Friday, January 18, 2013

Mid Winter Mad Money Giveaway and Foldable Offering!

Innovative Connections A Smith My Vocabulary Foldable for free
Got the Mid Winter Blues?? Chase them away!
Sometimes we need to just get a little crazy and go shopping in the winter to chase away those winter blues!  I am so excited to team up with these amazing bloggers for this Mid Winter Mad Money Giveaway created by Adrianne of The Tutor House. She's full of awesome ideas, and this is just one of them! 
We are giving away 2 gift certificates of $75 each to 2 lucky winners! 
(I'd do some MAD SHOPPING for sure with $75 buck to spend!) 

All you have to do is use the Rafflecopter widget below to enter.  
This MAD MONEY giveaway starts right now from 
January 18th and goes until 11:59 PM CST January 21st.
Take a minute to visit these outstanding bloggers!  I have really enjoyed getting to know them and collaborating with them. You will too. 

Please use widget below to enter the contest.  
If needing any help with entering contest, email Adrianne at 
Here's a GIANT HIGH FIVE to Adrianne for this easy, breezy giveaway! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway
How you would a $75 TpT giftcard? I need to add to my cart too! 
Comment below with suggested resource (maybe for intermediate or secondary level) and whose store it's in or the link to it...(and email where I can reach you), I'll send you A VOCABULARY FOLDABLE resource for free! 
It's so versatile you can make use of it with any subject/terms you'd like!
A Smith

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

My Favorite "Go-To" Books for Language Arts Teachers

So, I've been "de-cluttering" my house lately, and I've been trying very hard to let go of old books---I've got way too many books- Novels, Textbooks from College, Textbooks my mother used as English Teacher, Children's books, Story Collections, Reference books, reference books, and reference books....WOAH! No way can one person use them all. Or, can I?
Anyhoo...I decided to sort through all them, organizing into "must keep" and "I'm thinking about it..." and "donate" so that I can stick to my "de-cluttering" plan! One of the steps includes cleaning out children's books and another is for going through all other books! Needless to say, I had lots to do!
I've decided to hang on to lots of my reference books. (Just can't part with them...)
And, I here are some of my "Go To" Books as a Language Arts Teacher: 
1. Vocabulary for Dummies (No, I'm not a "Dummie" but I do like these books---they have every subject under the sun!)--I actually have several others versions: Organizing, Spanish, Finances, and Acrylic Painting --wide array of subject areas I know!

My Favorite "Go-To" Books for Language Arts Teachers

2. The Dictionary of Cultural Literacy-What Every American Needs to Know (2nd Edition, Revised and Updated)
I <3 My Mom for getting this for me several years ago! It's so cool...a National Bestseller! There is an unbelievable amount of information in this book! 

My Favorite "Go-To" Books for Language Arts Teachers
3. The Writer's Brief Handbook (I actually "stole" this from my husband--he had it from law school--but I make better use of it!) 
My Favorite "Go-To" Books for Language Arts Teachers
4. The Writer's Options-Lessons in Style and Arrangement (6th Edition)
---One of my college textbooks, it still has the campus book store sticker ;)
My Favorite "Go-To" Books for Language Arts Teachers

As I was writing this post, I remembered a link up from this time a year ago that Stephanie of Teaching in Room 6 did that really exposed me to some great titles. you might like to look through others' favorites! It dawned on me when I was about to add my 5th book -The Little Brown Handbook!
The edition I have is no longer printed, so I will be hanging on to it for years to come! However, tons of editions are available!
My Favorite "Go-To" Books for Language Arts Teachers

Anyhoo, that's my list of favs as a language arts teacher and wife of an attorney (who always has me proof documents-hahahahaha-gotta love doing that)!

As my students begin the research paper process this quarter, we'll be utilizing these a lot!

So,  what could you never part in terms of a resource book? I am apparently always adding to my collection of books! Love them!!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Poetry Activities of All Sorts! Product Swap 3!

Yay, it's time for a new MAGICAL PRODUCT SWAP!!! Jessica Standford, Mrs. Stanford's Class, is our host for the Product Swaps. I've had such fun doing them!! I've gained a lot just from participating. Learning about so many different resources from all the others in the each swap is very motivating! Definitely visit Jessica's blog to see all the peeps who have linked up to swap #3! 
I'm so excited to be paired with a totally AWESOME teacher and fellow bud, Addie Williams of Addie Education Teacher Talk. Addie has over 15 years of experience in teaching. I have loved getting to know her and collaborating with her --really since I've been involved in blogging, TpT, and more!
Addie said I could pick out whatever I wanted to from her store, so I decided on this Poetry Activity Pack! As one of her bestsellers, it's a comprehensive pack of  fun and engaging poetry resources! Want to know the best part? Each of the activities can be easily differentiated for various ages and abilities! 
There are 8 different activities (7 assignments/projects and a bonus handout/worksheet).
Check out the projects in the pack:
"Pet Peeve Poem - Practice Writing With Similes"
"My Life in 30 Words" (Great for Back to School!)
"From Prose to Poetry"
"Laughing With Limericks"
"Imagery Poem"
"Hero Music"
"Poetry Poster / Mind Map"
Poetry Activity Pack
Bonus Handout/Worksheet!
The Figurative Language Sheet includes:

I'm so excited about this resource, especially right now, because we are really jumping into our poetry unit at school! Awesome!!
The "Laughing at Limericks" assignment included is just perfect for St. Patrick's Day!
The pic below shows pages for the Imagery Poem Project. It engages students by having them first analyze a poem and then create their own. 
Addie Education Teacher Talk
Imagery Assignment - 1 of the 7 Activities Included!
Did I mention that it's a total of 38 pages, with 26 classroom ready printables? Addie also included a comprehensive poetry writing rubric to use for the projects. Among the different projects, you'll find detailed assignment sheets, examples and discussion questions, templates, writing paper, and brainstorming sheets. 

The Hero Song/Poetry Writing "Hero CD" project has a marking rubric included with brainstorming sheets, and lyrics for 7 songs. 

Anxious to dig in, I printed every page! No, it wasn't tons of ink, just tons of GOOD STUFF! And, printing it in black and white works fabulous too! (in case you were curious...) My printer at school is black/white, so I went with that. (If you know how impatient I am, I couldn't stand to wait until I got home to a printer that may/may not have colored ink left...ha!) Anyway, I like to project the PDF pages on my whiteboard as I use different activities, so I'm pumped that lots of the pages have colorful clip art. It's not too much, not too little...just right! I love how clear and crisp the whole pack is--she did a great job putting this all together. I've put this resource in its own special binder! ;) It took my whole breakfast table to spread out all the pages. Hopefully, you get an idea of all the great stuff included. 
AND, Addie has put it on Sale for 20% off!!!

Swing by Addie's blog to tell her how awesome her resource is and check out my product that she is featuring, the Expository Text Structures Signal Words Card Pack: Word Wall/Centers Pack! You can purchase it at a discounted rate tonight and tomorrow (1/12-1/13). You might find it pretty useful, especially in this second semester nearing state testing! 
Connect with Addie at other links:
TPT Store
TN Shop
Enjoy surfing through the Magical Product Swap! 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Teaches Third in Georgia- Innovative Teacher-Author and her Groundhog Freebie!

Hey everyone! I know it's been a while (like a really, really long while) since I've posted the Innovative Teacher-Author post, but this year has been nuts! So much to do all the know how it goes. You're teachers! So, I'd like to share a little bit about Randi Smith of Teaches Third in Georgia! 
How many years have you been teaching? Grade levels? Subjects? 
I have been teaching for seven wonderful years in North Georgia. I teach every subject, all day, every day. 
Right now, I am teaching a fantastic group of third graders. I have also taught second grade and fourth grade as well.

What do you find most challenging as a teacher-author and in what manner have you chosen to tackle this challenge?
As a teacher-author, it has been time consuming and disheartening at the amount of time it has taken to build a store with quality products and lessons that others will find useful and enjoyable. 
I feel like the best bet for managing is to set a goal each week/month for something that you would like to create and then create the time to meet that goal. 
Spend time on one or two quality products and then enjoy the rest of your time with family! 

At what online marketplaces or vendors do you currently sell educational resources?

What is something cool, weird, funny, or just plain quirky about you? Hey, we are here to "get to know" our fellow teacher-authors! ;)
Something I am probably notorious for is my inability to pay attention to things that are not interesting to me. Reading is interesting, but not textbook stuff. Writing is interesting, but not grading papers. Teaching is interesting to me, but not staff meetings. I probably couldn't count the number of times I've been caught doodling on my handouts at staff meetings!
(lol, we won't tell on her... ;)

Please suggest 1 or 2 educational blogs that are STAR BLOGS and would benefit fellow teacher-authors to visit?
 Clip Art Collaborators and Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas

Do you have your own blog? 

Freebie to Share with Fellow Teacher-Authors:
Randi Smith Innovative Teacher-Author post

Helpful hint in the areas of classroom management, grading, or organization:
Don't let being a teacher stress you out! Yes, it is a very stressful job. But at the end of the day, just remember that you are making a difference in this big ole world-one child at a time.

How would you like us to connect with you?
Find me on...

Be sure to check out Randi by visiting her blog or other links above! If you like her freebie (JUST IN TIME FOR GROUNDHOG'S DAY!!!), leave her a note in the comments below! 

Thanks for reading and HAPPY FRIDAY!

Thursday, January 03, 2013

YA Book Review with Supplemental Printable!

Hello to all of you! I am fortunate enough to have Carolyn Wilhelm, The Wise Owl Factory Book-a-Day Blog & owner of Connect-a-Blog, guest post today to tell you about a young adult novel she recently read! 

A Catastrophe of Nerdish Proportions (The Nerd Girls #2 by  by Alan Lawrence Sitomer) is a humorous book that will definitely appeal to middle and secondary school students. While there is much fun and adventure, the life lessons addressed are clear and valuable. The outlandish events are not intended to inspire readers to commit similar crimes, but to learn from the "what if" possibilities of fighting between nerds and popular girls  The ending is not perfect and everyone doesn't become friends, but everything works out well enough to cause YA readers to think about what is really best in life. 

The Nerd Girls come out ahead but not in the way you might expect. The descriptions of the scholastic competition are so very true to life, and I say that as a former teacher of gifted/talented classes and academic coach. Situations like in the book really do happen and there are frustrations in academic competitions just like in sports. The humor will catch the attention of students and the story is far from preachy.

There are two groups of three girls in this sequel to Nerd Girls Book I: The Rise of the Dorkasaurus. The ThreePeas are lovely to look at but not very nice people!  The Nerd Girls have some physical or personality flaws, so most readers can relate to them.  In the end, one of the ThreePeas joins the Nerds for all the right reasons, and the two remaining Peas still have miserable personalities.  Usually three friends do not work well together, but in the two cases in the book they do for most of the story.  One Nerd girl is struggling for independence from her overly concerned mother, one has a father reappear after years of being divorced from her mother and absent from the family, and one has Mrs. Department Store mom who overdoes the homemaker role.  These six girls are put together on an academic team to be forced to work together and get along, which makes the story captivating.  

That is all I can write without giving too much of a spoiler!  I will just say your students will want to read the book, and you might find it interesting yourself.  I will say there is a tiny bit of romance (enough to keep the attention of readers) but no kissing and all.  I always liked books like that as a teacher, and I avoided "mature" books in the classroom.

The author is an amazing teacher who has won many awards and is a speaker at many well known conferences.  He was California teacher of the year.  On his web site, he has many FREE lessons called SAT Essay Prep.  It isn't easy to see at first, so go to this link, and look on the right and lower side bar and you will see a list of free materials provided by the author.  He created the free materials to offer more equity in education. What a guy!  And, he can write from the viewpoint of a teen girl!
Check out his novel here on Goodreads!

Here is my free PDFwork page for A Catastrophe of Nerdish Proportion(The Nerd Girls #2 by  by Alan Lawrence Sitomer). Students will have to read the book to answer the questions!
YA Book Review by Carolyn Wilhelm of Book-a-Day Blog on Innovative Connections
Carolyn Wilhelm

The Wise Owl Factory

Thanks so much to Carolyn for providing your free PDF work page and for sharing her thoughts on the novel. 
Connect-a-Blog K-12As a contributing author to Carolyn's Connect-a-Blog (A collaborative teacher blog K-12), I encourage you to visit and see all it has to offer!
If you are interested in purchasing this book, you can find it here:

I hope you take a second to let us know if you have read this book or the first book; please feel free to tell us your thoughts about either one or both! 
Be well,
A. Smith
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