2016 Wisconsin Teacher Blogger Meet Up!

We had such a blast last year, that we've decided to do it again this year! Please join Jessica from Mrs. Plemons' Kindergarten, Paige from Our Elementary Lives, and me for the second annual Wisconsin Teacher Blogger Meet Up! It will be an awesome opportunity to meet, connect, collaborate, and grow your business with other Wisconsin blogging friends.
This year we are moving the meet up to a location a little more centrally located: Madison! The plan is to meet up at Erin's Snug Irish Pub on Saturday, July 30th from 11:00am-3:00pm.
Erin's Snug is conveniently located just off of Hwy 151, one mile off from I-90/94 on the far East side of Madison. We'll meet in the County Dane room to have lunch, give away awesome prizes, and chat and get to know each other in REAL LIFE! We will also sneak in some Teachers Pay Teachers/blogging tips and tricks you can apply to your own small business. You'll also take home a sweet bag of SWAG to kick the 2016-2017 school year off with a BANG! If you want to see the fun we had last year, click here!

To join us, please CLICK HERE!

Please note that you DO NOT have to be from Wisconsin to attend :) Madison, WI is about 2 hours from Chicago and 4 hours from Minneapolis. Please RSVP by July 21st so we can make sure we have enough goodies for everyone! Our space can only accommodate up to 40 guests, so make sure you sign up right away.

We can't WAIT to see you next month!

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What's the Deal with Collective Nouns?

Not sure where to begin when teaching collective nouns? This blog post contains ideas, visuals, and activities for teaching your students all about collective nouns!!
I first learned about collective nouns when we made the switch to the Common Core State Standards several years ago. The standard reads: L.2.1a Use collective nouns. And my first thought was, "What the heck are collective nouns??"

So just like every second grade teacher, I Googled it:
Not sure where to begin when teaching collective nouns? This blog post contains ideas, visuals,freebies, and activities for teaching your students all about collective nouns!!
Then I Googled "examples of collective nouns" and got a ton of them. But, really? Do second graders really need to know that a group of geese is called a gaggle? And did you know, a group of geese could also be called a flock, a skein, a team, a wedge, or a plump, depending on whether they're on the ground or their position in flight? REALLY?! Who cares??? It all seemed very surface-y, very rote to me, and from what I've learned about the CCSS, the focus is depth rather than breadth.

So at first I decided to focus on collective nouns that students could relate to: class of students, band of musicians, team of athletes, school of fish...
Not sure where to begin when teaching collective nouns? This blog post contains ideas, visuals, and activities for teaching your students all about collective nouns!!
I found this really great PIN that helps students to see that collective nouns are everywhere around us. But again, besides matching the noun with the prepositional phrase and memorizing a bunch of people, things, and animals and their collective nouns, what's the point? What am I missing???

After much thinking about this standard, I think I finally figured out how I can make it meaningful and applicable to my students' writing. While it's important for students to learn examples of collective nouns, I think the focus should actually be on the verb. Collective nouns name one group of individuals, therefore the verb is usually singular. Consider these two sentences:
Eight geese fly south for the winter.

The flock of geese flies south for the winter.

Notice the first sentence has the irregular plural noun geese, so the verb is plural. But the second sentence has the collective noun flock, which is singular, so the verb is singular. Forming irregular plural nouns is another second grade CCSS, so these two standards would work well together as you teach your students subject-verb agreement when using plural nouns and collective nouns in sentences.
There are instances when a plural verb can be used with a collective noun (Ex. The band of musicians play at the concert), but the reason why is more complicated that what our second graders need to know. Although if you're a grammar nerd like me, if a collective noun acts as a single group, the verb is singular and if the collective noun acts as individuals, it is plural. In the sentence above, each musician is individually playing his/her own instrument in his/her own way. Wowsers! I don't recommend trying to explain that to a second grader :) One way you could work around that example sentence is to take out the prepositional phrase and say, "The band plays at the concert."

If you'd like a FREE copy of the two posters and the sorting activity above, click HERE! If you're looking for a way to teach singular, plural, and collective nouns (with a little possessive nouns thrown in as well), I have this resource in my TpT store.
Not sure where to begin when teaching collective nouns? This blog post contains ideas, visuals, and activities for teaching your students all about collective nouns!!
It's been updated recently to include the collective nouns component. Check it out HERE!
What's your biggest struggle when teaching collective nouns? Let me know in the comments! I hope my perspective has helped to clarify your own thinking and teaching of this tricky, yet fun to teach standard.



For more language/conventions teaching ideas, check out my Pinterest Board:

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Student Writing Keepsake Books

I try not to send my students home with a lot of paper. As a mom myself, I have plenty of clutter around my house; I don't need school clutter as well! But one of my most favorite things to do in my classroom is to make my students a keepsake book of all of their published writing pieces throughout the year.
Keep your students' published writing pieces from throughout the year and bind them into a finished book. It will be a great keepsake for your kiddos to remember the year they spent with you. Blog post includes a freebie table of contents, dedication page, and about the author page.
Organization is key for this project, so I always start with creating a file folder for each of my students before school starts. I used to store all of my writing pieces by genre but I was always scrambling to assemble the books at the end of the year. Not this year!! Take a few extra minutes to organize by student and it will save you a HUGE headache in the end!
Keep your students' published writing pieces from throughout the year and bind them into a finished book. It will be a great keepsake for your kiddos to remember the year they spent with you. Blog post includes a freebie table of contents, dedication page, and about the author page.
Then, as we publish pieces throughout the year, I add them to each student's file folder in chronological order. We always have a few personal narratives, an information report they write from their own knowledge, a persuasive essay, a literary essay, a fairy tale, and my favorite is their final piece which is a persuasive letter to the next year's grade level stating why they should move onto that grade!

During the last week of school, my students and I head outside so that I can take individual photos of them standing against the brick exterior. I don't know why, but I just love photos of kids in front of a brick wall! I use the photos to make the cover of the books. My students get to choose what color card stock they want for the front and back covers. I glue their photos on the colored paper and laminate the front and back covers.

Before I bind the books, I add a table of contents, dedication, and about the author pages.
Keep your students' published writing pieces from throughout the year and bind them into a finished book. It will be a great keepsake for your kiddos to remember the year they spent with you. Blog post includes a freebie table of contents, dedication page, and about the author page.
Click HERE if you'd like a copy of these pages. 

Lastly, I use my school's comb binder to bind all their stories into books. If you don't have access to a comb binder, you can take the books to an office supply store and get them spiral bound for a few dollars a piece. Yes, it's a little pricey, but the looks on my students' faces when I give them their books is priceless! They chatter excitedly with their classmates, taking a walk down their third grade memory lane. My hope is that these books are stored in a safe place and when my students are "80 years old and all wrinkly" (those are the exact words I use!), they can have a small piece of their childhood to look back at.
Keep your students' published writing pieces from throughout the year and bind them into a finished book. It will be a great keepsake for your kiddos to remember the year they spent with you. Blog post includes a freebie table of contents, dedication page, and about the author page.

For more writing ideas, check out my Pinterest Boards!



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