Morphology Dictionary (prefixes, suffixes, & roots!)

Hi everyone!! I'm stopping by to share a new item available in my store. It's something I've been working on all year and it is a big part of spelling and word work in our classroom!

It's a student reference book called...
This dictionary features 320 commonly used prefixes, suffixes, and roots...all defined for the students. There are spaces to fill in words for each affix or root, as well as a places for illustrations...
The other part of this resource is a HUGE time-saver...
Teacher Word Lists! There are words already listed for each of the 320 affixes and roots...over 7,500 words to choose from in all!
The Morphology Dictionary is a resource that can be used many different ways. Teachers can...

• create and differentiate their own spelling lists (this is what I do!)
• supplement the spelling words within their current program

• set up word work to complete during Reader's Workshop

• plan for vocabulary instruction

I will be back this week with photos and examples of how we utilize this resource in our a chance to win a copy for your class, if you would like!

What resources do you like to use for spelling in your class?

A Touch of Spring with (Fake) Flowers

Why fake, you might ask? Because I've tried the real ones. And by tried I mean kept them alive for about a week and then...well, it was very sad because they were really pretty.

Here's a picture of my then live flowers from back in September...
Ooo, and another one I just found...
(see how the ones in the back are starting to lean? it was the beginning of their demise)

After I lost two sets of the Gerbera daisies, I decided that was it for flowers in the classroom for me. I couldn't bear it anymore (Gerbera's are my favorite!).

Anyhow, now that it's finally springy and sunshiny and all, I've been wanting some flowers for our classroom again. Don't worry, I've learned my lesson and decided to play it safe...
...with fake flowers!

I love how full and bright they are! And they really make our doorway more welcoming.
Do you keep plants in your classroom? Real ones or fake? 

I keep Atlantic salmon too, but I promise you they are safe in their tank. :)

The Great Pencil Challenge (managing pencils!)

managing pencils
Sometimes I marvel at the fact that, despite all the modern conveniences and advances in technology, no one has yet designed an indestructible pencil. 

I'm serious. 

And really, after eight months of school this year, I find myself growing weary of handing out new pencils and tracking down lost ones. 

It all came to a breaking point a few weeks ago. We were primed and ready for math. I was excited to start the lesson, my students had all of their materials and were ready to learn and then, the inevitable happened...

"I can't find my pencil!"

I turned from the whiteboard and replied that I supposed it was time for THE GREAT PENCIL CHALLENGE (said all dramatically, of course). 

"What is The Great Pencil Challenge?!" my fifth graders wanted to know.

I solemnly opened a new (and my last) package of pencils, wrote my students' numbers...
managing pencils
and told them their mission (should they choose to accept it!) was to keep their pencil for an entire week. 

Of course this called for a sign...
managing pencils
(so we could keep track of the pencil check-in on Friday).

And you know what? It was perfect! We only lost a couple of pencils that week (an incredible feat, I assure you). My students were so much more aware of their pencils and kept a close eye on them. There were less distractions in finding them and they were prepared for all lessons. 

There was also a community of pencil-watchers...they looked out for their classmates' pencils (I adore my class!). 

At the check-in on Fridays, we just quickly share out who kept their pencil all week and who might need a new one (due to use or accidental misplacement) and that's that! I do write the names of the students who kept them on the board as "Pencil Honors" (perhaps I need a sign for this too?) but that's as far as we go (I'm not a big prize person). 

In case you would like to try this in your classroom, I do have the sign available for free in my store (just click on the preview below)...
Can you share any pencil-managing strategies with us? I would love to hear what works in your room!

P.S. I'm on spring break!! Anyone else? :)

UPDATE! This file has been updated to include a Pencil Honors sign as well! For more information, please visit my latest post: Pencil Honors! (The Great Pencil Challenge Part 2)

Fonts by Miss Tiina at

An Important Cause

Jen, from Runde's Room, is having a very important fundraiser this weekend.

Jen's longtime friend has a son, Taten, who is in need of help. He has a tumor in his leg and now must face surgery and chemo--and he is only in the second grade. My heart aches for Taten and his family, and for my sweet friend Jen.

To provide some support, Jen is having a sale at her store this weekend and donating all proceeds to Taten's family.

Besides being a generous friend, Jen is also a phenomenal teacher (which I'm sure you already know!). Here are just a few of my favorites from her store (you can click on each image to see more about the item)...  
Image Map
...and they are all on sale right now!

If you've been eying something from Jen's store and would like to donate towards an important cause, please click on over to her store here:
Thanks so much for reading...I'm off to shop :)

Awesome (& Affordable) Seating!

I love these little seats so much, I feel I should write this post as poetry. Perhaps an ode to a stool?? Don't worry, I will spare you!

But I do just love these little chairs. And my 5th graders love them even more!

I first learned about them from my little friend. Actually, she's teeny. As in the one and only...
A Teeny Tiny Teacher 
Kristin blogged how much her first graders loved the stools here: Listening Center Stools. I wrote to her to ask a bit more...could my 5th graders sit on them comfortably? Would they be too short for them? 

Like the true friend she is, she offered all the help she could give. She did some intensive calculations, including testing one out she said she is the size of many 5th graders in her school.

Turns out she was right...they are a great size for 5th graders!

So then I waited a couple of months before blogging about them, just to be sure. But they are still working really well for my class, so I had to share!

Why are they so awesome?
  • They're pretty. (this is the most important part and therefore must be listed first)
  • They're affordable. They are $8.88 right now, as a fact. There is a shipping cost too, but still a lot less expensive than the seating I normally look at.
  • They're strong. Much stronger than they look! They can hold up to 330 pounds. 
  • They weigh practically nothing. 
This is really my other favorite part (besides the prettiness factor) because my students sit at tables and we work in many different groups throughout the week. It is SO much easier to move these little stools to a new group. 
And to put them away at night...
  • They're non-obtrusive. 
I know this probably sounds weird, but just I love that you can't really see them when the kids push them in under the tables when we leave. It really reduces the visual clutter!

And that is ode to my stools. Written in prose so as not to annoy you after a long day of work.

I wasn't asked to review these, just bought them on my own. If you'd like to take a peek at them, they are at School Outfitters (they come in a pack of 5): Plastic Stack Stool

Do you have any seating favorites in your class? Thanks for visiting!

QR Quest Poster

QR codes are something I learned how to use very recently from my lovely friend Katie, over at Queen of the First Grade Jungle. Katie has a 1:1 iPad class and she has shared so much about various really is incredible to see them in action and learn from her!

As for QR codes, I knew a teeny bit about them before, but never realized how easy they were to use.

And just how much my 5th graders would love them!

I think I've mentioned before how our school recently initiated Bring Your Own Device and it really has created so many amazing learning opportunities in the short time since it has started. Several of my students are able to bring their iPads and iPods and take advantage of all the cool little apps out there.

With the QR codes, we have really been able to try some new things and make our techy lives easier!

And that's where this little poster comes into play.

Here's how it works...

1. Click on the poster below to download it here...
Print the poster (cardstock works best for this) and laminate.

2. Head over to QR Stuff to generate a code (the image below will take you there).
You can also jump over to this site from the poster itself! Just scan the purple QR code on the poster...
3. Use the menu to choose the data type and generate the code you will need. 

There are tons of possibilities here! For now, my class has been using it to scan URLs to save time in finding websites...

4. Download the QR code. 

Once downloaded, the code can be placed in a worksheet or printed out.

5. Tape the code onto the laminated poster...
Now my students can just head over to the poster, scan the code, and get right to the website they need! I will be able to save paper and avoid running unnecessary copies of the QR code. :)

I hope the poster may be of use to some of you! 

Note: To be able to scan the code, the students will need to download the free app Inigma. I sent a note home to my parents to check if this would be ok first and then we were all set!

Other note! It was Katie who first shared the QR website and app!! I asked if she would mind if I shared the info along with my readers (as you probably know, she is one of the sweetest bloggers out there!). Please see her post here to read all about how she uses these resources in her class: Queen of the First Grade Jungle

Have you used QR codes with your class? I'd love to hear how you've used them!

Tutorial: Shopping Guides and Galleries

Happy weekend my friends! I hope you are all doing well and everything is springy in your area!

Today I'd like to share a new tutorial with you. It's actually based off of an older tutorial (Creating Thumbnail Galleries).

So, you already know that many of the files on my blog are set up as thumbnail galleries...
I just love them!! There are so many benefits to thumbnail galleries...especially if you've been blogging for awhile now.

Galleries allow you to do the following:
  • Showcase your older posts (they get buried quickly by newer ones, don't they?)
  • Provide your readers a nice, visual navigation of your blog.
  • Set up shopping guides for your customers.
  • Offer pin-ready images for your visitors...and it's the image you'd like to be pinned most, since you chose it for your gallery.
And though I loved the ease of setting up my galleries with inLinkz last year, I am switching them over to a new format for a few reasons:
  • My thumbnails are kind of small and that hovering Pinterest icon (which I love!) blocks them a lot.
  • The smaller images look funny when pinned by readers and I'd like a larger preview to be selected for pinning.
  • I have more control over the overall layout and font size with this newer format.
So what does this newer format look like? You can see it in its beginning stages on my Shop page.

And it's pretty easy to set up! All you need are some picture previews of your files, this AWESOME HTML Table Generator tool, and a little bit of code work. Don't worry, it's not the scary kind of code, I promise!

If you'd like to learn more, please click here to see the video. (I'm wicked sorry it's not embedded in this post--I am having a terrible time with technology this week, I don't know why!).

In other, unrelated news I have some new social networking icons located at the top of my blog...and right here:
 photo myfacebook.png  photo mytwitter.png  photo mypinterest.png
I'd love for you to meet up with me on any of them if you'd like. Thanks so much for reading!! :)
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