Sunday, November 27, 2016

Cyber Monday TpT Gift Card Giveaway!

I'm excited to give you the gift of time this holiday season with a chance to win a $10 TpT gift card!

Use your gift card to stuff your cart full of goodies that get you through the winter months, so you have more time for family!
Plus, you can maximize your $10 by using it in the upcoming TpT Sitewide Sale on Monday, November 28 through Tuesday, November 29!  Save up to 28% using the code: CYBER2016  

Want more chances to win?  Just visit a few of my blogging buddies to enter for another chance at a $10 TpT Gift Card.  If you visit everyone in our blog hop, you could win up to $260 in TpT Gift Cards.  Sounds good, right?  

So how do you enter?  Read about my Top 5 Winter Activities and then complete the Rafflecopter entry.  Be sure to click on the button at the end of this post to be directed to the next post in the hop.  

Hurry!  The giveaway ends at 11:59 PM (EST) on Monday 11/28.  The winner will be notified via e-mail by noon (EST) on Tuesday, so you will have time to fill up your TpT cart with lots of goodies before the end of the sale!

STEM Challenges are a perfect way to spend those days leading up to winter break or to get the wheels turning on those first days back from break.  Some of my favorite winter STEM activities include:

The Marshmallow STEM Challenge is a great introductory STEM challenge allowing students to create and collaborate while using a limited amount of common household items within a certain amount of time to create the tallest, free-standing structure!The Marshmallow Challenge asks students to build the tallest, freestanding structure out of spaghetti sticks, tape, and string within a certain amount of time.  The tower must remain standing once time expires with a marshmallow stuck on the top of the structure.  

This is a great introductory STEM lab that works for all grades.  Read more about the Marshmallow Challenge in this blog post.  


Jingle All The Way Christmas STEM Challenge - Students must design a better sleigh for Santa using common household items.Another STEM Challenge perfect for December is the Jingle All The Way Christmas STEM Challenge.  Students must design a sleigh that is lightweight and sturdy out of common household items that can tolerate the weight of the many presents Santa has to deliver all over the world. 

Students work through the STEM Design Process to create a prototype with limited materials and time, test the prototype, and troubleshoot to enhance the original prototype to yield better results.

Read more about Jingle All The Way in this blog post.

Let It Grow! Winter Snowflake Science Activity - Help Elsa decorate her castle with beautiful homemade snowflakes using pipe cleaners and powdered laundry detergent while practicing the scientific method!Help Elsa decorate her castle with beautiful homemade snowflakes using pipe cleaners and powdered laundry detergent (Borax).  

Let It Grow! Snowflake Science Activity allows students to have a lot of fun while practicing their scientific inquiry skills.  Lab activities are differentiated and available for Grades 3-5 and 5-8. 

Depending on your grade level, you may want to allow the students to conduct this in several small groups or work together as a class.  Teachers who opt for the whole class activity can always select student volunteers to come up to the front of the class to help with the different steps of the lab.

This resource also includes a detailed lesson plan and corresponding PowerPoint or SMART Board presentation that provides a lot of visuals to help both the teacher and student conduct a relatively smooth science lab!

The 3-5 Grade Handout features choices that scaffold students' thinking when determining a scientific method, making a prediction, and forming a conclusion.



If I Were an Elf Who Lived on a Shelf - Christmas Narrative Writing Prompt - Students brainstorm a sequential story about what they would do if they were an elf who lived on a shelf using a graphic organizer and create a final copy that would make a great bulletin board display!If I Were an Elf Who Lived on a Shelf Narrative Writing Prompt will create lots of discussion in your elementary classroom - especially if you have a classroom elf or many of your students have an elf at home!

Students are provided with a graphic organizer which helps them organize their thoughts into a sequential story with a closing. Once the students have completed their brainstorming, then they can transfer the information to a final story board. 

This would look awesome on a bulletin board or in the hallway!
Would You Rather Interactive Christmas Game - Includes 30 fun, Christmas-related scenarios. Students will then answer each scenario by moving to the side of the room indicated by the arrow on the slide.  Perfect for those days just before winter break!Do you know those days when you have shorter gaps of time to fill before or after a holiday assembly?   Would You Rather - Christmas Edition - is the perfect class activity to have in your teacher toolkit for those types of situations.  Just open up this game and automatically engage your students!  

This resource has 30 fun, Christmas-themed Would You Rather scenarios. The slides can be projected on a white board, projection screen, or SMART Board through PowerPoint. The teacher (or a student) can read the scenario on the slide. The students will then show what they would prefer to do in the scenario by moving to the side of the room indicated by the arrow on the slide. 



Make sure to ask follow up questions after each Would You Rather scenario to promote the development of a learning community!



If you are a fan of "The Night Before..." stories by Natasha Wing, then these sequencing activities will be a fantastic companion piece to these books.  The Night Before the Night Before Christmas is a hilarious book to add to your collection as your get closer to winter break.

Are you reading The Night Before the Night Before Christmas by Natasha Wing?  This sequencing activity is a great companion activity to this hilarious story.  Students will practice their retelling and comprehension skills by cutting and pasting illustrated cards into the correct order on a final storyboard.
This resource includes two worksheets: one includes illustrated cards that represents the key events that occurred in the story and the second includes numbered boxes to help students paste the cards into the correct order as the events happened in the story.

(Note: This resource is currently being updated to include color and black and white versions plus an interactive whole class answer check activity as mentioned below.  Debut date is 12/1/16!)

Also included is an Interactive Whole Class Answer Check Sequencing Activity in both PowerPoint and SMART Notebook formats. Students will press or click on the illustrated card they believe is the next in order. The students will receive instant feedback to either receive another try to select the correct answer or to move on to the next step of the activity.

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Kristen at Eat, Pray, Travel, Teach for your next chance to win!

Click Here to Visit the Next Blog - going from Mrs. Willyerd's Virtual Classroom to Eat, Pray, Travel, Teach
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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Duck for President Sequencing Activity Companion Resource

Duck for President Sequencing Activity Companion Resource for Presidents' Day or Election Day
Duck for President by Doreen Cronin is a wonderful book to share in November and February - near Election Day and Presidents' Day!

Students can relate to Duck not wanting to do his chores and deciding to make a change around the farm.  This moment really captures the students' attention and introduces them to the election process.

Students are then exposed to local, state, and national government structures in a fun way through Duck's adventures.

One of my favorite activities to determine the comprehension of a read aloud is for students to work individually on a sequencing activity.


This sequencing activity includes two pages: a cut-out page featuring illustrated cards with short captions and a final student handout which allows the students to paste the cards in the correct order.


Duck for President Sequencing Activity Companion Resource for Presidents' Day or Election DayOnce students have worked their fine motor skills by cutting out the illustrated cards, then they can sort the cards to practice retelling the story.

Even a struggling reader, who might not be able to remember the order of events right away, can analyze the illustrated cards.

Where was Duck in this card?  Who was with Duck?  When did this happen in the story?  These are all questions that can start getting the wheels turning for a student.

Duck for President Sequencing Activity Companion Resource for Presidents' Day or Election DayStudents can then glue the illustrated cards in the correct order on the final student handout.

Kids get a kick out of checking their answers using an interactive PowerPoint or SMART Notebook resource.

Students are asked to press or click on the correct card and receive immediate feedback to either try again or go on to the next step of the activity.

This is a great way to get the class up and moving!

Do you love this activity?  Don't want to recreate the wheel?  Then, take a look at this no prep resource in my TeachersPayTeachers store!

Duck for President Sequencing Activity Companion Resource for Presidents' Day or Election DayDuck for President Sequencing Activity Companion Resource for Presidents' Day or Election Day


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Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Case of the Missing Cake: Using a CSI Lab to Teach Chemical and Physical Changes

Physical and Chemical Changes CSI Lab Activity for Middle School Science
Everyone loves to solve a mystery, so The Case of the Missing Cake CSI Lab gets students excited to observe and classify physical and chemical changes!

The CSI Lab Scenario will definitely engage the students and make learning about physical and chemical changes much more interesting.

But, if you want to amp up the engagement, then you may want to decorate your classroom as a crime scene.

Add the caution tape.  Have an empty cake plate with a trail of white powder on the counter.  Dress up as a detective or crime scene investigator.  The more you sell this activity, then the more excited your students will be about learning the basics of chemistry.


Imagine being a student in your classroom when the room is staged like in the photo above.  Exciting, right?  In an instant, you have already captured their attention.  Then, you can explain the case.  In this lab, a cake decorated by a famous baker has gone missing from his bakery overnight.

It is up to the students to solve the case!  

Physical and Chemical Changes CSI Lab Activity for Middle School ScienceThree suspects were found with white powder residue on their clothing.  So, the students must test samples of known and unknown substances to determine which suspect was the culprit.

The students will then observe what occurs when testing the known white substances with water, vinegar, and iodine.

Did it dissolve?  Did it fizz?  Did it turn colors?

Once the lab group discusses what was observed, then they classify the observation as a physical or chemical change.

Students will then be presented with unknown samples collected from the crime scene and each of the suspects.  They will then need to test these unknown samples as they did the known samples.

Once the results have been collected, then the data analysis begins.  You may have to walk through the data analysis with your students.  Help them be able to compare the known substance results to the unknown substance observations.

Can they determine which substance is which based on the observations?  Which sample collected from the suspect matches the observations made with the crime scene sample?  Who was the cake thief?


A photo posted by Esther Alvarez (@alvrze) on

The fun part, as a teacher, is that you can always have some tricks up your sleeve.  If you are conducting this lab with more than one class, then you may want to switch up the crime scene sample.

The different classes will yield different results as to which suspect is guilty of stealing the cake!  This will keep the students on their toes and avoid any spoiler situations that are lurking in the hallways or cafeterias.  There is always one student who can't wait to share the verdict with the others!

This lab helped students collaborate with others, classify the observations as either physical or chemical changes, and encouraged higher level thinking with the analysis of the collected data.  Plus, it got students excited about science!  Yes!!

Physical and Chemical Changes CSI Lab Activity for Middle School ScienceAre you interested in conducting this lab in your class but don't have the time to create the lab handouts or corresponding presentation?  Check this resource out in my TeachersPayTeachers store - it is available in PowerPoint and Smart Notebook formats.

Special thanks to Esther Alvarez!  She is a rock-star teacher in Texas who has conducted this lab in her middle school science class for a few years, and is always so nice to share the photos with me!  You can follow her on Instagram and Twitter.
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Monday, August 22, 2016

Back to School TpT Giveaway Winner and #BestYearEver Bonus Sale

Thank you to everyone who participated in the Back to School Blog Hop TpT Giveaway yesterday!  I enjoyed sharing some of my favorite Back to School items with you and reading your detailed feedback from the All About Me Freebie.  You guys rock!


Here is the winner of a $10 TpT Gift Card as selected by Rafflecopter:


Even if you didn't win...you can still score all your favorite Back to School items on your wish list for up to 28% off today during the #BestYearEver Bonus Sale on TpT.  Just make sure to enter the promo code: OneDay at check out.

You can save some more money today by collecting as many feedback credits as possible!  Not sure how? Check out this helpful diagram below!

A photo posted by Angela Willyerd (@angelawillyerd) on
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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Back to School Blog Hop TpT Giveaway


I can't wait to make this your #BestYearEver by giving away a $10 TpT gift card for you to use during the upcoming TpT Sitewide Sale on Monday, August 22!  You'll have a chance to win up to $250 in TpT Gift Cards with this blog hop.  Sounds good, right?  

So how do you enter?  Read about my Top 3 Back to School Activities, complete the Rafflecopter entry, and then click on the Back to School Blog Hop button at the end of this post to be directed to the next post in the hop.  

Hurry!  The giveaway ends at midnight on 8/22.  The winner will be notified via e-mail by noon (EST) on Monday, so you will have time to fill up your TpT cart with lots of goodies on sale day!

Here are my Top 3 Back to School activities that I've enjoyed using in my classroom:


10 Back to School Ice Breakers Your Students Will Love from www.mrswillyerd.comMy first day of school is spent with my team getting to know our new crew for the year.  Interactive ice breakers are a great way to get the conversation started.  My favorite ice breakers include Would You Rather or Have You Ever activities.  Students have to make a decision by moving to one side of the room or the other when presented with different scenarios.  It is always interesting as a teacher to see how the room divides for each scenario.  You can also learn a lot about your students to see which students make an immediate decision or which ones linger in the middle to decide which way to move.  It doesn't take much probing to get conversation going in the classroom as to why the students picked what they did or stories about experiences they have had.  It is a great way to start building a learning community!  Read a blog post about 10 Back to School Ice Breakers Your Students will Love. 



Classroom Expectations Cookie Lab makes conveying your expectations fun and memorable!My next few days of school are spent laying out the expectations for the year.  This can be super boring.  But, instead of just reading a syllabus, I like to surprise the students with an activity called the Cookie Lab.  First, the kids are intrigued that they will be doing a science experiment on the second day of school.  Secondly, no one objects to the idea of getting their hands on some cookies during class!  The Cookie Lab relates my expectations for work quality, effort, and work condition to this hands-on activity that makes learning the classroom expectations fun and memorable!  Read a blog post about the Classroom Expectation Cookie Lab.
All About Me Graphic Organizer for Back to School from www.mrswillyerd.comAn All About Me graphic organizer is a wonderful resource to have in your Back to School Teacher Toolkit!  I liked to use these with my homeroom / advisory group.  The graphic organizer is a nice way for students to communicate additional information to the teacher at the beginning of the year without having to get up in front of the class.  It is a perfect activity to use to fill shorter periods of time, like when you are waiting to be called down to the gymnasium for a beginning of the year assembly, during homeroom, or before/after lunch.  As an added bonus, these completed graphic organizers  make awesome Back to School bulletin boards. Grab this All About Me Graphic Organizer for FREE in my TpT Store!


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Keep the blog hop going by clicking on the button below to visit
A Special Kind of Class for your next chance to win!
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