Thursday, December 29, 2011

Attention Middle and Secondary Teachers!

Secondary Solutions is having a ROCKIN' New Year Blog Party!  The invitation is for grades 5 - 12. Check out these blogs for creative lessons, teaching ideas. free items and more! And the best part! You can add your blog too!

Our Dachshunds

I couldn't resist posting a picture of our dachshunds,  Jeffrey and Frederick. The boys are brothers and standard size. Dachshunds although loving and adorable, are fierce hunters and were originally used to hunt badgers in Germany that were three times their size. I knew the breed well because I grew up with Gretchen, a dachshund, who lived to be 19 years old. If you can't find a dachshund, look under fleece blankets or down rabbit holes. They love being warm and are hunters at heart :)

Frederick and Jeffrey - Soccer Stars :)

Jeffrey wondering if it's dinner time LOL
Jeffrey with our niece, Sarah. Look at that long dog! 

Touch down! Jeffrey scores!!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Book Review of Hoot on Teacher2Teacher

The days and weeks fly by so quickly! How could I have forgotten to post my book review of Hoot that I wrote for Teacher2Teacher? Take a look :)

Book Review of Hoot on Teacher2Teacher,book review, Hoot, ruth s

All About Teacher2Teacher

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Martin Luther King, Jr. "I HAVE A DREAM"

One of the most recognized speeches in history, is Martin Luther King, Jr.'s speech "I Have A Dream".

My 11 page packet has a fill in the blank activity for King's "I Have a Dream" speech. A word bank is provided for students.

There are vocabulary cut out cards, a formatted letter that students use to write to someone about their dreams. 

Many websites are provided. One website is of King’s speech (audio and video). MANY teacher ideas are provided that I’ve used in the classroom and that have been very successful. Answers are provided. This can be used with younger and older students.
Click on the picture to learn more. 



Educators are constantly striving to improve their students' reading comprehension by implementing various reading strategies. Making connections is a strategy that is used with struggling readers 
as well as higher level readers. 

Text to Self - Struggling readers have an easier time making personal life connections, or text to self connections, than other connections. Talking about what's happened to a character in a book and asking students if they've ever experienced anything like it is a good way for them to make these connections.

More advanced readers are usually able to make text to self connections, but often need to expand their connections by "thinking out of the box" in higher level modes. For example, if a connection is made about something that a character did in the story, the higher level reader should be able to explain WHY the character might have done it.  For example, when Maniac Magee decided to teach Grayson, the elderly ex-baseball player to read, higher level students should explain why they think Maniac did that. 

Text to Text refers to connections between a text that students are reading and connecting it to to another text they've read. As students read a novel, remind them of other novels they've read and to think  what's alike and different in both. For example, a theme of friendship could run throughout both books. It's important that the students support their connections by stating examples from the books.

Text to world are connections that can made between a text and something that is happening or has happened around the world. These connections are often made with nonfiction text, but can also be made using historical fiction books, biographies or true life adventure stories. 

Teachers should model making text connections as they read texts aloud to students.  For example, a connection could be made between a Civil War story and one about the Revolutionary War, comparing battle strategies, the outcomes of the battles or the accomplishments of two military generals.

I created ready to print connection worksheets for my students. These sheets are generic and can be used with any text, nonfiction or fiction. Click below for more information. These can be used with grades 4 and up. 

connections, text to text, text to self, text to world, comprehension, worksheets, social studies, science, writing, ruth s

Monday, December 19, 2011

The Best of TeachersPayTeachers - Featured Free Product

My free homework passes are featured on The Best of TeachersPayTeachers!!
Give these passes to your students for helping others, making good choices, turning homework in on time, doing something special for someone and watch their eyes light up!

Many thanks to Vicky Leon for selecting my fun, yet meaningful homework passes to be a featured freebie!

Take a stroll over to The Best of TeachersPayTeachers!
You'll find FREE products, contests, featured articles and more!

Click on one of the passes and download them for free!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Number Critters

I've taught both elementary and middle school students, all subjects. Many of my posts have been for middle school, however, I decided to share some elementary lessons with you.  Little ones will love these cards that are based on the numbers 1 - 10. They have to connect animals with dots and numbers, then do addition and subtraction problems.  There are also traceable numbers and number words. Laminate the cards and use them year to year as flashcards or for concentration games. They're great for math word walls.

photo of Number Critters 1-10, Prek, K, math, student worksheets,


Kids love TALL tales! They marvel at characters with super human abilities and will have fun completing these 13 pages that help them understand the elements of tall tales. These pages can be used with any tall tales. Click on the title page to see more.

tall tales super heroes Ruth S. english language arts reading novels

Monday, December 12, 2011

Writing Rocks!

There are two colorful posters in this FREE download. 
Display them at Writing Centers and around your classroom to remind the kids about the important elements of writing! 

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Langston Hughes "DREAMS"

 I'm sooooo excited!! 
I've been working on this packet for a couple of weeks and it's finally finished!! 
As of January, 2015, there is now a brand new version of my Langston Hughes "Dreams" FREE packet with a new look and more activities.

Perfect for Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday and Black History Month!! 
Download this free Langston Hughes packet of worksheets about his poem "Dreams" 
Also included are inspiring biographies on websites about people who followed their dreams to reach their goals
Design a dream Tee shirt FUN! 
Write a dream poem
Activities for small and large groups
If you've already downloaded my packet, please download this latest version! 

photo of Langston Hughes "Dreams", PDF, Free, poetry, Ruth S.

My Favorite Book

Colorful classrooms rock! 
Teachers, Librarians, Parents! 
Create a colorful display of your kids' favorite books! 

Saturday, December 10, 2011


I feel so honored to be given this award by Carolyn, Ann Marie and Heidi! You have been a great inspiration and spread sunshine to all :)

To accept this award I'm answering the following questions.

What is your favorite color?  Blue/gray
What is your favorite animal? Dogs and cats. We have two dachshunds, 
Frederick and Jeffrey who are brothers. Sometimes I think they're smarter than I am LOL Cats are up there with dogs too.
What's your favorite number? 25 which is how old I was when I got married 
Facebook or Twitter?   Facebook
Your passion? Family first and foremost. Music. I'm a trained classical pianist and compose my own music. Writing.  I'm a published author.  Arts and crafts.
Giving or Getting presents? Giving definitely!
Favorite Day?  Thanksgiving and Christmas Day when our family is together. 

I'm passing this award to Amy at "Science Stuff" 
and to Sarah at "Teaching Tweens"

Author's Purpose Poster

Display this AUTHORS PURPOSE POSTER in your classroom and it's bound to attract attention!

Designed as an antique appearing poster, it's best to print this poster on heavier stock paper, then either laminate or frame it for display. Click on the poster for ordering information.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Education Quotation Posters and Activities

Inspire your students to think about education and learning by displaying these 23 posters that are  8 1/2 inches by 11 inches. I display two or three per month.  Print them on antique looking paper and frame them. I bought three frames and rotate the posters throughout the year. 

Included is a mini research project with student worksheets that can be done later in the school year. Students explore the Web in order to find biographical information about the people who wrote the quotations. Quotes are by: Benjamin Franklin, Socrates, Nelson Mandela, Abigail Adams, John Dewey, A.A. Milne, John Milton, Rosa Parks, Eric Fromm, Joseph Campbell, George Santayana, Allan Bloom, Marvin Minsky, Vernon Howard, Abraham Lincoln, Willa Cather, Lloyd Alexander, Will Rogers and more.
Click below to see how to obtain the packet.

I Love

I love being part of the TeachersPayTeachers family of educators. We offer incredible lessons and give many of them away. Due to the decline of the economy in the U.S and around the world, Boards of Education aren't giving teachers the funds to buy what they need, therefore many are buying supplies, novels, reproducibles and more out of their own pockets. 

We TpT teachers are dedicated educators who want to preserve excellence in education. Many of us are experienced teachers who have valuable tried and true lessons that work in the classroom. Many of us are also award winning educators who love to share our knowledge with others!

I offer novel packets that include ready to print and use student worksheets.  Since I have elementary and middle school experience, I also offer science, social studies and other lessons and packets. Click on the TpT banner to see my store. 


Vocabulary Detective Coupons

Use the vocabulary detective coupons as your students read class novels. When they spot a new word they're unfamiliar with, they write them down on the coupons. During the week, they have to jot down the definitions, parts of speech and write sentences for each of the words on their coupons.   

At the end of the week, they put them in the "Word Detective Jar". Pull out two or three from the jar. Ask a student whose coupon was selected to state the definition, what part of speech it is and to use it in a sentence. Give gift or awards to those who know all of the information. Pencils, stickers, erasers, paperback books etc.  Click on the coupons to get a free copy. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011


Winter is a time to have fun! 
These FREE winter word activities will bring a smile to your kids' faces as they cut out word tiles and move them around to form winter words. Even putting winter words in ABC order is fun when it involves cutting and pasting. Other suggestions using the words include: Writing a short skit, rap,  a poem and designing a diorama.  

photo of Winter Word Fun PDF, winter

FREE! Holiday E-Book

Still looking for some fun holiday projects to do with your students before the holidays?  This Holiday E-Book with incredible, creative holiday tips and projects is for all ages.  There are 50 teachers who contributed to this E-book! Look for my jigsaw puzzle and holiday postcards, with matching gift cards. 

Sunday, November 27, 2011



This is an excellent, step-by-step program! New and experienced bloggers will benefit from these well organized PDF visuals. 

All PDFs, step by step:
Add a gadget for grab my button code 
Adjust widths in Blogger layout
Comparison of posting in OLD Blogger to New Blogger 
How to add a Blogroll to feature other Blogs 
(add RSS feeds so they automatically appear)
How to add share buttons to each Blogger Post 
Edit a post
How to add a header to Blogger
How to link back to your site when commenting on blogs
How to add a link in a TpT product description 
How to add a picture to a Blogger post 
How to make a graphic or picture a link
How to get a Twitter account 
How to have a Linky party 
How to link any picture or graphic in Blogger 
How to make a Sqworl 
How to press screen button and make a picture of screen 
HTML for a link back to your site
Networked Blogs tech help

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Teaching Blog Traffic School Video Course

Charity Preston's 30 training videos are going to be on sale Sunday - Tues!! 

On Monday there will be an extra 10% off!

Purchase these videos and you'll be able to understand the "how to's" of blogging, networking and more. 

See the list of videos that she offers at this site

Friday, November 25, 2011




Use the promo code CMS28 and receive an extra 10% off ALL products that are on sale. All of my products are currently marked down 20% which means you take another 10% off. 

Have you been searching for something to enhance your curriculum
 but just haven't found it?

Do you find yourself spending hours and hours on the Web trying to find a GOOD lesson plan, a complete novel packet,  project or assessment?

Have you found that your school district isn't giving teachers money they need to buy classroom and curricula items and they're having to pay out of pocket for them?

Check out TeachersPayTeachers that has something for everyone Pre-K - College. All subjects. 

The best part is that even without this super sale, everything is very reasonably priced!

Visit my store

These are some of my best sellers!

These cards are being used by teachers everywhere! There are sixty activities, five per card that can be used with any novel. The cards can be laminated and used year to year, in small, large groups, with guided reading groups, literature circles and at literacy centers. Some include art activities, writing letters, sequel, adding new characters to novels, changing the setting, determining the author's purpose and more.
For grades 4 and up. Some teachers have used these with students in grades 3 -  8

Have a frog in your throat?  Has the cat got your tongue? Are you in a pickle? The kids will have fun learning these idioms. A written activity requires the kids decide which sentences illustrate the idioms. Create a bulletin board with pictures students draw of the literal meanings of them. Have them work in small groups, to write stories using idioms with dialogue. Great for ESL students!

Based on Bloom's Taxonomy Your students will have fun as they work together to write, draw, cut out and glue the edges of the circles together when they are finished creating their reports. Included in this 17 page packet are: templates in color and black and white, teacher and student instructions, templates in two different sizes, and more. When the balls are completed, they are colorful, interesting projects to hang around the classroom.

Just imagine Cinderella's glass slipper is a sneaker and she arrives to the ball in a limo! Students rewrite traditional fairy tales as modern ones, (Fairy Tale Makeovers) write an interview with a fairy tale character, and retell one from another character's point of view. Another worksheet centers around the protagonist, antagonist.

These self explanatory student worksheets can be completed independently, in pairs, in guided reading groups or literature circles. Worksheets include: plot, setting, characters, connections, essays, reflections, thought provoking questions, response to text, and themes, differentiated activities that include student contests for writing raps, poetry and more. There are vocabulary words and questions for each chapter Great survival websites for kids are also included.

Sequencing is often difficult for kids. This packet has various sequence activities that help you assess your students' ability to put things in order.

These 20 self explanatory student worksheets include: setting, characters, plot, reflections, predictions, thought provoking questions, connections, note keeping page, themes, rising, falling action, climax, author's purpose, character comparisons of the novel and comparisons of characters with characters in other novels. Great for small or large groups, literature circles or guided reading groups.

Fourteen student worksheets include graphic organizers, interactions with other characters, emotional connections, influences by environmental and social factors, change of viewpoint, essays, comparison of characters,strengths and weaknesses interpreting quotations and themes, a journal page for recording important events and personal reactions, rising, falling action, climax and more. Use as class or homework assignments or as assessments.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

260 Journal Prompts

I'm so excited to let everyone know that this packet of free journal prompts has been modified. I've added MANY more prompts! 

Ever pass out a writing prompt and hear a student say "I don't like that topic!" or "I don't like to write!" or "I'm not going to write!"??? I remember feeling the same way in school because I sometimes couldn't relate to the topic; it just didn't interest me. 

You talk with those students, plead, beg and practically stand on your head to get them to write at least one or two sentences. Sound familiar? 

When I was in school, the "back to school" prompt was always..... ready? I'm sure you know what it is.. 

WrIte an essay on what you did over the summer vacation. 

Should I really write about the time I told my mother I was bored one hot summer day. She told me to go fry and egg. And I did! On the driveway! The white of the lovely fried egg left a permanent mark on our driveway. Needless to say, my father wasn't particularly happy about it. It was a new driveway! Uh oh

At the time, I doubted it would go over big with my teacher, so I wrote about going to Girl Scout camp. Whoop dee doo. She probably had to read 20 essays about Girl Scout camp. 

Over the years I've collected many prompts and I asked the kids what types of prompts they'd like. 

 These prompt really get the pencils moving! They're also good for lively discussion topics! 
Best part is, they're free :)

photo of 260 Journal Prompts, Free, PDF, journal prompts, writing, Ruth S.

Thanksgiving Thoughts


Today is Thanksgiving but it seems more like Christmas with the blustery, bone-chilling winds we're having. I was out on the deck with our two dachshunds, Frederick and Jeffrey, when suddenly there was a loud crack and part of a tree fell near our stream out back. This brought back recent memories of the trees snapping during the wild unusual storm that left hundreds of thousands without power for a week or more. At that moment I was thankful that we didn't lose power for even an hour. Many thanks to our tiny electric company! 

I think back to the earliest colonists along the shores of New England and can't imagine how they survived. No electricity, no cell phones, no paved roads, nothing. Many of them in our area survived their first winter living in abandoned Native American huts and accepting food from them. And the people who lost power during the last storm were outraged because they lost power for days or a week? Hmmm.. They would have never survived the first winter. I think we take a lot for granted these days.. Our freedom, our comfortable lives... 

There's so much that I'm thankful for but if I even began sharing it with you, it would end up being a 200 page novel! So therefore, I'm sending you the warmest of Thanksgiving Wishes.

I hope you and your family have a wonderful day! 


Frederick(forefront) and Jeffrey in last year's record snowfalls!

Our Soccer Stars

This was taken just as the sun was setting after a week of snowfall. The blue snow! It reminds me of the moon. Six O'Clock Evening NEWS reports that two Dachshunds made history as they're the first dogs to explore the moon. I sent it in to a local station and they posted it!


Winter is a time to have fun! These winter word activities will bring a smile to your kids' faces as they cut out word tiles and move them around to form winter words. Connecting parts of words that have been divided into syllables and even putting winter words in ABC order is fun when it involves cutting, pasting and working in small groups. Other suggestions of how to use the words are: writing a short winter skit, writing a winter rap, a winter poem and designing a winter diorama scene! 


Thursday, November 17, 2011


I've always loved introducing my students to autumn poetry during our colorful autumn in New England. One of my favorites is Bliss Carmen's "Vagabond Song". Carmen, a Canadian, captures the true essence of autumn in his hauntingly beautiful poem. The music in this YouTube video is a perfect fit for  it. Take a minute to immerse yourself in the glory of autumn.

A Vagabond Song
by Bliss Carmen

There is something in the autumn that is native to my blood —
Touch of manner, hint of mood;
And my heart is like a rhyme,
With the yellow and the purple and the crimson keeping time.

The scarlet of the maples can shake me like a cry
Of bugles going by.
And my lonely spirit thrills
To see the frosty asters like a smoke upon the hills.

There is something in October sets the gypsy blood astir;
We must rise and follow her,
When from every hill of flame
She calls and calls each vagabond by name. 

Another Favorite Autumn Poem!

Download this FREE PDF file of yet another poignant autumn poem, Clay Harrison's poem "Autumn is Nature's Masterpiece". There are two handouts for students and a teacher's answer key. It includes literary elements and grammar skills.
Stanzas are in fall colors for projecting on an interactive board.
Practice identifying elements of literature and polish those grammar skills!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011




Use the promo code CMS28 and receive an extra 10% off ALL products.

Have you been searching for something to enhance your curriculum
 but just haven't found it?

Do you find yourself spending hours and hours on the Web trying to find a GOOD lesson plan, novel packet,  project or assessment?

Have you found that your school district isn't giving the teachers money they need to buy classroom and curricula items and they're having to pay out of pocket for them?

Check out TeachersPayTeachers that has something for everyone Pre-K - College. All subjects. The best part is that even without this super sale, everything is very reasonably priced!

Visit my store

Monday, November 14, 2011

Holiday Postcards, Gift Tags and Special Notes

This fun packet of holiday postcards, with matching gift tags and special notes are perfect for a classroom holiday activity. Black and white templates of all three are included. Special notes can be used as anonymous notes of kindness written by your kids to their friends. Make sure they don't sign them! Display in your room for everyone to see!

christmas holiday Ruth S.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


Pinterest is a unique place. Create your own board with favorites you find on the Pinterest site. Name your boards according to categories. Find incredible websites!
Check out my Pinterest boards to see what it's all about!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

I don't have enough desks in my room. HELP!
This new adorable student asked me what we're having for lunch. I told him a mixed green salad and he smiled. 
 He offered to help me reach the top shelves of my closet!
Seriously.. We all need a bit of levity from time to time. 
Click on this wonderful photo and you'll be transported to 
National Geographics Jigsaw Puzzle Maker! 
Warning: This is addicting but well worth doing once a day!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A Warm Welcome to Connie Casserly!

Hi Everyone! Please extend a warm welcome to another TeachersPayTeachers colleague! Connie is a high school English teacher who offers middle and high school products on She's also the author of A Fine Line, a young adult novel, that addresses the issue of teen dating abuse. Visit her blog "TeachItWrite"

You can visit Connie's TeachersPayTeacher's Store at
Also, check out her Teach It Write Facebook Page 

Friday, November 4, 2011

Eric Carle

One of my favorite children's authors and illustrators is Eric Carle. His incredible colorful art work is charming. THE VERY HUNGRY CATERPILLAR is the one that I vividly remember. For a number of years I had my fifth grade kids do author reports. Each child selected an author and read two or three books written by that author. They had to compare and contrast illustrations and the stories and write a report. Their culminating activity was to write a letter to the author to describe the best features of the books.

Eric Carle always wrote a personal letter to the all of my students and would include an illustration for them. Parents told me that they framed them because they were so precious. 

This fascinating video is about Eric Carle's newest book, The Artist Who Painted a Blue Horse. He describes what inspired him to write it and demonstrates how he creates his artwork. Take a few minutes to sit back, relax and enjoy this delightful author as he also explains how children relate to art.

The Eric Carle 40,000 square foot Museum is in Amherst, Massachusetts. Watching this video was magical. Eric has not only his own art work on display but he also has a collection of out of print picture books in a picture book library for kids and adults. Free art lessons are given and you'll see kids working with tissue paper to create their own colorful animals. As seen below, there's a theater where picture books are acted out in skits. This is truly a museum to see!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Paper Cutting by Beatrice Coron

I've always been fascinated by paper cutting. My first recollection of paper cutting was when I cut paper Valentines in elementary school. Needless to say, I cut the heart in half by mistake. I was broken hearted (no pun intended!) Since then, I've found paper cut art work in boutiques and little shops around the area and had a special one from China given to me as a gift by a para who worked in my class and knew my love of art. It's so delicate that it felt like cotton in my hand. 

This is a TED video featuring Beatrice Coron, who creates intricate worlds, cities and countries, heavens and more. Striding onstage in a glorious cape cut from Tyvek, she describes her creative process and the way her stories develop from snips and slices. This video is fascinating as she describes her artistic process and how she weaves stories of history, science and more into her artwork. 

Thanksgiving Word Art Poster


Download this FREE poster and display it in your classroom. 

Make copies for your students and have them use the words on the poster 
to write Thanksgiving stories and poems. 

Create a Thanksgiving Word Wall using the words on the poster.
More ideas included!

Have fun!

photo of thanksgiving word art poster, free,  PDF,, Ruth S.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011


What an amazing experience to be able to view all different camera angles of this great statue. I love the view of NYC harbor both during the day and at night. In the lower left hand corner, you'll see little controls that enable you to zoom in or out and change to a panoramic view! TOTALLY AWESOME!!

Lady Liberty is 125 years old! Her birthday was celebrated by bringing the great lady into the high tech era. There are webcams on her torch that let viewers gaze out at New York Harbor and read the tablet in her hands or see visitors on the grounds of the island below in real time.

The five cameras, that are installed on her torch, are on 24 hours, seven days a week,  and were donated to the National Park Service by EarthCam, a New Jersey company that manages webcams around the world.
Friday's ceremony was marked by a water flotilla, actress Sigourney Weaver reading Lazarus' poem and a naturalization ceremony for 125 candidates for citizenship representing more than 40 countries. The live Earth Cam is on now! Watch from across the harbor or from her cams! Huge military ships and tankers! Cruise ships! The NYC traffic in the harbor is amazing both day and night!