Powered by Blogger.

Freebie and a Giveaway - 2000 followers oh my!

This week something exciting happened to me and I thought I needed to celebrate!  I passed 2000 followers on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Can you believe it?  2000 people are following my little store.  I am terribly flattered.

To celebrate I'm having a giveaway and a freebie.
Enter the rafflcopter below to win my growing bundle of STEAM STORIES - STEM and ELA in one package.
to check out my STEAM STORIES growing bundle

If you are NOT a primary teacher then perhaps you will be interested in ALL of my Digital Mini kits.  I"m adding 12 more this week.  That means there will be 24 Digital Mini kits up for grabs.  
to check out the Mini Kits.
These mini kits are great for classroom teachers to create new teaching resources.  There's graphics and background papers for teachers to make their lessons plans more pretty and fun.  These mini kits are great for classroom teachers to create new teaching resources.  There's graphics and background papers for teachers to make their lessons plans more pretty and fun.

and the FREEBIE?
It's a sampler of many of my top sellers.

to grab your own copy.
a Rafflecopter giveaway
thanks for stopping by today!

Inquiry Based Learning Step by Step #1

Inquiry Based Learning.  Here is a free step by step guide to teaching with inquiry.

I have been doing Inquiry Based Learning lessons in my classroom for a little while now.  In my district the curriculum changed this year and the focus is now on student-led learning.   Inquiry lessons fit into this style very well.   I have been teaching for 25 years, and I thought that changing up the way I teach was going to be very difficult, but it has been pleasant and easier than expected.  And the kids are very engaged.  It’s so cool to watch them interact and learn.  Nobody tunes out or looks bored.  I am LOVING THIS!

I’m going to share with you, over a series of blog posts, how I would teach a unit of inquiry.  It’s a multi lesson process, and every inquiry unit will head in a different direction each time you teach it.  But it’s so interesting to see where the kids go with their learning.

Today I’m writing about stimulating interest and coming up with a question for inquiry.   All inquiry units have questions that need to be answered.  These are the Essential Questions.  Because I teach younger students in Second Grade, and because I am accountable to the curriculum that I need to teach, I feel that I need to make sure that the Essential Questions have some input from me.  Older students could come up with their questions by themselves, but younger children need more guidance in this.

Here is how I would teach this topic with Inquiry Based Learning on my blog.

I am currently starting a Science unit on Water.  The Science curriculum in my district has the following learning goals for Grade Two.
o   Students are expected to know the following:
§  Water sources including local watersheds
§  Water conservation
§  The water cycle
§  Local indigenous people’s knowledge of water

At first I printed out a series of photo cards from my unit on Water.  I am going to use these as my “artifacts” to stimulate interest in the topic.  We only have a black and white printer at work and when I do this lesson again, I will print out the cards at home on my colour printer. 

My class is divided into four table groups.  To start this unit, I cut up the cards and gave each table group 12 different cards (with photos of water).  I asked them to try to figure out what all the photos have in common.  It took them a few minutes, but eventually each group figured out that all the photos have water in them.

Then we regrouped on the carpet and I projected the PDF with the picture cards up on the screen.  This way they can see the photos in colour.  We quickly went through them together and I gave them a few vocabulary words like “condensation” and “evaporation”.

Then I sent them back to their tables.  I asked them to group the cards together into little groups.  I put down a piece of chart paper on each table and they worked on top of it.  As they started grouping the photos, I gave them a marker to write down their reasons why they had chosen these groups.   Finally I had them glue down their pictures.

I was surprised when some of them even started writing down random facts about water.

Then we gathered on the carpet again and each group came up to the front to share their work.  Some kids explained and some kids just read what they had written.  This sharing helped foster a close learning environment.  The kids felt proud of their work and enjoyed sharing it, and the other kids were highly interested in what their peers had to say.

After the sharing, we brainstormed together a list of questions about water.  I wrote them all down.  I believe that there are no wrong submissions when brainstorming.  Next I will take all the charts that we have made today and put them up on a bulletin board.  This is going to be my “Wonder Wall”.  We will be referring to it throughout the inquiry process and adding to it as we go along.

If you are interested in doing project based learning, I have many products in my TPT store specifically designed for this.  Click below to find out more.

CLICK HERE for project based learning and inquiry based learning resources.

Click on the photos below to go to the individual products.

Thanks for stopping by again today.  I am really excited to share the rest of my journey through inquiry based learning with you.  

Teachers Pay Teachers Sale and $50 Gift Card Giveaway


Teachers Pay Teachers is having a cyber Monday sale - and tuesday too.  Please join in on the fun.  I am part of a group that is doing a draw for 3 $50 Gift cards to Teachers Pay Teachers.  
To enter follow the rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Halloween Descriptive Writing

Get this cute idea for free.  Great descriptive writing activity.

So I found these cute characters at the dollar store and I was totally inspired to create a descriptive writing activity.  

So what the kids do is they get a character and a sheet of stickers and they add the details to their character.  Below you will find some of their creations.  If you can't find creatures like this, you could get the kids to draw or paint their own Halloween creature, or you could give them a sticker with a Halloween creature on it and have them write a descriptive story about it.

Then they filled in the descriptive writing frames worksheet.  Click on the image below to get your own copy.

or CLICK HERE to get a copy.

After this  they complete a good copy and colored in the details.

I put them up to display like this.

Integrating STEAM and ELA


This is a very straightforward approach to STEAM and ELA in the classroom.  I love how Science, Technology Engineering, Math, Arts, Reading, Writing and Speaking can all be combined in one package.

 I’ve been using STEM and STEAM activities in my classroom for a while now.  And I absolutely LOVE how they work.  In fact I wrote down all the things I love about STEM.  You can find that HERE if you’re interested.

for a free week.

I love reading non-fiction and fiction books when I’m teaching a Science concept to the class.  It’s easy to integrate non-fiction reading when you are working on a Science topic, but what about working on reading instruction.  I mean it’s also possible to find books about the topic, and then ask the kids to read them for information, but what about actual ELA INSTRUCTION. 

I found that when I created my Fairy Tale STEM products that they were really popular.  And I believe it’s because the STEM activities are closely tied to stories that the kids know and love.  So then I wondered, “What if I created my own stories that the teachers could use for Guided Reading lessons?”.  And then I decided I create STEM or STEAM activities that would go well with these little books. 

So, I came up with this great idea.  It integrates STEAM and ELA in one nice, easy-to-prep package.  I call it STEAM STORIES.  Steam stories come in weekly units that focus on one topic.  There’s 3 different levels of a Guided Reading book.  One for BELOW grade-level kids, one for AT grade-level kids, and one for ABOVE grade-level kids.  They all have the same story, so all the kids can learn about the same characters and do ELA activities about the same book.  But there’s also a weekly STEAM challenge which coordinates with the book. 


You need to do a bit of prep in the beginning creating the multiple copies of each Guided Reading Book.  There a few other visuals and worksheets to copy.  But the rest is included.  There’s a slideshow as well as editable planning sheets and letters home.  I have big plans to fill this out with ELA centers and other activities.  

Right now you can get each as an individual weekly product, or you can bundle up.  You can get monthly bundles, or the growing bundle.  

for the growing bundle
or click on the photos below.



 The growing bundle will include all 28 weeks when finished.  Right now I'm about half way through it.  As I add weekly units, the price goes up.  So get it now for the low price, don't wait until it is complete or you will pay full price.   


Clear Your Wish List With a $60 TpT Gift Card!


It's hard to believe but it is time to start thinking about Back to School.
Six Teacher Authors are collaborating together to give you a chance to win one $60 TpT gift card. We hope to help you clear out some things off your wish list!
This giveaway starts on August 19th at 4:00 p.m. EST and finishes August 21st at midnight EST!
In the following rafflecopter, there are links to all 6 of our TpT stores. Hidden on the first page of our store is a secret word all in * ALL CAPS TEXT * for you to find and enter.  (Hint - look for the asterix).
Good Luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Back to School Sampler

Canadian Teachers, you need to check out this free e-book sampler.  
This resource is FULL of great back to school tips from Canadian teachers.

CLICK HERE to get your own copy.

This resource is FULL of great back to school tips from Canadian teachers.