Thursday, December 20, 2012


We are almost done for 2012, and if we all make it through today , and tomorrow (Mayan calendar reference - not to mention the last day before Christmas Break) , we should all be having a relaxing break. I found a few gems on the Internet this last week that may be helpful. Hope you enjoy them or they may benefit you in some way.
Have a wonderful and safe holiday. I am privileged to get to work with the best staff in the world. I appreciate and care about each of you (and of course never show it enough!)
This site has very short, but excellent videos on teaching strategies. The behavior and engagement ones are really good. You don’t have to register or join to watch the videos.
Laura has a great site for resources, many of which are free on her website. She is a Master Teacher who has been sharing her expertise for a number of years. And like lots of other teachers, she also has a Teachers-Pay-Teachers site where she offers some of her lessons and activities for sale.
DAVID BYRNE: Professional Development Opportunity in January
Webinar on Google Drive and the Common Core- including Google Docs
info here:
NOAH AND THE WHALE: This is a good video to show how everyone can spread kindness in the world.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Another Great Resource... or three

TeachersFirst is a great resource site. Once a week they send out a newsletter for amazing education websites. This month they are featuring a very adaptable lesson on Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree; and a December Calendar page that has lots of ideas for holidays, anniversaries, seasonal events, and more. Each week also has a Featured Sites list with some of “best of the web” educational sites for all grade levels and subject areas.
TeachersFirst also offers self-directed Professional Development in their OK2ASK section. If you find something here you would like to follow through on, remember to talk to your administrator about getting credit for it. As of last year, online PD was being accepted on a limited basis in Grand County.
You do have to become a member (For FREE) if you want to sign up for the newsletter. This is the link to the website TEACHERSFIRST
Someone asked me about THE HAT again… it’s a little program that draws kids’ names randomly…. You download it to your desktop. The kids love it: The Hat ; and the collection of desktop timers is here:  5 Simple timers
Added Bonus this week! I know I send out lots of stuff for iPad/iphone/ipod but here is one for Android: Kitchen Timer App for Android: Kitchen Timer

Sunday, November 25, 2012

MATH: online practice

Over the Break I looked at several online math programs. These are the ones that I found: XtraMath
This is a math fact fluency program. The online program is FREE, and extremely easy to set up. Students practice at their own level for a short time period per day. Tracking Reports can be sent to both parents and teachers via email. The tracking information and progress is also available online.
IXL Math is online math skills practice where the student is evaluated at his/her level and progresses at his/her own speed. There is a free offering and a membership. Ability levels are arranged from Pre-K through eighth grade and then through Geometry.The membership version of IXL tracks/reports student progress to teachers and parents. The site is very similar, visually, to the Adapted Mind site (listed below). A membership for a classroom runs about $200 a year.
Online Reading and Math: The READING portion is a “Membership Required” area but much of the math is free. You may purchase a membership for about $200 per year. This site is similar to IXL, except it offers a reading skills section. Additionally there are good instructional videos available. There is a limited (5 students) free trial.
Khan Academy is free. It is cumbersome to sign up your students but once you have done that, the program itself is manageable. It is geared toward upper grades  to adult learners, but I used it last year for fourth grade and it was adequate. It is not as “entertaining”, nor as engaging for younger students as some of the other sites.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Some great stuff for the Thanksgiving Break

This is a blatant plug for one of my most favorite Blogists, Richard Byrne. His blog was one the first that I began following when I began my online PLN. Each week he inspires me to keep plugging along, with his useful , fun, and informative posts. Thanks Mr. Byrne, from the Wilderness of Utah!
I have posted this link before but with Thanksgiving coming up and my infrequent readership; I thought it might be OK to repost it. Great links for those of us teaching about the first Thanksgiving. Richard Byrne's Blog
My other endorsement this week is TBA….    - Teaching Blog Addict. This site truly is addictive. It is my “go-to” site when I need a fast idea or something specific. There are tons of teachers involved with this site from k-12. Most have their own blogs. Many participate in a weekly FREEBIE – giving away a classroom lesson or activity that you can download. Still others participate in topic specific LINKY PARTIES, where you follow links to their activity (this is called blog hopping). Currently there are 122 LINKY PARTIES posted here. (just scroll down and look for “FIND” on the right side to go to Linky Parties).
Hope you enjoyed, or at least took advantage of, the last two full weeks of instruction .  I feel like we actually got things accomplished.
Hope your Thanksgiving is full of family and great memories!

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Novembuary (a grand-kid-ism)

Two ENTIRE weeks to teach (sorry… I think there may be an assembly or two in there but, WOW… ten somewhat solid days in a row!)
Here are some gleanings from my weekend…
Thanksgiving and The Pilgrims
Scholastic sites: The first is about the voyage:
The second site is about living in Plymouth: 
And a third that has a slideshow and a WebQuest about the First Thanksgiving:
There is also a link to some nice Teacher Resources:

Monday, October 22, 2012


What will we do with a full week? This has been one of my hardest months to teach. October, for Grand County is so broken up with so many days off, it is difficult to keep the kids (and myself) focused. First we had 2 days for Mid-term Conferences, then 2 days for UEA, and next is a Professional Development day and a half-day for Halloween.
To help out a bit, here are a trio of mega-websites that will give you activities and ideas to help refocus and motivate the kids.
Read Write Think
This one is from the NCTE and the International Teaching Association. Lesson plans for teachers, and online interactives for students from the Language Arts Common Core. Great search too: by subject, topic, grade level or any combination.
101 Websites for Elementary Teachers
This website is sponsored by GoEd Teacher Store and it has some really useable classroom websites. Sorted mostly by subject. Many "old stand-bys", and lots of sites that are new (at least to me).
This website has been around for years but they continually add new stuff. It is fully searchable, and it has this handy-dandy reference that tells you what format the website it (which I really like when I'm doing a quick search for something to do).
A resource for the teacher to use in planning their lessons site for teachers | A PowerPoint show related to this standard PowerPoint show | An Adobe Acrobat document in .pdf format Acrobat document | A Microsoft Word document to be downloaded Word document | This interactive site would work well on an interactive whiteboard whiteboard resource | This resource includes voice instructions for students sound | A video is available through this linkvideo format | This site is interactive and allows students to play a game or input or collect data interactive lesson | This site includes questions for your students to check their understanding a quiz | A lesson plan can be found at this site lesson plan | This link includes something for the teacher to print to print

Hope you all have a stupendous week! I will be in the Writing Lab today (October 22) for help with GO MATH. Newbies can come at 1:00 for beginner help... and for anyone who has specific questions... 1:30 and we will try to sort out your questions together. 
[Building Tech Meeting to follow at 2... thanks committee members for switching times for me! :-)  ]

Sunday, October 14, 2012

UEN Week

This week is UEN. While I would love to go up this weekend, in 
all honesty, I cannot afford to do it. So I will spend my two days checking out my PLN, and working on my two classroom projects: Daily 5 and Guided Math. 

I'm having a writing cramp and cannot find or think of anything new to share at the moment. So for this week (and last, since this is apparently a two week writing cramp)... I am suggesting that you go back through all of the posts and do a review. I am sure there will be something there to inspire you.

This Monday, October 15, is my week to work with my block on curriculum maps. If you are in need of GO MATH help give me a holler and I will let you know when we will be done. (we could meet up then). The following Monday, October 22nd... I will be in the Writing Lab to help anyone who need basic assistance with Online Go Math from 1:00 - 1:30. Then from 1:30 - 2:00...those of us that have specific questions can share how to figure things out.
Have a great week!

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Happy October!

Hello... Hope everyone enjoyed their weekend.....
Heidi, who writes at “Classroom Freebies too” shared this site this morning:  READWORKS
WOW… it is amazing. Free to print grade level reading passages with Comprehension Questions for before, during, and after reading. There are also unit plans that match the Common Core and even short  instructional  podcasts for teachers on topics such as: how to teach using reading passages and how to teach specific strategies for particular grade levels. I thought they were great reviews for those little things that we sometimes forget to teach.

For those of you who like to teach geography, or used some of the lessons that I posted last year from GLOBETRACKER … the series is starting up again this week. Each week,  two teen heroes post a blog that includes lots of geography skills along with a compelling storyline for elementary students.  Participating students will also help determine the direction storylines will take as they vote each week on what should happen next.
The navigation bar on the right of the page will take you to the current week’s installment. There is also a section for teacher info. You can follow this online, and via Twitter. Google Earth is also used along with lots of maps and pictures. Last year they took a tour of North America. This year’s storyline will be set on the seven continents.
My problem is always finding time for it… but I ended up taking one “read aloud” session for it. That worked well. 

And don’t forget...  we have  MClass training on Monday Oct. 1st, therefore I am not available to do Go Math. The following week is 4th grade JEPD so no Go Math then either. If you have specific questions that you would like answered before the next Go Math session (October 15th) just shoot me an email. I will try to help.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Class management motivation FREEBIE

My good buddy Kathryn sent me a message yesterday asking if I had tried Class Dojo. We told me that it was free for a limited time and I should go and try it out. You can Google it and indeed, as of Saturday afternoon, accounts are free.
Class Dojo is a classroom management system that you can do on your computer/projector. It is customizable and one of the main selling points for me is that you can publicly praise good behavior throughout the day. The kids really get into it. It is like the online timers that they will literally fall all over themselves to beat, no matter what you are asking them to do during the timing.
The program has cute little avitars (can I just say I hate autocorrect sometimes~ it MADE me type aviator instead of avitars 4 times) and lets you write you ownositive and negative behaviors to track.
Hurry and go get it!!!


So last week I talked about getting started with a Personal Learning  Network (PLN). This week I want to share about a piece of PLN’s… SHARING. In order to learn you have to share. I began my sharing by getting ideas from others and then passing  them on. Two weeks ago DeAnn sent out a terrific idea that she discovered and shared it with the staff. It was a simple idea that would help you keep a list of your students with you at all times, at least when you have your key card. I discovered that if I printed a list from SIS, it would give me kid names and their lunch number, and if cut out, would fit perfectly in my key card holder!Pretty cool!
I’m not saying we should all send out an email with the most amazing idea we found this week. But I think we should find a way to share those Awesome ideas that are floating around out there. I often find little gems when I am messing around on the internet or doing some professional reading. It is real easy to send an email of the idea to myself. When I get to school the next day I could print it out and then take if to the downstairs lounge and put it on the bulletin board. Or write it on that giant white board that is just sitting there , all stark and…..white.
Here is a place to start if you don’t have any ideas. Please be advised: these are Pinterest links.  Pinterest can be very addictive and a huge time consumer. Just because it says upper elementary doesn't mean there are not realy cool ideas for primary too!
 Link to AMAZING ideas for classrooms on Pinterest
Have a most excellent week!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

We're Back!

Welcome back to a new school year! We are heading into week four already. Everyone has had time to settle into routines and get a feel for what their needs might be concerning technology.
At the last District Technology Meeting there was a discussion about offering technology trainings on a regular basis. I would assume this would be similar to what we did long ago when we were first learning to implement technology in our classrooms but we had very little equipment or infrastructure to use it effectively. Now we do! What kinds of things would you like to learn to about? Be thinking about it.
I have heard that this is to be the year of the PLN (Professional Learning Network), or it is sometimes called a PLC (Professional Learning Community). I have been involved with my PLN for a number of years. My PLN is mostly online (the other part includes my colleagues in Grand County). I have shared my learning with others online; I attend webinars and online inservices; I watch podcasts and videos; and I get new ideas from thousands of sources. The point is I have learned more than I can ever use.
I talked a bit about PLN’s last year on the website when many folks were trying to get recertification points. [see the May 12 blog entry on Prisfessional Development in Our District]. This year I plan to focus the blog on trainings… whatever we come up with to learn about as a District; and some tips on how to establish and use an online PLN.
***to help you get started: the first thing I did was to choose a few blogs to read each week. I stumbled upon a few teacher blogs that had some ideas that I liked. I bookmarked them and checked them on the weekend. (I follow lots of blogs now, but in the beginning I only followed a few). The blog below has compiled teacher blogs by grade level… just click on the link then choose a grade level and it will take you to lots of blogs that have incredible ideas. Go visit some and have fun!

Monday, July 23, 2012


I know we're are all on Summer Break...but I am trying to keep myself from going stir-crazy. (broken ankle=couch potatoe). I have been looking for resources to make implementing the Math and Language Arts Common Core a little easier. One resource that I stumbled upon is called "Teachers Pay Teachers". This is an online teacher store where teachers can sell lesson plans, posters, games, and activities that they have made. many of these teachers are highly skilled educators, not to mention, way more creative than I could ever be. One item that I purchased was a Common Core Planning Pack. It has a Beach theme. (there are lots of other themes that you can find). In the planning pack is a set of posters that are "I CAN..." statements for each of the Common Core Standards for both Math and Language Arts. These statements are also provided in a check-off list form. I paid $6.00 for the pack. I also purchased a couple of sets of Task Cards, ($2.00 each). They can be printed and laminated, then used in centers, or for whole/small group games. What a timesaver for me! So if you are interested in taking a look at some of these resources go to You can wander through the site or you can search....use the terms common core, common core math, common core language arts; or you can search for my current favorite contributors: Rachel Lynette, or Charity Preston. Don't forget to check out thinkcentral...that is the GO MATH online resource. Lots of amazing stuff there to help with your lesson planning!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Ready.... Set.......

Well, not exactly, but the technology part is close. We all have our new computers. Thanks to John Mealey each of our individual printers are functional. We can also find printers and add them... For those of us who like to print to the Labs. Be aware that some of the lab printers are out of ink, so you will need to wait until Paula gets back. I plan to go in today to test out how things work with our Document Cameras. I don't foresee any problems. Core Academy next week!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Kleinspiration is having an absolutely MASSIVE giveaway for achieving 1000 followers. It's not enough that this blog is amazing in sharing lessons, ideas and activities. Now others who are just as amazing are giving away some of their best stuff. As an added bonus.... All of my favorite bloggers are here in one place, so you can check them out and follow some amazing educators. Kleinspiration.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

First day of Summer. Hope you are all relaxing and rejuvenating. I am working and participating in an online books study, Guided Math by Laney Sammons. I am learning some really good stuff.

On the "working" side. The Tech crew has been in every classroom in the district, and we are a bit ahead of schedule in some areas and a few days behind in others. Most of our laptops for the mobile labs have arrived. The bulk of our new computers will arrive on Monday.
All of the labs have been dismantled. Almost all of the requested mini-labs are in place (except some 4th, 5th, and 6th grade mini-labs). We have removed all of the teacher computers at the High School, and have installed their new computers.We have removed most of the teacher computers at the Middle School (except for those being used for Summer School).We will begin replacing those next week. HMK and Offices will follow.
Our new computers are pretty amazing. They are an all-in-one model from Dell which means you get a screen - NO TOWER - that's it!  If you requested a USB keyboard and mouse, we had to order them separately, so what you will see is a wireless keyboard and mouse until the others come in. (We will then come around and trade them). We have already installed the batteries but you need to turn the switches on for them to work.We will probably leave a paper with explanations on how to get your doc cam & projector going, as soon as we get to that point.
Have a great summer!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Antsy Kids

Here's an idea or two for those kids that just can't sit still......
Great Seating Ideas
Thanks to PositivelyPersistentTeach for these ideas!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Daily Five

I just  discovered that there will be an online study group in July that will be studying The Daily Five and Cafe books by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser. If you have an interest in The Daily Five this would be a great way for you to learn what it is all about and how to implement it in your classroom.
A calendar of events is posted at We Read -We Blog-We Teach . This will also be the discussion site.
This will also be a great opportunity for those of you who are wanting to start a Professional Learning Network to make some contacts with other teachers.
See you there!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Just found a great compilation of resources from a blog. These resources are for Language Arts Common Core for fourth grade but 3rd and fifth grades are linked below the download.

Some of the resource are single download from Teachers Pay Teachers. You can download these by creating an account -- really simple and no cost.

Some of the resources are online games and interactives. Even if you have no plan to use the common core next year, these are some amazing resources.

HoJo's Teaching Adventure

Monday, May 21, 2012


Have you used PINTEREST as a classroom or instructional resource?????
Pretty cool ideas. Need an invite? ..... Let me know.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Professional Development in Our District

Almost the end of the year…
Seems like we all get so busy during the school year that we just don’t have time to do much beyond what we are required to do at school. Last summer I began to learn about Personal Learning Networks or PLN’s. As my PLN grew, I found lots of opportunities for Professional Development online. Some were free and some cost very little. (The last one I did was Virtual Teaching Expo’s Everything’s Intermediate… a four hour course, costing $19.95; before that I was doing a series with Whole Brain Teaching that cost $1.99 per hour).
As we were all frantic to get our portfolio’s done, I asked if we could use these hours. (You get a receipt for the ones that you pay for, and most give you a PD certificate). The Administration in our District has approved these online Professional Development hours under the following conditions:
1. You must get the Professional Development approved by your administrator; and
2. You must be willing to share what you have learned in a faculty meeting, or by other arrangement.
I am willing to pass along what I find online to all of you via our website and I would hope that if any of you find something good, you will share also. (Just shoot me an email about it with the website). I will also be passing along information about other Education Blogs that I find. I am not going to send out a separate email each time that I post. I did that intermittently this year and some folks did not like that practice. So… if you want to keep up with the Blog, bookmark and subscribe to it (At the very bottom of the page); or Follow by Email ~ this will email you when the site is updated, (email will not come from me); or just check it every week or two.
I am also willing to play detective and find stuff for Staff members. If there is something that you need/want to know more about that is educational, or technology based, let me know and I will see what I can find for you.
Hope the rest of the year goes smoothly for all of you!

Online Professional Development

ONLINE Professional Development
In my last post I mentioned that the District will let us do some online professional development. As I did all of mine prior to this decision, the sites and information that I am providing here HAVE NOT BEEN APPROVED. If you see something here that you would like to delve into, YOU need to go to your administrator and get it approved for yourself. You cannot just go in and say “This was on the website and I did it” and then expect it to be automatically approved.
That being said…. Here are a few sites that have Professional Development:
The Annenberg Project: This is the first PD site that I ever used. They have some great stuff. It is all Video on Demand, which lets you watch, when you want.  You can also get college credit for a minimal fee.  
Whole Brain Learning: An interesting and different look at teaching and classroom management. I use several of the activities and techniques in my classroom. They use podcast on demand also; and some live feed stuff.
Virtual Teaching Expo: I did this one most recently. They currently have five options, ranging from K-6. The session that I attended was “Everything’s Intermediate” – featuring Interactive Notebooking; Integrating Technology;  Modifying Math Instruction to Increase Student Understanding; and Successful Strategies for English Language Learners. I really liked the Interactive Notebooking session and got some great ideas out of the others. One of the instructor’s presentation style made me insane but I still would have taken the course, if I knew that ahead of time. Their sessions are live on a certain “Launch Date” and then on-demand after that. You can also contact the presenters. If you sign up before the launch date you get a virtual Goodie Bag of handouts and freebies,that are related to the session.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


This week I am doing something a bit different. Instead of giving you a website (or two), I am giving you an idea… a suggestion… a learning opportunity… a challenge.
As educators we should be the ultimate example of lifelong learning. We should constantly be learning new things about our craft.
I was introduced to a term a few years ago that has helped me do just that: P.L.N.
It stands for Personal Learning Network. A Personal Learning Network looks different for each person. It is a collection of activities, plans, places on the Internet, or people, that you touch-base with on a regular basis; that help you learn new things that relate to your career or your life.
You all have a PLN right now… it consists of your family and friends; colleagues; books; social networks; email, your phone… Your challenge is to broaden this!
My first attempt in building my PLN was to learn about podcasting. In the beginning I set aside one hour each week. I would “google” my topic and investigate the sites that appeared. I was shocked at the amount of information there was! I found enough information that justified spending time in finding podcasts to use in my class to teach with; and to invest in the purchase of several MP3 players for my students to use them individually/in pairs. I also encourage my students to use my UEN website to access more podcasts to listen/watch outside of school.
The point here is that I learned something to help my teaching and my students’ learning. I did not have to go to an in-service, nor did it cost me more than some time to learn about it.
My challenge to you this week is to start building your own PLN. Choose a topic that relates to your teaching. Have you been using the same lesson or activity for eons? See if you can change it up. Are your kids not responding to a tried and true lesson like they used to? Is there something in the new Common Core that you have to teach soon, that you are not too familiar with?
For now try to use the Internet to find information about your topic. Use your SEARCH engine (Yahoo, Google, Ask ~whatever you have or use). Type in your grade level, use a + sign and the topic.
(Example: fourth grade + what a good reader looks like?)– then click search.
When you have decided on your topic, let the group know what you are doing by visiting the Wallwisher page-  -and attaching a post-it note. (don’t forget to include your name). Others can post ideas for you here or can email ideas to you! 

Have fun with this! Feel free to ask for help. Shoot me an email if you don't see me everyday. Or ask someone who has posted on the WALL.
Have a great week, and Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

For Faculty Meeting Monday

So one of the things that I would like to do for the 4-6 Faculty Meeting this Monday is to get us all to share what we are doing with our Document Cameras. Most of us have been using ours for over a year now and we never have time to share anything.
So I've set up a WallWisher for this specific purpose:
If you would(or if you check your email over the weekend) you can add something to the Wall before the meeting. That would be great!

See you all on Monday!

[For those of you in K-3... your input would be incredible too! I have seen some amazing ideas in our building and it would be wonderful if we could all SHARE ~ even if you think your ideas and activities are simple. It will only take a few minutes to do this.
I will give the URL of the WALL to Sherrie and she can share with you at your meeting too!]