Thursday, January 12, 2017

We're Flipping For Reading!

Yesterday, I posed the question, "Can a reading passage be fun?" We have had a blast this week playing "Zapped," being "aeronautical masters" (that's synonymous with flying paper airplanes), and FLIPPING for reading.

Today, we reviewed a reading comprehension passage. Our mathematicians kept score, and our speakers gave their teams' answers to the class. Speakers then picked "flippers" to "flip for reading." Students enjoyed trying to earn points for their teams by FLIPPING the "We Flip for Reading" bottle into a trashcan. I loved seeing the smiles on the sea of faces while learning. Day made!
Until next time,

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Can a Reading Comprehension Passage be Fun?

We recently took benchmarks at our school. It's an important part of the process to discuss the passages in order to review important vocabulary and strategies for student success. So, how can THAT be fun? Well, today, we played "Aeronautical Strategies for Success." Students got to make paper airplanes and try to fly them through the designated target (of course I had to play "I Believe I Can Fly" by R. Kelly while students designed planes). Some students were very talented at making paper airplanes and got to become teachers. I love it!

We chose speakers and mathematicians. Speakers are the ones that come up and give their teams' final answer and get to chose "aeronautical masters" to try and earn extra points for their team. Mathematicians add, and keep up, with their team's score. 

My day was certainly made when I heard students say, "This is fun!" Wow, going over a comprehension passage CAN be fun! The video below shows students making their airplanes, some becoming teachers, and everyone getting a chance to "test fly" their creation. What a memorable day!

Until next time,

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Focus on What Students CAN do, NOT What They Can't Do!

Teachers, we know so many of our students come to us with needs. Every day it seems like we gain a new role: comforter, nurse, counselor, referee, entertainer, and the list goes on. Many of our students come to us after a fight at home, a recent death, abuse, hungry, cold, and in situations we can't even imagine.

As teachers, we can sometimes get into a rut of focusing on what our students can't do. When perusing through Facebook tonight, I came across a post from Principal Principles that I loved. She posted a song from one of her friends, Staci Erickson, that really hit home with me. It reminded me that ALL of our students have gifts. We are there to help our students discover those gifts and remind them of how special and unique they are.

This video is worth sharing. I hope you enjoy as much as I did. I can just see the faces of many of my students when watching it. What signs would our students be holding up? Let's tell them!

Monday, December 19, 2016

New Product: Endangered Animals Context Clues Task Cards

Happy to have this new product finished. I enjoyed learning about all of the magnificent creatures. However, it makes me sad that the number ONE culprit as to why they are endangered is humans.

Your students will build vocabulary while learning about these endangered animals.

Click on the link to learn more about this product: Endangered Animals Context Clues Task Cards

Video preview of product:

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Genius Hour Preparations in the Classroom

Do you have Genius Hour in your classroom? After reading about it all over the Internet and hearing about it from numerous educators, I decided to give it a try. This is my second year to incorporate it into my classroom. I honestly have to say I'm so glad it's a part of my regular class routine now.

Is it a lot of work? Yes! Is it worth it? Absolutely, without a doubt!

Just like last year, I set Mondays as our designated day to have Genius Hour. On this day, students research and work on visuals, books they're writing, songs, commercials, skits, etc. It's a wonderful time for me to walk around and listen to all the creativity taking place.

If you do decide to give it a try, I'd say that conferencing is one of the MOST important parts of the process. It's crucial to be able to give suggestions and see just how far your students are moving along. Another VERY important component of this process is having students perform their presentation for their parents. I ask parents to time the presentation, make sure eye contact is given and that it's smooth and engaging. We certainly don't want to sound like robots for our classmates. I absolutely love hearing all the constructive feedback from parents.

This past week was full of projects starting to come in, putting finishing touches on speeches/visuals, students helping one another, last conferences with students, and much more.  Now the "magic" begins this coming week. I LOVE hearing about all the creative ideas, props, visuals, replicas, powerpoints, tri-boards and much more. Now I'm getting excited about our upcoming week. It should be a fun week of learning MANY passions from our peers.

Enjoy a few of last week's preparations, conferences, and finished items coming in...
Until next time,

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Looking for a Time Saver?

Are you looking for a HUGE time saver? Well, I was! I teach 115 students reading. I was looking for another way to spend my Sundays other than sitting at a table grading papers. Have you seen the new Google Forms Self-Grading Quizzes? AMAZING!
I highly suggest you check out this video from Teachers Tech (thank you for such an incredibly informative video). I have my first NEW Google Form ready for tomorrow. This now takes the place of the former Flubaroo Add-On.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Teaching 9/11 in the Classroom

It's that time again when we are all sadly reminded that America was under attack in 2001. The unthinkable happened. How do you teach your students what happened?

Yesterday I showed my students a couple of kid-friendly videos, a heartfelt song, and then we took a virtual tour of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City.

First I showed Tim and Moby's video on BrainPop. This is a paid program that I highly recommend. I'm extremely fortunate that our school purchases a subscription. BrainPop features highly informative, kid-friendly videos that include ready-made quizzes.

The next informative video I showed is from Randy Maurer, a principal at Eastern Elementary School. He does an incredible job of teaching what the New York City skyline looked like before 9/11 and how it looks today. He tells the events of this tragic day and how America stood strong and fought back. I love how he emphasizes that we should be thankful for our every day "superheroes" around us.

After this informative video, I showed a song written by Dave Pasquarello that is heartfelt and emotional and includes a message that our students should all take away from this tragic day. Heroes do not wear capes. Our everyday heroes were visible and in action on 9/11 - fireman, policemen, EMT, and every day civilians. The
song can be watched here:

The last thing we did was "buckle up" and depart for New York. We took a virtual tour of the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. The students can choose where they want to go in the halls of the museum. The site is here:

Next week, my students will complete more 9/11 activities using a CHOICE BOARD. The choice board includes context clues task cards, poetry, a synonym and antonym match, creating a timeline and/or a WORDLE, and other engaging activities that allow students to learn more about this day's unthinkable events and how America stood strong. To learn more about this product that's available in my TpT store click HERE or on the picture below. 

I'd love to hear what 9/11 activities you include in your room. As we approach the anniversary of this fateful day, let's all remember those who lost loved ones and those who truly were heroes, putting others before themselves. God Bless America!