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!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Bargain Alert! Great Savings on Popular Novel Titles!

I am always on the look out for a great bargain. The Scholastic Book Order Clubs are running some fantastic deals right now on some popular novels to use in the classroom! Check out the link and sign in under your teacher account to save some serious money! It's a great time to stock up for a classroom set of novels for a novel study that will engage your young readers far more in-depth than a basal textbook ever could!

First up, in both the February 2nd and 3rd grade flyer is Roald Dahl's, The Magic Finger, for only $1!

Louis Sachar's, Sideways Stories from Wayside School, is offered in the 3rd grade April flyer and the 4th grade January flyer for only $1. This story will have your class giggling with excitement!

The Chocolate Touch, by Patrick Skene Catling, is a delicious book that accompanies well for comparisons to the Kind Midas tale! It's a great way to teach the lesson that everything good should be enjoyed in moderation. It can be found in the February 4th grade flyer for only $1!

In the 4th grade April flyer you can find the inventive book, Frindle, by Andrew Clements, for only $1. Frindle, is great book to help students think differently about the world around them on how a little action by them can affect great change!

Finally, Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli is a great book to get students thinking about not judging a book by its cover and to admire the individuality and uniqueness of others. Stargirl, can be found in the Arrow February flyer for $2.

Stock up now for great savings on a classroom set. Check out the novel studies that I have in my store that accompany these great novels. Everything you need to teach the novel is included. It's a great way to help your students' dig deeper into a text and to discover the adventure and opportunities that a love of reading can bring!

Happy Reading!

Background paper in graphics provided by:

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

March Forth on March Fourth to Celebrate National Grammar Day!

Today, Tuesday, March 4, is National Grammar Day! It's the day to celebrate the proper use of language in both written and spoken form.

Hopefully you've never received this:

As a user of the Internet I am sure we've all experienced this at some point!

Proper grammar is so important, not just to communicate effectively, but it could be a matter of safety or happiness in your love life!

For this special day we can choose who we want to be.

To help in your grammarly endeavors here's a helpful website:

To celebrate in the classroom try my fun activity that asks students to convert a text message, in all its jumbled "text speak" glory to a statement using correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation. In honor of National Grammar Day my Text to English Full year Daily Practice Activity will be available for 50% off!

Happy National Grammar Day! I hope you get through the entire day without hearing or seeing one of your pet peeve grammar mistakes! Don't lose hope if others have too loose of a view on proper grammar! ;)