Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Winter Writing Fun

This week, I am trying to do something fun with my students that will also sharpen their writing skills. We are writing colors of winter poems. This is one of the fun activities that is in my Common Core Winter Holidays Writing Activities.

I am trying to help students practice using sensory images in their writing- to show the reader, rather than tell the reader. First, we start out by doing some brainstorming- we brainstorm the things that we hear, see, smell, taste and touch at this time of year. The students are full of ideas and had a great time with this part. I display the brainstorming chart on the document camera, and then add ideas as the children share them. I then leave the brainstorm up for the whole activity to help students with their writing.

After we brainstorm together, I have students pick one of the ideas that we talked about for each sense. Some creative little bugs add their own ideas in too, and that is fine as long as they are on topic. They fill in a chart where they associate each sensation with a color. For example, some associated the color red with the taste of peppermint candy canes.

Once they've associated a color with each sensation, then they're ready to start on their own poems. I provide a poetry frame for my students because they are English language learners. This helps them to follow the correct format and still use their own ideas.

What they end up with is a poem like this:
Winter is gold, blue, brown, red and silver.
Gold is the warm twinkle of candles in the windows.
Blue is the cold feeling of snow freezing my fingers while I build a snowman.
Brown is the rich, sweet, chocolatey smell of hot chocolate after playing in the snow.
Red is the taste of hot cinnamon candies on my tongue.
Silver is the bring sounding jingle of bells ringing outside stores.
Winter is gold, blue, brown, red and silver.

To make a nice presentation, we finished up by creating and decorating paper coffee mugs and writing our poems inside. Here's what the final product looks like:

Click the button below to get your copy of my Common Core Winter Holiday Writing Activities!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Robbed of our technology

This past Monday morning when I got to school, I discovered that my classroom- which is a trailer behind our school- had been broken into and we had been robbed. The scummy thief turned over a trash can, pried up a window, pushed in the screen, and climbed right in.

The thief took our 3 iMac computers that were in the classroom for student use. I suppose we were very lucky that they didn't take our projector, Elmo, or anything else from the classroom. However, we do not have any technology now that our students can use. This is a huge blow because all of our students had been using the computers to practice vocabulary, math and other important skills. Our newcomer students had been especially using these computers to help them practice vocabulary and use other language learning software.

Now, we have no computers in our classroom for showing videos, powerpoints, or for students to use. My students are all English language learners, and most of them also don't have computers at home to use, so the ones in our classroom were all they technology they got to use!

The only way I can imagine to recoup our loss is through The day that we discovered the robbery, I posted a project asking for two new computers to replace the 3 that we lost. I picked some nice computers that I new would last- the others were several years old- so that we would have them for students to use for many years.

If you feel so inclined, please think about making a donation to our classroom. My students so enjoy the time that they get to use the computer, and it broke my heart to see the expressions on their faces when I told them the computers had been stolen. Click the box below to read more about our story and make a donation if you feel so inclined!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Cyber Monday Sale!!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I hope that you are relishing your time off, enjoying friends and family, and gorging yourself on delicious food!

I just wanted to take a minute to let you know- on Monday, you can get great teaching materials and deals without having to fight Black Friday type crowds! Just come to TpT.....with promo code CMT12, you get 10% off at the register. In addition, all the items my store, Tools for Teachers by Laurah J., will be on sale for 20%. That's a combined discount of 28%!! Many other sellers will also have their stores on sale as well.

So stop on by for Cyber Monday! The sale will even last through Tuesday to make sure you have plenty of time to get your items at a great price. So head on over now, and start filling up that wishlist!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Teachers help teachers

I hope that this post finds you all well, dry, safe, and happy. I know that many teachers, in my own state and farther north, were adversely affected by Hurricane Sandy.

When I returned to school this morning myself, I found that part of my classroom ceiling had fallen in, and some of my own books and materials were soaked and ruined. While the damage was minimal, and I have managed to dry some items out, it really got me to thinking about the many teachers out there who may have lost everything.

With that in mind, I am working to put together some resources to send to teachers in the affected areas. While we cannot replace everything that they lost, we certainly can help them get back on their feet by giving what we have.

If you are a teacher affected by Hurricane Sandy, please click the button below to fill out the form requesting help.

How can I help?
If you are a teacher or have a store on TpT or TN, then please consider donating some of your products or materials to a teacher in need! If you are interested, please click the "teachers helping teachers" button below and fill out the requested information.Teachers of all grade levels are welcome and encouraged to participate! I will send out an e-mail when it is time to send in your donated product, and I will handle separating the products into grade-level bundles for distribution and distributing to schools and teachers in need. Donations close Tuesday, November 13, 2012.

Join in!
  1. Click the "Teachers help Teachers" button below and fill your information into the form.
  2. If you have a blog, blog about this and add the button below to your post, and link it to this blogpost. (this can be done by copying the image and inserting it into your post, then copying the link location and linking the picture). If you don't have a blog but still wish to donate and share, then pintrest, Facebook and Twitter about it!
  3. Join the linky party below and link to your blog post (if you have a blog) or your TpT store if you do not have a blog.

What if I do not have a TpT store?
At this point, I have had multiple teachers express interest in holding drives at their school to send hard goods to teachers in need. If you are interested in this, please fill out the form by clicking the link above. I am setting up an "adoption program" where I will put teachers who have hard goods to donate in contact with teachers who request assistance using the "I need help" form. The teachers who request assistance through the form and are "adopted" by teachers will also receive the digital goods appropriate to their grade level/subject area.

Thanks so much for thinking about our colleagues in need!