Happy New Year

A Peach for the Teach is having a New Year Linky.
Do I always fulfill my resolutions - nope.  But I try.

This year, I am going to color my hair - maybe an ombre.  
I've been told I have a natural ombre already.
My Girl has blonde hair and she always says she wants black hair like Mommy, 
maybe I'll get blonde like her!

So, I'm going on 2 adventures this year!
First is a Literacy Collaborative Blog.
It's a bunch of WONDERFUL women who I have met along my blogging path.
It's a group of both reading coaches, specialists and teachers.
SHHH...There's a HUMONGOUS giveaway going on next week!

Recently, (the) Hilary Lewis mssg'd me and 
asked me to be a part of a new blog.  
I couldn't say no, could you?
It's a blog with some new and some more experienced TpT sellers 
that teach specialized areas and have quality items in their store.

This Little Piggy has her champagne ready!


Writing in Lower Elementary Classrooms

is hosting a linky on the 6 traits of writing.  

She asked some of her friends about ideas for 
lower elementary teachers 
who need a little help with students and their writing.  
I am not a grammar fanatic, but I love to have kids write!!  
I loved creative writing growing up and 
I try to incorporate it as much as possible 
for my Upper Elementary Students.  
When I taught Lower Elementary, I will admit I didn't do the best job of teaching writing in multiple ways.  
I tended to focus on morning meeting for PK and K.  
But, we did do that daily! 

This Little Piggy wants you to link up too!


Have you used Little Piggy Fonts?

I'm having a little contest over on my FB Page.  
If you have used any of my fonts in your products, either post a link to the product 
or link to a pin of the product and tomorrow night I'll choose a winner!  
The winner gets to name my next font and 
Winner's Choice from my TpT store.

If you haven't had a chance to snatch up my newest fonts...here they are.
This Little Piggy's favorite game is Uno, what's yours? 


Pinterest Inspired Christmas Food

I cook a lot.  I usually cook the same thing a lot.
Spaghetti.  Quesadillas.  Pancakes.  Chicken Salad.  Club Sandwiches.  Waffles.  Baked Ziti.  Taco Soup.
Does this sound like anyone else's weekly menu?
I get bored and I try to change things up.
One night I tried to venture outside my comfort zone and make Chicken-Broccoli-Rice Casserole.
Nope, we ate pizza that night.

Our Christmas food this year was Pinspired (a.k.a. Pinterest Inspired).
Let's Start with Christmas Eve.
A friend of mine posted on FB a while back about her "Crack Dip".
HUH?  What is that?
So I ran to pinterest and found the pic below.  I changed the recipe a bit.  Hubby and I munched on it all afternoon and evening so there were no leftovers...it was a HIT:)
Pinspired Project #2 was Christmas Cookies.
I'm sure you've seen these easy Reindeer Cookie pics and maybe you tried it too.  

On to Try #3.  EPIC FAIL.
I tried to make this Overnight French Toast Souffle'.

I put my brown sugar-buttery mixture on the bottom.  Then I layered 
cinnamon bread and cream cheese per the directions.

I poured my egg and cream mixture over it and let is sit in the refrigerator overnight.

I baked it and it cooked well.  I just couldn't stand the texture.  
Parts were crusty and other bites were mush.  ICK.
The cream cheese didn't melt, it just kind of blobbed.  YUCK.
I think the recipe worked, but my hubby refused to touch it.  It didn't look like the picture at all!  

My last "try" was a casserole that I had about 10 years ago at a baby shower and fell in love with!  
I made it once, but not since I've been married.

I loved it, hubby thought it was too soupy.  
I used southern hash browns instead of shredded and I'm not sure they soaked up all the soup.  
Just thought I'd share one of my favorite pics of My Girl from this Christmas!

This Little Piggy was up at 7:20a.m.  What time did your kiddos get you up??


Trading Spaces Tuesday Guest Blogger

I'm not blogging on my own blog today, I'm over at A Day in the Life of a Title 1 Teacher.  After you read Carla's Writing Post, hop over and find out what SNOGGLE is!

Are you feeling stressed about how your students will do with your state's writing assessment?  In Virginia, the state writing assessment was revised last year, and each time a new test is issued, we know what that means.  Yes, a lower pass rate!  If you're feeling sort of stressed about that or about how your students are doing with their writing, I hope that this post provides you with a few ideas to move your writing program in a positive direction. My name is Carla, and Deniece and our other reading blogger buddies are switching things up a big.  I am visiting This Little Piggy Reads today to share a few ideas I've been trying with my students to increase their writing knowledge.

Before I move on, I probably should to give you a little bio.  I am a reading specialist in Virginia where I've taught in first, fourth, and fifth grade regular classrooms and in Title 1 as a reading intervention provider and literacy coach for 23 years.  My blog, Comprehension Connection was started seriously in May, and I started it as a way of sharing what I've learned along my teaching journey and as a tool to coach teachers interested in literacy instruction. Well, just when my blog kicked off, we got our scores back for the Writing Standards of Learning Assessment.  Let's just say they weren't stellar, but they weren't dismal either.  The writing assessment was new and we analyzed our performance compared with instructional practices.  From those observations, we decided that writing "boot camp" in fifth grade just wasn't going to cut it if we really want to make our students strong writers. Building strong writers is a process that requires increased rigor along the continuum, so our expectations needed to be raised and greater emphasis placed on the writing process from day one in kindergarten.  With this post, I'll share five writing tips, and if you like them, you will have to drop back by my blog for Six Traits Sunday.  I started Six Traits Sunday as a way to collect mentor text, mini lesson, and process writing ideas.  Once school started, I took a little break from it to focus on book recommendations, comprehension, and word study, but I'm ready to get that back in motion.  So let's get the started with the tips for this week.

Include in your daily plans as many opportunities as possible for written responses.  Writing can be incorporated into reading instruction via graphic organizers, responses to questions, or journaling about the reading material.  In social studies and science, keeping a separate journal to add foldables, written responses, and samples of work encourages writing.  You can also encourage writing with a mail system in your classroom for students to write back/forth to each other, family or class journals to write notes back/forth to each other, and class books that can be kept in the reading nook of your room for rereading later.  
Model process writing for your students.  Using the language of writers is very important.  Not only do students need to know the word revising for example, they need to have a clear understanding of the revising process.  My students have struggled with revising.  They're idea of revising is recopying to make it neater.  Children need to understand that writers revise many, many times before publishing, so in order to become a writer, we need to do the same.  With my students, I insist that they skip a line for their rough drafts and use a highlighter to mark words that are "dead" and that need to become "wow" words.  We also keep an editor's marks cheat sheet handy until using them is habit.  My students turn in all parts of the writing process when they complete their pieces which really helps when conferencing about weaknesses.  They keep all of their work in a pocket folder.  In K/1, sewn composition books may be best, and editor's marks at your stage might be just marking capital letters and punctuation.  
Use read aloud time as a place to show students the Six Traits.  Mentor texts can be used for both reading and writing mini lessons.  Which books you use should be carefully selected based upon the needs of your students and the skills you are addressing.  If read aloud time in your classroom is used as relax and hear a good book time, you might consider whether it could be more. Read alouds build student word knowledge and schema for reading comprehension and writing.  As you share read alouds, post "wow" words from the reading on a "Wow" Words Word Wall or this great Wow Word Book by Gay Miller.  If you see great examples of description, talk about what the readers visualize, but also talk about how the author carefully choice his/her words to help create an image.  If the expression is cleverly written, talk about sentence fluency and how the reading flows.  Most importantly, read to your students.  They get so much from hearing quality literature used with purpose. For suggestions of texts, you can look at the writing tab on my blog and visit this website geared specifically to the Six Traits.
Writing skills develop in stages, so scaffolding instruction to your students' needs is important.  If you notice that your child struggles with ideas, you might conference to brainstorm or pair students for a collaborative effort.  If your students struggle with spelling, you might provide a word bank as support.  I love {this handout} I found for transition words.  For primary or struggling writers, shared writing opportunities and use of framed paragraphs/stories really help model how to compose sentences and paragraphs. Shared writing can be done in multiple ways...using Smart Notebook, projecting with an Elmo, or on chart paper.  Again, regardless of the media used, student interaction in the process helps reinforce the Six Traits and the composing/revising stages.
Include writing for a variety of purposes.  Just like students need to read a variety of texts, they also need to learn to write for a variety of purposes.  I love matching fiction and nonfiction texts when I can.  For example, I might use Owl Moon by Jane Yolen with Owls by Gail Gibbons or Stellaluna by Janell Cannon with Bats by Gail Gibbons.  If you teach thematically during your literacy block, you can easily vary the writing assignments you choose.  To mix it up, you might use a RAFT assignment.  RAFT stands for Role, Audience, Format, and Topic.  You could have your students take the role of a bat writing to the birds in the form of a letter about how they should could change and be more like bats.  RAFT papers would work best with grades three and up in my opinion.  If you would like to give a RAFT paper a try, you can use {this freebie}.
Remember that writing is a process just like our instruction.  Great writers aren't developed overnight and neither are our instructional practices.  Increasing our repertoire of strategies and resources helps us better help our students.  It's important that we exchange ideas and materials with colleagues to keep instruction for our students fresh and varied, so there is definitely more to come on the topic of writing.

I appreciate the opportunity to share a few ideas and freebies here.  If you'd like to follow the discussion further, I'd love for you to drop back by my blog.  Here's the link back to it.  
If you'd like to read more of the post for Trading Spaces Tuesday, you can click on any of the blog buttons that follow, and until next time, happy reading!


Great News & New Fonts

We're on Snow Day #2.  I needed Friday, but today I wanted to do a late start so we aren't in school for an extra day this summer!!!

So, what did I do with my Snow Day?  I made 2 new fonts!  Yup. 
I have a few that I haven't released yet, so this is a 5 font pack!
I decided I needed a font that looked pretty much like school teacher print and this is my BEST print.  It's named Phoenix to match Wynona.
This font is all caps and is perfect for a cover page!
I love the name Wynona.  Hubby promises that one day I can have a baby goat and her name will be Wynona!
This font can be used for Valentine's Day and is thick for cover pages.
This font is my first (but not very good) attempt at a chalkboard font.  I promise to do a few (better) more!
It's been FOREVER since I've linked up with Manic Monday.

   I have exciting news!  
My cute lil' Reindeer Patterns Game was chosen to be a part of the 2013 Winter Holidays Tips & Freebies eBook!   
My hubby's first question, "How much money did you make?"  Haha.  Nothing, it costs nothing and I made nothing.  It's packed full of  FREEBIES

This Little Piggy wants to know...what's your favorite font???


Winter Planning Giveaway Stop C-6

I'm incredibly excited to take part in this Giveaway because EVERYONE Wins!  I love Freebies and this scavenger hunt is packed with awesome Freebies!
You'll need to begin at Erin at I'm Lovin' Lit's blog and then decide which prize pack you want.

The winter season in the classroom is very exciting.  
Possibly the most exciting thing about winter is the rare (at least in Texas) Snow Day!    
I'm donating a new product for the Giveaway, it's a cross-curricular unit for Reading & Social Studies celebrating culture and tradition.  It includes graphic organizers, expository text, 2 crafts and an extension activity or exit ticket.  
This product is aligned to the 3rd Grade Texas TEKS.
Along with my freebie, you'll get a ton of
 amazing resources to use with your students!

If you need a few things to keep your students engaged for the next 3 weeks, stop by TpT and load up for the sale!  
If you use the Promo-Code, CYBER my TpT store will be 28% off and most of my products will be $2 and under!

I use my FB page to post weekly free resources for my followers.  If you love freebies like I do, follow my FB Page.

If you're a Texas 3rd - 5th Grade Teacher, 
be sure to check out my TpT store!  
If you like my products, follow my blog with bloglovin' 
to see how I use them in the classroom.

The secret word you'll need to complete your giveaway is...
This Little Piggy is heading to the TAGT conference - anyone else going??

I forgot it was December...My Currently

It's Currently time.  I don't know about you, but I reflect upon the questions each month and look back to see how I was feeling last month.

Loving - My hubby and I are on year 7 and I know that many marriages suffer at the 7 year mark, but we are more in love than ever.  We have struggles and isn't always roses and lollipops, but I am so in love with him!

Thinking - I've said so many times that my girl has grown up way too fast!  Her 5th B-Day is quickly approaching and I swear it feels like we just brought her home and sat her under the Christmas Tree!

Wanting - I'm not a shopper, but I really need some new clothes.  UGH...not the time of year I should be spending $$ on clothes.

Needing - In the last two months, I've become a worrier.  I worry constantly about everything!  I hate that I've become that type of person.  I'm honestly thinking about talking to a doctor about it.  I wake up in the morning with a list of worries!

Tradition - My sister always made Christmas Cookies on New Year's Eve (she still does) and now I do it with my kiddos.

This Little Piggy is probably number 200 because I didn't know it was December!!! OOPS...