July 9, 2017

5 Reasons I Believe Custom Classroom Decor Bundles Sets Your Classroom Apart from other Classrooms

Do you have a hodge podge of classroom decor with no rhyme or reason?  Have you come to grips that what you have pieced together through the years has served its purpose?  Are you ready to ditch those "hand-me-downs" you received your first year of teaching from a retiring teacher?  Would you like to have an affordable thematic classroom decor that is one of a kind and the envy of your school?  If you answered YES to any of these questions, I would LOVE to share with you some of my newest Classroom Decor Bundles and invite you to participate in my Classroom Fixer Upper Contest.  Participants will have the chance to win an Amazon gift card, as well as, have  their classroom spotlighted on my blog, Facebook page, and Instagram page for other teachers across the world to see!  How cool is that?

This summer has been a summer of creating brand new classroom decor bundles for teachers across the country, and can I just tell you how much fun I have had making them?!  Some have been custom orders for teachers, and others have been popular themes I just happen to love!  From my Shabby Chic collections including my Farmhouse Bundle, Shiplap Bricks and Burlap, and The Cottage Collection to an adorable Detective and Lumberjack theme, and even an LSU themed decor bundle, there's no doubt all of these classroom decor bundles are going to transform teachers' classrooms and welcome students back to school in amazing style!  I can't wait to see the pictures from the teachers who are participating in the contest!  It's not too late to join the fun!  Click the images below and get a bird's eye view of some of my newest decor packets and see what other teachers who purchased them have to say! 

Before I share the details of my Classroom Fixer Upper Contest, I would first like to explain a few perks of purchasing one of my classroom decor bundles from my Teachers Pay Teachers store!  
1.  It's unique!  Chances are, nobody on your school campus will have a classroom decorated like yours!  It's truly a one of a kind classroom!  
2.  You own the download for life!  Instead of having to repurchase consumable desk tags, labels, calendar numbers, etc. year after year, teachers can simply reprint the what they need!  For example, if a new student walks in and you have no more desk tags like the rest of the class has, you do not have to purchase another pack just for one!  Simply print another one from your download, and voila, you immediately have your new student's desk tag.  Or...when your March calendar header falls between the wall and your dry erase board and gets stuck, you do not have to buy an entire pack of calendar headers just for the month of March!  Has this ever happened to you?  
3.  It's editable!  I have provided coordinating templates in a variety of shapes and sizes for you to easily add additional posters, labels, binder covers, etc. for your convenience.
4.  It's Wallet Friendly!  We all know how expensive it is to set up a classroom.  For less than $50, you will have all your back to school printables!  We all know that is pennies compared to a trip to a local school supply store!  
5.  Classroom Organization and Management!  After teaching in the classroom for over 20 years, I have put SO much thought into what I feel would provide teachers everything they need to have an organized classroom.  We all know how matchy-matchy teachers love to be, and these bundles were designed to provide you classroom management and organization like never before! 

So... if you have purchased one of my classroom decor bundles and would like to enter my contest, here are the details...... 

Comment below if you would like to submit an inspirational idea for my next classroom decor bundle!  Who knows?  It's possible your idea might be the next one created!  

If you have any other questions, please feel free to private message me on Facebook or email me with the subject CLASSROOM FIXER UPPER CONTEST at KellyAvery11@gmail.com .

May 9, 2017

10 End of the School Year Suggestions for Keeping Teacher Sanity!

Teachers are tired...students are tired...administrators are tired...everybody is tired, and we can all agree there is NO tired like END OF THE YEAR TEACHER TIRED!

Is the end of the school year finally in sight for you?  Are your students about to drive you NUTS?  If this describes you to a tee, I hope this blog post will provide you some suggestions and activities that will help you stay sane until that last school bell rings for the year!  If your state's standardized tests are in the books, and you are ready to let your hair down to have some fun with your students, take a look at these effective ways and end of the year activities to successfully end the school year!

1.  Let your Students Teach the Class:  Divide your students into groups.  Assign each group a specific standard or topic you've taught during the school year.  Provide them some time to discuss and review the skill.  Allow them to "teach" their classmates about the skill and create a class game to play to review the skill.  So, what does the teacher do while his/her students are teaching?  That's easy...they simply kick up their heels and evaluate their knowledge on the skill!

2. Create a Class Scrapbook:  Allow each student to be responsible for contributing one page to the scrapbook.  Let them include their favorite school memory, field trip, book, etc.  Laminate the pages, bind them, and place it on your bookshelf for your next year's students to enjoy.

3.  Create an End of the Year Lapbook:  This is probably one of my students' favorite activities to create.  In fact, we have made SEVERAL lapbooks throughout the year for different holidays.  My End of the Year Lapbook Craftivity allows your students to reflect and record their favorite memories from the school year.  The only items teachers will need to supply are a file folder and the NO-PREP printables included in this download for their students.  Students will only need a pencil, markers, crayons, scissors, and a glue stick to create this treasured keepsake!  Take a look at the preview and see what other teachers who have purchased it have to say about it!

4.  Have Students Write a Reflection Letter to Themselves:  Allow your students to write a friendly letter to themselves describing their favorite memories of the school year.  Teachers may also want to provide some specific prompts for students to address in their letter.  These prompts might include:  What is something you did this year that you are proud of?  What is an achievement or award you received this year?  What is something you could improve on for next year?  What would you have done differently this year if you had a second chance?  Describe your study and homework habits from this year and evaluate yourself on your performance.

5.  Create a Brochure:  Let your students create a trifold brochure to "sell" your class to the students you will be teaching next year.  Have them illustrate their favorite field trip or class activities they did during the school year.  Explain to your kids they should include a title for each illustration and a few bulleted points about their memories.  

6.  Swim Safety Lessons:  It's so important that your students leave your classroom with some safety precautions to equip them for the summer break.  Of course, summer is a popular time for students to be around swimming pools, lakes, and beaches.  My swim safety packet is one of my most popular spring/summer resources and can honestly be used with any grade level.  Click on the link to take a close look at what is included as well as the feedback other teachers have shared. 

7.  Create a Family Emergency Flipbook:   Because many students have working parents, they are oftentimes left home during the summer vacation.  After experiencing a medical emergency of my own last year, I can only imagine if my accident had occurred with a child or teenager and an adult was not home.  My Family Medical Emergency Flip Book is similar to our emergency folder we keep in our classrooms.  It's the "go to" which contains all of our parents' important phone numbers, personal information on each student, allergies, etc.  With this Family Medical Emergency Flipbook, your students will be equipped to make a 9-1-1 call with ease and answer all of the questions the dispatcher might ask.  Take a look to see what you think!  Fire prevention month isn't the only time we should think about an emergency...from my own personal experience, they can happen anytime with or without an adult around.

8.  Game Day:  Very seldom do teachers have enough time to play board games, and children today think the only games that exist are found on an iPad or iPhone.  Allow students to bring in their favorite board game and have various stations set up for students to rotate through and play a game with a friend.  It's amazing the skills that can be taught through playing games.

9.  End of the Year Slideshow:  If your students are older and have had experience with PowerPoint, Prezi, or any other program, allow them to create an end of the year slideshow.  Create a folder with pictures from this school year for them to choose from on a flash drive or the desktop of your class computers.  Students could even be paired to create an end of the year slideshow together.  Challenge them to insert text on the images or embed music! 

10.  Buddy Read:  Partner your class with a younger group of students and let them go read with them.  It's amazing how successful even your students who may be below grade level in your class feel when reading with a younger child.

If you have never visited my Teachers Pay Teachers store, I invite you to come follow me!  I love teaming up with other teacher authors to provide our followers with HUGE giveaways!  Not to mention, my followers are the first to be notified when my *new resources are launched and new products are always 50% off for the first 24 hours!  
*Already discounted bundles are excluded from this promotion!  

I hope these end of the year suggestions will help keep your sanity as you wrap up the school year!  It's amazing how much teachers can learn from other teachers!  I'm curious to know... what are some of your favorite activities to do at the end of the school year?  Please leave a comment and share them so teachers who visit my blog will have a toolbox full of ideas to choose from!  :)

May 6, 2017

Mother's Day Activities for the Classroom Teacher and Homeschooler

Wow...it's hard to believe Mother's Day is just around the corner!  If you are looking for some activities to do in your classroom, check out some of these children's books and this fun NO-PREP Mother's Day craftivity.

Coupled with this fun Mother's Day Lapbook, your students will LOVE the writing activities and fun foldables for that special lady in their life!  This resource packet is complete with activities for moms as well as aunts and grandmothers for students who may want to create their treasured keepsake for another special lady!


I have a Mother's Day and Father's Day Bundle available for teachers seeking an activity for Father's Day, Donuts with Dad, a craft to invite dads to your school's Daddy Daughter Dance, or any other event involving dads!  This would also be perfect for Grandparent's Day!  This bundle also includes printables for uncles and grandfathers. 

Hang in there, Teachers, we almost have the year whipped!  :)

April 28, 2017

Teachers, Keep Calm and Finish Strong with these End of the Year Activities for Students

Wow...how is it even possible that the end of the school year is just around the corner?!  The month of May might or might not be the busiest month for teachers as many are administering standardized tests (Or...for the younger grades, like me, feeling like we are in prison because of having ZERO break without kids!), compiling data for our final student growth reports, finalizing grades, and still trying to squeeze in a Mother's Day craft or provide students with some "self-directed" end of the year activities to keep them engaged while we try to tie up all the loose ends before the summer break!  A friend shared this on Facebook and I couldn't resist sharing it with you... #preach

There's so much truth to the quote, "There's no tired like TEACHER TIRED!"  Pretty safe to say, I can relate, how 'bout you?   

I just wanted to take a moment to share my new End of the Year Activities Bundle with you!   The activities/projects included in this bundle are guaranteed to 1.  Keep your sanity!  and 2.  Keep your students BUSY with MEANINGFUL activities!

This bundle includes an end of the year memory book for students to record their memories from the school year in, a fun Field Day Booklet (THIS IS A FOLLOWER FREEBIE OF MINE, SO EVEN IF YOU AREN'T INTERESTED IN THE BUNDLE, FEEL FREE TO GRAB THIS FREEBIE!), May writing prompts, a Mother's Day craft, a Swim Safety packet, and fun Class Awards!

*Individual previews are available for the resources included in the bundle!  Click the links above to see what other teachers have to say about these fun, engaging activities, and discover the ease of incorporating these fun activities into your May lesson plans, May morning work, literacy centers, fast finisher activities, lessons for a substitute teacher, etc.

Hang in there, Teachers!  We can do this!

April 8, 2017

FLASH SALE: Year Long Writing and Word Work Bundle

WHO doesn't LOVE a SALE...and not just any sale, but a HUGE sale?!  Of course, TEACHERS DO!  "WRITE" now in my Teachers Pay Teachers store my All Year Long Writing and Word Work Bundle, valued at $67.50, is on sale for $20.00! That's right... a savings of nearly $50.00!  This writing resource has ranked in the top 100 Teachers Pay Teachers resources several times, and nearly 2,000 teachers currently have it saved on their TpT wishlist!  So... if you happen to be one of those teachers, now is the time to move it to your cart and SAVE some money!

Visit my TpT store and see what hundreds of other teachers have to say about this writing resource!

Also... if you would like to read some simple tips on teaching your students how to write personal narratives, click here to read one of my recent blog posts, How to Teach Kids to Write a Personal Narrative in a Few Simple Steps.

March 31, 2017

5 Simple Tips to Help Teach Students How to Count Money

Spring seems to be the time when math teachers are seeking creative ideas on how to teach their students to count money.  Children know what money is and that it is a basic need of survival, but it can sometimes be confusing for students to count money if they have not mastered the standard.  Today, I want to share 5 simple tips teachers can do to help their math students master the measurement standard of counting money.

Side Note:  Before I get started, I encourage you to create a money anchor chart with your students.  Anchor charts are SUPER helpful when introducing a new skill.  Your students should have an active role in creating the anchor chart with you too!  Research has proven that students are more likely to retain a mastered skill when they are an active participant in the creation of an anchor chart rather than just hanging a bought poster on the wall that becomes a part of the background. 


A couple of suggestions on how to create an anchor chart with your students:
  1. Provide your students with a sheet of copy paper.  As you are creating the money anchor chart, your kids can also create one.  When the class is finished with their anchor chart, they can add it to their Math Interactive Notebook or use it as a test-prep study guide.
  2. Another suggestion is to invite your students to the carpet.  The teacher will place a sheet of 8.5x11 copy paper under the document camera to display on the whiteboard.  The teacher will think out loud as he or she is creating the anchor chart.  The students are involved by participating in the think aloud conversation.  Once the teacher has completed the anchor chart, copies can be made for each student to have.
  3. Anchor charts should have a variety of colors used to be visually attractive, vary the "fonts", use different text features such as dots and dashes, underlines, bolder text, fun borders, bubbles around key concepts, etc. 
Now... back to the meat of this blog post... You know, the 5 Simple Tips to Help Teach Students How to Count Money?  Here we go:
  1. Skip Counting:  It is important that your students can fluently skip count before they are ready to count money.  American money is based on the number 100; therefore, I would provide daily opportunities for your kids to practice skip counting by 5s, 10s, and 25s to 100.  Whether it's during your Morning Meeting time at the carpet, a Math 4 Today worksheet, Drops in the Bucket, math centers, using a hundreds chart, place value straw bundles, cubes, etc., this is a vital math skill that must be mastered before they are ready to count money.  
  2. Money Songs/Chants:  There are so many cute money jingles I have come across in my 20+ years of teaching.  I PROMISE...THESE SUCKERS STICK IN MY STUDENTS' MEMORY TANK!  I have always said if my two daughters could remember the information being taught for a test in high school or college like they do the lyrics of the latest chartbuster on iTunes, they would be in good shape for academic scholarships!  On a serious note, I can't take credit for the following chants, and I have no idea where they originated from!  My favorite money chants that stuck with my students when I taught first grade are found below. We practiced these little chants EVERY DAY beginning on the first day of school!  The purpose for reciting them from the beginning of the year was so that when we hit our money unit, my students were already familiar with each coin's name and value.


3.  Coin Sorting/Classifying:  I recommend allowing your students to practice sorting coins based on their attributes.  Give your students manipulative or even real coins and to make sure they can distinguish between the nickels, dimes, and quarters.  The pennies are usually rather easy for kids to identify, but oftentimes, the "silver" coins can confuse some students.

4.  Introduce One Coin at a Time: Begin by introducing your students to the penny.  Allow them opportunities to analyze the penny carefully.  Discuss the features of the heads side and the tails side, the size, as well as, the color.  Practice counting on your whiteboard in a whole group lesson, in math centers with partners, during RTI, and then of course, independently on worksheets.  If you have students needing more practice, there are countless websites on the Internet which provide additional support.  After you feel like your students have mastered the penny, then introduce nickels, dimes, and quarters following these same recommendations.

5.  Counting Mixed Coins:  Once your students have mastered skip counting and can correctly identify the coins and their value, they are ready to count mixed coins.  It is important to teach your students to count mixed coins in order from the greatest valued coin to the least.  For example, if they have 4 pennies, 2 dimes, and 1 quarter... they must learn to count starting with the quarter, then the dimes, and then the pennies.  At first, start simple with just two coins....pennies and nickels.  Then add dimes, and later, add quarters.

 If you are interested in adding some engaging, hands-on resources to help your students master the measurement standard of counting money, click on the images below!  Your students will LOVE the activities which promote 100% student engagement and offer a variety of whole group, small group, math center activities, and independent practice as well! 
You can take that to the bank!

What are some proven strategies you have seen or like to use when teaching your students how to count money?  Please feel free to share your thoughts and ideas by commenting on this post!  

February 26, 2017

March Madness TpT Gift Card Giveaway!

"Dribble, Dribble, Shoot, Shoot, Take that Ball to the Hoop, Hoop!"  Teachers, are you ready for March Madness?  Whether you are a fan of basketball or not, WE think YOU are a SLAM DUNK teacher!  We can't wait to give away $50 to SEVEN lucky teachers to spend on some exciting new Teachers Pay Teachers resources for their classroom!

How would you like a chance to win ONE of SEVEN $50 gift cards to Teachers Pay Teachers? Not to mention, you can enter 16, yes...SIXTEEN, times!  I am so excited to be partnering with some PREMIER Teachers Pay Teachers authors who have united to make this giveaway possible.  So.... What better time than now to win some FREE TpT money and stock your classroom with some new engaging spring resources?!  Don't delay...discover the details below, and enter today!

Simply click the Rafflecopter link below!  Also, you will want to be sure you visit and LIKE Mrs. Avery's Island on Facebook, as well as, FOLLOW Mrs. Avery's Island on Instagram.  Winners will be announced on March 1st on these social media platforms, as well as, the other teacher authors' social media sites!  So after entering the Rafflecopter, remember to go LIKE and FOLLOW me on Facebook and Instagram so I can notify you if you are one of our lucky winning teachers!

Just for fun...leave me a comment below and give a shoutout to your favorite NCAA team!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

February 21, 2017


Every teacher I know (and I know a few after being in the classroom over 20 years), LOVES the word FREE...especially when it comes to fun, engaging resources for their classroom!

I wanted to invite you to take a walk down Memory Lane with me, and check out my brand new Cootie Catchers product line (or perhaps you may know them as Fortune Tellers)!  Remember back in elementary school when we would create these fun foldables and "play" with our besties?  Oh, how funny it was to learn who we would marry, how many kids we would have, the kind of car we would drive, what our career would be (thankfully, I didn't end up as a garbage collector), and whether we would live in a mansion or a shack?  Ahhhh...  can you even imagine where our lives would be if any of those "fortunes" would have come true?!  LOL!

So... I decided I would play around with these Cootie Catchers with my 2nd graders.  I designed an easy to fold template, programmed it with {USEFUL} information, AKA Grade Level Standards, set aside traditional (boring) worksheets, and allowed my students to "PLAY" with them!  For most of my students, this was the first time they had ever seen these little boogers, but can I just tell you, EVERY student was engaged...EVERY student was learning...EVERY student was mastering standards...and EVERY student was begging to make more!  After we were done "playing" with them in class, my students took them home!  The feedback I received from parents was phenomenal!  Parents were expressing to me how much their child LOVED playing with them with their family members!  Just think...the more they are playing, the more they are learning and retaining this information!

Here's a little bird's eye view of some of my students playing with them the first day I introduced them to Cootie Catchers!  I LOVED their faces when they discovered how to actually maneuver their fingers and make them work!


Just imagine how powerful Cootie Catchers could be for students to review for a test or simply practice a new skill.  Seriously...the repetition of "playing" with a partner, or the ability for students to self-check, if playing independently, is a perfect way for students to master grade level standards.  They are also a perfect fast finisher activity!

Since then, I have made SEVERAL Cootie Catchers to address a variety of skills/standards.  Some of the standards include:  Black History Month, Presidents Day, Fractions, Division, Figurative Language, Money, and more are being made to add to the collection!  (The next one will be Telling Time!)

With standardized testing just around the corner, I know teachers are all beginning to get in that "test prep" mode!  So... I wanted to give you a FREE SIMILES COOTIE CATCHER for you to experiment with your students!

Whether you are beginning to concentrate on different types of figurative language (alliteration, metaphors, onomatopoeia, Idioms, etc.) to help your students amp their skills when writing personal narratives, or perhaps gearing up for National Poetry Month, I wanted to offer you this FOLLOWER FREEBIE as a THANK YOU for supporting my Teachers Pay Teachers Store and always inspiring me to create engaging resources!  After you download this FREEBIE, I would love feedback from you to share your thoughts with me, as well as, other teachers who may be interested in this download!

I hope you enjoy this NO PREP (and when I say, "No prep!"...I really mean NO PREP...NO tape, NO glue, NO staples, and even better than that...NO color ink required!) FREEBIE!

Please leave a comment and let me know if there is a skill you would like made into a Cootie Catcher!  I'd love to hear your suggestions!

Thank you for surfing over and visiting Mrs. Avery's Island today!

February 15, 2017

How to Teach Your Students to Write a Personal Narrative in Just a Few Steps

If I were a betting girl, I would bet a hole in a donut you have students sitting in your classroom who look as though they've lost their best friend the moment you mention WRITING. I mean...they DREAD writing worse than anything, and no matter how much of a "dog and pony show" you do trying to promote and market this key component of literacy, they clearly do not demonstrate GRIT (for teachers using Growth Mindset in their classroom) when it comes to writing! In other words, they throw in the towel!

In fact, all of a sudden, they find every reason/excuse to avoid the task and seek a quick escape plan. With that said, I would like to share the top 5 escape methods for students, who might also be categorized as my non-writers, who try to pull that card on me when it is time to enter our Writers' Workshop.....(insert drum roll):
  1. Student:  "I need to go the the bathroom."  Me:  "Honey, I just took all of you to the bathroom 5 minutes ago."
  2. Student:  "I can't find my pencil."  Me:  "Oh, for the love of Pete, just look around on the floor! There are several sizes and colors to choose from!"
  3. Student:  "My pencil lead is broke."  (As I've just observed the stinker purposefully break the lead!  Arrgh!  When this happens, I deal with the consequences of the behavior infraction after we are done writing to avoid any further shutdown.)  Me:  "I'm so thankful our Pencil Pals sharpened the packs of pencils I sent home!  Let me get you a new one!"
  4. Student:  "I think I left my jacket in the gym."  Me:  "Oh, Sweetie, it will be right there waiting on you when we finish writing today."
  5. Student:  (This one is used after we have been writing for a couple of days.) "My mom took my paper out of my binder."  Me:  "Baby, I'm sorry you didn't follow directions and put it in your workshop folder like I asked.  Since you didn't follow directions, you will have to start over."
As educators, we can all agree that students will avoid mentally challenging tasks or assignments like the plague...especially those that don't come natural for them. With that said, I would like to virtually invite you into my classroom to share with you how I am miraculously turning my non-writers into amazing little authors and observing students who are taking their love for writing to a whole new level in just a few steps!

Day One: 
ALWAYS AVOID THE WORD "WRITING" ON THIS DAY!  In fact, on the first day, I gave my students a large sheet of manilla paper and told them to think of a fun place/adventure they had gone on before.  (This allows them to have choice, as well as, background knowledge they will use later.)  Personally, I would find it difficult to write about a place/topic I had no prior knowledge of too, so how could I expect that from my 2nd graders?

Today's assignment was for students to illustrate a place or an adventure they had gone on.  I told them I would be looking for the following things on their poster:  specific things (these things would later become details in their writing) they saw at this place or on their adventure, people who were with them (I remind them to add speech blurbs if they would like....You will discover why these speech blurbs might be included below), any sounds they heard at this place, and a title at the top of the poster identifying their location or adventure.  How precious is the "FAR" below?  I can almost hear that carny's voice saying, "Step right up and win a fish!  Everyone's a winner!"

In the poster below, this student illustrated a squirrel hunting adventure he went on with his dad and a friend.  No joke... THIS is the kid that would sit, stare, and find every reason to leave the classroom to avoid having to write.  Thirty minutes later, he wouldn't even have the first word on his paper.

...and here's how my life as a writing teacher changed forever!

Have you ever seen the series of video clips on YouTube for writing personal narratives from Teaching Without Frills?  If you have not ever seen the short, and I do mean short... like 3-6 minutes kind of short, video clips on writing personal narratives from Teaching Without Frills, I strongly encourage you to check them out!  These videos have literally been my game changer!  These clips captivate my students attention...YES, even those students that most would say could never be captivated!

When I first introduced my students to these clips, I would only play the clip which applied to where we were in our writing process.  For example, I played the Brainstorming and Prewriting episodes after my students created their poster for the purpose of not wanting my students to select a topic from the clip, but still to show them how they can come up with a topic to write about.  I'm a firm believer in the tool, copy and paste; however, I wanted my students to think independently and not copy and paste what the video suggested.

Day Two: 
Episode 3:  Writing an Introduction The main objective in this lesson is for students to learn how to write a strong introduction and hook the reader!  No joke, when I tell you my kids blew me away after watching this 3 minute video, I'M NOT KIDDING!

The video simply breaks it down for students to write a "hook" and a strong introduction.  Students are taught how to write four different types of "hooks".
  • Onomatopoeia (This is why I have students label their poster with any sounds they may have heard on their adventure.)
  • A description of the setting
  • Dialogue (This is why I have them include the people that were with them on their adventure.)
  • Asking a question
After watching this clip, I gave my students about 20 minutes to write a strong introduction and hook.

Day Three:
Episode 4:  Writing a Draft  In this episode, students are taught that writing a draft is the very first version of their story.  They also learned they should only tell the most important events and in the order they occurred.  I also emphasized the importance of using temporal, or time order, words to help the reader make connections and for the narrative to have a general flow.  We discussed the importance of using "college kid" types of sentences (a variety of sentence types) with strong adjectives and adverbs so our audience would be able to visualize as if they were there.

This stage of the process can vary.  You will find that your stronger writers will need more time than your weaker writers, but that's okay!  This is a learning process and I promise you will see more and more growth among ALL of your students.

Day Four:
Episode 5:  Writing a Closing or Conclusion  In this episode, my students learned that a story needs a strong closing so the story is wrapped up or sounds finished.  Some ideas the video suggests include:
  • Rephrasing the opening of your story to focus on the main idea  (An emphasis should be placed on the importance of changing the words so the reader isn't bored.)
  • Sharing the writer's feelings or emotions  (Ex.  I was so excited when I got to ........)
  • State a lesson that was learned  (Ex.  The next time I go roller skating, I will remember to........)
  • Sharing a hope for the future  (Ex.  Next time, I hope I can.......)
  • Give a current update about the story if students are writing about something that happened a long time ago (Ex.  Now, my dog is three years old and is completely house trained.)
Day Five:  
Episode 6:  Revising Your Story  This episode teaches students that changes are made to make the narrative stronger and to make sure it makes sense before it is published.  Students are taught to add, remove, or change words to make the story more interesting.  One strategy for teaching students how to add strong adjectives is to have them highlight 10 (or your preference) nouns.  Then have your students place a word in front of each noun to make it more interesting.  For example, if the sentence was, "My mom surprised me with a puppy."  Students could change it to, "My precious mom surprised me with an adorable puppy."  This is a perfect time to share the importance of synonyms too so that students avoid using the same adjective over and over!

Day Six:
Episode 7:  Editing This episode focuses on the importance of correcting any spelling, grammar, capitalization, and punctuation mistakes before publishing.  During this stage, I have my students individually meet with me.  They read it to me, and I use a highlighter and mark the mistakes that students need to correct.  This stage sort of works out naturally because everyone isn't finishing at the same time.  Once my above grade level/stronger writers are finished, they become a peer editor too!  This makes it easier on me and avoids the lag time when that student, and yes...we all have them,  decides to get the wise idea to tie his shoelaces together!

Day Seven:
Episode 8:  Publishing Our Writing  Students are so proud of their accomplished narrative!  During this stage, students are given their "fancy" paper to transfer their revised and edited story to.  It's amazing how they naturally want to write in their BEST handwriting to make sure it looks ready for the shelves at Barnes and Noble!   

As you can see, teaching students how to write a quality personal narrative isn't done in one day.  I often remind my students, Robert Munsch, Dr. Seuss, Laura Numeroff, or any other popular author didn't write a story or book in one sitting.  It is a lengthy process and like training for a marathon, but no doubt, it's a process that makes all students boast with pride once they complete their published version.

Additional Notes and Writing Resources to Help You Get Started:
  • Each day we go into our "Writers' Workshop", I have these video clips playing in the background....They just loop from one clip into the next.  My students NEVER get tired of them, and it's amazing how many elements I am discovering in their writing samples now.  From STRONG introductions and conclusions, to onomatopoeia, to amazing "hooks"!  They are phenomenal!
  • When my students go to Work on Writing during Daily 5, I have anchor charts of the writing process displayed on a bulletin board for students to refer to as needed.  (I have also created these writing posters for other teachers to coordinate with their classroom.  If you would like a custom set in a particular theme or color scheme, I would be happy to help you out with that!)
  • Although my students have choice when they are at the writing center, the last thing I want them doing is wasting a single minute thinking of what to write about.  Therefore, I keep a monthly menu available for them to use if needed.  (These menus are especially helpful for beginning writers. 
  • Students need practice, practice, and more practice with written expression in order to be successful writers.  Because standardized tests require students to respond to writing prompts and demonstrate their knowledge of grammar skills, capitalization rules, using correct punctuation, using temporal words to create that natural flow, etc., it is never too early to start preparing them.  As the saying goes, "Practice makes Perfect", so why wouldn't we want to expose them to many writing opportunities.
How would you like to NEVER have to scramble for another journal topic again?  Take a look at this NO PREP, Year Long Writing Bundle and see what hundreds of other teachers and homeschoolers have to say!  Each month included in the bundle comes with 20 engaging writing prompts, a monthly menu of story starters, seasonal/thematic Word Work cards, a student writing rubric, and a writing reference guide full of tips for students to keep in their writing journal/binder.  The writing templates for each month have a unique border to help teachers keep track of when students completed the writing to help track their students' growth.

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I hope you find this blog post helpful for teaching your students how to become successful writers.  I would love to know your thoughts!  Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think!