vocabulary development

Saturday Extra: Good Citizen Foldable

Posted by on Aug 31, 2013 in Freebies, vocabulary, vocabulary development | 0 comments

Saturday Extra: Good Citizen Foldable

I hope everyone who is back to school is enjoying a great start. I know I am with my 18 third graders. We’ve learned a lot about each other this week. I am anxious to do some beginning of year testing to better understand each child’s needs (but not before I enjoy my long weekend, of course).

I am enjoying my long weekend by creating for my classroom and for my Teachers Pay Teachers store! This is what I truly love to do.

We have been asked to begin using a social studies interactive notebook this year.  So I will be creating several types of foldables throughout the year, that I will then share!

Today I made a social studies foldable for us to use in our classroom next week. We will be studying some vocabulary words that describe a good citizen: respectful, responsible, fair, honest, caring, informed, determined, etc. We use words from both a “Be a Good Citizen” lesson in our reading text and pages in our social studies text.

On the foldable the students will write a complete sentence on the back of each flap, then draw a picture of themself performing the act they described under the flap.

We are also making another foldable for defining and illustrating the terms.

Good Citizen Foldable

Good Citizen Foldable

Here are directions for creating the second foldable.

Directions for 4-page book foldable

I have several products you might be interested in for social studies incluing ones on government and the Pledge of Allegiance.



Enjoy your holiday! Have a great week!


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It’s Time to Start Again

Posted by on Aug 5, 2013 in Freebies, general school, vocabulary, vocabulary development | 0 comments

It’s Time to Start Again

If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?

– John Wooden

I am headed to my classroom this morning to begin organizing it for another school year. I have created so many new things for my penguin decor that i am not even sure that I have all of it. I still have more to do; labels, name cards, etc.

I can’t wait to get my new list of names. With technology, these days I can look at pictures and begin to learn their faces before I even meet them. I love carefully printing each name on their nametags, but I especially love it when I redo nametags in cursive in about 6 weeks. I love writing in cursive. My best work looks like a Zaner Bloser handwriting manual. Unfortunately, these days there is not enough time to teach cursive well.

In a recent post I expressed my goal to conquer my paper mess this school year. A teaching goal that I have is to do a better job teaching writing. I really need to work on conferencing. I’ve been learning more about what a conference should look like/sound like this summer. It seems to be just the help I need to get this going well. I hope it works! This was a particularly useful website:


Part of holding a conference is having children feeling comfortable with the language of writing. I decided that to help them become comfortable, they need to practice it more often then we have in the past. To this end I plan to use peer writing conferences often, maybe even daily. We have been asked at my school to use sentence stems more often to help children speak in complete sentences. And while I do this daily with our mentor sentence, I felt that this could be another perfect spot to practice that skill. Students will use their writing vocabulary, practice complete sentences, and grow as writers all at once.

I developed a (penguin themed) peer writing conference bulletin board to post in my classroom. It has the added benefit of making great use of the bulletin board that was less than well used last year. http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Peer-Writing-Conference-Bulletin-Board-Penguin-Theme-809132 I also created jungle, monster, ocean, owl, and black frame themes.  I even have a couple “pick a partner” activities planned so that we can get moving and meeting new friends everyday.

Here’s one of them. You can download it for free here or purchase it for $1.00 in my TpT store by clicking on the cover.

Find a Partner


I will be taking pictures as I put my (penguin themed) room together. I can’t wait to share.

I’d love to read anything you want to share about writing conferences or ways to pick partners. (I want to make one of those clock activities for that somehow involving penguins.) You can add any posts or products about writing here:




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Brain Breaks

Posted by on Aug 2, 2013 in Freebies, vocabulary development | 1 comment

Brain Breaks

“I like nonsense, it wakes up brain cells.”  – Dr. Seuss

Brain Breaks

We’ve learned that regularly incorporating short movement activities into the instructional day allows children to get their ‘wiggles’ out, and energizes them and increases their ability to focus on the next learning activity.

Find It in a Flash

This activity helps students make associations (which also helps develop vocabulary).  The teacher needs a set of flashcards with colors,  shapes, letters, or numbers etc. For a quick brain break randomly flash a card, students must quickly find five things in the classroom the correspond to that card. For example, flash a square, students tell their shoulder partner or team 5 items in the room that are square, contain a square, etc. Flash red, find 5 red items. Flash “L” find five items that start with L or find the letter L posted in 5 places in the room. Flash 3 and students must find 5 things that come in threes in the room.

I have created 24 flashcards for colors, shapes, letters, and numbers for you to download free or buy it from my TpT store by clicking on the picture.

Find It in a Flash




Are You For Real?

I love this brain break because it is all about vocabulary! The teacher gives an unfamiliar word (for example, tintinnabulation) along with 2 definitions (the sound of bells or covering something with foil). Students are asked to discuss the word and definitions and decide together which definition is for real.

The Seat Exchange

During a review session, students who answer a question correctly switch seats with the person in front, behind, or to the left or right of them. Be sure to have many questions ready for much movement.

And If You Are Really Brave



Would you like to share a favorite brain break? Please write about it in the comments.

If you would like to share a product add it to the linky!



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August? Already?!

Posted by on Aug 1, 2013 in vocabulary, vocabulary development | 2 comments

Ah, summer, what power you have to make us suffer and like it.

– Russell Baker

This morning I was wondering about how August got its name. I thought it was named for Augustus Caesar, but I wasn’t sure if  that was accurate. Well, I was right and I learned some really cool stuff! Did you know that August was originally the SIXTH month and its name was “Sextillia” which is Latin for sixth? I knew September, October, November , and December were all misnomers as their prefixes mean seven, eight, nine, and ten.

What I didn’t know was the March used to be the first month! Until 1752 the British and their colonies celebrated New Years at the spring equinox around March 22! Now all of the misnamed months make sense.

The word April may come from the Latin word for second, the Latin word for “to open” because of flowers blooming, or the Roman goddess Aphrodite. Its origin is not certain.

Februa used to be an end of year celebration and around 690 B.C. it became a whole month of celebration and was named February. January, March, and May are all named for Roman gods or goddesses while July, just as I thought is named for Julius Caesar. However, before he laid claim to the month, it was named “Quintilis,” which is Latin for fifth.

So much great information, and great for vocabulary building!

Yesterday I redid all of my birthday charts, because a buyer asked if they could be bigger and have more lines. The new ones are 8 by 5.25. The 12 months will need about 5 feet of space to display. The small charts are still available.


Larger penguin birthday  chart

The Penguin Birthday chart is a freebie.

Larger Monster birthday chartFind all of the birthday charts here:


What are some calendar activities you do with your class? Please link us to a favorite or post it in the comments. You can find over 4000 of them at TpT!


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Family Time

Posted by on Jul 19, 2013 in scavenger hunt, Uncategorized, vocabulary development | 0 comments

We are on a family trip for a nephew’s wedding and my mom’s 89th birthday. As my husband was driving, I alternated between reading and writing ideas for projects. I am most excited about the two new scavenger hunts I am ready to make on vocabulary development! I am considering making one of them my Featured Freebie as the 4th of July one is rather dated at this point.

I have also planned out one or two scavenger hunts for the younger grades. The antonym one is ready for me to make. The synonym one needs a little more thought.

so far, I have not heard from the winner of my Giveaway. if I do not hear from hear by the time we return home, I will post a new giveaway. I really want someone to win the prize.


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A Group Discussion

Posted by on Jul 16, 2013 in example non-example, vocabulary, vocabulary development | 2 comments

A group of penguins is called a waddle of penguins. Yes, a waddle. Unless they’re in a nesting group, that’s a rookery. Or a group of penguin babies, that’s a creche. Or, if it’s a group on water, that’s a raft.

Animal group names are so much fun, who doesn’t like a gaggle of geese for instance. Isn’t it cool that fish go to school?

Here’s a little test for you:

Group Names; 3 Facts and a Fib

I love these names. It would make a great vocabulary lesson finding out how the name fits the animal’s personality. Each child could research the meaning of the group noun and, if needed, learn some more about the animal in order to explain how the phrase may have come about and why it fits. Here are some more that would be perfect for the lesson:

A flutter of butterflies

A train of camels

A float of crocodiles

A murder of crows

A congregation of eagles

A charm of finches

A flamboyance of flamingos

A skulk of foxes

A tower of giraffes

A cloud of grasshoppers

A cackle of hyenas

A smack of jellyfish

An exaltation of lark

A leap of leopards

A pride of lions

A barrel of monkeys

A romp of otters

A parliament of owls

A pandemonium of parrots

A rhumba of rattlesnakes

A scurry of squirrels

A knot of toads

A wisdom of wombats

Many more group names can be found here: http://www.sandiegozoo.org/animalbytes/got_questions_groups_list.html

The names I’ve chosen lend themselves easily to differentiation. Some students need to think about “a tower of giraffes” while others are ready to understand “a pandemonium of parrots” or “an exaltation of larks”.

Oh, and it is actually a congregation of alligators.

Announcing the Winner!

Diane has won the Penguin Products or any $25.00 of items from my store. I’ll let you know her choices!


Here’s a Fun Linky party.


Linda at Primary Inspiration has a linky with free classroom decor printables. Go find some ggod stuff, or maybe even add your own link.



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