Mark your calendars folks, get your wishlists ready, and make sure you are caught up on providing feedback. The TpT Back to School Sale is this coming Monday and Tuesday!! My entire store will be discounted 20% and if you enter the discount code(BTS14) TpT will discount an additional 10%.
Now, I'm really serious about leaving feed back on previous purchases, and I don't mean just in my store. I'm talking on any purchase...ever. Y'all, that feedback provides you with points, and those points build up to provide you with cha-ching. That's right. Those bonus points convert into savings on future purchases. Free money!! If you have made purchases, just sign in, go to my purchases, and provide feedback on any products you've overlooked. I have a good friend that buys and buys and buys on TpT, and she never leaves feedback. Can you believe that?

I have a few new products going into the sale:

and a few updated products:

You know, I really had planned to get more new products into my store over the summer. But, as they say, all work and no play make Karen a grumpy and kind of mean girl.

Have a great weekend!
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I am teaming up with some fantastic teacher-authors for a huge giveaway!  Diane at One Teacher's Adventures has reached 200 TpT followers, and as a celebration, she is hosting a giveaway of 3 fabulous prize packs. 

Each prize pack includes amazing products for the selected grade range plus winner's choice shopping sprees at participating stores! 

Check out the amazing prize packs below, then enter the giveaways!

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Good Luck!
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The title says it all. We all have to keep up with and monitor the little monsters angels' behavior. Some teachers have really wonderful paper clip, clothes pin, move your name to the green-yellow-red systems. They work wonderfully for them. I tried it. Once. Here's the problem:

Teacher (Me): "Johnny, I heard what you said to Precious, I'm putting your pin on red!"
Johnny: "I didn't say anything!"
Teacher: "What didn't you say, Johnny?"
Johnny: "But, she said it first!"
Teacher: "Well I heard you say it. Your pin is going on red!

This sort of conversation is futile and could go on forever, with Johnny eventually fessin' up. While you may have won the battle with Johnny, you've lost a whole lot of time with the other little angels. Besides, this is what happens (to me) later when I have to write a note in little Johnny's planner. (Remember hours have passed, and I've had to deal with someone puking, a fire drill, and who knows what else.)

Teacher: "Johnny, why is your pin on red?"
Johnny: "uh-UH-uh". You know, the shrug your shoulders motion that accompanies the guttural "I Don't Know". Which is what Johnny should say if he has any sense whatsoever.

I've also tried Class Dojo. Pretty much ditto the above.

So, here is what several teachers at my school use. "The Clipboard". It travels with the class wherever they go, from teacher to teacher. Some kiddos are so special that they get their very own clipboard, but that is a blog post for another time.

I start out with a fresh pre-filled form every week. You'll notice that for each day there is a 1,2,3,4,5. Each number stands for some sort of behavior. At the bottom there is an editable section where you can type in what each number stands for. As you can see on mine, number 1 stands for coming to school unprepared,
number 2 is being disrespectful, and so on.

So let's look at Johnny and Precious. Obviously Tuesday wasn't their day. Precious came to school without her homework (hw). This probably had her in a bad mood and she said something ugly to Johnny. He in turn told her to "STFU". It just takes me a quick second to jot the issues down, I have a reminder what they did, and I can quickly update their planner at the end of the day.

Okay, some of you are probably thinking "Second graders don't say STFU. How could she write this?" Well second graders do say STFU and a lot more. I always tell parents exactly what their angels say. I don't beat around the bush. So in Johnny's planner I will write something like: "Johnny told a classmate to Shut the Fuck Up!" I might even put two exclamation points and a sad face to drive home the fact that Johnny is a potty-mouth. Then the parents are expected to sign off on it. If Johnny forgets to get his planner signed, or his mom was just "too busy" to sign it, or his dog conveniently ate that particular page out of the planner, then Johnny gets a little call home on Wednesday.

At the end of the week the behavior chart gets filed, and I have a quick record of Johnny and Precious.
P.S. We try to reward the kiddos that don't have any behavior issues all week with something like a little extra recess on Friday, while the ones that didn't do as well either sit out or go in with one of their teachers right after lunch.
You can get your very own editable clipboard behavior chart right here

Happy Monday!
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I love these! I made these about a year ago, and I still think they're cute. I big fuzzy heart them! If you big fuzzy heart them as well just click on them because....they're free!



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Hey All,

Emily over at Third in Hollywood is hosting a cute linky party featuring back to school products. There are a lot of really cute and practical ideas. I've linked up my Black Gingham Word Walls & Alphabet Posters. The alphabet cards on the bottom are actually what I use in my room, and I'm adding the remaining parts this year. I love these because they are basic and mix well with a black, white, neutral color scheme. Unfortunately, I wasn't blessed with the "cute decorator" gene and I get bored with trendy very quickly. Thus, my clean, classic, and (yes) cute set! Check it out, and be sure to click on the link at the very bottom to check out the rest of the Back to School Linky!

 photo 90198fcc-6ece-4d52-a93b-743a1c6f011b.jpg

Y'all have a great week!
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I am excited to be teaming up with 90 other fabulous TpT authors to help Jamie Sears from Diary of a Not So Wimpy Teacher, celebrate 1,000 TpT followers!

How would you like to win one of TEN different $50 TpT SHOPPING SPREES?! All you have to do is enter using the rafflecopter below. Next week, ten winner (one for each giveaway) will be chosen. If you win- you will get to spend $5 in each of the stores listed on your giveaway. That is a total of 450 in TpT products of your choice!

Check out all of the amazing stores that are participating and then get yourself signed up!

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Have fun!!
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During my college and early post-college years, my friends and I loved to go out dancing. One of my personal favorite dance clubs was a place down on lower Greenville in Dallas called The Fast and Cool Club. It's long gone now, and I have no idea what is there now. But, boy did we have fun. I loved the music there. It was a mix of late 80's dance tunes and old Motown. So, have you ever heard a song called Mustang Sally by Wilson Pickett?

Now, fast forward about 20"ish" years. (I'm about to let my defenses down and be really vulnerable..sniff, sniff.) If you read one of my initial posts on this blog, you know I'm not a natural science person.What does this have to do with Wilson Pickett and Mustang Sally? Well the chorus of the song goes like this:

All you wanna do is ride around Sally
Ride Sally ride
All you wanna do is ride around Sally
Ride Sally ride
All you wanna do is ride around Sally
Ride Sally ride huh
All you wanna do is a ride around Sally
Alright ride Sally ride

So when I first heard about Sally Ride I was like "Huh...isn't that a song? You know...ride, sally ride." My shame has been revealed...don't judge me. 
In actuality, Sally Ride was the first woman in space! (I didn't pay attention to this hugely historic fact back in high school). Talk about girl power. Sally Ride Science  is all about encouraging and getting young kids (especially girls and under-represented populations) interested in careers in science. Sally Ride passed away in 2012 from cancer, but what a legacy she has left behind.

The irony in this whole little story is that I was one of  three chosen by my district (don't ask me how, I have no idea) to go to San Diego... to the SALLY RIDE conference (ride, Sally, ride). I'll keep you posted later in the week about how it's going!

I wonder if Sally ever paid a visit to The Fast and Cool Club?

Y'all have a great week,

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Hi everyone,
Today I'm joining up with Mrs. McClain from Buzzing with Mrs. McClain for her "You oughta know about..." blog hop. Thanks Mrs. McClain!
 I'm going to share a non-fiction vocabulary strategy that I have used in the past with a lot of success. Reading fiction and non fiction requires different strategies. Fiction is usually read for enjoyment and assumes that you understand what you are reading (I mean, you wouldn't read it if you didn't understand it would you?) But non-fiction is instructional and informative in nature and uses topic specific vocabulary.

If you have read any of my previous posts about the Lesson Cycle and concept invention/term introduction... well, I'm not talking about that sort of vocabulary acquisition. You know as well as I do that sometimes kids (a lot of times for adults) we are required to get our information from print, whether it is hard copy or digital. Life doesn't always plop down an awesome hands-on experience for us to learn from. Sometimes we just have to flat out read. period.

I would get so frustrated with my students when they would read a non-fiction article, book, etc...and they couldn't tell me what a new vocabulary word meant, even though the word was highlighted, had a definition with a clue, and was included in a glossary. They would read right past it. Not good. The word is included because it is specific to the subject they are reading about and is necessary to comprehension. So I came up with the following little activity:

Basically, I copied the chart for the kiddos to put in their binder. As we read through non-fiction selections, I modeled what to do every time we came to a highlighted vocabulary word.They learned to stop when they saw the word, identify the clue (comma, the word "is"....), and locate the definition. Before too long, I would hear the students automatically turn to their WCD chart when new vocabulary words popped up. While this isn't an activity specific to vocabulary acquisition, it is a specific reading strategy that helps build good reading habits.
If you want a copy of the activity, just click on either of the images above! Enjoy!


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A lot of teachers are heading to (or are already at) the TpT conference in Las Vegas! Unfortunately I couldn't attend. So, instead I'm linking up with Mercedes and a whole bunch of other sellers over at Surfing To Succes for a sale!!! We all love a good sale. I can't speak for everyone involved, but my store is discounted 20% July 9th-12th.
On another note, you need to read Mercedes' post about her part time work as a blackjack, poker, and craps dealer. Aren't teachers amazing people? I can barely shuffle a deck of cards, much less follow a card game. We all have talents and interests that make us interesting and unique.

Have a great day, and don't forget to check out all of the great sales going on!
On to part II. My goal had been to have this up yesterday, but all that sitting around in a lawn chair, eating food off the grill, and watching the younger crowd in the family zip around in the ski boat wore my old rear end out.

In part I, I discussed that the  Learning Cycle is learner centered. (Hold your horses, I'm going to actually describe the steps in the learning cycle shortly.) Some of you are probably thinking "Yikes!!! Learner centered = lots of noise" That's what I thought, and still struggle with. I don't like loud. Unless you are Led Zeppelin, I don't want you in my room making noise. So, this past year my goal was to let go and not feel as if I had to be in total control all the time. I'm making progress in that department.

So, what are the steps of the "Learning Cycle"? Well there are three basic phases (I'll discuss the 5E model throughtout, as it is really just a form of the original three steps).

1. The first step is Exploration. This is where you first get the little peeps attention and turn them loose to explore a concept (Engage & Explore). During this phase students are observing, communicating, comparing, organizing, relating, inferring, and applying the previous activities to creating a plan. I think this is probably the hardest part. I want to engage my kids in a way that makes them think about what they know (or think they know). Probes, the "K" from KWL, think-pair share, are all good activities. It's is through the exploration phase that the students should begin constructing meaning, and even struggling (yes I said struggling) with reconciling their misconceptions with what they are actually learning. They are building schema.
2. The second step is Concept Invention (Explain). This was the most eye-opening step for me, because this is where the learner actually makes a concept statement and learns the vocabulary. What??? Shouldn't I pre-teach the vocabulary? No. There is a ton of research about vocabulary acquisition that negates the pre-teaching of vocabulary. Vocabulary is best introduced after the initial exploration phase. Of course, you still want to incorporate lots of vocabulary practice activities. You can't just introduce a word and expect it to stick.
3. Application (Extend) is the third and final step of the Learning Cycle. Hopefully your students new learnings will lead to new questions and wonderings. Or, you have been working on a concept that can be taken a little bit deeper. This is where you can extend the learning. You do this with.... a brand new Exploration. So, in a sense Learning Cycle is truly a cycle!

Some of you are probably wondering "What about the fifth E?" When do I evaluate. Well, of course you can pop in an assessment of some sort at the end of a unit, but evaluating your students' learning should be imbedded within and throughout the cycle in the form of formative assessments. Which brings me back to learner centered. The teacher is still right with the kids, listening and carefully guiding with questioning that leads to discovery. Listening to their discussions and reading their reflections etc...,  will provide you with a lot of information about what your kids understand and don't understand which in turn will help you plan and intervene.

I never would have thought that I would find this interesting, but I really do. In fact, I find it fascinating. Seriously. This method of teaching is not easy, and it challenges a lot of beliefs I had about instruction. I have had lessons that didn't go well and flopped, and I have had some that worked beautifully with the kids really "getting it". But it is all a work in progress.

Check out these resources:
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Y'all have a great day! 


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