12.31.2011

New! Pretty in Pink and Free 2012 Graphics


 I uploaded a couple of new graphics packages yesterday for those of you who like my backgrounds and frames (and more coming, I promise). 


One of the packages is called "Pretty in Pink" and features graphics in shades of pink, red, and purple. It also has over 30 heart images in numerous colors. My backgrounds can be shaped to become sidebars, or layered with your own frames. They are versatile and saved as png files for your convenience.


The other package I uploaded is a freebie. It has 12 "2012" graphics. What makes these unique is the transparent cut-outs and backgrounds. Below are examples of how these can be used in your products.


I hope you all have a great 2012 and finish your school year strong! Make sure to stop by my store today and tomorrow to enjoy my New Year's sale on EVERYTHING - including CDs! 

2012 with the transparent cut out. The background used is my "Bubbles" package.

2012 with the transparent background and white numbers.

Another 2012 with the numbers cut out to reveal a purple background.

The purple background with the 2012 numbers in white with transparent background.
*Please note that the backgrounds shown are for examples of use only and are NOT included with the 2012 bundle download. You can find all my clip art packages here: {Tracee's Graphics}

12.29.2011

Link Up at Secondary Solutions



Calling all secondary teachers!

If you teach middle or high school and blog or have a website, head over to the Secondary Solutions Link Up for Secondary Teachers. You'll be able to post your blog or website in your field so others can find you. Don't miss out - share your knowledge with other teachers and gain more readers to your site!

Happy New Year! Back to School Writing Activity



Happy New Year, Everyone! 
I hope you are enjoying this holiday break. I know I have not been the greatest at updating this blog, but one of my resolutions is to do a better job of sharing my teaching resources, classroom activities, and ideas with you.

One activity you can share with your students when you go back to school is this free download of New Year Activities. It includes four different activities and one that can be used for a new school year or new class (if you have a new group of students at semester or in the fall).

The first activity is a basic printable for writing a resolution. Students should choose something they want to accomplish or make sure they don't do for 2012 and write about it in complete sentences.

The second activity is a list-writing goal-setting activity with a twist. Students play off the words twenty-twelve and write twenty things that they want to do or accomplish in 2012 and twelve things they want to make sure they don't do.

The third activity is an acrostic poem-writing activity, but instead of using letters, the numbers (or words) for 2012 are used to begin each line. Students should start each line with the words Two, Zero, One, and Two (though they may use the actual numbers, it would just be read "Two..." and so on). Here's an example:
  (2) Two times I've searched
  (0) Zero times I've found my
  (1) One true love, but
  (2) Two more times might just do it.
Students can write an nontraditional acrostic and use the words in the middle of the line, as well. When it comes to poetry, anything goes!

The fourth activity involves a scavenger hunt for the students to find things in the classroom. It involves some critical and even creative thinking on their part. Feel free to tweak it to work for you and your classroom.

The last activity is a generic writing prompt for the start of the new year. It can be used for a back-to-school activity, when you have a new group of students, or any new year.

I hope you enjoy these activities! 
Make sure to download them {HERE}

If you like the clip art, I'll be posting it soon in my store. 
Just click on the link the left of this article to find all my clip art (both free and for purchase). 
All my art can be used for commercial purposes.

12.18.2011

Winter and Holiday Tips and Activities




In case you missed it, a group of 50 teachers collaborated on a Holiday/Winter eBook with free tips and downloads to use in your K-12 classroom. You can download it FREE by clicking on the link below:


Happy Holidays, Friends!

11.28.2011

Mmmmm....Cake!





Last week I felt a little like Homer Simpson every time a student brought in their creative project to wrap up our Hunger Games unit. I couldn't help drooling a little, and uttering, "Mmmmm...more cake!"

Yes, cake can be educational. Just like replicating the arena or a scene from the novel in a diorama, recreating it on a cake takes thought and creativity. Students have to brainstorm what edible objects they'll use to represent the scenery. I witnessed students rereading scenes to make sure they got the details exact. I overheard an argument about Peeta being hidden near the stream by Rue's body (which was further in the woods), and one student replied, "It's symbolic!" I love it.

Yes. Frosting. The final defense of English teachers everywhere...







11.25.2011

Weekend Sale Ends With Huge Cyber Monday Super Sale!

 
Happy Holidays! 
 
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and did not get trampled in the crowds at your favorite stores today. 
If you are tired of being pushed around, why not do some ONLINE shopping? 
There's no long lines to wait in, no driving around looking for a parking spot, and what you want is ALWAYS in stock!
 
To thank you for your continued support of your fellow teachers, please enjoy my sale all weekend (Saturday & Sunday) on my digital downloads. 
 
Just click {HERE} to find some wonderful lessons for your students!
 
Then on Monday, Paul from TeachersPayTeachers is hosting an additional 10% off (if you use the promo code CMS28 at checkout), for up to 30% off! Don't miss out on these awesome deals on great English/Language Arts lessons, powerpoint presentations, novel units, clip art, and frames and borders!

Plus, as always, I have a great assortment of FREEBIES you can find {HERE}.

And one more bonus: Anyone purchasing a shipped good from my store this weekend will get a FREE Hunger Games handmade (by me) ornament! Ornaments will vary by style; most are two-sided and will look like one of these:





For instructions on how to make these ornaments, use The Hunger Games Examiner Sara Gundell's instructions found {HERE}.

11.15.2011

Three New Holiday Clip Art, Frames & Borders for Commercial Use

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I posted three new great clip art and frames/borders bundles this weekend, just in time for the holidays! All of the images are high-quality .png files. Make sure to download the previews to get all the information about each one.

These can be used in commercial products as long as they are protected (in PDFs).

Thanks for looking!


Christmas & Winter-Themed Frames and Backgrounds


Build a Snowman Clip Art Package


Christmas Clip Art Figures




11.04.2011

How to Insert Frames, Borders, or Clip Art into a Microsoft Word Document

Have you ever been frustrated using Microsoft Word because you couldn't remember what you should click to get something to look just right? Me, too. I also had many teachers ask me how to insert my frames, borders, and other clip art png files into a Word document. So, I created a visual tutorial.

The problem I had, however, is that I only use a Mac. That didn't help those teachers who use a PC and Microsoft for Windows. So Krissy Malone, a fellow TpT teacher, came to my rescue! She created the PC instructions, complete with screenshots. So whether you use a Mac or a PC, we hope you will find these useful!

You can download them on TpT here: How to Insert Text & Frames into Word
or download them on Scribd:

How to Use Frames in Word

11.01.2011

Two Holiday Freebies for Download



I just posted two holiday freebies you can download in my teacher store right now!

"The Day After Halloween Creative Writing Activity" 
(or it can be done anytime!)

"Thanksgiving Creative Writing Activity"

Both can be quick bell-ringers or exit slips, or used as journal prompts. They allow your students to be creative, which is always a good thing. And I like that you can use these for upper elementary students through seniors in high school. I know my older students had fun coming up with their responses. :)

Enjoy!

Oh, and they ARE aligned with the Common Core Standards.  Bonus!

10.16.2011

Common Core Standards for Literature Graphic Organizers & Worksheets

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Do you need to implement the Common Core Standards into your curriculum? These graphic organizers are written for each individual anchor standard for Reading Literature, grades 9-10, and will work for any piece of literature: short stories, plays, novels, poems, etc.. Just select an organizer for the literature you are reading to practice that particular standard/skill. They are all labeled clearly with each standard.

You can download the samples, below, FREE.

This full set, which can be purchased here, includes 24 different organizers for the 10 anchor standards in reading. Many of the organizers will practice the skills in the Reading Informational Texts, as well. However, the majority are written specifically for the literature standards.

UPDATE: I completed the graphic organizers for grades 6, 7, and 8, as well. You can find those here:
http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Fiction-Non-Fiction-Reading-Graphic-Organizers-Common-Core-6-7-8
Because the anchor standards are the same, many will be similar to the grades 9-10. However, they are customized to the specific standards outlined for each grade.  For example, the third anchor standard for reading literature for each grade is:
RL.6.3. Describe how a particular story’s or drama’s plot unfolds in a series of episodes as well as how the characters respond or change as the plot moves toward a resolution.
RL.7.3. Analyze how particular elements of a story or drama interact (e.g., how setting shapes the characters or plot).
RL.8.3. Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision.
RL.9-10.3. Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme.
I provide several different organizers for each standard so you can decide how deeply you want your students to practice this skill. You can use these for assessment, as well.

Skills practiced in the organizers include: inference (inferring), complex character analysis, theme and plot development, compare/contrast two different works of same subject matter, understanding of cultural experiences, figurative language meaning and purpose, author's point of view, role of character, understanding author's purpose and choices, how language affects the tone and meaning, how an author uses allusions, and reading comprehension.

Students in advanced classes in 8th grade/middle could also utilize the worksheets for grades 9-10 or use the grades 6, 7, 8 organizers.

Free Common Core Standards Graphic Organizers

10.03.2011

Is it Hot? Or Not? Great Free Download

If you need a simple and fast bell ringer or exit slip activity, try my "What's Hot? What's Not?" free download. It is such a versatile activity that can be used in any content area and for virtually any level. I also aligned it with the Common Core standards. Also featured on the new Classroom Freebies website! :)

9.29.2011

New Site for Teachers Launches Today: Classroom Freebies

The official launch of Classroom Freebies, a collaborative blog of teachers who post all freebies, all the time, launched today. Over 50 educators have come together to offer you their free resources. Why not check it out today?


9.27.2011

Twilight? The Hunger Games? Top 10 Challenged Books of 2010

This week is Banned Books Week, sponsored by The American Library Association. I wrote a post on my other blog about it, but thought I would add this link to The Huffington Post's InfoGraph with the Top 10 Challenged Books of 2010, and the reasons why. It is amazing to see many of my students' favorites on the list. But some of the reasons for why they were challenged are baffling. I think it just goes to prove that many of the people who challenge these books read only small parts rather than basing their objection on the book as a whole.

The interactive InfoGraph can be found here on "Huff Post Books" page.



APPLYING THIS IN THE CLASSROOM
To educate our youth on censorship and freedom of speech, I ask them to journal their thoughts on censorship. I show them the lists of censored/challenged books (and another visual aide, found here, which shows some surprising banned books). Then I start asking them some specific questions, such as:

1. Do you believe in freedom of speech? Explain.

2. Do you believe in censorship, or removing materials from the library or classroom if someone opposes them? Why/why not?

3. Are there any books that should not be allowed in schools? Explain.

4. Are there any books that should not be allowed in libraries? Explain.

5. Are there any books that should never be printed? Explain.

After they write, I ask them some discussion questions to reflect on their answers, such as:

-If you answered "no" to number 1, but "yes" to numbers 4 or 5, then you need to change your answer to number 1 to "yes."

I bring up one of my favorite quotes by Noam Chomsky:

"If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all." 

This always makes them stop and think. If they wish to have freedom of speech for themselves and their beliefs, it is only fair to allow it for all. It ceases to be freedom of speech when we limit others' rights.

Do you have a discussion with your students about censorship and/or banned books?

Don't forget to download my FREE banned books bookmarks, found on my Teachers Pay Teachers website:









9.25.2011

More Clip Art Borders & Frames





Check out the new borders and frames I uploaded for commercial use:
FUN FRAMES & BORDERS

These were so much fun to make. Hope you enjoy!

9.11.2011

Thoughts are of those lost 9/11 and in the Aftermath...and for the Survivors


Today marks the 10th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. It is also a day to remember those who lost their lives, and a day to serve others.

Many lost their lives on the 11th, but so many more have lost their lives in the aftermath of 9/11, such as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Many innocent people on both sides of the wars have perished because of the fighting, differences, and lack of compassion and understanding for our fellow human beings. How long must this go on?

In order to break this seemingly unending chain of destruction we humans are prone to, let's try to teach our youth to be kind and tolerant, to serve others instead of using destruction as a means for "peace." (In another post, I will write about my discussion I have with students about "the end justifies the means" in regard to Machiavelli's The Prince, and how this "justified" excuse for criminal acts still goes on in today's world.)

Take time today to do something for others. Tomorrow at school, talk to your students about how they can serve others. Have them write about it, plan it out. Let them take ownership over their service project. Allow them the pleasure of doing something for another person.

You can download my free writing prompt for initiating a service project (anytime of the year) here:
A Day to Remember, A Day to Serve

9.04.2011

Thanksgiving Clip Art Now Available

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I just posted my newly created Thanksgiving clip art package. It includes a cute turkey, several different autumn-colored leaves, an acorn, two different types of squash, pumpkins, a ready-made frame with turkey, and a cornucopia. All images come in color AND grayscale! Download the graphic of the leaf to assess the overall quality of my clip art. I think you'll be pleased. :) All of my clip art is available for commercial use.

8.28.2011

Cute Halloween Clip Art for Commercial Use!

Halloween Clip Art Graphics Commercial Use

I just posted my Halloween clip art package. :) I was pleasantly surprised with my drawing ability...thankfully my Mac is able to make my crooked lines much smoother.

These images can be used for commercial use, including free downloads. So, if you are looking for an inexpensive alternative or supplement to your favorite clip art company, check out my cute Halloween package. It contains over 25 graphics (individual files in a zipped folder) in PNG format. I made the background transparent so these can be placed on any of your patterned or colored backgrounds without the white showing up.

Check them out in my TeachersPayTeachers Clip Art Store: Halloween Clip Art Package

8.24.2011

It's a Free For All!

Today is the official launch of The Lesson Cloud, so head on over there to find oodles of free downloads for teachers! Whatever you teach, it'll be represented. Plus, the lessons will be archived so you can always go back and find them. Support your fellow teachers today & don't forget to comment or leave feedback for them! :)

8.23.2011

Offering Choices for your Readers: Comic-Book Craze!

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Suzanne Collins biography, graphic novel style!
Students should enjoy reading, right!? And there's a reason why young children love picture books: images are appealing. Do I prefer reading a graphic novel version of my favorite books? Not really. But, that doesn't mean none of my students do.
In fact, I would say quite a few of them would prefer it.

If I want my students to enjoy reading, I need to offer plenty of choices. The same with writing. Some kids are happy to write a classic book report. But some aren't. So why not give them choices?

With the recent announcement on the Hunger Games Fireside Chat of Sara Gundell's comic-style biography of Suzanne Collins (author of The Hunger Games), (see picture) this reminds me that there are so many appealing ways to entice students to read rather than the traditionally printed book. I offer loads of choices in my high school classroom because we all have different tastes. I do love reading comics and have Calvin and Hobbes, The Far Side, Close to Home, and Frazz books for students to read. Of course I offer the classics along side them, but I would much rather have a student read something over nothing. We need to admit that it is OK to allow these choices in our classroom. Students DO learn from reading non-academia texts! Reading the Guiness Book of World Records is still helping my students' reading skills. How? Because they are reading! It doesn't matter what they are reading. The act alone and repetition of it makes them better readers.

It is the same with writing. The more they write, the better writer they become. So why do we assign the boring 5-paragraph essay over and over again so they learn to hate writing? I don't know (well I do...because we are forced to). It's crazy. I would rather assign them more relevant and personally-connected pieces because 1. they will enjoy it, and 2. the chances of them copying & pasting text from the internet is less likely.

Here's a free download for you: comic strip panels to use to assign a comic bio or book report. (Click on the images below to print or drag to your desktop to save. I created them using Pasq.com's Comic Life program.) You can head to my teacher store to find additional ideas for literature- and history-based learning.







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I teach high school English in Illinois; enjoy family time, baseball, collecting PEZ dispensers, and talking about anything related to my favorite books. They include The Hunger Games trilogy, To Kill a Mockingbird, the Chaos Walking trilogy, and anything written by Amy Tan.

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