Friday, January 31, 2014

Five for Friday...brrrrrrrr!

I'm linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for my first "Five for Friday" post in the new year.

I did the celebration dance when our winter break was extended for two days due to the extreme cold. I welcomed the third "cold" snow day last week because I got a lot of chores done in my apartment. But when the fourth and fifth "cold" snow day of the school year was announced earlier this week on Monday and Tuesday, I started to dread the potential school days that might be added in June. Students don't want to learn in June and let's be honest, teachers don't want to teach in June. But what can you do? Then, we got dumped with snow early yesterday goodness. But we can't complain considering the situation in Atlanta...

An extra-long winter break made time for a "Sex in the City" marathon which directly resulted in an online shopping bonanza for me. I bought a Vince Camuto down coat, a pair of Paige skinny jeans and a pair of Stuart Weitzman wedges. Within days of receiving the three little items that cost me a fortune, I suffered major guilt. I didn't need any of the items, I just really, really wanted them. But it's Carrie Bradshaw's fault for glamorizing the lifestyle of those who perpetually live paycheck-to-paycheck in exchange for designer clothing and shoes. After all, I am single and I need to look good! Anyway, the arctic chill we've been experiencing in good ol' Minnesota has helped ease the pain of buyer's remorse. I've gotten a lot of wear out of my new, warm coat. I can't wait for warmer weather so I can wear my new shoes!

This next one also has nothing to do with teaching, but hey, to the shock of my students...teachers do have a life outside of school! I'm participating in a charity event called "Date for Life" that benefits the Children's Cancer Research Fund. This event raised over $200,000 last year. My participation is interesting too. I am one of twelve bachelorettes that will be auctioned off. The highest bidder for each bachelorette gets a date. Wish me luck for this event that will be taking place in two weeks. This will definitely be a funny page to add to my diary!

All the cancelled school days has afforded me a lot of extra time to create. My kiddos already learned how to find the missing number in addition and subtraction equations (1.OA.D.8) so we started reviewing the concept last week. Our curriculum doesn't offer enough activities and worksheets for the students to gain enough additional practice to reach mastery, so I created my own. I'm ashamed to admit that as an 8th year elementary teacher, I've never played "Scoot." I'm glad I took the time to make the task cards to play "Scoot." I played it with my students last week and to my amazement, most of my students were familiar with the game so I didn't have to spend much time explaining the directions. We had so much fun playing it and only one kid toppled off his chair! I have the "Missing Numbers in Addition and Subtraction within 10" available on TpT. My product includes 24 task cards for addition equations with a recording sheet and task card answer key, 24 task cards for subtraction equations with a recording sheet and task card answer key and 6 practice worksheets.

My students still sometimes struggle to read and write contractions properly so I wanted to give them extra practice. I wanted a hands-on activity for them to practice their contractions so I created these foldable contraction strips with a heart theme for Valentine's Day. The activity is called, "Fix the Broken Hearts." It's really simple, but a fun way to get the kiddos to practice making contractions. The students first write the two words on the left side of the strip on their recording sheet. Then they fold over the other side to "fix" the broken heart and to reveal the contraction the two words make. Last, they write the contraction on their recording sheet. If you're looking for a fun Valentine's Day activity, you can purchase this "Hearts Contractions" product on TpT. The product includes one set of 8 folding strips for 'm, n't and 'll, 8 folding strips for 's, 've and 're and blank folding strips to write your own words and contractions. All the strips are available in color and in black and white. The product also includes 4 practice worksheets.

Don't forget to link up your "Five for Friday." Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 9, 2014

How to Include Links in TpT Product Descriptions

I've noticed many TpT product descriptions have a webpage the seller wants you to visit, whether it's to see a picture, to see other products or to visit their blog. Whatever the reason, there is wrong way and a right way to include links in your TpT product descriptions.

I am really lazy about certain things and highlighting, copying and pasting is no exception. I don't think many people even realize you can post links in the product descriptions. I didn't realize it until earlier in the fall. So how do you do it? I will show you!

If you already know how to include hyperlinks in HTML and are just looking for the codes, here they are:

Open link within the same window: <a href="PASTE URL HERE">LINK TEXT</a>
For example:  <a href="">Diary of a Grumpy Teacher</a>

Open the link in a new window or tab: <a href="PASTE URL HERE" target="_blank">LINK TEXT</a>
For example: <a href="" target="_blank">Diary of a Grumpy Teacher</a>

1. Start a "New Post" on Blogger. Even if you don't blog, use this method anyway. If you do blog, don't worry, you're not posting anything. This is how you're going to get your HTML code for your link.

Click on "Compose." Next, type the title of your link and then highlight it. Next, click on "Link."

2. Copy and paste the URL of your desired link into the "Web address" field. I would strongly advise against typing in the address. Any slight mistake will result in a link that doesn't work. Don't frustrate your potential buyers with a faulty link! 

Check the box next to "Open this link in a new window" if you want the link to open in a new window. Then click "OK."

3. Click on "HTML." Then highlight and copy the entire code.

4. Go to your TpT product page and click on "Edit."

5. In the field for the product description, paste the HTML code you copied from blogger.

6. Keep "Skip thumbnail generation!" checked if you want to leave your current thumbnail images the same. Then click "Next."

7. Click on the link to make sure it works and you're done!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Monday Made It-Sight Words

I felt like the luckiest teacher when our governor announced on Friday that school would be cancelled today. And then I felt even luckier today when I was having coffee with my fellow work colleague, Miss Woodward, because school is cancelled again tomorrow! We exchanged high-fives and then continued exchanging ideas for the classroom for when we finally do make it back to the classroom. Two weeks off for winter break was nice...and then an additional two days off?? I'll take it! I guess that's what happens when you wake up to a -20 degree temperature. That was the actual morning temperature, not wind chill!

It's been awhile since I've linked up with 4th Grade Frolics for Monday Made It. I've made several things over the last few months, but just haven't posted anything about them. What a perfect day to do it!

1. Dolch Sight Word Worksheets and Wonders Sight Word Worksheets 

I created these worksheets because I wanted to give the children more opportunities to practice reading and writing their sight words. I use the same two worksheet formats for each sight word. With the predictable format, the students are able to complete these worksheets independently. Get two weeks of worksheets FREE by downloading the Wonders Sight Words Worksheets for Unit 1.1 and 1.2! Please note that the review worksheets in the free download are only available for the Wonders Sight Words, not the Dolch Sight Words.

2. Dolch Sight Word Assessment Booklets

Many years ago when I would assess my students on their sight words, I would just have them read off my checklist. I realized that wasn't the best method because the students would get nervous when they didn't get a check next to a word. Also, reading off the checklist was quite distracting because there were so many words written in small font. I next tried flashcards on a key ring and had the children flip through the words while I had a checklist on my clipboard. The flashcards were too small and were a bit cumbersome for the children. So this year, I made booklets as pictured above. They were so much better than any other method I have tried. The students can easily read the word on each page and turn the pages like a regular book so I can focus on the checklist.

3. Dolch Sight Word Sticker Book and Wonders Sight Word Sticker Book

The students love their Sight Word Sticker Book! They're fun and an easy way for students to track their own progress.

4. Wonders Sight Words Weekly Worksheets-Units 1-6

I typically use these worksheets on Friday for a quick review of all the sight words we have learned for the week. The kids love "buttering" the popcorn sight words and completing the word find. The word finds increasingly get harder as we go further along with the units. The students like the challenge! These review worksheets are only available for the Wonders Sight Words. If I get enough emails expressing interest in these review worksheets for the Dolch Sight Words, then I'll create them. They just took me so much time to make, but I might find the motivation if enough people express interest.

4. Dolch Sight Word Flashcards and Wonders Sight Word Flashcards  

I print and photocopy so many flashcards for the students, so it was important for me to create flashcards that use a minimal amount of ink. I print the flashcards on color paper according to level.

Thanks again to 4th Grade Frolics for hosting Monday Made It. Be sure to link up!