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!