Must-Read Monday Linky {Roald Dahl}

I'm always on the lookout for a new BIG chapter book read-aloud for my class.  Amazingly, I had never read any of the Roald Dahl books aloud to my class.  I know, I know...classics, right??  #badteacher

Earlier this year, I stumbled across an entire set of Roald Dahl books at Costco and decided to purchase them.  I decided to read The BFG to my students, as I know this is a favorite of some teachers.

At first, I was regretting this decision.  It was just okay at first and all of the made-up words were a bit much for me.  Then, it hooked us.  

By the end of the book, we couldn't wait to see how it ended.  Some of my students even checked out their own copies from the library to follow along.  Don't you love when they do that?? ;)

I *mentioned* that we had a Roald Dahl basket on one of our bookshelves (I added it mid-year after my Costco purchase and it wasn't labeled yet and the students didn't seem to even notice it).  Then one of my students announced that there was only one book in the basket.

Well, well, seems that my littles had quickly developed a love for Roald Dahl.  Some of my higher readers especially are now hooked on reading them!

We finished The BFG on Friday and the students gave it a rousing round of applause at the end.  Melt.My.Heart.  We especially loved the way it ended.  If you haven't tried Roald Dahl with your littles, I would recommend this one as a read-aloud to your group. 

What is your favorite Roald Dahl book?  Is there another one that I should definitely read with second graders?

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Organize Your Desktop

Just a quick post today, as I'm on a one-day roadtrip with the hubs!

Have you seen everyone organizing their desktops with those cute digital templates??  I knew I would have to jump on that trend because as much as I try to keep my files organized, my desktop ends up being a hot mess very quickly!

Here's a look at my desktop right now.

Even though there are a lot of files on there at the moment, it is still organized!  Want to organize yours, with a quick free template?  You can find the one I used in for FREE HERE!

Although, I'm about to switch to THIS adorable spring one!  Hope you can use these to get your life desktop a bit organized, too!

If you've created some desktop organization templates to share with others, leave your link in the comments!

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It's WINSday!! {Wonderful Worms}

Spring is here!  Does it feel like it where you are?  I sure hope so!  A little sunshine and warmer temps just seems to put everyone in a better mood!

Help bring spring to your classroom with our Wonderful Worms Unit.

It's a perfect follow up to any worm-based novel study, worm unit, spring activity, or Earth Day study.  But, the great thing is that many of the activities can be used independently at any time during the year!

This unit includes the following resources:

1) Bookworm Book Summaries - Students create a 3-D display that includes a book summary and a new book cover design for a book of their choice. (Includes templates and display sign)

2) Hop & Measure Worms - Students practice measuring to the nearest centimeter and inch in this fun math activity. (Includes 20 worm cards, recording page, answer key, and directions)

3) How To Eat Fried Worms Craftivity - Students write their favorite recipe for eating fried worms. (Includes writing page and craftivity template)

4) Word Worms Craftivity - Use this activity to have students expand vocabulary. Many ways to differentiate for all levels.

5) Persuasive Worms - Students write persuasive pieces from a worm's perspective or about worms. (Includes 2 writing prompt options and craftivity template)

6) Worm Poem - An original worm poem to use with students.

7) Worm Pudding Craftivity - Students create a craftivity and write a "how-to" piece after making worm pudding in the classroom. (Includes writing page, craftivity templates, and directions)

8) Worm Terms - Students learn different vocabulary about a worm's body and then draw a diagram labeling these parts.

9) Worm Fact Charts - Students use this chart to show their knowledge of worms (what worms can do, what worms have, and what worms are).

10) Measuring Worms - Students use this chart (along with clay) to practice making worms of varying lengths (in both centimeters and inches).

Go LIKE Teacher's Clubhouse on Facebook and leave a comment on the Giveaway Post there to win this unit!

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Talk About It Tuesday {Changing the Entitlement Generation}

This is a very different type of post for my blog.  I'm thinking about making it a weekly series {Talk About It Tuesday}, but I'm not sure yet.  Let me know what you think.  It would be one day to bring up a topic related to education {or children} and open it up for discussion. 

Today's topic....The Entitlement Generation.

I saw this wonderful blog post being shared on Facebook this weekend called 9 Things We Should Get Rid of To Help Our Kids and I loved every single word of it. 

It really hit home to me because a couple of days ago I had JUST been talking about "The Entitlement Generation" with a friend of mine. 

It makes me very, very, very sad to see this generation.  You know it, too.  The kids who, when given something special at school, ask "Can I get more?" or "Is that all we get?"

Or, the kids who destroy the things that you spent your hard-earned money on to make the classroom a warm, inviting, and fun environment for them.  But, they don't even think about it because "you can get another one."

They have no sense of what things cost, or how hard one has to work to earn money.  Everything has been handed to them...and I mean everything.  2nd graders with iPhones and iPads??

My favorite parts of the post were, #3 The Birthday Party Goody Bag Mentality - this is SO true!!!  Birthdays are about GIVING.  You know, to the birthday boy/girl.  It should be THEIR special day! Those adorable little goody bags that we spend hours slaving over (thanks, Pinterest!) are really creating an "everyone deserves something special, even though it's not even OUR birthday" kind of thinking.  Don't worry, I'm guilty too.

But when I got to #4 Making Our Day-Week-Month - Our World - About Our Kids....well, that hit the nail on the head for me.  And, it reminded me of another article that I had read YEARS ago that intrigued me.

I have no idea where that article is, but I did find one similar.  The original article that I read years ago made such an impact on talked about why America has so many children diagnosed with ADHD and European countries (such as France) do not.  {See this ARTICLE for a view on how ADHD is diagnosed differently in theses two countries.}

The gist of it was that American parents make their children the CENTER of their world, while French parents teach their children to be a PART of their world.  It starts as babies.  Instead of instant gratification, French parents let their babies "cry it out" after four months of age.  As toddlers, if they're out shopping and they pick up a treat, the child must wait until snack time (4pm) to have the treat.  Through the small moments, from babies throughout childhood, children are taught patience.  They are taught to entertain themselves, to wait things out, to adhere to routines.  Meanwhile, American children are learning to be entitled, to need instant gratification, and are filled with anxiety.

Here's the similar article that I found....I'll still be on the lookout for that original one, because it had a lot of research listed to back it up.

So, what are your thoughts?  Do you think this is a cultural norm that we can "fix?"

Has anyone ever read this book?
Summary:  After becoming used to the stereotype of screaming, ill-tempered children, an American mother living in Paris was amazed at how well-behaved French children were. In this book she explains how parents can make their lives less stressful by taking some pointers from the French art of child-rearing.

"I'm criticizing myself. I'm, I think, maybe the more extreme example of an American parent," Druckerman says. "So, I guess the book is really a memoir. It's my own story of how I partially became converted to some French ways of doing things but also held on to the things that I like about America."

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Must-Read Monday Linky {Economics Read-Alouds}

I'm excited to be starting a new unit this week - Economics.  So, I thought I would share some of my favorite read-alouds to use during this unit.

The Big Green Pocketbook is a wonderfully, quick read-aloud that is great for reinforcing goods and services.  A little girl begins her day of running errands with her mom by bringing along her big, green, EMPTY pocketbook.  At each stop, the little girl collects items to go inside of her pocketbook.  But, at each stop, WE have a discussion about if that place provides a GOOD or a SERVICE for the community.

Oh, Arthur!  Who doesn't love that aardvark?  And, this is one of my favorites.  Arthur wants to get a dog, but first he has to prove to his parents that he is responsible.  He does this by starting his own business of taking care of other people's pets.  

I've never actually read this chapter book to my class, but I'm excited to give it a try during this unit.  It's about a brother and sister who have a "lemonade war" to see who can make the most money the last week of summer before school starts.  Each chapter begins with an economics definition such as "underselling: pricing the same goods for less than the competition,"  which will be a great opportunity to have curriculum-based discussions.  
Have you read this book to your students before?  Did they love it?  There are several other books in this series, so I'm hoping it's a winner and we can read them all.
What are your favorite read-alouds for economics?

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Must-Read Monday Linky {Chapter Books for Dog Lovers}

My students are at that point where they LOVE a big, fat read-aloud.  They are over the shorter chapter books - I still have a few favorites that I've been trying to squeeze in, but they beg me to go back to the "ones that will last for weeks."  

If you've been around this blog for a while, you already know that my absolute FAVORITE read-aloud series is The Doll People by Ann M. Martin.  I am NOT going to spend another post on them, but I'll just say it is the one series that gets a standing ovation year after year (yes, from the girls AND boys) about it HERE.
While I'm not going to rave about THAT series today, I'm still going to toot Ann Martin's horn.  She is also the author of our second favorite read-aloud set.

If you are a dog lover, this set is a MUST.  They are about two dogs, Bone and Squirrel (brother and sister), who are strays.  During the first book, Bone gets taken by someone and Squirrel is left on her own.  I'm not going to lie.  There are some sad parts in both of these books and I *sometimes* shed a tear or two, but I love sharing those moments with the kids!

They are SO surprised to find out that there is a second book that tells us what happens to Bone.  I really love the format of the second book.  It begins out by telling three different stories (with chapters all named Charlie, Bone, or Henry).  At first students are a bit confused because it seems to be telling three completely different stories (and this book is the tear-jerker in parts), but we talk about how when books are set up like this, the three stories often come together into one somehow.  They love making predictions as to how the stories will intertwine.  As much as they try, they NEVER predict it and I love hearing them GASP when they finally realize that it's happening! 

These two books always prompt our class to do a charity drive for a local dog organization, too.  After reading about these stray dogs and their tough lives, students REALLY get into trying to help dogs in similar situations in our own community.

If you're looking for a great read-aloud.  I would definitely recommend giving these a shot!

What have you been reading?

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Must-Read Monday Linky {Tall Tales: Part 2}

Last week I shared with you my love of Steven Kellogg tall tales.  Well, here's another little set that I just LOVE to use as read alouds.  These are a little longer, but oh-so-good!

But, I'm really here to share another "rare" favorite in this genre.  Last week, I told you about Swamp Angel.  This week, let me introduce you to Dona Flor.

There are SO many tall tales from the South, but it's often tough to find tall tales from the West.  Dona Flor is a giant woman with a great big heart and students learn a lot about the Mexican influence in the Southwest from this story.  They are entertained throughout the story, surprised by the ending, and they even learn several Spanish words along the way.

This is a great tall tale to add to any collection! :)  I'll be back next week with a peek at the chapter book we just finished up.

Link up and let me know what you've been reading!

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Bright Ideas {Craftivity Sanity}

Do you love the thought of craftivities as much as me?  Those cute little crafts we find all over pinterest sure do make our bulletin boards come to life!  But, let's face it...sometimes they suck the life right out of you in the management and preparation.  Am I right?

Today I'm going to share with you how I organize craftivities that I know I'm going to use year after year.  It really does save my sanity! :)

Copy multiple sets of a template onto cardstock for students to use as "tracers."  Be sure to copy each template on a different color of cardstock.  It never fails, that a few pieces are left out at clean-up time and the color-coding will help students be able to put missing pieces back where they belong. 

Go ahead and create a model of the craftivity ahead of time.  This will save you time in class but will still let students have an example of the final product.  Its okay to create one with the students to show the step-by-step process, but you never know when this model will come in handy (especially during those unexpected absences)!

Once you have the templates and model complete, place everything into a larger (2-gallon size) plastic baggie.  Label the baggie with the name of the project and punch a hole in the top center of the outer bag.

Now, just find an "out-of-the-way" spot to store the bags.  I have many of mine hanging in our classroom's restroom.  I use the plastic Command hooks and can hang about 5 projects on each hook!

That's it!  You're all set!  Now, when you're ready for that craftivity, just grab and go! 

*Additional Tip:  Send the "templates" home for parents to cut out.  Many parents would love to volunteer in the classroom, but don't have time during the school day.  I always find that parents are very eager to have you send home items to be cut out.  It's a great way for working parents still feel and be involved in the classroom.

Next up on the hop is Jodi from Fun in First.  Click the button below to hop on over to her blog for a bright idea all about focus walls!


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Must-Read Monday Linky {Tall Tales: Part 1}

First of all, thanks to everyone who guessed about the 30 on my currently.  The guesses surely made me giggle.  I especially loved everyone who thought it might be my age (yes, even you Rachel, even though you KNEW that wasn't it).  And, NO, I absolutely do not have 30 students in my class!  YIKES!  30 is how many school days we have left before spring break.  Geez!  That sounds like a lot!

Thanks for dropping by for another Must-Read Monday!  This week in our class we will be all about Tall Tales!  I just love a good tall tale!

We read a ton of tall tales by Steven Kellogg...they are the perfect read-alouds!  The illustrations are a perfect match for the stories, adding a little "extra" to the exaggerations and humor of the text.

But, today I'm going to share one of my all-time favorite tall tales that is a little less well-known.

Meet Swamp Angel.  She is the greatest woodsmen ever from the state of Tennessee.  She can lasso a tornado and drink an entire lake dry in just a single gulp.  But, she is most famous for defeating a fearsome bear known as Thundering Tarnation.  Their wrestling match from the top of the Great Smoky Mountains to the bottom of a deep lake is one of the greatest tall tales ever told!

If you don't have this tall tale in your collection, add it now!  It's a treasure of a tale and it's always great to have another tall tale "shero" among all of those "heroes."  :)

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