Thursday, 31 July 2014

The Production of Writing

If your classes are anything like the ones I've experienced in the past and I bet they are then when it comes to writing it's a huge massive production. With the amount of effort behind getting a student to sit down and actually write about a topic you probably sometimes feel like a director of the next summer blockbuster movie. The student they are your erratic and sometimes moody star. With that being said here is one of the newer products we have in our TPT store "The Production of Writing" posters.

With the production of writing posters students get a visual reminder of what they need to include in their writing pieces as they work their way through the process. There are five levels in the production of writing:

  1. Prewrite - Selecting a topic and making a list about that topic
  2. Write - This is that dreaded but sometimes fun first draft
  3. Revise - This is the part when you as the teacher or the student look for ways to improve
  4. Edit - This is making all those nice last minute changes to it make it the best piece possible
  5. Publish - The end product
Now comes the fun part. Stickers!! Ok still got your attention. If you don't want use stickers you can use markers as well. You just need to make sure you have 5 different colours. Use these colours to help identify each stage. As students progress along the writing process they can use the colour to identify what stage their at. It can also help you as the teacher with anecdotal notes. OR even better as you practice it more with your students you can just place the colours on their writing and they will already know where they need to improve upon their writing. 

So head on over to our store if you want to take a look at the rest of the posters to help your students improve on their writing. 

Blast Off Back To School Sale!

300 × 250

We are excited to be participating in our first ever Back to School Sale!  20% off our entire store. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Change Up Those Book Talks

There are lots of ways to change up the mundane activities that we do in the classroom. One of those things that we often do that needs to be thrown a curve ball is how we conduct book talks. You remember those nice 2 minute book talks when a student gets up front of the room and sounds as boring as the teacher from Ferris Buller while trying to convince, their peers to really read this book. Yeah good-luck on that job and if it works you are going to be a real estate mogul!

The front of the bookmark
The back of the bookmark
Instead of having a student just retell about the book why not tap into their creativity and have them create a bookmark about the book they just read. On the front of the bookmark have them come up with a creative hook that represents the book they just read. On the back they can write a quick summary of the book and why they enjoyed it. Here is an example of a bookmark done for the classic Roald Dahl book "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory".

For the whole package with templates and rubric take the Great Glass Elevator over to our site on TPT.

New Grade or Subject?

We have all had that moment, the moment when you discover you will be teaching something you never imagined.  We came across this video and felt a little light humour could help you continue on with all your hard work and planning for the upcoming school year.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Pinning - It's That Time of Year

Any of you been pinning away this summer? Libby has been on it daily.

Here's out Pinterest board link if you are interested in looking us up.

Feel free to add your Pinterest link in the comments area below so we can get ideas from each other. 

Thursday, 24 July 2014

But Why?

The other day I (Jeff) was at the park with our daughter. As I was watching her play with a few of the other kids I was chatting with some of the parents that were doing the same. One of the parents I was with knew that teaching is a second career for me. They finally asked me that question "So why did you leaving business to teach?" Trying to not give him the cliche answer of "well summers off, great benefits, blah, blah, and blah" I answered him truthfully and said "I should have never gone into business in the first place"

The look on his face was sort of like the face on the student you just told they scored an "A" on their math test, pure amazement. Not only was he stunned but so was I. In the back of my head I always sort of thought this, but never really said it truthfully to anyone. So why now?

It's been a few weeks since being removed from the classroom for summer break and I am already starting to miss the daily interactions of daily class life. The daily preparation, the morning coffee during first and second period, the variety of different classes during the day, and of course the funny and amusing comments from the students. Now of course I get a lot of those comments from the same little girl I took to the park when this realization happened.

The truth is I think sometimes we take the teaching profession for granted as it truly is one of the best professions in the world. I could spend another 14 pages telling you why it's the greatest profession but then you would probably stop reading this and think oh boy I am never reading that site again. So I won't do that.

So just ask yourself the same question about why you choose the teaching profession and feel free to share them.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Sharing is Caring

Today we thought we would share with you a little into what our world looks like.  Up until recently, Jeff had his office in the basement, and Libby had a desk in the spare room.  Over time, Libby continually came to find Jeff in her office.  You can imagine how pleased she was to discover that this was happening more often than not.  Finally, at her wits end, Libby took to IKEA, bought two desks and created an office for the two of us.
When Libby's father came to see the new set up, he quickly joked that clearly we were heading for a divorce, since no sane couple would ever share an office.
We have certainly had to learn fast how to respect each others space and "Quirks" if you will.
Jeff likes to listen to music while he works.  While, Libby likes silence.  You can see our dilemma.  Soon Jeff was sporting a set of headphones, and while he's not exactly too please with them, we seem to be holding off on the divorce thoughts as of now:)

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Does your word wall appeal to all your students?

Maybe you are like us and have started to review that list of new students coming your way in a short few weeks. You've skimmed through their files, discovered about who they are the best you can from a report. Now comes the tricky part, how can we reach and teach them in the best possible way. One thing we both have in common is the large amount of diagnosed and undiagnosed students to consider in our classes. When setting up a classroom it's important to keep these students in mind. Although a cute and flashy set of word wall words can be fun to look at, does the student with ADHD find them as beautiful as we do, or are they too busy for them to find the word they are looking for? How about our students with vision problems? Something, covered with clutter can make it hard to pick out what they need. Or how about that student with chunking or processing issues? Letters and words in different fonts might be really hard for them to read what they need. So we created this simple yet eye pleasing set of capital and lower case alphabet set and Dolch words (find it on our TPT site) like to accompany it.
To help your students really use this alphabet and word wall list, try laminating the words, then adding magnets to the back.  Now students can take the word off the word wall that they need to copy, then return it when they are done.  They can even try making sentences with the word wall words on the white board to further stretch their thinking and learning. 

Saturday, 19 July 2014

How To Use Educreations

Does this app look familiar? If you have a school provided iPad that it's probably preloaded on your iPad just taking up space. Well, we have a video here to show you how you can use this app as an interactive whiteboard, video creator, and use technology in your classroom. Educreations is sort of like PowerPoint after its had three cups of Coffee in the morning just to start off it's morning.  Click here to view the video and learn how Educreations can be used in your room. 
Does this icon on your iPad look familiar?  

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Review time!

Let's admit it we've all picked up or received a book and have wondered how on earth we could use it in the classroom. At Christmas our little one received this beauty "The Day the Crayons Quit" by Drew Daywalt from her Aunt. Of course, right away we had to read it. Then we read it again, and again, and well again, I think you are starting to see where I am going with this. It quickly became a household favourite not just with her, but with us as well.

The message is great for a classroom setting. It teaches us that we all need to get along even if we aren't exactly thrilled with what's going on. As each crayon writes a poignant letter to their owner Duncan they explain their point of view and beg him to unleash their beautiful colours onto the pages he's working on. This book has multiple uses no matter what grade your in as Jeff experienced this past year when he took it in with him for both his Kindergarten kids and with his Grade 4's.

In Kindergarten, a few of the classes that Jeff visited where discussing cooperation and also primary colours. He used the book as a fun story to read and also for a chance to explore colours through a funny story. The kids got the message has his office wall was quickly decorated with colourful pictures they would be drawn over the following week.

With his Grade 4's he tied it into a final assessment piece for the Rocks and Minerals unit he was teaching. He read the book to the class and then handed out their final assessment piece. They were given the choice to create sports trading cards of rocks and minerals OR to create their own version of the book. He got many different responses as you can see from the pictures below. If you are interested in the assessment you can find it here on our Teachers Pay Teachers site with the rubric to match.
Some of the different cards with book
This book is one that you can link to language, social skills, and just about anything else you can come up with.  We give this book an RclassroomsRus salute!

A little something for the first day.

Looking for something to help ease your primary students back into the swing of things?
 Here's a little freebie from our TPT site.

to get the full package, please go to:

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Give Credit where Credit is due...

As my husband and I are new to the Teacher Pay Teacher (TPT) world, I am beginning to realize how quickly expenses can add up when you are looking to use clip art.  That's why we would like to give a shout out to  This clip artist provides free clip art which is amazing when you are just beginning to create your own products for TPT.  Just remember that if you didn't make it, you need to give credit where credit is due.

Thanks for helping all of us make beautiful products with your free Clip art!

It's that time of year again

It's the time of year where all our friends begin to comment on how nice it is to have summers off.

Us teachers know the real truth behind this;)

Welcome Summer!

Summer has started, and with that comes the dreaded summer time courses.  For my husband and I we are both taking one.  We have sent our daughter off to camp and try to get as much work done as possible while the house is quiet.

We are wishing all our educator friends a nice relaxing start to your summer.  Hopefully many of you have found a quiet spot to have a coffee or nice cold drink and just soak up a little time to yourselves.  

For those of you who need a bit of a summer challenge, we guide you the Napping Challenge...

Classroom management...cutting down on interruptions

One thing I love having in my classroom is "Hall Passes".  Students will grab a pass depending on where they are going, place it on their desk, then leave the room.  This stops a lot of interruptions when I am working 1:1 with students.

This is an example of the Library pass my students will place on their desk.  

I printed them, cut them out, and then laminated them.  They hang on a hook at the front of the room so students know where to find them.  

More hall passes can be found at:

Skip Counting

When introducing skip counting I found using a 100's chart really helped my students visualize each number's pattern.

Achievement Post it Somewhere!

As educators we are constantly asked and begged for how students can earn their marks. In addition, you there are lots of parents who tend to ask you the same question. One of the things that I have found that when students understand the reason behind their marks are controlled by their own effort that those questions start to slow down. You will still get the eager one or two students but lets be honest being asked once or twice is better then constantly being asked. If you post these posters up somewhere visible in your classroom it will be a nice little reminder for those students as to why and where marks are coming from no matter what subject. Give these a shot and let us know how they work for you.


Comprehension Strategies: Main Idea

This week we are working on Reading Comprehension Strategies. The focus is on the Main Idea.

Our students will think of the Main Idea of the book they are reading, and then record supporting details from the text.

Welcome to rclassroomsRus!  

We are a husband and wife team who have been inspired to start sharing our resources that we have gathered over our teaching careers.  Together we have covered Kindergarten through to grade 6.  We hope our resources will be able to help simplify your life so you can spend more time with your family, rather than recreating the wheel.

Check back soon for more updates and resources.