Giveaways

Back to School Blog Hop and Giveaway: Do This, Not That Tips for Teachers

5th Grade Back to School Blog Hop and Giveaway August 2015DO THIS:  Assign your students numbers.

NOT THAT: Label everything (cubbies, mailboxes, lockers, etc.) with student names.

My big tip for heading back to school is to assign your students numbers at the beginning of the year.  Here’s why:

FIRST:  You can easily number your student mailboxes, cubbies, folders, and more and not have to re-label everything each year.  It saves a lot of time!  Plus, you don’t have to wait for your class list to label stuff.  If you teach upper elementary, consider using roman numerals.  Then students HAVE to learn what those mean!  Imagine NOT having to peel name stickers off of everything at the end of the year and instead just putting up those circle dot stickers they sell at Walmart once every few years.

Colored Dot Stickers for Teachers

You can get these guys at Walmart for about $4.00. There’s tons of them in a pack and they are a lot cheaper than individual name tags.

SECOND:  Finding out who is missing an assignment is so much easier.  One of my classroom jobs is “paper manager.”  Their job is to collect all papers and put them in number order.  I teach students to write their number very large in the top left hand corner of every paper at the beginning of the year.  The paper managers can quickly find who is missing an assignment and gather it from the student.  If the assignment isn’t done, or a student is absent, the paper manager writes a list on a sticky note and puts it on the stack before paper clipping the bundle of assignments together.

Teacher Humor Teacher Meme Lost Assignments

THIRD:  By about week three I have my numbered list memorized.  It helps a ton during emergency drills and field trips.  I can call my class list out from memory to see if anyone is missing.  Yes, most of the time I have my gradebook and can look at my list, but if I’m ever without it, I’m fine!

You might be saying, “But I want my classroom to be personal.  Students should have their names on cubbies!”  I have used this system with success for over a decade.  Even with first graders!  A veteran teacher shared this tip with me and I’m quite grateful!  Some students truly want their name on stuff and here is my suggestion:  Let them!  Students can decorate an index card with their name and use a piece of painter’s tape to affix the name to the cubby/locker/desk.

Now for the giveaway stuff… you’ve worked hard setting up that classroom!  Would you like to win a $25 Amazon gift card from The Pensive Sloth to spoil yourself (or buy something for your classroom)?  Of course you would!  Click the link below to be taken to Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway.

My giveaway terms:  To be eligible to win, you must be a teacher or homeschooling parent in the US or Canada.  Verification may be required.  Once a winner is chosen and contacted, he/she has 24 hours to respond by email.  If a response isn’t received in the time frame, a new winner will be selected and contacted.  If something seems fishy, I reserve the right to use Rafflecopter to select a new winner.  Only one $25 Amazon gift card will be given away.

 

More great giveaway stuff…Click the NEXT STOP image below to see what Miss Stefany has to share and giveaway!  There are nine teacher bloggers in this hop, each giving away something fantastic, so don’t stop here.  Keep going!  You can do it!  After you hop through, you’ll land at the Lesson Deli page where you can enter to win a $100 gift card to TPT.

5th Grade Back to School Blog Hop and Giveaway August 2015

Click the NEXT STOP button to head over to Interactive Learning with Miss Stefany!

Test Prep Blog Hop–11 Top Reading Test Prep Tips

Test Prep Blog Hop for 4th 5th and 6th Grade

Welcome to the Test Prep Blog Hop from the ladies at The Lesson Deli!  Here is how it works.  You will hop through a few blogs, pick up some freebies and maybe learn some test-prep tips, plus enter Rafflecopter drawings for some great prizes… Such as a Starbucks gift card to perk you up during testing season or an Amazon gift card to buy a few books for your classroom (or something for yourself!).  The Rafflecopter contest runs from Thursday, August 26 through Sunday, March 1, 2015.  Get to hoppin’ and have some fun!

Oh, and if you’ve got a great test-prep tip, comment below!

–The Pensive Sloth

5th Grade Reading Test Prep Tips for STAAR, FCAT, COMMON CORE, PARCC from The Pensive Sloth

Here’s my close reading FREEBIE to help with test prep…  Are you teaching students to analyze persuasive texts, identify examples of persuasive language and the effect that language has on the reader?  Want to give students concrete examples of comparison, causality, parallelism, misleading statements, exaggerated statements, and contradictory statements using a high-interest text?  Look no further!  Here’s a new lesson, “A Baby Boa?,” with embedded test prep.  The close reading passage is FREE below.  Just click the image to download.  You can find the foldable, skill activity, poster, vocabulary activity, and standardized test-prep reading comprehension questions that go with the passage in my TPT store.

5th Grade Persuasive Text Study Baby Boa Passage from The Pensive Sloth

Click the image to download this FREEBIE close reading passage.  For the foldable, skill activity, poster, vocabulary activity, and reading comprehension test prep that go with this passage, visit my TPT store.  This passage can be used to teach persuasive techniques such as comparison, causality, parallelism, exaggerated statements, misleading statements, and contradictory statements.

Ready to WIN a treat for your classroom?  You can order books or spoil yourself with this Amazon gift card! You’re a teacher.  You work HARD.  You deserve it!

Rafflecopter Test Prep Blog Hop for Amazon Gift Card from The Pensive Sloth Feb. 26 to March 1, 2015

CLICK a Rafflecopter giveaway to go to Rafflecopter’s site for a chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card. It’s easy and fun!

 Then go to the next stop in the hop, Simone’s Math Resources Blog, to see some MATH test prep ideas!

Test Prep Blog Hop for 4th 5th and 6th Grade Next Stop Image

Jumpstart January Linky and Giveaway 2015–Tips for Keeping Vocabulary Instruction Fresh

Jumpstart January Blog Hop and Giveaway Lesson Deli

Learning new words can be tough and things have changed a lot since I was in 5th grade over 20 years ago.  I remember getting a list of words from my teacher and using the dictionary or textbook glossary to copy the definitions verbatim from the book.  Sometimes we would write the definition a few times or use the new terms to fill in the blanks.  If we were lucky, we got to write a sentence with all 20 words for homework on Tuesday night.  Now, those activities still have their place.  There are times when using words in sentences and locating definitions is necessary and important, but I’ve learned after several years of teaching that those activities alone aren’t sticky, meaning that they don’t help students get to know and use new words.

My goal when teaching vocabulary is to give my students as many real experiences as I can with new words.  Here are my top 4 things to do when teaching vocabulary:

1.  Maximum Exposure–If they can see it, use it, touch it, etc. they are more likely to understand it.  You and I know that a delta is a landform built up when sediment is dropped off at the mouth of a river, right?  But what does that look like?  How does the sediment get there?  Will I ever get to see a delta if I live in west Texas?  Simply showing a satellite photo of a few major deltas in the world can make this term come alive for students.    Pull up an image of the Lena Delta from the Nasa Earth Observatory and talk about it.  But, don’t just show them one delta.  Then pull up an image of a different delta and observe, discuss, and sketch a diagram in science notebooks.  Perhaps the Mississippi Delta in Louisiana.  That second photo will help the new word stick.  Why?  Because now they have enough background to really analyze the Mississippi Delta and start asking some questions.  They’ve seen one and can now make connections between the two pictures.

2.  Variety is the Spice of Life–And also the spice of vocabulary instruction.  If you use the same strategies for every word, every time, students get bored.  Mix things up.  The human brain perks up when something novel is happening.  Use actions to represent words like predator (show claws and fangs) and prey (hands together like saying a prayer “Please don’t let me get eaten.”).  Take student outside with hand lenses to look at the sediments in the sidewalk when talking about cementation.  Hold a debate about whether their are more magnetic things in the room or more non-magnetic things.

3.  Real-World Meanings–Sometimes giving an example or describing a word is more helpful than defining it.  When learning new words, I like to get students to record what they think will help them remember what the word means, and that isn’t always just the definition.  Model different ways to get to know new words and encourage students to write meanings that make sense to them, not just definitions.

4.  YouTube–If you’ve read some of my other posts you know that I love using YouTube in the classroom.  There are some things that can only be experienced live, and YouTube is the closest to live that we’ve got to observe such things as the tides coming in and out or a glacier moving over time.   Give it a try!  A 30 second clip can make a word of difference.

Looking to make vocabulary instruction come alive in your science classroom?  How about a freebie for teaching properties of light that includes a foldable, cut and paste activity, quiz,  AND teaching points for bringing vocabulary alive in the classroom!

Proprerties of Light Vocabulary Freebie

Click the image to download a vocabulary unit for teaching Properties of Light.

FREEBIE–Properties of Light Vocabulary Unit

Physical Science Vocabulary From The Pensive Sloth

Plus, from NOW until January 4th, 2015.  my science vocabulary units are on sale for only a dollar!

Physical Science     Earth Science     Life Science

Jumpstart January Next Stop Blog Hop and Giveaway

Next stop…Misty Miller of Little Room Under the Stairs!When you make it through the whole hop, you will land at The Lesson Deli page where you can enter to win a $50 Target gift card!  Best of luck and happy new year!

Reindeer Trail Mix…and an Amazon Gift Card Giveaway!

Looking for a goofy treat to share with your students this holiday season?  How about Reindeer Trail Mix!  Now, I started making this stuff years ago when I taught 1st grade and it was a hit.  When I moved to the upper grades, I needed a festive snack for our holiday party but wasn’t quite sure if my 5th and 6th graders would go along with the cheesiness of making “Reindeer Food.”  I decided to give it a try and…it turned out great!  The more I cheesed it up, the better.  Here’s the secret recipe:

 INGREDIENTS

  • “Reindeer Chow”–Coco Puff cereal
  • “Snowballs”–Small marshmallows
  • “Twigs”–Pretzel sticks
  • “Berries”–M & M candies
  • “Magic Flying Powder–Colored sugar, like you would sprinkle on cookies
  • A Ziplock baggie for each student

SETTING UP

I usually lay all of the ingredients out in bowls and post the recipe on an anchor chart.  The kids are pretty good about inferring what each ingredient in the recipe represents (twigs = pretzel sticks).  Students then go down the line to make their own trail mix, but…With the colored sugar, AKA “Magic Flying Powder,” I tape a fictional label over the manufacturer’s label.  That’s where it gets really cheesy!  It reads something like this–

“Magic Flying Powder:  Super concentrated flying powder for reindeer use only.  Use caution when feeding, making sure not to over sprinkle.  Using more than 2 shakes may cause such consequences as flight to the moon.” 

The kiddos know it is just their teacher being goofy, but they love to break the rules and over sprinkle, then joke about how they used so much that they will probably end up on Jupiter.  It’s fun for all!  HINT:  Buy an extra bottle of the “Magic Flying Powder” and keep it hidden.  Almost every year there are a few students who go way overboard and I run out, which makes those last kiddos to make the trail mix sad.  If that happens, you can pull out your extra bottle and brighten their day!

Reindeer Trail Mix Recipe Anchor Chart from The Pensive Sloth  (holidays in the upper elementary classroom)

LAST MINUTE CHRISTMAS SHOPPING???

How would an Amazon gift card help?  A teacher blogger friend of mine is hosting a giveaway for a $65 Amazon gift card.  Entering is easy.  Click the picture below and head on over to NC Teacher Chick’s blog where a Rafflecopter is waiting for your entry.  The giveaway runs Tuesday December 16 through Sunday December 20, 2014.  Good luck!

Christmas Giveaway Amazon Gift Card from NC Teacher Chick December 2014

Click the image to visit NC Teacher Chick’s blog and enter the Rafflecopter giveaway. The giveaway runs Tuesday December 16 through Saturday December 20, 2014.  Good luck!

Why I Love IXL Math…and an IPAD Mini Giveaway!

iPad Ideas and Giveaway from The Lesson Deli

Hey fellow techie teachers!  I’m linking up with my friends at The Lesson Deli to showcase some ideas for using iPads in the classroom.  Hop through the posts to learn about some useful classroom iPad apps, then don’t forget to visit the Rafflecopter for a chance to win an iPad Mini.

Why I Love IXL Math for iPads and Why You Will Too from The Pensive Sloth

IXL? What’s that? Read on to find out!

8 Reasons to Use IXL In Your Classroom

First, what is IXL?  IXL is a super organized website for students to practice math skills, from the very simple ‘naked’ problems that just deal with the arithmetic to the multi-step word problems that have students apply what they have learned.  IXL is like a bunch of really well developed digital worksheets.  Here’s why I love it, my students love it, and why you will love it too!

1.  INSTANT FEEDBACK FOR STUDENTS–Research tells us time and again that feedback is most helpful when it is immediate (especially for our digital natives).  Students work on a skill, and if they get it right they know!  There is no waiting for you to check their work.  If they miss it, they find out immediately and IXL explains why so that the student can learn from his/her mistake without practicing the wrong way multiple times.

2.  INSTANT FEEDBACK FOR TEACHERS–Let’s say my class needed to practice equivalent fractions.  I could assign a lesson to my students and monitor their progress from my teacher computer.  The beauty of IXL is that it instantly updates you on how many questions a student has answered correctly.  If I notice that little Johnny has answered 20 questions and missed 15, it is time to intervene!  Or, that little Sarah has answered only 6 questions and the rest of the class is almost finished, I might need to help her find a more efficient strategy.

3.  IXL IS FORGIVING–We all make mistakes when learning something new.  IXL recognizes this and rewards students for learning, not just a percent of questions they get right.  For example, students who miss several questions early on still have the ability to recover to earn a high Smart Score because they are learning.  They will have to answer more practice questions to ensure they’ve got it, but they can still score high and be rewarded for their efforts.  Students who already understand a skill won’t have to answer bazillions of questions.  IXL picks up on this, and their score will be equally as high for showing mastery!  There’s no reason to make a student who knows something practice it again and again forever.  IXL catches on quickly so students can show mastery early and move on to something more challenging.

4.  DIFFERENTIATION–Is a great buzzword, but IXL can make it happen easily in YOUR classroom.  If you have students who are below level, you can assign them practice on skills to meet their needs.  If you have students who are advanced, move them ahead.  IXL covers K-12 standards, so the sky is the limit!

5.  ORGANIZATION–I have never seen a math program as teacher-friendly as IXL.  You can search by skill, monitor progress by skill, go up and down a grade level based on your state’s standards, whatever works for you and your students.  I typically would write a lesson on the board I wanted my students to complete based on what we were studying and I even took grades on their work.

6.  SMALL GROUP/MATH STATIONS–Add an IXL math station to your rotation so that you can meet with small groups and still know that your students are engaged in purposeful work as mathematicians.

7.  FLEXIBILITY–IXL worked on my classroom desktops, laptops, and iPads.  Plus, students could work from home if parents requested extra practice!  Once you set up student accounts and passwords, they can use IXL on any device with an internet connection.

8.  BOOST THOSE TEST SCORES–Overall, IXL makes it easy to fill gaps in learning, help students track their progress and see how their efforts produce achievement, and help you target skills students need to be successful on state assessments (whether you follow your state’s standards or Common Core), IXL can help your students succeed on state tests with confidence.

Now, you may be wondering if IXL is free???  The answer to that is NO and YES.  As a teacher, you can sign up for 30 day free trials.  Yep.  I had to sign up for a few free trials.  In fact, my whole grade level used it, loved it, and had so much success, that our school purchased it for the campus this year.  If after giving it a try you decide you MUST have it, talk to your principal, PTA, hold a quick fundraiser, or consider writing a grant through Donor’s Choose.   It is worth every penny!  Oh, and you should know that I am NOT being paid to talk about IXL.  When a friend of mine mentioned it to me last year, I gave it a try and now every time I meet a math teacher, I share my experience with it.

You can learn about MORE iPad apps from the teachers at  The Lesson Deli

iPad Linky for iPad giveaway from The Lesson Deli

Click this image to go to the Linky screen for more great ideas on using iPads and apps in your classroom. Brought to you by the teachers at The Lesson Deli.

 Want to win an iPad Mini?  Of course you do!  Please note that this giveaway is only open to teachers (classroom and homeschool) who are living in the United States or Canada. The winning entry will be verified and proof of eligibility may be required. Please see the complete terms and conditions at the bottom of the giveaway for more information.

Rafflecopter Button for iPad Giveaway from The Lesson Delia Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

–The Pensive Sloth

5 Year Celebration…

A blogger friend of mine, Simone’s Math Resources, is celebrating an anniversary of sorts–Five years of creating math resources on Teachers Pay Teachers.  That’s right.  5 years!  In honor of this, she is hosting a giveaway of teacher resources for 4th through 8th grade teachers.  There are three giveaways, so check them all out and click on the Rafflecopter link below each prize pack to enter.  The giveaway runs September 14th to 20th, 2014.  Good luck all!

–The Pensive Sloth

PS–I’m part of the 2nd prize pack!

Giveaway 1 from Simone's Math Resources--Sept. 14-20, 2014.

Giveaway 1 from Simone’s Math Resources–Sept. 14-20, 2014.

a Rafflecopter giveaway –Group 1 Prize Pack

Giveaway 2 from Simone's Math Resources--Sept. 14-20, 2014.

Giveaway 2 from Simone’s Math Resources–Sept. 14-20, 2014.

a Rafflecopter giveaway–Group 2 Prize Pack

Giveaway 3 from Simone's Math Resources--Sept. 14-20, 2014.

Giveaway 3 from Simone’s Math Resources–Sept. 14-20, 2014.

a Rafflecopter giveaway–Group 3 Prize Pack

Blasting Back to School: Giveaway and LITERAL Team Building STEM Activity

Blasting Back to School Blog Hop and Giveaway from thelessondeli

Blasting Back to School Blog Hop and Giveaway from thelessondeli

Are you ready for Back to School? I’m joining several other upper grade teachers to help you get ready for the next school year, and to give away some AWESOME prizes! You’ll have the opportunity to win something different on each blog in our group, so make sure that you visit the next blog in the blog hop at the bottom of this page. To enter to win the HUGE gift certificate to Teachers Pay Teachers, visit our group blog, Lesson Delicatessen. Make sure you hop through all the blogs to read all the great back to school tips and be entered to win over 20 different prizes!


UPDATE–Congratulations Cora B.!  You’ve won The Pensive Sloth’s Rafflecopter giveaway.  You should have received an email with instructions on claiming your prize.  Thanks to all who entered and hopped along.  Have a great beginning of the year!

School is just around the corner and in no time at all there will be 25 nervous, smiling, excited little people sitting in front of you.  Put some STEM into your first week back by having your upper elementary students engage in LITERAL team building.  Here’s how it works.

Put students in groups of 2-4 and give each group a stack of index cards.  You can start with 30 per group, but have many more available just in case!  Their goal is to work together to build a structure that is 10 inches tall using ONLY the index cards. No tape or glue! The catch is, on each card students must write something that their group has in common. You can add additional rules based on your class.  I love watching how as students want more cards to build with, they work hard to find creative things they have in common (even if it is that they all breathe oxygen).

Blasting Back To School Giveaway and Blog Hop Literal Team Building STEM Activity for 5th Grade

Back to School STEM Fun–Literal Team Building!

Before you start, I suggest making a chart of how to find things students have in common.  It seems like a simple idea, but sometimes our kiddos need encouragement.  Ideas include things you like, things you hate, places you’ve been, things you have done, family, pets, travel, games, sports, music, movies, etc.  The list could go on forever…

Thanks for stopping by.

–The Pensive Sloth

Enter The Pensive Sloth’s Rafflecopter giveaway by clicking the Rafflecopter link below.  I’m giving away $10 winner’s choice from my TPT store and a $20 gift card to Oriental Trading.  There are 4 ways to win.  Good luck!

Then…hop on over to Rockin’ Resources for more back to school ideas and a chance to win some writing resources!

Rockin Resources

And don’t forget to visit The Lesson Delicatessen for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to Teachers Pay Teachers!

THE PENSIVE SLOTH’S GIVEAWAY TERMS AND CONDITIONS–This giveaway runs August 4-10, 2014 and includes up to $10 of products from The Pensive Sloth’s TPT page and a $20 e-gift certificate from Oriental Trading.  Once a winner is chosen at random through Rafflecopter, the winner will have 24 hours to claim his/her prize.  If the winner does not claim the prize within 24 hours, I will spin again and contact the next person.  Please feel free to contact me at pensivesloth@gmail.com if you have questions.  Good luck!