“Giftedness is not what you do or how hard you work. It is who you are. You think differently. You experience life intensely. You care about injustice. You seek meaning. You appreciate and strive for the exquisite. You are painfully sensitive. You are extremely complex. You cherish integrity. Your truth-telling has gotten you in trouble. Should 98% of the population find you odd, seek the company of those who love you just the way you are. You are not broken. You do not need to be fixed. You are utterly fascinating. Trust yourself!”

Linda Silverman~Gifted Development Center Denver

Monday, 26 August 2013

Welcome to the world of Great Canadian Bloggers

Welcome to the world of Great Canadian Bloggers

I have made some awesome friends through blogging.  One of them is Jen Bellinger of 31 Gifts of Teaching.  Jen is a wonderful teacher and mother living in Niagara Falls.  She is super talented and willing to support anyone.  

Back a few months ago, you might remember that Jen sponsored a Report Card survival package giveaway on my blog.  You have to love her 31 Gifts bags, I know I do.  

At the end of July (just in time for my birthday on August 1st) I ordered an organizer tote in black and pink and the fold 'n file to go inside.  They look very much like the ones you see above.  They are one of the best things about going back to school, if you ask me.  I am going to look stylish, and be organized.  What could be better?

Well, really, the Inside Out bag is pretty awesome!  I got this one in the spring and I have LOVED it all summer.  It may just look like a bag, but for a teacher who has to have everything organized, and have something stylish that is WASHABLE?  SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!  Love all the pockets and the ease of carrying this bag.  Everything has a place in this bag, and did I mention it's reversible? 

I loved this bag so much that my lovely daughter bought me this one for my birthday!  I'm in love! My daughter has made me promise to give her my bags when I am done.  I don't have the heart to tell her that is not going to happen!

Jen is hosting her very first raffle and online Thirty-one Back to School Party!! If would like to enter to win the giveaway, please complete the rafflecopter below! There will be one $25 gift certificate for the lucky winner! This gift certificate must be used during Jen's back to school party during the first week of September 2013 and it can only be used through the issuing consultant, Jen Bellinger.

The Draw will be held in the a.m. of September 1st! On September 1st, the party begins!!!

The new fall catalogue will be available for you to drool over and to purchase from! If you would like to shop online with Jen during her party, here is the link: www.mythirtyone.ca/jenbellinger . Click on the link and then go to "my parties" and click on Jen's Back to School Party! If you live in Ontario, you can have your items shipped to your home directly. If you live outside of Ontario, please contact Jen personally at jens31canada@gmail.com and she will discuss your options for ordering!! (Thirty-one does not ship outside of Ontario yet! It is coming though!) If you are American, Jen will give you her friend, Michelle's information for ordering. She is an American consultant!

The party will remain open until Friday, September 6th so people can shop when they are recovering from that lovely first week of school! 

Are you interested in hosting a party online? How about a home party in Ontario? How about becoming a consultant? Contact Jen at her e-mail to Get the Party Started!

It is Double Hostess Credit month in September. To qualify for double hostess credit, your party has to have over $600 in sales! Yahoo! That is easy to do, since the average party is usually over $600! Who couldn't use over $200 in free products?

September Special:

For every $40 you spend in September, get an
Organizing Utility Tote for $18 or a Super Organizing Tote for $30!
Talk about an AWESOME way to start school!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If a back to school purchase is just not in the cards, still stop by Jen's new blog and show her some bloggy loving!  I am linking up this Back To School FREEBIE for those of you who read this post to the end!  

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Friday, 23 August 2013

Back to School Freebie from Teachingisagift at Tools for Schools

Back to School Freebie from Teachingisagift at Tools for Schools

Well it's Friday my bloggy buddies!  Some of you have been back to school for a week or more now.  I am finally facing the reality that next week is my last week of freedom for the summer. I am going into my classroom on Monday to try and get it put back together and looking fantastic for the first day of school, September 3rd.  

My summer has been unsettling to say the least. The sudden death of my mother and the subsequent chaos surrounding it has left me feeling drained and depleted.  Not the best way to feel when you are about to face a room full of energetic 6th graders!  I have kept myself "distracted" this summer with blogging a little, playing games on FB a LOT, and opening a new store on the ePals site Tools for Schools.  

I have uploaded a few things into my my new store and if you would like to check it out and download a NEW FREEBIE then click on the image below.

Photo of Back to School Freebie from Teachingisagift at Tools for Schools PDF FREEBIE
{click on image above}

My new Freebie is a pencil holder...yes, you read that right, you can turn a lovely piece of paper into a pencil holder for the first day of school. I explain in the instructions that come with this freebie that you copy it onto heavy paper, card stock works best, and then you make a slits in each little yellow star for the pencil to slide through. You cut around the top of the stars and then fold the page in three.  This makes a standing card. Slide the pencil through the slots and VOILA a cute little card to welcome your students back to class!  

I had to experiment a little with the first one I made, but once I had it, it was super easy to assemble and it looked great, even when I printed it in black and white (I don't have a colour printer at home).  Hope you LOVE it and that you have a fantastic first day, or continue to have a fantastic first month!  

Photo of Back to School Freebie from Teachingisagift at Tools for Schools Freebie Fridays
{Click on image to visit Freebie Friday}

Be sure to stop by Freebie Friday from TBA and pick up more back to school goodies.  My bloggy buddy Kristy from 2PeasandaDog has a great Back to School Bingo product featured today!

It's also Share the Wealth Saturday at An Educator's Life so hop on over there and check out more great freebies!

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Science Must Read Mentor Text: The Tree of Life

Science Must Read Mentor Text: The Tree of Life

If it's Sunday then it must be Must Read Mentor Text linky time with Collaboration Cuties!

If you have been reading my blog over the past year, you already know that I spent over a decade as a science and technology instructional leader with my district school board.  I worked for central office creating materials for elementary teachers to use in their classrooms.  During that time I was fortunate to meet a wonderful author, her name is Rochelle Strauss.  Rochelle writes books which link really well with science concepts and they are beautifully illustrated by Margot Thompson.

"If every known species on Earth were a leaf on a tree, that tree would have 1 750 000 leaves. Since humans count for just one leaf on the tree, we have a lot to learn about the millions of other forms of life with which we share the world. A dazzlingly illustrated and child-friendly introduction to biodiversity, Tree of Life shows how living things are classified into five kingdoms — and how each has much to tell us about all aspects of life on our planet."  
                                                                     Rochelle Strauss

This non-fiction text takes students on a trip through all of the kingdoms.  As you can see below in the Plant Kingdom spread there are over 270 000 species of plants in the tree of life.

Each kingdom is explored and students are given the opportunity to learn about the huge biodiversity of life on earth.  In Ontario, Biodiversity is one of the grade 6 science unit topics and this book makes a wonderful addition. I love it so much that I purchased over 10 copies for my own classroom.

I have used this book to introduce the topic of Biodiversity and I have had students use it for small group reading.  You can find other great teaching ideas from the learning resource materials provided free from Rochelle Strauss' site.  Just click on any of the images below to go to her web page where you can download the entire learning resources packet for free.

Rochelle's website also contains links to where you can purchase her books both in Canada and the U.S.  While you are there be sure to check out her other fabulous books.  I really like the book "One Well" almost as much as "The Tree of Life".

Friday, 16 August 2013

Back to School Bonanza

Back to School Bonanza

Photo of Back to School Bonanza Middle School bloggers @ Teachingisagift

Back at school already?  Feeling ready to go back to school? Feeling anxious and stressed out (like me?)?  Well here is a cure for the blues, and a motivator for the keen!  It's BACK TO SCHOOL BONANZA time sponsored by 2Peas and a Dog Blog! Kristy has worked really hard to put together this blog hop for middle school teachers.  There are lots of great bloggers participating, so don't miss out on any of the awesome freebies. 

Last year, while browsing furiously looking for back to school ideas, I saw an image on PINTEREST that caught my eye.  I think I do this last minute idea hunt every year!  I wish I could remember to make myself a FILE of what I do each year, so I would not be consumed with the need to come up with something new and interesting.  Anyhow, I found a pin that showed a group of post-it notes stuck on chart paper.  I wondered what the heck the point of all those post-it were so I clicked on the image and read what the teacher had written on her blog.  

It turned out that each piece of chart paper had a question posed at the top as the title.  Each student received 6 post it notes upon which they wrote their answers and then added them to the chart paper.  I was intrigued.  I wondered what my students would write...so I decided to try it on the first day.  

I quickly created the signs you see below, printed them on card stock and laminated them with the idea I could use them again (good thinking?...ONLY IF I CAN FIND THEM!) and attached one question to the top of a piece of chart paper.  I posted the chart paper on the walls around the my classroom.  

When I was ready to try the activity, I asked the students to take their 6 post-its with them as they did a "gallery walk" around the room.  Each student read the prompt, replied to the prompt on a post it, and then added their post it to the chart.  I did not allow more than 4 or 5 students to be in front of one piece of chart paper at a time.  I think that if I had a larger class, I would just make doubles of each chart, and the kids would only post their answer on one and I could consolidate all the post-its at recess or lunch.
Photo of Back to School Bonanza PDF printable FREE

Photo of Back to School Bonanza PDF printable FREE

Photo of Back to School Bonanza PDF printable FREE

Photo of Back to School Bonanza PDF printable FREE

Photo of Back to School Bonanza PDF printable FREE

Photo of Back to School Bonanza PDF printable FREE
 It was interesting watching the students start to read other responses as they walked around.  I encouraged them not to "copy" each other or to write what they thought was the "correct" answer, I wanted to know what they really thought.  All the responses were anonymous, so I encouraged honesty.  This might have been risky, but it is was a risk I decided I was willing to take.

The students really enjoyed the opportunity to give their response to each question.  Most of them took it very seriously and wrote something thoughtful.  They seemed to understand that I really was interested in making our classroom a community, and that I welcomed their responses.  

When everyone was finished, I allowed the students some time to go back and read the responses they had not seen earlier.  I also circulated at this point, and took some pictures.  I wanted the students to know I would keep a record of what they had said, so I could refer back to it.

I also left the charts up in the classroom for the better part of a week and a half.  It was nice to see the students continuing to read what others had said.  I think the whole experience set a great tone for the rest of the year.  I can honestly say that my first day last year was the BEST EVER....now if only I could remember what else I did....


Want More Back to School Goodies?

In case you are like me and you are a little pin obsessed, especially around this time of year, feel free to click on the button below to follow me on Pinterest.

Photo of Teachingisagift Pinterest Board

Freebie Fridays

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday