Save Yourself Some Merry Little Minutes...

The holiday season is here and I can hardly contain the thoughts of baking cookies, shopping, wrapping gifts, and spending quality time with my loved ones.
But wait, I’m a teacher.

I don’t have any time for these things.

I have a trillion things to do!! Trimester assessments, projects, grading papers, publishing writing pieces, report cards...the list goes on and on and I can see my holiday festivity time fading fast.

Or maybe not.

Because several of my upper-elementary friends and I are hoping you will join us in sharing a list of ways we can save ourselves some merry little minutes...and free up some time to enjoy the season!

Here is one tip that has helped me so much already this month:

I know that sounds kind of obvious (or perhaps you are thinking I’m a major procrastinator).

But it works.

Take, for instance, report card comments. They’re extremely important, yet extremely time-consuming. 

And our first trimester report cards ALWAYS fall within the middle of the holiday season (mid-December, to be exact!). Every year I find myself spending hours and hours of precious holiday time typing away on comments for two days straight.

So, last year, I decided to break it down:

I write two report card comments every day, starting as soon as I can.   Two is such a modest, UNoverwhelming number, isn’t it?

Here is why I love the two comments method:

It's Quick

I can spend just a bit of time on them each evening and then put them away for the night.
It Adds Up Fast
Though two comments may seem slow, they add up really quickly. Within one school week, I already have 10 comments done!

It's Not Overwhelming
Instead of being faced with the overwhelming task of writing all of the comments in a weekend (and my subsequent avoidance tactics, such as laundry, vacuuming, and other pressing things!) the two comments is oh-so-easy to achieve in one sitting.
It Helps Me Maintain Focus
I know which two students I will be commenting about next. Which gives me all of that driving-to-work, drying-my-hair time to think about my meaningful comments, on just the two students. In all seriousness, this is very important to me. I want to make sure I have given ample time and reflection for each child.

So it sounds simple but it has worked like a charm for me...and I hope it may be of some help to you!

And here's something exciting! Many of my upper-elementary friends are also sharing their time-saving tips on their blogs:
Do you have any tips to share in regards to report card comments? 
Or other times savers? I would love to learn from you!

Thanksgiving Morphology Resources to Share

Happy-almost-Thanksgiving everyone!! We are in school for a few more days and I've been working on a couple of resources to keep my class following the usual routine, while celebrating the upcoming holiday a bit.

And I'd love to share these new a small token of my thanks and appreciation for you!

First up, I have some special spelling lists planned for the week. These spelling lists focus on four to six different affixes and roots that all have a Thanksgiving tie-in. These differentiated, editable lists can be found in my store...just click on the image below to download:

I also made a little graphic organizer to help students examine one of these Thanksgiving-themed words in depth:

There are places to fill out the usual components...the word, definition, part of speech, a sentence:

There is also a part for students to tie the morphology to the meaning of the word:

As well as a place to create an illustration and make a holiday connection:
(Perhaps I should have warned you first, I am not the best artist!! 
My 5th graders are always kind to me about it though!)

If you would like to grab this graphic organizer, please click on the image below:

I hope some of you might be able to use these resources!
Unless you are already on your break...which leads me to my big question:

Are you in school this week? Or has your Thanksgiving break already begun?

Teachers Thanking Teachers

It's almost time for my absolute-favorite holiday of all! And it's not just because I am totally craving mashed potatoes with gravy already (and that's the truth!).

It's because the sheer beauty of a holiday where we take time to share what we are thankful for.

And you know how thankful I am for all you, right? 

I've said it before and I'll say it again and again...I am so grateful for the blogging community and everything it has done for my teaching practice. I have learned an incredible amount from all of you and I am deeply appreciative.

So, as a way to show thanks, I'm joining several of my favorite upper-elementary bloggers to bring you a little Thanksgiving treat:
For the next two days (today and tomorrow!) we will each be sharing a brand-new product...for free!!
* * This offer is now over, thank you so much for joining in with us! * *

My product is the first in a new series of resources I am working on for my classroom. 

I am extremely fortunate to work with an international class of mainstream students and English Language Learners...all fifth grade. It is a wonderfully unique and exciting classroom environment!

This year, I have a large number of ELL newcomers who are just beginning to speak English. So I have been working on resources to help teach them grade level standards (most recently, the Order of Operations) in a scaffolded way, to help them gain confidence and an understanding of the academic language they will need to succeed:
(click on the image above to download this resource for FREE!)
And it just gets better! You can grab more free resources from these amazing teachers...

Thank you...for your readership, your friendship, and everything you have taught me over the years!!
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