FLASH FREEBIE! 2nd of 4 During the Month of June 2013!

THIS OFFER IS NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST!

Flash Freebie with Green BorderFor the next two hours, 5:15 PM – 7:15 PM EST, June 11, 2013, you can download the following Teachers pay Teachers product for FREE– MORE Economics Vocabulary & Activities NO PREP!

Are you seeing this too late to take advantage of the free deal?  Make sure you hear about the next one.  Just like/follow Lessons4Now blog, FaceBook page, or TpT Store to receive updates about future giveaways!

Economics Vocabulary & Skill Worksheets~ Fun, easy, and ready-to-use activities to compliment any 3-5 economics program. Vocabulary practice and change-of-routine activities. 10 worksheets w/ full-page answer keys. Print and go!

Economics Vocabulary & Skill Worksheets~ Fun, easy, and ready-to-use activities to compliment any 3-5 economics program. Vocabulary practice and change-of-routine activities. 10 worksheets w/ full-page answer keys. Print and go!

Packet includes:
— Economics Vocabulary Handout w/ 25 Terms & Definitions (1)
— Vocabulary Practice Worksheets (3)
— Needs/Wants Worksheets (2)
— Economics Skill Practice Activity (2)
— Cupcake Sales Line Graph Activity (1)
— Brownie Cutting Simulation Activity (1)
— Brownie Pricing Worksheet (1)
— Full-Page Answer Keys for every activity

Kid-friendly activities include:
— matching
— fill-in-the-blank
— multiple choice
— math word problems (two-step calculation)
— short essay response
— creative problem solving

These printables support 3rd, 4th, and 4th grade Common Core Curriculum.

CLICK HERE TO GO TO FREE DOWNLOAD!  Hurry, before the Flash Freebie expires!

FLASH FREEBIE! First of four thru June 2013!

THIS OFFER IS NOW CLOSED. THANK YOU FOR YOUR INTEREST!


Flash Freebie with Green BorderFLASH FREEBIE! Between now and 5:30 PM, today, June 6, 2013, this popular product is yours for FREE!

Missed it?  Keep watching for three more FLASH FREEBIES through the month of June!

Scrambled Paragraphs 4-in-1 BUNDLE Activity Packets~ Four of my most popular products for 20% off the total price. Students use a structured template, as well as transition and inference clues to practice creating logical, organized paragraphs. This bundle contains the following four Scrambled Paragraphs products in a single, compressed file: Introduction, Basic, Intermediate, and Challenging. Fun way for students to learn how to logically organize their writing!

Scrambled Paragraphs 4-in-1 BUNDLE Activity Packets~ Four of my most popular products for FREE!  Students use a structured template, as well as transition and inference clues to practice creating logical, organized paragraphs. This bundle contains the following four Scrambled Paragraphs products in a single, compressed file: Introduction, Basic, Intermediate, and Challenging. Fun way for students to learn how to logically organize their writing!

3 Fun Summer Projects

Kids restless?  Need a great idea– RIGHT NOW?  Here are three fun and easy activities that everyone will enjoy!

Popsicle Bookmarks~  Print, color, cut out, “take a bite,” glue to a craft stick, and you’re done.  Great reminder to keep reading during the summer!

Popsicle Bookmarks~ Print, color, cut out, “take a bite,” glue to a craft stick, and you’re done. Great reminder to keep reading during the summer!

This idea came from crafty blogger, Lisa Storms.  Want more bookmark ideas?  Check out this bookmark-themed Pinterest board.

Warm Weather “Snow Globe”~  Flowers, glitter, plastic  gems or butterflies make this project beautiful and fun!  Recycle creamer containers or any plastic bottle, add electrical tape grass and sky with a few paper clouds, and your kids have their own indoor garden.

Warm Weather “Snow Globe”~ Use flowers, glitter, and plastic gems or butterflies to create this fun, beautiful project!  Recycle creamer containers or any plastic bottle, add electrical tape grass and sky with a few paper clouds, and your kids have their own indoor garden!

Use all the treasures the kids collect at the beach, hiking, or in their own back yard!  This smart idea came from My Little 3… and Me.  Too rainy to get outdoors?  Grab some eggs, oranges, or potatoes and try out some fun, indoor, science experiments.  Find these, and a bunch of other great ideas at Science Kids!

NO DYE Tie Dye T-Shirts~  Kids use Sharpie markers to create their own colorful designs.  Stretch sections of a 100% cotton t-shirt over the tops of sturdy paper cups.  Secure with  rubber bands.  Color.  Add a bit of rubbing alcohol and let design dry.  Remove bands.   Wash separately on  hot and dry.  Children will enjoy wearing their  custom creations all summer long!

NO DYE Tie-Dye T-Shirts~ Kids use Sharpie markers to create their own colorful designs. Stretch sections of a 100% cotton t-shirt over the tops of sturdy paper cups. Secure with rubber bands. Color. Add a bit of rubbing alcohol and let design dry. Remove bands. Wash separately on hot and dry. Children will enjoy wearing their custom creations all summer long!

Love tie-dye, but don’t like all the mess and preparation?  This idea is great for you, and for the kids.  Using a few items you probably already have around the house, you can make these shirts in about an hour.  Get more details from Sun Scholars.  Learn more about the science behind the process and get a lot more great ideas at Steve Spangler Science.

Need more great ideas?  Check out these Pinterest boards, Teaching & Having Fun w/ Kids and Cures for Bored Kids.  For even more FREE activity ideas head to Lessons4Now FREE and Lessons4Now facebook page.

No-Prep Activity Ideas

Whether it’s the end of the year or just another Tuesday, all teachers have days when they need a little time to record grades from the last lesson, gather materials, or talk privately to a student.  Here are a few ways to keep students engaged.

jpg_103005-office-suppliesTo alleviate students’ fears about “getting things right,” tell them they’re only required to participate, work cooperatively, and complete the task without teacher support or intervention.

Even though the work is not graded, collecting papers at the end of an activity encourages appropriate behavior and participation.  The “reward” for students is interactive time with peers, a break from structured right/wrong responses, and/or a chance to share with the group at the end of the activity.

1.  Free Write:  Put three words on the board and have students write a story starter that logically includes all the words, or any form of the words.  Remind students not to worry about spelling or handwriting during this creative time.  Before starting the next lesson, allow one or two volunteers to read their story starters.jpg_hldn041  Collect all papers and keep for possible later use.

►Sample word combinations:toy-magic-snow/shark-treasure-hiccups/invisible-kitten-surprise/boy-recipe-boom.

2.  Brain Energizer:  Students silently walk X number of laps around the desks.  Have children enter the line by row and start walking in the same direction.  Define the “rules of the road.”  EX:  No speeding, no passing.  The line leader keeps track of the laps as they pass a certain “landmark.”  As they go past the landmark the final time, students file back into their rows and follow the written directions on the board.

►When they get good at this, you can add marching, walking in the other direction, or having a leader introduce a different arm motion at the beginning of each lap.

3.  Cooperative Puzzles:  Quickly assign pairs or small groups.  Give students X mjpg_0627IDEAinutes to identify as many ways as possible to solve a problem.  Ask one or two students to share the solutions they came up with at the end.  Collect any papers.

►Sample puzzles: list of ten items for a camping trip/three ways to raise $50 for a charity/create a new classroom seating chart/plan a menu for a week of healthy school lunches/use only hands to form all the vowels/make up at least 12 math problems that have 7 as the answer/create a rhyme that could help teach the importance of one of the classroom rules.

4.  Eye Spy:  Set the timer.  Students will have X number of minutes to silently list all the things they can see that begin with a specific letter of the alphabet.  They must remain seated.  Spelling and handwriting don’t count.  You can quickly glance at lists and reward 2-3 students for their work.

►If you have more time, students can read items from their lists aloud.  Students cross off each item they hear someone else say.  Have the winning student collect all papers.jpg_Education-037-color

5.  The Classic:  Students read silently.  They may choose a book from their desks to read for pleasure, or the teacher can assign a specific reading selection.

►Students can be given a task such as locating six examples of figurative language, identifying 12 words with the long a sound, finding twelve, three-syllable nouns, or whatever.  Require students to write out their answers and provide the appropriate page numbers.

6.  Art Activity:  Turn on some classical music and let students express themselves with drawing.

►Sample ideas: draw a machine with 10+ parts that turns on a light switch/draw a desert (or other) animal in its natural habitat/make an advertisement to sell your favorite book.

FREE Online Resource for Mandalas~ This site offers diverse and interesting mandalas for coloring. Download mandalas from 6 themes (animals, countries, dragons, etc.) and three levels (beginner, advanced, and expert). Designs may be printed in black and white for students to color, or they can be colored online and then printed out. Great for connecting activities to a wide variety of topics!

BONUS IDEA~  Color intricate mandalas with diverse and interesting patterns like this one from Australia.  Downloads include 6 themes (animals, countries, dragons, etc.) and three levels (beginner, advanced, and expert). Designs may be printed in black and white for students to color, or they can be colored online and then printed out.  Great for connecting activities to a wide variety of topics!

Check out another great mandala website, as well as many other great FREE resources on this site and Pinterest!

Banish Bullying

We implement a well-known bullying prevention program at our school.  There’s also a plan in place for dealing with all kinds of inappropriate behavior.  Citizenship awards are given out each month.  And, there are even special lunch programs to encourage children to be inclusive.

Even so, this year reports of bullying are on the rise.  More and more students are being verbally “teased” or physically picked on.  Others complain about “drama,” a word children often use when they feel shut out or excluded by someone they once considered a friend.

Whatever name students give these behaviors, it all boils down to the same thing– someone is repeatedly being made to feel inferior or unsafe due to the actions of someone else.

Bully PicAfter searching for ideas that might help bring home the importance of being kind to one another, I stumbled on two blog posts.  The first article, “My Class’s Antibullying Campaign,” was at the blog Nerdy, Nerdy, Nerdy!  The author of that blog cited yet another post by Eric Johnson, “Erasing Meanness.”  Check it out at ‘Your Kids’ Teacher.

I carefully read both articles and then decided to give Mr. Johnson’s program a try.  The plan requires about 20 minutes a day, four days in a row.  It’s free, requires no special skills, and can be implemented in most any classroom that has online access to show videos.  Interested?  Start with the two blog posts listed above.

Here’s how the plan was used in our classroom.

Day 1 

DSCF4733Remove everything from the board, clean it really well, and then use big letters to write “mean” in the middle of the board.

Show the video “Anti-Bullying PSA: The Price of Silence.”

Ask students:

1)  What was the video about?
2)  What was  ___ (character) thinking?
3)  Why did  ___ (character) act the way s/he did in the video?

***

My students identified several roles in the video:  bully, victim, passive onlooker, and active onlooker.  They recognized that fear, powerlessness, ignorance, and a need for acceptance, as well as many other emotions, might have been in play.

Day 2

DSCF4736Before school starts, fill the board with synonyms for mean, hate, and bullying.  As Mr. Johnson suggests, I used only “black and blue” markers.  Some words were repeated.  I also enlisted the help of several K-3 teachers to speed things along.  The alphabetized list of words below will help you get started.

Picture listShow the video “Stand Up, Stand Out: No Checking, No Capping, No Bullying.”

Some speakers in this video have a slight Southern accent and/or use slang that may be unfamiliar to students.  This is a good opportunity to remind students about cultural differences and emphasize the lessons to be learned when listeners keep an open mind about the speaker(s).

Ask students:

1)  How do you feel about teasing others and being teased?
2)  Is “teasing” joking and kidding around, or is it bullying?
3)  Why do people “check” or tease others?

***

Day 3

DSCF4747

Before school write “How do you want to be remembered?” on the board.  First, I “drew” the words using the edge of an eraser.  Then, I wrote in the letters using a thick, red line.  Empty areas were filled in with extra words.

Show and discuss the videos: “Being a Friend” and “Stop Bullying PSA.”

I love the third suggested video, “Don’t Laugh at Me” by Mark Wills.  Due to community standards where I teach, I reluctantly decided against using it at my grade level.

Ask students:

1)  Besides standing up to a bully, what else can you do– if you’re being bullied or if you want to help a victim?
2)  How can you make others feel wanted and important?
3)  Do you think it makes a difference when someone walks up to a victim after they’ve been bullied?  Why?

***

Encourage students to think about how they would want to be remembered by their peers if they suddenly had to move to another school.

Day 4

The teacher doesn’t need to make any changes to the board, today.

Show the video “Perfect” by Ahmir.

This video captured my students attention more than any of the others shown earlier in the week.  That said, it’s important to preview all materials used in the classroom to ensure that they are appropriate for your grade level and community.  This video mentions “drinking a nice cold beer.”  It’s the only such reference, and the performers are of drinking age.

Ask students:

1)  What happened in the video?
2)  Do you think this could really happen?
3)  Why do you think this particular song was used in the video?

***

Tell the students that the idea for these lessons originally came from an online article with the title, “Erasing Meanness.”   Ask them, “What do you think the author meant when he selected that title?”

Announce that today they can literally erase meanness by replacing unkind words with happier words of their own.  Allow students to use brightly colored markers to replace the words they choose to erase.

Meanness eraseWhen students comment that there are still lots of “black and blue” words, ask them, “What would happen if another group of students were also able to erase words?”  This should help them understand that  they can’t “erase” all meanness and bullying by themselves, but their efforts can make a BIG difference.

Show one final video, “Antibullying- You are Perfect.”  This video was made by students and can also be found on the blog, Nerdy, Nerdy, Nerdy! mentioned at the beginning of this post.

The situations in this final video resonated with my students and left them feeling empowered.  It was a great way to wrap up this week-long experience!

Final Thoughts

My grade-level teaching partner and I both taught these lessons on the same days.  At week’s end, two children who argue so much that they can’t even be in the same homeroom,  began playing together at recess.  Several “hands-on” students started doing a better job maintaining their own personal space.  The entire class behaved in a more thoughtful manner and there was an increase in daily acts of kindness.

Did it last?  For awhile.  I believe that some parts of some lessons stuck with some children– permanently.  There’s no test for mastery of this “skill.”  Teaching children how to erase meanness is an ongoing process that requires consistent modeling and reinforcement.

If you try this plan, when you’re done I hope you’ll do what I did… pass it on!

Additional anti-bullying resource links:

http://www.greatschools.org/parenting/bullying/7265-best-viral-antibullying-videos.gs
http://www.stopbullying.gov/
http://www.bostonpublicschools.org/antibullying
http://www.cnn.com/2010/US/studentnews/09/30/antibullying.resource/index.html
http://www.ellentv.com/2010/10/06/resources-to-help-stop-bullying/

***

Click here for a FREE download of the lesson and resources described above.

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The Power of Prepositions!

Prepositions are underrated.  Even adverbs, one of the most enigmatic parts of speech, gets more attention than prepositions.

What difference does it make?

Consider this.  Emerging writers often fail to use complete sentences.  Students who can identify prepositions and prepositional phrases are better able to identify the subject and verb of a sentence.  Once this skill is mastered, students’ writing is clearer and more complete.

To understand how to find subjects, students first need to learn about nouns and pronouns.  Once students have a handle on nouns and pronouns, teachers might want to consider moving on to prepositions.  Here’s why.  Many sentences have prepositional phrases.  The nouns and pronouns that end these propositional phrases are called objects of the preposition.  Students often incorrectly mistake the nouns and pronouns in these prepositional phrases as the subject of the sentence.

I love prepositions

Phrases like these can seem like sentences.  Along the slippery trail.  Stuck between two pages.  When the bus arrived.

Even when students seem to have mastered the ability to identify subjects and verbs, sentences with several nouns or pronouns can be confusing.  Check out this sentence:

Down the hill, past the grove of orange trees, Linda turned onto the shady, dirt road by the new school.

Students who have learned to identify prepositions and objects of the preposition are able to eliminate all the prepositional phrases in sentences, even one this long.  Let’s try it.  If we eliminate all the prepositional phrases– down the hill, past the grove, of orange trees, onto the shady, dirt road, and by the new school– that only leaves two words:  Linda and turned.

Down the hill, past the grove of orange trees, Linda turned onto the shady, dirt road by the new school.

Given two words to choose from, most students will be able to identify the noun (Linda) as the subject, and the remaining word (turned) as the verb.

Eliminating large chunks of wording from sentences makes it much easier for students to pick the correct noun or nouns that are acting as the subject, as well as the verb or verbs that make up the complete verb phrase.

SubjectVerbAgreementGraphicMy

After searching for materials that use this approach to teaching grammar and writing,  I discovered there was little to be had.  Below are the resources I’ve discovered, as well as those I’ve created for my own use.

There are many free worksheets at Super Teacher Worksheets.  However, it’s important to review all handouts carefully to avoid sentences that include infinitives such as to be, to go, or to see, that might confuse students just beginning to learn this skill.

There are several free preposition videos available through WatchKnowLearn.   Since most are geared toward a wide age range, you may need to check out two or three before finding one best suited to a specific grade.  Here’s a link to a short preposition SMART Board lesson on SMART Exchange.  And, this link at CafeTechno has some definitions and examples that might help clarify lesson content.

Here’s an 88-slide PowerPoint that introduces prepositions and prepositional phrases, as well as showing how to eliminate them to identify the subject and verb of a sentence.  For a limited time, purchase this product and receive a FREE copy of the companion product, Identifying Subjects & Verbs; Easy Mastery Using Prepositions & Prep. Phrases .

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This engaging PowerPoint is designed to teach students to easily identify the subject and verb of a sentence. The entertaining lesson contains animations, cartoon characters, and humorous dialogue. Students learn about a “trick” for identifying subjects and verbs. The key to the “trick” is learning how to eliminate prepositional phrases from the sentence. Any student with a basic understanding of nouns and verbs will enjoy success with this approach.

Check it out!

This resource contains 43 reproducible pages (plus answer keys) designed to teach students to easily identify the subject and verb of any sentence.  Using these materials students will learn to: identify up to 48 common prepositions, locate and cross out all prepositional phrases in a sentence, and scan the remaining words to identify the subject and verb.

Identifying Subjects & Verbs~ These handouts, printables, and assessments help students eliminate prepositional phrases to easily identify the subject and verb. Includes preposition handouts, step-by-step introduction, practice worksheets, and quick, easy-to-grade assessments.

Identifying Subjects & Verbs~ These handouts, printables, and assessments help students eliminate prepositional phrases to easily identify the subject and verb. Includes preposition handouts, step-by-step introduction, practice worksheets, and quick, easy-to-grade assessments.

Check it out!

If you know of any other free or low-cost resources that use prepositions and prepositional phrases to identify subjects and verbs of sentences, please leave a comment and share!

Zero Budget Resources for Building Your Classroom Library

Few teachers can afford to purchase books for their classroom libraries.  Over the years I’ve found several ways to overcome this issue.  jpg_1681-African-American-Girl-With-Books-In-Their-Hands

1.  At the beginning of the year, create a birthday book club to encourage parents to donate a copy of their child’s favorite book.  Allow the child to inscribe the year and their name on the inside cover.  Before placing the book on the shelf, encourage the student to share what they most like about the book.  Most students love the attention and it will perpetuate more donations.

2.  If your school has book fairs, create a wish list and get it out there before the sale.  Not sure what titles to request?  Ask your librarian for help or check out this list of the Top 100 Children’s Books of All-Time.  Write short thank you notes for each donated book.

3.  Allow students to order books through tried-and-true book clubs such as Scholastic.  Those free points really add up, especially if you wait and use them during slow months when publishers offer special discounts.  After saving points for two years, I once scored 90 free books!jpg_package700

4.  A few organizations will actually send you free books just for asking.  Free class sets of Ayn Rand books are available through  a special program at Ayn Rand Education.  For teachers working with students from low-income families, check out the free book program at First Book

5.  If you have some money to spend, try Half Price Books, or a similar discount, new/used bookstore in your area.  Your dollars will go further and you’ll probably have fun browsing.  One store in Texas offers teachers free books, so it might be worth a phone call to see if there’s a similar program in your area.  Check here to find a store near you.

6.  If you’re in a building where students sometimes bring teachers holiday gifts, do book talks on titles you’ve gotten from students in years prior.  Gently mention that these were among the best holiday gifts any teacher could ever get.jpg_2037-Laptop-Cartoon-Character-Displays-Pile-Of-Books

7.  Are your students reading ebooks?  There are several free resources for a wide range of titles. Search “free books for teachers” to get started, or check out eBooks@adelaide and Amazon.com for an idea of what’s out there.

8.  Check with the librarians at both your school and public libraries.  Ask that they contact you before getting rid of any books.  Each year I comb through the books that have been purged from the library shelves and take any titles that fit my students’ reading levels.  Sometimes the covers are a little out-of-date, but I put a colorful label on the spine and that seems to be enough to attract students’ attention.jpg_FREE01

9.  If you recently started teaching a different grade, you might want to try trading your books for different ones.  Check out Paperback Swap to learn more about this free program.

10.  Finally, put a notice in your school’s newsletter asking for any books that children have “outgrown.”  Those students you had two years ago may be ready to let go of books that are perfect for your current students. One generous parent donated over 10 books that were perfect for my students. If you can establish this “green” approach to “recycling” children’s books, you may not need to do anything else!

Have any other free or low-cost ideas?  Please leave a post and share your favorite!

Check out this low-cost teaching unit for one of my favorite books, Little House in the Big Woods!

Little House in the Big Woods Novel Unit