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End of the Year Activities, End of Year Books to Read, and Ideas

It is the time of the year we are looking for motivation to help us have a successful end of the school year. We reflect on all the things we have learned, taught and still want to teach our students. It always seems shocking how quickly the year actually flies by. So, as you start to prepare for the last few weeks and days I want to leave you with helpful tips, ideas, and a quote that helps me.  "Be the teacher that kids don't want to leave at the end of the school year!" This really helps me in remembering all the memories we have made together and I realize how special this time is with my students. I truly help this inspires you to rock the end of your school year!

These are a few of my favorite books I love sharing with my students the last few weeks of school. These are perfect for read aloud and having students reflect on their school. I love reading the books and having students make connections with the characters and theme of each book. My favorite from this list is The Night Before Summer Vacation.  
 Books: Last Day Blues, Oh the Places, You’ll Go, Last Day Horray, No More Homework! No More Tests, The Night Before Summer Vacation, and When It’s The Last Day of School.

Here are some helpful tips to ending your year successfully:
Set weekly and daily goals: Set goals for you and your class! It always helps me to create a calendar to set weekly goals, activities, ideas I want to complete during the last month of the school year. Some things I include are: packing up, memory books, autograph signing, awards, planning for next years, labelingstuff, organizing. 
Do not take that down, yet: Do not start taking down stuff and packing until it is totally necessary. You students will see you taking down stuff and they assume school is out! Then you WONDER... why is my class acting silly? You can start organizing and putting stuff that has been sitting out since November, but seriously… try not to be that classroom with everything off your wall. An easy tip if you are wanting to remove your bulletin boards is to place some motivational posters to encourage positive mindset.
Creative Projects: This is the perfect time of the year to let your creative juices flow. Those fun projects that you have had sitting there can actually happen now. My students would love those book club cereal boxes, diorama projects, STEM projects, research projects and more. We were finished with state testing so we pulled out all the glitter, hot glue gun, and construction paper and got to work. You will truly enjoy this time seeing how creative your students are and they will have a blast learning.

Here are some fun ideas to help you during your last few weeks of school. If you would like the
End of Year Memory Books:I decided this year to create a few different options of the memory books for teachers to decide which theme works for their classroom. I have the following themes: Emoji, Camp, Superhero, Nautical, and of course the Traditional theme.
End of Year Awards: I love passing these individualized awards home with my students. These awards are perfect to celebrate each child in your room. All have an editable slide so you can customize wording for your class if you would like. Different themes: Emoji, Traditional, Superhero, and Nautical.
End of Year Letters: I created this letter to send home to parents on the last day of school. It is a letter to each student and a letter to parents. I have updated over time and it is now editable so you can add you signature. I have several options of backgrounds and font to choose from. These are really special, and I guarantee each parent will save these in their child’s keepsake from you.
End of Year Tips Brochure: My favorite is the END OF YEAR BROCHURE with tips for my students coming into my class the next year! Oh wow, these are so fun to read! The kids get a big kick out of these!! I love passing them out to my new kids the following year and watching them get excited about all the things we will learn!
End of Year Memory Lap Book Of course the  End of Year LAPBOOK is a fun way activity for the last few days of school. I created this memory book to be an easy prep item for students to create quickly and have fun reflecting on their school year.
End of Year Flip Book: My End of Year Flip Book is a big hit because kids love these interactive activities. This allows reflecting, writing, and setting goals.

End of Year Giveaway & Freebie:This month along with my monthly subscriber freebie [see below] I am doing a giveaway and a winner will also win this Emoji Memory Book. This book is available for grades 2-5. So make sure you enter below! Best wishes!

As a thank you to my subscribers I would love to offer you an end of year freebie. This freebie will be available for a limited time. When you subscribe it will be sent to you. Please download and save as the files are changed each month. Click here to become a subscriber to receive your monthly freebies straight to your inbox.

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Poetry: Introducing and Teaching Poetry in the Classroom

Have you been looking for fun ways to incorporate poetry into your curriculum.Poetry is a great idea for students of all ages and it can be a lot of fun. You can instill a love for poetry that they will carry with them for many years. I have been teaching poetry to my students throughout the year. I love teaching poetry and my students love our daily poetry time. Did you know that April is National Poetry Month? It is a great time to really focus on teaching poetry in your classroom. Today I want to share some things that work for me and hopefully will work for you this year.
Here are some ideas for introducing and teaching poetry in the classroom.
·        Focus Poetry: I have been using focus poetry every day for the past few years. I will explain it briefly… We focus on a poem each week. I set aside 5-10 minutes of class to for Focus Poetry. Students are given poetry notebooks, to place poems in. Each day we focus on a different concept [reading, visualizing, illustrating, understanding, reflecting]. It is a great way to keep poetry in your classroom yearlong. This is the resource I use Poem of The Week, it works great because it is set up to use weekly.
·        Poetry Notebooks: I use poetry notebooks every year. This is where my poetry elements, and more. It is something we set up at the beginning of the year and progresses throughout the year. It becomes very meaningful for them. This is the item I use for setting mine up, it is helpful and that I focus on different types of poetry throughout the year.
·        Read poetry together as a class: Choose a few poems for your students to read. Encourage them to pick out themes, meanings, and other literary devices. You may also want to introduce several types of poems, such as haikus and acrostic poetry, for example.  
·        Have your students do poetry projects: Encourage your students to write an essay on the poems you learn about it. If you want to take a more creative approach to this, you might also have them do a poster project, illustration, diorama, collage or any other creative project that will allow them to show what the poem means to them.
·        Encourage students to write their own poems: Perhaps the most fun way to introduce poetry to children is by encouraging them to write a poem of their own. They can either write their poems in their Poetry Notebooks or they can put them on poster boards to share with the class.

Here are some of my favorite Poetry Resources: I use this Poetry Unit, which has several types of poetry to teach to students throughout the year or for a unit of study. The poem type is explained and an example is given, then students are allowed to create their own poem for each poetry style. It also has posters and other helpful tools to help with your poetry unit! You cannot go wrong with this compete unit! Click here to grab yours today!

This is a new unit I put together this year that is more interactive. I love it because it really allows students to take pride and LOVE poetry with all the components! It is created to have all the pages fit perfectly into a composition notebook! It even contains my very popular Flip Book! The great thing about this is you can have your students use it all year or focus on working on it during your poetry unit of study! Click here to grab yours today!
Some of my favorite and authentic activities are my pennants! I love seeing the images that teachers send me of the poetry pennants! It is such a unique way to have students learn each style of poetry! You will love displaying these! And… of course my very popular flip book is something your kids will LOVE creating and saving with their poetry! These are great as an addition to my Poetry unit or Poetry Interactive Notebook. Click here to grab yours today!
These are just a few ideas on introducing and teaching Poetry in the classroom. No matter how you go about it, National Poetry Month can make for fun lessons for both you and your students. 

 I wanted to share this Poem of the Week Freebie for all my Exclusive Subscribers! If you would like to become an Exclusive Member click here today and start your collection of free resources!

Spring Literacy Ideas and Freebie

Are you in search for some fun Spring Literacy Activities to use in your classroom? I wanted to share some things I have found to be helpful this time of the year! I bet you are excited as Spring Break is almost here! Here in Texas we have Spring Break the second week of March. It is a great mini break for students and teachers to rest up and prepare for the remainder of the school year. This time of the year is fun, because the weather is wonderful to step outside for some outdoor learning and fun. Do you use any outdoor activities this time of the year? I love to read to my students outdoors. The kids have fun with the change of scenery!

Do you have your spring time favorite books to read this time of the year? I wanted to share a few of my favorite novels and of course picture books. These are perfect to take your students outside and read under a tree or near the playground area Also, you will notice I threw in a poetry book because Poetry Month is quickly approaching!
  • Charlotte's Web- novel
  • Poppy- novel
  • The Giving Tree- perfect for Earth Day
  • Amelia Earhart- perfect for Women's History Month
  • I know Why the Caged Bird Sings- Poetry
  • Bayou Magic- novel
  • How Robin Saved Spring- picture book
  • What Does It Mean to Be Green- picture book
  • Planting a Rainbow- picture book
  • A Dance in The Starlight- picture book
In the classroom, I love to create a scene of Spring time as well. Here are some of my go to resources to use during this time.
  • Spring Word Work: I love to do fun activities in the Spring. Usually I create fun Word Work Centers. You can see these I use here.
  • Holiday/Events Pennants and Flip Books: We also celebrate special events using my pennants or flip books. The special days that are coming up are: St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, Earth Day, Cinco de Mayo, Mother’s Day. So having these handy and printed ahead of time really helps with décor and celebrations. Also, I have created some special holiday book companion with my pennants- click here!
  • Spring Writing Prompts: I also love having my students focus on spring writing prompts. This year I created Digital Google Writing Comics to use in writing centers! They are so fun!
  • Spring Time Reading: I use my monthly reading comprehension passages that are thematic. These are perfect for reading small groups, guided reading groups, homework, bell work, and much more! I love using these because it really encourages my students to use higher level thinking and integrates writing skills on each weekly passage.

I always like to have something special for my kiddos to do either during or after Spring Break so I created this fun activity packet. It has a Spring Break Reflection Poster, a Spring Break Writing Activity, and some Spring Break SWAG TAGS [these are fun for celebrating spring break]. I want to share all these with you TODAY! Yes, free for you TODAY! Thanks for stopping by! Have a happy Spring!

Test Prep Tips and Ideas

If your students are getting ready to take the state tests, you may be wondering what you can do to help them prepare. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do. Test prep is important for students of all ages and learning levels. There is more that goes into test prep than just the material itself. For example, many students get nervous about tests or have a difficult time concentrating. Over the past 15 years, I have been in testing grade levels. It is sometimes a headache but I try to stay positive. I do know that bombarding students with practice tests is NOT fun for the teacher or the students. Therefore, as a teacher we want to focus on growing our students but not overwhelming them.

Here are some tips for prepping kids for state testing:
1.      Spend time doing daily reviews.  Preparing for exams can be overwhelming, especially for children in younger grades. Rather than dumping all of the practice tests on them at once, it’s important to spend time reviewing one area each day. Here are some tools that can help your students: click here to preview.  

2.      Focus on trouble areas. Are you finding that more of your students are struggling with math? If so, you will want to focus on this a little bit more during your test prep.

3.      Teach kids test taking strategies. Give them tips on what to do when they feel unsure of an answer, such as making their most educated guess and moving onto the next question. I developed some strategies that help my students. Seeing these displayed is often a simple reminder for them. Click here to see these.

4.      Focus on the positives. Remind the students how far they have come this year. Have them write out all the things they are proud of knowing and learning. Get students to create motivational quotes to motivate each other. I use these Growth Mindset Posters and let them create their motivational posters, they enjoy this.

5.      Ask for help from parents. Let them know when you will be doing your state test preparation and ask them to make sure that their child is well-rested and eats a well-balanced breakfast. You will want to do the same thing during the week of state testing. Parents appreciate these tips. Click below for a freebie I send home to parents.

I have created resources that takes the pressure of everyday testing practice. Many of my activities are interactive activities that tests students on the same skills but in different ways. For example, I use higher level thinking skills to check for understanding of skills. You can check out a variety of resources I use for test prep:
Test Prep Bundle: Includes Test Stems Questions to use with any text. 2 sets of Mentor Reading Texts with higher level thinking questions, Reading Graphic Organizers.
Reading Test Prep Comprehension Passages: I create many sets including monthly sets with fiction, nonfiction and poetry to use for weekly assessments or other activities.

Writing Test Prep Activities: I have many resources to test and prep students for Writing Testing. Lots of prompts providing different practice guides.
Motivational Awards: It is also important to motivate and encourage our students, so these are positive for testing prep season!

Here is a freebie I send home to parents just to remind parents of test taking information and helpful reminders.
[Note: If you are an exclusive subscriber - contact me for this exclusive as it will be available the month of March]

These are just some tips for prepping kids for state testing. They may not all work for every student and every situation but they should help you get a good foundation for test prep with your own students. Are there any tips you would add to our list?

Today I am excited to be participating in a giveaway with all these wonderful sellers! We have so many prizes for you to win for your classroom and a great TPT giftcard! You want to make sure you enter for your chance to win! Woohoo! You can enter all the giveaways or just one! Have FUN and Good LUCK!

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February Resources YOU will LOVE

Wow, can you believe it is already February! I wanted to share with you some resources I LOVE using this time of the year. We begin the rigorous season of test prep, however we still have lots of fun with some seasonal activities in February! As you know February is the MONTH of History, so we study and research: Influential Black Leaders of History, we celebrate our U.S. Presidents on Presidents' Day, and celebrate Groundhog Day, and whew...Valentine's Day. This month is exciting, especially when you are wanting to do QUICK Interactive Activities as I will share with you!
I try to have some cute and inexpensive treats or sweets for Teachers, Co-Workers, and others in our life. These mini containers were in the Target Dollar Spot! Perfect Find! I just added some cute Silhouette Lettering, a ribbon, some candy and they are ready!
In my shop I have some CUTE and EDITABLE student gifts for you to personalize and hand out to your students on Valentine's! Teachers and students LOVE this very inexpensive gift!
Click here for the Valentine Student Gifts
As you know I am the PENNANT Lady! LOL, I have been called this so many times by my customers and my friends! I have created some fun and Interactive Valentine Activities for you to use to celebrate this month! These are a few of my favorites! I also LOVE my Valentine's Day Flip Book! It is perfect for reading, writing, and spending time celebrating Valentine's Day!
Click here to see the Valentine Writing Pennant

Here are some other GREAT February Resources that I love using in my classroom! We usually focused on Black History month all month long so my Pennants, Brochure and Lapbook are great options! You will love these all!
We also celebrate our U. S. Presidents, you will LOVE all the resources I have available for this special unit.
Don't forget to become an exclusive subscriber to get a FEBRUARY Freebie plus two other freebies: Click here
Would you LOVE $20 to shop in my store plus $20 to shop on AMAZON to buy all your teacher needs for the month of February? YOU have a chance, enter this quick and easy giveaway!
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