Jan 31, 2015

Being a Seller on TPT {TPT Start Up Tips}

Recently, I  hit a TPT sales milestone. I feel so fortunate and blessed to have come as far as I have with my Teachers Pay Teachers adventure! I started all of this in October of 2012. I was very apprehensive at first and not sure that anyone would want some of the items I was making for my own classroom, but with some persuasion from a few of my friends and my husband, I finally decided to post a few things. Joining the TPT world was the best decision that I have made for myself and more importantly, for my family! My friend Abbie from Tales From the First Grade and I have gone through this journey together. We started at the same time and we work on many projects together. We understand each other when it comes to creating items for our classrooms, blogging, sharing, and loving what we do!

I have had a lot of people ask me how to get started and for some help. I am meeting a friend for lunch this week to help her get started. I wanted to create a list to give her some tips. I realized that I need to share these tips with everyone to thank you all for helping me get where I am with TPT! Thank you to all of you! As always, if you have any questions, you can leave me messages here on my blog post, follow me on Facebook, or email me:

I hope these tips can be of great help if you have ever considered selling on TPT! You can download the same document shown below in my TPT store. Click here.

Jan 30, 2015

Student Created Anchor Charts: Main Idea and Details

This was a true, authentic group activity that we tried a few weeks ago. Again, I say.... it's authentic. The student created anchor charts are created by second graders that are really doing some amazing thinking and collaborating, even if they don't look Pinterest worthy! :) I think they did a great job for their first try!

In order to practice main idea and detail skills, we used a product from Meet Miss Parker that included differentiated reading passages! 

Students were put into differentiated groups and were told to read the passage and start determining what they thought was the main idea of the passage and then some details to go with that main idea.

Here are the passages, as you can see the same passage is in three different lexile levels.


These are the Differentiated Reading Comprehension Passages for Winter by Meet Miss Parker

Students read the passage first:


Then out came my stash of markers (the ones that kids are allowed to use, haha) and some big newsprint paper.

I gave students a kind of "bones" anchor chart to work with, to let them know what needed to be included. Some of them used creativity to changes up a little, but overall they knew they had to have the main idea and three details.

Work in progress!

Overall, they did a great job and I can't wait to implement more projects like this! My higher level kids really need good "thinking" projects like this!! Loved it!




Jan 29, 2015

Throwback Thursday: Fiction/Non-Fiction Reading

Again today, going back to some of my first blog posts and loving them! I love having a picture record of some of the stuff I did in previous years (and sometimes forget about!) Eek! Did you read my fun fact about my blog yesterday? How I started it?

Here's another oldie, but goodie...or Throwback Thursday, if you will....

One of the first standards of the year that I teach in 2nd grade is distinguishing between fiction and non-fiction (fantasy and reality). We work for a few weeks on different activities including:

  • Sorting a variety of books between fiction and non-fiction
  • Exploring various books to determine what features each genre has
  • Creating a Venn Diagram including the characteristics of each genre
  • Completing an assessment where each student is given a book at random and asked to determine whether it is fiction or non-fiction, then list the reasons for their choice (from the class Venn Diagram)
After students are assessed, I find it important to continue to explore and assess this concept. So, I add an activity to explore the differences between fiction and non-fiction text to a workstation titled "Fiction/Non-Fiction Sort":

In this workstation, I change out the selection of books weekly. (I try to choose a fairly equal amount of fiction and non-fiction books for the station.) I put the selection of 10-12 books in the workstation basket and two "header" cards labeled FICTION and NON-FICTION.

Students are to:
  • Sort all of the books under each header by looking through each book and using it's characteristics at a glance to determine if the book is fiction or non-fiction. Students shouldn't have to actually read the book in its entirety to determine this.
  • Choose one book from each genre (one from fiction, one from non-fiction) that they'd like to investigate further.
  • Complete the form below that includes listing the title of the book, genre, and characteristics that make that book fiction or non-fiction.  (Students are encouraged to use the class-created Venn Diagram that hangs up all year long.)

Additional Resources:
Fiction/Non-Fiction Bookmarks
FCRR Comprehension Expository Text Structure Activities
FCRR Comprehension Fiction and Nonfiction Review and other activities

Bonus! Added January 29, 2015:

Create your own chart like the one above quick and easy! Click on the picture below for a freebie! Please, please leave feedback if you download it! I appreciate all of your support!!

Jan 28, 2015

Workstation Wednesday: Main Idea Station

Well, I decided to RE-post an OLD, OLD blog post.

Fun fact: I first started my blog (under a different name) it was one of my graduate classes. We had to create a blog and post different teaching ideas that had to do with what we were learning and using in our classroom! The original blog was only viewed by my professor and my classmates. It was blocked from everyone else!! Here is one of my first posts and when I was looking at my "stats" the other day, it has the most views! By far!!

So here you go, an oldie...but goodie. :)

From way back in 2010:

As I mentioned in my Compare and Contrast Workstation Entry, I use the passages that are used there the following week in this Main Idea Workstation.  I use a card to cover up the questions that go along with the passage, partially because they have already answered them in the previous week, and partially because they happen to be "compare and contrast" questions, not main idea and detail questions. Students are to reread this "familiar" passage twice to themselves or to a partner, then complete the Main Idea and Details graphic organizer. As you can see below, students have the opportunity to underline and cross out certain things in the passage while they work. Often students underline the parts that they want to include in their graphic organizer (the most important details to support the main idea.) Then, once they record that detail, they cross it off. Students seem to work well with these short, to the point passages. 
Although students need practice with longer passages for standardized tests, I have decided that this is sufficient practice for 2nd graders at this stage, due to them just beginning to learn the concept of "Main Idea and Details." I am pleased with the progress that students are making with this workstation and I have to admit that it's a pretty easy workstation to keep up with week after week. I simply rotate the three passages from my "Compare and Contrast Workstation" to this one. There is no wasted paper and the graphic organizer can easily be checked by my assistant as an accountability piece, then simply erased with a paper towel or tissue by the student.

Additional Resources:
FCRR Narrative Text Structure Activities Scroll through these activities to find not only additional main idea and details resources, but also activities for story elements, story retell, and compare and contrast.


Jan 27, 2015

Squeezing in Literacy Skills

Some of the activities that we have been doing in my classroom! We have an intervention time in the morning where kids are pulled out for extra reading and math help, so the kids that are left in my room need some challenges! I have started having them squeeze in some extra practice of the skills. Prefixes, Suffixes, Main Idea and Details, Synonyms, etc. 

If you are interested in any of these activities for your classroom, most are part of very inexpensive sets that I have posted. (Most are $2 sets that include 3+ stations!)