Sunday, August 11, 2019

Back-to-School Novel Resources

Welcome, teacher mateys!  Some of you have already returned to your classrooms.  Some of you are counting down the days to the end of your summer vacation.  Either way, you have docked your ships to visit me, and I have teaching treasures for you!

Today's treasures are novel study resources. They are thorough in detail, contain engaging and challenging activities, and best of all they save you time, a very precious treasure!

This first CCSS resource can be used with most any children's chapter books for grades 3-5.  Nine graphic organizers to help
students organize their ideas and thoughts for story elements, theme, vocabulary, and summaries are included. Forty discussion/written response questions are provided covering story elements and a variety of fiction genre: realistic fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, mystery, and science fiction. All of these resources can be cut out and glued in journals. When you click on the product cover, you will be connected to my TpT store where you can preview the product. Below are a few samples from this product.


Also visit this previous blog post for more organizers from the Novel Study unit.  

While there you will find a Freebie on the story element, Setting.

Before I created the Novel Study Resources product, I had designed extensive vocabulary resources for the books, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Shiloh, and Stone Fox. These products included interactive PowerPoints to introduce the selected Tier 2 words for each chapter and multiple games for reviewing definitions.  In addition, there were engaging practice worksheets and assessments that challenged students to apply their knowledge of the words. Once the Novel Study unit was completed, I decided to combine it with each of the vocabulary units. I recommend you click on the product covers to link to my store and take a look at the previews for these resources. What a time saving treasure these are!


If you are interested in free samples from these resources, try these:

Thanks for visiting! Please sail back for more Teaching Treasures!


Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Free Holiday Treasures

When I was teaching, I always seemed to wait to the last minute to create or search for an appropriate activity related to an upcoming holiday. If you have the same issue, let me help you out. During the past few years, I have created resources for various holidays, mostly free ones, and have written about them on my blog. Often I was even late posting them! Apparently, pirates have an issue with time! And that is why I am writing this holiday resources blog in July so that readers will have the opportunity to read and decide about these activities now while on vacation instead of at the last minute!

If interested in a resource, click on the product cover to link to my TpT store.  Happy Holidays!

Labor Day

In this fun activity, students interview their parents about their jobs and careers and then present what they have learned to their class. Children and parents spend quality time talking about the details of what Mom and Dad do for a living, the required training and education, and the specific skills and tools they use while working.

Included in this product:
• Teaching Tips
• Labor Day Student Friendly Websites
• Book List of Picture Books about Labor Day 

   and Careers
• Interview Questions and Worksheet
• Oral Presentation Checklist
• Labor Day Sign to display with students’ art work

Veterans Day

Veterans Wall of Honor resource is designed for teaching students about the history of Veterans Day and to honor friends and family members who have served or currently serve in our country’s armed forces.

Your students will celebrate family members or friends who are veterans by creating a Veterans Wall of Honor. For each family/friend veteran, students will complete a Veteran Information Form that identifies the veteran, the branch of service, the veteran’s rank, years of service, and type of service.

These forms along with veteran photos, if available, and blue or gold stars are displayed on a wall in your classroom or hallway.  

Included in this product:
• Teaching Tips
• Veteran Information Form
• Parent Letter
• Veterans Day Book and Website Lists
• Veterans Day Circle Map and KWL Chart
• Veterans Day Cloze Activity
• Blue and Gold Stars/White Stars
• Veterans Wall of Honor Banner


After reading the picture book, THANKFUL, by Eileen Spinelli, or any picture book with a theme of appreciation and gratitude, students write a paragraph identifying people, things, and opportunities in their lives for which they are thankful.  Another writing activity is to compose couplets similar to the ones in Spinelli's book. 

Included in the resource are graphic organizers, paragraph sample, revision checklist, editing checklist, final copy sheets, and teaching tips.


Presidents Day

If you're looking for a fun activity that will encourage students' interest in Presidential history, read to your students the book, What Presidents Are Made Of, by Hanoch Piven who is known for collage illustrations. 

In this particular picture book, the author writes about 18 of our Presidents and reveals interesting and lesser known tidbits which give us insight into the character of these former Commanders-in-Chief. But what makes this book stand out are the collage portraits of these American leaders. Take a close look at the book cover.

In Lincoln's portrait, one eye is a button from the Civil Rights movement that says, "LET FREEDOM RING."  The other eye is represented by a canon to remind us of the Civil War. The most powerful of symbols, however, are the black chains that are breaking apart, representing the broken chains of slavery.

After sharing this book with your students, allow each to select a president to research.  Once students know more about their President, have them brainstorm and search for items that could be used to represent his personality.  When students have collected their collage pieces, they will create a portrait of their selected President. After completing their works of art, they can have a "museum walk" to share the Presidential portraits and information.  

Included in this product:
• Teaching Tips
• Presidential Fact Sheet printable
• President Book List for children
• President Biography Websites for students 
• Vocabulary and Idiom List
• Photo Sample of previous student collages
• “What Presidents Are Made Of” Book Cover Photo
• Hail to the Chief Sign to display with students’ art work

Thanks for docking at my blog!  Please sail back for more teaching treasures!

Friday, May 17, 2019

Fun Vocab Activities for "Miss Alaineous: A Vocbulary Disaster"


One of my favorite books for celebrating vocabulary is Miss Alaineous: A Vocabulary Disaster by Debra Frasier. 5th grader Sage is home sick with a bad cold so she calls her friend, Starr, for the weekly 15 word vocabulary  list. Although Starr calls out and spells the first 14 words to Sage, she is in a rush to get to baseball practice and shouts out the final word without spelling it.   Sage misinterprets the word which eventually leads to trouble and some embarrassment.  Can you guess the troubling word?

Click on image 
At the end of the story, the class celebrates a school year of vocabulary study when each student picks a word and designs a costume based on the word.  Students wear their costumes in the school Vocabulary Parade. Surprisingly to Sage, she won a trophy for The Most Original Use of a Word! Can you guess the word? 

I have put together a FREE resource with seven vocabulary activities related to the book. Also included are teaching tips, student goals, recording sheets, and a list of words beginning with the prefix, mis-.   
Aligned with Common Core State Standards, this resource is ideal for intermediate grades. Read on, matey, as I share a few of these treasured activities with you. If you decide you would like this product, click on the above image. It will take you directly to the resource in my TpT store.

      Activity 3

In the book, Mrs. Page, Sage's teacher, offers her students an extra credit vocabulary assignment. They will write 26 sentences, one for each letter in the alphabet. Each sentence must contain three words that begin with the same letter. Starting with the letter A, students search the dictionary for words that are “different, unusual, or surprising”.  Sage's sentences are located along the edges of each page in Frasier's picture book.

Your students will investigate the words that Sage uses in each of her EXTRA CREDIT sentences. This can be a weekly Language Arts or Vocabulary Center assignment using one of Sage’s sentences per week. For each of the three words, students will complete the Vocabulary Four Boxes activity. In Box 1, students write the word and its definition. In Box 2, they draw a picture to illustrate the definition. In Box 3, they write their own sentence using the word, and in the final box, they identify synonyms, antonyms, and related words or phrases.     

If you are interested in more vocabulary resources, click on this image.              

Thanks for docking your ship to visit with me. Please sail back for more pirate teaching treasures, me heartie!



Thursday, April 11, 2019

Hunting for Prefixes Plus a FREEBIE!

Pirates are always on the lookout for treasure. Teachers are always on the lookout for teaching treasures. This teaching pirate does both; however, she also loves to create treasure for the classroom. Today I will share with you a few vocabulary treasures I have created for the word part, Prefixes. Before we explore the resources though, let's take a look at the importance of Word Parts.

Knowledge of Word Parts unlocks vocabulary treasure for the reader. Because a reader knows the meaning of a particular root, such as audi which means "sound", a reader will be aware of the word's fixed, or base, meaning. For example, when a reader comes across the word, inaudible, and doesn't know its full meaning but does know the root meaning, she realizes that the word has something to do with "sound". At this realization, she would probably reread the sentence to look for context clues that indicate something about "sound".

More than likely, this reader will be aware that the word, inaudible, begins with a prefix, in- meaning "not". Now she realizes that the word has something to do with "not sound" or "no sound".  Of course if she doesn't know the meaning of this prefix, she could consult a dictionary or ask someone for help.

Her next step is to examine the ending, or suffix, -ble. She might look this up in the dictionary. She might see a connection with the word, able, as well as the suffix, -able. Some words might pop up in her head such as valuable, capable, usable. As a result, she draws a conclusion that inaudible probably means "not capable of sound" or "not capable of being heard". 

Her final step will be rereading the sentence to see if the meaning she has come up with makes sense. In the sentence... The mute button had been turned on so the TV show's dialogue was inaudible... her definition of inaudible does make sense. Of course, if she is not aware of the meaning of mute or dialogue, she may not be confident of her conclusion. In that case, she reads on to see if there are other context clues or consults a dictionary or verifies with a friend or classmate.

Hopefully this scenario has demonstrated the importance of knowing Word Parts and also using context clues when attempting to determine the meaning of an unknown word. 


Below are some resources to help you teach Prefixes. This first product, Prefix Hunt, focuses on the "Not" Family of prefixes: un-, dis-, non-, in-, im-, il-, ir-. Included are two sets of target words using these prefixes. For each set there are three engaging activities, two matching games, an assessment, and a list of common prefixes. I've provided the Teaching Tips so you can get a feel for how to implement the unit.

Prefix Hunt-Part 2 is designed similarly to the above resource.

Prefix Search is a FREEBIE that provides the 20 most used prefixes along with a matching game. 

Click on these covers to review these products in my TpT store.

Thanks for coming ashore! Please leave your thoughts regarding my blog and resources.

Happy Sailing!


Thursday, February 28, 2019

St. Patrick's Day Math Game Plus a Freebie!

Long, long ago, during my elementary school years, I enjoyed mathematics. I quickly memorized math facts and followed the traditional algorithms. I zipped through my homework, and I always had A's on my report cards. When I entered junior high, the enjoyment turned into  misery! Why? Because I was expected to think mathematically! I was expected to understand the process and explain why the mathematical outcome was true. Something that was not required during those elementary years. 

It wasn't until I became an elementary teacher that I truly realized the importance of the combination of mathematical procedure and understanding. Yes, knowing basic facts is quite helpful, but they don't have meaning if I don't understand or cannot explain why a fact is a fact. Why does 3 x 8 = 24? Algorithms for basic operations are useful but only when I understand how they work. If I can only solve a problem by using an algorithm and cannot explain why I arrived at a particular outcome, then I lack mathematical understanding. Without mathematical understanding, I could not truly teach my students. Luckily for me and my students, I worked in a district that provided quality professional development and adopted materials in which students explored math concepts. In addition, I taught with teachers who excelled in teaching mathematics and shared their knowledge with me.

As a result, when teaching multiplication for example, I didn't begin by expecting my students to memorize the multiplication tables. First we brainstormed things that came in groups such as animals with four legs, windows with six panes, egg cartons that hold a dozen eggs. Next, we grouped items together, created arrays, and drew pictures to represent multiplicative situations. From there, we moved on to skip counting. Then we learned how to use friendly numbers to find solutions: If we know that 2 groups of 8 equals 16 or 2 x 8 = 16, we can add another 8 to 16 (16 + 8 = 24) so 3 x 8= 24. 

Throughout our study of multiplication and eventually into learning division, we also read fun and engaging picture books which reinforced multiplication and division concepts as well as providing situations for trying out our understanding of these concepts. Here are a few book recommendations:

Amanda Bean's Amazing Dream by Cindy Neuschwander   

Amanda counts anything and everything but isn't convinced that multiplication is helpful as a counting method until she dreams about bicycle riding sheep. First she wants to count the wheels on all their bikes which leads to counting all their legs which leads to counting all their balls of yarn which leads to counting grandmas knitting sweaters! When Amanda becomes frustrated with the one by one counting, the sheep tell her to MULTIPLY!  

What is terrific about this book is that there are so many illustrations of things to count using multiplication!

Each Orange Had 8 Slices by Paul Giganti Jr. and Donald Crews 

There were 2 oranges. Each orange had 8 slices and each slice had 2 seeds. How many slices were there in all? How many seeds were there in all? 

Within this wonderful counting book are numerous things to count. The great thing is children have choices on how to count based on their ability. They can count one by one, use skip counting, or multiply. 

Bean Thirteen by Matthew McElligot

Ants, Ralph and Flora, are picking beans for dinner. They have twelve beans, but before Ralph can stop her, Flora picks one more bean. Now they have 13, the unlucky number! When they get home, they try to divide the beans equally between the two of them, but there's one extra bean, the unlucky 13! Now what do they do? Do they invite a friend to have dinner with them so the three of them can equally share the beans? But wait...there still will be one extra bean! How do they solve this dilemma!

Divide and Ride by Stuart J. Murphy

It's Carnival Day for 11 best friends. For each ride they visit they must divide to fill the seats, and all the seats must be filled. On the roller coaster, it takes two people to fill a seat while the next ride seats three per chair. Each time they divide there is one or more friends left over. How do they find a way to get their friends on the ride and fill all the seats?

One of the features I like most about this book is the array of stars used to illustrate each dividing situation. 

Stars  remind me of a wonderful game called Circles and Stars
which I discovered in Third Grade Math: A Month to Month Guide by Suzy Ronfeldt. This is a useful game when students are first learning about multiplication.

Here are the basic directions: 

Students play in pairs. They will need a single die numbered 1-6. Also each student folds a sheet of paper into eight equal sections. In the upper left box students write-- "My Total ___"; "Partner's Total ___"; "Difference ___". 

Students take turns rolling the die. First student to roll, draws the corresponding number of circles at the top of the second box. If a student rolls 2, then 2 circles are drawn. The circles represent groups. Now, the second student rolls and draws circles. For the next round of rolls, the first student rolls again and now draws the corresponding number of stars in each of the circles. If a student rolls 6, then 6 stars are drawn in each of the circles. Then the second student follows the same procedure. Once both students have drawn circles and stars in their rectangles, they will determine how many stars are in their own rectangle and write an equation to represent the multiplication fact. For example, 2 x 6 = 12 stars. The goal is to draw circles and stars in each of the rectangles.
Once all the rectangles are filled, students determine the total number of stars they have drawn and will record the number in the upper left corner box where "My Total" is written. Then they write their partner's total. Finally, the students find the difference between the total number of stars each drew and record the number in the upper left corner box. Students use the back of the paper to calculate the sum of their seven products and the difference between the number of stars the students drew. As you can see this is a "mathematically rich" game! When you feel your students are ready to move on to other combinations, provide them with a cube marked with 4,5,6,7,8,9.

Hopefully, you have found some helpful information for introducing multiplication. Now let me share a game I created that provides practice for  multiplication/division facts.

Last month I created multiplication and division word problem task cards for Valentine's Day. This inspired me to design more cards but with a St. Patrick's Day theme. This new batch is aligned with 3rd grade standards so the focus is on multiplication and division facts, particularly the more difficult ones. In addition, I put together a board game, Pot of Gold Adventure, in which students race to win the leprechaun's pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. However, in order to move around the board, the players must correctly solve a word problem task card requiring a multiplication or division fact.   Below is a task card sample along with the game board.                                                                             

Read the Teaching Tips below to learn the best ways to use this product.
Try out a sample of these task cards for FREE!

Thanks for visiting my blog today! I know how busy teachers are so I hope I provided you with valuable teaching treasure that will benefit you and your students. If you like the adorable shamrock on my St. Patrick's Day product covers, check out Clip Factory by Teacher's Take-out.