Friday, September 5, 2014

A Whole Year of Writer's Workshop! A-MA-ZING!!!

Can you believe it...A Year of Units for The Writers Workshop!!!  This bundle consists of 6 whole units. Each Unit is made for Upper Elementary 3-5. Each of the units have 12 - 18 Lessons, each with a Connection, Teaching Point, Active Engagement, Link, and Sharing. It also includes Common Core Standards that are addressed, print outs for writers notebooks, anchor charts, poem examples, rubrics, and much more...see detailed list below! The units that are included are as follows:

Unit 1: Launching the Writing Workshop
Unit 2: Raising the Quality of Narrative Writing
Unit 3: Big Dreams, Tall Ambitions Fiction Writing
Unit 4: Breathing Life into Essay Writing
Unit 5: Literary Essays Writing About Reading
Unit 6: Poetry

These products have been adapted from Units of Study for Teaching Writing Grades 3-5 by Lucy Calkins.

Example of a Detailed List of Materials and Resources Found In The Poetry Unit:
  • Preparing for the Unit Description
  • Materials Needed for Unit: You will find a list of materials that are specific to this unit. These materials should be prepared before beginning the unit.
  • Terms Found In This Unit: These are specific phrases and terms that you will use or are used by Teaching Upstairs that communicate events, moments, or teaching techniques.
  • Writing Workshop Components and Assessments: This is a list that was developed by me for my own school. We use this to determine assessment schedules, grades, and report card items. These are not required in the Lucy Calkins program, but we have found helpful in our years of teaching workshop.
  • Writing Workshop Student Behavior Rubric: This rubric is used to assess student behavior both individually and as a partner. Please see the description on the Components and Assessments Handout for more detailed information.
  • Common Core Standards That Are Addressed In This Unit: A list of the common core standards that are addressed in this unit. 
  • On Demand Assessment Pre Unit, On Demand Assessment Post Unit: This script will give you the information that you need to conduct a pre and post assessment for this specific unit. The pre assessment should be done before beginning any of the lessons. The post assessment should be completed after the students publish their writing. 
  • On Demand Assessment Rubric: Use this rubric for both the Pre and Post On Demand Assessment.
  • Workshop Self Evaluation: Used by student. Please see the description on the Components and Assessments Handout for more detailed information.
  • Tips for Conferring with Writers: Tips on teaching each the student one writing strategy or technique he/she can use in a current piece of writing and continue to use in future writing. 
  • Conferring Examples and Worksheets: Examples of methods that I have found helpful, as well as, an example and blank worksheet that you can record your conferring on. 
  • Student Notebook Labels: These labels are completely optional. I found myself somedays having students copy down the teaching point and anchor chart in their Writer’s Notebook and then there were other days that I handed these out for them to glue or tape into their Notebook. These are just there for convince if you choose to use them. 
  • Example for Parent Handbook: If you need an explanation for your parent handbook at the beginning of the year you may find this helpful.
  • Teacher Self Assessment: An assessment to judge how your workshop is going so far. 
  • Student Poetry Packet: This is a packet for students to use mentor poems from to cut and place into their writers notebooks for inspiration.
  • Poetry Form Posters: 10 posters are in another folder that you are able to print and use in a lesson.
  • Mentor Text List
  • Anchor Charts for Each Lesson
  • 12 Lessons over the Course of 5 Weeks
  • Suggested Poetry Websites
  • Final Copy Rubric
  • Revision and Editing Checklist
  • Partner Editing Checklist
  • Editing Checklist
  • Publishing Checklist
  • Celebration Ideas
Celebration Supplies: In another folder on your download you will find templates for your celebration. If you need a different color or something slightly different please email me at and I can make them for you!

Grab this unit bundle today!!!  Follow this link!

View other products in my store by clicking the TPT button!
Pre-K, Kindergarten, First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Higher Education, Adult Education, Homeschooler, Staff, Not Grade Specific -

Monday, September 1, 2014

Back To School FREEBIE!!!

Tomorrow is the day!  We are back to school and it is the perfect time to capture a memory.  This year I will have a Kindergartener and a Second Grader!  In honor of the first day of school I am sending out a freebie for parents and teachers alike!

Printable and Digital Back to School Signs!

In this freebie you will find signs for grades Kindergarten through Sixth Grade in two different colors!  Don't see what you need let me know and I can whip it right up!

Are you already back in school...don't worry you wont miss out because you can use these digitally.  You will see in the example above that you are able to take this image and place it on a picture from the past year.

Here are the specifics:

You can use the signs two different ways...

  1. Print out the sign on a regular piece of paper and have your child or students hold them in the picture.  8.5x11 Landscape
  2. Use the digital image to place on the photo using your computers photo editor or another online editing system like or
Head over to my TeachersPayTeachers Store  and get your free download today!

Saturday, August 23, 2014

School Year Calendar Freebie!

A Beginning of the Year Freebie for You!!

Who doesn't need a new printable calendar for this school year!  This was designed with everyone in mind!  Use it for home, work, or your classroom!  Just click to be directed to the download!  Leave a comment below and tell us what you used it for!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Back To School Sale and NINJA TURTLES

Don't miss the HUGE Back to School Sale over at!
The Teaching Upstairs Store will be 20% off and then you can use the coupon code BTS14 to get even more of a discount!  Make sure to check out our new Ninja Turtle Math Centers!  More info to come tomorrow about them but for now here is a sneak peek!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Flash Freebie!!!! Reading Workshop Unit Is FREE for 24 Hours!

Check it out!  Teacher's Notebook has this awesome new feature called Flash Freebies!  For 24 hours, Monday at 8am until Tuesday at 8am Teaching Upstairs is giving away 25 Launching Units for Reader's Workshop!!! This unit is adaptable for grades 3-5 and is based on the work of Lucy Calkins! Other units are available in our store. Watch for more Flash Freebies coming soon!!! 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

How To Make a Button For Your Blog in 4 Simple Steps

Design a button for your blog using your favorite design program.  (Powerpoint, Photoshop,  ) It will need to be either 150x150 or 200x150 pixels (I prefer the bigger).  Today I am going to show you my new favorite way...   It is FREE and easy to use.  Here is a 3 minute video of how to use Canva if you are interested.

Once you have made your button and saved it as a PNG or JPEG you are ready to move on to step 2.

Back To School Ideas: Very Hungry Caterpillar Freebie!!

Even though we are just really getting into the thick of summer I know you are already thinking of back to school time!  One of the first things I begin thinking through is my classroom theme.  This year I have created a new theme based on The Very Hungry Caterpillar!  What I love about this theme is that you can bring in so many different elements!  The primary colors are easy to find in different items for the classroom and it lends itself to easy coordination!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Teachers Don't Make Enough Money! An Easy 3 Step Solution!

Are you discouraged with the amount of money you make as a teacher?  Do you feel like you put in more hours than you are paid for?  Join the club!  I, along with thousands of other educators, have found an answer to our money problem!  If you want to find out how to make a passive income as a teacher take 10 minutes and check out my latest webcast!  "Every Teacher Can Make a Passive Income!  By Following 3 Simple Steps!"  Don't worry it is as simple as ABC!

Click on the video below to get started!

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

25 Clever Classroom Tips for Elementary School Teachers from Our Friends at BuzzFeed

This was a great collection of Tips that I found over on I thought that I would share them with some of my favorite educators!  Enjoy!  Make sure and post any links to clever tips you may have in the comment section!!!

You’ll be the talk of the teacher’s lounge with these smart classroom ideas. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Conferring With Writers During The Writing Workshop

When you confer with a student, it isn’t your job to fix or edit the student’s writing. Rather, it’s to teach the student one writing strategy or technique he can use in a current piece of writing and continue to use in future writing. As you confer, keep in mind Lucy Calkins’ wise advice: 
“[We] are teaching the writer and not the writing. Our decisions must be guided by ‘what might help this writer’ rather than ‘what might help this writing’” (1994).

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Where Are The Super Readers?

“Plato said, ‘What is honored in a country will be cultivated there.’ Teachers who honor literacy provide special spaces and material in their classrooms to promote literacy development as an integral part of the total school curriculum”Morrow, 1989
When a young student enters a classroom, are they expected to become a successful reader? I have seen and heard of many teachers that do not expect this of all of their students. I have been in classrooms where teachers will ask their “readers” to come to the front of the classroom and pick out a book to read to a classmate who is “not yet reading”. One may wonder whether that teacher would be struck by those words if he or she was able to look in from the outside? The teacher may have made this statement because their opinion of what a “reader” is not developmentally appropriate. In contrast, this teacher should be labeling all of his or her students as readers and be looking at where their students fall on a developmental continuum of reading.

The question again is, how many teachers have you met that question our students abilities to read? Many teachers believe that if a kindergartner does not leave their classroom reading book upon book then they are destined to live life as a struggling reader. This is not only a faulty assumption, but it damages the student’s future for becoming fluent readers. These expectations leave students feeling that they are not normal. Their teacher’s actions scream that they are not “readers” and this causing the student to feel that they will never catch up. Not only do a teacher’s expectations affect the student, but also the parent. Parents generally take on the teacher’s expectations of what their child should be accomplishing at a certain age. This leaves unreasonable expectations on the student at school and at home. Educators need to take into consideration that if a child‘s first exposure to reading is their kindergarten classroom, they will just be entering the emergent reading stage. This is unlike some students that will have already been exposed and are developed emergent readers. Teachers need to be equipped and ready to be able to help guide all of these students at each of their own paces. If a teacher expects all students to develop reading fluency during kindergarten they will be taking students that are not ‘reading ready’ and placing unreasonable expectations on them. The NAEYC and IRA warn against this. 
“The readiness perspective implies that until children reach a certain stage of maturity all exposure to reading and writing, except perhaps being read stories, is a waste of time or even potentially harmful (1998).” 
What types of expectations should teachers and parents have for our young readers that are appropriate, positive, and beneficial?

Monday, January 13, 2014

Is Something On Your Mind?

Human Brain Evolution
I think educators ought to be interested in the brain because they teach brains!  If you're a classroom teacher, you've got about 30 of them in your room and I can't imagine who would teach a room full of brains who wouldn't be interested in brains.  New developments are helping us to understand the teaching and learning process in ways we couldn't have imagined before this...If you're involved in the development and maintenance of a brain you need a kind of knowledge that is more than folklore knowledge."

As educators we have been chosen and called to create environments that allow students to thrive and learn to the best of their abilities.  We go through our daily routines, lesson plan, correct papers, and do our best to stay afloat...but are we stopping to think and reflect?  Do we look at the test scores and since half of the students scored a B or above, move on?
The question is...
How can an educator be effective without looking at ALL aspects of how we learn?  Many educators, including myself, have had times where their theories or practices are not based on research and evidence.  We instead of educating ourselves on current research we mimic the type of educational practices that we experienced.   This has a lot to do with trying to stay afloat and survive the weight that has been put on our shoulders... the bigger concern is 'How is this effecting our students?'
While talking to colleagues and parents I have found that there are some common myths to teaching and learning.  I think it is time we set the record straight and go mythbusters on some of these common misconceptions about the brain.
Myth v
All the facts that contradict the typical classroom setting are based on current brain research.  Researchers have learned more about the brain in the past few years than we had in the previous 100.
We have an old [educational] system that doesn't work for kids. It works for some, but doesn't work for enough students and we haven't clearly formulated a new one.  So it would seem natural to turn to the brain to give us some guidance in how do we develop this new place to go to.
So where do we start?  I think it begins with collaboration.  Scientists, educators, and parents need to work together towards a common goal.  What are you doing in your classroom today to move towards brain based education?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Going Wild In 2014!

For those of you that don't follow me that title may have been a I am not going to PCB or a club.  BUT I am "Wild About Learning!"

I had a school request materials for their Kindergarten Classrooms for the start of the new year.  I am happy to announce that the first round of materials is complete.  Go on over to our TPT or TN stores and check out all the different products we have to go with the "Wild About Learning Collection!"