I am so excited to share my freshest resource with you! This product has been a long time coming.  But first, just a little background.

Every resource has a story.  I create each and every resource in my store because of a need I have or had in my classroom.  I can be opinionated, argumentative, and to put it nicely- passionate. But it all comes for a good reason, I want what’s best for my students.  So, in the heart of storytelling— I’d like to share with you how the morning work came to be.

MATH MORNING WORK

A few years ago (my first year teaching 4th grade), I began to really dig deep into my math instruction and curriculum.  Math has always been a subject that came easy to me and I didn’t really need to think too hard about.  But, that was the problem.  I didn’t have to THINK about it.  So, to teach it was a whole other beast! The Math Coach that year was my previous team member from when I taught 5th grade a few years prior.  She pushed me really hard to grow myself as a Math teacher.  So I did.  Honestly, it wasn’t fun.  It was frustrating.  Until I pushed past that frustration and made it fun.  So yes, literacy is my thing; but teaching is my thinger.  (I know that’s not a word, but Dr. Seuss does it. *shoulder shrug*) I began to create resources that made teaching math fun for me, which of course made it fun for my kids.  I got out of that overwhelming, convoluted textbook (I will not point fingers) and I taught.  I taught my kids how to think about Math.  More importantly, I learned how to think about Math.  Therefore, I became a better Math teacher.  Where am I going with this?  I’ll get there.

So, I’m working really hard on being a better Math teacher, right?  I’m sticking with trying to keep up with the strict district pacing guide, yet also be sure my students understand the concepts.  Let’s not talk about the depth in which they need to understand them in the short amount of time.  And don’t get me started on teaching #allthethings to 4th graders.  I so desired to be departmentalized, but I wasn’t and I’m not and I love it. Now.

Our Math block was in the morning, so this meant my kids walk in the door at 8:35 and I needed to start teaching by 8:40.  I can hear you laughing right now.  I am laughing right now.  It’s comical, really.  We all know that mornings consist of paperwork, getting kids started, reminding what they should do (every. single. morning.), taking attendance, morning announcements, class meeting if you’re lucky, and trying to keep it all together.  I needed their morning work to not just be a worksheet out of their textbook or to simply read a book. I wish that would work, but it doesn’t for all students.  They need something to do.  My classroom population has always been a blend of students who are ESE, ESOL, Gifted, ADD/ADHD, and regular ed.  I live in Florida- we are the melting pot of the world, so I need to be able to cater to all of these needs.

I needed a morning work that would…

1.Engage my students.

2.Focus on critical content, so that it wasn’t just “busy work,”  but it kept them busy while I handled the housekeeping each morning.  They were still focusing on the standards and it was great review before we got into the meat of the day.

3.Enhance structure and routine.  I’ve got all kinds of needs in my classroom.   We need structure and routine.  I am always working on that personally, so I need it to help my students perfect that art as well.

4.Review the big math standards that were critical for grades 3-5.  Multidigit multiplication & Division, Place Value, Fractions, and Adding + Subtracting.

 

So I created Good Morning, Sunshine! My teaching partner and closest friend Erin, who also creates a great portion of our curriculum, always said this to her students.  She was my mentor when I first began teaching and is often still my mentor in life. J

It was such a positive thing to say and I wanted our mornings to be positive.  I wanted to set a good tone for our day.  I didn’t want morning work to be monotonous and drab.  I don’t want to teach that way & learning shouldn’t feel that way.

Each day is focused on a big standard or big idea that I think is crucial for 4th graders to understand.  Not only are they crucial, but they need to constantly be revisited.  The thing about Math in 4th grade (and any grade, truly) is that the concepts build upon each other.  We start with place value.  Next stop is multiplication & division, you need to understand place value to understand multiplication & division.  When we cover factors and multiples…there’s multiplication and division again.  But wait, fractions are coming so we need to understand factors and multiples to get anywhere with that.  And after fractions, we are heading straight into decimals, which of course are fractions.  It is all connected.  While Geometry thinks it may stand alone, it does not.  The other concepts are absolutely there.  Don’t get me started on fractions and degrees of a circle.  This is how I have come to enjoy math so much more.  I have noticed all of the connections.  As a natural reader and writer, I LOVE IT.

 

 

You can also try it for FREE by clicking below. 🙂

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Morning-Work-4th-Grade-FREEBIE-2626078

Or Save BIG by purchasing the bundle….

If you want to see what all of the months look like, then head to this link in my store:

Good Morning, Sunshine! Morning Work 1st Grade Math

Good Morning, Sunshine! Morning Work 2nd Grade Math

Good Morning, Sunshine! Morning Work 3rd Grade Math

Good Morning, Sunshine! Morning Work 4th Grade Math

Good Morning, Sunshine! Morning Work 5th Grade Math

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ELA Morning Work for 4th Grade

This year you may have noticed (or not at all because you assumed this website died due to lack of life…i.e. posts) I moved to a new district and school. Things are different. A lot, but also not much.  Epitodme of an oxymoron.

My ELA block is in the morning, which I love.  It is so much easier to get students focused first thing in the morning.  Since Reading and Writing are so important in 4th Grade, it makes since they are first thing in the morning.  Math and Science tend to be more interactive so it is easier to have after recess, special, lunch, etc.

So this year my morning work didn’t really work for me.  I loved it, but I needed my kids to work on Language Arts in the morning, not Math.  Of course they so needed the Math, but it could not cut into our ELA time.  Especially when Writing does not get the time that it needs.  I won’t go down that rabbit hole. (right now)

The year was busy.  New school. New district. New city. New house.  Did I mention I broke my foot this year? Needless to say, it was crazy. I didn’t have this ELA morning work quite worked out in my brain.  Math had come so much easier…which is quite interesting…J

It came to me during our test prep season, when I began to see the concepts and skills my kiddos were STILL struggling with.  OR the things I never got around to teaching because of #allthethings.  For example, certain grammar skills, language skills, and vocabulary, etc.

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I NEEDED an ELA morning work that would help me cover these skills. And review them consistently. Like, text structure. I LOVE teaching it. I think it is so fun…like a puzzle. I think things are going all hunky dory and then I go to grade assignments and it’s like…Um…OK…never mind let me teach that again. And that is that’s where Text Structure Tuesday comes in.

Let me give you a rundown on the structure of the morning work and what to expect.

  • Meaningful Monday: Monday is focused on making meaning. Tasks will focus on synonyms, antonyms, vocabulary words, context clues, and making meaning in a short amount of text.  Some tasks may require students to make meaning in the text (inference, message, adages, proverbs, etc.) or build vocabulary skills.
  • Text Structure Tuesday: Tuesdays will have a paragraph that requires students to identify the text structure, signal words, and a question or two related to main idea, author’s perspective, or vocabulary.
  • Wordy Wednesday: Wednesday is all about working with words. Tasks include working with shades of meaning, homophones, or a short writing task using pictures or a word bank.
  • Throwback Thursday: Thursday is all about grammar usage and conventions.
  • Figurative Friday: Figurative Friday tasks include working with various types of figurative language including similes, metaphors, idioms, and more!

 

Above all, I wanted this resource to be fun and engaging for my students.  I want them to look forward to it as well as non-threatening.  To do this, I choose high-interest and seasonal topics.  I integrate science and social  studies, which I am always trying to do in my ELA resources because there is never. enough. time.

Each month will have a seasonal focus with high interest science and social studies topics that help provide rigorous engagement and practice.

Also, I love color.  I am a visual learner…most students are as well.  I try to use color coding responding in color to create a more visual aspect.

You can download a free resource week for the month of May by clicking the link below.

If you would like to purchase the month of May, follow this link:

If this is what you need for next year and you are ready to save money by purchasing the growing bundle, then click here:

 

So that’s the story of the morning work. Have a great weekend!

Hello Summer! AND Hello, NEW BLOG DESIGN!! I am very excited to be writing my first blog post on my new blog design by Alexis at Laugh Eat Learn Designs.   She is amazing.  If you are in the market for a new blog design, I HIGHLY recommend her.  Let me tell you how long it took me to 1) Find a designer for WordPress and 2) Choose a design that fits me.  Alexis was both.  She was so amazing and patient with my eternal indecisiveness.  She created the design I didn’t even know I always wanted!

Since it is Summer and since it is Shark Week, I want to share with you some humor that you may have noticed if you follow me on Instagram.

Shark Week Humor

Oh, never gets old! I’m not sure of the source of this cartoon.  If you do, I would love to give credit where credit is due! 🙂

 

This next little resource has been a goal for over a year now and is in honor of our beloved Shark Week- an annual holiday week in our house. Every year during Shark Week, I am always listening to all of these interesting facts about sharks and all I can hear is Math, Math, Math.   The numbers and statistics are fascinating to me, but  they are even MORE fascinating to kids.  A couple of years ago, I had a student that was OBSESSED with sharks.  I think there might be one in every class.  He also loved Math and loved debating Math with me. I wish I would have made these sooner, because all I can think about is how much he would love them and I am pretty sure he might try to argue some facts with me.  I double-checked my facts, so hopefully I’m good! 🙂 You can click the link below to check out these task cards.  Since I am on Summer Break right now (WOOOHOOO!), I created them with the intent to use them at the beginning of the year since they review place value, 10:1 relationship, renaming numbers, rounding on a 3rd grade level (smaller numbers), but will be great to introduce these same concepts with larger numbers.

Shark Shenanigans Math Task Cards

And now…for some BIG NEWS!!!!

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We are moving to Orlando! I am SO excited!! This Summer is a busy one for us because Ryan, Titan, and I are packing up and starting the next chapter in our lives.  I am even more so excited because I already have a job (YAY!) still teaching 4th Grade (DOUBLE YAY!!) at an amazing school that I can already tell will feel like home.

So, to celebrate this life milestone as well as to recommit myself to blogging AT LEAST once a month (we’re staying realistic over here), I am sending the Shark Shenanigans! Math Task Cards to my email list for FREE Tuesday night July 5th, 2016.  If you are not on my emailing list for the blog, you can sign up on the Hello Bar up top.  If you have any difficulty, email me at butterfliesanddaydreams1@gmail.com and I can sign you up.

I hope you are having a restful and relaxing well-deserved summer vacation.  And drinking coffee and wine any time you want to. Just because you can.

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Well, I’m not even going to discuss how I completely skipped over December and moved right along into the New Year. Not yet, anyway. I have been in creation-crossing stuff off the list-spending time with family-exercising-trying not to eat *too* much crap-organizing the house-wondering where Christmas vacation is going (????)-mode. So, December is leaving us tomorrow and I want to do a little reflecting on some things I have done that have worked this year or in previous years that I think may be beneficial to Reintroduce in the upcoming year.
So, I am sitting here tonight trying to add some new photos onto Pinterest of units or resources I have recently created and I have the following thoughts:
1) Why are these photos not organized?
2) Seriously. This isn’t a new need. Why is it so hard for me to organize photos?
3) This is why I procrastinate. Things need to be organized. Why didn’t I organize them?
4) Oh, but I need to do x, y, z. (the cycle continues)
5) Just upload these charts to your blog so that other people in the world can benefit from them.
6) So what are you going to say about these charts? Why are they important now? You’re just going to upload them and let the world make sense of your thought process? Why can’t you just organize yourself?
Sigh.

You see my problem? As I was looking at some of the photos and things we have done this year, specifically in Reading & Writing I wanted to share because I have used and will use these charts/resources in various parts of the year. As teachers, we feel like our “New Year” begins in late August/Early September. (I am so sorry if your school starts earlier than that.) But, then we get this WONDERFUL break in the middle of the year to recharge, rejuvenate, and reset to handle what the second part of the year may bring.
The kids I have this year are sweet. But they are needy. Needy in a way that sends me through 20 different emotions I didn’t even know existed throughout the day. Though I haven’t admitted it until now- I miss them. And they need me. What they will need for sure when we go back on Tuesday is a refresher course in 4th Grade. Without further ado, I am going to share with you some charts, units, and resources that have helped me this year. Plus, there is a FREEBIE if you haven’t snagged this already.

1) Independent Reading Anchor Chart- This is a go-to conferring Teaching Point for me.  All too often, students can read a short passage and comprehend but struggle holding on to the plot of a chapter book.   I have students put a Post-It note at the end of each chapter as a reminder to stop and think about what they have read.

Independent Reading Anchor Chart

2)  Post-It Do’s & Don’ts (I have a feeling I misspelled that.)  I’m not even going to pretend that I don’t have students *STILL* making paper airplanes, passing notes to one another, letting single, blank, unused post-it notes trickle down to the floor throughout the day.  I am not going to pretend that I don’t feel my head exploding into smoky dollar signs as I remember how much those REAL Post-It brand pieces of adhesive paper cost. This will be a topic of conversation on Day 1 after break. 🙂  Please know that all of the thins on the Don’t list are things that I have witnessed.  I hear you chuckling because you have seen these same things. I love how at the beginning of the year my kids always laugh hysterically when I begin the conversation by telling them these things they are NOT allowed to do and the reason I am telling them is that because someone HAS done this before.  “Who would actually DO that?!?!,” they laugh and gasp.  You. You would do that.

*Please note that I did not come up with #1 on the Don’t list.  Apparently, that has been an issue so I’m going to go ahead and add that to the list.  Just so we’re clear.*

Post It Do's and Don'ts3)  Theme Anchor Chart- I love teaching Theme! Now.  I did not love it before.  But I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out exactly what it means and how to teach it.  So, now I love it. 🙂  You might find these Reading Notebook Anchor Charts useful as well.

Theme Anchor Chart4) Turning Point Anchor Chart- This also goes down into the list of things I did NOT know how to teach before, but now I do.  So I love it.  I just taught this before the break and it was one of those lessons my students GOT.  This is a pretty deep lesson.  I am going to go ahead and candidly admit that I wasn’t sure exactly what defined a “turning point.”  And I am embarrassed by that because sometimes I feel like I love Reading and Writing so much that I kind of *assume* I know what certain things are when it comes to ELA.  Well, now I officially do.  And so do my students.

They love gestures when it comes to noticing things we’ve talked about in Reading.  For example, whenever we hear time signal words in the Read Aloud, they give a thumbs up.  I made a big deal at the beginning of the year because setting and time is something my students have always skipped over.  This became especially important as we read a historical fiction novel (A Land Remembered by Patrick D. Smith).  I taught this in September.  They still give thumbs up.  Every time.

So for this lesson, I reread Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelt.  As I was reading, they made a gesture when they noticed the story was taking a new direction.  (Picture finger and head turning as if you are telling someone to turn around or a turning your finger in a different direction.)

Turning Point Anchor Chart

5) New Year’s Writing Resolutions-This is from my Narrative Writing Unit.  We’re going to go ahead and revisit that at the beginning of 2016 next week. 🙂 New semester. New goals. Plus, I think it will be even more effective at this point in the year!

 

New Year's Writing Resolutions

 

6) January Morning Work– I love this morning work.  Not just a little.  But a lot.  Such a fun routine and gives me some breathing room in the morning. This is also available for 3rd Grade.January Morning Work

7)  Guided Reading Strategy Cards- Guided Reading is definitely not one of my strong suits, but I TRY really hard.  I am eager to get better at planning and running my strong groups.  I made these Guided Reading Strategy Cards to help me AND my students focus better on the skill that we are working on that day.  Each student has a card for the lesson to help them focus on the skill or strategy.Guided Reading Strategy Cards

8) Just to keep it even! Homework Pass Freebie!  My students will move mountains to earn a Homework Pass.  I needed to revamp and update my Homework Passes and am excited to share them with you! Click on the image to download.  Happy New Year and as always thank you for stopping by!

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Happy Teaching!

-Jessica

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Our Family Trip to the Pumpkin Patch from October! 🙂   Titan + Me

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Ryan + Titan <3

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Family Photo at the Pumpkin Patch!

Hi friends! I hope your November is full of crisp, cool air and crunching leaves.  My November has been filled with Florida humidity.  It is this time of year when I truly miss Alabama and living somewhere that has more than two seasons. I am so happy we found a cute little pumpkin patch this season.  This was Titan’s second Halloween and first trip to a pumpkin patch.  He was so good! We were very worried he would try to lift his leg or pop a squat on some pumpkins.  Luckily, it only happened once on the haystacks above and I caught him before he could do anything.  Oh, puppy.

Last night, we carved our last huge pumpkin to get the seeds out and Ryan cut me off 3 huge pieces so that I can figure out how to make some pumpkin puree for soup.  I am not the chef around here, for sure! Ryan has been in school 4 nights a week and clinicals 2 other nights, so it’s time for me to be the one to have dinner on the table.  I like it.  It makes me feel like a girl <3  So, I’ve been researching some recipes for things that we both like and tabbing up the Crock-Pot book.  I love pumpkin anything, so I’m going to give it a go!

As I was pulling out the seeds and again when I put the pieces in the refrigerator, the smell of pumpkin kept tugging at a memory I couldn’t quite recall.  Finally, it came to me.  It wasn’t anything new.  I missed the cool weather and sweatshirts and the childhood novelty of Autumn.  I loved growing up with crunching leaves, crisp cool breeze, and layers of clothes.

I have this one memory of the time our heater broke and my mom took us to Wal-Mart (No Target back then.)  and we stocked up on a Kerosene heater, sweatshirts, fleece blankets, and made chili.  The reason our heater broke probably had something to do with money, but I don’t remember any of that part.  My mother was always so good about getting us what we needed no matter how much money she didn’t have.  For all I know, we might not have even had power.  What I do remember is the coziness and warmth of our house created by that Kerosene heater and my mother’s love.

I am a sensory girl.  The simple scent of raw pumpkin can evoke such vivid images.  What about you?  This season is full of scents! Cinnamon, Pumpkin Pie, Apples, what scents pull at your heart this time of year?

 

 

Hi friends! I just wanted to come out of the abyss and say hello! Also, I wanted to recap my year so far (it’s been nothing less than CRAZY).  Plus I have some ideas and Fall resources to share with your!I know that I am not alone when I say Fall is my FAVORITE SEASON!  🙂  We started getting the holiday decorations set up on Labor Day Weekend! I have decided that this will be a new tradition.  Labor Day is the unofficial end of Summer, so let’s get Fall started right away.  On a side note, if one of my future children happens to be a girl I hope to name her Autumn. 🙂

Ugly Pumpkin

Anyway…

Now that this school year is in full swing and routines are coming more easily, it’s time for me to get back to writing!  Just to recap the school year, we have just finished our Personal Narrative Writing Unit a week ago.  I am trying to get my photos organized to add to the anchor charts page.  We just started studying Nonfiction and writing an informational essay.  I am also currently working on an Informational Writing Unit which I hope to be finished with soon!!!!! This has taken me all Summer to organize and work out the kinks, but now I’m teaching it so the fire has been lit. 🙂  More on that later.

One of my favorite tools I used to use in my classroom a few years ago and for some (foolish) reason I stopped is this Accountability Chart.

Show What You Know

I use this chart after or during my mini lesson as a formative assessment.  Students may respond to the Read Aloud by answering questions such as “What is the character feeling right now? What words does the author use to let you know? ”  Then, students put their Post-It on their number.  This helps me identify student needs.  If I see several students have difficulty with this, then I can pull those students for a Small Group or 1:1 Conference.

This is also helpful during Independent Reading as a Quick Check to have students practice something that you’ve taught, but haven’t mentioned in a while.  For example, we just finished a Character Unit and focused a lot on characters, character change, theme, point of view, etc.  I KNOW not all of my students have mastered this.  I also know it may not be in the fore front of their minds, especially since we are reading a Historical Fiction text (A Land Remembered by Patrick D. Smith) and studying Informational Text.  So, what I may do (tomorrow, actually) is have students give their character a trait and support with three pieces of evidence.  This would be during Independent Reading.  Then, I will use these for conferring next week.  Just an idea! This chart can also be used as a quick assessment for Math or Science.

Now, enough about assessment! On to the fun stuff!

I recently updated one of our first products in our Teachers Pay Teachers store- The Haunted Halloween Times! This is a Newspaper-Style Text with Comprehension Questions in the form of Bingo.  There are 26 versions of the Bingo cards, which have the questions in a different order.  This is a fun text to use the week before Halloween and then play the Bingo game the Friday before or on Halloween.  The “newspaper” has information about the history of Halloween, history of certain traditions or symbols, and pumpkins.  You can see more by clicking HERE or the picture below.

Halloween Bingo

A second Halloween Reading activity is for one of my favorite books from when I was in elementary school-Trick or Treat, Smell My Feet by Diane de Groat.  This book is so cute and I am sure many primary teachers use this book around Halloween.  I am a 4th Grade teacher,  but I know my 4th graders might even appreciate this even more! (especially my class this year!)  This little set includes Read Aloud Plans for the book.  It comes with 2 pages of reading note squares which can be cut and taped or glued on a Post-It note and then placed inside the book.  The notes include questions for students to Turn and Talk, Example Student Responses, and Teacher Think Alouds.   You might even have students jot their response to one of the questions on a separate Post-It note and collect as a formative assessment.  You could even use the Accountability Chart from above.:)

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Finally, if you have not checked out our Good Morning, Sunshine! Morning Work- the month of October is my favorite! I worked on this during the Summer because I was so eager for Fall (did I mention I love Fall?).  You can click HERE or the picture below to check out the 3rd or 4th Grade set.

October Morning Work 3rd GradeI hope you are having a fabulous October and thank you so much for stopping by!What are some ways you celebrate Fall and Halloween in your classroom?  Have a great weekend!

-Jessica