A Digital Word Wall

My fellow ELL teacher and bloggy pal, the fantastic Ms. M, is hosting a Word Wall Linky Party! You should see all of her word wall ideas...she is so resourceful!!

This digital word wall is something I've been working on for awhile. Actually, I call it a "Blog Word Wall". It's a tool you can download, add your words to, and place on your blog for your students.

Summer Planning List {printable}

So, of course, the first item should be relaxing with friends and family!

But I know there are many who like to work on units and items for their classrooms next year.

And look--you can even take it to the beach!!

Missing your Followers gadget?

Sad 'cause your not gaining any new followers lately?

Not a problem!

I just stumbled along the coolest tutorial that will put a little "Follow" button in your sidebar...just like the one you see below:

This will enable your readers to follow as usual, even if your Followers gadget isn't working.

The tutorial is really easy to follow and can be found at Latest Tech Tips.

I did add some extra code to center the button, as shown in the picture below:
Good luck and may you gain many new followers!

Summer to Do List Linky Party @ Littlest Learners

I just love the blog Littlest Learners. Have you seen it before? The writer is AMAZING. She has tons of creative ideas and is the absolute queen of organization. And now she is hosting her first linky party...a Summer To Do List Linky Party.

This is a favorite topic of mine!!

I always, always, always overplan my summer...but it's so fun to make, plan, and create on those lazy days...I just can't resist! So here's my list in no particular order (hope to see yours over at the linky party):

1. Create more Reader's Response sticky notes. I'm going to make them for my newest ELL students with basic prompts ("My favorite character is ____"). I'm also going to make more in-depth ones for my students with more English ("If you could be friends with any character in the story, who would it be? Why"). Then, I have to find a way to organize them.

2. Continue labeling/organizing my ever-expanding classroom library. I focused on the leveled section a lot this year and shared it here on the blog. I held off sharing the genre section because it's still a work in progress.

Right now, my car is slowly being filled with books that need to be labeled this summer.

3. Reorganize my math games library. I want to create new labels (they need an update). I'm also going to give the lower-level games to my sister (we don't really use them anymore) and shift the manipulatives to the pink and yellow baskets, so they're out and easy to grab.

4. Further develop my Reader's Workshop model (this year I used the Daily 5). Our district officially adopted a Reader's/Writer's Workshop model for next year and I want to combine it with what already works well for my students. I also need to work more on incorporating the CAFE book.

5. Develop my own calendar math. Our school has used calendar math in the past, but I need something that ties in more with Everyday Math and has a strong emphasis on multiplication facts. I want to make it tie in with the units we're learning, but cycle back to older skills (and incorporate more basic skills too, for my ELL students with limited formal schooling).
This will be a tough one...

6. Choose the design scheme for my room! I think I will stick with the blues because I love my lamps and the kids really like blue (both boys and girls). But I might choose a different shade of contact paper for the desks and tables this year.

7. Work on my classroom blog. I had a pretty good classroom blog going this year, but now I want to redesign it and try out some new ideas. I have a few things planned with screen capture videos (like the video tutorials I've posted here) but for my students. More on that soon...

8. Take all of our grade level expectations and translate them into kid-friendly kid objectives for my lessons. And find a way to display them easily. I don't have a pic for that (yet!).

9. Develop our Word Detectives into more of a set unit/program within our class. I started it late, but it worked GREAT. Even my newest ELL students remembered some more difficult spelling patterns (like -tion) on a recent assessment. But it could be better if I tweak it.

And I have an idea to make it go tech, which I'll be sharing soon.

10. Design more blogs!!

11. Go to the mountains!!

I just can't wait! We have 14 more days with the students. Let's just say I'm reeeeally looking forward to blogging and planning while drinking coffee in comfy clothes--I promise to share anything and everything I work on!!

And while we're thinking summer vacation...do you know of any contraptions that help you see your laptop outside in the sun??

Science Notebook Labels {printable}

Hi! I had a very nice request from a wonderful reader who always leaves the sweetest comments. I had shared some labels for Science Folders the other night...here are some more for Science Notebooks. These labels fit the 2" by 4" shipping labels.


Ecosystems and Science Folder Labels (printable)

Last week, we worked on the terrarium part of our ecosystems project.

This week has been very exciting since we have started the aquarium part of the project! (Really, I don't know how I'd survive the last few weeks of 5th grade without an all-encompassing project like this). It has been one of the best experiences of our year and the kids are learning so much from them!

We've been studying the aquatic plants (Elodea and Duckweed).

But, sadly, the plants just can't compete with the fish! And snails!!! You can see both in the picture to the right. I think some of the fish are due to have babies soon (that was a cool surprise last year!). We even had teenytiny baby snails last May!!

The aquatic plants and animals have already led to some great discussions about how they each serve a purpose to this part of the ecosystem.

This whole unit provides such a concrete example of ecosystems, which is so important for my newcomer ELL students.

I can't wait until they put the terrariums and aquariums together! I remember my students last year really saying they "got it" when they saw the whole ecosystem functioning as one.

This unit has some great handouts and experiments, which we store in our Science Folders. Which brings me to today's printable...labels for science folders...
I know everyone is getting close to being finished, but maybe it's something you could use next year :)

Are you wrapping up any big projects right now?


Testing Sign {printable}

We have 18 days left of school and we have been assessing like crazy! After about the millionth time of constructing a hasty, last-minute, sharpie/construction paper sign, I questioned myself...

How is it that I do not have a sign for testing??

I have signs for practically every inanimate object in my classroom, signs for schedules, signs for games, signs for everything!

Video Tutorial: printing on sticky notes

So, in my feminine vanity, I freaked out because my arms are on camera and they look weird at that angle! But I told myself to get over it and post it anyways. This tutorial shows how to prepare the sticky notes for printing. I shared a couple of sticky note files last week and have plans to make more this summer. I've had some questions on printing on the notes themselves, so I hope this is of help! The basic sticky note template can be found at the end of this post.

Tutorial: Getting subscribers to your blog

I was going to make this a video tutorial, but the steps were pretty simple, so I thought I'd leave it as a picture tutorial.

I learned about getting subscribers to your blog from the fantastic Tamara, creator of Teaching Blog Addict. If you haven't checked this blog out yet, please stop by...it is a collection of tons of wonderful teacher-bloggers! You'll definitely want to subscribe to that one!!

So, subscribing to a blog is different from following, in that you can receive email notifications of each blog post.

For a blog author, this is pretty cool because you can check your stats and see how many email subscribers you have. Plus, subscribing by email means those readers don't miss any of your posts.

Here are the steps to add this feature, if you haven't done so already (it's wicked easy):
1. Go to your Design tab, head to your sidebar, and choose Add a Gadget.

2. Follow by Email is one of the newest features, so it's at the top.

Once you select this widget, all you have to do is decide where to place it on your sidebar.

3. To check your stats, you can go to the little tool icon to edit the widget, then...

4. You can click on the "View stats and learn more" link.

5. This will show you the number of subscribers you currently have.

I bookmarked this page, so I can check it once in awhile. Or obsessively!!

As a blog author, I think it's really great to see how many people you have as email subscribers! I'm totally psyched to have two subscribers right now--thank you, whoever you are!!! :)

Is this a feature you'd like to add to your blog? Have a wonderful evening!

Video Tutorial: Creating beautiful shadow for your blog photos

This video tutorial is thanks to a lovely reader's request! She asked how to add some shadow and outline to a blog photo...which looks pretty cool! You will need the code on this page...

Reader's Response with Sticky Notes

Clearly I am on a sticky note kick now (see yesterday's post)!

It's always something.

But I'm thinking I may have found a way to differentiate and manage my Reader's Response questions much more effectively!

QARs and Printing on Sticky Notes

These two things go together, I promise!

Do you use QAR strategies in your school? QAR stands for Question-Answer-Relationships and we use them a lot in our class.
The kids just love them and the strategies have made a big difference in how they think about questions and find the answers in challenging texts. Our school has a workbook with reading articles and various questions to help students identify and use these different QAR strategies.

Of course, these strategies are intended to go beyond the workbook! I try to work these question-answer-relationships into other subjects as much as possible--especially in our Reader's Responses.

Ecosystem Project and Science Notes printable

Soooo...we still have 28 days left of school and I always save one of the best projects 'til last. I think this might be the only thing that can keep my soon-to-graduate 5th graders focused...

Ecocolumns! A wonderful parent shared this unit with me last year and it was the BEST project of the year.

Video Tutorial: Controlling those blogger images!

Hey everyone! This is something I posted about way back, but I thought it would be much easier to understand in the video format.

This video is all about taking away that clickable feature that always shows up with blogger images. I do like some of my photos/images to be viewed larger...but others I just placed there for some nice visual--they don't need to be clicked. Like this cute little girl to the left.
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