Two Awesome Writing Lessons For The Holidays

Keeping students engaged between Thanksgiving and Christmas break was always difficult, especially when it came to language arts and writing.  It was much more fun to be doing a cool science, math, or social studies project; so I decided to add the sparkle into my holiday writing lessons.  I wanted something that would keep them occupied for the duration, involve art, be something they could relate to, and be an assignment that all of my students could do no matter what beliefs their family had.  I came up with two really good ones:  A Family Holiday Memory Book and Design a Family Menu.    My students thoroughly enjoyed these two lessons, and I was happy because my students were meaningfully engaged for the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas break.

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As an added bonus, students could actually give the finished products as a gift, if they wanted to.   For those that did choose to give it as a gift, I had a side project where my students made wrapping paper out of butcher paper and designed a card to go with it.


50 Ways To Integrate Art Into Any Lesson


Hey Everyone!  I hope you are having a great weekend and finding some downtime to relax and take a deep breath. I’ve already had my French toast, so I thought I would sit down with my cup of coffee and spend a few minutes on the internet looking for interesting way to teach.

I found this great article on 50 Ways to Integrate Art Into Any Lesson by Tess Pajaron.  I personally always like to include art as a major component of my writing lessons because art adds another dimension to the assignment, and just might hook the reluctant writer into actually enjoying the writing experience.  Click on the link and see if any of the ideas will work for your classroom, students, or children.

Free Daily Dazzle Lessons For Grades 4 – 8

Image 5The Daily Dazzles are very popular items with teachers and home school parents, and can be found in my TpT store and on my website.  It is a student-directed, daily bell ringer product that covers over 17 critical language arts skills including parts of speech, grammar, editing, vocabulary, creative writing, literary devices, and much more.  The CC alignment is offered as a free download for each level.

I wanted to let you know that I offer a free lesson for each of the Daily Dazzles.  Daily Dazzle A (4th grade), Daily Dazzle B (5th grade), Daily Dazzle C (6th grade), Daily Dazzle D (7th grade), and Daily Dazzle E (8th grade).  These free lessons do not include the Tool Box.  The Tool Box is a one-time purchase that is coordinated by page number to each of the Daily Dazzles.


I had a wonderful two weeks in Brooklyn taking care of our granddaughter Lucy.  She had a tonsillectomy, tubes in ears, and adenoids removed on the 5th, and is now flitting around and feeling much better than she was.  We got to do homework, watch TV, read, get a manicure and pedicure, and just hang out and enjoy each other’s company.  I also got to spend time with her big sister Ella and their Mom.  It was so nice to have two weeks to spoil them all.




Here is a picture of Miss Lucy on her first outing after surgery.  I asked her what she wanted to do, and she said she wanted us to both get a manicure and pedicure.  I am hoping she wasn’t telling me something about the condition of my nails.  She went with pink fingernails and turquoise toenails, which matched her jacket and hat.  I went for clear because I don’t have time to keep up with a color. We had a great time!


Now I am back and feeling like I can hit the ground running.  I have so much to catch up on, and am amazed at how work piled up while I was gone.

FREE Daily Dazzle D Bell Product

Free Daily Dazzle D Bell Product for 7th Grade.

This Fabulous Free Bell Product is student directed and makes the first of your class very productive.  It is coordinated to the Tool Box by page number so students can look up the rules and learn them on their own.  The Tool Box is a one time purchase not included in this lesson and it goes with all Daily Dazzle lessons A – E,

The lesson is used for one week and teaches and or reviews over 17 critical language arts skills including: singular and plural rules, types of sentences and punctuation, proofreading, research, commonly misused words, fact and opinion, analogies, definition and use of vocabulary words in a sentence, descriptive works, use of parts of speech, spelling, explanation of famous quotes, creative writing, spelling, and expanded vocabulary prefixes, suffixes, and roots.

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Happy Halloween and Thank You!



I just want to wish everyone a very HAPPY HALLOWEEN, and to say thank you to TpT and everyone that stopped by my store during my milestone sale. 

If you need great writing and language arts lesson that are student directed, interactive, and just fun to teach, look no further.   Plus all of the writing lessons are student graded, so the teacher workload is greatly reduced. Just click here or click on the picture, and you will go directly to my store.

Here is a picture of my lovely daughter, who is a 5th grade science and math teacher, and myself all dressed up in costume.  Halloween is fun at the Darlings.

I will be spending my Halloween in the hood passing out healthy pretzel packets, (love the alliteration), while my husband passes out candy.  Once the treats are gone, we will head over to the neighbors for a little cul de sac Halloween get together.  I love the holidays here in Spicewood!  It’s warm and everyone gets in on the fun.


A Fun Holiday Writing Lesson

Image 1Design a Family Holiday Menu

This is a fun writing lesson on TpT for all middle school students regardless of religion or family beliefs.  Students love it because they get to design a menu that is relevant to their family traditions, then write a personal narrative to go with it.  It is CC aligned.

As with all of my lessons; it is interactive, student directed, and student evaluated so it takes the stress out of writing for students and reduces the teachers grading load.

Meet and Teach e-Books

I’m so happy to be a part of a secondary Meet and Teach e-book. Brain Waves Instruction, Literary Sherri, and Getting Nerdy with Mel and Gerdy have compiled 3 FREE Meet and Teach e-books profiling SECONDARY teacher-authors and sharing print-and-teach resources from 25 TpT stores in each e-book. The e-books center around ELA, Math & Science, and Humanities (Social Studies, Art, Foreign Language, and more ELA). In them you’ll find a ‘meet’ page completed by each seller that includes responses to 5 prompts. You’ll get to learn a bit about each seller like their favorite book or things that make them happy. Then, each seller provided you with a 1-page resource that you can use in your classroom tomorrow. These e-books are filled with awesome teachers, little insights into each sellers’ life, and resources that are easy to implement in your classroom. They’re pretty amazing. Of course, you don’t have to take my word for it, you can find them here.

ELA Cover Capture

Humanitites Cover 2


Math Cover1

Download each free e-book and you’ll get a chance to meet and teach resources from these teacher-authors:

A Tip On Teaching Writing

The goal when teaching writing is to motivate students to write, write often, and write a lot. That is the only way they are going to become writers.

This is a difficult task when, as educators, we have been encouraged to use students’ writing as the primary vehicle to teaching writing.  We have traditionally accomplished this by returning students’ papers with low grades, red marks, and negative comments, which did nothing to encourage reticent students to continue writing.

Over the 30 years that I taught writing to students ranging in ages 5 – 16, I found that if you took the stress out of writing by just allowing students to write freely, they became much more comfortable and eager writers. They began applying the rules that I had reviewed or taught away from their writing assignments.  Soon I found students were looking forward to writing and were getting better and better at it as time went by.

I will be sharing more tips on teaching writing in my next post.

Have a great weekend!