My students are currently composing drafts for their informational writing projects.  They are researching a topic of their choice.  One of my most recent lessons in this unit was on using mentor texts to model strong leads.

This blog post shares some excellent mentor texts to use when writing leads for informational writing.

My students have really grown in their ability to choose words that hook in their readers, and I wanted to make sure they continued to apply these strategies to their informational writing.  I believe there is no better way to do this than to share some great mentor texts.  Here are a few of my favorites and what I like best about the leads.

This blog post shares some excellent mentor texts to use when writing leads for informational writing.


This blog post shares some excellent mentor texts to use when writing leads for informational writing.

Wilma Unlimited has to be one of my all time favorite informational texts because Wilma Rudolph is one of my personal heroes.  I love how the lead sets her up as an underdog.  The repeated phrases showed me her personal and family strength right from the beginning.

This blog post shares some excellent mentor texts to use when writing leads for informational writing.

This blog post shares some excellent mentor texts to use when writing leads for informational writing.

I love how the lead in Alaska starts off with stereotypes.  Right away, the text switches to vivid description to help expel those stereotypes.

This blog post shares some excellent mentor texts to use when writing leads for informational writing.

This blog post shares some excellent mentor texts to use when writing leads for informational writing.

I had to include a Seymour Simon book in the mix.  Big Cats starts off with excellent description, including a metaphor.

After I shared these books with my students I sent them off to read a variety of informational books of their choice.  They each selected a book with their favorite lead.  I posted a shared document on Google Classroom where students could share great informational books and what they liked about the lead.  Now, students have a reference if they are every stuck on composing their leads.  Here is a sample of what my students found.

This blog post shares some excellent mentor texts to use when writing leads for informational writing.

Do you have a favorite mentor text for teaching informational leads?  I would love to hear your suggestions, as I am always looking to build up my classroom library.

Thank you, and enjoy the rest of the weekend!


We are currently in the middle of our economics unit in social studies.  Today, I would like to share a great mentor text we used to address some vocabulary, including producer, consumer, goods, and services.

This post shares how to use a fun mentor text for economics & inferring.

Dragon Pizzeria is about two dragons, BeBop and Spike, who own a pizzeria.   BeBop provided the goods (pizza), and Spike provided the service (delivery).  Together, the two dragons are the producers, and they need a variety of resources to satisfy their consumers.

Part of the fun of this book is to read the descriptions of the pizzas and have the students guess who the customers are.  Some were fairly obvious, like the giant from Jack and the Beanstalk.  However, some were more challenging like Thumbelina.



At the end of the book, we discussed the capital resources need to create such a wide variety of products which led to a discussion on supply and demand.

One of the original focuses of this lesson was the difference between goods and services.  We ended our discussion by coming back to this concept.  To assess students' understanding, I made the following worksheet.

This Goods and Services worksheet is a free download on this post.

You can click on the button below to download.


Do you have a favorite mentor text you use when teaching economics?  I'd love to hear your ideas!

Thank you, and have a great week!

I am very fortunate to work with many specialists in my fourth grade classroom.  I have students who leave for reading, special ed., speech, and gifted programs.  I also have two Intervention Specialists and the Speech Pathologist in my room for inclusion.  In addition, I have several students who are members of our school-wide leadership program.  This program does involve students leaving my room from time to time.

Today, I would like to share a lifesaver when it comes to keeping track of schedules while planning lessons.

This post shows how you can use Electronic Sticky Notes to help keep your schedule organized.

I added the Sticky Note app to my Chrome account.  Creating sticky notes was super easy.  Since I use Planbook.com for my lesson plans, I just pull up the sticky notes when I am typing in my plans. This helps me make sure no student misses critical instruction.

When I am planning, I can have the sticky notes in the background or directly on my planbook page.  (The schedule is real, but the names are changed.)

This post shows how you can use Electronic Sticky Notes to help keep your schedule organized.

This method has worked so much better than anything else I have tried.  The best part is that I can open the notes from any computer as long as I am logged into my Chrome account.  I always open them first thing in the morning, so students can have a reminder for times they may be leaving the room.  

Have you tried electronic sticky notes?  I'd love to hear how you use them.  

Thank you!

We are in the midst of our economics unit in social studies.  Today, I would like to share a fun lesson that uses potato chips to help address vocabulary (producers and consumers) and concepts (consumer decisions) found in our fourth grade Ohio state standards for economics. As an added bonus, the lesson ends with a fun writing activity.

This is a great lesson!  Your students will love using potato chips to practice economics concepts.

To start off, I passed out small bowls full of three different types of potato chips (Lays regular, Lays with ridges, and Lays Kettle - low fat version).  Each table received all three types of chips.  Students evaluated the chips first on appearance, then on crispiness, and finally by taste.  We discussed why producers would offer a variety of options for consumers and who the target markets may be.

This free form goes with a fun lesson that uses potato chips to teach economics concepts.

After the taste test was over, students divided the chips up and prepared to watch a couple of Lays commercials.  The first one was from 2015.








We had a very interesting conversation comparing and contrasting the commercials and discussing different marketing techniques.  This conversation turned into a discussion on how advertisers try to influence the consumers' purchasing decisions.  We ended this lesson with a quick write.  Students brainstormed their own ideas for a commercial to go with their favorite type of chip from our test.

Since time was limited, we did this quickly on the back of the worksheet.  Next year, I may spread this lesson out over two days to allow more time for discussion, brainstorming, and writing.

If you are interested in using this form in your classroom, click on the link below for a free download.


Thank you, and enjoy the rest of the weekend!  It is beautiful in Columbus, Ohio.  I hope you are having great weather wherever you are!

Last week, we started our informational writing unit.  This is one of my favorite units because we allow the students to research whatever topic they want.  My students have become very adept at using Google Docs and Slides, so I can't wait to turn them loose and see what types of text features they incorporate into their informational pieces.

I believe in beginning with the end in mind and using mentor texts as a means for students to visualize their own final product.  That's why I began this unit with a couple of lessons on noticing text features.

This post has some great resources (including a freebie) for introducing text features to your students.

To start this unit, I first loaded my mentor  text bin with a wide variety of quality informational books.

This post has some great mentor texts for introducing text features to your students.

I then selected a mentor text to begin the unit.  I read portions of Mysterious You Zzzz (The most interesting book you'll every read about sleep) to the class.  While I was reading, I discussed and recorded a variety of features I noticed.  I did not read the entire book.  Instead, I selected several pages with quality features.  I recorded the book title and text features on the form below.

This free form is great for introducing text features to your students.

I went through three books, so I could model what I noticed from a variety of topics and styles of writing. The picture below shows books I selected and one of the pages I showed the class.

This post has some great mentor texts for introducing text features to your students.


At the end of the lesson, my form looked like this.

This free form is great for introducing text features to your students.

Next, during workshop time, I turned the students loose to browse a variety of books I had spread out throughout the room.  Each student had a form like the one I used on their clipboards.  They went around the room recording book titles and the features they noticed.

The next step was to let students work together to figure out how to incorporate some of these features in their writing.  Over the next several days, I had mini lessons on how and why to make a chart, graph, diagram, and text box using Google.  After each mini-lesson, students were to work on short informational writings to try and incorporate the feature we focused on.  Most of my students preferred to use Google slides because the features were easier to manipulate.  I showed them how to change the page settings to 8.5 X 11, so they can complete their reports on Slides instead of Docs.

We are now preparing to complete our big research project.  These early lessons have proven helpful as students are gathering sources and taking notes.  They have a better idea of how they want to organize their own writing and what type of information they will need in order to do it.

If you'd like to download a copy of the form I described in this post, click on the pink button below.


Do you have a favorite mentor text for informational writing?  I am always looking for new ones, so I would love to hear your ideas!

Thank you!

It's necessary.  It can be stressful.  It's ...

This post has great testing advice and an adorable testing sign (free download).

This was our first year taking standardized tests online (AIR), and I have to admit that made me quite a bit more anxious than normal.  I knew my students had worked hard and were well-prepared, but the technical aspect was new and outside the comfort zone.

Anyway, I thought I would share a couple of strategies that helped make things go a little smoother than expected (for me and the students).


1. Make sure the students are familiar with any online tools.  Our awesome instructional coach came in my room several times to help students become familiar with logging in to the testing site and using some of the tools such as text to read.

2. Give students an appropriate brain break before the tests.  I love this set from 3rd Grade Thoughts. I am just careful which ones I choose for testing days.

3.  I strongly believe in taking a stretch break at some point during the testing, if possible.  Students should practice taking a completely silent break, since this is not their every day situation.

4. In the past, our school has made goody bags similar to this one for students to have on testing days. However, this year we kept it simple and passed out mints to help stimulate their brains.  Either way, I think a token to show you care along with some words of encouragement go a long way!

5. A cute sign never hurts.  My students got a kick out of the one I made for the door.  You can download the sign by clicking the pink button below.

This post has great testing advice and an adorable testing sign (free download).



 6. I believe there is a very fine line between preparing your students as much as possible for these tests and "overkill" that makes students just want to be finished.  It is important to know your kids and focus on engaging them in the standards.  It is equally important to instill confidence and a strong work ethic.  An understanding of the standards along with a belief and willingness to succeed can go a long way in having students perform their best on the test, in school, and in life.

Are your students taking state assessments online this year?  Do you have any motivational strategies that work?  I'd love to hear any ideas.

Thank you, and have a great weekend!

Hello Everyone!  I am super excited to begin this brand new blog!  (Read about my switch here.)
My goal for this blog to share ideas and collaborate with other teachers.  There are so many talented teachers out there, and I can't wait to get to know more of you!  I love reading comments, and I will always respond to you as soon as I can.

I strongly believe that student engagement is the most important factor to get students where they need to be both academically and personally.  I want my blog to reflect this belief, starting with my blog name. I'm planning to share ideas that proved to be engaging, as well as how I plan to revamp activities that may not have gone as smoothly as planned.

While I was thinking about my first post, I thought I'd start off with a freebie.  :)

This blog is starting off with some awesome geometry freebies!

So... I just finished my Spring Break.  I had a lot of fun with family and friends, but I also spent time planning for our final two months of school.  Right before break, we started our geometry unit.  We used a variety of activities to review some vocabulary, including lines, segments, rays, parallel, perpendicular, and intersecting.  I got to thinking that students may have forgotten some of these terms over break, so I created these two worksheets.  I plan on using them as morning work for a quick review.  Click on the pink button below for a free download.

This free worksheet offers great practice with geometry concepts.

This free worksheet offers great practice with geometry concepts.


I would love to have you start following my new blog!  If you decide to follow me here, there is no need to continue following my old blog, Fit to be Fourth.  I have officially changed over my blog and social media sites.  I am still working on changing the links on my TPT products.  I will let you know when that is completed, as it will definitely call for a celebration!


Thank you, and have a great week!

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