FREE Cure for Writer's Block

Happy New Year!  It's Michelle from Teach123.  This month I thought I would share an idea to use with your students who have writer's block. You can set this up as a center.  It is FREE, differentiated, and also works great as an early finisher activity.
Cold and flu season is upon us.  That's not the only thing that your students may catch this winter.  They may suddenly catch a bad case of writer's block.  I have a cure for this and best of all it is FREE!

An idea book is one of the best things I have found to help with writer's block.  First, send home a note asking parents for magazines, catalogs, and a small photo album.  I found the photo albums in the picture above at Dollar Tree.  I usually buy a few extras in case one or two students forget to bring one.
The easiest way to organize this, is to set it up as a center.  If you have enough magazines, you can also do this on a Friday afternoon or inside recess.  Turn on some music and listen to your students giggle.  Even though I do my best to preview the magazines and catalogs that parents send in, there is always a picture/story of a bathroom word or someone in their underwear that I miss.  

Your students will look through magazines and catalogs for pictures that look interesting to them.  They will cut the pictures out and put them in their idea book.
The next time your students have a free write time and can't think of a topic to write about, have them get out their idea book.  They will choose a picture, glue it in their journal, and then write a story about the picture.
There is a planning page and different writing pages included so you can use this as a writing center, too.  The writing papers have different sizes of lines so you can differentiate the center.  Use this as an early finishers activity, too!
Click HERE to download this freebie.

Do you need some more writing ideas?  I have a Pinterest board that is full of fun stuff.  I have pinned pictures that would make great journal starters.  Click on the graphic below to check out this board.
You are invited to pop over to my blog.  I love to share tips and free stuff.

Sources to make my blog post graphics can be found HERE.

Getting Cultured

Hey everyone!

My kiddos, though we are on break now, are learning about world cultures and traditions. So far we've learned about India and Brazil.

Our routine is getting our passports stamped on arrival, getting a stamp for our suitcase, watching a video, reading a book, comparing and contrasting the country to the USA and then doing an art/craft for the country before getting our departure stamp. And of course, listening to that cultural music.

So much fun!


Impromptu Lessons

Hey! It'e Jessica from The Teacher Talk here to share a fun little lesson my class and I did a week or so ago!

You know those days when you are teaching and your students lead the lesson? I had one of those a few weeks ago and I've been wanting to share it and just haven't had the chance! Today is the perfect chance to do so!

I began a lesson to teach students about the fairy tale genre (which we succeeded in) using The Little Mermaid by Christian Anderson We talked about how fairy tales normally end with a happy ending before we ended our story that day. Once we got to the end we had some disagreements. Some students saw the 'big picture' and realized that it was a a happy ending while others were just not having it. So, my teacher brain went right to ... let's have a debate!

I told students to gather their thoughts and quickly jot them down in a 5 minute quick write. So, write we did. I have never seen their little hands move so fast!

After students completed their 5 minute quick write they were divided into 2 groups. The group that believed it was a happy ending and the group that did not believe it was a happy ending.

Students shared their thoughts with one another, while the 'note-taker' wrote down important points.
As they were writing, I was going back and forth and sharing hints to make the defending group's arguments even stronger. They may have been a little mad at me - but, it got them to think harder! ;)

After we had our notes down, the groups went over them together, chose a 'speaker' and off we went! (we of course went over a few respectful phrases first)

After our debate - I chose the winner that had the best argument!
We had SO MUCH FUN! Whenever we have a disagreement, the students now ask for  debate!
I love it when I scrap the plans and go with what the students guide us to. That's what teaching and learning is all about!

Not to mention, it created a cute little hallway display.

Thanks for reading! Remember - follow your students sometimes! :)


Christmas JOY Card

Fern Smith's Directions and Freebie for a Christmas Joy Picture Ornament! 
Christmas Joy Picture Ornament
Hey everyone, Fern here from Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas.
I've made a little freebie for you to use in your classroom, home school or Sunday School class. 
Directions are also included in the download, so it is great to leave if you need a last minute sub day idea during the crazy last week or two of school!
Fern Smith's Directions and Freebie for a Christmas Joy Picture Ornament!

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5 Easy Classroom Christmas Ideas For The Last CRaZy Week Before Break!

Happy holidays teacher friends!
Linda from Around the Kampfire here with 
5 Easy Ideas for the Week Before Christmas Break!
Delight your kiddos with (super simple) daily gifts
they will use to complete the matching activity pages!

I made this little chart that I can roll down 
each day to reveal the day's surprise!

I've included 2 versions for the last day. One for if you 
purchase books for your students and one for if 
you don't. These simple treats are easy to find 
at any grocery store or Dollar Tree!

No time for fancy?  No worries!
Skip the chart and the gift tags and simply
put the treats in sandwich bags! Place them 
along with the matching activity pages on
students' desks before they arrive! Can't find the 
candy at this late date? Use mini marshmallows 
for the Elf Pillows and Hershey's Kisses and 
Candy Cane Striped Kisses for the Reindeer Noses instead.  
Make it easy on yourself!  Your kids will love it either way! 

I hope this helps to make your week a little merrier!

Click on any of the pics to find it in my TPT shop!
I wish you all the happiest of holidays!


Crazy About Caldecotts?

If you have been on my blog some you already know that I am ADDICTED to children's books!!  They are everywhere at my house and my kids are notorious for sneaking my precious books out of my classroom to take them home and read.  So periodically, I have to go through the house and gather them up and take them back to school.  So, when I hear about some really good books and find lesson plans to go with them I am all about it!  If you want to purchase these books or read more about them, all you have to do is click on the picture and wallah!  You will be at Amazon.  Enjoy!


Wordless picture book genre!  Have your kids 'rewrite' the story with shared writing or post it notes!!  In this book Daisy is thrilled because a little girl gives her a new ball to play with.   Teach CAUSE AND EFFECT with this book while using this lesson plan!

Ever been in a blackout?  All of the lights are out because, yes you guessed it, the power went out.  Can you see a link to electricity here?  A family turns to the stars for light and a whole city plays outside by starlight.  Use this lesson plan to teach poetry <specifically Haikus>!

The illustrations in this book are done in black, white, and orange and it involves a little rabbit stalking by some creepy carrots.  Yep.  Wacky, I know, but it is recommended for use at Halloween and is pretty funny.  You can go here to watch a video about the book and grab some discussion questions.

Do you like the color green?  This book is great for the Pre-K and Kinder classrooms that teach colors.  The artwork in this book is incredible, as Laura Vaccaro is an artist and illustrator of many books.  You can go here to read more about the author and the book.

This book is great for teaching PREDICTIONS!  This site also provides a printable that can be used with the book.  The book is also great to use when teaching VOCABULARY and we all need to do that!

This book is recommended when teaching DIALOGUE.  It is about a little girl that can't go to sleep and wants to know how other animals get ready to go to sleep.  

This is a great book to use to teach METAPHORS and REFRAINS.  Here is some good information for teaching with this book.

Here are some great activities for teaching with this book.  This book is recommended for use in PENGUIN units. Here is a lesson plan for the book that relates 6 Traits skills like sentence fluency, conventions, word choice, etc.


Mailing Out Letters - Using Fun Envelopes

Hi everyone! Jen here from Teacher by the Beach.

I wanted to share with you something the kids always love!

Writing out our envelopes when we write letters to Santa!  We also do it when we write our pen pal letters and our letters to upcoming grade at the end of the year.

You'll notice that all my envelopes are different sizes and colors. students always love to have color in their their paper, centers, calendars, and envelopes are no different!

Instead of using real stamps, I just have them make stamps, and the inside of the stamps are usually thematic.

That's because I don't like to use the envelopes you can buy in a box. I like to hit up my local grocery and card stores for their "leftovers."  You know that there are tons of envelopes without cards whenever you go shopping for greeting cards. Those stores don't just toss those envelopes. They keep them. They are just waiting for people like me and you to ask them for them!  Sometimes I get lucky and the people will just give me a handful. Other times they want to charge for them. But it's usually super cheap - especially when you tell them that you are a teacher wanting to have the kids write practice letter writing skills (a lost art, these days!).

These envelopes in the picture are headed to the North Pole for Santa Claus.  

If you're planning on having your students write letters to Santa, I happen to have a freebie on my blog you can grab.


Reindeer, 3D Trees, and Quick Printables Please!

Hello Friends! Here in South Florida, we have about a week and a half left of school before winter break. I'm planning on getting a LOT of milage out of my December Printable Pack. I've already updated it a couple of times since I posted it two years ago, but this time it got a major overhaul. I updated the fonts and graphics on all of the pages, adjusted some of the activities slightly, and added a few more as well. There are 26 activities in all, plus answer keys. I love to have these on hand for homework, sub plans, early finishers, or even a quick center. If you have to sent home a practice pack over winter break, this might do it for you! If you already own the original version, be sure to download it again so you've got all the new goodies.

On Tuesday morning we're meeting with our fifth grade book buddies. Together the kids are going to create this 3D Grammar Tree Craftivity. It's actually easy to put together and just about every part of it is editable, so if you want to modify the parts of speech your kids practice, you totally can. 

And while we're on the subject of Craftivities, check out Rudolph! He also comes with lots of options and step by step directions. I've also included a version that the kids can just color, if printing and cutting all the pieces separately isn't your thing.

Cute or what?! I love, love, love having these hanging up in the room!

And finally, I'm having a great giveaway series over on my blog at
Today is Day 5, so there are still plenty of chances to win some great prizes!

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