Friday, June 29, 2012

Lemonade Economics: Business for Kiddos!

I am always looking for new ways to make Social Studies more exciting and meaningful, and I am SO excited about my latest creation!  Unit One in our Reading Street curriculum focuses on economics, so we will be starting the year with lots of business-minded, money-savvy lessons!  I am planning on using Lemonade Economics: Business for Kiddos with my Economy 101 resources to spice up a really bare bones Social Studies curriculum.  This project took me close to a MONTH. Ah!

Honestly though.  In today's world, there's no denying it. We need business-minded students to matriculate into a fast-paced global economy. This supplemental file is meant to enhance your Social Studies curriculum by allowing your students to experience what it's like to own and operate a (lemonade) business through virtual simulations and in-class explorations. You can take this as far as you'd like. It includes simple and complex vocabulary, so that you can take your students as deep as you want to go... or you can keep it as simple as you want.  The business plan template is set up so that you can choose the pages you want to use. Don't feel like you have to use it all! (I probably won't this year, but I like having options, and I like knowing that I could group kids and take lots of different approaches with this file.)  If you are looking for something really scripted, this is not it.  I left the file really open for teachers to be able to use it as they see fit... and to allow myself to make professional decisions based on my students and time constraints as well.   :)

Terms Included: product name, business name, employees, recipe, sales pitch, branding, budget, packaging, quality control, safety, security, acquisitions, accounting, competition, distribution, green choices, weather, financing, money box, focus groups, supplies, global reach, Internet, location, marketing, merger, partnerships, media attention, payment terms, press release, regulations, quality control, hours of operation, and market research. 

I realize that there are some HEAVY terms, but they are not any heavier than "metacognition" or "schema" or "inference" when you think about it, and we use them all of the time with kids.  We use them in context... with lots of support... and that's exactly why I've decided to include so many in this bundle.  They will be used in context... in simulations... and that helps students OWN the words and use them.  (I've included a version of Economics Star for extra vocabulary practice too!)  I am so excited to cultivate little entrepreneurs this year... and drink some yummy lemonade too!

Of course, because I am SO appreciative of you all... I'm putting this file on sale through tomorrow.
You can snag it for 20% off between now and then.  Have a wonderful weekend, friends!  Now that I'm finished with my crazy-hectic case study, I can focus on wrapping up another unit that I have up my sleeves.  Hopefully I'll have another goodie to share this weekend!  I am SO excited for next year!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Ooo La La... Luna! Another Giveaway?!

I know I am not the first blogger to write about Learning Resources' Luna Interactive Projection Camera, but I am enthusiastic nonetheless!  A nice solid dose of real life slowed down my review process last spring, but it didn't slow down my exploration process.   This little gadget is a teacher's dream.  Let me explain.

Life before Luna looked something like this:
I fell in love with Elmos during my undergrad experience, and I continued to daydream about them often once I started teaching.  I even wrote a Donor's Choose grant for an Elmo... and it flopped.  I had written a handful of grants for books, and they had been fully funded.  However, "Project Elmo" never really made it off of the ground.  I was absolutely crushed, because they are a little out of my price range.  (Of course we all know how much money we spend on our classrooms as teachers, and I admit that I occasionally get carried away with decorating, books, and other classroom goodies, so if I'm saying that it's out of my price range, then you know it's serious!)  Still, I couldn't stop thinking about all of the ways I could use a document projector in my classroom.

Fast-forward a year:
Luna popped up on the radar.  I knew that I just had to have it.  First of all, the Luna is reasonably priced at $199.99. (It's not nearly as expensive as the Elmo... and that leaves a lot more money in the bank... and in my closet! Ha!)  It is compact, but mighty, and it plugs right in to your computer, so you can use it with your SMARTboard or existing projectors.  It is absolutely wonderful for taking a closer look at a mentor text, modeling a math lesson, and pretty much any kind of demonstration you can think of.  I honestly think the sky is the limit.  I have not tried it yet, but you can actually create a video narration! How great would that be for pod-casting?!  You could add a little podcast to your classroom website to help support your kiddos at home, and they could watch your lesson a second time.  I love, love, love the versatility of this product!

Now for the moment you've all been waiting for:
You have an opportunity to score a Luna for YOUR classroom!  Here's what you need to do!

{Don't forget to leave your email address to ensure that I can get a hold of you if you should win!}
Follow my lil' ole slice of cyberspace, and share how you plan to use the recorder with your kiddos. :)
Like Learning Resources on Facebook, click their wall, & tell them that One Extra Degree sent you!
Follow their blog, and tell them I sent you!
Follow Learning Resources on Twitter.
Follow Learning Resources on Pinterest.
If you want to have a bonus entry... blog about this post and leave the link in my comments section!

The winner will be drawn next Tuesday, July 3rd, 2012.  Make sure to check back in for the winner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, June 22, 2012

Goodness Gracious: A Workshop, Classity Class, & Projects Galore

At the risk of sounding dramatic, I have hit a wall.  A very large concrete wall.  I seriously need a break in the BIGGEST way, but I still have one more week of my accelerated course to go and LOTS of work to do in between now and Friday.  No pressure, right?  The good news is... I can check the workshop off of my list.  That's one less thing haunting me in the recesses of my mind for now, but seriously, I LOVED presenting.  Last year was my very first speaking engagement, and I was a total bucket of nerves.  I don't know what happened between now and then, but I guess you could say I'm "growing up".  I was so much more confident, and of course it helped that I teamed up with two fabulous old colleagues of mine... from my old district.  It was so nice to work with them again and share a my love of teaching comprehension strategies with all of the participants.  Maybe that's what the difference was!  When you love something, it just bursts out of you, and enthusiasm is contagious!  I realized that I COULD teach two sessions... and I could do them twice... and that I could do it without freaking out.  Saying yes to new things is sooooo scary sometimes, but you just never know how it will go and how much it will impact you until you take a leap of faith, and I am glad that I did.  I really hope to continue sharing my love of literacy for years and years to come! :)

I don't have time to put everything into context, but if you're interested in seeing some of the posters that littered our walls, you can check them out below.  Not all of them are mine.  About half of them were created by my fabulous "unofficial mentor" Debbie.  She's seriously a total ROCK STAR!  Hopefully you'll be able to find something you can use/tweak for your own kiddos!

If you have any specific questions, just ask away!  I am pretty sure we were great advertisement for Tanny McGregor.  I'm practically a groupie.  :)  I may not have time to get to your questions right away due to my grad school projects & a baby shower this weekend (not mine).  I promise that I will try to address them as soon as I can though!  It's a promise! :)  I won't leave you hanging!

Other than the workshop, I am slowly trying to work on some projects I started for my classroom.  It took me forever to make all of the Sight Word Star Activities, but now I am in the process of trimming around them so they are ready to laminate and stick on rings once school starts.  I am also trying to add to my fluency arsenal, so I created some phrasing cards to stick in my center and use as a Vocabulary Star-esque game with a 50's vibe that I've coined, "Order Up!"  I had to create three separate bundles, because they are so big and I want to be able to offer choices!  So, I have a packet with Fry Phrases from the first 100 words and the first 200 words, a packet with the first 300 words and the first 400 words, and a packet with the first 500 words and 600 words.  As always, I want a big range in my classroom, because my kiddos come to me at alllllll different places.  :)  If you're interested in checking out the bundles, they are on sale for 20% off through tomorrow 6/23 as my little thank you for still following me even when I stink at posting regularly!  Thanks for hanging with me!  Have a wonderful weekend!

Monday, June 18, 2012

Super Sight Words FLASH SALE!

I am FINALLY finished with my Sight Word Vocabulary Star resources!  (Thank goodness for Pinterest, rainy days, and Crock Pot meals!)  All 1,200 high frequency words have been bundled into sets.  You can purchase them by sets of 100 if you don't need the full range, or you can buy the bundled sets!  Due to the fact that the files are so large, I had to break the bundles in half.  You can purchase the FIRST 600 WORDS HERE and/or the LAST 600 WORDS HERE if you're interested in acquiring the set for your classroom! If you want to purchase the individual sets... you can find them easily by selecting to view my recent products in the drop down menu in my store. :)

ALL of my Sight Word Vocabulary Star resources are on sale for 50% off until tomorrow evening around 8 pm EST.  If you're interested in working more sight word work into your intermediate classroom... or if you would like another resource to add to your primary classroom... now's the time to grab them at half-price!  I've started to print them out and trim around them, and it's a tad time-consuming!  Totally worth it, but time-consuming!  :)  So, I thought I'd try to give you all a head-start if you plan on adding this to your classroom!  I'm really excited about it, and I am even more excited about being finished!  This project took longer than any other project I've ever completed... and it's definitely a good feeling to be able to offer it to you and save you time... AND MONEY TOO! I hope to be able to share how I use this with my kiddos once we head back to school with lots of pictures and maybe even some management freebies.  I'm still toying with all of the possibilities and ways to expand!  As it stands, it makes a great sight word game (similar to musical chairs) and you can put them on rings for your word work center or assessment purposes!  :)  I LOVE this resource!  I know I'm biased... but I do!!  Can't wait to put it to good use!

Monday, June 11, 2012


Mark it down, friends!  I  actually carved out some time to participate in one of Farley's "Currently" linkies!  {LOVE HER!} By the way, I'm a first-timer!  Can you believe it?!  I have been missing out on one of the most popular blog trends of all under a rock.  "Sadsville", as Michelle would say. :) 

Regardless of my lack of participation, I have always wanted to participate in this fun little linky party tradition, and here I am!  I'm doing it!  :)  It's a great way to take a break from my overly full plate.  Procrastination can be a gift in disguise.  Looking for a distraction?!  Link up HERE! ;)

Friday, June 8, 2012

Sight Word Instruction in the Intermediate Grades

Confession.  For the longest time, when I thought about sight words, my mind immediately went started thinking about the Fry words and Dolch words.  By third grade, the vast majority of kiddos came to me knowing most, if not all, of the words.  So, I'd do my quick sight word assessments, check it off my list, and go about my business.  I'd continue sight word instruction for a FEW of my students, but I am seriously cringing as I reflect on this!  I was totally robbing my students of the opportunity to go beyond those first 300 words I checked off of a list.  Please forgive me, friends.  It's a tough pill to swallow.

Fortunately, I have had a fabulous professor for several courses, and she has repeatedly brought up the list of 1,200 high frequency words by Rebecca Sitton.  Now, listen.  I don't use Sitton Spelling, but this list doesn't have to be paired up with the program.  It is a comprehensive list of words that show up frequently in writing, and it goes way beyond the basic words that I used to check off absentmindedly.  I also bring this up, because I don't subscribe to the thought that kids in 3rd grades only need to know an X amount of words on a certain list.  I don't mean to sound like a renegade, because I am sure there's sound research behind the suggestions, but I also know that my kids aren't carbon copies of one another.  They don't show up at my door at the same "place" with the same abilities, and they don't progress down a conveyor belt at the same rate.  I always have kids who need a review of words from 1st or 2nd grade lists... and I always have kids reading more sophisticated texts like "The Lord of the Rings" {no exaggeration} who need way more than the 3rd grade list provides.  So, for that reason, I sat down this week and started creating a set of flashcards that I can put into my Word Work center or use for a game of Sight Word Vocabulary Star!  I plan on laminating each color-coded set, putting them on a ring, and putting them in the Word Work center for kiddos to read and work with partners.  I may assign certain kiddos to certain kiddos, but mostly, I want them to be exposed to words that they will encounter time after time in their reading experiences.  I tend to think a little more holistically.  I don't like "boxes".  I also like having all of the options available so that I can pull resources and differentiate on the spot.  I want to have a wide range of words available to stretch ALL of my students, so I guess that's how this project got started at its inception.

I've created flashcards for the first 600 high frequency words.  I plan on making cards for the second half, but this project has been time-consuming, so I will have to add that to my list next week.  :)  I broke the words up into groups of 100... again... because I am a non-conformist... and I just want my kiddos to learn words.  I don't care much about the technical "ranges" for my word work center or my game.  I just want them to have that exposure!  So, I've broken them into groups of 100, and I have color-coded them to help with grouping if you choose to assign kiddos to certain colors.  I created this for my own classroom, but if you think you could use something like this, I've added them to my TpT store.  The original file was nearly 150 pages long, so I've broken it into chunks too.  I didn't know how many people would want it bundled, so I didn't bundle it.  If you are interested in getting your hands on the bundle, just let me know, and I'll add that as an option!  If you have any questions, let me know!  If you're interested in checking out the 35 page files, you can check them out by clicking on each product below!  :)  Have a great weekend!


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Cue the Balloons and Streamers!

Congratulations!  If you are reading this right now, you are alive!  That is a beautiful, wonderful thing that we sometimes take for granted!  So, I felt compelled to take a moment to put that out there.  We've been learning a lot about what it means to be "made in God's image" in church, and this week, our family lost a 101 year old family friend, so everything has caused me think a lot about life in general.  Life is so far from easy, and I've experienced some very dark patches that I shudder to think about, but more than anything else, life is precious.  Life is exhilarating.  It's a blessing.   It's also fleeting, and I just want to live my life with my eyes wide open, soaking everything in, loving everyone in my life, and being grateful for every single moment!   God has blessed me beyond measure in so many ways, and I am forever grateful for everything---the good times and the not-so-good times.  :)  He is so good!

When I started blogging, I never imagined that I would be sharing my inner-most thoughts and beliefs with you all.  I just thought I'd share some teaching ideas here and there, and that would be the extent of it.  Over time, I've shared some highs and lows with you all, and it never ceases to amaze me that people I've never even met in real life celebrate with me and offer support in my darker moments.  I cannot even begin to articulate how much that means to me, but know that your support is what keeps this blog chugging along.  I sincerely hope that you are able to find something useful for your own kiddos, because at the end of the day, that's why I do what I do.  I hope that I can continue to cut some time off of your planning, and I hope that I can encourage you all the way that you encourage me to keep working to reach my potential.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart!  :)

With that said, I just want to explain that I have no idea how my blog will evolve over the summer.  I am hoping to tackle some Pinterest projects and other crafty/hands-on ideas.  I'm also planning on tweaking some Social Studies units to share with you all (in particular).  I have a lot of ideas in my head right now, and I have a feeling that I'll be unrolling a lot of new stuff this summer.  I really try to blog more globally, and I try not to shove a bunch of units down your throats, so please forgive me in advance.  I am going to try to cram as much work into this summer as possible, and I want to be able to add units as I create them so that I can finish up my last grad class this fall and have a "normal" life outside of school, blogging, and TpT.  I want you all to know that I create because I have a need.  I don't create just to create or sell, because I honestly don't have time for that!  I just don't want anyone to misinterpret my productivity as greed, so I want to be very forthcoming!  :)  Of course, I plan on sharing quite a few freebies over the course of the summer as well, so keep checking in for those too!  I have a few on the burner... simmering... if you will.  :)  I tend to be spontaneous when it comes to tangible projects, so who knows what I'll come up with this summer.  I never know until I get struck by lightning in a store and just HAVE to make something right then and there!  I promise I will try my hardest to balance it all out!  I have lots of plans... but plans are like shifting sand sometimes.  We shall see!

With that said, I did upload two resources on TpT probably 2-3 weeks ago!  I have no idea when I added them for sure!  :)  Anyway, I created resources that I used with my thirdsters to review the three branches of government.  They were having a tough time remembering the duties of each branch, and I had to come up with something else since we had blown through everything I already had!  Ha!  So, to make a long story short, I created a resource to complement a School House Rocks video.  If you're interested, you can check out the file HERE!  Feel free to grab a few hula hoops (or large paper circles), and popsicle sticks, and get your learn on!

If you're interested in the School House Rocks video and the lyrics that inspired my resources, you can find the lyrics for FREE...HERE!  The lyrics definitely help the kiddos understand the song a lot better.  It's very... 70's... and a little difficult to decipher if you don't have the text in front of you.  It's totally a great mnemonic device though... and it's a super cute video too!  I definitely recommend the lyrics if you plan on using it with your kiddos though.  {Here's a peek at one of the pages...)

If you're interested, here's the super cute video to accompany the lesson/freebie file!  Enjoy!  :)

Lastly, in lieu of my "Live every moment like it's going out of style" mantra and my mushy-gushy "I love my followers" post, I'm extending the EasiSpeak giveaway for one more day!  The winner will be drawn tomorrow night after my class!  :)  It's not too late to seize the day!  Carpe Diem!  If you want to play along and join in the fun before time runs out... you can find my original post HERE!  Have a fantastic evening, friends!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Talking the Talk: Fluency Goodies!

It's a very fortunate thing that today was our last teacher work day, because I am officially out of steam.  Of course, my hubs wants to go to a plant auction at a nursery that's going out of business in about an hour, so I don't think a nap with my beautiful golden pup is going to happen, even though that is EXACTLY what I want to do right now.  Originally, the Mr. and I planned on going to see the new Snow White and the Huntsman movie tonight, but I don't know if I will be up past 8:00.  Isn't it crazy how the end of the year just completely ZAPS your energy?!  It's outrageous!  Now that summer is here, I plan on revamping old TpT files, adding more, working on tweaking my approach to TpT, taking classes, and of course resting a little more than usual.  A little sunshine and R&R is good for the soul!

I managed to finish a few small projects, but I cannot wait to tackle some crafty DIY classroom and home projects this summer.  {Pinterest is such a blessing and a curse all wrapped up into one neat little bundle, isn't it?!}  So far, I have managed to revamp my old, somewhat sad-looking fluency posters.  If you already own a set, make sure that you download a fresh copy in your downloads section!  The updated file can be otherwise found HERE! :)

In addition, I've been playing around with some ideas about how to support my kids with new fluency activities.  When I was looking at the Common Core Standards this week, this second grade standard jumped out at me. The Common Core (RL 2.6) asserts that, beginning in second grade, students should be able to "acknowledge differences in the points of view of characters, including by speaking in a different voice for each character when reading aloud."  I started playing around with clip art, and I came up with character cards.  It's probably not the most creative idea in the whole wide world, but I am excited about using it with my kiddos next year to give them an opportunity to read with another "voice" and to begin to think about how their voice affects their expression... and ultimately the mood/tone of the text.  It includes two different variations for recording/reflection sheets too. If you are interested in seeing more, you can take a looksie at the file HERE!

I also spent some time putting a resource together for a great research-based strategy called "Vocab in the Move!"  If you haven't heard of it, this is a great research-based vocabulary strategy that is super fun! It's also great for teaching reading across content areas! Here's how it works! Choose words pertaining to a certain unit of study. Place a name tag on each student’s back with one word on it. Do not tell your students the words that they have, and instruct their classmates to keep it hush hush too. Go over the rules of the game using the Vocab on the Move rule sheet. Clarify any questions before beginning. Allow students to walk around the room asking questions for 5-10 minutes. Have students record their clues and their guess on their recording sheet. Share out learnings in a group discussion! Happy Teaching! If you're interested in checking out the activity sheets, they are available HERE!

 I have a whole truck-load of Social Studies resources up my sleeve for the summer, and I can't wait to have time to fancy them up!  In the meantime, have a fabulous weekend, and don't forget about the EasiSpeak giveaway!  It's not too late to play along!