Sunday, September 7, 2014

September 11th Lesson, Part 2

If you missed the first part of my September 11th lesson, find that post here.

This year I'm taking advantage of my students overwhelming interest in all things September 11th related and adding a few more activities to my September 11th literacy unit. All components can be downloaded free on TpT.

I've already discussed Day 1 (walking them through the events of 9/11 with the interactive timeline) and Day 2 (students completing independent questions in the computer lab so that each has his own computer). Here's what I'm planning for Days 3-4.

I made my own timeline of what I thought were important events from 9/11. Of course, they're all important, but we're working on discerning and extracting the most relevant information. Here's mine:

Of course, there are ways to slightly alter this activity in order to simplify it for other students, use it with more immature students, or differentiate within your own classroom. You might have them create a timeline that focuses on only one aspect of September 11th. This is easier than looking at all of the events on the timeline and discerning which ones are most important.

You might have your students look for

  • all events related to flights
  • all events related to the North Tower
  • all events related to emergency response
You get the idea. I made a few blank timelines with different numbers of events.

I also created some activities that were more scaffolded. Here they are, in order of increasing difficulty. Easy first.

Given the events, find the times. Great for ESL or struggling students.

Given the times, find the events. They'll have to shorten the event descriptions. An example is shown.

Find the time or event. Once again the students will have to do some shortening of the event descriptions.

If you're using partially completed timelines, challenge your highest students with this one! Find an important event to fill in the blanks on the timeline. Remember, each event must be between the times indicated above and below the event!

I went and added all of these additional pages to my original Interactive Timeline Freebie on TpT, so simply download the updated version to receive these new activities. Here's a link to the updated product.

Finally, I'll have my students write a short summary to practice writing in chronological order. Because I want my students using quality, vivid verbs, we'll first brainstorm vivid verbs that might be used in a 9/11 summary. I'll start students off by suggesting words like crashed, devastated, terrified, and my students will typically come up with better verbs than I had even thought of.

Also, because it's the perfect time to practice using where parts in sentences, such as:
  • At 8:19am
  • After both towers collapsed
  • As officials notified South Tower tenants to remain in the building
  • Once the FAA grounded all flights
I'll have my students underline all of the where groups and color code them. If you're using any of my writing units, this will fit in perfectly!

And we are going to make and wear our 9/11 ribbons on Thursday in remembrance of those who lost their lives in the tragedy. I made them for my students and also posted them as a freebie on TpT. Click the product below to download on TpT. If you decide to use it, please consider leaving feedback.

I'm linking up today with Mrs. Laffin for A Peek at My Week! Be sure to check out what other teachers are doing this week.
Wait a minute. I suddenly have the feeling that I've been misspelling her name for a long time. What!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Saints Victory Freebies are BACK and BETTER THAN EVER!

It's been a long six months waiting for the return of NFL football! Last season, I offered a freebie for each Saints victory. There were definitely some bumps in the road, but I decided to do the victory freebies again. Then, I decided to make them even MORE exciting! So, I've teamed up with some fellow TpT sellers to offer you even MORE freebies! That's right!

Every time the Saints win, I'll still post a freebie from me. It might be a flash freebie for a paid item, it might be an exclusive freebie not offered on TpT, or it might be a brand new TpT freebie.

 In addition to my own freebie, I'll bring you TWO MORE exclusive freebies from other TpT sellers! That's right!

But to catch each of these freebies, you'll need to watch my blog and Facebook page carefully and look for the posts within an hour of each Saints victory.

 Don't want to miss out on anything? Here's the BEST way to stay in-the-know:
1. Follow my Facebook page, I'm Lovin' Lit.
2. While on the I'm Lovin' Lit Facebook page, click the "Liked" button for a drop-down menu. Select "Get Notifications."
3. That's it! Now you'll be notified via Facebook when I post Victory Freebies.

Something I learned from doing this last season is that there definitely needs to be some rules and regulations in place. I don't want anyone to get their feelings hurt if they miss a freebie, but I also want to be fair to the integrity of the game. So, here's the nitty gritty.

1. Victory Freebies will be posted within an hour of each Saints victory. They will be available for a limited time only. The window of availability for the freebie can range from 1 hour to 24 hours.
2. You must be present to win. If you miss it, you miss it. Freebies are offered on a one-time only basis, no exceptions.
3. If you don't watch football, don't own a television, or have a similar debilitating situation, I suggest downloading the Saints season schedule at Games last approximately 3 1/2 hours.
4. If you'd like to receive Facebook notifications when Victory Freebies are posted, follow the instructions in purple print found earlier in this post.
5. Please do not distribute or post online any freebie obtained without permission from the teacher-author. Handing a copy to the teacher next door? Fine. Posting it in a Facebook group or other social media based group for sharing products? Not permitted. We reserve the right to refuse freebies to participants. Please play fair.

6. If you don't like the New Orleans Saints, then you are not eligible to participate. Bandwagon fans are welcome! Preferring one's own home team over the Saints is perfectly legal. Proud and/or loud fans of the Atlanta Falcons or the Carolina Panthers will be shamed.

I love combining my love of football with showing appreciation for customers and followers. I hope to be posting a victory freebie SOON!

And check back tomorrow for Part 2 of my September 11th lesson walkthrough!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Thursday Throw Down #9: My Interactive September 11th Lesson! and... An Announcement!

Happy Thursday, Friends!

Here's to hoping my back-to-school hangover is coming to an end as I'm finally adjusting to my new school, new classroom, and new students! I've also been through a dental pain NIGHTMARE that I definitely hope is officially OVER!

So, grab the Thursday Throw Down button above, and link up your blog post about anything that you do to make learning interactive for your students! Blog posts only, no product link-ups, please!

Today's Thursday Throw Down post will be a walkthrough of one of the most important lessons I teach all year - my September 11th Literacy Lesson.

clip art from Stephanie Ackerman

I find it fascinating that each year, my 6th grade students know less and less about this poignant day in American history. And since 6th graders in my district study world history all year, I take it upon myself each year to teach a 9/11-themed literacy unit around the anniversary of September 11th.

I start this lesson by showing my students the amazing 9/11 Memorial Timeline found at I use my SMART Board (this year, I'm adjusting to my not-so-SMART Promethean board, but you get the point) to walk students through the morning of September 11th and try to bring that day into focus for them so that they can feel the heaviness of what happened.

So, what's so great about this interactive timeline? I'm so glad you asked! Let me show you...

By clicking on each element of the timeline, you'll open some type of multimedia or artifact to bring that day alive for your students.

Examples of this include a screen shot of a security camera that captured a terrorist walking through airport security.

A seat map from one of the flights. Go ahead and take a closer look at the names of those souls who were on board. Because I teach at a Catholic school, we'll stop and pray for the souls.

The students are silent as they listen to an audio recording of one of the hijackers.

We also listen to an audio recording of one of the souls on board as we discuss the many messages that were left for loved ones on the morning of September 11, 2001.

There are also videos taken by individuals and narrated as we get to see others' perspectives on the events unfolding.

Those are only a FEW examples of the wonderful media included in this timeline to hopefully convince you to use it in your classrooms next week! If you're like me, your mind is spinning with the many concepts you can apply to this timeline.. artifacts.. firsthand accounts... primary sources... point of view.. perspective.. wow, right!?

After I walk my students through the timeline - and that typically will take up an entire class period - I'll spend the next class period in the computer lab so that my students each have access to a computer in order to complete the timeline activity. I've formulated 20 high-quality multiple choice questions that will have the students interacting with the timeline in order to find specific information. And, I've made this lesson free on TpT in hopes that you will share it with your students.

And of course, as I do with everything, I have included an answer key to make your life (or this lesson) a little bit easier for you. If you decide to use this lesson in your classroom, click here to download it from Teachers Pay Teachers, and please consider leaving feedback to let me know how it works for your students! =)

And this year, I'm improving upon this lesson and adding some to it. On the third day of the unit, after the timeline and independent activity above, I'll have my students make their own interactive timeline, choosing for themselves which events of the day should be part of a summary. Finally, they'll use this timeline to practice writing an order and sequence structured paragraph detailing the most important events of that day. I'm still working on that, but if you are hanging around my blog near the beginning of next week, I'll bet you can pick up that part of the lesson free, too! that leads me right to the promised announcement!

It's that time of year again.. you know the time I'm talking about... FOOTBALL SEASON!

Oh, NFL Football, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways!

That's right! She's BAAAACK!

Saints Victory Freebies are back this year and EVEN BETTER! Be sure to check back on Sunday for complete rules and guidelines for this year's Victory Freebies!

Until then, I hope you'll link up for Thursday Throw Down!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Thursday Throw Down Returns Tomorrow! Get Your Post Ready! And..

That's right! The Thursday Throw Down Linky Party returns TOMORROW, along with an exciting announcement! You won't want to miss out on the fun, so grab the button above and get your post ready about anything you do in your classroom to make learning more INTERACTIVE! Think... music, dance, technology, cooperative learning, activities, or my personal favorite, interactive notebooks, and I'll see you here tomorrow morning!


Monday, September 1, 2014

ZIP File 911!

Having a ZIP file emergency? You're in the right place!

Of all the technical questions I get from customers, the majority of them definitely have something to do with ZIP files! With that in mind, I've created this post in order to assist customers when downloading ZIP files from various sellers on Teachers Pay Teachers.

First, don't panic. I can tell you with certainty that the TpT tech support team solves every problem for every customer, every time.

Here's the skinny on ZIP files.

1. What is a ZIP file, and why do we need them?

A ZIP file is, put simply, a collection of files. If a product must include more than one file in the download, the seller has no choice except to put those files into one folder and ZIP the folder, making a ZIP file. In order to use a ZIP file once it is downloaded, the user must extract the items from the zipped folder before they can be opened and/or used. Simply clicking on the files in the zipped folder does not always work.

How can you tell if the problem you are experiencing is due to mishandling of a ZIP file? Here are some possible errors that will result from this.

  • Error message asking for a password to open a file
  • Error message that says the file or files are corrupted
  • Error message that says the file is damaged and/or cannot be opened
  • Any error that originates from a ZIP file

2. It's not the seller's fault! If you need to contact someone for help, you should contact TpT Tech Support.

If you've purchased a product that requires a ZIP file download and are unable to download, extract, or access these files, it is not the seller's fault! Please do not contact the seller and demand that he or she solve the problem. Sellers are not trained in technical support and often won't be able to troubleshoot a problem that they've never had. Teachers Pay Teachers has a technical support team whose sole job is to help customers work out their downloading and file issues!  There are a couple of ways to access the technical support team.

At the top of your My Purchases page, you'll see the blurb above. Click on Contact Us to submit a TpT tech support ticket.

You can also find the Contact Us link at the bottom of any TpT page, as shown below.

3. Yes, you can request a file by email.

You may have noticed in the blurb on your My Purchases page that you can request a file by email. To do so, you must click this link. Once again, do not contact the seller for this! He or she will not be able to send you a file by email. This must be done through TpT.

Once you click on "request a file by email," you'll be taken to a page that looks like the one below.

Notice that by clicking in the right column, many of the files can be automatically sent to your email through TpT. You'll also notice that some of the files are too large and you see a message that states "Too large to email, Contact Us." This link will get you to TpT tech support just like the previous links so that you can request help for the specific problem that you're having.

When you do request a file to be emailed to you, you'll get a banner in yellow across your screen (see top of page in above photo) letting you know that an email has been sent to the email address on file.

BUT, if the original file was a ZIP file, the emailed file will also be a ZIP file, so you will likely still experience the same issues that you experienced before.

4. How to Submit a Support Ticket

Now that you've decided that you'll need to submit a support ticket to TpT, doing so is easy peasy! Once you click Contact Us at the bottom of any TpT page, you'll see this entry form.

Enter the requested information. Be sure to include the URL of the product you are trying to download as well as any steps you've tried so far to get the file to open. It is most helpful to attach a screenshot of the error you are getting so that TpT tech support knows exactly what issue you are likely experiencing.

5. Helping Yourself

While you wait for TpT to respond to your support ticket (I almost always hear back the same day, within a few hours!), here is some additional information and tutorials that might help you.

TpT's Zip File Information

TpT's PDF Printing Support Information

School Supply Addict's ZIP File Tutorial, Including Videos

Thanks so much for taking the time to read through this ZIP help page. Of course, I want for all of my customers to have the best buying experience possible! I have never had a customer whose problem wasn't solved by TpT tech support. Please feel free to contact me if the tech support team isn't able to help you in a kindly and efficient manner.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Back to School 2014! Setting Up Interactive Notebooks

Looking for Interactive Notebooks FAQ? Find that here.

As you may know, I was officially back at school last week - and a NEW school at that! It's so fun and exciting to be starting a new teaching job, but at the same time there are some stresses and obstacles that come along with it, too.  My biggest stressor? Not having my technology set up and ready to go on the first day. It's so frustrating having to wait for someone else to make their rounds to me when it's something I could easily do myself! Oh well.

The kids' first day back was Thursday and we began by setting up the interactive notebooks so that they are ready to use and discussing procedures for using the interactive notebooks such as coloring, cutting, gluing, etc. I decided to do something different this year. Instead of using only one notebook for everything, I'm using two notebooks. One is for reading and one is for English/Spelling. I made covers for the students to color so that it's easy to identify which book we are using. My fear is that the wrong page will go into the wrong notebook and I'm doing everything that I can upfront to avoid that!

Download the notebook covers freebie on TpT.

My school requires that I teach Spelling. Since I didn't want to have 3 notebooks, I had my students turn over their English notebooks and place the Spelling cover there. We are using Margaret Whisnant's Word Trek Two program, so my students will create a list of word parts in the front of the Spelling notebook. Each week, they'll write the ten words and definitions in the notebook. At the end of the year, they'll have a mini-glossary of new words since they are all presented in ABC order. Neat!

I also had students glue in a 6x9 clasp envelope to the inside the back cover of the notebook so that they can store pieces here when we haven't finished an activity or need something for later use.

For my little-bit-of-something-educational during those first few days, we started the Genres of Fiction lesson from my Literature Notebook. Their summer reading assignment was James and the Giant Peach (YUCK! I had no control over that!) and the only way I plan to expand on the book is to teach the characteristics of fantasy genre and discuss how those elements are presented in the novel. We only completed the section for fantasy now. After we read different kinds of short stories and novels, we'll return to this page and fill in those sections. I think they are more meaningful to students when they have something we are reading now to compare it with.

 For grammar this week, I plan to start with capitalization rules and will do so with my Hard & Fast Rules for Capitalization from my Grammar Notebook. This will make a nice and clear reference for my students to use ALL YEAR when correcting sentences.

We'll glue in the table with the rules, write in the examples, and later we can add the interactive notebook pages for some of them if we do an additional page on the topic somewhere else in the notebook. I'll also pull in some additional capitalization practice from the workbook as needed.