Mr. Wolfe's Blog

June 16, 2015

Let’s Give Them Something to Write About (Summer Version)

Filed under: Language Arts — mrstephenwolfe @ 9:00 am
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The week after school got out my wife sent me a picture of three of our children sitting around the table all busy at work.  A list of drawing ideas had them pretty excited.  The teacher had an idea. 

Our local libraries run fantastic summer reading programs so I had already planned on signing them up for that  My kids LOVE doing this every year. 

Every year I see students whose reading level drops over the summer because they simply don’t read over the summer so I’m pretty thrilled that they want to do that here. 

Next, and this is where the teacher in me came out, I started trying to find a way to get them writing too. I searched online for some summer writing prompts and did find a few here and there but couldn’t find one list I liked so I made my own and thought I might share them here too. Summer Writing Prompts is 60 task cards each with prompts about summer or different special days during June or July.

These would be great for writing prompts or as even some fun Table Talk ideas with the family. After I made these and gave them to the kids (along with some composition notebooks), they immediately got to work drawing, asking each other questions, and writing. If this keeps up I think we can have a pretty fun and educational summer. 


Now you might be thinking, what about some summer math games? Good question! I’ve just finished making these and just need to get them all printed and laminated (I’m a teacher, we laminate!) and we will have these out soon as well. You can check them out here:


June 14, 2015

Homework for Life (translated)

Filed under: Uncategorized — mrstephenwolfe @ 3:59 pm

I’ve read a few places online today about a teacher in Italy, Cesare Cata, who gave his class homework for the summer which is being called “Homework for Life.” It took a little bit of searching but I was able to find the list translated from Italian. What do you think?

1. In the morning, at times, walk along the seashore alone. Look at how the sun reflects off the water, thinking about the things you love most in life and feel happy.

2. Try using all the new words you learned this year: You can say more things, you can think more things and the more you can think, the freer you’ll feel.

3. Read, as much as possible. Not because you have to. Read because the summer inspires you adventure and dreams. Reading you’ll feel similar to birds in flight. Read because it is the best form of rebellion.

4. Avoid all things, situations and persons that make you feel negative and empty. Look for stimulating situations and of friends who appreciate and understand you for who you are.

5. If you feel sad or scared, do not worry. The summer, like all great things, puts the soul in harmony. Try keeping a diary where you can write about your feelings.

6. Dance – without feeling ashamed. On the street near your home or in your bedroom. The summer is a dance. It would be a shame not to be a part of it.

7. At least once, got see a sunrise. Stand there in silence and breathe. Close your eyes, grateful.

8. Play a lot of sports.

9. If you see a person near you in life, bestow on them your gratitude. No matter if he or she understands. If they don’t reciprocate, then he/she was not meant to be part of your destiny. Otherwise, the summer of 2015 is a great time to walk together.

10. Remember what you learned in school and refer to your notes.

11. Be happy like the sun, untamed like the sea.

12. Don’t utter curse words. Always be polite and gentle.

13. Watch movies with dialogue that is poignant, particularly in English. This will help you improve your language skills and your chance to dream. Don’t let the movie end with the credits. Live the experience all summer.

14. During the daylight or at night, dream about what your life may be like. During the summer, summon the strength not to give up and do everything you can to pursue that dream.

15. Be good. 

How would you change it to suit the elementary or primary student?

May 17, 2013

Donut Party Printables – FRIDAY FREEBIE!

Filed under: Uncategorized — mrstephenwolfe @ 1:20 pm
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I know this one isn’t educational at all, but it is something I made and have on my TpT store and it is FREE! so I thought I would include it here too. I put these few things together for child 2’s birthday party. Can you guess the theme?

The few printables for the DONUT party are:

* Keep Calm and Eat a Donut Sign (2 styles)
* Party Invitations (2 sizes)
* Thank You Notes (2 sizes)

If you happen to live in the Birmingham area, I highly recommend The Heavenly Donut Company which is a great locally owned, fresh made, ultra-yummy donut shop here in town.

I have found a number of great little ideas for a Donut  Party that I think could really add to the event!

May 10, 2013

Pre-Primer Dolch Word List – Handwriting, Flash Cards, and Smaller Lists – FRIDAY FREEBIE!

Filed under: Language Arts,Reading — mrstephenwolfe @ 1:13 pm
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This item isn’t one I’ll use with my class this year,  but was more something I made for my child 3. She is being home pre-schooled bby my wife before she can go to school. She is learning her letters, likes to pretend read, and wants to “write” like her big brothers do so I knew the day was coming soon that we could start doing some sight-words with her as well on top of all the other things we are doing too. This product is probably best used with Pre-K through First grade depending on the student.


This is just Pre-Primer Dolch Word List – Handwriting pages, flash cards, and short lists for the Pre-Primer Dolch Word List at the Pre-Premier Level.

May 3, 2013

Be Awesome! – A Response to the Pep Talk by Kid President – FRIDAY FREEBIE!

Filed under: Language Arts — mrstephenwolfe @ 1:04 pm
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Lots of us, by now, have noticed Kid President. What a great inspiration he is proving to be! I decided to show this video to my class this year to try to inspire them to “Be Awesome!” and point out how special and individual they all are. I also wanted to use it as an opportunity to let them express this for themselves which is what led to this item.


With the popularity of Kid President’s Pep Talk video, I thought it would be a good idea to show it to my class and then discuss what makes us awesome, how we can be awesome, and how we could advise someone else to be awesome. We had some great discussion, which, of course, led students to some great thoughts beyond themselves and towards others. This made a great character education moment. This sheet can be used individually, with each student, to share with each other how to be awesome.

I printed these off for each of my students, talked about the questions, had the students fill them out, had students draw a picture of themselves being awesome (based on what they wrote), and then posted them in the hall to share with the rest of the school. This could also be used as a bulletin board idea.

You can find the video here:

April 26, 2013

Fraction Strips – Friday FREEBIE!

Filed under: Math — mrstephenwolfe @ 1:56 pm
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Fractions always seem to be one of those difficult math topics that my class has to hurdle each year. Before I had a class set of fraction strips, I had to print them and give them to the class to use. I still make these for some to take home. These seem to help illustrate the differences in fraction sizes and also help with equivalent fractions. This was probably the first free item I ever put on TpT.


A page of fraction strips lined up showing every fraction from a whole to a twelfth. This is also one of the pages part of the Fraction Book. This can also be used to show equivalent fractions.

April 19, 2013

Patriotic Songs Readers Theater – Friday FREEBIE!

Filed under: Reading — mrstephenwolfe @ 1:44 pm
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I love Patriotic themed activities to use in the classroom. It seems (in my opinion) that this piece of character education is often left out a little too often.

I’ve used these around several different Patriotic holidays as Reader’s Theater Scripts to use as a class or in centers.

Because I like these so much, I wanted to make these another Friday Freebie!


Reader’s Theatre Scripts adapted for:

1. The Star Spangled Banner by Francis Scott Key
2. America the Beautiful by Katharine Lee Bates
3. God Bless The USA by Lee Greenwood
4. My Country, ‘Tis Of Thee by Samuel F. Smith
5. You’re a Grand Old Flag by George M. Cohan

Each song has been split up for 4 readers. Obviously, you can adjust as you see necessary.

This product is intended for individual class use.

March 29, 2013

Me on The Map – Printable Book and Quiz – FRIDAY FREEBIE!

In an effort to “give back” to so many of you that have helped me in many ways as an educator, I thought it might be worth my time to go ahead and give back to you as well. I hope the items I post are helpful and useful to you as educators.

This week, I wanted to give you a Me on the Map printable book and quiz. This 12 page freebie leads students to identifying where they are starting from home and then ending up on the world. It’s a great way to help students identify the differences in cities, states, countries, continents, and the world. This packet also includes a writing prompt page: If I could travel anywhere in the world, I would travel to… and a two page quiz that could be used to see if the students learned the information covered in their personal books.

This packet was meant to be used as a companion activity to Me on the Map by Joan Sweeny.


March 24, 2013

Easter Resources for the Classroom

Easter Classroom ResourcesI’ve been working feverishly finishing up some classroom resources to use with my class around Easter only to realize that Spring Break is attached to Easter this year. Good plans hopefully won’t go to waste though. I may use a few of these when we get back, but may not get to use them all this year.

*UPDATED* A 16 page packet with activities all that can be done with Jelly Beans. Activities include a jelly bean sort, bar graphs, pictographs, line graphs, tally charts, fractions, addition, estimation, place value, number sense, money, subtraction, greater than-less than, and multiplication. There is also a variation of Battleship to see who can capture the opponent’s jelly beans first. For each graphing activity, there is also given space for data analysis.



An 8 page packet with an original story about a trip to Grandma’s house for the annual Easter Egg Hunt. Included in the packet is:

* a sequencing activity,
* multiple choice reading comprehension questions
* open-ended reading comprehension questions,
* Sequencing answer key
* There is also a blank egg so the kids can help decorate the last Easter egg!

This 34 page packet is a place value matching games and worksheets which will have students matching numbers up by number, number word, place value markers (sheets, strips and singles), expanded form and identifying the number of one, tens, and/or hundreds. No numbers were repeated. Included in this packet are:
* 10 baskets with eggs working with numbers 1-99
* 11 baskets with eggs working with numbers 100-999
* 2 place value worksheets to practice what they did on the games 1-99
* 2 place value worksheets to practice what they did on the games 100-999
* Directions to the games
* A Blank form with basket and eggs to practice other numbers
* Blank versions of all the worksheets for more practice

I also have been looking for a few books that I might be able to use as well. Some of these look pretty interesting:

  1. Easter by Gail Gibbons
  2. The Berenstain Bears and the Easter Story
  3. Fancy Nancy’s Elegant Easter
  4. Happy Easter, Mouse! (If You Give…)
  5. Easter Surprise (Potter)
  6. Happy Easter, Curious George
  7. Ollie’s Easter Eggs (a Gossie & Friends book)
  8. The Parable of the Lily: Special 10th Anniversary Edition (Parable Series)
  9. Easter Egg Haunt (Tales from the Back Pew)
  10. Easter (Rookie Read-About Holidays)
  11. The Legend of the Easter Egg
  12. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Chick!

March 11, 2013

15 Brain Break Clips To Give the Brain A Break And Get the Body Moving!

Filed under: Mind games — mrstephenwolfe @ 12:58 pm

brain break jpeg

I keep hearing more and more about brain breaks. I’ve seen lists of music videos that I would never show to my class. It’s not that these clips are bad, it’s just I don’t see the point.

In my head, if we are at a point that we need a brain break, we’ve probably also been a little too stationary as well. If this is true, we need to find some videos or activities that will not just give our brain a break, but will also get our body moving.

So my goal was this. Let’s not just find some entertaining clips, but let’s also find something that the kids can get up and interact with, and I believe I found a pretty good start.

Most of these, I think I might actually use in my class (or at least with our book buddies).

Before we look at them, please note, I put all these videos through a site called SafeShare which says is the safest way to watch and share YouTube videos. The last thing we want is an unwanted ad popping up and embarrassing us or our students! You can find it here: 

  1. Just Dance Disney – The Bear Necessities
  2. SHAKE BREAK (Song for Kids ♫)
  3. LET’S GET FIT (For Kids)
  4. LEGS AND ARMS (Song For Kids ♫)
  5. Just Dance Disney – Hoedown Throwdown
  6. Just Dance Kids – Get The Sillies Out
  7. Just Dance Kids 2 – Hold Still
  8. Just Dance Kids 2 – Hokey Pokey
  9. Just Dance Kids 2 – The Lion Sleeps Tonight
  10. Just Dance Kids 2 – I’m Gonna Catch You
  11. Just Dance Kids 2 – Five Little Monkeys
  12. Just Dance Kids 2 – Despicable Me
  13. Just Dance Kids 2 – Lollipop
  14. Just Dance Kids 2 – Mah Na Mah Na
  15. Just Dance Kids 2 – The Gummy Bear Song
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