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Friday, May 8, 2020

Final Day of Teacher Appreciation Week!

Hi there!

I have had so much fun engaging with you all this week.  Yesterday was my personal favorite... all of those GIFs you dropped in the comments on Facebook to describe how you were feeling about distance learning? Gold!  Thank you for that.

Today's giveaway is so much fun and classic Teaching With a Mountain View. :) Today, I am giving away a Task Card Organizer and SIXTEEN sets of task cards to go inside of them!  The winner of this giveaway can choose any sixteen individual sets of task cards, and they will be sent digitally.  The container will be mailed to an address of your choice, but only US addresses are eligible.

Are you ready to start cutting and laminating?

Click HERE to view the task card organizer you could win.
Click HERE to peruse all the task cards you can choose from!

Enter HERE to win!  If the contest does not show up, click HERE for entry!

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Day #4 of Teacher Appreciation Week!

We are on Day 4 of my Teacher Appreciation Week giveaway! So far, I've given away books, school supplies, and a whole bunch of TpT Gift Cards.  Today's giveaway is especially for loyal Teaching With a Mountain View Fans.

I am giving away FOUR $50 Teaching With a Mountain View credits.  

That means you can tell me exactly what you want from my store, and I'll send it straight to your inbox!  Will it be math projects? Back to school resources? End of the year awards?  So many choices.

You have four different opportunities to enter this giveaway by visiting me all over the internet. :) Look for this picture of me to know you are on the right post.

Sign Up:  I send out emails once a week (or less) with teaching ideas, exclusive free resources, and more.  I'll choose one winner who enters HERE. New and existing subscribers are eligible.  Unsubscribe any time.

Facebook: Click HERE to enter via my Facebook post.  Just LIKE the post and drop a GIF that describes how Distance Learning is going for you, and you'll be entered to win.

Inspired in Upper Elementary: While you are on Facebook, pop over to my Facebook group, Inspired in Upper Elementary and enter that give away by finding the post and telling me your favorite subject to teach. (You may have to request to join before you can answer. I'll be keeping a close eye on requests all day and will admit you ASAP!)

Instagram: Follow me on Instagram and say "Hello" on the giveaway post with your #1 used emoji.  Mine is 😂.

That's it! Don't forget to check these spaces tomorrow to see my grand final giveaway (it's big!).  Be well.

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Teacher Appreciation Week Giveaway!

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! 🍎 This week may not look the same as every other year, but YOU deserve the very best.

This week, I'm thrilled to be giving you some of my very favorite teacher goodies. Each day will be new and exciting and geared JUST toward teachers and the things you love the most. You can find out more about each day's giveaways here, on my Facebook Page, or on Instagram.

Today I'm giving away SEVEN of my very favorite picture books. I chose each one of these for a specific purpose and reason, and I can't WAIT to give them away to two lucky teachers.

If the World Were a Village: I do one of my ABSOLUTE favorite lessons using this book. Even if you don't teach decimals and fractions, it's such an eye-opener for kids. Absolutely amazing book.

The Girl With a Mind for Math: This book encourages ANYONE who might need a little math confidence-booster. I chose this one to read at the beginning of the year during math.

Being Frank: This is the other Back to School book I included. IT IS A GEM and so funny. I have never met a kid who doesn't giggle at how frank Frank is. :)

The Bravest Man in the World: I chose this one because 1) Patricia Polacco and 2) Titanic. It tells the story of Titanic's musicians, a story often forgotten.

The Legend of Rock, Paper, Scissors: This book goes down as my girls' absolute favorite book ever, and it's one of mine, too. It's just that good.

Sophia Valdez, Future Prez: This book is every bit as wonderful as you'd expect it to be. It is so captivating and RELEVANT, especially with the upcoming elections.

Voices in the Park: I included this one because it is a beautiful book to teach point of view as well as inference. I use it to teach THIS lesson, but you can truly use it in so many ways!

Entering is easy. Fill out the form below to enter any time TODAY ONLY. I will select a winner on the morning of May 5, 2020. By entering, you agree to receive occasional emails from me, but please know you can unsubscribe ANY time. The links to each book above are affiliate links.

This giveaway is open to US Residents only due to shipping restrictions (Don't worry! Tuesday and Thursday's giveaways will be open to EVERYONE).

If the form below to enter does not show up, please CLICK HERE to enter!

Stop by again tomorrow to see what I'm giving away. I can't wait! :)

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Distance Learning Lessons You Can Implement Tomorrow!

Over the past few weeks, I've thought a lot about how I can best support teachers right now.  I've spent days converting my existing resources to have digital components, and I continue to do so.  This morning it dawned on me that I have SO many lessons that I developed and shared while I was teaching in a 1:1 model.  However, I rarely shared that part of the lesson because I knew that most teachers and students simply didn't have this type of access.  Oh, how things have changed!

So today, I want to highlight some of my favorite lessons that you can easily adapt to be used with your students via any online platform.  There are a few new lessons, and for those that have been shared on Teaching With a Mountain View before, each one includes both a new digital access link and a link to learn more about the original lesson here on my blog!

A note on YouTube videos: While I preview all of the videos I share, I still can't control the advertisements that pop up or any changes that may occur.  If possible, I'd recommend using Safe Share to share the YouTube videos with your students.  I have also worded these lessons so that you can swap out videos that you'd like to use if you don't like the ones I have selected. :)

Distance Learning Lessons

Text Structure Candy Videos

This resource was originally one that was only sent to my subscribers, but it's SO perfect for distance learning, I'm including it here!  Students watch a variety of videos all on the same topic (candy!) and determine which text structure it most likely represents. Click HERE for the free distance learning version of using videos to identify text structures and click HERE for even more text structure ideas (You could easily still do the collaborative activity with students, too!).

Character Conflict with Movies

I just added a DIGITAL version of this one so that you can easily assign it to your students!  It requires them to watch four different clips from popular movies and identify the character conflict.  It's such a great lesson, and totally doable in a distance learning situation!  Click HERE to get the free digital version and make a copy into your drive.  Click HERE for the original, printable version and the lesson in its entirety.

Dialogue and Using Quotation Marks Lesson

This one is so much fun and kids can totally do it at home!  HERE is the original blog post with more information about it, but here is a quick rundown.  I had the students get into groups of 3 and record themselves having a brief 15-20 second conversation with each other.  For distance learning, I'd encourage them to record a conversation with their sibling or parents.  You can give them a topic, or a topic of their choice.  Then, they had to transcribe their little conversations into a dialogue. They thought it was the coolest thing ever, and it was a super quick but super effective way to work on their types of dialogue and quotation mark rules! This one doesn't really have an assignment sheet, although they could upload their videos and transcripts into Google Classroom or slides!

Point of View and Perspective Lesson

This is one of the most widely-implemented lessons I've ever shared, so I wanted to be sure you could still do it with your students!  In this lesson, students watch a clip from a popular movie and identify all of the perspectives in it.  Then, they either rewrite the story from a given point of view or they identify the point of view and perspective from rewritten stories, depending on their level.  HERE is the original lesson and HERE is the digital-ready version.

Text Structures Magazine

This is another very popular lesson that many teachers have already made digital.  HERE is the original post about making the magazine.  I have digitized the planning sheets, and I'd recommend having students create their magazine in Google Slides for ease of use.  Alternatively, they can still create their magazine with pencil and paper and share during a Zoom/Google class meeting!

Using Google Draw to Make a Map

This activity is SUCH fun and a great way to incorporate some map skills and geography into your distance learning plans.  We live in Colorado, so making a rectangle to represent our shape was easy.  You will probably want to find an outline of your shape unless your students are well-versed in using the drawing tool. :)  Here is an example of how ours looked when we were done.   You can also have them make a map of their street, their room, their house, etc.

Titanic Webquest

April was always "Titanic month" in my classroom.  I love passing on my love of Titanic to my students.  I did make my entire Titanic resource packet digital (you can view that HERE), but I am also adding the assignment I've had students complete for years.  It's a Titanic "Webquest" of sorts, where students scour the web (with many site suggestions) to write a diary from the perspective of someone on board Titanic.  HERE is a link to the Webquest that you can assign students.

I hope these ideas are helpful to you as you navigate this uncharted territory.  Remember, I've updated over 100 of my printable resources to also include a digital component.  That means that if you already own something that has been converted, there is no need to buy it again.  You can access all of my FREE Digital resources HERE.

Here are three more posts that you might find helpful:

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Using Picture Books to Support At-Home Learning

Wow! When I published my last post nearly a week ago, I don't think anyone could have anticipated exactly where we'd be today (and who knows where we will be at this time next week).

Over the past week, I have watched as our teaching community has come together to share resources with one another in hopes of helping get them started on this new distance learning journey.  It has been truly amazing!

One thing that I've seen come out over and over again is to just let the kids read.  Make sure the kids are reading at home, being read to, being read with.  Although I firmly believe they should still practice some other skills during this time, I am also a firm believer in the power of picture books as a teaching skill.

I've had a blog post drafted for FIVE YEARS titled "10 Ideas for Using Picture Books With Big Kids."  It occurred to me that now would be the perfect time to adapt that and make it a printable for parents to use as a guide for reading picture books at home with their children.

Before I go any further, I want to preface this with the idea that picture books should be read once through FOR PLEASURE AND ENJOYMENT before taking on any of these discussion ideas.  We want students to grow a love of books, immerse themselves in the story, and build their own thoughts about the story before we start questioning them or trying to teach them something based on the story. However, after they've read and digested the books, they can become POWERFUL learning tools that anyone can use!

So, I've compiled this list of eleven suggestions (plus a handy cheat sheet for parents) for parents to use after they've read a picture book with their children.  These are easy to implement, fun for students, and straightforward for parents.

Please feel free to save it to your drive and upload it for parents to use as a resource.  You can access and save the file HERE.

If you are continuing to look for more distance learning and digital resources, I have converted many FREE and paid resources in my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  Here are a few snippets of information of my digital updates:
  • Digital Reading & Math Projects: I have finished converting ALL of my reading projects and all but two of my math projects to digital formats. They are included with the original files, so if you've already purchased them, you can download them at no additional cost. Click HERE for reading projects and HERE for math projects.
  • Free at-home learningIf you haven't already visited my most recent post, you'll want to! It includes a wide variety of free resources to help you during this transition.  Click HERE for access.
  • Digital Resources: You can see all of my digital resources HERE, including so much engaging reading review, advanced reading task cards, and more to help you plan for the next several weeks. I will continue to add more digital updates so that you can use the same resources you know and love.

Keep on keeping on! You've got this.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Supporting Student Learning at Home

Hi There!

This feels unprecedented.  This feels scary.  This is unknown territory.

Ever since the cascade of school closures began (including all of our schools in Colorado Springs), I have been wracking my brain about how I can best support teachers across the country.  I want to do something, anything to take the burden off of you and enable you to fully support your students while you are away from each other.

**UPDATED: I have now included the PDFs and Digital Access to all of the free resources.  Enter your email below, and it will send you the new link. :) 

Literacy Resources: I have taken some of my most popular, most wide-reaching resources and compiled pages from them into a FREE At-Home Learning Resource.  It includes twenty pages of free, very high-quality and rigorous resources that you or your students can print and complete at home.  The following skills are covered in the PDF:

Main Idea
Text Features
Text Structures
Informational Text Comprehension Review
Fiction Comprehension Review
Language Skills
Oral Reading Fluency
Summarizing, Paraphrasing, Quoting
...and more

Math Resources:  I have done the same with my math resources.  The following skills are included in the math version.

Error Analysis (Elapsed Time, Place Value, and Subtraction)
Graphing & Data
Daily Math Skills
Multi-Part and Multi-Step Math Problems
Operations Review
Perimeter and Area
...and more!

I have also added a folder of all of my free digital access resources for easy access and organization.

While this will never take the place of the experiences you would have provided students during your time with them, I hope it is able to take some of the burdens of planning off of you.

FREE At Home Learning

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    I would also encourage you to download this FREE at-home support printable to give to your parents.

    I am also hastily working to convert many of my free resources into digital formats if you are able to assign them via Google Classroom.

    Please click HERE to access all of the resources that INCLUDE a digital version, including 6 (and growing) free resources.

    Monday, March 9, 2020

    Engaging and Meaningful Ways to Prepare for State Testing

    It's March, and that means it's time to start preparing our students for state testing.  If I'm being honest, I try my hardest to not make "test prep" a big deal to my students. Instead, my goal is always to integrate test prep seamlessly into our normal routine.  That way, students never get the impression that we are doing something solely to prepare for a test--instead, we are just learning and growing like any other day at school.  

    ​Here are a few ways that I add in review/test prep this time of year that are still engaging and meaningful to students.
    Task Cards​: Task cards are still a staple in my classroom because there are SO many ways you can use them!  Go on a scavenger hunt, play SCOOT, use them with board games.  The options are endless.  Here are a few of my favorite ways to use task cards for test prep:
    • With games! It's easy to prep and students LOVE it.  I like to choose fast games like Candy Land (yes, even big kids love this), Chutes and Ladders, Guess Who?, Connect Four, etc.  Each time it's their turn, they get a task card and complete it in order to take their turn.
    • As a "Passport" activity.  Students get a passport of tasks they have to complete for a variety of different topics.  I love this because you can totally differentiate it.  I usually end up with multiple different passports because students have different needs.  I separate my task cards into concepts, and I usually put 2-3 sets in each concept area so that they get a VAST review of concepts.  I do not use the entire set of task cards for this.  I usually pick out 10-12 for students to complete from each set since it's just a review.  You can use the rest throughout the year! You can grab the FREE, mostly editable passport HERE as well as suggested task cards that I use for review (you can use any task cards AND you can include reading skills as well).

    • As a Jeopardy-style game show.  I have blogged about this before... click HERE for more information on using task cards for a game show style review!  It's always a huge hit in my class.
    I have hundreds of task cards (including many free versions) for READING and MATH.

    Math Projects: Math projects are a staple in my classroom, so it made so much sense for me to incorporate a math test prep project into my schedule.  I created this years ago, and I absolutely LOVE using it!  It reviews every single standard for 4th and 5th grade, and it's such fun, too. It is a school-themed project, so I usually do a mini room transformation to make it look extra "schooly."  Think: yellow tablecloths for school buses, red apples, etc.

    Topple Blocks Games:  Talk about ENGAGEMENT! When I use Topple Blocks as a review, I typically combine several games and have them do one color from each game as a review.  I've heard of some teachers doing stations, too, where they work through as much uch of one full game at each station.  You can read more about how I use Topple Blocks HERE.

    Paired Passages:  In the past, I'm guilty of using rigid "test prep" passages with students.  They were always so, so bored, and I felt like we were just doing them out of obligation.  Recently, though, I have come up with a much more engaging (AND rigorous AND meaningful) way of incorporating paired passages into my reading test prep. I created two different types of booklet format reviews.
    The first style uses paired passages to review certain reading skills.  While these are really great for use year-round, they are also great for test prep time, too.  Here is a sample of my Cause and Effect Paired Passages Booklet:

    This next set of paired passages booklets is TRULY made for test prep!  It covers two stories in GREAT depth and reviews a wide variety of reading skills.  There are TWO sets of paired passages in this resource.  Click HERE to learn more.

    Error Analysis:  When we teach our students to think critically about math concepts, we are setting them up for success during state testing.  There are SO many multi-step questions and problems that require students to evaluate errors, so I always incorporate several of these tasks as I am prepping my students. HERE are all of my error analysis units, including a FREE addition version!

    Strategy Reviews: ​This is key! In both math and reading, I incorporate specific skill strategy reviews.  In Math, this is usually done in the form of reviewing CUBES for problem solving.  In reading, I usually make comprehension skill review foldables with them.
    HERE is a huge blog post about how I teach and review problem solving.  it also includes some great FREE resources for reviewing multi-step problems!
    HERE is a huge blog post about how I teach and review reading skills that includes a FREE reading skills sort.

    is another post that includes a FREE anchor chart and interactive notebook resource.
    I know this blog post featured more paid resources than usual, but I just had so much I wanted to share! Are you looking for a HUGE post of even more test prep ideas, including anchor charts, motivators, etc?  Here is an old blog post chocked full of ideas.