Friday, September 18, 2015

Fuel Your Faith: The Power of Words

Each year around this time (still early in the school year but far into enough that I've started to get to know my students and can speak frankly to them) I plan for this oh-so-importat lesson on the power of words.

I start out my telling my students that
I am going to tell them a
big lie.
They start giggling but sit quietly,
waiting for what I'm about to say.
I pause.
Then I quote:
"Sticks and stones may break my bones,
but words will never hurt me."

I begin the illustration like this:
Each time you speak, you words come out like toothpaste.
I walk around the classroom and talk,
squirting toothpaste messily out onto a cookie sheet as I go. 
I say sarcastic comments, "funny" jokes at someone else's expense, insults, thoughtless comments, etc. as I squeeze it all over the place.

Then I pull out the toothbrushes:
Each tooth brush has a sign attached to it:
And I try to use the toothbrushes to get the toothpaste neatly back in the tube.

But it never works.
In the end, we're still left with a mess:

Thus proving my point:
Words have power.
Words have weight.
Words make a lasting impact.

Then I read this book to them:
It's a classic book about a young girl who goes to kindergarten and gets made fun of because of her unusual name.
You can watch a youtube video of the book being read:
When the video starts, I hold up this picture of our main character, Chrysanthemum:
Then, everytime a character says something mean to Chrysanthemum, I ripped the paper.
The students were shocked, quietly whispering, "what's she doing? why is she ripping it?"

I knew I had their attention.

Chrysanthemum goes home and tells her parents what the mean kids said. They comfort her and try to reassure her.
With each comforting words, I took a piece of scotch tape and taped up a rip.
The next pages followed a similar pattern.

At the end of the story, the classmates apologize and Chrysanthemum feels better.

I show my students the picture: 

Does it look like the one at the beginning?
Because words have power.
And we can comfort someone or say we're sorry
or tell them it was just a joke.
But the words are out there.
They have been spoken.
They can be forgiven
But they are not easily forgotten.

We have a great responsibility - words have POWER.
As teachers, we also have the power.
The power to build up or to break down.
The power to stimulate or to criticize.
The power to motivate or to wound.
These refer to the words we say to students and about students.

I leave you with a quote I have hanging in my classroom:

Sunday, September 13, 2015

$1 Deal: Story Starters Creative Writing Prompts

Hello friends!
Jessica here from "Joy in the Journey"
Today I've got a Dollar Steal to share with you!
For the next two days, my "Story Starters" packet will be on sale for only $1!
Are you tired of hearing "But I don't know what to write about!" or "I don't know where to startttttt" from your students? Well, look no further, because this print-and-go packet will get your kids EXCITED about writing as their creative juices start flowing!

The packet comes with 24 story starter cards:
I printed them out in B&W on colorful paper:
and let each student draw one out of an envelope
(they love the element of surprise)

Then they each grabbed a brain-storming sheet and planned out their story:
After their stories were written, I took volunteers to come and share what they wrote. Nearly every hand shot up in the air! They begged me to let them draw cards again and write another story - Win! :)

From now until Monday night, you can snag this packet for only $1! 
Your students will thank you for it!
Click here to visit my TpT store and check out the 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Back-to-School Freebie Frenzy HOP!

Whooooooo's ready for some back-to-school FREEBIES?!?
A group of awesome upper elementary bloggers and I have joined together to bring you loads of fun, clasroom-tested-and-teacher-approved ideas and freebies!
Plus you have the chance to WIN a $50 TpT gift card!
And who couldn't use that? :)

Though I loved being in a self-contained classroom and teaching each subject, my favorite to teach in my 5th grade classroom was Social Studies.
I love making the past come alive for my kiddos - and it was so encouraging to see them mature as they developed empathy for those who lived before them. It expands their horizons and gives them a broader perspective on life - and what 10 year old doesn't need that? :)

In 5th grade, our history curriculum covers 1900-the present, chronologically. I decided to utilize the sequence of our chapters to create a "passport" for my students to keep track of their "travels through history."
At the end of each unit that we studied in Social Studies, I gave my students a Passport Page to complete. It acted as a study guide before the unit test and then was compiled into their Passport Folders that we added to all year long.

The packet comes with complete teacher directions and suggestions
My students filled out a page for: World War 1, The Roaring 20s, The Great Depression, World War 2, the 1950s, the Civil Rights Movement, the Korean War, the 1980s, and the War of Terror. 

Depending on your curriculum or scope of study, you can customize the page to meet your classroom needs:

Then, at the end of the year, have the students look back through their "Passports" and reflect on the different "stops" that they made:

Click here to snag this freebie:
If you download the packet, please leave feedback!
*Note: if you use this resource in your classroom, please send me an e-mail at and you'll be featured on my blog!

Time to keep hopping!
But be sure to enter the Rafflecoptor before you go:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

What's Cookin' Wednesday: Cheesy Chicken Pockets

Back-to-school got you plum-tuckered-out? 
Adjusting to the "new normal" of another school year?
Hungry kids clamoring for dinner?
Well, look no further - 
I've got a quick and easy dinner recipe that's
sure to be a real crowd-pleaser!
Today I'm sharing one of my family's favorite go-to recipes:

With only 10 minutes of prep time and 20 minutes of cookin' time, this dinner is complete in half an hour!

Mix together all of your ingredients and then pop open a can of Pillsbury Crescent Rolls (I tried the off-brand kind and just didn't feel like they tasted as good - it's worth the extra 29 cents to buy the real deal). Instead of pulling them apart in triangles, keep them together in twos to create rectangles. Spoon a little of the cheesy chicken mixture into the center of each rectangle.

Then bring the corners up and push down to "seal" the pockets:
Spread some melted butter and sprinkle the tops with bread crumbs:
Bake for 20-25 minutes (I like the cheese to be oozing out!)
My mouth is now watering :)
How about you?

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Pick 3 PINspiration: September

 Happy September, friends!
Here are some of my favorite pins that I've found recently:
{click on the pictures to be taken to the pins}
 Back-to-School Read-Aloud Ideas:
These are awesome books that have real-life applications - they could be read & taught all-year-round!
Get-to-Know-You Jenga:
How fun is this idea? You write a conversation-starter on each Jenga block and when the students pull them out, they have to answer the question.
With a new baby at home, 
I am all about quick and easy dinner recipes:
Speaking of recipes, I've started a fun weekly blog series where I share easy and delicious tried-and-true recipe ideas:
Click on the custom tag {"What's Cookin' Wednesday"} on the right-hand side of my blog to see the recipes I've shared so far.

Looking for more PINspiration? Check out these awesome bloggers and their Pinterest finds: