March 30, 2012

50 Followers Freebies

Since I am new to blogging and TpT, I am trying to garner a fan base.  To do so, I have decided to run two different promotions to get some more followers.  

50 Followers on the Blog
The first promotion will be for the blog.  When I get to 50 followers on this blog, I will use a randomizer to select one person who can choose one of my TpT units for FREE!  In order to participate in this freebie, all you have to do is comment on this post.  If your name is selected, I will request your email address to send the files you have chosen.

50 Followers on TpT
When I get to 50 followers on TpT, I will post a new freebie to my account.  Following me on TpT will also give you first notice of when I post new items to my account.

Spread the word!!

Happy Teaching! :)

March 28, 2012

Getting Ready for the Test

As I mentioned before, my students' state tests are coming up at the end of next month.  In addition to the "Super Words" freebie I posted earlier, I posted "Getting Ready for the Test" on TpT yesterday.  "Getting Ready for the Test" consists of materials you can use with your students to pump them up for the state tests.  One way I pump my students up is with a "Language Arts Olympics" (a very large review game that covers information we have discussed throughout the year).  Students get into small teams and create a team name.  Then, they answer a variety of questions together and write their answers on whiteboards.  There are different categories they can choose from, such as "figurative language," "point of view," "analogies," etc... I created mini posters on which you can put the gold medal team, silver medal, and bronze medal teams' names. 

I also created some motivational materials to use with students.  One of them is a "Test Prep. Kit" to give student that contains a small note with items that will encourage them.  I also made an oath for students to recite in the days or weeks leading up to the test. 

Here's a peek of ALL of the items on TpT:

What are some things you do to motivate and encourage your students before testing?

March 27, 2012

Spring Break!!!

Spring Break is always well deserved and much needed!  Spring Break is an excellent time to relax and decompress from the last couple of months, but it also gives us time to plan out our next units of study.  April is National Poetry Month (for more info., click here).  I have recently posted some new items on TpT (This is some of what I've been doing over break.).  I can tell a lot of people are planning on teaching poetry soon because my poetry unit has been my top selling item so far-yay!...Anyways, I wanted to put some previews on here to share.  

                                           Poetry Unit Bundle $7.00
                                       Not pictured: student handout with definitions and examples

My favorite websites for children's poetry are Giggle Poetry and Kenn Nesbitt's Poetry for Kids.  These website provide many humorous poems kids enjoy. One of my favorite poems to share with students is "Dreams" by Langston Hughes. What websites do you recommend?  What poems do you like to share with your students?

March 21, 2012

Author's Purpose

This week my students have been working on identifying an author's purpose for writing, including to inform, to persuade, to entertain, and to explain.  I recently added the posters, handouts, and extension activities I have created to my TpT shop.  Check out the posters on my bulletin board below.

March 17, 2012

Other Persuasive Resources

Here are some other persuasive resources you can use in your classroom.

This site provides guidance in setting up a piece of persuasive writing.  It covers prewriting, drafting, revising, editing, reviewing, and publishing. Each page provides an explanation of the specific stage of writing being addressed and includes worksheets you can use too!

Alycia Zimmerman's Scholastic "Classroom Solutions" Blog
Ms. Zimmerman has two blog posts about creative ways to include persuasive writing into the classroom.  The first post focuses on students using blogs to make posts "for" and "against" various topics, and the second post focuses on students creating Xtranormal movies to convince people to side with their side of an argument. 

This post provides terrific resources for the following persuasive strategies: claim, big names, logos, pathos, ethos, kairos, and research.  I like the "Persuasion Is All Around You" handout.  

March 16, 2012

Persuasive Techniques

The second part of my persuasive unit focuses on persuasive techniques.  This part of the unit is equally as engaging to students as the first.  I begin my unit on persuasive techniques by using a PowerPoint presentation that covers nine important techniques: glittering generalities, bandwagon, endorsement/testimonial, bait and switch, repetition, scientific approach, transfer, something for nothing, and urgency. Students have a handout that mirrors the PowerPoint slides we are going over, and they fill in the notes as we go. As we go through each slide, students have tons of examples to share from commercials they have seen.  After we discuss the nine techniques, we watch four commercials that I have pre-selected that include the techniques we have studied.  Students jot down which techniques they are able to identify in the commercials on their handouts.  Throughout the week, we constantly review the nine techniques, their definitions, and examples (see posters below).  The next step is for students to apply their knowledge by creating their own persuasive commercials using at least one of the nine techniques.  My TpT package includes the rubric I use to grade the commercials. While grading the commercials, I also take into account the students' self and group evaluations.  Students fill out self and group evaluations that assess the contribution each group member made to their final product.  Finally, the unit concludes with a quiz over the nine persuasive techniques.

Here is a preview of my persuasive techniques unit on TpT.  Unfortunately, I couldn't fit all of the files into the preview page.  

Not pictured: persuasive techniques quiz and the students' self and group evaluations 

March 09, 2012

Persuasive Writing

Students are used to being bombarded with persuasive messages in their everyday lives, and they are also masters of persuasion (especially when it comes to trying to convince their parents to buy them items like an iPod or a Kindle Fire).  The unit I teach on persuasive writing and persuasive techniques seems to be one of the units in which my students are the most passionate.  My students’ passion “for” or “against” the various topics we discuss makes teaching this unit a lot of fun! 

The first part of the unit involves persuasive writing.  Being able to write persuasively is an important skill for students to acquire.  As with all large writing assignments, I begin by modeling the new form of writing with my students.  I make sure to use the same graphic organizer that my students will later be using to write their own essays.  We also look over example essays.  I recommend using articles from Time for Kids (TFK).  In the articles, they give information on the topic being discussed, as well as short student-created essays “for” and “against” the topic.  I laminated the articles I found and used some files I created to make a bulletin board for our unit (see below).  You can find my files here

(Not pictured above are the graphic organizer and rubric that go along with this package)

Some questions I like to pose during our persuasive writing unit include: Should our district adopt school uniforms?  Do you think online schools are as effective as traditional schools? Should our community build a new recreation center or a new library? 

Here is a picture of my students' persuasive essays.  The essays glued on blue paper were "for" school uniforms, and the essays glued on red paper were "against" school uniforms.

What are some of the topics you like to discuss during your persuasive writing unit?

March 08, 2012


Every school year flies by, and this one has been no exception.  My students' state assessments are next month!  To review the common language arts terms students will encounter on their reading assessment, I have created some vibrant "Super Words" posters.  It is important for our students to understand these language arts terms, so they can understand the questions they are being asked to answer.  I hope you can find use for them in your classroom as well! 

"Super Words" Posters

For more resources, please visit my Teacher Pay Teacher (TpT) site. Happy Teaching! :)