The ULTIMATE Halloween Movie List

Halloween, the holiday that makes us one step closer to Christmas! This fall, it hasn’t felt like October at all! I am still in 80 degree weather, which is not making it easy to realize what time of the year it is! I changed out my closets this weekend for winter and immediately regretted it!

I always enjoy watching movies to put me into the spirit of whatever holiday is coming up! It takes me back to my childhood and all of the traditions I have.

Now, I enjoy scary movies, but my husband does NOT. So, this is a list of Halloween movies my husband and I like to enjoy together during the spooky season!

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Put on your twinkly lights and put your pumpkins out to enjoy these movies! Why not just carve a pumpkin while watching?!

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  • Halloweentown (ALL OF THEM) Now, there are four Halloweentowns: Halloweentown, Kalabar’s Revenge, Halloweentown High, and Return to Halloweentown. They are ALL worth watching. The second one isn’t my favorite, but the other three I could watch on repeat every. single. night.
  • Hocus Pocus– DUH. If you don’t watch Hocus Pocus in October, what are you doing? This is a must and they are making a second one! I need to read the book for the second one so I can be ready for the movie next year.
  • Casper (Specifically, Casper Meets Wendy, duh)- I love the movie Casper, but Casper Meets Wendy is my all time favorite of the Casper movies. It has real people and it is the best storyline.
  • Twitches– There are two Twitches movie, the first Twitches and Twitches Too. In my opinion, both are equally as good and they NEVER get old. They take me right back to my childhood and I look forward to watching them every year! Don’t you wish you found that you had a twin and that you were both witches?
  • Mostly Ghostly– I remember being little and being so scared to watch this, but it is so good! Max is a magician and finds two ghosts in his home! I think they recently made a second Mostly Ghostly, and I will definitely be watching it this year.
  • Monster House– I haven’t watched this one in SO long, but I will be this year! If I remember correctly, a group of friends find this haunted house and try to destroy it! I do believe this can be found on Netflix.
  • Double Double Toil and Trouble– OMG! How did I almost forget this movie was a thing? I LOVE the Olsen twins and this adorable movie! These twins have a very evil aunt! Introduce this movie to your kids if you haven’t!
  • It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown– Ah, Charlie Brown. Such an old, but lovely one! Every season, I would watch whatever Charlie Brown was on and it was SO exciting.
  • Under Wraps– This is a new one this year on Disney plus! My husband and I watched it just the other day it was cute! It is so funny to me though how kid films have changed over the years. Nothing beats the movies that came out when I was a kid.
  • Scooby Doo!– This one can of course be watched year-round, but is great for the spooky season since they do go onto a spooky island! The non-animated film is my favorite because I am not that into animated films.
  • Goosebumps– My husband and I took my little cousins to see this in theaters when this came out and we loved it. If you grew up reading the Goosebump books or have kids that read them, you should definitely watch this!
  • Hotel Transylvania– Surprisingly, I have never watch this. Weird, right? My husband really enjoys this movie and will more than likely be making me watch it this year.
  • The Haunted Mansion– CALLING ALL DISNEY LOVERS. You have to watch this! Have you ridden the Haunted Mansion at Disney World or Disneyland? Well, those rides are based off of this movie and it is a great one!
  • The Little Vampire– I am actually watching this as I am writing this post. Can you believe my husband had never watched this? If you are a 90s baby, surely you have watched this?! If not, GO NOW! It is the perfect family movie because it is the perfect mix of spooky and cute.
  • Matilda– This is another movie that you can (I do) watch year-round. IT IS WONDERFUL. Matilda, a little girl who lives in a bad home, has magical powers and has a wonderful teacher who takes great care of her!
  • The Addams Family– Another one that somehow I have never watched, but it is on my list for this year! I know the Addams family theme song, but never watched the movie! WHAT IN THE WORLD?!
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There is my ultimate Halloween movie list! You MUST watch some of these! They are perfect for the family or even your adult-self!

Magically Making It

5 BEST Podcasts for Women in their 20s

Podcasts- something I never would have thought I would be giving my two cents on. In high school, I thought these were for people in their mid-forties like when you are driving around in the car with your dad and he is listening to sport podcasts or when your mom is on a walk listening to one through her headphones. As I have gotten older, I have realized how beneficial these are for traveling, working out, gaining knowledge, and ways to pass time.

I am going to give my 5 best recommendations for a young, female adult that will make you laugh and over think EVERYTHING.

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If you are anything like me, you are in a time in your life that you are just trying to figure it out. You know what your goals are, but unsure how to get there. I will say, as crazy as it sounds, each of these podcasts give me different types of inspiration and things to think about.

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  1. Crime Junkie

CRIME. YES, crime.

I am sure you have heard of this one. If you haven’t, you now have and you MUST got listen. If you are into true crime or enjoy watching Law and Order, this is the podcast for you. Each week, the hosts of Crime Junkie, Ashley Flowers and Brit Prawat, will take you into a new true crime story and it will hook you in within seconds. They cover crime just in your backyard and that you may have never heard of . While telling you these stories, they are giving you tricks and things to watch out for to keep you safe!

No, they don’t just cover big stories that we have all heard of all over the news. These are stories people aren’t hearing and stories the news haven’t brought to light. Something that makes this podcast even better is that you can go to their website and put in a request for a video if you have insight on a crime going on in your area!

This is my number 1 listened to podcast and I do not miss an episode! If you were to take my phone and scroll through Apple podcast, I can promise you I have listened to every single episode. It is like you are watching Dateline, Law and Order, or Lifetime. I will warn you, don’t listen while you are in the shower. You will immediately think someone is outside of the curtain.

2. Gals on the Go

This is a newer podcast to me! The hosts of this podcast are Brooke Miccio and Danielle Carolan who are pretty popular on Youtube. I have watched them on Youtube for years and just never thought their podcast would be for me. They both live in New York City who are full-time sloggers, podcast hosts, and do many other things through social media. As I said, I didn’t think this was for me because they live in New York City and I kept questioning why I would want to listen about that life when I am in a small town in Tennessee.

After listening to a few episodes, I was hooked. It is like you are watching them on Youtube and they immediately become your bestie. Gals on the Go will quite literally make you get off your couch and get to work, clean your living area, and become productive. These girls talk about their must-haves, college, all about navigating life in your 20’s, and more.

If you aren’t a woman and in your 20’s, this might not be for you! The name of this podcast is VERY on brand for these gals on the go (ha, get it).

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3. Fun on Weekdays

Jenna Palek, the Tiktok queen! As said, she is known for her tiktoks and brining her viewers along through her crazy life in her 20s! I followed Jenna on Tiktok when I had seen her video of her explaining how she worked at Tiktok and showed her application (which was SPECTACULAR), which I am sure is how most of her followers first found her.

Her podcast has just recently debuted and it became popular FAST. Not long after she broadcasted the first two podcasts, she quit her job to pursue her dream of being a full-time influencer and to grow her podcast. She is on track to being a very popular podcast for girls in their twenties! She has podcasts with Danielle Carolan (Gals on the Go), Connor Saeli (Bachelor), and Louis Levanti (Tiktoker).

I would suggest this podcast if you need a laugh, want to listen to something EXTREMELY relatable, and need inspiration. Jenna is THE INSPIRATION. She makes me realize anything is possible and if you dream it, you can do it.

Jenna is all about having fun on weekdays, hence her podcast name. She is constantly doing something fun and is a true hustler. She built her brand from the ground up in lesson then a year and shares her story and how it all came about in her podcast. It is a MUST to listen to.

4. Call her Daddy

SPILL.THE.TEA.

Ha, ok, this is one I was hesitant to even put on my list. I am guilty of listening to this on my way to work and as dirty as the host, Alex Cooper is, it is so fun to listen to all of the guests she has on this podcast! You will hear all of the tea, literally.

Alex Cooper, also called Father Cooper, is as blunt and real as it gets. When I first started listening, I was stunned at some of the things I realized people said in public and over the Internet, but also all of the stories and things happening in celebrities’ lives that I had missed.

Call her Daddy has stars such as Miley Cyrus, Tana Mongeau, Hannah Berner (Summer House), and many more. This is your stop for all the gossip and crazy stories. Aside from the crazy, real, and blunt things you’ll hear on this podcast, Alex also discusses mental health, therapy, and all things in her life.

5. Cancelled

Tana Mongeau is cancelled.

Truly an iconic, dirt spilling, and hilarious podcast. Tana Mongeau is known for her crazy lifestyle, party life, and being as blunt as I can say it, rich.

This podcast is nothing short of being maybe my second favorite podcast right now behind Crime Junkie. Tana has guests such as Harry Jowsey, Bryce Hall, and Trisha Paytas. Basically, everyone and anyone who has ever been cancelled. She gives all the tea, too. I would say this is one of the most REAL podcasts I have ever heard, because her co-hosts, Brooke Schofield and Hunter Moreno, make sure the truth is always in the story.

You can expect to hear tea on the Kardashians, sugar daddy scenarios, and crazy stories from when they travel with other rich celebrities. As big as a mess as Tana is, so is this podcast, in the best way possible. It is ALL over the place. I can’t even summarize everything you will hear, because it would be about ten pages. No episode is kept on one topic or subject, you really don’t ever know what you will hear. This is one of the reasons I love this podcast. I don’t skip an episode based on the title not being appealing because I know for a fact the title isn’t exactly what will be discussed.

These are just five of the MANY podcasts I enjoy in my early twenties, but I can say I listen to these five weekly and hardly ever miss an episode of any of them!

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Magically Making It

4 Tips and Tricks for a Teacher Interview

AH! If you are reading this, I am sure you have an upcoming teacher interview or are in school to become a teacher! That is so exciting and nerve wracking! I have been there (not long ago) and truly went straight to the Internet for help.

I was a NERVOUS WRECK to the point I could hardly get words out and when I did, it sounded like I was giving a presidential speech. I remember writing down any and every interview question I came across, told by other teachers, and even came up with some of my own.

I quickly learned that the principals interviewing me didn’t just want to know what I had learned from a textbook. Well, except one school district, which I soon realized was NOT for me.

As it isn’t listed below, make sure you dress professionally! I suggest close-toed shoes like these. I would also suggest a shirt that has sleeves and professional work pants! As an Amazon Associate I earn commission with qualifying purchases through these links. #CommissionEarned

I am going to give you all of my tips, and some tricks, to make a successful teacher interview, even if you don’t get the job! Remember, what is meant to be, will be. This is something I wish I had remembered myself during this process.

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  1. BE YOURSELF

I am sure you have read and heard this enough by now, but let’s say it again: BE. YOURSELF.

The people interviewing you do NOT want a robot version of yourself. The one thing that helped me during my interviews was my personable, jokingly-self. As you want to be professional, it is okay to joke with them! This isn’t sorority rush, you don’t need to look and act like a robot to make an impression. Been there, done that.

Do not, and I repeat do not, go in there and say things about yourself that are either not true or an expanded version of the truth. I know it can be easy to want to make yourself sound amazing, but BE HONEST. My most successful interview was when I made them laugh and gave stories that came from the heart, not something I practiced in the mirror hours before.

2. ASK QUESTIONS

I want something to stick in your mind as you are going through this process. This is that you are interviewing them just as much as they are interviewing you. I know you may have heard the no more than two rule when it comes to the end of the interview and they ask you if you have any questions, but I will say that is false.

When you ask more than two questions, it shows them you are genuinely curious and have these questions about their school/district. It also shows them that you CARE about the things you are asking them about.

Some of the questions you could ask:

  • If you could describe your school environment in three words, what would they be?
  • What type of technology is accessible to students and staff?
  • How do you support your stafff?

The first question I have listed is not something they will be asked very often, which is great. This is great because it is something they haven’t prepared to answer. This gives you a one up in a few ways. One, you will get an honest, on the spot response. Two, the interviewers will remember you for your unique question.

3. TAKE YOUR TIME

It is okay to not know how you want to answer a question immediately! Take your time and hesitate before you answer if you need to! The interviewers don’t except you to have an A+ answer as soon as they ask you something. If you do, they will know you more than likely studied for the interview and they don’t always want that.

They want you to have knowledge on things they ask, but don’t expect you to know every single detail. Again, if you do, then you now are considered a walking textbook and it isn’t coming from the heart.

Along with taking your time, IT IS OKAY to ask to have a question repeated. There were many times I was so stunned at a question and even blacked out from nerves that I had to ask them to repeat their question. You can even say, “I am sorry, I want to make sure I fully answer your question, could you repeat it?” This is also a great line if their question was two questions combined and you need clarification!

4. GIVE EXAMPLES

This is a tip I was given by more than one principal/administrator. Regardless of the question, you can always take that question and give examples whether it was before your student teaching experience or during.

Example:

Interviewer: How do you handle those per say, difficult students?

You: Give your response and then say- There was a time in my student teaching that everyone expressed having a hard time getting through to this one student. He wouldn’t do his work, he was disruptive, and he even broke his computer. One morning during morning work I sat down with this student asking about him, giving him an insight into myself, and I learned how bad his home life was. Once I broke into this aspect of his life, he came to me with anything that was happening at home and even began doing his work for me.

This is just one example and actually my exact response and example to that question!

This response and example not only answers the question, but gives the interviewer an idea of how you would handle the situation and shows your heart.

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GOOD LUCK! If you get super nervous and sweaty, keep some oil pads in your purse just in case to use in the car before going in!

Magically Making It

Winter 2021-2022 Bucket List

I am a LOVER of the cold and all things surrounding the holidays! It truly is the best time of the year, in my opinion. There are so many things to do and such little time!

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. With this being said, I have linked items in this post that I would earn commission through. #CommissionEarned

I have compiled a list of ALL the things I want to do during this holiday season and will probably have to come back to this post to keep adding! There’s no way I thought of all the traditions and things that we do!

What are things on your winter bucket list? And, do you always get all of your bucket list items checked off? I certainly don’t! I come back to my list and feel discouraged seeing things I forgot because there simply wasn’t enough time!

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  • Decorate the Christmas tree

Now, this is one I always get checked off! My husband and I are guilty of putting the tree up the day after Halloween! Are we the only ones? Don’t forget your ornaments, tree skirt, and of course, the star!

  • Visit Speedway in Lights

Where I live, we have a NASCAR race track not too far from us. Every year, they turn the race track into different light fixtures and you get to drive around the track looking at the lights! Once you get to the middle of the track, you can get out and visit Santa, ride rides, and get cozy snacks!

  • Make and decorate Christmas cookies

This was always a favorite of mine when my cousins were little! I loved seeing them make cookies for Santa and decorate them. We use sprinkles and icing to make them very festive!

  • Drink hot chocolate while watching Christmas movies

This is giving me all of the COZY vibes! I love drinking hot chocolate with some fun marshmallows!

  • Have mom make spicy pretzels

As weird as this item sounds, my mom makes the BEST spicy pretzels and I always use to get them around Christmas time. Now, that’s when I crave them!

  • Drive and look at Christmas lights

This is one of my favorites, but no so much my husbands because I make him drive! It is always fun to find that one neighborhood that puts up the best lights and you can drive slowly around it looking at each one!

  • Go skiing

I’ve only been skiing once, but have wanted to go back ever since! We have a few places near us and I am going to make sure I make it there this year to go! I’m not so sure I’ll be any good or I’ll even be able to, but I’ll try! I found super inexpensive (well, inexpensive for ski apparel) ski pants and a ski jacket on Amazon and they are great quality!

  • Go sledding

An absolute favorite of mine, sledding! I have loved sledding since I was a kid because we had a big hill where I grew up! I hope this year I can go with my little cousins! Sleds can be expensive, but if you invest in a good one, it will be worth it!

  • Wear matching PJs with the hubby

My husband and I wear matching PJs on Christmas Eve, every year. There was one year that I forgot them, but only one year. It calls for the perfect picture and is fun to go and pick them out together!

  • Donate to the animal shelter

My husband got our first cat, Princess, from a local animal shelter. I swore once I was out of college, with a job, that I would donate to the animal shelter around Christmas every year! Whether it is blankets or food, I want to make sure I do this.

  • Watch all of my favorite Christmas movies

If I made a list of every single Christmas movie that I watch every year, it would be a blog post on its own (maybe I’ll do that), but some of my favorites are The Ultimate Christmas Present, Santa Clause, Elf, and Home Alone!

  • Decorate a gingerbread house

This one actually makes me laugh! I can’t think of a single gingerbread house that I’ve ever made that has actually turned out looking decent, or even actually stood up! Mine always fall apart.

  • Go to Disney World

AH! We are going to Disney World this Christmas and I couldn’t be more excited! It has always been a dream to be in Disney while the Christmas decorations are up, and I’ll finally get to see them! I have to stock up on my Disney Christmas Ears! I currently have gingerbread ones, snowflakes, and a festive sequined pair!

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What are some of your Christmas traditions or things on your bucket list?

Magically Making It

How I Plan Writing Workshops in the Classroom

If you know me, you know I ADORE teaching writing! I love writing myself, but this isn’t just why I love teaching it in the classroom. Teaching writing is so fun because the opportunities are endless and you can be so creative (one of my favorite things about being a teacher).

Keep in mind that I am a fourth-grade teacher, but these can be incorporated very similarly into middle grades and even high school.

Now, I don’t always just throw a prompt at my students (for morning work, yes). There is a time and a place for only giving students a prompt and asking them to answer it in a five-paragraph paper. I would say this is after ALL of my writing workshops are done and I know that students are fully capable of completing the prompts without any support or instruction.

I try to create my writing workshops to be student-paced and lead. I am trying to steer away from whole-group lectures and PowerPoints because I lose my students attention QUICK. One, because I then have the capability to support students that need me as they are learning. Two, students that can learn at their OWN pace, is the way it should be.

Now, I get it, sometimes you HAVE to lecture and teach whole-group, but for my writing workshops, I try not to unless it is needed.

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WHY USE WRITING WORKSHOPS?

  1. IT IS ENGAGING. Not only can you make writing workshops fun and engaging, but this means students are engaged with meaningful work. IT IS A WIN, WIN.
  2. BUILDS CONFIDENCE. I saw this first-hand during my student teaching that writing workshops build student confidence in writing. They watch videos, read text to build their knowledge on a subject, and then get to write about something they are confident about which then makes them confident about their writing! There is nothing worse than having to write about something you feel like you don’t know anything about.
  3. INDIVIDUALIZED INSTRUCTION. Writing workshops are great to incorporate whole-group (if needed), small-group, and one-on-one instruction! It is the perfect way to meet the needs of all students!
  4. ALL STUDENTS CAN BE SUCCESSFUL. Your advanced, struggling, and in the middle learners will ALL be successful. That is a dream as an educator!

Below I will walk you through how I plan my FIRST writing workshops. AKA, the workshops students complete when they are learning a NEW genre of writing.

  1. CHOOSE THE TOPIC-

This is my favorite step because I get to be CREATIVE! I think of the season, time of the year, and what we are learning in class.

For example, in November, my students will be completing an informational writing workshop on women heroes in history. All of these women will be women we have learned in class, which makes the writing become easier because they know what to write! Then, they just have to worry about HOW!

Another example is for my persuasive writing workshop. Students will enter the classroom and see that they don’t have chairs! Students will be required to persuade their chairs to come back to work! You can read more about this lesson in my read-aloud blog.

2. DECIDE THE GENRE-

I always like to find the topic before I decide what genre because then it allows this part to come easy.

I knew informational writing was going to be the hardest for my students, so I knew I wanted to incorporate it based on something they already had knowledge on for their first workshop. Once I knew I wanted students to write on women heroes, I knew this was a perfect way to teach informational writing.

For opinion writing, I was sitting in class one day and a topic came up that students were giving their opinions on. I immediately wrote this down and later decided it was perfect for my first opinion writing workshop because students were interested in it!

In my classroom, I stick to these genres when creating writing workshops:

  • Persuasive
  • Opinion
  • Informational
  • Creative

Now, creative writing I like to stick to during social studies. There are ENDLESS opportunities for this.

3. HOW-TO-

Once you have your topic and genre, it is now time to plan how you are going to teach the students ‘how-to’ when writing.

I like to embed videos into my Smore (more on what Smore is in another blog) from Teaching Without Frills from Youtube! She has great, short videos that explain the writing. She also has videos that walk the students through the introduction and all pieces of the writing.

I will have a description of what this writing is, give any vocabulary they may need to know, and then embed the videos explained above. This is the perfect and short way of helping your students know ‘how-to’. These videos are also a great ‘hook’ because, truthfully, what kids don’t like to watch a Youtube video?

NOW, if your students truly struggle with writing and you know that they do, these videos might not be enough to answer the ‘how’. You may have to model this type of writing for students! Of course, this would need to be whole-group and done before you present the workshop.

A great HOOK/ACTIVATOR for opinion writing is a debate! Choose a topic, have students choose their side of the argument, and debate as a class! After the debate, introduce the opinion writing workshop.

ALSO, a great way to show students ‘how’ is having anchor charts and sentence starters!

4. THE WRITING-

Now, it is time for everything needed for students to write.

Personally, I stick to this list:

  • Anchor Charts
  • Sentence Starters
  • Articles
  • Videos
  • Graphic Organizers
  • Prompt
  • Paper

I make sure everything is accessible by all students and that all students know where to find everything that is needed. Students know that graphic organizers are in a specific drawers, articles in another, and they know where to find the sentence starters and videos (Smore).

I also make sure students know where to come in the classroom for help if needed. For example, my students that need more support know exactly what table to come to for my help. I never want to MAKE a student come to me during their independent work. Therefore, I have a table that students come to instead if they NEED it.

Make sure your prompt directly says what is expected and what is needed to be answered. Time and time again I have to go back to my prompt and change it to make sure it is just right for my students to complete!

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Example:

You have read three articles on the topic of women heroes in history. We have also learned about these women in class! Write an informational essay (5 paragraphs) in which you describe how these women are heroes. Be sure to use facts and details from at least two articles in your essay. Use your graphic organizers to guide you!

Personally, these writing workshops have been a HIT in my classroom. The students look forward to them and get excited when I introduce a new one. Be creative and think, what do my students need?

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Magically Making It

4 of the BEST Ways to use Smore in the Classroom

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SMORE! It is just as fun as it sounds. This tool was introduced to me during my student teaching and I haven’t stopped using it since. The ideas are endless through Smore and it is a way for me to plan in an organized, creative way.

What is Smore? Smore is a way of communication where you can create interactive newsletters to send to students, parents, etc.

Personally, I use Smore for EVERYTHING. I just recently got my mom, also a fourth grade teacher, into using Smore and it is a game changer for us to share lessons together!

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  1. Canvas

If your school district is anything like mine, you have to have a Canvas page for students, especially during the pandemic! I am in a fourth grade classroom and have to post all lessons, worksheets, videos, or anything else into Canvas. At first, this was extremely time consuming and was taking forever to add modules, pages, links, etc.

Then, I remembered Smore.

I began to create daily lessons into a Smore page where I could embed videos, add images of assignments, link assignments, and more. It saved me SO MUCH TIME! I then found I could pull my Smore page up in my classroom to teach from!

Once I had a Smore page formed, all I had to do was get the Smore page link and add this direct link to my Canvas page for students to find everything they needed.

2. Lesson Planning

At my school, we don’t have to submit lesson plans, but we need to have them made and visible whether it be on your desk or not.

If you are a teacher, then you know, lesson plans change DAILY. I was getting so irritated that I would spend so much time on a paper lesson planning and of the marks I would have to make on my page because of the changes.

With Smore, I was able to plan weeks in advance because if anything changed, all I needed to do was go into Smore and switch whatever I needed around or change the date on something.

I also was able to add links, videos, images, or anything I needed straight into my lesson plans. This was a GAME CHANGER. The day I get to school early to get all my materials together, video pulled up, or anything else is over because I can simply pull up my Smore and access anything I need on that page.

3. Self-Paced Lessons

As you know, every student works at their own pace. The first few weeks of school, it was a challenge to make sure all of my students knew what they needed to do next because they were all working at such different paces.

With Smore, students know what is coming next and can get started. I create Smore pages with explicit directions for my early finishers to be able to read directions and begin before I even have to say it. TIP: At the end of every lesson, go ahead and add into your Smore page an ‘early finisher’ activity whether it is a video, writing activity, or anything, it will help you assist other students while those students extend on the activity.

It has changed my classroom management, too. I am not being said, “I’m done, what do I do next?” or “I didn’t hear you when you gave directions.” Students know, if they were in the bathroom, not listening, or anything to that nature that they can read the directions on their Chromebook if I am busy helping a student.

Not only is this awesome for my students in class, it is also amazing for my online students. These students see explicit, written-out directions rather than a link to an assignment they are expected to complete at home, without me.

4. Weekly Newsletters

Say goodbye to the hours spent writing out emails to parents or printed out newsletters that you are fully aware everything on that newsletter could change.

With Smore, the link you send to parents or students, changes when you change it!

I have come across many situations when I needed to change a date on a test or when something was due. All I had to do was change this date in my Smore and then students saw the new date on their weekly newsletter.

I embed the Smore into Canvas and all students and guardians can see it whenever they need to! This saves me all of the time and paper!

Things that can be added to a Smore:

  • Images
  • Videos
  • Google Forms
  • Embedded Links that can be turned into Buttons
  • Event Information
  • Files
  • Audio

This is not an ad, but Smore is a paid membership! It goes as low as $19/month to $99/month. Personally, I have the cheapest option and I think I paid $75 for the entire year!

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Magically Making It

5 Read-Alouds and How to use them for Instruction

I personally LOVE reading aloud to my kids, exploring the illustrations, and finding ways I can implement fun books into my instruction before or after. I am in a fourth grade classroom and have to be very strategic on what books I choose and how I use them! If you are in upper elementary, then you know that they act like they are paying their own bills and old enough to only read massive chapter books! I have found that they secretly still love reading picture books and being able to act like the age they are!

As an Amazon Associate, I do earn from qualifying purchases. Below, I have added links for these books on Amazon in which I would earn a small commission. #CommisionsEarned

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  1. Hardly Haunted by Jessie Sima

The first book that comes to mind is Hardly Haunted because I just recently planned my lesson for this text. This book is PERFECT for spooky season with your kiddos! I used this in my fourth grade classroom and although the kids acted like they were too old for it, they loved it. Whether you this book for instruction or not it will be the perfect addition to your classroom library or for display in the October month!

I found there were endless possibilities in this book to base it around instruction, but I personally used it to teach onomatopoeia and have students identify examples of it within the text. Students were able to identify “creak”, “squeak”, “rattle”, etc. and it allowed them to firsthand see examples of this instead of just a definition they needed to add to their language arts journal.

Other instructional possibilities:

  • Onomatopoeia (Listed above)
  • Setting
  • Characters
  • Theme
  • Problem/Solution

2. The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires

This is another book that has endless options for instruction and is overall a must-read in your classroom! In my opinion, I would say this is perfect for upper elementary, but could also be read in the lower grades!

In my classroom, I used this book to teach theme. I explained what theme is, gave the definition, discussed theme vs. main idea, and then read this book for students to help identify what the theme of the book was. This led to a great conversation on perseverance and how we can overcome hard times and struggles!

Other instructional possibilities:

  • Theme (Described Above)
  • Growth Mindset
  • Persuasive Writing- Have students create their ‘most magnificent thing’ and persuade their readers why it is the MOST magnificent thing
  • Setting Goals
  • Idioms
  • Character Traits
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3. The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

This is such a cute book for all elementary grades! Warning: your upper elementary students will 100% act like they did not enjoy this book, but the lesson along with it will make up for it!

In my room, I used this in a persuasive writing workshop. I read the story aloud, discussed the book with students such as the reasons behind why the crayons quit, and then began my writing workshop. In my room, I had all of our classroom chairs ‘quit’, students were given a prompt, and then had to persuade the chairs to come back. I got this idea from someone on Instagram, but changed the lesson and how I did things to fit my classroom. I will link my Smore below for the full writing workshop I did.

https://www.smore.com/5r04j

Other instructional possibilities:

  • Persuasive Writing (Described above)
  • Cause and effect
  • Using text to identify details
  • Text connections
  • Making Predictions

4. The Great Thanksgiving Escape by Mark Fearing

This book is also great for all elementary grades in November! Whether you are reading this to guide instruction or to just read to your students near the holiday, I highly suggest it! There are many books just like this one that would be perfect for the November month!

In November, I knew I wanted to incorporate the holiday in some way in one of my many writing workshops I was creating. When I came across this book, I knew it was going to be perfect for this. I was going to read and discuss the book with students and then begin my opinion writing workshop. I decided to turn this book around and have my writing workshop called, “The Great Turkey Escape” where students gave their opinion if the turkey should try to escape before the Thanksgiving meal at Grandmas or not.

Other instructional possibilities:

  • Opinion Writing (Described above)
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Retelling
  • Escape Room with any Subject
  • Story Elements
  • Characters

5. Balloons over Broadway: The True Story by Melissa Sweet

I found this to be the perfect addition to my classroom library because as it is a very cute book it also gives students the history behind the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This parade was always such a big deal when I was little and it is for most in your classroom too! When reading this book aloud, don’t forget some of your students may not have any idea what this parade is!

As you can tell from my previous books listen, I am big into writing workshops and I almost planned to incorporate this book into one too, but I didn’t. Instead, I decided it would make a great project-based learning activity. Before reading, I plan to discuss the parade and see what knowledge my have of it. Then, I will read the text and present out project-based learning. In this project, students will go through the process of creating their own parade float through theme, math word problems, and creating a newspaper article promoting their float in the parade.

Other instructional possibilities:

  • Project-based learning (Described above)
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Problem/Solution
  • Science
  • Forming a survey and using data in a graph

As there are MANY more amazing books that can be used for instruction, these were the five that came to mind and the ones that formed some of the most successful lessons in my classroom. I am a sucker for great books to read to my students and I am sure this won’t be the last list I create!

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Magically Making It

ALL ABOUT ME

Hello!! Abby Rose here. I am extremely excited to share my blog with you and so happy you are here! I have enjoyed writing my entire life. I once thought I wanted to write a book, but I couldn’t settle on just one thing to write about which brought me here.

I am a fourth grade, first year teacher! It has truly been the craziest, busiest year of my life. I am married, have two cats, and live in a two-bedroom apartment. I am also 100% a Disney crazed adult. Fun fact: I worked at Disney World in their Disney College Program!

I can’t wait to share all things teaching, fashion, and leisure on my blog! I truly don’t know what all I will get into writing, but excited for the future!

My blog name came from my love for Disney Magic and quite literally barley making it, all the time.