## Sunday, November 30, 2014

### Quote of the Week -- November 30, 2014

"The worst sorrows in life are not in its losses and misfortunes, but its fears." - Arthur Christopher Benson

Have a great week,

## Friday, November 28, 2014

### Improper Fractions and Mixed Numbers

Last week I shared a short set of fraction quizzes with an answer key.  I focused on fractions of a group.  This week I am sharing a similar set of quizzes where students convert improper fractions to mixed numbers and vice versa.  I have included an answer key as I do with all my math products.

I did not write the directions on the quiz to save room.  Please tell the students (or write it on the board) that if they see an improper fraction, they convert it to a mixed number.  If they see a mixed number, they convert it to a fraction.  I know this may seem blatantly obvious, but having tried these out on actual students, I found I needed to be explicit in my directions.

Another quiz in this series is located on this post: Adding and Subtracting Fractions with Like Denominators.

## Wednesday, November 26, 2014

### The Puzzling World of Winston Breen by Eric Berlin

Winston Breen loves solving puzzles and stumping others with them.  When his sister Katie finds some mysterious strips of wood in an old wooden box, Winston can't help himself.  He must get involved.  Soon it becomes clear that others with impure motives are interested in these wooden strips.  Will Winston solve the puzzles ahead of the villains?

I also read the second book in this series.  Winston and his friends spend a weekend at a famous piano player's mansion.  The pianist sets up puzzle weekends to entertain his friends.  Soon, Winston is faced with a real mystery when items begin to disappear.

For an explanation of my rating scale, click here.
Find me at Goodreads.

## Monday, November 24, 2014

### Worlds Colliding

﻿
A few weeks ago I was standing on the sidewalk outside of school monitoring the students as they get into cars, when a student asked me about my missing goldfish.  I was puzzled a moment and then realized that his teacher must have found and used The Case of the Missing Goldfish.  He told me about how he used the picture clues to solve the mystery.  His teacher, my colleague, found it on Pinterest.

When I first started blogging, I felt weird about having colleagues read my work.  I never tried to hide it, but I didn't advertise either. The longer I blog, the more people in my real life notice my online one.

This year at an all district training several colleagues told me they had looked at my Teachers Pay Teachers store and seen my work on Pinterest.  They wondered if I was making millions of dollars yet.

Um, no...more like pizza money.

One of the first grade teachers at my school finds teaching materials from Classroom Freebies and Classroom Freebies Too and posts them on Facebook.  I don't think she realized that I contribute to Classroom Freebies Too until she had downloaded one of my products.

I must be getting more comfortable with all of this.  This fall at Parent Night, I mentioned I had a teaching blog to share ideas and book reviews.  No one seemed surprised.

## Sunday, November 23, 2014

### Quote of the Week -- November 23, 2014

"It is never safe to look into the future with eyes of fear." - E. H. Harriman

Have a great week,

Don't forget to enter the MobyMax giveaway, November 20-24. Today is the last day to enter.

## Friday, November 21, 2014

### Fractions of a Group

When I solve a problem in my classroom, I assume others might have the same problem.  I know the trend is to have students solve rigorous problems with lots of vocabulary, but sometimes I just want to know if my students understand how to manipulate the numbers.

Last year I created a series of  short math quizzes for different aspects of fractions.  The first set I posted last spring called: Adding and Subtracting Fractions with Like Denominators.  This week I want to share Fractions of a Group.

This document from my Google Drive has three short quizzes with answer keys.  I can use them for monitoring the progress of my students.  I like having three for pretest, mid-unit, and post-test.

I know it may seem obvious, but I have math materials that students can use to form equal groups using the denominator and then collecting the number of groups in the numerator.  This physical manipulation is necessary even in the upper elementary grades where we think they should compute abstractly.

Next week I will share Converting Mixed Numbers to Improper Fractions and Back.

## Wednesday, November 19, 2014

### Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

This is the first book in the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo.  Alina discovers that she is a Sun Summoner with enormous power.  She captures the attention of the Darkling who brings her to the royal court to be trained to use her gifts.

Alina is told that she will overcome the Shadow Fold, a dark unsea which divides the kingdom.  As she begins training for this battle, she learns the truth about many things.

For an explanation of my rating scale, click here.
Find me at Goodreads.

## Monday, November 17, 2014

### Reading Strategies Pinterest Board

When I first started teaching, I was a substitute for several years.  I loved visiting other classrooms and collecting ideas for my future classroom.  This was before computers in every room, no internet, and no Pinterest.  (I could never go back to that.)

Lately, I have been collecting and creating anchor charts and graphic organizers to teach and practice reading comprehension. I have collected far more ideas than I will ever use. While a few of the items are paid products (full disclosure here), many are free downloads or amazing charts created by some talented teachers.

Follow Mary Bauer's board Reading Strategies on Pinterest.

I would love to have you visit my board and maybe find a strategy or two that will work for you.

## Sunday, November 16, 2014

### Quote of the Week -- November 16, 2014

Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them. ~Lemony Snicket

Have a great week,

## Friday, November 14, 2014

### Character Strengths and Weaknesses

Last week I shared a graphic organizer I use to help students analyze characters.  This week I want to share a different perspective on the same skill.  For every character trait, there is usually a strength and a weakness.  Even a positive attribute can produce bad results in certain circumstances.

As we read through a novel or a biography together, students record a character and the trait that creates problems and/or solutions for that character.  This graphic organizer could be the basis for an anchor chart.﻿

To download the Character Strengths and Weaknesses form above, please click here.

## Wednesday, November 12, 2014

### Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

I read Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage after watching two of my fourth graders devour this and the second book in the series.  (I often get great book finds from my students.)

Miss Moses LoBeau washed into Tupelo Landing, NC in a hurricane eleven years ago.  She sends messages in bottles along the same river to find her mother.

(Click here if you want a Message in a Bottle themed writing assignment.)

Mo gets involved in a series of mysteries in her town while trying to reconnect with family.  I love a good mystery and I loved the characters in this small town.

For an explanation of my rating scale, click here.
Find me at Goodreads.

## Monday, November 10, 2014

### Happy Veterans Day

Just a thought...

Sometimes I get frustrated with the state of education and how teachers are treated.  Then I think how veterans are treated.

Maybe a few of us teachers will be called upon to give our lives for our students, but most days I don't go into my job with that expectation.

If you can read this, thank a veteran.

## Sunday, November 9, 2014

### Quote of the Week -- November 9, 2014

Some people are born on third base and go through life thinking they hit a triple.
-- Barry Switzer

Have a good week,

## Friday, November 7, 2014

### Free Character Sketch Form

I love to teach elements of story in reading and writing.  Because I enjoy reading character-driven fiction, it's natural that I emphasize this in my lessons.

Here is a simple graphic organizer to help students analyze a character and supply evidence from the text that demonstrates this trait.

For example, recently we read The Gollywopper Games as a class.  Each of the children participating in the games demonstrated their character traits with words and actions.  One character doesn't care to win; she just wants to be on TV.  Two other characters cheat, but in different ways according to their characters.  This tool helps students collect the dialogue and actions that show character.

## Wednesday, November 5, 2014

### The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen by Susin Nielsen

Henry K. Larsen's family has been impacted by school violence, so his therapist wants him to keep a journal.  This book is written in that form.

When Henry and his father move to a new city to start life over  Henry wants his mom to join them, but she has her own concerns to overcome.  This is the story of how a family copes when one of its members commits a serious crime.

Caution: I would not read this with my fourth graders, especially since we just had a school shooting in our area.  The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen is more appropriate for middle school and above.  There is also condom reference which makes it more suitable for older students.

## Tuesday, November 4, 2014

### Teacher's Notebook Reward Dollars Now Include Freebies

Did you know that you can now earn Reward Dollars for rating and providing feedback on freebies?  If you downloaded 10 Poetry Forms when it was featured in the newsletter, you can go back and rate it and receive \$0.02.

I thought I would show you a few more freebies that are in my Teacher's Notebook Store that you might want to try out and get paid for doing so.

## Monday, November 3, 2014

### Real Diamonds Have Flaws

For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with perfectionism.  I feel like I have to perform at very high levels to be worthy.

A few weeks ago I heard a sermon and the pastor told us that the way to find out if a diamond is real or fake is to see if it has flaws.  Fake diamonds are flawless.  Real ones are not.

I guess I'm real.