Monday, June 30, 2014

An Invention for Teachers: Soundtracks

I was watching TV the other day and wished that I could have a soundtrack for my lessons.  These musical cues tell the audience which characters to trust and which to hate.  They let you know when something important is about to happen and how to feel about the ending.

I think this would enhance how my students receive my teaching.  Imagine dramatic music when I am establishing the objective.  The orchestra could build as I lay out the steps for whatever project I want them to complete. 

If someone was about to make a bad decision, the soundtrack would play the same music you hear when someone goes into the basement alone at night.

Instead of getting up and wandering at will, there would be a theme song at the end to signal I am now finished talking.

I've got to compete with the entertainment industry somehow.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Quote of the Week -- June 29, 2014

“Be a light not a judge.  Be a model not a critic.”

Stephen Covey

Have a great week,


Friday, June 27, 2014

Time to Cook -- Not Strictly Teaching Related

One of my favorite things to do in the summer is try recipes I have collected over the school year.  I usually mess up pork chops, but I found a rub from Alton Brown and I learned how to sear them in olive oil over medium high heat.  They were delicious.

Alton Brown recommended 8 parts brown sugar, 3 parts kosher salt, 1 part chili powder, and 1 part whatever spices you like.  We eat a lot of garlic at our house.  I also added black pepper to that last part.  I used tablespoons as my measurement.  The rub keeps in a clean dry jar in my cupboard.

I also tried the rub on salmon.  It helps to leave it on the meat for an hour before cooking.

I served my new favorite salad from Hye Thyme CafĂ©: watermelon, cucumber, mint and lime.  He adds salt and a dash of chili powder.  I loved it without the last two ingredients.

If you are curious about what other recipes I have actually tried, visit my Pinterest Board by that name.
Follow Mary Bauer's board Recipes I've Actually Tried on Pinterest.

I would also love it if you would share in the comments recipes you are trying out this summer.

Message in a Bottle Craft and Free Writing Plans

Back when Google was the way for Bloggers to keep track of followers, I reached 100 followers and created this thank you gift.  Now I have no idea how many people consider themselves followers.  I'm happy to have regular readers who are willing to use my lessons in their classrooms.

Message in a Bottle is a forever free product in my Teachers Pay Teachers and Teachers Notebook Stores.  I wasn't happy with the pattern for the craft that I included in the writing prompt, so this year I redid that part.  Here are the directions:

First, I took two 4 1/4 X 8 1/2 pieces of green construction paper for the front and back covers.  I folded one and drew a half bottle shape.  (See below.)

I kept this piece folded after I cut it out and used it as a pattern for the notebook paper and the second cover.  I folded three pieces of notebook paper in half and matched the top of the bottle with the top of the paper.  After tracing and cutting the notebook paper, I did the same thing with the second piece of green paper.

Finally I cut a piece of 3 X 8 1/2 inch white/cream paper for the label.  The edges could be rounded slightly and students could write their title and illustration.

I used notebook paper for my upper elementary students.  Plain white paper or paper with lines and a space for a picture at the top could be substituted for other classes.

The writing lesson itself could be completed in partners where students write the message and then hand off to another student to write the story.  For the complete free lesson plans, visit my stores below:

To download Message in a Bottle from my TPT store, click here.
To download Message in a Bottle from my TN store, click here.

Thank you for stopping by,

Freebie Fridays

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Boston Jane by Jennifer L. Holm

I've read several historical fiction books by Jennifer L. Holm.  I love her strong heroines.  Miss Jane Peck doesn't quite fit into Philadelphia society, so when she receives a proposal from William Baldt, she accepts and moves to 1855 Pacific Northwest to wait for him.  Washington before statehood is a wild place and Jane learns just how strong she can be while she waits for the wedding.

I recommend the May Amelia series for the upper elementary group.  Boston Jane would be better suited for early middle school.

Here is a graphic organizer for students to compare daily tasks in the past with the present day equivalent.  There is a third category where students make predictions for the future.

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

Monday, June 23, 2014

Drama Club Pinterest Board

I love teaching drama. During our after school programs, I taught two sessions.  This summer I will help out with a Summer Theater workshop for middle school and high school students.

As a result, I have been collecting resources to use with these students and I'm finding that many of the activities are appropriate for my general education classes.

Below is a link to my Drama Club board on Pinterest.  Most of the activities are free and require very little prep.  I am consistently adding to this resource.

Follow Mary Bauer's board Drama Club on Pinterest.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Quote of the Week-- June 22, 2014

"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn." -- Benjamin Franklin

Have a great week,


Friday, June 20, 2014

Writing with Transition Words: Seven Sentence Stories

Here is a free download for students to write a seven sentence story using transition words. 

With most classes, I write a story with the whole class having students tell me ideas for each sentence. 

This could be done as a partner activity where students take turns filling in blanks.  It could be a part of a writing station during literacy time.

If you have a class that could manage this, have one person start with a title and pass it to the next person who writes the next sentence.  Then the paper is passed to yet a third person and so on until all the blanks are filled.

We recently studied beach life and had a field trip to the beach.  I used this form to have them write their accounts.  I like being able to integrate the content with the writing lessons I already have.

You can purchase all ten forms I use for creative writing assignments and bulletin boards here in my Teachers Pay Teachers store and here in my Teachers Notebook store.  I have included at least two suggestions for each form that are not here on my blog.

Freebie Fridays

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The Ultimate Top Secret Guide to Taking over the World by Kenn Nesbitt

I was looking for funny poetry books by Kenn Nesbitt, when I came across this title.   If you want to become a villain, Nesbitt lays out the plans.  I know several of my students will enjoy this.

My stepdaughter is into comic books and often talks about character development and plot.  The writer in me wanted to use this book to create a character for a middle grade comic book villain.

I don't know that I would read it aloud to the whole class, but it is one that will be read to pieces in my classroom library.

Here is a link to a related freebie called Heroes and Villains.

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Connect with me on Goodreads.

Monday, June 16, 2014

They Never Stop Being Mine

Last Friday night when I attended my stepdaughter's graduation, I also watched two of my former fourth graders graduate with her.  (A disclaimer: I don't teach at the feeder school for this particular high school.  I am sure a bunch of my former students graduated this weekend.  Not just two.)

I started thinking about how fun it is to live and teach in the same community for more than twenty years.  I see former students as adults with jobs, attending college, and having families.  I know it will be soon when I start teaching my students' children.

Unfortunately, I have also seen some of the poor choices my former students have made.  I still cry when I think of one who died in gang violence.  I have seen several become teen parents.  Some haven't graduated.

As any teacher knows, once you have had a child in your class, there is a connection.  Even if that child is 22 and helping me choose my produce at his job, I can still tell him not to ride his bike on the school sidewalk.  I am proud to tip another extra when she serves me at the local restaurant.  I am excited to hear about career plans when others are home on a college break.

The one relationship change I have struggled the most with is the student who became my pharmacy assistant.  (Think of all the personal information you give out when you are at the drug store filling out your prescriptions.  There is something awkward about having a former student know that much about you.) She was always a good student and she plans to enter the medical field.  I know she understands confidentiality.

What I love most about being a teacher is investing in lives and occasionally seeing the results. 

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Quote of the Week -- June 15, 2014

If you want to feel happy, do something for yourself. If you want to feel fulfilled, do something for someone else.”

Simon Sinek

Have a good week,


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Need a Laugh?

So I'm organizing my Pinterest boards today.  Yes, I have a laundry list of things to do.  (Laundry happens to be one of them.) I survived a full moon on Friday the Thirteenth with the Land and Water Kit and three days of school left.  (For the uninformed, the Land and Water Kit is a study of water erosion through stream table experiments.  Yes, that means a box of mud for every 3-4 students.  I teach fourth grade.)

Anyway, I am working on Pinterest, because this is the amount of mental energy I have.  Just now I added to my humor board and thought I would share.

Follow Mary Bauer's board humor on Pinterest.

My favorite recent pin is the quote from a four-year-old: "You know it was a good day when you didn't hit or bite anyone."  I'm relating to that right now.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Letter from Camp

I know many schools are already out for the summer.  We are in session through Wednesday. 

I love making quirky writing assignments. I created this fill in the blank letter for my students to fill out and I just had to share it with you.

Click here to download a free copy of Fill in the Blank Letter from Camp.

I just might put a copy on my new students' desks the first day of school as a beginning writing sample.

I created this and then I read this real letter from a boy at camp.  It's hilarious and probably what some of my boys would love to write about...just saying.

Don't forget my sale starts today and goes through Monday June 16.

Happy Friday!
Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
Freebie Fridays

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

How to Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell

This Friday the movie How to Train Your Dragon 2 will be in theaters.  This franchise is popular with many of my students.  Cressida Cowell has written several books in this series.

The series follows Hiccup the "dragon whisperer" and his dragon, Toothless.  I was first introduced to these books nine or ten years ago when a very reluctant reader brought in the first book to school.  He shared with others and soon half my class was reading the series.

The movie and the TV shows are different from the books, but good in their own right.  I can nudge my fantasy loving readers toward this series unequivocally.

If you want to compare and contrast the books with the movies, here is a graphic organizer.

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

Monday, June 9, 2014

Ring That Bell!

This Friday night, my stepdaughter will graduate from high school.  I know the parenting isn’t over yet, but I know that the relationship will change as she moves away to college this fall. 

On a recent college visit, we finished the formal tour and decided to check out the theater where she wants to spend most of her time.  The reception desk was empty, but there was a sign that the bookkeeper was close by and that visitors should ring the bell.

My stepdaughter was reluctant, but I was encouraging.  I didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to get more information.  So I rang the bell.

The bookkeeper was friendly.  She took us on a tour of the department and apologized that the chair was not available to meet with us. She introduced Monika to everyone we passed hoping to make her feel welcome

Ringing the bell became a symbol for me of taking an opportunity.  You never know what will happen when you try.  Some people are irritated, because they interrupted their work.  Others are so glad they get to meet you.


To the graduating class of 2014: Ring that bell!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Quote of the Week -- June 8, 2014

"If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, the excitement, and the mystery of the world we live in." --Rachel Carlson

Have a good week,

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