TpT TEACHER APPRECIATION SALE! SAVE 28% ON EVERYTHING IN MY STORE!

EVERYTHING IN MY STORE IS ON SALE AT 28% OFF FOR TEACHER APPRECIATION DAY. Drop by and take a look at the student directed and graded writing and language arts materials that will make the end of the year way less stressful. While you’re there be sure to stock up for next year. See you there!

sale_1080_1080

FREE DAILY DAZZLE – Weekly Language Arts Bell Ringer Lessons For Grades 3 – 8 AND A One Time Purchase Of The DAILY DAZZLE TOOL BOX

Try out my FREE DAILY DAZZLE comprehensive language arts bell ringer LESSONS for grades 3 – 8.  EACH LESSON is a week long and covers, language arts conventions, writing, editing, grammar, and so much more.  

Each grade level bell ringer is coordinated by page number to the DAILY DAZZLE TOOL BOX,  an ONE TIME PURCHASE of $8.00, that contains the rules of grammar, punctuation, capitalization and more, so students can look up the rules and learn them on their own. 

Please check out my store where you will find ALL my student-directed language arts and writing lessons that are student graded before they are turned in for their instructor’s assessment.  

Slide2

Dazzle Here, Chasing The Winter Blues Away

Has the long winter brought on the blues?  Now that spring is officially here, Dazzle has a surefire way to chase the blues away and bring some good old fun back to your classroom.  It’s called Speed Writing and students love it.  Dazzle is offering it FREE to anyone that wants to get their students creative juices flowing and increase fluency at the same time.  

Feeling Blue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  Download your FREE speed writing lesson here.

Speed Writing Lesson

Dazzle was brought to me by RZ Alexander the clip art master.  See ALL of RZ’s wonderful clip art here.

DAZZLE’S FAVORITE NIGHTIME WRITING LESSON

Teachers, here is another writing lesson from Dazzle.  It is an observational lesson through the senses that can be used anywhere and often.  This lesson is for a nighttime observation that  you could do for one night, a week, or a month of nights.  You can incorporate as many or as few extras into it as you like such as write a poem, a song, or draw a picture or a map.  Students love having options and will surprise you with the extra things they came up with themselves and they love to share out loud what they write. You will be surprised and happy with the outcome.  If you don’t want to assign the lesson now, save it for a warmer time or when something special is occurring like fazes of the moon, an eclipse, or a holiday.   Here is Dazzle’s lesson for you to share with your students. 

Dazzle has a funtastic  nighttime writing lesson that can be done anytime of the year, but since it’s winter lets give it a try now.  Imagine stepping outside your house on a winter night and opening up your senses to everything that is going on around you.  This assignment is ALL about your senses here’s what you do.

  1. Put on your coat, grab paper and pencil, and head outside.  If you live in the city are close to a park then ask your parents if they mind if you go there or if they will go with you to the park, otherwise just go outside wherever you live.
  2. Find a place to stand or sit that is kind of off by yourself, take out paper and pencil, and start describing everything that is going on around you.  Note the:
    1. Sounds your hear – Example: an owl hooting, a big truck going by, someone laughing, the sound of the wind, a dog barking, the crunch of someone walking in the snow etc
    2. Things you see – The clouds partially covering the moon, how dark it is outside, the shadow of the trees, the blur of a car passing by, etc.
    3. What you feel – The sting of snow as the wind blows it into your face, the sweat rolling down your back because you have on a very warm coat, cold hands, nervous because you hear a wolf howl, etc.
    4.  What you smell – Dinner cooking, exhaust, clean air, the neighbors barbecue cooking on the grill, etc.
    5. What you taste – the cold snow as it hits your tongue, the taste of the chocolate cake you had for dinner, the lollipop you are sucking on while you make your observations, etc.

Once you have finished your observations go inside, look at your notes, and start writing your story in your composition book.  Now here is where it should be fun! instead of just writing the facts, elaborate and make it interesting and try NOT to say the words I saw, I felt, I smelled, I tasted, I heard, but find more descriptive words to describe the scene and the senses.   Example:  As I looked up into the dark cold sky, a veil of wispy clouds shrouded the silvery moon.  That sounds much better than saying I saw the moon and clouds.  

As you write you can add illustrations to go with what your are describing.  You could also add a poem or song if you felt inspired to do so.  Have fun with your writing!

Dazzle was brought to me by RZ Alexander. Check out all RZ’s wonderful clip art here.

Check out this totally student-directed interactive writing notebook that includes lessons on narrative, compare/contrast, cause/effect, and argumentative essays as well as a poetry unit with guidelines and rubrics for each step each lesson. Students use provided rubrics to grade each assignment and essay before turning them all in for instructor evaluation.

Interactive Writing Notebook If you are interested in more student directed and assessed language arts and writing curriculum click here. 

Dazzle’s Note Writing Time Filler Activity

 

MEET DAZZLE

MEET DAZZLE

Meet Dazzle, the amazing language arts wonder dog!  Dazzle was brought to me by RZ Alexander.  Drop by RZ’s TpT store and see the amazing clip art offered there.

Dazzle is chalk full 😉 of helpful teaching ideas, hints, thoughts, and lessons that will make teaching and learning language arts and writing so much more fun and less stressful. In fact, here’s one now.    

Writing notes is something all students want to do so why not let them. With a few quick rules, you will be on your way to a fun time filler activity that keeps students writing and quiet for those times when you run out of things to do and still have some time left before class ends. Use this activity sparingly, usually a few times a month, and your students will be begged to do it.Slide2

Students should NOT make any noise as they write their notes and tiptoe around the room delivering them.  SO PLAY SOFT MUSIC IN THE BACKGROUND, SIT BACK, AND ENJOY THE QUIET TIME.  THE STUDENTS WILL LOVE IT AND SO WILL YOU.

PS:  If a student writes a note that is not nice, reiterate what the word NICE means to the class, then refrain from letting the class write notes for a few weeks. They will get the message and be good when you let them resume note writing.  

And speaking of writing…here is another fun writing lesson from my TpT store that can be used on Monday morning to get your writing students’ juices flowing and loosen up their writing fingers.  It increases fluency and is fun.  What could be better?

Holiday Creative-Writing-Plans01_02

What to say? What to say? Speaking my mind on student directed learning.

Me staring at my empty screen trying to think of what to put on my blog.

Me staring at my empty screen trying to think of what to put on my blog.

IMG_4195

I love to write curriculum and seem to never run out of ideas, but when it comes to blogging I am often at a  loss.  Today I have decided to just let if flow.

Anyone familiar with me, or uses my curriculum, knows that I believe in student directed interactive language arts materials because I found that students that are involved in all aspects of their learning are much more successful.  I discovered this the first time I passed out my newly developed scoring guide for my students to use to evaluate their weekly creative writing assignment.  They were very receptive and even excited at the idea of grading their own writing.  As I was collecting the finished assignment, my students were commenting on how much more they enjoyed the lesson when they got to grade their own papers.

One student stopped in after class and said, “Mrs. Darling, I never really understood how teachers graded my papers until today, plus I knew exactly what you expected me to do. I get it now and feel like I wrote a much better paper!”

That was all it took to convince me that I was on the right track, and I have not looked back since.

Today’s blog is just me rambling and sipping my coffee.  I hope you all have a great day!

Judith

 

Special Elf, Jewels, Had To Be Combed!!!!

IMG_7086

Jewels after she finished combing for lice.

Our granddaughter Lucy’s class had a little problem with lice, so her mother had to do a comb for the little buggers.  When Lucy woke up this morning she discovered that Jewel’s had gone through the process too.

Our daughter stated, “One can’t be too careful when it comes to guarding against lice!”

 

Lucy said, “Jewels is smart and funny!”

 

 

WHY I LOVED TEACHING MIDDLE SCHOOL

Judith Darling, President of Razzle Dazzle Learning CompanyI have often been asked, “Why did you become a middle school teacher?”  I would reply that as a middle school teacher I appreciated that age student for their honesty, humor, and desire to learn how to be more grown up.  It is a painful time for children because they are learning how to become responsible and independent adults with proper manners, a good sense of humor, and a sense of individuality that will carry them through life, which seemed to be something I could relate to.  I just knew I wanted to be a part of that teaching community.

Middle school aged children require educators that have a special kind of personality which is impervious to harsh comments about their hair, appearance and lifestyle in general.  Teachers and parents must have a quirky sense of humor that carries them through the constant critique of “all knowing” middle schoolers who ban together in their search for an identity and independence.  They must be able to guide students toward developing their own sense of style, toward becoming independent learners, toward understanding  differences in beliefs and views; and toward becoming ready to successfully move on to high school, college, and adulthood.  It is a daunting task for sure, but one I loved considering the nature of the little beasts!

I discovered that middle school children need tons of guidance and strict boundaries, but want to feel like they are making decisions themselves.  This is a tricky tightrope to walk for teachers and parents.  I learned there were times when I needed to take the heat so a student could save face, and other times when a student would surprise me and show a real sense of maturity by stepping up and owning the problem or difficulty.

During all the years I taught middle school I can honestly say that I looked forward to almost every day in the classroom.  Life was not dull, I got honest feedback, students were always surprising me, I got to laugh often every day and I knew it was a place that was good for me.

Check out my TpT store to find ways to make teaching writing so much easier and fun for students and teachers.

See you there!

Judith