Friday, July 25, 2014

Five for Friday {July 25th

Five for Friday with Doodle Bugs Teaching

Happy Friday everyone!  I hope everyone's having a fantastic summer so far!  I just spent the last few days at our cottage and we are leaving later today for a vacation out west (Western Canada).  It's been GREAT so far, even my 4 month old son is having a grand ol' time.  Today, for Five for Friday, I decided to share some great articles relating to vacations!  

15 Reasons Couples Should Go On Vacation Instead Of Buying Stuff

Yes, we live in a materialistic world where buying stuff is fun.  But have you ever thought of giving up buying stuff and going travelling instead?  Ok, maybe not giving up stuff completely, but I do agree with this article that we should be travelling instead of buying more stuff all the time!  

I have even decided that I'd like to minimize the amount of toys my son receives for Christmas and birthdays and increase the amount of experiences he has.  He would much prefer an afternoon at the zoo with Grand-ma and Grand-pa instead of a toy.  When he's older, he's going to cherish those memories!  

The Importance of Vacations, for Stress Relief, Productivity and Health

Have you ever wondered about the importance of taking vacations?  This article outlines it quite nicely for you!  I have always gone on vacation, at least one "big" trip per year and often several little weekends getaways throughout the year.  Sometimes it can take a hit on my budget, but I simply allocate a certain amount each month to my travel fund (I actually have money transferred to a dedicated account every paycheck just for travelling purposes!) 

13 Staycation Ideas

Haven't started your travel fund yet and don't have funds to go anywhere?  That's ok!  This wonderful article gives you 13 great Staycation ideas.  I need to do this more often, there are so many areas in my region that I haven't visited yet!

How to Kick Back, Relax, and Vacation at Home

Need help on HOW to go about a Staycation?  This article has great tips and ideas to help you relax at home, all while feeling like you're miles away from home.  There are some amazing ideas here, such as turning off or muting phones and having an "out of office" message for your e-mail.  

How Vacation Affects your Happiness

Need more incentive to get away this summer?  Look at this article that summarizes a study done in Netherlands about how a vacation affects your happiness.  Seriously, after that article, you'll be packing your bags ASAP!

Well, I can't let my husband do all the prep work before we leave this afternoon!  Have a great weekend!

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Sunday, July 20, 2014

It's beginning to look a lot like... The beginning of the school year?!?

Ok, Ok, I know it's early, but there are back to school signs everywhere!  Even at Teachers pay Teachers (TpT), we are all gearing up to get ready for the new school year!

This year, I participated in a wonderful project co-hosted by two author-teachers, Laudalina from Prof & Soeurs and Lucy from Here's An Idea by Lucy.  It's Le Livre Digital (digital ebook). Yes, it's in French, but they are also coming out with an English version, and I will definitely post about that one too (I just haven't had the time to participate in it this year - my 4 month old is keeping me pretty busy these days!)

So this digital ebook is something quite special!  It's a compilation of goodies from various author-teachers (aka sellers on TpT), filled with great tips to start the new school year and FREEBIES to get you started on the right foot.  That's right, I said FREEBIES!  I don't know how many teachers are participating, but they were aiming for 25, so let's hope we hit that number.  That would be 25 back to school tips and 25 free products.

Another GREAT thing about this digital ebook is that the free products are all samples of a bigger product we have posted.  Think of it this way -  you get to sample before you buy!  If a free product is right up your alley (and grade level), then you can check out the paid product without having to muffle through thousands and thousands of sellers to find something that fits for your classroom.

It's not available yet, it's still a work in progress, but STAY TUNED!  I will post it here and on my Facebook page as soon as it's available!  Follow me (to the right there) and Like my Facebook page to make sure you don't miss out!!

Did I mention that this is a second edition? You know what that means?  That means there's a first edition for you to check out!  Click on the image below will take you to this wonderful livre digital (French version)

Have an awesome day!

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Five for Friday {July 18}

Another Friday is upon us!  It is only mid-July, and already, I am seeing Back To School signs everywhere!  Knowing that some teachers go back sooner than others, here are my Five for Friday : Ideas for the first day or first week of school.  Enjoy!

I don't know about you, but I use post-its all the time in my classroom.  What better way to introduce them to post-its (and a great way to start setting the atmosphere of the classroom) than this wonderful activity.

I have written a blog post about anchor charts and one about routine and structure.  At the beginning of the year, what better way than to merge the two together and start teaching procedures!  This is a fantastic blog post written by Kathy Griffin's Teaching Strategies about the all-mighty anchor chart and procedures (especially those that "might" disrupt the class).

This activity can be used many different ways!  In my classroom, I would give everyone a piece of the puzzle and, using old magazines, have them cut out and decorate their piece so it represents them.  Afterwards, all the pieces can fit together on a bulletin board.  It's a great way to begin the school year.

You can also use the puzzle pieces by having the students brainstorm about the upcoming school year (What do they think the school year is going to be like?  What do they hope to learn this year?  What kind of teacher do they want? etc.) or even having them do a quick research on their favourite artist or author and writing a few key notes on their puzzle piece.

This book/video is almost a must at the beginning of the school year!  It's a great way to have students thinking about the differences in others and how we can affect others with our words.  I have used it in my classroom with very good results, especially if you use it in conjunction with other activities that set a positive climate in the classroom.
Ice breaker activities are a great way to get students up and moving and getting to know each other all over again.  (They are also a great way to start learning procedures *hint hint*)  Ms Third Grade has a wonderful Back to School freebie that you can download by visiting her website here.  There are 3 pages of activities that are simply perfect for that first day of school!  

And there you have it!  I hope you've enjoyed today's Five for Friday!  If you have any great beginning of the year activities that you'd like to share, I'd love to see it in the comments!

Have you ever thought of buying or selling on Teachers Pay Teachers and finding great ideas for your classroom?  Use my referral link today!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Positively Pinspiring {July 16th}

Are you on bloglovin?  If not, you really should check it out. It is a quick and easy way to stay connected to your favourite blogs!  Every day, you get an e-mail from them with a link to all the newest blog posts from bloggers you're following.  This is how I discovered a newest weekly linky that I am excited to be a part of!  It's Positively Pinspiring with Mrs Plemon from Mrs Plemon's Kindergarten.

Psst - to start following me on Bloglovin, simply click on the button on the right!

Engaging students

Have you ever had a lesson just fall flat?  You're in the front of the class, talking away, and realizing that no one is engaged, no one is motivated by what's going on?  Yeah, unfortunately this does happen to even the best of us.  I have had this happen, and shake things up by adding lunges or squats as I'm talking.  The students always look at me like I'm crazy, they start listening, and we all start doing squats or lunges! haha

This blog post gives you GREAT ideas to engage students quickly at the beginning of a lesson.


I have used bookmarks in the past as referential tools, but mostly for language arts.  I saw this on Pinterest and have been wondering why I didn't think of this a long time ago!  These bookmarks are perfect for quick referential tools for math concepts that students have a hard time grasping.  I love it!  

Noise level

Wow!  I found this this week and I am amazed! I didn't know this even existed and I am so excited to share! I do have a poster in my classroom that talks about noise levels that are appropriate, but students sometimes still don't get it (sometimes?  Ok, I lied. Always).  This website allows you to hook up a microphone and it'll measure the classroom noise in a fun way (the bouncy balls bounce).  A great way to show students how much noise they are making.  You can make it into a game - starting with making LOTS of noise to see how high they can bounce, and then ending with a discussion on classroom appropriate noise level.

You can also change the bouncy balls to eye balls, emoji or even bubbles.  Very cute indeed!

DIY Candles

I am loving all things crafty lately and this pinterest really got my creative juices flowing!  This candle can easily be given as housewarming gifts, Thinking of you moments, wedding favours, or even as thank you to all the volunteers in your classroom! 

Those are my pins of the week!  Don't forget to head on over to Mrs Plemon's Kindergarten for more great Positively Pinspiring blogs!

Have you ever thought of buying or selling on Teachers Pay Teachers and finding great ideas for your classroom?  Use my referral link today!

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Let's Talk About Books : The Essential 55 {July 15th}

Another edition of Let's Talk About Books, a linky with Mrs Deanna Jump from Mrs Jump's Class

This week, I'd like to talk to you about a book that I once read (little by little) with my grade 7 and 8 students.  It's called The Essential 55 by Ron Clark.  

What's it about

Ron Clark wrote this book with educators and students in mind.  He wrote a list of 55 Essential rules that will bring classroom success to educators and students everywhere.  Rules such as :

  • Make eye contact. When someone is speaking, keep your eyes on him or her at all times. If someone makes a comment, turn and face that person. 
  • If someone in the class wins a game or does something well, we will congratulate that person. Claps should be at least three seconds in length with the full part of both hands meeting in a manner that will give the appropriate clap volume. 
  • If you win or do well at something, do not brag. If you lose, do not show anger. Instead, say something like, “I really enjoyed the competition, and I look forward to playing you again,” or “good game,” or don’t say anything at all. To show anger or sarcasm, such as “I wasn’t playing hard anyway” or “You really aren’t that good,” shows weakness. 
To see the list of rules, click here.

Some of the rules are very strict, others are common sense.  Either way, the rules are a great list to live to the best of your potential every day.

Why I like it

Every week in my classroom, we sat in a circle and talked.  We talked about issues we maybe had this past week, things that they enjoyed in the classroom, concepts they had learned, relationships between classmates and we also read 1-2 rules from Ron Clark's book, and discussed why the rule is there and how it should be applied, not only in the classroom, but in life.  We then tried to work on that specific rule all week, making an effort to really emphasize that rule in our classroom.

I had a parent come to me and tell me how their child had come home and was talking about the rules.  He was saying how much he appreciated them, how they all made sense and he was becoming a better person when he tried to apply these rules. It made sense to him.

That's why I love this book.  It teaches children how to act in certain situations.  Can it be a little strict, yes.  Do you always have to follow the rules, no.  Overall, it gives students the knowledge on how to act in public to represent everything that they are in the best manner possible.

Have a great week! Don't forget to head on over to Mrs Jump's Class to read other great blogs!

Have you ever thought of buying or selling on Teachers Pay Teachers and finding great ideas for your classroom?  Use my referral link today!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

You Oughta Know About : Weekly Paragraph Writing {July 12th}

This blog post is a part of a monthly series entitled "You Oughta Know About" hosted by Buzzing with Mrs McClain.

This month, I'm writing about Weekly Paragraph Writing.  It's something new that I added to my classroom this year with amazing results.  I definitely plan on doing this for years to come.

I don't remember what I read or saw last summer that inspired me, but to whatever or whomever it was : thank you, thank you, thank you.  Because of you, my students became better writers.  I mean, way better writers.  They became proud to display their progress on our bulletin board, and when I go in to visit them (I'm now on maternity leave and my replacement kept this up), they are eager to show me their new paragraph!

**All pictures are in French since I teach at a French school :)

It's fairly easy to implement in your classroom, with a little work at the beginning on your part (or you can check out my Weekly Paragraph Writing here - I've done the work for you! See below for a special deal until tomorrow morning!)

The schedule goes like this :



It's important for students to practice brainstorming properly and not just be fixated on the first idea that pops into their heads.  When I give them a topic, they have to brainstorm and even write little notes to explain a bit further.  Yes, this student in particular didn't seem to put much effort into her brainstorm!


3 ideas

This day, my students will pick 3 ideas from the brainstorm and develop them a little bit more with examples.

For example, if my students brainstormed about their favourite colour (pink, let's say), they would have to choose 3 ideas from their brainstorm (ie : it makes me feel good when I wear it, it's an attractive colour and I love the different shades of pink available). 


Introductory and Concluding sentences 

On this day my students will work on their introduction sentences and their concluding sentences.  The introduction sentence (1-2 sentences) will always introduce their topic in a vague manner and their concluding sentence will resume what they have said.

At the beginning, the introductory sentences I would get looked a lot like My name is Rose and I will talk to you about my favourite colour.  My concluding sentences would look like Thank you for reading about my favourite colour. or That's why I like the colour pink.

Yes, lots of work was needed! lol


Rough Draft

On this day, my students will put all of it together, making sure to add transition words so that the paragraph flows well together.  They will also spend some time revising their draft, getting it ready for tomorrow.



I booked the computer lab for 15 minutes every Friday morning for the whole year (I did this back in August when I thought of this).  Every Friday morning, my students don't come into my classroom first, they go right to the computer lab and start typing their weekly paragraphs.  They then use a spell/grammar check program we have on school computers to correct their paragraph and then they print.

The fun part is what happens next!  I made a bulletin board with 12x12 scrapbook paper.  Each student picked a square and every Friday, they staple their most recent weekly paragraph on top of the old one.  They only staple the top, so you can easily flip through and see their progress.  And that's the amazing part.  The first paragraph they ever wrote is still there, and when they compare it to where they are now, they are amazed at their progress!  And even more fantastic, they are proud of their progress.

So there you have it!  I'm glad you now know about Weekly Paragraph Writing.  I hope you can take some ideas from here and implement them in your classroom next year. 

Grab your Weekly Paragraph Writing here!  Now 50% off until 8am Sunday (July 13th)!

Have you ever thought of buying or selling on Teachers Pay Teachers and finding great ideas for your classroom?  Use my referral link today!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Five for Friday {July 4th}

I'm a day late, but that's ok!  I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching again for another edition of Five for Friday!

This week's theme?  I've heard tons of  jokes this week, so I scoured the Internet for the best 4th of July and Canada Day jokes for you!  Here we go!

Knock Knock.
Who's there?
Olive who?
Olive my fireworks!

What did one flag say to the other flag?

Nothing, it just waved.

Do they have a 4th of July in Canada?
Yes. It comes right after July 3rd.

I hope no one was stuck in horrendous traffic trying to get away this weekend!  I wish everyone a very safe and happy July 4th and Canada Day!

Have you ever thought of buying or selling on Teachers Pay Teachers and finding great ideas for your classroom?  Use my referral link today!