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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Improve Behavior with the Holiday Bonus Box & Holiday Grouch Box!

December is a great time to use fun and humor to help improve behaviors in a non-threatening way. The Holiday Bonus Box and Holiday Grouch Box is FUN and effective!

December is a great time to change up your behavior program and add some fun to your classroom. Who doesn't love drawing tickets out of a box?  Students love seeing the boxes up on the shelf waiting for drawing day.

How easy is this to get positive behavior and change started in your classroom?  SIMPLE!   Just take a big box and wrap it with wrapping paper.  A Costco sized cereal box works great.  The Holiday Bonus Box should have a really pretty red paper that's festive and the Grouch Box should be green and (in Grinch paper if you can find it).  Students can connect with the Grinch and his poor behaviors. The best part is when the Grinch (Grouch) warms his heart with kindness and love.

This program is designed to reward great work habits, behavior, and character traits and also to help students "un-do" grouchy or undesired behaviors by doing good deeds. And it's designed to get students laughing, smiling, and spreading holiday cheer throughout the school.

How does it work?  Let's say you want to recognize students for lining up quickly and quietly.  All you have to do during December is say, "Thanks for lining up so quickly and quietly, (name).  Please go draw a ticket from the Holiday Bonus Box."  You will notice immediate behavior change in your students!  Then wait for roars and cheers as the student reads his/her ticket aloud:  "Use the teacher's chair for the day."  Be a great sport and make go take the student's chair and trade chairs.  It's all in the spirit of fun.

When you notice students in need of some positive behavior change, the Grouch Box is all you need!  Here's an example:  Let's say a student says "shut up" to a classmate. Not nice and not respectful, right?  Right!  Just calmly say, "Gee, (name), that's kind of Grinchy/grouchy to use those words.  Maybe you could've said that in a nicer way."  Then say, "Please choose a ticket from the Grouch Box to un-do your grouchy deed."  The ticket that is drawn might say, "Oops! You had to draw from the Holiday Grouch Box!  Your 'prize' is to with the teacher of your choice and his/her class happy holidays!  P.S. You may ask a friend to help you.  Thanks for being a good sport."   That's just one of 80 Holiday Bonus Box and Grouch Box notes in the set.

Here's a few photos of the notes:
I've used this for years and years with tons of excitement and success that it makes December really fun.  If you want, you can use just the Holiday Bonus Box.  A few times I had to put the Grinch/Grouch Box away because students were doing things on purpose to get to draw from the box!  I want students to love being in my classroom and doing nice things for others, and the Grouch Box allows students the opportunity to turn a grouchy behavior into great behavior.

Students have so much fun with this program and everything you need to implement it right away is included.  The set is also editable using PowerPoint so you can type the names of your staff into the notes to let them in on the behavior improvement fun.  The set has 80 pre-printed messages designed to reward great work habits, behavior, and character traits and also to help students "un-do" grouchy or undesired behaviors by doing good deeds.  Better yet, you can use it every year!

Here's the link to see it in my TpT store.

Enjoy the holidays!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

BIG, BIG, BIG TpT Cyber Sale Dec. 1 & 2

It's the biggest sale of the year!  I'm marking all teaching materials in my store 20% plus TpT is giving another 8% so that's 28% off on both Monday and Tuesday, Dec. 1 and 2!  The sale ends Tuesday at 9 pm PST (midnight EST).  Be sure to use the code TYPCYBER to get the 28% off!  (I forgot to use the code on the products I bought last year!)

Get your wish list started so shopping will be a breeze when the sale is on!

Happy holidays to you all!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Ho, Ho, Ho! It's a Christmas SALE!

Hi teacher friends!  Everything in my TpT store that is Christmas related is on sale now through Sunday night, Nov. 23!
Most of my Christmas items are less than the price of a small latte so shop away and see if there's anything you would like to add to your Christmas repertoire!  But don't stop having lattes, for gosh sake!   :)

When you're at my store, look under "Custom Categories" on the left side and then look for "Holidays."

Happy holidays!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

What Famous People Do You Study During Your Biography Unit?

 Hi teachers!  If you teach a biography unit, I need your help.  :)

Question:  What famous people do your students want to study?   Please leave me a comment with your answer. 
Please take a look at this list of names and leave me a comment if you have suggestions to add to the list.  I want to include biography people that students want to learn about and to reach an international audience of teachers and students.  I have a webpage with links for each of these famous people.   Thank you so much.
You can peek at my complete 6-week biography project on TpT.  Students love choosing and researching their favorite person and the project reaches across many disciplines.

Please leave a comment if you see someone who should be added to the list.  Thanks so much for your input.

Friday, November 14, 2014

SMART (Board) Tip: Using the SMART Notebook Gallery

Today's tip is on using the tons of resources in the SMART Notebook Gallery.  There are TONS of clip art images and multimedia components in the built-in Gallery.   Take some time to pop open the folders and see the wealth of information inside to help animate your lessons.

I love collecting great resources I find on the web.   On my website, in the Teacher Zone, you can find two different web pages I've organized to help you.  This page is curriculum related and this is organized by state/country and school district.
To get students' attention, I often use the SMART Notebook file with the interactive timer   slowly counting down. I don't have to say a word.  Students know what to do.  It's a great, easy classroom management tool.

Here's some tips to insert an interactive timer  rom the SMART Notebook Gallery into your SMART Notebook file.
I hope this tip has helped.  Let me know if you have a question or a question about how-to do something with your SMART Board, let me know and I'll do a blog post.   To get some of the SMART Board lessons I've created, visit my TpT store and click the category "SMART Board." Enjoy your SMART Board!

Thanks for the Liebster Award!

I've been nominated by Lydia at Glamour and Gluesticks for the Liebster Awards.

You may find yourself asking, "What in the world is the Liebster Award?"  I know that's what I said!  It's pretty simple.  When a person is nominated for the Liebster Award, first they answer 11 questions about themselves.  Afterwards, they nominate 11 additional bloggers with fewer than 200 bloggers for the award.  It's like a chain award  designed to help new bloggers* (see #1) become acquainted with the blogging world.

Here's my answers:
1)  Why and how long ago did you start blogging?
I created a 4th grade classroom website, www.mrsrenz.net way back in the year 2000 when hardly any teachers had websites.  I was one of the first teachers in my district to create a website.  I went to Costco, bought the web building program with my own money and taught myself how to make a website.  By August I had an amazing classroom website full of resources for teachers and students and it became my means to communicate with my families 24x7.  My website (14 years later) has over 2.2 million views, so while I am new to the blogging world, I am NOT new to the web world! I've received lots of awards for my website.  Now I maintain all of the links on my website AND keep up a blog.  :)
2)  What one word sums up the heart of your blog and why?
One word:  sharing.  Why?  Because teachers work WAY too hard not to share what works with others.  We all strive to be the best teacher and motivate the students we have been charged to teach and instill a love of learning.  Blogging allows us (teachers) to connect, and share what works with kids.
3)  Is there something you learned late in your blogging journey that you wished you knew before?
I'm learning new things about how Blogger functions differently than a website.  I have always learned best by doing and I'm not afraid to click and see what happens.

4)  What is your favorite past time other than blogging?
I love traveling!  If I could fly somewhere, my ticket would be to Scotland.  I'm a dual citizen of the U.S. and U.K. and my dad was born in Scotland in a small coastal town. I went to school for a year in England when I was 15.   I'd love to live in Scotland if I could!
5)  How many hours per week do you dedicate to your blog?
WAAAAY to many!  :)  Back when I started my website I bet I spent 40+ hours each week adding great links that I wanted to use or that I wanted to use during our center rotations.  I've just redesigned my classroom website to have special sections for students, teachers, and teachers who are looking for great lessons, activities, projects and unit for their classrooms.  I probably spend 15 hours a week working on my blog.  When I get inspired, I start new posts and then come back to them later on.

6)  What category of blog posts do you enjoy most?
I really like learning about the person who wrote the blog and getting to "know" them as a person and then as a teacher.  I always read the "About Me" section first.

7)  Where does your blog inspiration come from?
I get ideas from all around me - from life itself.  I take photos and jot notes of things I want to remember to blog about.  I want to share the things in the classroom that brought joy to my students and their families.

8)  Which post that you've written are you most proud of?
There's not really one post that I'm more proud of than another.  I hope people are finding my blog posts helpful.

9)  Is there a post you've been planning to do but have been postponing?
I want to do post where I feature my fellow Disney Teacher Award and JASON XV Project buddies and ask them to share what they've learned. We can all help each other by sharing!  Pay if forward!
10)  What is you favorite aspect of blogging?
I like writing when I want and saying what I want to say on the topic I choose.  I like the freedom to make blog posts and writing about what pops into my mind.  It's my choice!

11)  Which recipe, project, or idea on my blog would you most likely try yourself?
Lydia, your blog post that talked about Jitter Juice was so clever!  Students would love that! Heck, I would love that!  :)
- - - - - - - - - - 
The Rules
Now that you've been nominated, here are the official rules for accepting:
1)  In your post, link back to the blogger (me) who nominated you as a thank you and "shout out."
2)  Answer all 11 of the questions I answered above.
3)  Nominate 11 blogs that have fewer than 200 followers each and have them answer the same questions above.

I Nominate: (and if you have more than 200 followers, sorry, I tried!)
* Kathie at Tried and True Teaching Tools
* Heather at Recipe for Teaching
* Kathleen at Kidpeople Classroom
* Amy at Albuquerque Amy and Academics
* Stephanie at The Learning Chambers
* Mary at 4th Works
* Kayla at Ms King's Kinders
* Miss B. at Real Teachers Learn
* Lindsay at Miss Rodgers' Third Grade
* Tracy and Michelle at 4th Grade Dynamic Duo
* Patti at Tales from a 4th (And 5th Grade Teacher)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Christmas is Coming! Keep 'Em Learning!

Christmas is my favorite time of year!  I love everything about the whole holiday season.  If it's a year where all of my students celebrate Christmas, we have some real fun reviewing all kinds of math, language, and geography skills.
I can find the math in just about everything, just like in the book, Math Curse {wink}.  One of my favorite activities, (12 Days of Christmas A Gift Giving Dilemma) is to read the 12 Days of Christmas and then the math begins!  I have students figure out how many total gifts were given.  Let's see . . . he brings 1 gift the first day, and the second day he brings 2 turtle doves and a partridge, so that's 3 gifts on day 2 and so he's brought 4 gifts in all in two days.  Holy smoke!  How many will it add up to by the end of the 12th day?  I introduce the lesson with a YouTube video and using a fun SMART Board file.  Look out!  Let the pattern hunting begin!

After students have figured out how many gifts were given, {in true Math Curse style} I say, "Woa!  I wonder how much all of that cost?"  (What Was the Cost of the Gifts Given from the 12 Days of Christmas?) You should see the looks on my students' faces!  Oh my gosh, it's hilarious but students know me and that I love to have fun with learning so off we go calculating prices for five more days of math fun.

Then the 12 days of Christmas song reminds me of other math problems and it takes us awhile to solve all 12 problems.  (The 12 Days of Christmas Math Problems.)  For example, If a partridge flew from pear tree to pear tree and he flew 26 feet and landed on the first tree.  Then he flew 35 feet and landed on the second tree, and 37 feet to the third tree an 46 feet to the fourth tree.  How much would that be in all?  Then, how much would that be in yards?  And then on we go to day 2's math problem.

Then we use the 12 days of Christmas to solve grammar problems!  (The 12 Days of Christmas Grammar.)  Will it ever end?  {wink}  On day 1 (homophones review), did the partridge lay a pair/pear of eggs in the nest?  And did the true love leave his present over there/their/they're?   How about the card from the true love?  Was it signed your/you're true love?  Did people come from all over to see/sea the partridges?  And what happened to the pear trees when the wind blew/blue all night long?  Then day 2 comes and it's time to use proper nouns with the Christmas song.

 For students who will be away from school or if you want to challenge your learners, there's The 12 Days of Math, Language and Geography Activities.  This also makes a great "What do I do when I'm finished?" packet.

All of these activities have answer keys so students can check their own work and all of the activities are designed for students to review and sharpen essential kills.  I love that they work so hard and intently during a time when many students are unfocused or unmotivated.

So now you have another glimpse into the fun we have learning in my fourth grade classroom at Christmas time.  Enjoy everything about the holidays but keep the students engaged and learning!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Thanksgiving Crafty Project: Thanksgiving Dinner Place Name Cards

We woke up to a temperature of a frigid 7 degrees F today so it was definitely a day to stay warm inside!  But what to do?  Make Thanksgiving place name cards! Perfect!

Thanksgiving is at our house house each year and I always like to do something or make something fun.  These place name cards turned out so cute that I decided to type up directions and share them in my TpT store.  They're on sale for the first 3 days!

There are 12 designs to choose from (boys, girls, turkeys) and hair color choices (brown, blonde, red).  Visit my TpT store to see the visual preview that shows all of the designs.  I love them and I hope you do, too!  Enjoy!

Monday, November 10, 2014

In Flanders Fields, A Poem for Veterans Day

Today is Veteran's Day.  It's a time to honor veterans.

Today I would like to share with you a powerful poem that written in 1915 during World War I by Canadian, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae.
Reading this poem aloud you get a sense of the rhyme scheme.
Listen to the poem read aloud on this YouTube video.  Ask students from whose point of view this poem is written.  Talk about the message of the poem and discuss the choice of vocabulary.  Notice the repetition of "In Flanders fields."  Show students the real Flanders Fields American Cemetery in Waregem, Belgium.  This could be a students to add to their poetry collection.

This is a BBC news clip showing the Tower of London surrounded by handmade ceramic poppies that represent each British commonwealth soldier lost during WWI.
Thank you, veterans, for serving to keep peace in the world for us all. 

Sunday, November 9, 2014

FREEBIE Alert! Help Rachel Lynette Celebrate a Milestone Acheivement

Congrats to Rachel Lynette for earning a big TpT milestone!  To celebrate with you all, Rachel is giving away a set of her inference task cards!  These are available for one week only so hurry to her TpT Store to download these great task cards.  These are for students in grades 3-6.
Congratualtions, Rachel!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Fantastic Fonts for Teachers! {Fonts by Kimberly Geswein}

I love great fonts!  Using fun fonts brighten up your lesson plans, teacher binder, and other print materials.  Besides that, fun fonts are just plain fun!

Today I'm sharing with you some of my favorite teacher fonts created by the talented Kimberly Geswein.  Please read and respect the rules for downloading each of these fonts.  Kimberly has lots of fonts free for personal use.  She also has many fonts for commercial use in her TpT store.

Click here if you want to download over 230 of Kimberly's FREE fonts for personal use.  Seriously!
KG Royals {TpT}           
KG A Little Swag {TpT}           

Here's some directions for how to install fonts.  You can find these fonts (and MORE) on the DA Fonts site.

Have fun with fonts!

Friday, November 7, 2014

SMART (Board) Tip: Using the Infinite Cloning Tool

I love, love, love my SMART Board and can't imagine teaching without one!  It is naturally interactive for students and engages them naturally.  If you have a SMART Board, you know what I'm talking about.  If you don't have a SMART Board . . . try to get one in your classroom!  It'll be your new best teaching tool!

Here's today's SMART (Board) Tip:  Using the Infinite Cloning Tool
Using the infinite cloning tool is handy when you need to move a shape, word, or graphic and want the original copy to stay in place.   My math problem solving product, How Many Football Uniform Combinations Can Be Made? uses the cloning tool.  Students are asked to make all of the uniform combinations.  The SMART Board makes this task simple!  Students simply drag the jerseys and match them up with the pants and shoes to make all of the combinations.  It's fun and really gets the point across to students!  The PDF worksheets and answer keys are provided and so is the SMART Board file.
I hope this SMART Board tip was helpful.  Be sure to leave a comment and leave suggestions for tips you'd like to see here.  I'd love to help you learn how to maximize use of your SMART Board!  Enjoy!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Great Books to Read: Math Curse

My goal is simple:  Hook students to reading by sharing great books!  Today's great book is one my favorite math books of all time, Math Curse by John Scieszka and Lane Smith.  The message in the book . . . look out!  You can find the math in everything!
This book is full of math wit and and there's so much going on, visually, that it's a student and teacher read-aloud favorite.   I always read Math Curse to my students during one of the first few weeks of the beginning of our school year in September.  My goal:  Students get to know me and that I love everything math.  It's a fun book to read aloud and use voices and intonation.  Students love the book and pour over the book's text, captions, and pictures.  The humor in the book is awesome! 

Reading Tip:  Perform the book as a Readers' Theater.  This book is great for encouraging students to read fluently.  Assign the book to a small group of students.  Let students choose which pages they will read aloud. Give them time to practice their pages, and when the group is ready, they will read the book aloud to the class, taking turns as needed.

Reading Tip:  Read to a buddy class.  Another idea is to read this book to a buddy class of younger students.  At my school we teamed up our 4th graders with 1st graders.  If you already do buddy classes, you know what I mean.  The younger students ADORE their older buddies and sit eagerly to listen to the story.  It makes for a great fluency practice with a purpose.

Math Tip:  Make your own math problems.  Have students come up with their own math word problems in similar style to the nook and and make answer keys.   Type these up, add the student name, and make a math center activity.  Have the student who created the problem be in charge of grading.

Math Curse.  Check it out! (Literally!)

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Veterans Day FREE Resources for Teachers

It's time to draw our students' attention to Veteran's Day.  It is not just a day off school.  This is the time to honor our military men and women, past  present and future and teach important concepts.

Here are some great web resources that are free!  Keep scrolling!
This U.S Department of Veterans Affairs Veterans Day Resource Guide has great material.  The teacher section gives lots of background and ideas for using this in the classroom.   The student resources include WWII History, the origins of Veterans Day, the Difference between Veterans Day and Memorial Day, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, America's Wars, Respecting the flag,folding the flag and more.  There's also a kid's packet that includes a puzzle, a play, maze game, coloring book.

This online poster is perfect for displaying on your projection screen to begin the discussion.

Here's 16 pages of  bordered FREE Veteran's Day writing paper designed for students of all ages with line spacing in various sizes.  There are also unlined page options in the free set.  This is great to use with any writing project you do to honor veterans.

This Holidays in the USA brochure is another online resource for using with kids.  Download the PDF and scroll to page 30 for Veterans Day information.

Here's another great resource from the Census Bureau that would be perfect to use to teach an activity that uses the numbers associated with Veteran's Day.

The History Channel has more great resources for Veterans Day.  After a brief commercial (mute it) there is a video explanation that is great for showing students.

Whatever you do, be sure to teach about Veterans Day.

Wordless Wednesday: Favorite Holiday Movie

I'm linking up with Christina at Sugar and Spice for this week's Wordless Wednesday.  If you're going to participate in this fun linky party, be sure to spread the love by commenting on the two blogs ahead of yours, and the one behind it.   :)
I know... Halloween is just barely over but Christmas is just around the corner and let's face it, we are bombarded by loads of shelves of holiday stuff and songs in the stores already.  Christmas is absolutely my favorite holiday!  I love everything about it!

Soon we'll be getting the Christmas boxes out of the barn and setting up the tree. (Yes, we use a fake tree so we can enjoy it from the day after Thanksgiving all the way to New Year's Day!)  We always watch a Christmas movie while we set up the tree.  My favorite movie is Elf.  I love comedies!

My question to you is . . . what is your favorite holiday movie?  Please leave a comment and join the linky fun!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Currently: November What's On My Mind

Hey everyone!  I'm linking up with Farley over at Oh Boy Fourth Grade for this month's Currently.
Listening:  I love listening to Pandora while I sew!  I love the wide variety of music I can listen to while I'm sewing a custom water bottle holder for my backpack.  The weight of the water bottle pulls the backpack down over my zipper pocket so I decided to fix that problem once and for all!  I made a simple bag that hooks onto the sides of my pack and the water bottle just slips inside now.  Easy!
Loving:  I have to say, we’re lucky to get to live in paradise here in Central Oregon!  We have the Cascade Mountain Range at our doorstep and miles and miles of gorgeous hikes, rivers, and lakes to explore.  This is a photo taken a week ago at Clear Lake, in Central Oregon.
Thinking:  I’m thinking about how excited I am that this Thanksgiving our family get together will be at our house.  We’re going to use Pioneer Woman’s turkey brine recipe (it's soooo good!) and then we’re going to Traeger the turkey.  Yum!

Wanting:  I’ll so miss having Hillary, our daughter, home for Thanksgiving this year but she’s at Physical Therapy grad school in Maine and will be home soon for Christmas.  Also, Elgie, my sister in law is working in the Philippines so we’ll miss her, too.
Needing:  I always need more time to do all the things on my to-do list!  My list gets longer and longer.

Reading:  I'm scouring all of the magazines my mom has given me for great recipes for Thanksgiving.  I want to do some traditional recipes and then try some new ones.
Thanks to Farley for hosting this fun Linky!  It's fun to blog hop and meet you all!  Be sure to say hi!

P.S.  If you're in need of an organized website to send your students to learning links for lots of subjects, feel free to use and link to my classroom website.  There's goodies there for teachers, too!  :)

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Let's Eat a Colonial Meal with George Washington!

Are you teaching place value?  I just posted a really fun activity that takes students back to the days of George Washington that will reinforce the place value system in a really fun way and it's perfect to use at Thanksgiving time!
Students use a "real"menu from the restaurant, "Mount Vernon On the Potomac Restaurant" and order a meal with a first course, main course, sweets, and beverage.  Then the fun begins! Students must use Colonial British currency of the time (pence, shillings and pounds) to pay for their meals! Website links show students the real coins used during George Washington's day and there's online links to games that reinforce what you've just taught.  There are two coin trading equivalents worksheets and three meal order form choices.  It's perfect for a math center station.

This set is super fun to use for use right before Thanksgiving and really, anytime is good for this challenging open-ended week of lessons.  I designed this for grades 4-6.  After an initial lesson on trading 12 pence for 1 shilling and trading 20 shillings for 1 British pound, this would be a great math center activity.
I have this week of lessons on sale for the first three days and it's cheaper than a small latte!  I predict you'll love this week of fun and will use it year after year.   :)  Enjoy!
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