Sunday, May 1, 2016

Teacher Appreciation Gifts for You!

Learn how to claim your teacher appreciation gifts from Laura Candler and how to enter a giveaway for one of two $25 TpT gift cards!
Teaching is so much more than a job; teachers touch the future by making a difference in young lives today! This week is Teacher Appreciation Week, which makes it the perfect time to say thank you for all that you do to make a difference in your students' lives!

To show my appreciation, I'd like to give you several gifts AND offer you a chance to win one of TWO $25 TpT Gift Cards! Let me tell you what’s in store for you and then I’ll explain what you need to do to claim those gifts.

#1 - Unlimited Access to Laura's Best Freebies
First, I’m going to send you to a private page on Teaching Resources that has over 75 of my very best free resources for teachers! These freebies used to be in my TpT store, but I moved them to my own site a few months ago. If you've already been on my email list, you may have found bit of hidden treasure on my site, but I’m sure you won’t mind taking another look!

Learn how to claim your teacher appreciation gifts from Laura Candler and how to enter a giveaway for one of two $25 TpT gift cards!
#2 - Chance to Win One of TWO $25 TpT Gift Cards
Next, I'm giving away TWO $25 TpT gift cards! This giveaway is for subscribers to my free newsletter, so entering the giveaway will automatically sign you up for Candler’s Classroom Connections. (If you already receive it, you shouldn't get another copy if you use the same email address.) You can unsubscribe at any time, but if you do, you won’t continue to receive freebies and notifications about product updates, and I won’t be able to contact you if your name is selected as a gift card winner. The contest ends at 9 pm EDT on Tuesday, and two winners will be selected and notified by email that evening. (Deadline was extended from the original deadline.)

#3 - FREE Access to TWO Webinars and Free LIVE Webinar
I’ll also send you a link to a page with my math vocabulary building strategies webinar and my poetry webinar (shown below), and you'll have FREE access through Friday, May 6th. Both webinar recordings can be purchased in my TpT store, but don’t buy them because you can watch them for free this week! Did I just tell you NOT to buy something from me? :-)

Watch these two webinars for free!

If you enjoy these webinar recordings, you can sign up for my next webinar for teachers on my Free Webinars page on Teaching Resources. All of my webinars are free to watch live, and then I add the recordings to my TpT store as products. My next webinar is scheduled for May 12th, and I'm excited to be co-presenting Power Up Learning with Task Cards with Rachel Lynette of Minds in Bloom! 

#4 – 20% Discount on My Entire TpT Store 
Finally, I'm discounting my entire TpT store  20% for FOUR DAYS! It's already on sale right now, and that sale will extend through midnight EDT, May 4th. (Update: TpT just announced that they are having a sitewide sale on May 3rd and 4th, and you can get an extra 10% off the sale price with discount code CELEBRATE. The math is a little funky, but 10% off 20% turns out to be 28% off the original price. If you want the extra discount, put the item in your shopping cart today and wait until Tuesday or Wednesday to check out with the discount code.)

How To Claim Your Free Gifts
How do you enter the $25 gift card giveaway and get access to the freebies and free webinar replays? You can get access to everything by taking one simple step! Just click HERE, fill out the form that pops up, and submit it.

Then check your inbox for the email with the link to the teacher appreciation gifts page. It often takes 10 or 15 minutes to receive that email, but wait at least 30 minutes before taking another action. If you don’t receive it by then, poke around your email program a bit to see if you can find it. In Gmail, it may show up under your promotions tab. If you find it there, please take steps to add it to your allowed emails list. If you’ve previously unsubscribed from my list, you might have to subscribe using another email address.

By the way, I would greatly appreciate it if you would pin and share this blog post so your colleagues can watch the webinars, enter the giveaway, and get their free gifts, too. 

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!
Once again, thank you for all that you do for your students. As a former elementary teacher, I know how challenging the profession can be, so your contributions are significant. You may never know the impact of all the little things you do each and every day for the children you teach, but you can rest assured that you DO make a difference in their lives. I hope you have a terrific Teacher Appreciation Week!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Math is More Than a Numbers Game

Math is more than a numbers game! Read this post to discover the key to math vocabulary instruction and to sign up for a free webinar with Laura Candler!
Have you ever considered the importance of vocabulary instruction in math? If you think about it, success in math often hinges more on the ability to read and understand the language of mathematics than on the ability to perform mathematics computation. In other words ...

Math is more than a numbers game. 

Years ago, standardized tests consisted of page after page of computation, but today's math tests require students to read challenging word problems and understand precise mathematical terminology in order find  the solution. For example, upper elementary students who don't know the difference between factor and multiple or range and median are going to struggle to perform well on tests. Geometry is another area where accurate knowledge of the key vocabulary is closely tied to understanding of the essential concepts.

It's pretty clear that mastering the language of math is just as important as mastering math facts or being able to solve complex computational problems.

So what's the best way to teach math vocabulary? I can assure you that having kids is memorize words and definitions is NOT the way to go! Besides being extremely boring, rote memorization does not provide students with the opportunity to explore the complex nuances of meaning inherent in math terminology.

The good news is that the most powerful strategies for helping kids learn the language of math are also the most motivating and fun! Why? Because those methods encourage kids to TALK about math concepts and practice using the vocabulary correctly as they take part in hands-on activities and math strategy games.

Powerful Strategies for Building Math Vocabulary Webinar
Over the years, I've developed a collection of activities and games that are highly effective for building math vocabulary, and they're super fun for kids, too. I enjoyed sharing those strategies in a webinar for teachers that I presented last month. In that webinar I also shared about 4 important phases of math vocabulary instruction and described strategies for targeting each phase. The live webinar was free for those who registered in advance, and the webinar recording is available for purchase from my TpT store.

How to Power Up Any Activity to Boost Vocabulary Development
My favorite part of the webinar was diving into HOW to "power up" any activity to boost its effectiveness. I started by sharing how I modified the basic "Guess My Number" game to make it a powerful tool for building math vocabulary. Mystery Number takes only a few minutes a day and very few materials, but while students are playing the game, they're practicing and reinforcing important math vocabulary and concepts. The best part is that they'll be having so much fun, they won't even know they're learning! In fact, my students loved this game so much that they begged to play it and didn't want to stop for recess!

Free Webinars for Teachers
As of this point in time, all of my webinars for teachers are free if you register in advance and attend the LIVE session. After that, the webinar recordings are available for purchase from my TpT store. If you'd like to attend my next free live webinar, visit my Webinars Page on Teaching Resources to see what's planned. I hope to connect with you in the next webinar!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Don't Miss the Teaching Resources Summer Conference!

Join Laura Candler and Pat Calfee in Virginia Beach this July for the Teaching Resources Summer Conference! You'll walk away with the tools and strategies to power up learning and ensure success for all students!
July 28 - 29, 2016
Virginia Beach, VA

"This teacher workshop went above and beyond my expectations. It was practical, tangible, and inspiring. The most valuable aspect was seeing the practical and effective strategies used to not only further education but make it a whole lot of fun. I truly enjoyed this - it was the best workshop I've had in 28 years of teaching!"  
With today's rigorous curriculum standards, teachers are expected to do more - and take students to a higher level of excellence - than ever before. Planning effective lessons and preparing the resources to meet these challenges can be exhausting! If only you had toolkit of teacher resources and strategies to reduce your planning time and put your students on a fast track to success.

Your wish will be granted if you attend the Teaching Resources Summer Conference in Virginia Beach this July! Pat Calfee and I are teaming up to offer you an exciting two-day event that's sure to get you pumped up and energized for the 2016-2017 school year.

We not only share WHAT to teach, we dive into best practices as we explore HOW to teach that content effectively.

The outcome? Your students will love to learn and will soar to success! 

If you join us for this event, you can look forward to...
  • Recharging your batteries with fresh teaching strategies 
  • Experiencing an exceptional networking opportunity
  • Exploring a wide variety of teaching tools to ensure success for ALL students 
The first day will be devoted to math, and the second day will focus on literacy strategies. Register for one day or both days together at a discount. We expect these sessions to fill up, so sign up now to reserve your spot and receive the early registration discount!

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Earth Rounds: What Fraction of the Earth Can Support Life?

What fraction of our planet can support life? Create edible Earth Rounds to find out!
Sometimes kids think Earth has unlimited resources and they don't realize that only a small part of our planet is habitable. Edible Earth Rounds is a tasty activity you can use to demonstrate this concept, and it's a great way to sneak in a fraction lesson, too! Each student will use half an English muffin or sandwich round to create a model of the earth. They'll use jelly to represent the part of our Earth covered with water, peanut butter or almond butter for the land, and other food items to represent the uninhabitable and habitable parts of the land. Check out the photos below for a quick overview of what's involved.

When you introduce the activity, you might want to spend a few minutes discussing the terms "habitable," "inhabitable," and "uninhabitable." Did you know that "habitable" and "inhabitable" are actually synonyms? Usually the prefix "in" means "not," but apparently "inhabitable" is the exception to that rule. Therefore, the only form that means "not able to be inhabited" is "uninhabitable." Are you confused yet? :-)

Saturday, March 26, 2016

10 Ways to Power Up Any Lesson and Maximize Learning

Imagine someone asked you to describe the best lesson you ever taught. Which lesson would you choose? What do you think made that lesson so awesome?

Let me guess. It was probably fun for both you and your students ... maybe a hands-on math lesson, a science investigation, or a cooperative learning activity.

But I'll bet it was more than just fun. Your best lesson was probably rigorous and challenging, too, and one reason it was so memorable was because you could see that your students were GETTING IT! We all love those "light bulb" moments where everything clicks into place and the magic of learning happens.

So what makes a lesson really amazing? I used to think hands-on learning and active engagement were the critical factors. Clearly my students were having fun during these lessons, and it looked like they were learning, too.    

But you know what I discovered? A fun lesson isn't necessarily an effective one. You're nodding your head right now if you've ever taught a highly engaging lesson, only to realize the next day that your students didn't actually LEARN the key concepts. For example, kids can have a blast creating wind-powered cars from straws, spools of thread, and paper, yet not have a clue about wind as a renewable energy source.