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The Jelly Donut Difference

The Jelly Donut Difference: Sharing Kindness with the World

How do you share kindness in your classroom? Do you read books? Participate in service learning projects? Whatever it may be: thank you.

Sharing kindness in the classroom is one of my favorite things to do. In fourth and fifth grade, we are constantly talking about being kind to one another, while sharing this in our community, too. When I heard about my favorite author's new book, I knew I needed to share this with my students.

Maria Dismondy's books share simple messages of kindness. Not only do these books share kindness, but they are written in a way that students can relate to. In The Jelly Donut Difference, siblings, Leah and Dexter, do not get along. However, they learn how to get along and share kindness and it all
begins with a donut.

Cursive Club

Happy New Year!

I am beyond excited to share with you my newest product: Cursive Club! 

If you watched my Facebook Live video (Click HERE to view) the other day, I mentioned how I teach Cursive Club as an after school program. We don't have a particular handwriting curriculum, so this is a way for students who want to learn cursive to have that instruction. It's a 10 week program for about an hour and a half after school. When I learned that I would teaching it, I knew I had to design my own curriculum for how I would want to see it implemented. 

What will you get? 

140 pages of cursive instruction that includes practice pages, word practice, sentence practice, and my ultimate favorite: GAMES! I've supplied a ton of different options to incorporate games into this unit. Check out my kids in action with them!


Now find the theme and central idea, find the theme, theme, and central idea (find it)!

Oh, sorry. I was just singing our song for theme...

Click on the image to head to this product

Teaching theme? Need some fun, engaging ways to incorporate music into your lessons? I've got you covered!

I always start this unit with reviewing what theme is and how you find it. Then, we delve into how there are a variety of details that you could identify to help you determine the theme. Here is a sample of a few:

In the pack that I've created, I've given you a recording page that can be used with any text. The students will read the text or story and identify these details. From these details, they will then determine the theme. After they try this a few times, then I let them try it with songs. I have never seen students so engaged!! 

First, model the whole process with a song you choose. I have found that this helps set the expectations and clarify any misconceptions. Then, use your data from pre-assessments to determine groups. When I completed this activity, I chose six songs and divided the students into six groups based off of their needs. Then, they worked on this together and turned in for a grade. (a rubric is included) 

Gingerbread Man Thematic Unit

When I taught primary grades (1st, 2nd, and 3rd), I could hardly wait for the holidays because of this gingerbread man unit. Not only did I love these books and activities, but my students could hardly wait to see what was next.

Why I love this unit is simple: it teaches reading skills through an engaging, exciting way.

What do you need to do to set up this unit?

Head to your local library and check out all the books. Who knew that there were so many versions of the Gingerbread Man stories? My personal favorite is, "Stop that Pickle!"

After you grab all the books, just print and go! I have made this new unit to fit the needs of primary classrooms. In the example below, you can see that I have accommodated the activities by having documents that have dotted lines for writing or similar pages that have smaller spaces and regular lines. This allows the teacher to choose which page fits the needs of their learners.

A variety of reading skills are covered in this thematic unit: story elements, cause and effect, problem and solution, comparing and contrasting, and much more! These stories are so exciting, that I know the students will love these review pages!

The fun will continue with a family project: disguise a gingerbread man!

In class, the students will create trading cards or spin to make sentences:

Need some color by sight words or odd and even numbers? I've got you covered there, too! These coloring pages will be a great way for students to practice a skill in a fun way.

Get your students moving with this unit! I've included ten cards for them to find and write the room. The students can also practice counting from 1-20 by writing the room and counting these fun images related to the stories.

Still curious about this thematic unit? Check out this freebie! It includes 6 pages that review adjectives. (Click here)

Thank you all for your continued support! I am wishing you a very happy holiday season!

Teaching Writing

Happy Fall! Happy New School Year!

I am three weeks into yet another school year, and yet another new role. This year, I've moved to teaching both fourth and fifth grade reading, writing, and language arts. I have been thrilled to focus on these core subjects, but along with that, comes a lot of organization and new planning!

If you follow me on Instagram, I've been posting a lot about what I'm doing with writing. It all started this summer when I read this book:

The book is organized in such a clear, simplistic way. It walks the reader through 46 moves that help young writers elaborate. In the back, it is organized in a way to help you see which moves fit with the write traits and even different genres. When I read this part, I knew I needed to start choosing different lessons to fit with my grade levels. I quickly made a plan... (stay tuned for that part)

In addition to a plan, I quickly developed a way to organize our notebooks. I decided to create tabs and heading for the writing notebook. This has been my best decision ever! It has set clear expectations for the students, while keeping them very organized. (click here to get them for free)

After creating these tabs, I developed a plan on how I would launch writing. I created a 22 day plan for teaching the write traits to both my fourth and fifth graders, by choosing lessons that fit with each. I knew I wanted to incorporate pictures books into these lessons, too, so started looking for books that fit. (the students LOVE having picture books incorporated)

My writing lessons follow this format:

1. Introduce the enduring standard at the top of the page. (Active writers...)
2. Show an example of how the move is used in writing. (these are given in the book)
3. Describe when and how the students would use the move, and discuss how it fits with the trait.
4. Complete a mini practice together as a group and share. (usually includes a picture book)
5. The students practice the skill on their own.
6. End with a Kagan structure to share out.

I keep things very consistent in my classroom, so this format works well for us. Check out some of the work we have done thus far in the notebook!

Showing the students under the document camera how to set up their page. 

Such a cute book for modeling how to catch vocabulary! 

This book was by far my favorite for how to develop ideas and care for them!

A student independently reading, while also catching new vocabulary to use in their own writing! 

For each lesson, I create slides to teach the skill. 

An example of a student taking quality notes. We spend a lot of time talking about what this should look like. 

Love this book! "If You Want to Bring an Alligator to School, Don't!" to teach the idea lessons, "Stating the Obvious" and "But, Why?" (Both lessons are in the book)

More quality notes! 

Ending with a Kagan Structure to share out our writing.