Monday, April 22, 2013

Because of Winn-Dixe

My featured {freebie} at the moment (check the date of this post because things change) is a possessive noun worksheet on Because of Winn-Dixie.

This is a dog-lover's tale about a little girl who is being raised by her single father. She moves to a new town, takes in a stray dog, and learns about life and relationships through the friendships she makes.

In the accompanying worksheet, students will change the underlined phrase into a possessive noun phrase.

The tail of the dog knocked over some oranges and made even more of a mess in the grocery store.
The dog's tail . . .
On her way home from the pet store, Opal rode past the house of the boys, and they followed her on their bikes.
The boys' house . . .
Gregory did a similar exercise from his grammar book this year which he and many other students found confusing. While reading this Kate DiCamillo book in Literature Circles, I realized how much better the exercise could be if it was more meaningful to him and how at the same time, such an exercise would require (and hopefully inspire) him to become a more careful reader.


Friday, April 19, 2013

More on the Great Horn Spoon

I uploaded my revised packet today and felt great knowing the people who have already purchased the product can download for free all the new pieces I've added (more possessive noun forms, adjectives clauses, error analysis, and noun clauses). I wasn't sure about that until I checked the seller's forums. They remind me so much of the TCOYF forums. This really feels like a group of collaborative and insightful teachers.

Teaching students to really take apart the text and understand that the word "that" can function differently is made so much easier using this fun read.

Praiseworthy treasured the bowler hat that Pitch-pine Billy used to pan for gold.

Jack hoped that he would hit pay dirt in the diggings.

I am going to upload a freebie example or two from different books I had worked on earlier when I first got started back in the fall. The first will be a possessive noun worksheet from Because of Winn-Dixie. How funny that I have recently read so many dog-lover stories when I am truly not one myself. I jump and back away every time I come near a dog, friendly or not!

By next week I plan to go through my teaching files and add some products to my store that I had created on a McColl Grant when I taught at Oldfields. My Spanish students began a book called La Gran Aventura de Alejandro in the first year and when they got to my second year class, I took them into the preterite. This book didn't get that far, so I wrote original chapters and continued Alejandro's adventure. Long ago I had posted them on a website called but then got busy being a mommy.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

By The Great Horn Spoon

Now that I've completed my chain of evidence for this wonderful story, I'm working on adjective clauses, possessive nouns (for the second half of the book), error anaylsis (punctuation, homophones, run-ons) and noun clauses. I hope to have it up by the end of the week.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Chains of Evidence

Not only did I find cute free detective clip art, now I've come up with how to present my chain of evidence idea. I spent a little time at Lakeshore this a.m. and found this bucket of fun. Bonus! They were handing out coupons for teachers for next month. Tonight, after reading, of course, and tucking the boys into bed, I will put up my sample.

My Great Horn Spoon Adverbial Bookmarks are up. Even though clip art makes things cute, I didn't put too much on them so as not to force teachers to waste ink. The most important thing is that the instructions and the adverbial clauses be well-written...and that they are! Add a tassel with pony beads, and students themselves will be making them colorful with their own creativity.

Have fun with them! I certainly did.

Thursday, April 11, 2013


Sold! I love the little message in my in-box telling me that my products have sold. I think of the teachers and students out there using them, maybe even right now as I write this. I wonder about the discussions generated in the classroom. Wish I could be a fly on the wall!

So this morning I started thinking more about how much evidence is required to support a statement, the ideas I had come up with, and what I've found so far in the By the Great Horn Spoon. I think it will be difficult for students to write 12 original statements that support one summary statement. Five or six, maybe, but twelve is a lot. So that got me thinking about nets and chains of evidence. Do you see where I'm going? Follow the Chain of Evidence . . . and there's a site with cute, free detective clip art out there.

So today's project, other than making a green smoothie in my new Vitamix, is to make a sample.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Depth of Knowledge . . .

for finding evidence . . .

Gregory did a Bloom Ball for Mrs. K when he read Island of the Blue Dolphins. This was the first time I had ever seen it. You can learn more about her creative idea here at teachersnotebook. Since learning to find evidence is one of the keys to being a good reader, I had the idea to create something similar that supports a statement about By the Great Horn Spoon. I came up with 8 statements about the story and am now working on finding evidence from the book with page numbers to include in the answer key. I'm going to provide templates, smaller than those I've seen online if possible, for creating one that supports this statement so that teachers can have an example to show students.

Here is my work in progress:

Summary Statement to Find Evidence For:

This adventure changed both Praiseworthy and Jack.

It requires 12 supporting statements which form the panels of the Bloom Ball. Students would write these on their own after they collect evidence. I'll have to create a form for that and include it with the packet.

Below are examples of supporting statements that students would write on each panel. This will be part of my example.

1) Jack got stronger from all the hard work at the diggings.
2) Jack got a nickname: Jamoka Jack.
3) Praiseworthy was no longer trapped by his upbringing as a butler and could propose to Aunt Arabella.
4) Jack started to use the language he learned at the diggings; for example, he said carpentaros instead of woodpeckers.
5) Jack started drinking coffee.
6) Praiseworthy no longer carried his umbrella and wore his bowler hat; he dressed in the red miner's shirt and wore a wide-brimmed hat.

I can't give it all away yet! Give me a few days to work on this . . .

It seems that my By the Great Horn Spoon packet is getting the most interest so now that I have finished Shiloh, I'm going to focus on that.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


I just put my complete Shiloh packet in my store. It is full of great grammar, and while I included some worksheets such as homophones and possessive noun forms, I included some more advanced grammar as well. The worksheets on adverbials focus on those of time and sequence: (just) as, after, as soon as, before, by the time, once, since, till, until, when, whenever and while.

One of the new formats asks students to change a sentence written with a coordinating conjunction into a sentence with the same meaning using an adverbial.

Shiloh is hurt very badly, so Mr. Preston rushes him to Doc Murphy's in the middle of the night. (because)

Because Shiloh is hurt very badly, Mr. Preston rushes him to Doc Murphy's in the middle of the night.

Also included in this packet is a worksheet on adjective clauses. The CCSS hold teachers accountable for teaching punctuation; therefore, students must learn what constitutes an essential adjective clauses and what does not. Different punctuation rules apply. This type of sentence combining practice should guide students toward mastery of more complex types of sentence structure.

Marty has a .22 rifle.
Marty never uses his .22 rifle to shoot anything living.

Marty has a .22 rifle, which he never uses to shoot anything living.

Marty is an eleven year old boy.
Marty loves animals.

Marty is an eleven year old boy who loves animals.

Doc Murphy is the town's doctor.
Doc Murphy stitches up Shiloh's wounds.

Doc Murphy, who is the town's doctor, stitches up Shiloh's wounds.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Google Me!

So I googled "Grammar and By the Great Horn Spoon" last night and it took me to my blog. I also did that for Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, and it took me to my free download. The google robots are working! 

Friday, April 5, 2013


I've spent hours working on Shiloh and am nowhere near finished. There is so much interesting material to work with in a book like this. I created a small worksheet writing original sentences using coordinating conjunctions and put an adverbial in parenthesis. The students are asked to rewrite the sentence using the adverbial.

Marty tells Dara Lynn that there he saw a snake up on the hill, for he doesn’t want her to go snooping up there and find Shiloh. (because)

This sentence becomes . . .

Marty tells Dara Lynn that he saw a snake up on the hill because he doesn't want her to go snooping up there and find Shiloh.

And then I created bookmarks for four categories of adverbials:

cause and result
time and sequence

Those will go up on TpT for free.

My homophones worksheet for Shiloh is done, so once I've finished the adverbials and conjunctions, I will upload them. Possessive noun forms can wait.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Henry Huggins . . .

When I first started creating these materials, I worked on some "rough drafts" using Henry Huggins. Gregory had enjoyed reading it awhile back, and I was (and had started...can't remember!) rereading it to David. Well, a trip to Costco and the discovery of 14 Beverly Cleary paperbacks for only $24.99, and my interest was sparked in putting my previous work in my shop. Detour from Shiloh . . .

I revised and reworked (with my fourth-grader's feedback which cost me 50 cents) my combined skills worksheet. It has over 20 items, focuses on Chapter 2 (Gallons of Guppies) and covers homophones, parallelism, use of the comma in items in a series and with adverbials, avoiding run-ons, capitalization, possessive noun-forms and more. What I like about this type of worksheet, especially, is that students have to draw on all their previous knowledge, so it is a more accurate assessment of whether or not the concept has truly been learned. When a student focuses on, for example, possessive noun forms, mistakes are less easily made.

Try it out and see for yourself.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Finalizing Frindle

I had decided to package together all of my work on Frindle as I did with By the Great Horn Spoon. I have a much larger packet to upload which includes the DLI-type editing I had done with The Birthday Bash chapter in Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. As I was finalizing the worksheet on conjunctions, I realized an opportunity to point out how after and for can be used differently. So now I've included practice in identifying whether after is an adverbial or a preposition and whether for is a coordinating conjunction or preposition. Of course, their use determines the punctuation of the sentence, making it all come together beautifully.

Which is it?

Mrs. Granger returned the signed envelope to Nick after the battle had ended.