A New Year With New Novels For Your Students

I count myself  a lucky teacher when it comes to how I teach reading in my classroom.  I am not tied to a basal, but instead, I get to use novels as the basis for my lessons. This can be a two edged sword… I love introducing my students to new books.  However, after a few years of teaching a novel, I find myself wanting a new novel to use with my students and to also engage myself with new lessons.   As a result, I am always on the lookout for engaging novels for my fifth graders.

Not long ago, I was reading a thread on Facebook with teachers offering their favorite books for their students.  One book kept being mentioned…Because of Mr. Terupt.  So many teachers were singing the praises of the book that I just had to investigate it.    I was blown away by Rob Buyea’s novel!!!

Because of Mr. Terupt tells the story of a school year in the lives of 7 very different fifth grade students and the lessons they learn from their teacher, Mr. Terupt and each other.  We, as teachers, have had all of these students in our classes…the brain, the new girl, the shy girl and the class clown to name just a few of the seven characters.  This novel has my students engaged and excited about what the next chapter would bring! My students were so engaged, they decided to create a video, using Ipads,  of the culminating event of the novel.  Scripts were written and roles chosen.  This was definitely a student led project.  When it was finished, the students had a viewing for parents and invited the principal.  Writing, technology, and reading all in one project!

It tells the story of a group of students’ fifth grade year with a first year teacher, Mr.Terupt.    His fresh ideas and lessons engage and excite his students.  He connects with these seven kids, especially.  Mr. Terupt’s ways of teaching and discipling students leads to a terrible event that impacts the seven students and their  very different perspectives on the even make the rest of the novel very engaging and made for some really good class discussions as students shared their perspectives of the novel.  If you’d like to see some of the questions I used with my students just click Because of Mr. Terupt.

Another book I am really excited about is Fish In A Tree!  It’s about a sixth grade girl, Ally, who has managed to hide the fact she can’t read very well!  It’s written by Lynda Mullaly Hunt and it is another fabulous new novel.  Ally would rather be thought of as a troublemaker than admit she has trouble reading.  Her dad is deployed which will resonate with many students and the family has moved many times as part of his military career.  Ally’s new teacher, Mr. Daniels, has seen beneath the troublemaker pose Ally presents.  Ally has made two friends, almost in spite of herself, and together they discover their strengths.

I began Fish in a Tree as a read aloud, on the recommendation of one of my students who read it as part of Battle of the Books.  It  quickly captured my students’ attention and the discussions made me realize that my class and I needed to give this book much more attention. I took the book home and read it over the weekend. It is awesome!!!  So many students will identify with Ally and her struggles, both with reading and dealing with other students in her classroom as the new girl once again.

Fish in a Tree is going to be my next class novel after we finish Because of Mr. Terupt.   Both of these books were new to both myself and my students.  Their reactions to both books were very positive and kept my students wanting to know what was going to happen next.

Check out both books…I hope you enjoy them!  Let me know what you think!

 

 

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End your year with a bang and a $1 sale!

Whew!  It’s quiet again at my house.  I am really lucky to have all my children and grandchildren within a day’s drive of my home.  Christmas  was a hectic, loud, and wonderful day spent with our three adult kids and six grandkids. One family came from out-of-town and was able to spend several days with us.  Cousins played and spent time getting acquainted again.

and it was so wonderful to see!   Our adult children grew up away from relatives and missed getting to know cousins, so we really treasure the time their children spend together.

With the quiet of the house, I find myself thinking about the coming of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.  When I was younger, my hubby and I attended our fair share of parties and celebrations.  A good, albeit very late, time was had.  Cue the coming of our children and New Year’s Eve was better celebrated at home, in the comfort of our family room, as the ball dropped.

Well, you don’t have to wait until Dec. 31 to celebrate the New Year!!!  A terrific group of Teacher pay Teacher sellers are having a $1 sale on selected items from their store!  Yes, you read that right…$1 products!!!    To find these great deals, just type #Ringin2019 in the search bar and go shopping!

   

  All you have to do is click on the pictures to find my two $1 deals! 

 

Happy shopping!!!

Sue

 

It’s TpT Cyber Sale Time, So Update Your Wishlist!!!

It’s teachers’ favorite time of year….Teacherspayteachers Cyber Monday (and Tuesday) Sale!!!!  Let me help you AND save you some money at the same time!!!

I know that you  work hard all year and anything I can do to make your job a bit easier and say “Thank you” gives me a chance to extend the season of Thanksgiving.  Teacherspayteachers feels the same way and so Monday, November 26 and Tuesday, November 27  my store will be discountied 20%!  Plus if you use the code CYBER18, you will get an additional 5% in savings!!

Here’s your opportunity to grab all those many items on your wishlist at discounted prices!!!  I won’t lie; I hope you’ll take a look at all my goodies!  Susan Mescall , so just click on my name and browse my store of products.

 

Teacherspayteachers Cyber Sale!!!

Now that you know about the sale, polish your wishlist and get ready to save time and money!!!

Happy shopping!!!

Fraction Lessons Have You Tearing Out Your Hair?

Trying to make teaching fraction more interesting?   Tearing out your hair? It was that frustration that had me looking for a way to give my students information they could understand and more opportunities to practice those skills.   The math book just didn’t seem to meet the needs of my students.  I was reminded by my mentor that textbooks should be a supplemental tool and not the curriculum.

Let me help you by showing you what I did to make multiplying and dividing fractions less frustrating!

I decided to take the textbook information and put  it into kid-friendly words.  

I had the kids glue the notes into their journals so the information would be at their fingertips!

And because the dreaded “End of Grade” test looms all year…I decided to create word problems to go along with the note students put into their journals.  That would give my students more practice than what was in our math textbook.

I also used the word problems as a review game.  I put one word problem on each student’s desk, in no particular order.  Students stand behind their chairs and the game begins as each student solves the problem on their desk.  As they finish, students put their hands on their shoulders.  When everyone has solved the problem on their desk, students move to the next desk.  When all the students have moved around the room and are back at their own desk, we go over the answers and students share how they solved the problems.

The word problems can be used in a lot of different ways in your classroom, beyond just a review game!  The word problems can be used as bell ringers to get students thinking.  You could put the word problems in your math center for independent work.

If you want to check out my word problems, just click on my picture.

Growing Thinkers One Inspiring Quote At A Time

i’m just a level 2

With all the testing pressure we teachers have all felt, our students, themselves, feel that pressure even more, and too often their self-worth becomes tied to their test results…”I’m a Level 2″; “I’m not a Level 5”; and so on.  It REALLY bothered me when I heard my students talk like that!  I couldn’t seem to change their minds, so I started looking for a way to share with  my students inspiring words from other people and then have my students apply those encouraging words to their own life.

inspiration

I decided to create a collection of inspiring quotes from many different people.  I also decided my students needed to know a little about the person, especially if the person was not familiar to students.  So each person’s page has their quote and a short bio about the person.  I also decided that my students needed to do more than just look at the quote and read the biography.  Here’s one of my students responding to Henry Ford’s quote!

 

This became our Wednesday morning meeting!  Here’s what I did…first I had my students copy the quote into their writing journals.  Then my students read the biography.  Each page also had questions for my students to record their answers to go along with the person’s quote.  I didn’t leave it right there.  Once, everyone had finished writing their answers, the class then discussed both the quote and their answers to the questions on the page.

It really amazed me how so many of my students took the quotes to heart…it was what I had hoped for!  It’s Growth Mindset .  Check it out!

 

 

 

 

 

A Fabulous Sale You SHOULDN’T Miss!

it’s SAving season!!!

Hi folks!  So many of our colleagues are in testing or review mode right now.  It is NOT a time that any teacher likes.  I sometimes think that the time  AFTER testing is the hardest time of all!  A lot of students see the tests as the end of the school year and yet as many of us know, there are still weeks of school left!!!

#SPRINGSAVINGS to the rescue!

Today and tomorrow, there is a fabulous sale going on right now on TeacherspayTeachers!  Over 600 products have been discounted 50% !!!  Use the hashtag #SPRINGSAVINGS to locate them  Here’s your opportunity to grab some new activities that will engage your students and keep them from zoning out after testing is over!!

Use the #SPRINGSAVINGS and have fun perusing all the goodies!  Good hunting and may your new lessons engage your students and make your last weeks of school smooth fun and engaging!

 

Make Earth Day Fun and Meaningful

Two for the Price of One!

With Earth Day right around the corner,  those pesky end of the year tests are also beginning to show on the horizon, too.  As  a public school teacher,  I was ALWAYS looking for thematic activities that would also help my students sharpen their tested skills.  Sort of a twofer!  I think my Earth Day Activities will do both for you!

earth day 1970

Earth Day itself began in 1970 and was the brainchild of U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson.  He was very concerned that the Earth’s environment did not seem to be an important political issue and his first Earth Day drew millions of people to his cause.  Later that year President Nixon and Congress created the Environmental Protection Agency as a result along with legislation concerning both water and Endangered Species Act.

Earth day today!

In the 48 years since that first Earth Day, there has been a lot  more awareness of our need to recycle, reuse, and reduce.  I decided to combine facts about cleaning our environment with my students need to practice their math skills.  As a result, I created 24 word problems that will help my students learn how recycling can help improve our environment AND work on their problem solving skills at the same time!  I love being able to combine two school subjects; in this case, science and math within a single lesson!!

 

I also added a fun activity using Earth Day vocabulary.  My kids love, love word searches and so my Earth Day Activities also include a word search AND a writing activity!  I also included answer keys for both the 24 math problems and the word search.  Take a look and let me make your Earth Day lesson a snap!

 

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Earth-Day-Activities-3755809

What are you doing for Earth Day?  Share your ideas with me!