Every Kid Needs A Champion!

This inspiring video was shared at the June #TSLPConference.  I thought that you would enjoy it and help get you pumped up for this next school year!

Rita F. Pierson spent her entire life in or around the classroom, having followed both her parents and grandparents into a career as an educator.

A professional educator since 1972, taught elementary school, junior high and special education. She was a counselor, a testing coordinator and an assistant principal. In each of these roles, she brought a special energy to the role — a desire to get to know her students, show them how much they matter and support them in their growth, even if it was modest.

For the past decade, Pierson conducted professional development workshops and seminars for thousands of educators. Focusing on the students who are too often under-served, she lectured on topics like “Helping Under-Resourced Learners,”“Meeting the Educational Needs of African American Boys” and “Engage and Graduate your Secondary Students: Preventing Dropouts.”

Pierson passed away in June 2013.

Read More About Pierson

Collecting Evidence for The Writers Workshop

Collecting Evidence For Your Writer’s Workshop

Do you ever feel that you do not have enough evidence when assessing an overall grade in your writers workshop?  I have to admit, at times I have not felt confident explaining a grade to a parent or colleague when only having a students’ latest piece of work, conferring notes, and my gut to go from.  With a majority of students I am very confident, I know where they are at and know where they need support.  Other students I find it harder to put my finger on what they are struggling with, especially if it is not a direct goal of the unit.  One of my solutions has been identifying my structure of assessments and checkpoints through out my writers workshop.

For each workshop unit my grade level team began creating lists of components that fully support our view of the students progress, strengths, and weaknesses.  I know that my colleagues and I have found this component and assessment sheet helpful, so I thought I would share it with you!

Writing Workshop Persuasive Letters1

I use this with the corresponding checklists, rubrics, and assessments for each unit.  This makes my workshop flow so smoothly.  It also helps me feel organized while gaining a clear picture of where each student is at in my workshop. This is also useful as a grade level to remain consistent with our grading and speaking to parents about the workshop.


Persuasive Letter Writing UnitMy newest unit is The Persuasive Letter Writing Unit.  This is one of my favorite units!  It has just taken me awhile to get it all out of my head and on paper for you!  There are many different types of letter writing but persuasive writing lends itself so well to this letter unit!!

The overarching goals for this unit include:
  • Writers study mentor texts to understand the genre of persuasive writing.
  • Writers generate ideas for writing persuasive letters.
  • Writers learn strategies for writing effective persuasive letters.
  • Writers learn strategies for revising and editing persuasive letters.
  • Writers publish and share persuasive letters.

The Writer’s Workshop: Persuasive Letter Writing Unit is easily adaptable for grades 3-5. 20 Lessons with connection, teaching point, active engagement, and link. It includes anchor charts, minilessons, handouts and much more.

If you would like to see all of what comes in this 107page unit head over to my TeachersPayTeachers Shop to see the description!

Copy of Mitch

How To Make a Button For Your Blog in 4 Simple Steps

Design a button for your blog using your favorite design program.  (Powerpoint, Photoshop,  ) It will need to be either 150×150 or 200×150 pixels (I prefer the bigger).  Today I am going to show you my new favorite way… Canva.com   It is FREE and easy to use.  Here is a 3 minute video of how to use Canva if you are interested.

Once you have made your button and saved it as a PNG or JPEG you are ready to move on to step 2.

You will now upload your picture onto a picture host site of your choice.  Personally, I use Photobucket.com.

You will upload your picture so that you are able to use a direct link code.  (You will need this for the next step.)
You will not replace all of the highlighted text with your own links.  Copy and paste this code into a Word or Pages document while you play with it and then I will tell you where to place it in the next step.

Copy the example below


<div align="center"><a href="http://YOURSITE.com" title="YOUR BLOG NAME"><img src="http://DIRECTLINKFORPHOTO" alt="YOUR BLOG NAME" style="border:none;" /></a></div>
You will fill in your sites web address, the name of your website, and the direct link to your photo.   If all else fails and you find yourself stuck at this point you can just head over to The Code Generator and use their tool to create your HTML Code.  

My filled in version for my button looks like this…

5px;”>Teaching Upstairs

<div align="center"><a href="http://www.teachingupstairs.com" title="Teaching Upstairs"><img src="http://i594.photobucket.com/albums/tt28/mackenziesheahan/Untitleddesign4copy.png" alt="Teaching Upstairs" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Now you will insert the HTML Coding that you created into your Blogger Template.

To do this head to your Blogger Dashboard and click on the Layout Tab.  See the green arrow below.

Choose to add a Gadget. See green arrow below.
Chose to add HTML/Java Script
Add the HTML Code that you created.  You can title it whatever you want, most use “Grab My Button” .

The product that is produced from the code should be similar to the one below.  Sit back and enjoy your work!

Let me know if this tutorial worked for you and link up your store so we can see!

Back To School Signs! A Freebie For You!

Tomorrow is the day!  We are back to school and it is the perfect time to capture a memory.  This year I will have a Kindergartener and a Second Grader!  In honor of the first day of school I am sending out a freebie for parents and teachers alike!

Printable and Digital Back to School Signs!

In this freebie you will find signs for grades Kindergarten through Sixth Grade in two different colors!  Don’t see what you need let me know and I can whip it right up!

Are you already back in school…don’t worry you wont miss out because you can use these digitally.  You will see in the example above that you are able to take this image and place it on a picture from the past year.

Here are the specifics:

You can use the signs two different ways…

  1. Print out the sign on a regular piece of paper and have your child or students hold them in the picture.  8.5×11 Landscape
  2. Use the digital image to place on the photo using your computers photo editor or another online editing system like Canva.com or PicMonkey.com
Head over to my TeachersPayTeachers Store  and get your free download today!
Year of the Writing Workshop

A Year of Units for The Writers Workshop!

Can you believe it…A Year of Units for The Writers Workshop!!!  This bundle consists of 6 whole units. Each Unit is made for Upper Elementary 3-5. Each of the units have 12 – 18 Lessons, each with a Connection, Teaching Point, Active Engagement, Link, and Sharing. It also includes Common Core Standards that are addressed, print outs for writers notebooks, anchor charts, poem examples, rubrics, and much more…see detailed list below! The units that are included are as follows:

Unit 1: Launching the Writing Workshop

Unit 2: Raising the Quality of Narrative Writing

Unit 3: Big Dreams, Tall Ambitions Fiction Writing

Unit 4: Breathing Life into Essay Writing

Unit 5: Literary Essays Writing About Reading

Unit 6: Poetry

These products have been adapted from Units of Study for Teaching Writing Grades 3-5 by Lucy Calkins.

Example of a Detailed List of Materials and Resources Found In The Poetry Unit:

  • Preparing for the Unit Description
  • Materials Needed for Unit: You will find a list of materials that are specific to this unit. These materials should be prepared before beginning the unit.
  • Terms Found In This Unit: These are specific phrases and terms that you will use or are used by Teaching Upstairs that communicate events, moments, or teaching techniques.
  • Writing Workshop Components and Assessments: This is a list that was developed by me for my own school. We use this to determine assessment schedules, grades, and report card items. These are not required in the Lucy Calkins program, but we have found helpful in our years of teaching workshop.
  • Writing Workshop Student Behavior Rubric: This rubric is used to assess student behavior both individually and as a partner. Please see the description on the Components and Assessments Handout for more detailed information.
  • Common Core Standards That Are Addressed In This Unit: A list of the common core standards that are addressed in this unit. 
  • On Demand Assessment Pre Unit, On Demand Assessment Post Unit: This script will give you the information that you need to conduct a pre and post assessment for this specific unit. The pre assessment should be done before beginning any of the lessons. The post assessment should be completed after the students publish their writing. 
  • On Demand Assessment Rubric: Use this rubric for both the Pre and Post On Demand Assessment.
  • Workshop Self Evaluation: Used by student. Please see the description on the Components and Assessments Handout for more detailed information.
  • Tips for Conferring with Writers: Tips on teaching each the student one writing strategy or technique he/she can use in a current piece of writing and continue to use in future writing. 
  • Conferring Examples and Worksheets: Examples of methods that I have found helpful, as well as, an example and blank worksheet that you can record your conferring on. 
  • Student Notebook Labels: These labels are completely optional. I found myself some days having students copy down the teaching point and anchor chart in their Writer’s Notebook and then there were other days that I handed these out for them to glue or tape into their Notebook. These are just there for convince if you choose to use them. 
  • Example for Parent Handbook: If you need an explanation for your parent handbook at the beginning of the year you may find this helpful.
  • Teacher Self Assessment: An assessment to judge how your workshop is going so far. 
  • Student Poetry Packet: This is a packet for students to use mentor poems from to cut and place into their writers notebooks for inspiration.
  • Poetry Form Posters: 10 posters are in another folder that you are able to print and use in a lesson.
  • Mentor Text List
  • Anchor Charts for Each Lesson
  • 12 Lessons over the Course of 5 Weeks
  • Suggested Poetry Websites
  • Final Copy Rubric
  • Revision and Editing Checklist
  • Partner Editing Checklist
  • Editing Checklist
  • Publishing Checklist
  • Celebration Ideas

Celebration Supplies: In another folder on your download you will find templates for your celebration. If you need a different color or something slightly different please email me at teachingupstairs@gmail.com and I can make them for you!

Grab this unit bundle today!!!  Follow this link!

View other products in my store by clicking the TPT button!

Pre-K, Kindergarten, First, Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, Twelfth, Higher Education, Adult Education, Homeschooler, Staff, Not Grade Specific - TeachersPayTeachers.com