Friday, February 9, 2018

Valentine's Day Reading Activities for Upper Elementary

Holidays should still be fun when kids reach 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade! I wanted my kids to love Valentine's Day week, but I also wanted them to learn and practice during our reading block.

Here are my five tips for making Valentine's Day fun and rigorous in your upper elementary reading class!

1. Read lots of great books! 
Reading picture books are essential for children's learning, even in the upper elementary grade levels!  My favorite "love" themed books are shown below! Click on the book to head to an affiliate link on Amazon.
Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch is a great way to teach about characters and how they can effect each other!
Each Kindness is the sweetest story about how Kindness spreads. Great way to teach theme!
My kids LOVE a good mystery book! This one is so sweet and there are so many skills that go with a mystery!
My kids LOVE these books. They obsess over them. They beg for My Weird School to be our read aloud always.

2. EPIC reading project!
Split your kids into five groups. Each group is assigned a Valentine's Day book on EPIC. EPIC is a free reading website for kids. There are tons of books that teachers and students can read for FREE! If you are not signed up for EPIC yet, you need to be!
Once they get their book, their job is to read the story as a group and then create a play to retell the story. They will be beyond engaged, but they will also be working on retelling skills, speaking skills, and so much more! I have created a Valentine's Day collection for you on EPIC. Find it here!

3. Read About History!
Believe it or not, students do not know much about the history of Valentine's Day. We always make sure to do our Paragraph of the Day for Valentine's Day during the week. They learn a little about the history while practice skills. We usually will throw in a few more Paragraph's of the Day during the week too! If you want to know more about Paragraph of the Day, check out this blog post here!
Check out February's Paragraph of the Day here! The unit comes with 20 paragraphs and 10 topics. So, you can read about the History of Valentine's Day and the History of Groundhog Day, plus more!

4. Do a Valentine's Day Challenge!
We all LOVE a challenge! During this challenge students will all gain a heart. You will read a story and each time they hear someone's heart break they will rip their heart. They then have to complete 6 reading skill challenges in order to earn tape to fix their broken heart. When their heart is all fixed they get to go to a Valentine's Day celebration. For my celebration I just set up an area in the classroom with books, games, and candy!
The challenges are all reading based, rigorous and engaging.
Challenge 1: They read a fiction piece, identify the theme, and find proof of that theme.
Challenge 2: They read a none fiction piece, identify the text feature, analyze the text feature, and create their own text feature.
Challenge 3: Read two different Valentine's Day stories, compare and contrast, and identify the main idea.
Challenge 4: Read about a Valentine's Day crime through 6 different point of views. They use their inferencing skills to find the suspects.
Challenge 5: Use context clues to solve a riddle.
Challenge 6: Write a story using the theme and character traits provided.

You can do this challenge all in a day or you could spread it out over the week. The kids LOVE it!

5. Write Love Letters!
During writing all week my students write little notes to each other. I usually put the notes in this super cute envelope I got from Walmart. Then, I deliver these messages to kids randomly throughout the day. I usually just put them in the mailbox. It is a great way to incorporate writing while promoting kindness in the classroom!
You can grab these cute writing cards for FREE by clicking here!

I hope these ideas inspire you to have some Valentine's Day fun in your upper elementary classroom!

Thursday, January 4, 2018

The Importance of Paragraph of the Day

When I plan for my third graders I focus on making sure that they are engaged, making sure that they love to read, and making sure that they are learning! Although, my focus is on fun engaging content I do know that students need to pass these not so fun and engaging tests.

I know the importance of close reading, but I didn't want to spend most of my reading period going over it. I decided I would rather have the students read a SHORT paragraph each day and analyze that paragraph.

They would read the paragraph and answer text dependent questions. They would learn and practice all the standards each month while reading engaging and themed content.

Each month my students read 20 different paragraphs, 10 that are fiction and 10 that are nonfiction. They go over every single reading standard every month, sometimes more than once. They learn about different holidays and engaging topics every month. They also practice answering text dependent questions, restating their answers, and inferring each month!

I use these paragraphs for morning work, homework, and skill review.

When I teach a skill and we practice it all week I will also use the paragraphs to assess if my students got the skill!

Signup to check out Paragraph of the Day for free! Plus, tons of freebies and tips to come!

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Camping Week for Upper Elementary!

Every year I LOVE doing a themed camping week! My kids love getting to experience life as a camping expert!

First I start with decorating the classroom! I do not mention camping week to my kiddos at all until they walk into the room! They get so excited to see everything all decorated.

Here is where I get my items:
Tents- I always ask parents to donate tents for the week and I have never had a problem getting one!
Table Cloths- I tend to get mine at the Dollar Tree or on Amazon! You can find the Amazon ones  here!
Lanterns- I ask parents to donate and I have bought some off Amazon here!
Finger Lights- We always buy each kid a finger light from the week off of Amazon! It is pretty inexpensive and the kids love them. Check them out here!

Everything else I get out of my house or camper. I pick up some wood and use tissue paper to make a fake fire and I pick up s'mores items to tempt my kiddos all week! ;)

We keep our camping theme up all week long and we try to incorporate it with all subjects!

For reading we participate in centers were students read camping books, listen to camping books, complete a mad-libs activity, read camping articles, and participate in a teacher lesson! I love centers and my kiddos love camping centers even more because they get to sit in tents!

We also read many camping stories! You can find my favorite camping books below! Click on the book for affiliate links!

For writing, we write campfire songs, scary stories, and we research the national parks! I love watching my kids be creative and they love sharing their work! Plus, it is great to see them learn more about the national parks!

For math, we save the bears in a super fun review game around South America! We participate in a word problem race in order to earn s'more ingredients!

We also have fun planning a camping trip by working on elapsed time and money! We plan what food we are going to take and what activities we are going to do!

In social studies we work on making our own camp ground using cardinal directions! We also make a history of camping  timeline using research!

For science, we make solar ovens to cook our s'mores and we learn all about making bubbles!

It is truly a week full of rigorous learning and FUN! We never stop laughing and creating memories all week long!

You can find all the activities that we participated in during camping week here!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Classroom Reveal 2017-2018

I am going to give you a quick look around my new room! Throughout the room there will be many freebies, products, and affiliate links for things I use in my classroom! Feel free to recreate any of the ideas!

I put my desk up against the wall in my teaching area! I always add a banner with my name (my banner is located here). I also have a weird bulletin board behind my desk, so I used my circuit to cut out "Love for Mrs. Wilde", this is where I will place all my letters and pictures from students throughout the year!

I use these easy name tags for my students! They are Velcro so students can easily move around! They have positive quotes to remind my students to be kind and positive everyday! You can find editable name tags here!
For guided reading, each of my groups has a bin. In the bin, I put the books they are using and any materials that I will need for that group. It makes it very easy for the kids to grab the materials and for me to stay organized. You can find the labels for the bins for free here!
You can also read about my reading toolbox here!

For my library I organize all of my books by genre and subjects. This is easy for my littles to find what they want! I use these labels here!

For my word wall I will color code the words based on part of speech. You can find the grammar wall here! For my future leaders board, the students will take a picture on the first day that states what they want to be when they grow up. I will put that picture on this wall to display that they are a future leader! My Be Awesome Today and all my letters are using Amy Grosbeak fonts and are cut out using my circuit which you can find here! It is so worth every penny!

I use a Turn-In board to organize the way my students turn in their assignments. I will place an extra copy of the assignment on the number of the turn-in board. My students will look at the number and go place their paper in that bin. They will highlight their name on the paper in the bin so that I know they turned it in! This makes it SO much easier for me to see who turned in the assignments and I do not have to sort through the papers anymore, I just grab the stack. You can find an article from the Peppy Zesty Teacherista about this system here! This article includes the turn-in template!

For birthdays I have the kids color a big number for the day of their birthday on the first week of school. Then, everyone who has a birthday in that month will bring their number up and take a picture together holding their numbers. Then, I print the picture and add it under the month. You can find the month labels for free here!

For classroom management I am using the spinner found below to put students on teams. The students will be on teams and earn individual and group points for their team. At the end of each week the team with the highest amount of points will earn a prize of their choosing. (It has to be a prize that does not cost me any money)
You can read more about this classroom management plan which Miss 5th Adapted from the Ron Clark Academy here!
You can find the spinner here!

For my "Throw Kindness Like Confetti" board the students will be talking each day at the end of the day about an act of kindness, tolerance, acceptance, or equality that they saw. We will write that on a piece of confetti and then add it to the board. By the end of the year we will have a wall full of confetti!

I organize all of my supplies in these bins from Walmart. I label them using these labels here! I also added these numbers below for a extra pop of color!
I organize my writing, word work, and listening centers here! I use these for my word work centers and I often switch out writing with different prompts! For listening, my students use the iPads to listen to books on EPIC! All of my centers are organized in another 10 drawer cart!

My back to school door this year was simple! I added this bulletin board set on bright paper for a easy but cute board! 


1. How do you cut your letters?
I cut all of my letters out using my Circuit. I will use vinyl or just card stock to cut them out. This was one of my best purchases! You can cut out anything and it saves you so much time! You can find what I use here! 

2. What fonts do you use for your letters?
I use Amy Grosbeck Fonts, Babbling Abby Fonts, and KG Fonts!

3. How do you put up your posters and letters?
I hot glue EVERYTHING! It comes off the wall so easy and it stays up all year!

4. Do you use flexible seating?
Yes! My students may sit where ever they want but they have a home base to return to. I have stools, pillows, different chairs, a sitting table, a standing area, and exercise balls! 

Well that is a wrap! I hope you found some of these quick tips and ideas useful in your classroom! If you have any questions you can email me at