Monday, July 28, 2014

Book Talk Linky...Road Trip, Round Trip!

I am busy finishing up my Making Sense of Maps and Globes unit which I hope will be available in just a few days in my TpT store!  In the spirit of this upcoming, new goodie, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite travel books...Round Trip by Ann Jonas.
While the story certainly keeps students engaged, it is not the story that I love the's the illustrations.  The illustrations--done completely in black and white--completely transform when the book is turned upside down...when the reader takes a "round trip!"  

This book is a favorite to supplement studies of art, geography, transportation, antonyms, etc.  I love the resulting artwork that it always inspires my students to create, the critical and creative thinking it encourages, and the surprised gasps I get as I turn the story from top to bottom...amazing!  Happy reading!  Shannon :-)

PS--See even more great books by viewing the entire linky at  

Open House Ideas and More...

As the school year approaches for me, I have been making a list of things to do prior to open house...ideas like reworking my brochure/welcome packet for my parents to outline the year, learning goals, behavior plan and expectations, etc...stringing tissue paper pom poms above of my table groups...
painting a chalkboard and bulletin board for use with our Science and Social Studies units (more pics to come in a later post)...reworking some curriculum ideas and word wall words...lots to do to keep my brain busy as the summer winds down and make my classroom a warm and inviting place for students, parents, and ME!  I am sure you are busy with your own "to do" list for back to school as well!!!  

In addition to the tissue paper pom pom tutorial I shared above, I also wanted to share a pic with you that I pinned on Pinterest and came from a fellow teacher's blog.  Definitely want to make these adorable "selfies" with my 4th graders to display for open house!  Don't you just LOVE?! 
Yesterday at church our middle school pastor shared about living a life of significance...choosing things that matter over things that are superficial or fleeting.  That is my prayer every year as another teaching year approaches.  It reminds me of the quote by Henry Brooks Adams, "A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops."  Praying for you all, dear friends, as you rush to work in your rooms now and impact your learners forever!  Peace, love, and teaching, Shannon :-)

Friday, July 25, 2014

An Adorable Freebie for Back to School!

Just a quick note...just pinned this on Pinterest and guess what?!  The download is FREE on TpT!  Exactly what I need for my 4th graders!  Thanks, Valerie King!  LOVE IT!!!!  <3, Shannon

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

It's the Little Things in Life...

It's the little things in life that bring us joy...right???  Well, tonight I am joyful because of the new look of my blog!!!  Argyle background and adorable new clip art...the things that thrill this mama/teacher's soul!!!  LOL  I am sooooooo excited!!!

Besides changing the look of my blog, it has been a busy, fun-filled 24 hours around here!  Our middle child celebrated his 11th birthday with a trip to watch the Bravoes play in the ATL!  We ended up losing 6-5, but whew, what an 8th inning!  We clapped, we cheered, we wore our rally caps, and we did the Tomahawk chop, but alas, the Braves fell to the Marlins in spite of all of our encouragement.  All is not lost...Freddie Freeman's catch did make the highlight reel on Sportsnation today, which was AWESOME according to my 9th grader!  Here are just a few pics of our fun!  And please note the blue and red hair...we did that in the parking lot before the game LOL!


For those of you that live in the Peach State like me, my kiddoes got their tickets FREE for doing summer reading at our local library.  Find out more here:

In all seriousness, I also wanted to share with you a bit of encouragement.  Summer offers me the chance to do something that I don't do quite as much of during the school year--READ!  I came across this today while reading The Story by Max Lucado.  I wanted to share in case there was someone like me who needed to remember this word of truth during this 4th week of July:

Yet, this I call to mind
and therefore I have hope:

Because of the LORD's great love we are not consumed,
for His compassions never fail.
They are new every morning; 
great is Your faithfulness.
I say to myself, "The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for Him."

It is good to wait quietly
for the salvation of the Lord (Lamentations 3) 

Blessings to you and yours!  Shannon :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Book Talk Tuesday...A Little Something Strange!

Hi, and happy Tuesday!  My kids have been busy completing their summer reading charts for our local library, so the Science teacher in me could resist sharing one of their favorites from their list...Strangest Animals by Thea Feldman.
What even is that creature on the cover?  LOL The pictures are strange, adorable, and yucky...all at the same time!  This nonfiction text (that is super-kid friendly) is published by the American Museum of Natural History.  Here are just a few of the eye-catching animals found inside.

Whether studying animal adaptations, ecosystems, regions of the world, or research skills, this book would be a reader favorite!  It is filled with fun facts to make any little scientist happy!  Extensions could include practicing map skills by locating these animals around the globe, writing animal reports, making comparison charts of the various adaptations mentioned in the book, or creating one's own "strange animal" to share with classmates...the list goes on and on!  Enjoy, and look for these super-strange titles as well!  
Peace, love, and happy reading!  Shannon :-)

PS--For the entire linky, visit here for more:

Monday, July 21, 2014

Lights, Camera, Thinking! and More...

I have some dear teacher friends headed back to school this week...THIS WEEK!  Where did the summer go?  In the spirit of Back to School time, I wanted to share with you a resource that I use in my own classroom, as well as several variations of this product that hopefully will benefit your little learners and match your classroom or school theme. 

My classroom is designed with a train theme in mind, so this is the set of Bloom's Taxonomy/higher order thinking posters that I made for my own class!

I use these in both teaching and planning, and laminated and posted them on my classroom wall for student reference as well.  Metacognition occurs when we get students thinking about their thinking, and these visuals help students think on a higher level and also articulate the types of thinking they are doing.

Interested in seeing if there is a set that matches your theme?  Here are some of the classroom sets available in my online stores for just $3...Whew...there are a bunch!  S :-)

Saturday, July 19, 2014

New Things, Old Fears...

We are fresh off of a quick weekend trip to coastal GA.  A sweet niece was celebrating her 5th birthday, so we made the most of our time together by squeezing in some kayaking Friday evening.  My boys have been kayaking several times, but for our little girl...this was her first time, and she was sooooooo excited!  

She started off by riding as a passenger on board with her big brothers.  Sure that space is meant for a cooler or fishing gear, but she thought it was the perfect place to catch a ride!   

After awhile, however, just riding wasn't enough!  She wanted a bit of tackle kayaking on her own!  And let me say, we were so proud of her!!!  She paddled like a rock star, completely unafraid of the outgoing tide, the pull of the current, the fish jumping all around her, and the fact that she was in a kayak in the marsh ALL BY HERSELF!!!

While watching her relish in the joy of new discovery and the thrill of accomplishment, I had a few quiet moments on the dock to watch and consider...I wish I approached new challenges with the same enthusiasm and determination that she did!  Sometimes, though, I instead feel fear, anxiety, or even discouragement when a new challenge or unplanned experience comes along.

In truth, this past year has been a year FULL of changes for our family!  A new job, a new school for all 3 children, a new church for our family...ALL of these new experiences.   But I am learning to be thankful for the NEW--to be open to new possibilities, new friendships, new challenges, and new blessings that may be waiting behind new doors of opportunity!  

Tonight I felt led to share in case you also find yourself at a new crossroads.  Be encouraged!  That is the lesson I have learned from the past year, and that is the lesson I was reminded of by my daughter, the fearless kayaker!  Choosing joy, Shannon <3

Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. Isaiah 43:19

Do not despise these small beginnings, for the LORD rejoices to see the work begin...Zechariah 4:10

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Book Talk Tuesday--A Yummy Book to Use for Teaching Scarcity!

In Saturday's post I shared with you about my newly revised economics mega-unit, Economics for Kids

 Because of that, I wanted to share with you one of my favorite economics stories...The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins.
In a recent book review by Scholastic, I read this blurb about the story, "Ma makes a batch of a dozen chocolate chip cookies for her children Victoria and Sam. Each child has six cookies. But when the doorbell rings and friends drop by, the cookies must be shared. The doorbell rings again, and again, and again...until there is only one cookie for each child. What happens if the doorbell rings again? Will the cookies be divided? Will Ma make more cookies? Or will a special visitor surprise everyone?

Author/illustrator Pat Hutchins has wonderfully rendered a diverse array of children in characteristically rich illustrations, and the excitement of the tale is enhanced with every ring of the doorbell. This lively tale of family love and cookies skillfully teaches youngsters some math basics, as well as the basics of sharing."

Not only does this book do an excellent job of teaching about sharing and mathematical concepts to young children, but it can also be used with older children to teach the idea of scarcity and limited resources!  As an extension, students could write about a time they experienced scarcity, enjoy a snack of chocolate chip cookies, brainstorm a list of resources which are in limited supply, and create posters promoting resource conservation.  Students could also write their own version of this fun story!  I hope you enjoy The Doorbell Rang as much as I do!!!  Happy Tuesday!!!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Economics Unit Update...189 pages of learning fun!!!

Happy Saturday!  Hope you are having a great weekend! Just a quick update that I have just uploaded a revised copy of my economics unit to my TpT store. It now totals 189 pages...jam-packed with ideas that incorporate math, language arts, social studies, creative thinking, etc.  Thank you all for your sweet feedback of this activity pack!!!  I have been overwhelmed by your response!  It is one of my very favorites, so please check it out if you haven't already! 

Here is a description of the unit for those of you that may be interested, especially if you teach 3rd grade and up: 
"This interdisciplinary resource pack was compiled after many years of teaching economics and forming classroom businesses with my own students. It was always so amazing to watch my students develop independence, resourcefulness, and business savvy at a very young age!

This unit may be used as a whole, or you may simply glean from it the portions which you feel are most beneficial for your own students. Don't be afraid to dive in and be fearless. I love the quote by Heinz which says, "To do a common thing, uncommonly well, brings success." If you have a great time with this study, your students will too!

I also find that this unit does a great deal to foster teamwork, creativity, and innovation amongst my students. I hope you enjoy and that your kids have a blast forming businesses, studying advertising, understanding economic principles, and learning together with tons of great supplemental resources, handouts, and activities!!!!! 189 pages of learning fun!"

In my book talk linky this Tuesday, I'll be sharing more about 1 of my favorite economics books, so stay tuned!  Hope to see you then!!!  Shannon