Wednesday, March 25, 2015


As March comes to an end, spring is in the air.  The weather is getting warmer, the sun is out longer, and we are spending more and more time outside.  Another thing I know I look forward to is spring cleaning!  I love to open the windows in my house to air it out.  Putting away my winter clothes and straightening up around the house just makes me excited for the nicer weather that's just around the corner.

The bloggers at Upper Elementary Snapshots have decided to let you all do a little spring cleaning, too - but without actually picking up cleaning supplies!  We want you to clean out those TpT wishlists!  The best part is that we are going to help you get started!

We are giving away 6 $20 TpT gift certificates.  Use the Rafflecopter below for a chance to enter on March 25th and March 26th. 

Then, on March 27th and March 28th, our individual TpT stores will be on sale.  This is the perfect time to grab some fantastic resources to finish up this school year! 

Here is a list of our stores - get up to 20% off all of our resources for 2 days ONLY! (Friday/Saturday) Happy shopping!!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Writing Mini Lesson #17- Writing the Body Section of a Narrative Essay

Writing the Body Section of a Narrative Essay

After the introduction of a narrative essay, the next step is to write the body of the paper.  It is important to keep the events in sequential order.  Explain that this is the middle of the story where characters are developed and events show a heightened suspense and climax.  It needs to unfold naturally.  This is a great place to bring out the hamburger model to remind them that it is the "meat" of the story!  I like to explain the reason of using three fantabulous events to expound upon as having the Power of 3.  It is the perfect number of events for your story.  Then give details details details of each!  Review the slide of The Power of 3 and the class example with the students.  Or have the class develop the example together.  Last, have your writers take notes on the Body section and Power of 3.


If students need more practice or you would like to reinforce this lesson, provide prompts for the students to write 3 events for each.  Here are some samples below.

I hope your students can develop a creative body for your paper!  Stay tuned for the next writing mini lesson #18- Creating Suspense and Climax!


If you would rather have all of the lessons at your fingertips, click on the picture below:

Writing Mini Lesson #16- Writing an Introduction for a Narrative Essay

Now that your students are familiar with how to craft a plot for Narrative writing, let's start writing!  Woo Woo!  I explain to my cherubs that all of the characters do not have to be introduced right away. However, I encourage students to introduce at least the main character in the introduction.  In the body of the paper, students can bring in more characters.  They will also be working on character traits, etc.  Upper elementary students have a habit of wanting to tell a whole story leading up to the story.  I tell them the best way to avoid that is to start off the story with the problem so their story can be developed from there.  Think of CSI.  The crime is presented at the beginning of the show.  Then the story unfolds.  This is the same with narrative writing.  In the introduction, the characters, setting, and basic plot including the problem should be included.  This gives the rest of the essay to expound upon the characters, setting, and plot.  If you don't have the following posters, simply draw a 3 car coaster and talk about the importance of including these 3 items in the introduction.

Then we discuss our class paper that we are writing together.  We decided that the person narrating, would be the class, but since we are writing in a one person point of view, we are saying, "Me."  Telling the reason for using the characters, setting, and plot gives the students a deeper understanding on how the story is being developed.

 I tell the students to glue down the top edge of the roller coaster square to create a flap.  Then, paste the chart under the flap.  I always encourage them to write first!  Then they may color, cut, and paste.

For the setting, use the mentor text, Working Cotton by Sherley Anne Williams.  I choose a student(s) to draw the setting on large paper on the board and we chime into things to add.  Together, we write a vivid description.  Last, they get together with their partners to create their own introductions.  

Once finished with these lessons, pull out the whole group graphic organizer and create the introduction together. (See below for example)  Then students do the same for their own story.  If there is time, it is always good to have them share introductions with another peer or peer group.  This assures that you are on track.

I hope you are confident in writing a superb introduction!  The next lesson #17 will be on the BODY of the paper!  Stay tuned!

Rock 'N' Write

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Writing Mini Lesson #15- Plot

Writing Mini Lesson #15- Plot

Now that you learned how to use the graphic organizer in mini lesson #14, let's move onto PLOT and get ready to start planning our own story.  I like to use Cinderella to teach plot.  I read the story to my class and have a student use a toy car to roll up and down the roller coaster poster on my smart board.  If you don't have a smart board or the poster, simply draw a roller coaster on your board to show a visual for plot.  I help the student along by showing that the author does a fabulous job increasing the suspense again and again throughout the story (getting to the ball, dancing, clock strikes midnight, running away, losing her shoe).  Then the climax of the story would be when the prince is placing the shoe on her foot.  The students are so stinkin cute because they get excited along with me when we reach the top of the coaster even though they've heard the story a million times.  We even hold our hands up in the air like we are on the coaster as we read the rest of the story.  Cute, huh?  Anything to get them excited about learning!

Next, I hand out the printable for PLOT for their notebooks.  Once again, you can have your students draw a roller coaster and write in the notes if you don't have the printable.  I have students fill in the missing letter to each step before cutting and pasting them into their notebooks.  Then I ask them to draw arrows and down the coaster to show the direction of movement.  The student sample below forgot the arrows.  Oopsie!

1.  Introduce characters, setting, and problem.
2.  Develop characters and events.
3.  Increase suspense.
4.  Climax!! The point of the highest emotion/tension.
5.  Resolution.

I hope you had fun riding the coaster!  The next mini lesson #16 will be on developing an introduction!   


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Rock and Write

Rock and Write!  Rockin Resources is well known for our writing products.  Pam always liked to write and teach writing.  She has used numerous writing programs over her 26 years of teaching, but was never satisfied.  This led her to create her own writing program to use with her class.  Although she felt it was very effective, her thoughts turned into reality when her state scores came in and 98% of her class scored exemplary in writing!  Her principal asked her what she used for writing and she was hesitant to explain that she wasn't using the adopted writing program from the district.  That is when she realized it would benefit not just her class and her colleagues' classes, but why not put it in the hands of as many other teachers who are looking for an all-inclusive program that will rock test scores!  We offer year-long bundles for Grades 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.  We also have a 3-6 product in case you teach several grade levels!  It includes all the skills needed for grades 3-6.  Although it is Common Core aligned, it is not labeled with the CCSS.  This also helps those teachers who aren't teaching the CCSS but would like the awesome program!

Interactive Writing Notebooks- These can be used for notebooks or just instruction.  There are practice sheets to go with most of the lessons as well.  SECOND GRADE HAS BEEN ADDED!

We provide step-by-step plans, lessons, and creative ways to teach with or without interactive notebooks.  Your writing scores are guaranteed to skyrocket!

Product Description:  Our Interactive Writing Notebooks have been BEST SELLERS ON TPT! - They have hyperlinks to easily maneuver through the large  400 + document and mentor text for all the mini lessons!

This year-long Interactive Writing Notebook was designed to follow through the WRITING PROCESS and model lessons for Narrative Writing, Opinion Writing, and Informative Writing.  It covers ALL of the Writing Common Core Standards and many Language Standards. 

What is different about my product than other interactive writing notebooks?
There are teachable slides that can be used on the smart board or printed for posters, as well as slides already done for you to model good writing with your students, and student printables to go along with each mini lesson.  

In addition to the multitude of lessons, you will find independent practice, model writing, assessments, student resources, graphic organizers, tracking charts, forms, rubrics, dictionaries, labels, homework assignments, student resources etc etc.  All of these items come with directions and suggestions and are laid out in the ideal order to teach and be successful.

Table of Contents for Interactive Writing Notebook

Getting Ready
Setting Up Notebooks
Student Resources
Million Dollar Dictionary
Mini Lesson Instructions
Decorating notebook
Portfolio Labels
Portfolio Message to Parents
Quick Notebook Check Rubric
Tracking Progress Form
Presentation Cards
Writing Workshop Rules

Developing ideas
(Lesson plans, instruction posters 
and notebook printables)

Paragraph Writing Lessons
(Lesson Plans, Instruction Posters, Notebook 
printables, and Independent printable for each)
A. Subject and Predicates
B. Fragments
C. Complete Sentences
D. Run-ons
E. Topic Sentences
F. Relevant Details
G. Clincher
H. Assessment
I. Hamburger Model

Writing Process
(Lesson plans, Posters and notebook printables)

Narrative Writing
(A sample is provided to model and follow through the writing process)
A. Lesson Plans
B. Narrative Elements
C. Narrative Writing CCSS Checklist
D. Prewriting- Brainstorming
E. Task, Audience, Purpose
F. Prewriting- Graphic Organizers
G. Introduction (Character, Setting, Plot)
H. Body (Power of 3, Suspense, Climax)
I. Character Traits
J. Dialogue
K. Conclusions
L. Rough Draft
M. Writing Goal Form
N. DARE to revise (Delete, Add, Rearrange, Exchange)
(more lessons on rockin beginnings, transition words, Million  
Dollar Words using money CLIPS (Colorful Adjectives, Lively  
Figurative Language, Ideal Adverbs, Powerful Verbs, Sizzling 
Sense Words) including bulletin board posters, trashcan 
words, sentence variety, jammin conclusion, crafty title) 
(lessons on capitalization, usage, complete 
sentences, punctuation, spelling), ASSESSMENT
P. Peer Reflection and form
Q. Final Copy
R. Samples of final copy paper
S. Rubric
T. Reflection Form
U. Homework/Classwork Printables

Opinion Writing
(A sample is provided to model and follow through the writing process)
A. Lesson Plans
B. Opinion Elements
C. Opinion Writing CCSS Checklist
D. Prewriting- Brainstorming
E. Prewriting- Graphic Organizer
F. Task, Audience, Purpose
G. Strengthen Opinions
H. Introduction
I. Body (Power of 3, facts and details)
J. Conclusions
K. Rough Draft
L. Writing Goal Form
M. Revisions (lessons on rockin beginnings,
supporting details, transition words, 
sentence variety, jammin conclusions, craft 
N. CUPS (Revisit capitals, usage, punctuation, spelling)
O. Peer Reflection
P. Final Copy (keyboarding)
Q. Rubric
R. Reflection Form
S. Homework/Classwork Printables

Informative Writing
(A sample is provided to model and follow through the writing process)
A. Lesson Plans
B. Informative Elements
C. Informative Writing CCSS Checklist
D. Assignment
E. Prewriting- Brainstorming
F. Prewriting- Graphic Organizer
G. Task, Audience, Purpose
H. Organization
I. Plagiarism, Taking Notes
and Citing Sources with forms
J. Introduction
K. Body (Power of 3, vocabulary)
L. Conclusions
M. Rough Draft
N. Writing Goal Form 
O Revisions (lessons on rockin beginnings,
supporting details, transition words, 
sentence variety, jammin conclusions, craft 
P. CUPS (Revisit capitals, usage, punctuation, spelling)
Q. Graphics/Headings/Captions
R. Peer Reflection
S- Final Copy and Template
T- Glossary/Source/Table of Contents
U- Rubric
V. Reflection
W. Homework/Classwork Printables
More Practice/ Choice Assignment/Homework

Look no further! It is all here! If you are a new teacher, this resource is perfect. It is a STEP by STEP, user friendly Interactive Writing Notebook with Instructions on how to teach the skills!

W.1, W.1.a, W.1.b, W.1.c, W.1.d, 
W.2, W.2.a, W.2.b, W.2.c, W.2.d
W.3, W.3.a, W.3.b, W.3.c, W.3.d, W.3.e, 
W.4, W.5, W.6, W.7, W.8, W.9, W.10
L.1. a, L.1.b, L.1.c, L.1.d, L.1.e, L.1.f, L.1.g
L.2.a, L.2.b, L.2.c. L.2.d


TPT Sale! Don't miss out!

Sale Sale Sale!  I am so excited!  The TPT sale is February 25th and I am doing the happy dance!  There are many sellers also having a sale so you can SAVE SAVE SAVE!  Did I tell you that you can SAVE?   My cart is already full with graphics and frames to help my products look cute!

You can also win free products and gift cards by doing a Facebook hop to different sites with Upper Grade Memoirs!  Click below to start!  Be a Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

Also, Upper Elementary Snapshots are all participating and offering different deals on their sites!  Click for info!

In my store, you can even get my bundles and units for this great deal!  Click to see all the ROCKIN products on sale.  Here is just a select few of popular writing products!

Shop til you drop!  I will be for sure!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Test Prep Tips and Strategies

Test Prep Tips and Strategies

I've been fortunate to be a part of two upper elementary groups of amazingly talented teachers.  I've written a post on each site to go along with Test Prep.

You will find several posts on Test Prep with Upper Grade Memoirs.  My post is called Test Prep Ideas- Rockin the Test.

On the Upper Elementary Snapshots post, I wrote the Top Ten Test-Taking Strategies.  There is also a downloadable .pdf!

Still want more ideas?
See my pinterest board!  I've been collecting ideas for Test Prep!

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