Saturday, December 5, 2015

Zaption in the Classroom

This past summer, I learned about a new program called Zaption. Wow, my mind was blown! This program takes a regular video you'd watch and morphs it into an engaging, interactive video. You can choose from their ready-to-use videos in the Zaption Gallery, or you can upload videos and put in your own thoughts, questions, and ideas into the video for students to view. Enhancing videos for better learning? I'm in!

When I heard about this program, I knew I immediately wanted to use it. It's really very easy. You can upload videos from YouTube, Vimeo, PBS, National Geographic, Discovery, Edutopia, and more.  You can then choose to add notes, images, multiple choice questions, have the students draw an answer, add items for the students to check, and more.

Zaption has recently released a new program called Zaption Presenter. Right now it's in testing mode, and I'm happy to say I was selected to be one of their beta testers.   It's now released to everyone (yay)! With Presenter, students enter a code to join your presentation. Together, you can watch videos and collaborate. Students can electronically raise their hands and respond to questions that are entered. If you want to display responses (with or without names), you'll have that option.

Here's an example of a video I uploaded from YouTube and added thoughts and questions for my learners. This was my first "test" with Zaption Presenter. We all loved how we could interact with one another.

Click to enjoy our Zaption video!

Learning More About That Tragic Night - Sinking of the Titanic

Listening to a Titanic Survivor
If you want to check out Zaption, click HERE.

Engage your learners with interactive videos with Zaption!

Until Next Time,

Monday, November 30, 2015

TpT Cyber Sale Going on NOW - 11/30 and 12/1

TpT is having their BIG Cyber Sale NOW. The dates are 11/30 and 12/1. My entire store is 20% off. Enter the code SMILE and save up to 28% off.

Check out my bundles, task cards, activities, interactive flip flap books, printables, vocabulary resources, and much more by clicking HERE or on the picture below.

Blessings and happy shopping                                                  

Flocabulary Videos To Teach Vocabulary

Needing some catchy ways to teach vocabulary...well, one of the solutions is Flocabulary. I absolutely LOVE their mesmerizing videos (and so do the kids). Big words abound in these engaging videos. Heads nod, feet tap, and learning occurs.

Want to see what I'm talking about? Check out this video from Flocabulary (one of our very favorites and hilarious, I might add). Enjoy!

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Non Fiction Text Features Unit

Over the past two weeks, we've been discussing my favorite type of genre - NON FICTION. While learning about, and reviewing, the various text features we commonly see while reading this genre, we have completed task cards, written non fiction cinquain poems, partner paired and found the main idea and supporting details in a non fiction book, seen helpful visuals/posters, and enjoyed playing a fun game.

For the posters, I used Primary Punch's FREE Non Fiction Text Features Posters from TpT. Click HERE to download these amazing visuals.

To apply finding the main idea and supporting details, we completed a "Main Idea Table Activity." I found THREE non-fiction books that I thought would interest my fifth graders. These books were various reading levels to fit the needs of my students. All of my students know their individual reading level so they can pick the books that best fits their learning needs. Students could pick from Tsunamis, The Underground Railroad or Symbols of our Country.  Each student then found a BIG IDEA (the main idea) and FOUR table legs (supporting ideas) that held up/supported their main idea.

To download the FREE Main Idea Table Template from Mrs. Yokes, click HERE.

Check out all of these non fiction text features!
Let's Find a Main Idea
Interesting Information about Tsunamis
Learning About the Underground Railroad
Writing Down the Supporting Details
Reading About the Liberty Bell

Our choice board for the week required us to write a cinquain.  It stated on the choice board to create a cinquain about a non fiction character. However, I opened up the choices to any non fiction topic.  In addition, the cinquain had to be neat, colorful, and illustrated.  Check out a few of our final products!

For fun, and review, we played a game I just made up and titled called the "The Great Non Fiction Text Feature Race."  Two students raced to find the particular text feature that I called out. Of course I had to add some Jeopardy music in the background for effects. It was fun watching the students APPLY all that had been learned during this unit.

If interested in the non fiction task cards I used, click HERE to visit my TpT store or click on the picture below.

Common Core and TEK Aligned
If interested, these task cards AND the cinquain poem template (and rubric) are included on my Non Fiction Choice Board. Click HERE or on the picture below to view this.

Give Students Voice and Choice
Until next time,

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Bring an Idiom to School

One of my favorite assignments every year is "bring an idiom to school." It made my day when a student ask, "Can we do this again next week?"

Students learn what an idiom is and then create one to present or act out in front of class. We have a blast guessing the idioms. We were certainly stumped a few times.

Until next time,

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Playing "Kick Me" With Analogies

We've been reviewing analogies all week. Today was the day I got to see if the "lightbulbs" were coming on. After reviewing an anchor chart together, I had students give me the relationship between the first two words and then APPLY the relationship.

Example: Mayor is to city as governor is the state.
                   Lion is to pride as wolf is to pack.

Several students then worked in groups to decide what relationship the two words had: type, characteristic of, synonyms, antonyms, part to whole, worker to product, etc. The picture shows students working diligently to put their "relationship" in the correct place on the chart.

Thanks to Crafting Connections for the anchor chart FREEBIE (much appreciated).

Now for my favorite part! Each student got an index card with an "answer" to an analogy taped on their back (even I got cards taped on my back). There were more cards than questions on their paper to make it even more challenging. We even had a few of our class pet (stuffed animals) join in on the fun!

On my back, I taped the #1 rule of the day, DO NOT KICK ME! I was told a 1,000 or more that I had something taped to my back throughout the day. I just smiled!

What a joy it was watching students collaborate and decide on the analogy that best fit the answer! 

I love it when students say, "That was fun" on their way out the door! 

Until next time,

Learning How to Create With PowToon

Well, I've seen so many cute videos created with PowToon. Imagine my surprise and excitement when they sent me some FREE accounts! Oh yea, my students were in! 

I used the code given to me so students could join my class.  Once in, they viewed informational tutorials to learn just how to create a fun and engaging video.  Students teaching themselves? Oh yea! I saw smiles and laughter. Some students even thanked me for a fun day!

 Each child has an account and can even work on videos at home. Now that's what I call a "successful day!" Thank you, PowToon!

Students Creating PowToon Videos
Students Creating PowToon Videos
Until Next Time,

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Go Noodle in the Classroom

Do you use Go Noodle in the classroom? Do you have a few extra minutes at the end of class or need to have inside recess due to the heat index or rain? Go Noodle is the perfect solution. Your students will beg for more.

Not only will your students enjoy the movement and brain break, but they love seeing their class character grow muscles and transform before their very eyes.

Click on the following link to get started with Go Noodle:

Until next time, happy teaching!

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

First Week of School - Team Building

Wow! I can't believe the first week of school is "under my belt." We had a blast learning about one another. In my class, I always present our group as a family. We may be a little dysfunctional at times (ha), but we are still a family.

After learning more about one another, we discussed that throughout the year, we MUST work as a team. It's crucial for success! We had a blast working together stacking cups. Yes, stacking cups! Students had to manipulate a rubberband contraption in order to stack cups that matched my final goal (end goal was drawn on the board). No hands were allowed! Wait! What?

I observed minds thinking, groups strategizing and, unfortunately, some cups falling. Students got VERY creative when figuring out how to get the cups that had fallen on the floor back up and onto the desks. Even with cups falling, I continued to see serious concentration, teamwork, cheers, encouragement and many other positive team-building strategies and gestures. Love what I witnessed! After this activity, I had students share with me what they learned.  I heard over and over, "We had to cooperate and work together to be successful."  "One person couldn't dominate." So TRUE and well said!

This activity was not timed. I wanted students to take their time when working together to achieve their goal. However, now we're ready for a timed contest to see which group has the fastest time! This is a challenge that I can't wait to see. Which group will be the champion?

What do you do to initiate teamwork in your classroom? Would love to hear your ideas.

Until next time,

Thursday, August 20, 2015


Be sure and enter this huge giveaway. I'm happy to be a part of it. I'm giving away a product that's $5.00 or less (your choice) from my TpT Store.

There are FOUR prize packages and 2 Barnes and Nobles gift cards that will be given to some very lucky winners.  Good luck everyone!

Click HERE or click on the picture below.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Have you Heard?

Oh my goodness...have you heard? There's a TpT sale around the corner. Woo hoo!

On August 3rd and 4th, Teachers Pay Teachers will be having a "Back to School" sale. I'm thrilled. I'm already filling my cart with lots of goodies.

I'd be honored if you checked out my store. Everything will be 20% off. Check out my task cards, printables, vocabulary resources, flip book templates, choice boards, and more.

Be sure and the code BTS15 to earn an additional percentage off (total of 28%).

Click HERE or on the picture below to check out my store.

It's hard to believe that our new school year is around the corner. Thank you, TpT and the awesome teachers who create all the inspiring products, for helping us be prepared (and save money) in the process. 

Until next time,

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Are you Using Choice Boards in the Classroom?

I love, love, love choice boards. I started using them in my fifth grade reading classroom this past year. I previously used menus where students completed ALL activities in stations, but I'm loving the students having voice and choice in the classroom (and so do they).

With choice boards, students can choose HOW to complete certain activities (their final product) and WHICH products they will complete. Because of this, my students beg for more choice boards. Gotta love that as a teacher! This also fits in differentiation and depth and complexity.

When I began, I sat down and pondered on which types of activities I wanted to include on my choice boards. Some of the activities I came up with included poetry, drama (performance reading), close reading, vocabulary, and of course technology. Then I got to the fun part...coming up with ideas for those categories.

The next question was which type of choice board to I want to use? Tic Tac Toe? Dinner Menu (where they complete an appetizer, main entree, and dessert)? Something totally new? What I ended up with was my own design where I have students completing the STARRED square first, then corners, and then moving into the choice and a bonus. This worked very well in my classroom. I never had students asking, "What do I do next?" Students knew expectations and what to do when finished. Yes!

It's important to set up expectations for choice boards at the beginning of the year. Go over where to get supplies, where to turn in finished products, how they will be assessed, and what voice level you expect on certain activities. This is crucial for everything to run smoothly and for students to work independently.

When you walk into a classroom that's utilizing choice boards, you'll see A LOT going on. Students are working on a variety of activities, which I absolutely love! More importantly, your students will love it as well and therefore get more engaged in the activities and learning. We know what that brings...better results and deeper learning.

Here's a few pictures of my students in action (creating products, performing commercials, playing educational games, learning new vocabulary, and more). Students are collaborating, asking questions, using teamwork and leadership skills, and learning from one another.

Since my choice boards are kid-tested and approved, I decided to include them in my TpT Store. Along with the choice board (which has editable directions in case you want to use the TIC TAC TOE or another format), comes the support pages and task cards. 

Check out my newest choice boards! 

Choice Board: Set 1

Choice Board: Set 2

Non Fiction Choice Board
Poetry Choice Board

I'd love to hear if your students use, and love, choice boards in the classroom. 
What activities do your students love the most?

Until next time,

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Check Out These Two Amazing Sites for the Classroom

Technology is EVERYWHERE, and it should especially be used in the classroom. This summer my goal has been to check out and find some new technology sites/apps/programs to include in my classroom for the upcoming school year.

I'll be sharing my findings with my followers. I hope you'll learn some new tricks and sites to use in your classroom from my posts. Thanks always for reading and following my blog.

Two new sites I just found are Smores and Big Huge Labs. Both are sites for creating visuals. Both are easy to use. I just created my first flyer on Smores and found it very simplistic. I can see many ways that these sites can be used in the classroom. The links to these two sites are found on the flyer.

Check out my flyer HERE: 

Happy creating! 

Until next time,

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Favorite Googe Add-Ons and Extensions

Recently I went to a technology conference. I learned about so many new programs and apps that my head was exploding with excitement.

I'll share more of that information later, a little at a time. However, I want to start out with several add-ons and extensions in Chrome that are making my life easier.

One add-on I already knew about, and used last year, was Fluberoo. If you haven't tried Fluberoo (an add-on in Google Sheets), you must. It grades for you! Yes, I said that right! I automatically transfers information into an easy-to-read spreadsheet for you. Click here to learn more: Flubaroo

One other extension I learned about was Select and Speak, Text to Speech. Just highlight the part of a webpage that you want read, and it will read it to you. This is excellent for students that need things orally read to them. Click here to learn more: Select and Speak- Text to Speech

Last for today was an extension called "Anything to QR Code." You're kidding! I've been going to a separate website and creating QR codes. This will turn whatever website you're on instantly into a QR Code (easy, peasy). Just save, name, and you're set to add that into your blog, choice board, or any other place. Click here to learn more: Anything to QRCode

Hope this helps. More techie talk later!

Check out these add-ons and extensions!
Until then,

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Pie in the Face AND Purple Hair

Do you do anything (besides constant work and encouragement) to inspire your students to achieve a certain goal on the end of the year state test? This year, I told my students if they achieved 85% on the STAAR Test (Texas' end of the year assessment test), I'd color my hair purple for a day. Yes, they obtained that goal.

Purple-Haired Teacher 
I also opened my big mouth and stated that if they achieved 90% or higher on the STAAR test, I'd let a student (we had a drawing) throw a pie in my face (so happy it was banana cream). I'm thrilled they achieved this lofty goal! What fun! Yes, I'm crazy, but I'd do it again in a minute! ‪#‎pieintheface‬ 

Until next time,

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Have you Tried Go Formative?

Yesterday, I was blessed enough to get to attend a wonderful workshop. I walked away with many ideas swimming around in my head. One that really stood out was  (it's FREE).  Wow! Check out this site. They recently started this site, and they are serious. I had to ask them a few questions, and their prompt response impressed me.

Basically, you input questions you want with the answers, or you upload a basic worksheet that you already have. Now, how is a worksheet impressive? Well, you can add text boxes over the provided lines on the worksheet and make the answers higher-level and open ended? Now, that's impressive!

Today, I took a regular reading passage and input the questions into Go Formative. The students then answered the questions on their Chromebooks. I was able to see their answers in REAL TIME. If you want to display answers, you can do that where students can see answers and even score answers on the projected screen. Love it!

The ideas are endless with this site. No child can sit and PRETEND to be listening. Engage ALL students. It's our job!

I can't wait to create more! Check it out!

Log in and enter the provided code

Enter answers into your Chromebook

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Science in Reading? Of Course!

We've been busy learning about chemical and physical reactions in reading class (yes, reading) and in science class (of course). What better way to learn about these particular reactions than to observe them.

 We read about the various changes, observed substances that undergo both reactions and recorded our data in a T-chart.

What fun! Check out our video of today's events!

Physical & Chemical Changes T-Charts

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Have you Tried Kahoot?

Oh my goodness, I FINALLY tried Kahoot! What a blast! I think I had as much fun as the kiddos. If you've not tried Kahoot yet, you must! It's a game-based classroom response system that VERY easy to set up and implement in the classroom.

Once I got into Kahoot, I realized that I could easily create my own games or "duplicate" others and change a question or two if needed. There are ready-made Kahoots on thousands of subjects (just search for what you need).  I now have four Kahoots within little time, ready to play in the classroom.

Once you've created your game, you click LAUNCH, and it will provide the players with a GAME PIN. They type in this particular pin, add their name, and viola, they're in. It's time to play! Students can see what place they're in on their device.

Students are 100% engaged, and I could see how many missed each question. This is instant feedback for me on which concepts I need to go back and review.

To check out Kahoot, go to

Check out this video of my students playing Kahoot. I giggle when I hear the excitement and see kids jumping up and down while learning. Kahoot will definitely become a regular part of my classroom!


Monday, February 23, 2015

Have you Heard? TpT Sale is Coming!

If you haven't heard by now, then the cat's out of the bag. TpT is having a HUGE sale this Wednesday on February 25. I'm offering 20% off on everything in my store. When you check out, use the code HEROES and earn an addition percentage off (total 28% off).

Start working on those wish lists. I've already got mine ready (so many great products out there). Yippie!

I'd be honored if you checked out my store by clicking HERE or on the picture below. You can find task cards, printables, vocabulary resources, QR code task cards, bundles, interactive activities, and more.

Happy shopping!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Victorious Vocabulary in the Classroom

Do you notice that it always seems to be the challenging vocabulary words that stumps our students when reading? For this reason, I fit in vocabulary games and activities into my lessons on a daily basis. For example, we discuss a new word, prefix/suffix, or Latin/Greek root each day.  In addition, I include vocabulary into their centers/choice boards (whether it's Context Clues Task Cards, finding synonyms or antonyms for particular words, watching vocabulary videos, or playing a vocabulary game). As far as videos, Flocabulary is my favorite. Our school purchased Flocabulary (well worth the $$, in my opinion). You can check out their site at  They have really catchy songs for multiple subjects (see below).   There are also some free ones on youtube.

The video below is one of our favorites from Flocabulary.

This past week, students played a fun game called "Context Clues Dominoes." This is a FREE download in MrsCurts TpT Store. Click HERE to download: They had to use the context clues to figure out the meaning of unfamiliar words. Dictionaries and thesauruses were set by each group in case they needed to utilize either.  Students went around and read the cards - that way EVERY student was engaged. Words such as flabbergasted, acquire, conjure, perturb, antagonize, and figment were used. I loved watching each group work together to discuss, and figure out, the words' meanings.

Check out my students in action!

One of the activities on this week's Choice Board was to scan a QR code I'd created and watch a Prefix Suffix Song. Students then had to write down three suffixes and prefixes they heard and words that contain those particular prefixes and suffixes.

Use a device (phone, ipod or ipad) and scan our QR Code with a FREE QR Code app to watch the video. My favorite QR Code reader is i-nigma (FREE in the APP Store).
Scan this QR Code to watch the Prefix Kix Song By Grammarheads

If you're looking for ready-made vocabulary task cards, I have created several. They can be purchased in my TpT store:
Also, check out these FREE Vocabulary Resources in my TpT Store:
It's been a jam-packed week full of vocabulary. What activities do you use in your classroom to teach vocabulary?

Happy teaching,