Sunday, January 25, 2015

Snowball Antonyms

After Hurricane Sandy roared up the coast causing a path of unthinkable destruction in our area, and a short time later, a Nor'Easter blizzard blasted us with Arctic winds and dumped nine inches of snow on us, I decided to create an activity packet called "Snowball Antonyms". 

This is a hands on activity, and what's really cool is your students don't have to wear mittens or gloves to do it! All that's needed are scissors, glue sticks, the activity sheets and dictionaries. 

Download this free activity to help increase your students' 
vocabulary so they will become better readers and writers! 
Have wintry fun!


photo of Snowball Antonyms, Free PDF, Teacher Park

Spelling Activities for Any List of Words

When we were first told that we would no longer be using spelling books with our students, I thought our principal was kidding... I almost laughed out loud. Good thing I didn't. because he was serious.. We were all stunned then almost fell off our chairs when he announced the following.

As of today, you will create your spelling lists as a team and add content words from your science, social studies and math classes.

We weren't happy but that could be another post that I may do later.

Teachers are having to create their own spelling lists these days. In the past, we had spelling books that reinforced word "families" and often had vowel and consonant sounds, the "ei, ie" rules and much more.

In my opinion, those spelling books were as an important as cherries on a NY style cheesecake. :)

They reinforced spelling patterns, sounds, blends and even definitions. Each unit spiraled to the next and all had review pages of the earlier taught units.

I decided that if we weren't allowed to use those lovely little spelling books, I would create activities to accompany spelling lists I assigned to my students.

My packet has 24 different worksheets that can be used with any spelling list and yes, my activities reinforce much needed spelling rules, vowels sounds, etc. 

Take a few minutes to ask your students what a long and short "A" sounds like. Or better yet, ask them what a soft and hard "g" sound like. EVEN better ask them to tell you what a digraph is or to name a three letter 
consonant blend! 

Ask them to explain the spelling rule "when two vowels go walking, the first one does the talking". I had a student tell me that it's like when his mom and dad go for a walk... His mother never stops talking. I could barely keep a straight face.

I can almost guess that many of your students' responses will be puzzled looks, almost like you're speaking a foreign language...

We need to bring back those important little spelling books!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Thank A Million Teachers!

Happy New Year Everyone! 

A New Year's day tradition in our family is to always watch the Rose Parade. Colorful floats, marching high school bands, veterans, prancing horses, cheering crowds! It's two hours of nice relaxing, quality family time, which is rare these days because of schedules being so different.
What's next???

As the Farmers' Insurance float came around the bend, I noticed a sign that said, "Thank A Million Teachers".  The camera panned all around the float, then zoomed in on a man and woman sitting next to each other. It was actor Jack Black and his middle school drama teacher!! 

When the parade was over, I just had to do a Google search for the float and Jack Black who has always been one of my favorite actors. 

I was elated when I pulled up the following site! Farmers Insurance gave away 1 million dollars in grants to teachers in 2014 ! 

Watch the inspiring video of Jack Black and his former middle school drama teacher, Debbie Devine, by clicking on the image. Information is also given about the 2014 winners and a place where YOU can thank a teacher ! 

How often I've thought about teachers who made a real difference in my life. One, in particular, was John White, my high school English teacher, who reviewed parts of speech, grammar and writing techniques, using lyrics of popular songs and rock bands. He was one of the most memorable teachers I ever had. His soft spoken manner and fairness was a model of how I would interact with my students when I became a teacher. Dear Mr. White, thank you for making my dream come true !

And how could I ever forget my high school biology teacher, Joe Natale, who was a second year teacher at that time. His enthusiasm and great sense of humor inspired me to become a teacher, but not specifically a biology teacher. I opted for a certification that would allow me to teach all subject areas. So Dear Mr. Natale, even though I didn't get a degree in biology, you also inspired me to follow my dream !

Please share this!

Sunday, December 7, 2014

North Pole Prepositions

North Pole Prepositions

I decided to add this post again because I've had such a great response to this packet of activities. :)

Ever notice that some students use prepositions incorrectly. 
I see it in students' written work and hear it during class conversations.

These activities ask students to guess the correct prepositions that complete the sentences. They have four prepositions to choose from. Only one "fits" in each sentence.

When they're finished they draw pictures of the sentences to illustrate them. 

These activities make a cute book!

Have your students design a North Pole Prepositions cover, staple the pages together and send them home before the winter break!

photo of North Pole Prepositions, prepositions, ELA winter activities, Ruth S.


Monday, December 1, 2014

An Early December TeachersPayTeachers SALE!!

An early December sale! 

Need resources for after the holidays? 

Everything in my store is discounted! 

This is a site wide sale! TeachersPayTeachers wants you to have the best resources at very low prices. 

December 1st and December 2nd!
Be sure to use promo code TPTCYBER when you check out, to receive even more discounts! 

photo of A December Sale 2014,, teaching resources

I just modified my Nonfiction Bingo packet! If you've already purchased it, you may download it  again free of charge. The packet is now 45 pages, 20 are student Bingo cards. Also included is a student nonfiction text feature guide with terms and definitions. 

photo of NonFiction Text Features, nonfiction, text features, Ruth S.

Happy Holidays to All!!! 


Monday, November 17, 2014

North Pole Prepositions

Hi! I've been soooooooo bogged down lately, I haven't been blogging! I'm baaaaack! 

Here is some preposition "food for thought".

So many times I hear students say, "I'm waiting on line".  I ask them if they're standing on a line drawn in the road. They give me puzzled looks. You know those looks, right? 

Then, there's always someone who raises his or her hand and says, "That's how my mother says it..." I smile and nod. Uh huh. 

Guess what? When I'm in New York City I often hear "I'm waiting ON line... 

Another expression I hear very often is, "I'm babysitting my sister." UH?  Where's the preposition FOR? "I'm babysitting FOR my sister".  

But wait. Is the word "for" actually needed in that sentence? What about "I'm painting my fence." Does the word "for" work in that sentence?

Not to get off the subject of prepositions, but another expression that drives me crazy is "I'm going to grow a business". Grow a business?  I would say,"I'm going to create a business". When I think of the word "grow' I think of planting my vegetable seeds so they'll grow during the summer.  Don't mind me, I'm just having one of those grammar days. :)

Think about it, Are prepositions used differently in different  regions of the United States? Are the different uses, correct or not?  Again, food for thought. :)

I've had many great comments about my North Pole Prepositions since I CREATED the packet. (Notice I didn't say "... since I GREW my North Pole Prepositions packet :) 

Kids have to guess which prepositions fit correctly in the sentences and then draw pictures of them. I love their illustrations! 

photo of North Pole Prepositions, grammar, ELA, teacherspayteachers,com

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Punch or Stamp Cards for Classroom Management

No matter what time of year it is, teachers are always thinking about school! 

Classroom management and behavior are two top teacher issues.  

My FREE punch cards packet is a positive reward system that works! Over the years I've been teaching, I've tried many different classroom management systems and this one is great! I love positive reward systems. so I highly recommend this one. 

Just keep in mind that if you begin a reward system or any other type of behavior/classroom management system, it has to be done consistently.  If you don't follow through, your students will know. In my opinion, that's why some teachers have difficulty with behavior management techniques. Follow through is extremely important if the system is going to work.

Oh! If you don't want to punch the cards, each time a student reaches a milestone, you can stamp them with your special teacher stamp or you can use decorative punches that can be purchased in craft stores! 

Try the cards with a student who doesn't do homework or who has a hard time managing his or her time or materials and you'll definitely see positive changes.  The packet has all the instructions needed.  These cards have been used with 5th, and 6th grade students. 

I did, however, have a 7th grade teacher friend of mine,  who just couldn't reach a couple of her students. One, a very bright girl, was totally disorganized and the other student never completed his homework when it was due. She asked if she could try my punch cards. I told her the illustrations would be too "young" for her students. Well, it worked!  The students were a bit immature and needed a special pat on the back and TLC. That and the cards were a perfect fit. 

Click on the card to see more.. :) 


photo of Punch or Stamp Cards, classroom management, Ruth S., grades 1 - 6