren and Matthew Toren
  • Growing Money: A Complete Investing Guide for Kids by Gail Karlitz and Debbie Honig
Classroom Ideas
  • Have students write a personal business plan for a company they could start at school. After reading The Lemonade War, my students wrote a business plan for a lemonade stand that we ran during student recess. We used the best ideas from all of the students business plans to create a master plan for the class that we took to our principal. 
  • Do the math. In books like Lunch Money by Clements and The Bread Winner by Whitmore, students can use details in the book to calculate business costs and profits. It is fun to project how much money the characters could potentially earn in a year, two years, or five years.
  • Create a business using advance orders. Film and edit a commercial to share with the school if that technology is available to you. As orders arrive, students use spreadsheets to track and sort orders by class. You can create graphs that show which grades buy the most of a product. This year, my group is selling Mason Jar Cookie Mixes. Not only did we have to record the orders, the students had a ton of recipe math to complete. Our original recipes for the mix made 2 jars. We had to calculate ingredient amounts for 267 jars of cookies mix! I even had the students track down the stores with the best prices (FYI-- Walmart for jars, white chocolate chips, and M&Ms, Costco for the other ingredients in our area).
Books with business provide such rich learning opportunities for students. It makes it so easy to incorporate many layers of skills. What are your best novel studies that give you more bang for your buck?

Happy Reading!

Upper Elementary Holiday Fun--Sequin Ornament Parent Gifts

Monday, December 8, 2014

Growing up, I remember making sequin ornaments with my grandmother.  We would sit at the table for hours and chat while pinning sequins to a foam ball.  A few years ago, I started this tradition in my 5th grade classroom.  The kids had a blast, worked hard, and were proud of their accomplishment when they were done.  They looked forward to giving their gifts to their parents.

We  start our ornaments the last week of school during morning work.  Then, the morning of the last day of school, I put on an audiobook and let the kids spend the morning finishing up.  It takes about 2-4 hours for most students to finish one ornament.  A few finish much faster!  But what I really enjoy is listening to an audiobook during this time.  It’s quite magical.  Students focus intently on creating their pattern and pinning each sequin in place while making meaning in their minds as the story plays.  If you are looking for something quiet, peaceful, and engaging for that last week of school, give sequin ornaments a try!  

There are several tutorials online on how to make sequin ornaments, and lots of options to add ribbon and beads and crystals.   We keep it simple in my classroom.  Sequins and pins.  That's it.  I won't go into detail about how to make the ornaments.  We'll stick with the basics, but with so many tiny sequins and pins...yikes!  You've got to have a system for managing it all.  Here's what has worked for me...


*Cups and Plates
*Colorful sequins (medium and large)
*Sequin pins (regular sewing pins are too long, and sequin pins are much cheaper)
*Small Styrofoam balls (Hobby Lobby carries 12 packs--I usually get the 2 1/2 inch SMOOTH Styrofoam balls)
*Ribbon (for hanging ornaments on a tree)

Tips for Making the Ornaments and Managing the Project
  • Have students sketch what they want their ornament to look like before beginning.  There are lots of color options based on what you buy and bring into the classroom.  I typically tell them to stick with 2-3 colors.  You can go with blues and whites for a winter theme, buy some local college colors, school colors, etc.  
  • Making the ornament is actually very simple. Students place a sequin on the ball where they want it to go, then poke a pin through the hole in the sequin to hold it in place.  My rule is that there can be no foam ball showing through.  Also, there is no right or wrong way to place a sequin.  You can have the concave side face the ball or face away from the ball, or do a little of both. 
  • Teach students to use the the eraser of the pencil to push pins in.  Their fingers get tired and sore after awhile.  This project will help students develop perseverance!  I love how proud they are when they finally finish. 
  • Keep a magnet handy.  Someone will spill pins and sequins all over the floor.  Every year there are a few spills.  Have students use a magnet to collect the pins before going after the sequins.  
  • Students should wear shoes.  If you are one of those teachers who lets kids take off their shoes, avoid doing so until this project is over and the floors have been vacuumed. 
  • This project is geared towards 5th grade and up and costs about $2 per student.     
  • Give students only a pinch of pins and sequins at a time and have them come back to you for more.  Counting pins and sequins is impossible, so I keep the supplies near me and refill cups as needed.  
  • When students finish, they use a magnet to collect pins and bring them back to me.  Then, I have them sort their sequins and place them back with the correct colors. 
***Also, to help manage the project I use 2 clear plastic cups per child, some masking tape, and a paper plate. I've re-used the cups and plates for years since all they do is hold supplies while students work for a few days.  I write names on the cups with permanent markers and scribble them out for next year's kids. 

When working with pins, safety comes first and each student has his/her own cup to hold the pins and sequins.  Sequin pins aren't especially sharp, but we are still very cautious.  We discuss being careful and reporting injuries before we begin, and students are not allowed to share supplies.  I also model carefully reaching into the cup to pick up pins instead of shoving your hand in and getting poked.  I've never had a problem!  

1--Top view of cup showing pins and sequins. 
2--Each child has two cups.  The supply cup and the ornament cup. 
3--Because this is an ongoing project, when not in use, cups can be stacked so that the sequins and pins are contained in case a cup is knocked over.  I use masking or painters tape to hold the cups together because it stays sticky as the students open and close it each day.
4--Here's a cup turned upside down. A few sequins came out, but the rest stays in. 
5--Students like to dump a few pins and sequins onto a paper plate for easy access while working. 

That's all for now.  Happy holidays and  happy crafting!

--The Pensive Sloth

Supermarket Saturday Linky: December Holidays!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Hi again!  It's Kim from For a Love of Teaching, and I'm so excited to share with you our December Holiday Supermarket Saturday Linky!  The Lesson Deli has gathered all their resources together and linked up some amazing products for you to use in your classroom during the month of December. Sometimes it's hard to find upper elementary products for December holidays, but this group of TpT authors has just what your looking for! Check out our linky below to find some great resources today!

Cyber Monday Sale

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Monday December 1 and Tuesday December 2 TPT is having a sale. Each seller will host their own sale and then you can use code tptcyber for an additional 10% off during checkout.

Check out the Lesson Deli Members here.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Looking for some great Black Friday deals?  Several members of The Lesson Deli are participating in the Black Friday BUNDLE BASH!  Just enter BLACKFRIDAY14 in the search box on TPT and you'll be amazed by all of the great deals......huge bundles up to 20-30% off an already great price!  I plan to stock up.....and just think, no lines or selling out!  ;)

Spotlight On: Misty Miller from Little Room Under the Stairs

Monday, November 24, 2014

Hello! I'm Misty from Little Room Under the Stairs and am excited to be a part of the Lesson Deli ladies. This is my 19th year of teaching. I am currently a 7th & 8th grade Resource teacher. I teach remediation math and language arts in our local Jr. High. I taught elementary Resource for 12 years before moving to 7th & 8th grade.

Family is important to me. My family includes my husband, our twin boys, and our cat. Dan and I have been married for 23 years. We first met in 8th grade and then started dating at the end of our senior year of high school. We both attended Purdue University and married while still in college. Our boys, Jacob & Caleb, are almost 18 years old and seniors in high school. We live in the same town I grew up in.

For fun, I enjoy spending time with my family. We love going to the Smoky Mountains to camp, hike, and relax. We've also spent our fair share of summer vacations on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Dan and I took up geocaching a couple of years ago and enjoy the mystery and hunt! I also like some time to myself to quilt, read, and scrapbook. Before joining TPT I made and sold digital scrapbook kits under the designer name of Designs by Snowlady.

I do love creating teaching products that teachers can use in their classroom. Teachers Pay Teachers has been such a blessing for me. I have been able to share what I do in my classroom with teachers across the world. Since my students are taking 2 math or 2 language arts classes every day, I need to make the subject enjoyable while they are learning concepts they've missed. Movement is one way I can do that. One of my favorite products is my musical chairs game. I always tell the kids it's not your normal birthday party musical chairs. With music playing, getting to walk around, and math problems to answer in a fun way, my students thoroughly enjoy it!

You can find my math products along with some background papers, labels, and borders in my Teachers Pay Teachers store: Misty Miller.

Thanks for stopping by. Happy Holidays to all!

Math Madness Wednesday: Number Bonds

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Have you heard of number bonds?  They are a wonderful visual math tool for students to understand decomposing numbers. While many of these ideas are more for the primary students, they can help teachers of older kids understand what kids are learning in order to make connections to past learning or to reinforce skills students may be lacking.

There are MANY great ideas out there for ways to use number bonds.  Here are a few of my favorites.
Number Bonds:  Make 10 from Math Playground--This fun game is for everyone!  There are versions for many different numbers, not just 10.  Kids get to "shoot" a ball at a another number that would equal 10.
Number Bonds game:  Hoot Addition Game --Another fun computer game!  Different levels are available for all of your learners.  They get choices of numbers that might be correct and students can make the correct choice.  
Number Bonds YouTube video--This video lays it all out!  If you are new to number bonds or want to share info with your parents, this is a great video to use!
Article about Number Bonds--Similar to the video, but in print.  Lots of good ideas to use!

Kinesthetic Way to work on Number Bonds--I love this way of getting the whole class involved in a game!  Ten kids start on one bond, one rolls a dice, and that many kids move to another bond.  How many are left?  Definitely a nice way to get the "wiggles" out while teaching math!
Pinterest Board--Lots and lots of ideas for ways to use number bonds in your classroom!  Take a look when you have a chance. 
Want a "printable" way to practice task cards in your class?  You can grab my SNOW BONDS task cards with a FROZEN, snowy theme (along with some other winter goodies) from Educents for only $4.99 right now!  Task cards include QR codes (don't worry, there are some without the QR codes too) so students can self check.  Along with the Snow Bonds, you will also get my "What Shape is Sven" product to practice 2D shapes, my Missing Numbers, Winter Edition to practice writing numbers in the correct order, and my Color-By-Code CVC words to practice medial short vowel sounds.

Man's Best Friend

Sunday, November 16, 2014

I have a student this year who is on the hunt for all chapter books with a dog. As luck would have it, I happen to teach a few books that have a dog as a central character. Books with dogs are great books to share with your class because it is usually easy to get both boys and girls interested in the story.

The dog and main human character rely on each other and develop a deep friendship, and the human (usually a child about the same age as our students) has to take responsibility for the animal. These themes of companionship, trust, responsibility, and independence can be found in many animal books and are reasons I think kids love to read books with animal characters.

One drawback to the dog books is often an animal dies, so be aware if you have a particularly tender-hearted teacher student in your class who might start crying in front of others at the end of the story. 
Below is a list of dog-centered chapter books that I like to use in the classroom as a read aloud or novel study: 

A few favorite activities I use with the dog books I teach could easily be adapted for other novel studies:
One activity I have been using for a long time is to have students write point of view journals as we read a novel. It is an activity that works well for different novels, but it is particularly successful with The Incredible Journey.

Students pick one animal after reading the first few chapters of the book. After we complete each chapter, the students retell the chapter from the point of view of their chosen animal. We share one journal from each animal every day and compare the different versions of the story depending on which animal's journal we hear. Students love comparing and contrasting the scenes in the story based on Luath, Bodger, or Tao's viewpoint. Students also love making the foldable burrito books that they use to write their incredible journals!

Another great assignment to help with citing textual evidence is to have students draw a "map" of a specific character's journey based on details in the text. With the novel, Stone Fox, students draw and label the race course based on clues in the story. There are many novels that involve a journey of some kind, and drawing and labeling the character's route using details from the story is an activity that requires close reading.

Do you read any animal books to your students? Are they successful?