Daily Archives: March 3, 2016

St. Patrick’s Day: Motivating students to reading for meaning ~ with humor!

St P humor post

Nothing grabs my students’ attention more than something that is downright silly.

They know I tend to make the odd ‘mistake’ when we’re reading together, and that reading just HAS to make sense. Whenever I sense someone’s attention (or foot, or elbow) beginning to drift, I’ll throw in the odd error, for example:

Oh No!

Recently, we have completed the Pirate Pals Read and Write and More booklet together, and it occurred to me, again, that when kids anticipate fun and laughter, they are more willing to invest their energy and focus up front.

Pirate Pals kids joking about space monkey - CopyA 2nd grade student tries to get a  peer to choose ‘Saturn’ instead of the correct answer for the setting question… Pirate Pals Reading Comp photo…then they laugh at the thought of pirates bringing a space monkey on a treasure hunt!

St. Patrick’s Day is upon us. I read the story of St. Patrick to my grade one class years ago, and remember the pre-reading discussion well. A small group of my students believed that St. Patrick was a leprechaun, and others found the idea to be hilarious. The child who had expressed this idea was embarrassed and it had a significant impact on his confidence in sharing in groups, and taking risks in his learning, for some time.

This, of course, took us off-track into a conversation about teasing, laughing at vs. laughing with others.

I’m planning to give the students I see the advantage of knowing the true story of St. Patrick early, so they can be armed to laugh with their classmates!

The St. Patrick’s Day pages below and the Pirate Pals pages above are only two of the elements of the Read and Write and More Series.

St. P's Day Reading Comp JPEG updated

St. P's Day questions JPEG updated

Isn’t laughter the way of the Irish, after all?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!

2015 TpT Store Prof pic circle


Th1 Th1 St P Day Freebie main product cover

More R & W & M Read Rec Sound boxes

LANGUAGE ARTS – “Scooping Words With Two Closed Syllables”


Amanda Trump

Scooping a word is the same as dividing the word into syllables.

Syllables can be divided by saying them orally or by using a pencil and paper. If we orally divide a word into syllables, we usually clap the word out. For example, if we orally divided the syllables of polish, we would clap out ‘pol’ and ‘ish,’ and that would be two claps. If we divided the syllables on paper, we would place a slash between the ‘l’ and ‘i’ in the word ‘pol/ish.’

So rather that placing a slash, there is another way to show the number of syllables in a word, and that is to scoop the syllables. This is how that would look: p o l i s h. This way not dividing the word with a slash avoids the look of a misplaced letter in the word, and it also avoids the idea of students thinking the word has only one syllable since there is just one slash. With the idea of scooping with the finger or with a pencil, students can feel and see the scoops which in turn matches the number of syllables. 

This packet contains 64 task cards that allow students to practice scooping words with two closed syllables.

Simply print and cut along the guidelines. One idea is to print on card stock or on colored paper. Laminate and use them again and again and keep them in a baggie. Another option is to hole-punch a corner of each card and put them all on a ring.





FREE WORKSHEET: Subordinating Conjunctions Cheat Sheet for Dependent Clauses!

I teach a writing lab for the community college I work with, and right now we are working on recognizing Independent and Dependent Clauses. (Yep! College students sometimes have to go waaaaaay back to the basics in order to find sentence fragments within their Composition Essays!)


I like to give my students a visual when thinking about parts of sentences. So the first thing I told them is that I have a one-year-old who is about to start walking. Right now, she is holding on to our hands (or walls, or cabinets, or the dog) to help support her walking. Then I ask them, “Is she an independent walker?” Of course the answer is no. “Why?” Their responses were:

“She can’t stand on her own.”

“She relies on other people or things.”

DING! DING! DING! In order to walk, she is DEPENDENT on other people or things. An INDEPENDENT walker is someone who can stand on his or her own.

I then tell them the same goes for Independent or Dependent clauses! “An Independent Clause is a sentence that can totally stand on its own without any help from other clauses. A Dependent Clause relies on other clauses, or complete sentences, to make sense.”

After reviewing types of each, I gave them a Common Subordinating Conjunctions Cheat Sheet to use in order to find fragments (it also includes the five relative pronouns, but I didn’t go too into detail with those–only so much the brain can handle in an hour!). Then I let them know the secret that if their sentence is starting off with one of the words listed on the cheat sheet and does not express a complete thought, it’s probably a fragment.

I hope this cheat sheet helps your students make sense of Independent and Dependent clauses a little bit better!

original-2396375-1 (2)






FREE MATH LESSON – “Number Tiles: FREE Problem Solving Activities for the Primary Grades”

by Scipi – Math and Science

Kindergarten – 3rd Grade


number tiles problem solving


This FREE Number Tiles resource is a ten page booklet containing six different math problem solving activities for the primary grades. The activities extend from simple counting, to greater than or less than to solving addition and subtraction problems. Since the students do not write on the pages, they can be copied and laminated so they can be used from year to year. Students solve the Number Tile Math Activities by arranging ten number tiles.

The number tiles can be made from construction paper, cardboard, or square colored tiles. (How to make the number tiles is included in the handout.) Each activity is on a single page, and varies in difficulty. Since the students have the freedom to move the tiles around, they are more engaged and more willing to try multiple methods to find the solution.

These activities are suitable for the visual and/or kinesthetic learner.

If your students enjoy these free activities, you might like the full 23 page version:

Number Tiles – Hands On Math Activities for the Primary Grades








Join The Best of Teacher Entrepreneurs Marketing Cooperative at
and get THOUSANDS OF PAGE VIEWS for your TpT products!

Go to http://www.pinterest.com/TheBestofTPT/ for even more free products!