Whew! I made it to the break!

I just realized that I haven't posted since December 1!  Well it has been a busy, crazy 3 weeks!  

I was busy with my own holiday preparations, my classroom holiday preparations (which can be tricky because my special needs kids get anxious), my Granny's 100th Birthday on the 15th and then to top it all off,  I found out that my formal observation was required to be done before the break!

So what did I do?

Well, I pushed the throttle to maximum with preparations, set it all aside to go to NY (from FL) to celebrate with my Granny and then found help from Lovin' Lit!

The preparations just required me to do a little each day (which backfired the night before the last day of school when I had to make 52 truffles for my sons' teachers).

My flight was delayed on the way back from NY (due to snow and crew delays) and I was stuck in Philly.  It was worth it though - 100 is a big birthday!  Plus, since I had to take a day off due to the delay, I was able to get some wrapping done at home!

Then there's the observation.  Because of my flight delay, it was rescheduled for the Friday before break.  This means I needed to be extra creative and I was feeling anxious.  So I was super happy when I found Lovin' Lit's "The Gift of the Magi" unit.

This was perfect!   We had been working on plot diagram in class with learning the terms, analyzing short video clips and placing events on a plot diagram and the like.  My observation had to be in Marzano's Design Question 3 - deepening knowledge. So it was time to use the plot diagram with a short story.  Enter "The Gift of the Magi".


 So the day before my observation, we watched a video of this story, then read the modified version from this unit (perfect for my middle school students with special needs), discussed the plot events and then even did a little writing prompt about gifts.


Plus I motivated them by having hung small stocking across my board at the front of the room which their names on them.  My kids were instantly attracted to the stockings and asked what they were for.  I told them that the next day if we stayed focused and completed all we needed to do and they were on the "nice" list, then there would probably be something in those stockings for them.  They were hooked!

The next day, for my observation, after reviewing the scale, learning goals and critical information, we reviewed the plot elements with a PowerPoint, made the plot diagram foldable from this unit, and then I gave them the 5 events (also from this unit) to place on the diagram.  We ended with the use of my student responders.

I only had 4 (yes, four!) students who came to school that day but we went through with the observation anyway and I earned all "applying" and 2 "innovating".  And the students received their stockings with a candy cane made to look like Rudolph and a pass to the roller skating rink.  They were thrilled and I am so relieved and thankful to Lovin' Lit!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
Freebie Fridays

Mentor Text - Polar Express


I am new to the Mentor Text arena since I teach middle school but ever since I started reading about them (and mentor sentences), I am hooked!  And honestly, my special ed. students respond to picture books very positively!

I am sure that everyone uses this book, but it really will be helpful to me as my class will be focusing on plot elements and sequencing events in December.

I have been searching around through Teachers Pay Teachers for more ideas on how to use this book to develop the skills I listed above.  I think I may have to make some of my own activities so it's more middle school.

I don't have that ready to share but what I do have is lots of reading comprehension games and writing lessons and they are all 28% off at Teachers Pay Teachers during the Cyber Sale!

250 × 120

PLUS, there's a sale at Teacher's Notebook where you can build a bundle.  I am offering both of my quick reference guides there for the bundling which gets you 50% off!

Thanks for stopping by and if you have any tips for me with The Polar Express, please leave me a comment!  :)