Saturday, July 23, 2016

I Promise to Be Better!'s been quite awhile since I've posted!  This past school year was a whirlwind, and I can't believe that this summer is starting to wrap up.  I've had a very busy summer, which started waaaaay back on May 12!  Yes, that's right, we've been out of school since the middle of MAY.  And we don't officially go back until the middle of August.  We were blessed with no snow days last year and our new superintendent wanted to re-adjust the calendar with a later start date, so we lucked in to a FULL THREE MONTHS OF SUMMER.  Woah.

Let's see...I've spent some time on my grandma's farm, flew to Los Angeles for a week to see family, had my nieces visit twice, watched three days of the Olympic swimming trials in Omaha (including all TEN heats of the men's 1500m freestyle...about 15 minutes per heat!), relaxed on the beach in Gulf Shores, and spent lots of time just hanging out around my house.  Oh, and I picked raspberries in my back yard, GALLONS of black raspberries.

During my time at home, I've been busy working on new items for my TpT store.   I finished my Civil War interactive Social Studies notebook unit.  This was one of my favorite notebooking units to make, because the Civil War is one of my favorite time periods in history.  I have been researching my ancestors, and I have many relative that fought on both sides of the war.  I've always loved visiting Civil War battlefields, and visiting Gettysburg is on my bucket list.

Anyway, again, this unit is one of my favorites.  I have actually purchased Civil War units for my classroom in the past, because I didn't have one that I had made.  But, they always left me a little bit disappointed.  They usually focused on the prelude to the war, then two or three battles, and then wrapped up the war pretty quickly.  My 5th graders always LOVED reading about the battles, and would leave the unit thinking the war was over pretty quickly.  I created this unit to focus on many more battles.  Now, it's certainly not a comprehensive Civil War battle unit, as there were hundreds of battles and skirmishes, but I do include more than two or three!  You can read all about my Civil War interactive Social Studies notebooking unit here.

I've also just added a brand new item to my store.  For a long time, I've wanted to incorporate my writing instruction with Social Studies.  I started to do this at the end of last year, with great results.  My students wrote several different genres of writing to go along with our Westward Expansion interactive notebooking.  They researched, they wrote letters persuading family members to move to the West or not, and they wrote FANTASTIC first person narrative diaries.  They were able to take things they learned in Social Studies and apply it to their writing.  They REALLY understood what
 they were writing about, and they REALLY retained the information well, too!

So, I created some writing prompts to go along with my Geography interactive notebooking unit, since that's the unit I teach first.  (I'll be adding more prompts throughout the year, as I prepare to teach the unit)  This writing unit is a companion to my Geography notebooking unit, but it doesn't have to be used with it.  It can stand on it's own, but I believe students will get more out of it if they use the notebooking unit, too.  You can purchase the Geography Writing Prompts alone or with the Geography notebooking unit in a bundle. You can click here or on the picture below to view the Geography bundle.

This unit covers four genres of writing- descriptive, informative, persuasive, and narrative.  There are four different writing prompts, each with a detailed teacher directions page, graphic organizers, rough draft pages with a student checklist, decorative lined writing paper, and rubrics that feature a spot for student self-assessment, as well as teacher assessment and a place to write teacher comments.  All of these writing prompts are engaging and thought provoking, and they encourage students to take their growing knowledge of Geography to a deeper level.

And the final thing I've updated is my History Notebooking Bundle.  This includes all SEVEN of my history interactive notebooks- Native AmericansExplorersColonial AmericaAmerican RevolutionGovernmentWestward Expansion, and the Civil War, for one price.  You actually save enough money when buy the bundle, it's like getting 7 for the price of 6!  I'll also update this bundle as I add new units, so by purchasing the History Bundle, you'll be locked in for any new units at no additional cost to you!  It really is a great deal!

Now, I promise to be better at blogging this year.  I can feel the changes in my school district and I know it's going to be a fantastic school year.  I've got a great group of kiddos coming up, and I know they'll be as excited to learn as I am to teach them!  My co-teacher and I have a lot of great things already planned, and I'll be glad to share details about them soon!  Now, I'm off to enjoy my final full week of summer before venturing back to my classroom to begin to get ready for another school year!


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