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Winter Planning Giveaway - Stop C-13

Thanks for stopping by!

Welcome to the Winter Planning Giveaway Scavenger Hunt hosted by I'm Lovin Lit.  Be sure to stop by her blog first to begin this amazing scavenger hunt where EVERYONE wins!

I am a fourth and fifth grade reading and language arts teacher.  I love creating products that are rigorous, support the Common Core, and promote higher level thinking.  I also love teaching everything using mentor texts.  I even created a 150+ page mentor text list with thousands of books organized by standard with a variety of different fiction and nonfiction reading skills.  Please check it out!

Now, you have reached stop C-13 for the giveaway.  Be sure to write down the secret word!

For my part of the hunt, please follow my store on TeachersPayTeachers.

And/or click on the "Follow me on Bloglovin'" button on my page!

My donation to the giveaway is:  Winter Holidays & Festivals Around the World Close Reads.  

There are 15 different close reading passages that each have 2 pages of text-dependent questions.  It is perfect for grades 4-6 to be used for homework, literacy centers, guided reading groups, or for independent practice.

I created this product for my fourth and fifth grade reading students.  My class is very diverse with students representing a wide variety of cultures around the world.  I didn't want to make a product that just highlighted Christmas around the world.  So, I researched and wrote passages about different winter festivals and holidays around the world based on a variety of different cultures and religions.

Good luck, and thanks for stopping by!

Welcome to All Four Reading. You have arrived at  


At each blog stop, you will be gathering Reading gifts and freebies.  In each post you will find a picture of a snowman with a letter on it. Collect all of the letter to solve the mystery quote to enter the giveaway. Record all of the letters on your recording sheet and follow each blog along the way so that you can enter the amazing giveaway at the end!

The hop is set up as a loop, so you may start anywhere along the hop, but if you would like to start at the beginning you may go to A Day In The Life of A Title I Teacher's blog.  This is also where you will go after you finish the hop to enter the giveaway!!

When my students enjoy reading, I feel like I have received a gift. My primary goal as a teacher is to inspire a love of reading in my students.  I love seeing students engaged in a book - whether it be a fiction or a nonfiction book.

I am always looking for new, interesting, and engaging books to read to my students.  I use mentor texts in my classroom nearly daily, and it is my students' favorite time of the day.

One of the books I'm reading this year is The Secret Life of a Snowflake by Kenneth Libbrecht.  

This is an amazing book for older elementary students.  It has beautiful photographs of snowflakes and includes comparisons and science content, and I can teach many of the standards while integrating other subjects.  I can incorporate writing and teaching nonfiction text features while students learn about something interesting.  There is even an art activity where students learn how to make snowflakes out of paper.  In fact, I am so inspired by this winter picture book that I made a whole unit based on the Secret Life of a Snowflake!  Stop by and pick up this Freebie and don't forget to read!

My secret letter is...

Thank you for stopping by my blog today! I hope that you enjoyed your gift and learned something new. If you would like to be the first to know about new post, giveaways, and blog hops follow me on Bloglovin' by clicking the image on my page. 

Don't stop now! Hop on over to Ripper Resources to pick up another amazing reading gift! Happy Holidays! 

If you get lost along the way download the Hop Map here to easily pick back up where you left off! 

Nonfiction Text Feature Scavenger Hunt

This year, our school has finally decided to departmentalize in the upper grades.  Thankfully, I get to teach reading and language arts to almost 60 fourth graders ALL DAY!!  As a result, I am trying to focus on integrating social studies and science content into my classes while teaching my students about the joy of reading - especially nonfiction reading! 

I decided that my students are going on a nonfiction text feature scavenger hunt to learn about the many different nonfiction text features and authors use these text features to help readers learn and understand the content contained in these texts.  They will discover how text features are used in Social Studies and Science texts.  These texts are great to use in a scavenger hunt as they contain so many different nonfiction text features.

So, how exactly can I get my students interested in learning about nonfiction topics?  They will participate in a scavenger hunt!  By placing nonfiction texts around my classroom, including students' health, math, social studies, and science texts, among others I have collected in my classroom library over the years, students will be exposed to all kinds of topics.  I have amassed lots and lots of nonfiction books about a variety of subjects in my classroom, and I want to get my students interested in learning.

I have created a fun scavenger hunt to engage students in learning about nonfiction text features while reading interesting nonfiction texts.  Students will learn how much easier reading nonfiction can be by using these text features the author includes in a text.

Now you are ready for my clue.  Record the letter on your page...
Thanks for visiting today.  I hope you'll enjoy my unit with your students, and if you'd like to keep informed of upcoming events from our group, please click the Bloglovin or Google Friends button to the right to follow my blog.  I appreciate your interest in reading instruction and wish you a wonderful school year. Now, on to the...


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Using Mentor Texts to Teach Voice in Writing

When Carla from Comprehension Connection started her Six Traits Sunday blog posts, I thought it was a great idea!  I love using mentor texts in my classroom for reading and writing.  In fact, some of my best selling Teachers Pay Teachers items are a huge list of mentor texts to teach a variety of reading and writing skills.

One of my favorite picture books for teaching the Voice trait is Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne.

In this book, four characters (gorillas, actually) go to the park with their dogs:  A father and his daughter and a mother and her son.  Each character tells about the trip to the park in their own voice and through their eyes, we see four different perspectives.

This book can spark a great discussion about voice and point-of-view.  It is important that students learn to think of the world in a three-dimensional way; in this book, students can start to understand how others might look at a similar situation.

After hearing this book, students can practice writing a short story from two different perspectives.  Last year, we read the book Bridge to Terabithia and had an amazing class discussion about the way Janice Avery (the bully in the story) treated Jesse and Leslie.  My students had a different feeling about Janice once they learned about her past which explained why Janice treated others the way that she did.

Students can also (as a homework assignment) write about a trip and have their parents tell about the same trip to see how their perspectives differed.

For more mentor texts for the Six Traits of Writing, check out my Mentor Texts for Writing Workshop. Also, be sure to check out Comprehension Connection's blog post to find other ideas for the trait of Voice.

I've Been Nominated for a Liebster Award!

This is very exciting!  I found out that I was nominated by Christie Heiple at 3rdGradeTheatrics.

There are a few rules I must follow.  Here they are:

To accept the nomination I must:
1. Link back to the blog that nominated me
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers
3. Answer the questions posted for you by your nominator
4. Share 11 random facts about yourself
5. Create 11 questions for your nominees
6. Contact your nominees and let them know you nominated them

I nominated:
1. Denise Scaccia at CuteandColorfulCommonCore
2. Jan Bernard at Dragon'sDenCurriculum
3. Sarah OShea at Educasong
5. Pam Olivieri at CommonCoreTeacher

Questions from Christie:
1. When did you know you wanted to be an educator?  I had almost completed earning my Bachelor's of Science degree in Marketing when I saw a special on 20/20 on Marva Collins.  They were revisiting the students in her first class at the school she opened in Chicago.  I was completely moved and knew that I wanted to make a difference in students' lives.  I finished earning my Bachelor's degree in Marketing and earned my Master's of Arts in Early Childhood Education.  It was one of the best decisions I've ever made!
2. What is your favorite classroom memory?  There are many, but one that stands out was in my first year of teaching.  I was teaching third grade in a Title One school.  I had been going over and over the concept of division on the board in as many different ways that I could think of.  We practiced over and over.  Finally, several of my students got really excited and said, "Oh!  Now I get it!!" and I knew they did.  It was a great feeling I will never forget.
3. What is your dream vacation?  I would love to go to Hawaii one day.  
4.  What was your funniest teacher moment?  There are many but one specific moment doesn't come to mind right now. I will have to think about it.  
5. What is your favorite summer activity?  I enjoy summer, but it gets so hot and humid down here in Georgia.  It gets so hot that going to the pool isn't even enjoyable.  I like going to concerts and barbecues.
6. What is your favorite brand of handbags/purses? I love Coach purses.  I also like Kate Spade and Michael Kors.
7. What is your favorite movie?  I don't know that I have a favorite.  I enjoy comedies.  I recently saw The Internship and it was really funny.  I am not a huge fan of animated movies (although I have probably seen them all).  My favorite horror film is the Paranormal Activity movies.
8. What is your favorite children's book?  I LOVE children's books.  One of my favorite ones is See the Ocean by Estelle Condra.  I love Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events.  My favorite picture book author is Chris Van Allsburg.
9. Which holiday, during the school year, do you look forward to the most?  That would be Christmas.  It's a nice long break and I get to spend it with my family.
10. What is your favorite on-the-go snack?  Ice cream is my biggest weakness, but I guess that's not really an "on-the-go" snack.  I enjoy fruit and goldfish.
11. What is one piece of technology that you can't live without?  That is a hard one.  It would be between my iphone or my laptop.  I rely on both of them a lot.  :)

Random Facts About Me:
1. I have ADD (I was diagnosed as an adult).
2. I am very shy (except when I am around kids - and then I am incredibly silly and outgoing).
3. I saw Maroon 5 in March; they are one of my favorite bands.
4. I played softball for many years as a kid.
5.  I am an animal lover.  I have three dogs and a 20 year old cat.
6.  I love brain teasers, word games, and logic puzzles.
7. I saw Rent on Broadway in New York with a few of the original cast members.
8. I used to work at the mall as a survey taker.
9. I love the show Supernatural.
10. I love playing music in my classroom.
11. My favorite subject in school was math.  I hated to read.  Now, my absolute favorite subject in the world to teach is reading.

Here are my 11 questions:
1. What is your favorite book?
2. Do you have a classroom theme?  What is it?
3.  If you could have dinner with any person, living or dead, who would it be?
4.  What is the biggest lesson you've learned as a teacher?
5.  What is your favorite band or musician?
6.  Who has been  your biggest influence as an educator?
7.  What was your favorite subject when you were a kid?
8.  What is your favorite subject to teach and why?
9.  What is the most challenging part about being an educator?
10. Where did you go on your last vacation?
11. Where is your favorite place to shop?

Summer Planning Giveaway (Hosted by I'm Lovin' Lit!

This is a planning giveaway where everyone wins!  Visit I'm Lovin' Lit's page for the details!  This is my blog, where I blog and post about my fourth grade classroom and my love of children's literature.  I have quite a growing collection!  Don't forget to follow me and pick up the secret word!  :)

Visit my store, follow me, and get the secret word!  I am donating my Mentor Texts for Writing Workshop!  It's a great product for you to find literature to teach the six traits of writing and writing genres in grades 3 through 8!

Mentor Texts and Read-Alouds

I don't call my blog "All Four Reading" for nothing!  I am a fourth grade teacher who will (luckily, in my opinion) only be teaching Reading, Writing, and Language Arts this upcoming school year.  I am super-excited as I am so passionate about teaching and instilling a love of reading and writing in my students.

This summer, I have been hard at work updating my Mentor Text List for all Common Core Reading Standards.

 It is currently over 150 pages long!  I have enjoyed researching books.  Using mentor texts in the classroom is one of my favorite things to do as a teacher.  Students are able to notice and learn important reading and writing skills in context, which makes learning much more fun for everyone.

Some of my favorites are:

See the Ocean by Estelle Condra
Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne
The Secret Knowledge of Grown-Ups by David Wisniewski
Rimshots by Charles Smith, Jr.
Twilight Comes Twice by Ralph Fletcher

I have also found some great potential read-alouds for my fourth graders.  I want to read them all at once!:

Wonder by R.J. Palacio
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz
The Underneath by Kathi Appelt
The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo
Chew on This by Eric Schlosser

My daughter (a rising 8th grader) has me reading the book Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children which is great, but not suitable as a read-aloud for my fourth graders.  I would highly recommend this book for middle and high schoolers, however.  It is full of mystery, suspense, and horror.

So, what will YOU be reading with your class this year?

100-Word Limit for the 100th Day of School

By fourth grade, students are not as excited about the 100th day of school as they were when they were in kindergarten or first grade.  They are becoming more mature and aren't as easily swayed by novelty toys they used to get when they were younger.  They've worn the eyeglasses in the shape of 100 and have had the special pencils and special 100 Day snacks.  It's hard to surprise the students and excite them at this age.  So, I decided to add a twist and turn the 100th day of school into a challenge.  My students will tell you that I absolutely LOVE challenges, and I know fourth graders do, too.

Tomorrow is our 100th day of school, and my students will have no more than 100 words they can use.  Students will have post-it notes on their desks to keep track of their words, and they will need to tally EVERY WORD that they say.  The reward is that I will give them a ticket for every five words they have said under 100 at the end of the day.  The penalty is that they will give me a ticket for every five words over 100 they say.  So, if a student has said only 70 words by the end of the day, he or she will earn 6 tickets from me.  If another student says 110 words by the end of the day, he or she will owe me 2 tickets.

There are exceptions, of course.  I do not count the words they use if they ask me a school-related question, nor do I count the words they use when I call on them to answer any questions I ask.  When I am meeting with students in a small group (or students are meeting in a literature circle) and we are having a discussion, I won't count the words they use there because I want them to participate and ask questions.  I also don't have them keep count of words at recess or lunch so they can socialize.  Other than those parameters, students need to choose words carefully so that they do not go over 100 words.

I have tried this with my fourth graders last year and my third graders the year before that.  You would think that this would be a punishment for the students, but they LOVE it.  It is such a challenge to students to try and find other ways to communicate.  They hold each other accountable, and they are pretty honest about keeping track of their words.  Best of all, they are incredibly well-behaved - even the ones who are normally very social during instruction.

So, tomorrow we will be celebrating...fourth grade style.  It will truly be a surprise, and hopefully one that we will all remember for a long time!

I'm Nominated for a Liebster Blog Award!

I have to say that I am completely taken by surprise by this wonderful nomination by Fun in the Fours.  It looks like great fun, so I will carry on the tradition by following the rules for this award.

First, I will post 11 random things about myself.

1.  I was born and raised in the South.
2.  I can remember the birthday of every student I have ever taught.
3.  I have a daughter in seventh grade.
4.  I hate having colonoscopies.
5.  I have taught 1st, 3rd, and 4th grades.  Fourth grade is my favorite.
6.  My favorite sport to play growing up was softball.
7.  I am short.
8.  I am a Gemini.
9.  I love my job.
10.  I am a Maroon 5 fan (and I'm going to see them in concert soon).
11.  I have wonderful co-workers.

Now, I will answer the 11 questions asked of my nominator.

1.  How long have you been teaching and what grade do you currently teach? I teach fourth grade and this is my fifteenth year teaching.
2.  What advice would you give a brand new teacher?  Make sure you are passionate about teaching and inspiring children.  There are more and more demands being put upon teachers, and the salary is minimal.  You do not always get the recognition you deserve, and you have to put in lots of hours.  But, when a child looks at you and tells you how much you've taught or inspired them and how you're the "best teacher in the world," it will all be worth it.  If it's not, find another career.  :)
3.  What made you decide to enter the blogging world?  I have been inspired by many blogs out there and decided to try my hand at starting one up.  I don't exactly know what I am doing, but I am never too old to learn.
4.  Which blog do you really love to read?  There are so many blogs that I love reading.  One of my favorites is Teaching in Room 6.
5.  If you could visit any place in the world, where would you go and why?  I would love to visit Hawaii some day.  I have heard that it is beautiful.
6.  What pets do you have?  I have three dogs and a cat.  I am a sucker for animals.
7.  When you were a child what was your favorite book?  I didn't like to read as a child.  I do remember reading Encyclopedia Brown books and enjoying them.  What is your favorite children's book today?  I have so many favorites!  One of them is Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events.  I've read it aloud to my third graders for many years, and now my fourth graders are all hooked on the series.  It has rich vocabulary, advanced-level humor, and a great story-line.
8.  Do you speak any other languages?  Unfortunately, I only speak English.  I wish I could speak another language.
9.  What is one item you can't live without?  I have to say that I couldn't live without my cell phone.  I can use it for just about anything I need, and it gives me a sense of security. :)
10.  If you look up from the computer right now what do you see?  I would see my T.V.  I am on my laptop on my couch right now.
11.  What is your favorite charity?  I have a friend who has started a non-profit organization to help families pay non-medical bills while their children are fighting cancer.  It is A Community Effort.

I will continue this post in Part 2.