Monday, May 18, 2015

Happy National Therapy Animal Day 2015!

Today, May 18, 2015, is the first annual National Therapy Animal Day.  Therapy animals are used more and more often as we discover how much value they can add to healing and learning for people of all ages. Check here to read current news stories that exhibit the miracles that these animals can bring to us.

I am a huge animal lover and am/have been owned by several pets. Around my son's 3rd birthday we were concerned about his speech development. He wasn't much of a talker, but he was expert at getting his needs met using other methods. He reminded me of the rabbit in the Frosty the Snowman special. He didn't see a need to talk!  Around that same time we got a new golden retriever puppy, Katy. Katy saw Sam as another puppy playmate and as she was growing she could get a little rambunctious with Sam and sometimes knock him over.

Of course we worked with training Katy, she's now a proud graduate of the Canine Good Citizenship program, but part of it was also teaching Sam to use the commands of sit, off, and down in a strong voice. Sam very quickly learned that talking and using his voice served a great purpose and he started using it more and more, not just with Katy, but with all of us. There were many a morning I would wake up to find Sam laying next to Katy's crate chattering away telling her all about his adventures, hopes and dreams. It was such a touching sight to see.

Katy is an extremely tolerant dog and she loves anyone and everyone! She would make an ideal therapy dog and in fact we went through some training to lead to it. Unfortunately the program we were working with ended their classes and Katy ended up having a series of knee surgeries to correct joint issues in both of her knees so her career as a therapy dog has never been realized. She spends hours at home providing us constant unconditional love and "therapy" though. One of the things she loves more than anything is to lay with us and be read to! She's sat through the entire Harry Potter series a couple years ago with my older kids and is now working her way through it again with Sam.

I've seen the value that the love and attention of a pet can bring to the mental well-being of the people around them. They really can be miracle workers! I would love to see the use of reading dogs in schools increase!

As part of my Wonder Novel Study, I created a reading informational activity about therapy dogs. I offer it outside of the novel study as a free download in my store. It is a wonderful activity to explore the use and benefits of therapy animals. Click on the picture to go to the FREE download.

In honor of Katy, and all the wonderful therapy animals out there, Happy National Therapy Animal Day!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Happy Teacher Appreciation 2015!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!

To celebrate and show appreciation for all of the hardworking and dedicated teachers The Teaching Bank is offering 20% off EVERYTHING in our TpT store for May 5-6. It's a great time to save on those items on your wishlist and get a head start on your planning for next year. In addition to 20% off everything in our store TpT is throwing in an additional 10% off everything in your entire cart when you use code: ThankYou at check out.

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Happy Teacher Appreciation and thank you for all that you do from The Teaching Bank and TpT!

Check out some other wonderful sellers' sales at the linky party over at Flying into First Grade's Blog:

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Preventing the Summer Slide

Summer is getting closer and closer. There are only 21 school days left here!  While we all long for the relaxed lazy days of summer we also need to worry about summer slide. Summer slide is a real concern for teachers and parents.  According a report from the National Summer Learning Association, in the article, "Keeping Kids Off the Summer Slide", by Reading is Fundamental 

"A conservative estimate of lost instructional time is approximately two months or roughly 22 percent of the school year.... It's common for teachers to spend at least a month re-teaching material that students have forgotten over the summer. That month of re-teaching eliminates a month that could have been spent on teaching new information and skills."  

 To combat the summer slide for my children I have been working on putting together a summer curriculum that they can spend an hour or so on each day and still get to enjoy all the fun that summer can bring. I am fortunate to have the curriculum that I have created to use with my own kids. I have also found many targeted resources to fill in the gaps, both paid and free, from the overabundance of offerings from some fantastic teachers at Teachers Pay Teachers. 

For my son, who is going into 5th grade next year, my plan is for him to complete some of my Novel Studies for reading, do daily timed tests from my multiplication and division units to keep fluent in his basic facts, and do some daily grammar/punctuation/spelling sentences from my Alien Text Talk unit. I have found some great writing prompt activities that incorporate science and social studies and math spiral activities from TpT to fill in the gaps and give him some practice to stay on board with math and writing.

For my daughter, who is going into 7th grade next year, my plan is about the same with the exception of the daily timed tests as she is fluent in her basic facts.

As a parent, creating a plan for your child is easy with a site like Teachers Pay Teachers at your disposal. You can find thousands of free and paid resources created by the people who know what works and really know what students need, TEACHERS!

Teachers who are looking for something to send home with their students over the summer can also find great resources at Teachers Pay Teachers that students can complete independently, or with just a little help from a parent or older sibling. 

A novel study is a great place to start to find a reading activity that can be completed fairly independently and is fun and interesting enough to keep the student engaged. I have 82 Novel Studies in my store, all for quality, high interest titles to keep the student engaged and entertained. Click on any of the titles below to learn more about what each unit has to offer.

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If you are looking for some resources to keep your students and/or your own kids fresh, take a look at TpT and you will have more resources that you could dream of to keep these kids learning and growing over the summer!

Of course, don't forget to sit back, relax, and enjoy your summer as well!

Happy Summer!

*Graphics provided by: Scrappin Doodles,, and Elizabeth Villwock.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Celebrating 15 Years of Esperanza Rising!

It was has been 15 years since Pam Nuñoz Ryan's award winning book, Esperanza Rising, was first published.

The story begins in post-Revolutionary Mexico where Esperanza Ortega is a wealthy girl who has everything she needs and wants, and has never experienced hardship. One day, Esperanza's beloved father is killed by bandits resulting in Esperanza and her mother, Ramona, suddenly losing everything. 

Ramona escapes Mexico along with her former servants' family taking Esperanza with her. They migrate to California to find work in the fields in a Mexican labor camp during the Great Depression.

Esperanza and her mother face many hardships both physically and mentally. Esperanza has to quickly learn that she is no longer the served, but at the level of the servants, or worse. The story is the transformation of her character from a young girl with not a care in the world, to one full of hardships who learns to persevere.

To celebrate the 15th anniversary Scholastic has a great page with the author, Pam Nuñoz Ryan reading an excerpt from Esperanza RisingPam Muñoz Ryan was inspired to write Esperanza Rising, by the stories she heard as a child from her grandmother, Esperanza Ortega Muñoz, so it is a book that is near and dear to her heart.

Esperanza Rising is a great novel to use in the classroom. There are so many curriculum topics that this book can be paired with. Great Depression Era California and the migrant worker population, and the study of the Mexican Labor Camps in Depression Era times; using the story to look at the historical, social, and cultural circumstances that help to account for the great challenges for migrants upon coming to the United States. 

The book also leads to in-depth exploration of the character study of Esperanza as she suddenly falls from her comfortable perch as the beloved child of a wealthy landowner surrounded by family and servants to quickly becoming a servant herself among an extended family of immigrant farm workers. The changes that Esperanza undergoes as she discovers herself and her strengths as she grows from a pampered child into a resourceful and responsible young woman are ripe for discussion and detailed study. 

The Esperanza Rising Novel Study offered in my store gives a complete study of the topics above. The novel study not only provides higher order thinking questions for each chapter, vocabulary activities for 118 words, writing activities that explore the character transformation of Esperanza and the real life aspects of the story, but also an in-depth activity that explores the allegory used throughout the novel and the meanings behind it.

Please visit my store to check out my novel study for Esperanza Rising as part of your celebration of the 15th anniversary!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

PEEP Into My Store for Savings Sale!

Happy Easter everyone! PEEP into my store, The Teaching Bank, at TpT today, 4/5/15, for 20% off everything! Fill your Easter baskets with a bounty of savings!

Friday, April 3, 2015

3rd Annual Unofficial Easter Sunday Funday Sale!

This Easter Sunday, The Teaching Bank is joining in for the 3rd Annual Unofficial Easter Sunday Funday Sale! You will find 20% off EVERYTHING in my store on Sunday, April 5th! No code needed. It's a great time to fill your basket with lots of teaching goodies at a great bargain price!

Hop over to KinderLit's Blog, to check out the Linky Party going on to see all the other wonderful sellers that are participating in the sale.

Happy Easter!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Teachers Helping Teachers: Diana, the Bionic Teacher!

Paul Edelman, founder of Teachers Pay Teachers, shared a story of a former teaching colleague of his, Diana Salmon, who suffered a life-changing injury. Diana didn't let the injury hold her back though, instead she forged ahead becoming an inspiration for everyone who knows her! You can read more about Diana's Story here in this free download:

The reaction to Paul's posting in the TpT forums was overwhelming and we all wanted to know how we could help. The result was the start of The Bionic Teacher Store on TpT where a large group of sellers collaborated together to donate products and organize bundles for all areas of curriculum in all ages.

I was happy to donate my Story Elements Interactive Notebook Activity Packet, to the 3-5th grade ELA bundle. 
3-5th Grade ELA Bundle

The bundles are made up of some really wonderful resources valuing at $70-100 with each priced at only $25! That is a HUGE amount of resources at an incredible savings for you! There is a bundle for every area and every age, so please check them out to receive a wonderful bargain while at the same time helping out a fellow teacher who despite many obstacles to overcome, is not letting them hold her back!

K-2nd ELA Bundle
K-2nd Math, Science, & Social Studies Bundle

3-5th Grade Math, Science, Social Studies, & More Bundle

6-8th Grade ELA Bundle
6-9th Grade Math Bundle

6-12th Grade Science Bundle

6-12th Grade Social Studies Bundle

9-12th Grade ELA Bundle

Clip Art Bundle

There is something for everyone here. Take advantage of the great savings and help out a fellow teacher today!