Saturday, October 26, 2013

Writer's Workshop Freebie!

Writer's Workshop is one of my faaaaaavorite parts of the day.  Could it be because I love to write myself? Maybe. But it feels great when a kid who didn't love writing or felt afraid of the risks of writing comes to you beaming with an idea, a sentence, a finished story!  And for the writers, helping them to infuse craft into their writing is so rewarding, it always amazes me what they come up with!
This week, I was home with my own sick lil first grader when I got an email from a colleague asking me if I could create some writing paper for her to use specifically with one of her firsties.  All of the paper that we had had too many lines and it was overwhelming him. This little boy is having some fine motor/OT difficulties and she is trying everything she can in the classroom to support him.  
It brought me right back to the many, many times before I started creating my own materials when I would be looking for a specific writing paper - not something seasonal or cutesy, but just plain paper to suit the needs of a specific child or writing unit.  I can't tell you how many Frankenpapers I made over the years by cutting and pasting this set of lines and that picture box... you know.  You have probably done it, too!
So I was more than happy to help and I wanted to send them out there to you in case they help you, too.  It's a freebie, because everyone should be able to find the paper they need to teach basic writing!  There are 8 pages with increasing amounts of lines, some with medial dotted lines and some without, one without picture space, and some with smaller picture boxes and writing spaces (like I might use for How-To writing).  Click on the pic to grab them if you can use them!
Just two of the 8 paper choices:

They're free!  Enjoy!
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Sunday, October 13, 2013

Pumpkin Love!

Like all teachers, I wear many hats at school.  One of mine happens to be Building Science Coordinator.  That means that I am the liaison to our district science supervisor and that I deal with any issues related to our FOSS and ECA science kits (such as delivery delays, missing or broken materials, buggies and plants arriving not-so-alive...).  One of the big jobs for me and my fellow Coordinators in our other buildings is to look at the Next Generation Science Standards, which New Jersey and many other states have now adopted.  In fact, I am headed to a full day workshop on those new gems at a local university at the end of the month. 
Eventually, it will be part of my job to make sure that the standards are introduced to our teachers, that they are given ideas and lessons to incorporate them, and that our curriculum is NGSS aligned.  So I figured I'd start making the newer units I create NGSS-aligned as well.  My most recent apple unit was aligned, and so is my newest unit, Pumpkins to the (Common) Core! with Next Generation Science Standards. 
Here's a look!

The unit includes (83 pages):

 *October Calendar
* Pumpkin Observation (using senses: lined & unlined included)
*Identify Parts of a Pumpkin
*Label Parts of a Pumpkin
* Making Words (with "pumpkins")
* Pumpkin Comparisons
* Informative Writing: Pumpkin Life Cycle
(Illustrated and blank for student illustrations)
* Learning About My Pumpkin (Science/Math)
* How Many Seeds in the Pumpkin? (Estimate/Count)
* Draw a Picture of Your Pumpkin (Illustration)
* Draw a Scientific Diagram of Your Pumpkin
* Pumpkin Write the Room
* Informational Text: Pumpkin Fun Facts Mini Book
* Blank Pumpkin Stationery (3 full sheets/3 half sheets)
* Using Tally Marks
* Adding with Three Addends
* Word Problems (2 pages)
* Science Experiment 1: Pumpkin/Seed Sink/Float
* Science Experiment 2: Rotting Pumpkins
* I Have/Who Has Sight Word Games
(Pre-Primer, Primer, First, Second, Third)
I can't wait to pick pumpkins with my kiddies tomorrow so that we can get started!
I also posted just the I Have/Who Has Dolch Sight Word Games (Pre-Primer to Third Grade) as a stand-alone set for anyone who may not want the entire unit:

Happy fall!!!
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