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

Saturday, August 2, 2014


I'm really excited to announce 
the TeachersPayTeachers 
 Back to School Sale! 
Be sure to use the PROMO CODE 
when you check out to get a larger discount!

Have a great year!


Check out my FREEEEEEEEE 260 Journal Prompts
that will get your reluctant writers' pencils flying across their papers as they respond to my "kid friendly" prompts. 
They're great as discussion starters too. 
Grades 4 and up but third grade teachers tell me they're using them too!
Be sure to read teachers' comments 
below the description about this special resource!
As of today there have been 61,377 downloads! WOW! 

photo of 260 Journal Prompts, Free, ELA, writing, Ruth S.

Check back in a few days. I've been adding more to my popular 
Novel Response Task Cards. If you already have that packet, you'll be able to download the update, free of charge. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

What's Happening to Young Readers These Days?

Summer is here and I can't wait to check the books out of the library that I put on my "Summer Reading List" all year long. No, I didn't say download a book. I love going to the library any time of year, but summers are my favorite times. As I walked through the door the other day, I was struck by the fact that there were very few children there. 

Why were there so few children at the library? Unlike the years I was growing up, children's libraries today burst with color. Floor to ceiling stuffed giraffes. Over-stuffed comfy chairs. Art work everywhere. Displays of books everywhere...So where are the children?

What's happening to many of our young readers these days?

I can remember getting lost in books. How many times would I be so absorbed in a great book that I wouldn't hear my mother tell us it was time for dinner. I'd be riding the Black Stallion across the sand dunes of Arabia or clicking my heels with Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz.  

Those hazy, crazy days of summer and we kids read as many books as we could. Our local library ran book contests. Whoever read the most books, won. Won what? I don't remember! What was important to me was challenging myself to read as many books as I could. 

I'd go to the library with my friends and we'd scoop armfuls of books off the shelves, balancing them with our chins and swaying one way or the other, when the pile was off kilter. Sitting around the square wooden tables, we'd chitter chatter about each one. When I got my very first library card I thought i had died and had gone to heaven. I laminated it with clear contact paper and put it on the top of my dresser so it would always be in sight. 

Because we lived so close to the beach, but not close enough to walk, mothers planned times they'd drive us down for the day. We'd stuff our beach bags with radios (there were no iPads in those days!), sunscreen, food and binoculars. Huge ships often passed by in the distance and we tried to see the names on the ships or try to see their flags so we could figure out what country owned them.

On the top of our beach bag stuffing list were books. Which one would be the best to take to the beach? A mystery? a fiction book about horses? Nonfiction (not likely), science fiction? (maybe) A boy meets girl innocent type of story? In those days, there were no racy tweenie books, no books filled with extremely descriptive situations. They were innocent, "leave it to your imagination" types of stories that we girls giggled about.

Words were mesmerizing. Each time I came across a word I didn't know, I'd pull the huge Webster's Dictionary off my book shelf and look it up. 

Look it up??? That's the expression Mrs. Granger always shouted in the book Frindle! Love that book! 

She was so right. If you don't know what a word means.. well then... LOOK IT UP!!! Yes, we teachers encourage using context clues to figure out meanings of words, however, the dictionary provides us with invaluable information. The origin, parts of speech, one or several definitions, examples of the words in sentences and more. 

Doing a dictionary Google search isn't like handling those big old dictionaries. I vividly recall the smell of the pages.  The weight, the thinness of the paper. I was mortified, one day, when I turned a page too quickly and it ripped. I'll never forget it. Never. I was about seven and I asked my mother if I could write an apology to Mr. Webster.  She said she was sure he'd understand. 

So, what's happening to our young readers these days? Texting their friends, instead of reading. Playing video games on the computer, instead of reading. Asking parents the definitions of words instead of looking it up in good old Mr. Webster's Dictionary. Pulling up websites with summaries of books instead of reading books word by word, page by page. 

One day I had three students ask me to suggest a good book from my class library. They turned up their noses when I pulled one particular book off the shelf. Why? Because the cover was so worn and tired, you could barely read the title. I told them that I'd read the book because have a worn cover means it's been read time and time again, so people must love the story.

"Why else would the cover be so worn and tired looking," I asked them.

One looked at me and asked "REALLY? Okay, how many people read this book?" 
"Oh, at least a million people," I replied.
"No way"
"Yes, way"

Before I could state another "rather untrue, exaggerated" fact, they were discussing who would read the book first. I slipped away quietly as I heard one say "I'll read it first and then give it to you. You can give it to .....

I made one small step that day... And will continue working my magic so all young people will value "REAL" books they can hold in their hands... 


P.S  I highly recommend reading "The Book Thief" this summer.  Sarah's Key is another, I highly recommend. 

Did you add these titles on your Summer Book List? :)

Have a great summer, everyone!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

TeachersPayTeachers Super Sale May 6, 7 2014












Participating Stores:

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Juggling ELA

The SuperHERO Teacher

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Teaching High School Math


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Miss Math Dork

James Whitaker

For the Love of Teaching Math

The Classroom Sparrow

Teaching Math by Hart

2 Peas and a Dog

Addie Williams h

21st Century Math Projects

Michele Luck’s Social Studies

Margaret Whisnant

Created by Mr. Hughes

Making it as a Middle School Teacher

Tracee Orman

Science Stuff

Teaching FSL

Krystal Mills

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Wednesday, February 26, 2014

TeachersPayTeachers 3 Million Teachers Strong Sale!

Can it be true?
Another great TeachersPayTeachers sale? 

Thursday, February 27th and February 28th! 
Mark your calendars for this fantastic sale
Please note the promo code on the sign.
Use it when you check out, to get more off
each resource you purchase! 

photo of TeachersPayTeachers Sale!, February 27 and 28th,

Everything in my store will be on sale

Monday, February 3, 2014

Valentine Coupon Booklet

This is a Valentine's Day project I do with my students every year. 

It's a way to give Valentine's Day gifts without spending a dime!
Each coupon has a task like 
clearing the table after dinner, feeding the dog, helping a neighbor and many more. 
There are 24 coupons in the packet. 
Punch a hole in the corners and
 put them on a special Valentine's Day key ring. 
Free download! 
Happy Valentine's Day!


photo of Valentine's Day Coupon Booklet, free, pdf, Valentine's Day,, Ruth S.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014



How many times have you heard friends and family members say they're going to make New Year's resolutions, but never follow through? Many times it's something they've talked about, like losing weight or other personal goals, but honestly, it's not always easy to stick to what we vow to do.

For many years, I've had my students write their resolutions, a typical lesson they've done in previous years, so I decided to change my approach and make it a little more challenging and interesting.

I thought about the year 2013, with all that's happened. Has there ever been a year of more distressing news with natural disasters, world events, war, famine, politicking? 

Those thoughts, then, became the basis of my new New Year's Day Resolution lesson. Keep in mind I'm a 
Socratic type of teacher. Raising questions to challenge my students has always been one of my main methods of teaching.  

I started off by asking my students if they've ever set goals for themselves. 

I asked ... "Are goals basically the same thing as resolutions?" 

I hear some "hmmm's", one fiddled with his shoelace, and others stared at me, quizzically.

One of my deep thinkers speaks up... "Mrs. S, isn't a resolution the same thing as a revolution?" 

I explain that a revolution is when you rise up against something you're determined to resolve, change or fix, like a problem. A revolution can be positive or negative. 

I then ask if they all think a resolution, is a revolution. 

I see some nodding their heads, others tapping their pencils on their desks and one who's passing a note to a friend. 

I whisper..... "I sure hope that note is about your New Year's resolution, which is not to pass notes in class during a lesson, Joe." 

He slides down in his chair so quickly, I think he's sinking in a swirling pool of quicksand. His friend, sitting next to him, begins to giggle, then covers his mouth when I slowly turn my gaze to him and wink. 

Dan sheepishly raises his hand. "Doesn't a revolution cause a resolution, something like cause and effect?" He lowers his hand slowly. 

I'm speechless. This boy is connecting all the dots and it's wonderful, incredible, AWESOME (as the kids would say)!! 

I praise him for his answer, have everyone applaud and then continue.

I point to the goal poster on the wall and ask volunteers to describe some of their goals and whether they've attained them. The majority of them admit they never follow through. 

I ask ... "Why is it difficult to reach your goals? Is it you or something else that causes you not to reach them?"

I ask for a volunteer to describe a goal and if it was achieved. 

Beth raises her hand and describes her goal. She wants to read for an hour at home, but she describes the many distractions like younger siblings running around the house, usual home distractions like television, texting and other things, that keep her from reading for an hour.

A couple of students eagerly chimed in. They offered suggestions about how she could make her life more manageable and lessen the number of distractions. They told her they had the same thing happening at home and how they "fixed" it.

I always love these types of brainstorming sessions. Kids reaching out to help their peers, offering many great alternatives and solutions! 

After a few minutes, they concluded that if Beth found just fifteen minutes of quiet time when she could read, it would be a great accomplishment.

I ask... "Did Beth reach her goal? Her goal was to read for an hour a night. Everyone just said that reading for fifteen minutes was really good. But did she actually reach her goal?" 

Robert raises his hand slowly, so slowly, I figure his response might not be 'on the mark'. 

"It's the effort that counts," he whispers. 

 What?  Did he REALLY say THAT?

I ask him to repeat his statement in a BIGGER voice.

I then call for applause from everyone. 

I ask... "Okay, effort is needed to achieve a goal. What's another word that means great effort to follow through to complete or attain a goal?"

After a few minutes of mulling it over, Rosie, leaps out of her seat and blurts out, "I know. I know what the word is ! It's determination. It's on the goal poster." She points to it. The room is so still you can hear a pin drop. I ask both Robert and Rosie to come to the front of the room and take a bow.  Everyone applauds again. :)

Next, I explain their assignment will be to write resolutions for themselves, the school, the town, the country and the world. They looked at me as if I was an alien from Planet X. 

Joey raises his hand and says, "I'm not sure how to write a resolution for our school, the town, country or world. They're not people." 

Love this kid! 

I told them to think of the school as if it was a person. 

I ask .. "What are some problems our school would like to fix or improve if it was a person?" 

Hands shot up! It was one of those "gotcha" moments.. :) I let them take the ball and run with it and as they discussed their ideas, I wrote them all over the board. 

I  stop the conversation for a minute and say, "Well it's really obvious I have a class of problem solvers and geniuses."
They look up and grin! I grin back!

It's amazing how the quiet kids, who usually never contribute to class discussions, are actually voicing their opinions and coming up with excellent ideas. I'm mesmerized as I listen ...

I ask ... "What kind of goal might you write for our town?" Again, ideas covered the board as they brainstormed. 

Fill the pot holes in the roads, build a skateboard park, provide more lighting at the town baseball field. The list went on and on and on.. I pictured them as adults at town meetings, voicing their opinions and collaborating to fix problems around town. 

The very same thing happened when I mentioned the country and world. It absolutely amazes me how fifth graders can solve problems so smoothly and logically, by brainstorming, drawing conclusions, and compromising. I tell them they should all run for office and work with others to solve our country's problems. 

They grin! I grin! We all grin!

I began handing out the New Year's Day worksheets and tell them, they're problem solvers who have collaborated,  brainstormed and brought all their ideas together in a thoughtful, peaceful and brilliant way. 

They grin. I grin. In fact, I grinned the rest of the day and night. Life is good when you have a grinning day!

Here is the packet I created for New Year's resolutions. Enjoy!

photo of New Year's Resolutions Mine My Town/City My Country the World, New Years, ELA, Writing Ruth S.