Santa Letters

Having your students write letters to Santa can be a daunting task.  I use this activity to teach letter writing skills, as well as the writing process.  Creating large anchor charts has been a life saver for me because I find that not all students start and finish at the same time.  I do have a SMARTboard version, but the wall chart version is by far my favorite method to use.  Take a peek at two versions of anchor charts (2009 and 2010):














Meacham’s Store

My classroom has been referred to as “Meacham’s Store” — and for good reason!



I like to be prepared, and my preparedness helps others in need.  I’m most notorious for being able to provide a disposable contact lens to a teacher who lost one of her contact lenses. It fit, and was a pretty close match to her prescription!  Here are a few items that I keep on hand – which have proven to be helpful to not only my students and me, but also others in my school:

Kitchen Things: colander, can opener knife, cutting board, spoon, ice cream scoop, measure cups/spoons, electric kettle, table cloths/flowers, pizza cutter, light bulbs


Tableware: napkins, paper plates of varying sizes, assorted cups, plastic forks/spoons/knives, straws


Personal Products: contact lenses and solution, nail clipper, tweezers, static guard, baby powder, Vaseline, cotton balls, q-tips, Advil, feminine products, toothpaste, toothbrush, lotion, toothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss, barrettes, ponytail holders, hair comb, deodorant, mascara, eyeliner, eye shadow, face powder, lip gloss , hairspray


Adhesive and Hangy Thingys:  book tape, duct tape, painter’s tape, masking tape, transparent tape, packaging/storage tape, two sided tape,  hooks, felt, magnetic, velcro, push pins, super, craft, felt, school, glue gun and glue gun sticks, tacky glue, glue dots, magnetic adhesives, hooks of various sizes and types, felt pads


Laminating Things: adhesive pouches of various sizes, laminator, laminating sheets, page protectors


Tools: hammer, screwdrivers of varying sizes, wrench, nuts/bolts/nails, plyers, jewelry tool, box cutter, exacto knife, eye glasses repair kit, sewing kit


Cleaning Products: Windex, table wipes, people wipes, Magic Erasers, hand sanitizer, paper towels, Kleenex

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Things that Power: batteries, chargers, extension cords, adaptors, power stripsIMG_1756

Curing the Blurts

I noticed it the first day of school.  My class likes to talk!  They talk over one another.  They hold side conversations.  They get off topic.  They like to talk and I’m not even sure if they’re truly listening to one another.


In an effort to take control of our classroom conversations we created a few charts and practiced.  We practiced and practiced and practiced.  A lot.IMG_1726 IMG_1727

We talked about self control.  Of course they needed to learn what “self control” is and what better way to teach the feel, sound, and look of self control than to use Teacher Tipster’s method:

We still aren’t “perfect” but it’s become a better situation!  All I now need say is, “This is a hand-raising conversation!”  They know what that means.  It immediately gets better.

What do you do to cure the blurts in your classroom?

Two New Writer’s Workshop Charts

First up – our Writing Goals chart.  It’s a SMARTboard notebook file, but you can create this with tag board or whatever you have available!  Each day students work toward a goal.  They add their student initials (or student number) to the goal box.  So at the end of the mini lesson, each goal box will have several student names/numbers.  I plan to work with students when they identify their goal(s) for the day.  I also will use this to decide which group I’ll work with for the day at our “rainbow table” (kidney table).

Download: download-icon


Second up – our “What do I do when I’m done?” chart.  I’ve seen different versions of this chart and this is ours.  When we created this, we sketched it on the SMARTboard.  I then turned it into this.  I used the same student generated story that was on the first one. Because it is animated, when you load the file, the cat is not displayed in #1 and the red words are not displayed in #2.  You click in the space and they appear.

Download: download-icon


Happy Writer’s Workshop–ing!

Twitterific Idea

This past summer I had the lovely opportunity to have lunch with Debbie Clement, from Rainbows Within Reach.  She’s a fantastic lady, who gives so much to the field of education.  During our lunch she shared a new passion of hers:  #teacherfriends

2014-11-28_1620Every Tuesday #teacherfriends (that’s ME and YOU and ANYONE in education) meet for a scheduled Twitter Chat at 9PM EST.  New to Twitter?  Then attend the 30-minute “Practice Chat” prior to each week’s chat.  I’ve attended a couple of the chats already and encourage you to consider joining in on the fun.  In fact – plan to attend next Tuesday’s #teacherfriends Twitter Chat, because I’m “on deck” as the “GuestEduCelebrity”  —2014-11-26_1203

As you can see there are prizes involved.  Each Twitter Chat attendee, who enters the drawing via a Google Form document, will have a chance to win!  For next week, December 2, 2014, the winner will have a choice between a Premium Tech Tub or a Leveled Literacy System Easel.  I have both items and they would be WONDERFUL additions to anyone’s classroom.  A big THANK YOU and shout out to Copernicus Educational Products for next week’s prize!

Not able to attend next week?  Then check out the schedule for the next two months!


Hope to see you there!  =)