A Little Magic For Your Class . . .

If done right, reading time is magical.  I love having a literature rich classroom.  It's important to expose students to as much literature as possible.  Lately altered fairy tales are everywhere, so this month I decided to blog about the benefits of studying altered fairy tales with your students.

  • Altered fairy tales expose your students to the original tale as well as the altered version.  To truly study them both, students have to keep going back to the original tale.  This of course allows them time to re-read and think deeper about the meanings in both texts.  
  • Students are able to compare and contrast both stories.  Once again, students have a solid reason to dig deeper into both texts.
  • Students have to think critically.  By reading the altered story as well as the original tale, students are able to see familiar characters in a whole new light.  One of my favorite altered tale authors is Liesl Shurtliff.  She has authored RumpJack, and Red.  Each one develops the main characters of traditional tales in a whole new light.  I created novel study guides for each story, which allow my students to write about their thinking with each story.
There are examples of altered fairy tales everywhere right now - with many examples recently on television and in films.  My students enjoy reading and writing about them.  Best of all, at the end of the unit students can create their own altered tale.  Whichever altered fairy tales you decide to study, make sure you have fun making magic in

your classrooms!

Greek Myths In Today's Classroom

One of the best ways to engage my students has always been through reading great literature. I have many favorite stories, and I've shared several of them with you.  This month, however, my class is beginning our Greek Myths unit.  This is one of my favorites because from a literature perspective it is an important unit to teach, and it is so engaging for my students.

Greek myths have been around forever - literally!  They are referenced throughout novels, movies, and history.  For students to have a firm understanding of future literature they will need to know the key players of Greek mythology.

Greek myths are also fun.  When taught using age appropriate
resources (like my Greek Myths Bundle Unit), Greek myths are full of so many learning opportunities for elementary students.  I think it's the “black and white” format that kids understand right away: There are often clear heroes and villains in place to teach valuable life lessons. At the same time, Greek myths teach these lessons without being preachy, or predictable.  The other great draw is that the protagonists have innate “superhero appeal” thanks to their supernatural powers.

Greek myths give children a strong literary foundation. Many Greek myths draw heavily on drama and pathos, concepts children will need to have a firm grasp of in order to understand high school-level reading. (Shakespeare in particular refers back to Greek myths on many occasions). Greek myths should be viewed in a prototypical light where Western storytelling is concerned. Even the beloved Harry Potter series gives nods to Greek mythology.

Greek myths were created at a time when people were directly dependent on the land.  As a result, they can help children understand just how connected we really are to the planet. Happy teaching!

Hidden Figures of Black History

It's February, which means many of us are studying black history in our classrooms.  I recently saw the amazing movie Hidden Figures.  If you have not seen this yet, please check it out.  The African American women featured in this movie accomplished so much while working for NASA, and we
never knew about it.  It made me begin thinking about the many hidden figures in African American history.

In light of the movie, I created this free black history word search. It features many important figures in black history. Some are well known, and other names on the word search are less well known.  If nothing else, it's a fun way to get your students thinking about black history.

If you're looking for a way to teach more African American history to your class this month, please look at my
Black History Month Lessons and Pop Up Book bundle.  It is full of rich informational text for your students to learn more about African American history.  Here's hoping you and your class have a wonderful February.

I also have a wonderful giveaway this week for a $75 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card. Happy shopping and Enjoy!


Prize: $75 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card

Giveaway Organized by: Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher),

Co-hosts: An Apple for the Teacher, Teach with Hope, Jackie Crews, Amanda's Little Learners, Reading and Writing Redhead, The Literacy Garden, Mickey's Place, Teaching Biilfizzcend, Miss Pentagirl Kinderpuzzle, Teaching Ideas For Those Who Love Teaching, Third Grade Giggles, Sandra Naufal, Heart 2 Heart Teaching, Mrs Hansens Helpfuls, A Place of Story, Kathryn Watts, Kari Hall, Real Life in First Grade, A Plus Kids, Planet Happy Smiles, Jackie Crews, Ms. K, Catch My Products, It's a Teacher Thing, Leah Popinski, Teachers Caravan, The Chocolate Teacher, MM Bilingual, and Digging Deep to Soar Beyond the Text.

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter to enter. Giveaway ends 2/13/17 and is open worldwide.

Are you a Teacher Blogger or Teachers pay Teachers seller who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your store and social media? Click here to find out how you can join our totally awesome group of bloggers!

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Tech Talk - The Online Subscription Dilemma

It's time for another Tech Talk!

I love using technology with my students.  It makes differentiation so much easier.  I can work with students in small groups, and know that the rest of my students are still getting the targeted practice that they need.  I can even lock the devices, to make sure students stay in exactly the app I need them in.  I LOVE it.

What I don't love, is figuring out how to pay for my classroom's online subscriptions.  I have three choices - wait for my school to release the funds (this year, they were finally released in December), find a generous parent or parents willing to donate an online subscription (that means they have say, over which subscription you purchase), or pay for exactly what you want out of your own pocket (This becomes very expensive, very quickly).  Each of the three options has it's own obstacles.  

In the past, I have envied my colleagues in Kindergarten and First grade, because they are always able to begin the year introducing the curriculum they know they can use all year. They use ABCmouse.com, because it is always free for teachers.  I have observed the program in their classrooms and their students are ALWAYS engaged in their quality online learning.  Last week, however, I learned that ABCmouse.com has launched their second grade curriculum!!!  I have always admired the ABCmouse curriculum, and the fact that the company allows teachers to use it for free with their students.  I knew I had to blog about it.

In case you aren't familiar with ABCmouse.com let me tell you that it is a quality online educational tool.  As a teacher you can pick the lessons that you want your class, or individual students to focus on.  You can even use it for whole class, or small group lessons.  They have a full curriculum for Reading, Math, Science, Social Studies, and even Art and Music. There are no ads, or outside links that students can click on while using it - so it's safer than a lot of other free programs.  It also does not feel like a free program.  You have full access to the curriculum, and your students' learning.  Your students can continue their learning at home, using your links.  There is no trial period - it is truly a free resource. I highly recommend it, and I'm extremely happy that I can now use it in my own classroom.  Here is a link, so you can open a free teacher account for yourself ABCmouse.com

Homeschoolers can't get a free account, but they do have this Special Offer 38% Off an Annual ABCmouse.com Membership! Receive 12-Months for Only $59.95!  Enjoy!

Looking for more teaching ideas?  Check out these great January ideas in our monthly blog hop:


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