Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Tech Tip Tuesday - Wii in math

If you want to join the linky, grab the Tech Tip Tuesday button.  Post about a technology tip.  Then link up below!


Does your school have a Wii?  Are you looking for ways to use Wii in the classroom?  Do you need help convincing someone that the Wii can be used for education?  If you answered yes to any of those questions, you have come to the right place!  I have ideas and resources for using the Wii in the classroom.

Many of the games can be used with math concepts.  Students can practice addition and subtraction, comparing numbers, expanded form, etc.  The list is endless!

My favorite game to use is bowling.  This offers many different options for practicing those math concepts.  To help you out, you can check out my Video Game Recording Sheets.

There are 7 different activities that can be used with Wii Bowling:
- Add numbers
- Subtract numbers
- Compare numbers
- Addition strategy - Doubles
- Addition strategy - Doubles plus 1 (near doubles)
- Addition strategy - Making Ten
- Expanded Form

My students are working to earn Wii as a reward in the classroom.  When they earn the reward, I plan to use some of these games with them for part of the time.  The rest of the time they will be able to play whatever they want.

Managing the Wii in the classroom is challenging because all 18 (or more depending on the class) students can't play at the same time.  I plan to have other games and activities for students to work on when it isn't their turn to play.

Using the recording sheets can hold students accountable when they aren't bowling.  They could be responsible for filling out the recording sheets when it isn't their turn to bowl.  I know my students would be motivated to stay on task in order to get a chance to bowl later.

If you want more information about using Wii in the classroom, you can check out a resource created by teachers in my county.  There are lessons for kindergarten all the way through 7th grade.  The lessons are designed around Wii games.  Some are using the basic games that come with Wii, while others are for games you will need to purchase separately.  Check out http://wiilearning.wikispaces.com/home for more information!

What is your favorite Wii game to use with students?

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Monday, February 24, 2014

TpT Sale!

I wanted to give you a heads up about the big sale coming the end of this week!  You can save up to 28% on most stores (including mine) starting Thursday, February 27.  The sale lasts through Friday, February 28, so start filling up your wishlists now!  I know my wishlists are full of graphics to use in my future products.

Thank you to Jase from Big Idea Learning for the sale graphic!

What is on your wishlist that you think others need to add to theirs?

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Sunday, February 23, 2014

Liebster Award

Thank you Ellen from Mrs. Briggs Class for nominating me for the Liebster award.  I am so thrilled and excited about this!

The Liebster award is for new blogs and even though mine isn't so new anymore, I was still nominated.

The Liebster Award is an award for new blogs. Liebster is a German word that means: BELOVED, CUTE, LOVELY, DEAREST, and WELCOME.
To accept the nomination I must:

1. Link back to the blog that nominated me
2. Nominate 5-11 blogs with fewer than 200 followers
3. Answer the questions posted for me by my nominator (Ellen)
4. Share 11 random facts about myself
5. Create 11 questions for my nominees
6. Contact my nominees and let them know I nominated them


Here are my nominees:

Mrs Bearfields Class

Kristy from Mrs. Bearfield's Class writes tutorials for new bloggers.  In fact, you will see her on my blog as a guest blogger!

Stories and Songs in Second-button
I love reading Jennifer's Stories and Songs in Second blog.  She has amazing ideas that I can't wait to try with my students!


Create.Educate.Inspire is another new blog I've come across.  I love Suzanne's idea about posting limited time freebies on her blog.  I can't wait to use some of her resources with my students.

Teach Two Reach is someone I follow on Facebook and I just found her blog.  I am overwhelmed with all the ideas on her blog!
I love the design of Pawsitively Teaching.  It is so cute!  I'm looking forward to reading more 2nd grade posts on her blog!

Here are my questions from Ellen:
1. How long have you been teaching? This is my 6th year.  I subbed for 2 years right after college, including a few long-term positions.  I taught 5th grade my first year, switched schools and went to 2nd grade for 3 years.  Last year, I taught 5th grade again and now I'm back in 2nd grade. 

2. Coffee or Pop? Neither!  I don't like the smell or taste of coffee.  I gave up soda 2 years ago.

3. What inspired you to start blogging or join TpT? I finished my masters in educational technology last summer and blogged through my program quite often.  I wanted to continue it, so I started my blog.  After starting the blog, I decided to start my store on TpT.  It was the best decision ever!

4. What is your favorite thing to teach in the classroom? I love teaching math even though I have a challenging class this year.  I would love to teach math all day, every day!

5. What made you want to become a teacher? My 5th grade teacher was my inspiration.  She loved teaching and made learning fun.  I wanted to be just like her!  My mom is friends with her now and I still see her every once in awhile.  In fact, she attended my sister's wedding 2.5 years ago and I know she will be invited to mine (when that time comes)!

6. What grade do you teach currently/What grades have you taught in the past? See question 1.  I'm in 2nd now, but I've also taught 5th.

7. What is your go-to, favorite outfit to wear to school? Jeans day on Fridays with one of my school shirts.  I love being comfortable!

8. What is your favorite thing to do after school? Relax on the couch with a glass of wine or hanging out with friends.

9. How often a week do you update your blog? Not as often as I'd like right now.  I have Tech Tip Tuesdays, but I'd love to post more than just technology tips.

10. What do you do with your summers? The past few years, I've babysat for 2 girls.  I also finished grad classes.  I'm looking forward to a completely free summer this year (well, minus working on adding products to my store!!).

11. What is your biggest pet peeve in your classroom? No names on papers!  I spent time grading last night and there were many missing names.  I hate having to play detective.

Here are 11 random facts about myself:
1.  I'm going to be 30 in April and I'm not really looking forward to it.
2.  I love turtles.  My classroom is full of turtles.  I would love to own a real turtle as a pet one day.
3.  Sports are a huge part of my life.  I'm an Orioles season ticket holder.  My parents have season tickets for Maryland football and basketball.
4.  I wasn't a dog person until my boyfriend and his dog moved in with me.  Now I love having a dog!
5.  I became an aunt last October to a sweet little boy.  I don't see him as much as I'd like because my sister and I both have very busy schedules.
6.  My boyfriend and I have to use matching silverware, plates, and cups.  If not, it bugs me so much!
7.  I like nice, even numbers in my classroom.  I love 20 because you can group students in many different ways.  Don't know how I'm going to handle 19 in homeroom and 17 in math now that one of my students moved!
8.  I usually fall asleep during movies.  In order to stay awake, I need to be doing something else while watching.
9.  When I go to bed, I have to sleep on my stomach.  If I'm on the couch, I can sleep on my back or side.
10.  I've owned my house for 4 years now.  Time has flown!
11.  I hate doing laundry and washing dishes!

Here are my 11 questions for my nominees: 
1. What grade do you teach and why do you love it?
2. When do you grade papers and plan your lessons?
3. What is one piece of advice you would share with new teachers?
4. Who are your favorite sellers on TpT?
5. What is your favorite subject to teach?
6. What is your favorite dinner recipe?
7. How do you spend your weekends?
8. What is your favorite season?
9. Share a technology resource that you love using in your classroom.
10. If you could have an unlimited supply of one school supply for your classroom, what would it be?
11. What is your typical bedtime on a school night?

I am looking forward to seeing the responses from my nominees!

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Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Tech Tip Tuesday - wireless tools

If you want to join the linky, grab the Tech Tip Tuesday button.  Post about a technology tip.  Then link up below!


Over the years, I've purchased some technology that has made my teaching life easier.  The first purchase I made was this clicker.

The clicker made it so much easier for me to teach using PowerPoint presentations.  I could walk around the classroom instead of sitting back at my desk where my computer was.  All I had to do was plug the receiver into the USB port on my computer, turn the clicker on, and I was good to go.

Then, I wanted to show videos embedded into my PowerPoint presentations but I didn't want them to start automatically.  I had no way of doing this with the clicker.  So I purchased a wireless mouse.  I lucked out and found one in my favorite color - red!  Same thing as the clicker, I could plug the receiver into the USB port on my computer, turn on the mouse, and I was good to go.  Since I had 2 USB ports on my computer, I could use the clicker and the mouse at the same time!  This was nice when I wanted to quickly click through a presentation but then still have the chance to switch to something else without needing to be at my computer.

The wireless mouse was also a wonderful purchase because I used it as an incentive for students.  If we were doing something on the computer and I needed student participation, I could pass the mouse around the room for the students to use from their desks.  No more germs or sticky fingers on my laptop!

But then I ran into the problem of wanting to type when I was away from my computer.  I purchased wireless keyboard.  The one I bought also had a touchpad for a mouse.  It was cheaper for me to buy the keyboard with the touchpad than the one without.  I felt like I didn't need the wireless mouse I bought, but I found I still used both.
Sometimes I didn't have the keyboard and I wanted just the mouse.  Other times, I didn't want to carry the mouse around the room, so I just used the keyboard.

The next problem that I ran into was I only had 2 USB ports on my computer and I need 3 in order to connect all the technology tools at the same time.  So I purchased a USB port hub with 4 additional USB ports.  I never run out of space now!  I keep the receivers for the clicker, mouse, and keyboard plugged into the hub at all times so I just have to plug in the hub when I'm ready to use any of the tools.

These were all worthwhile investments.  It helps with classroom management because I'm not stuck sitting at my desk.  I can walk around and encourage students to stay on task and continue my lesson at the same time.

What has made your teaching life easier?  It could be a technology tool, but it doesn't have to be.  I'd love to hear tips to make teaching easier!

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Monday, February 17, 2014

Fables and Folktales Unit

Between MAP testing, and days off for snow and conferences, we haven't had a normal week in a long time!  We're doing the best we can, but it's rough.  I've had a lot of time to create products, but not a lot of time to use them with my students.  I'm on day 5 of my 5-day weekend and it looks like we might have a 2-hour delay tomorrow.  I was looking forward to a full day so we could get in normal teaching and then have our Valentine's Day party.  My kids were so excited about it last week.  We made a cute craft on Wednesday, but I forgot to take pictures.  I'll try to do that this week and post about it later.

In all the craziness, we started our fables and folktales unit recently.  I started off by creating a chart based on the one I found here.  We talked about the differences and what each thing in the chart meant.  They loved learning about personification and gave me lots of silly examples!

I split my students into groups of 3 or 4.  They read The Fox and The Crow from this freebie from Tech with Jen.  Her freebie is part of a larger paid product.  My students used the discussion questions in order to talk about the story in their small group.  They also used the Fable and Folktale chart to determine what type of story they just read.  We came back together as a whole class and discussed the story.  I focused on discussing the moral (or lesson) from the story.  That was something they had difficulty with.  I was impressed with their explanation for why the story is considered a fable.  They really used the information from the chart and the story to explain their thinking.  After we finished the discussion, the students filled out a storyboard showing the important events from the story.

And then Valentine's week came and we took a break from our new unit.  Then the snow and here I am planning Fables and Folktales for reading groups this week.

After talking with my intern last week, we came up with a wonderful vocabulary activity for my on grade level reading group.  The group will be reading The Frog Prince so we looked through the book for 20 vocabulary words.  We found a lot of good words in the story.  The students will use these words to play a vocabulary domino game.

Here are the directions for the game.  The students will write sentences using the words, then write their sentences with the missing vocab word on a domino that does not have the original word, then they will play the game using a partner's set of dominoes.

Here is the planning worksheet.  My students are going to complete this with my intern during seatwork/center time on the first day.  She is going to explain the game to them and then let them get started planning their dominoes.

After they write their sentences, they will get their dominoes.  They will write the sentences on the dominoes, leaving a space for the vocabulary word.  The key here is to write the sentence for a different vocabulary word than the one written on the domino.  Since we picked the words, we are giving each student dominoes with printed words.  I included blank dominoes in the product in case teachers want to pick their own words. 

While the students are playing the game on the 2nd day, they will complete a recording sheet showing what words fit in each sentence.  Then they will write 5 of their partner's sentences.  The recording sheet is for accountability purposes.  My students know that I will be checking to see what work they completed.  They need this reminder to stay on task.

This product also includes a beginning, middle, and end activity and comprehension questions for after the book.  I provided color and black and white versions of every activity.

I can't wait to see how my students do with the domino game!  I will ask my intern to take pictures of the activity so I can post some pictures of them playing the game.

You can find this activity in my newest product in my store.

What do you like to do with your students to teach vocabulary?

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Freebie Fridays

I've been talking with some other sellers to get the Sharing Saturdays started.  I hope to have some good products to share with you starting in March!

Now I want to focus on Freebie Fridays.  If you are interested in having your product featured on my blog, please submit the form below.  Please submit products one time only!  You may submit more than one product for consideration.  If you provide your email address, I will contact you when your post is scheduled so you can check it out.

Can't wait to see your products!

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Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Tech Tip Tuesday - 2/11 - LearnZillion

If you want to join the linky, grab the Tech Tip Tuesday button.  Post about a technology tip.  Then link up below!

I love LearnZillion!  My county has a subscription to the videos, but you can sign up for your own free account to use some of the features.  You also don't even need to sign up for an account to access the videos!

If you click on free resources you can see everything the site has to offer.  I only use a portion of it and would love to have more time to explore.  Adding that to my summer to-do list!

If you know a math standard that you are teaching and want resources for, you can type the standard into the search box.  I am just starting to teacher 2.NBT.7 so I typed that into the search box.
You can see some of the videos in the search results.  I can click on any of the videos that I find useful for my students.  I don't always have access to the computer lab so I just show the videos in front of the whole class.  If you have access to computers or iPads, you could have individual students watch the videos.  You can assign different videos to different students by clicking on the orange assign button at the top of the video.  You have to be logged in to the site to take advantage of this feature.

To the left of the video you will see other videos that are related to the same standard.  To the right of the video, you will see other resources.  The first one links to the same slides that are shown in the video.  This is useful if you want to narrate the slides and stop to discuss.  You can download the slides, a parent letter, and some discussion items but those features require you to login first.

I've used LearnZillion in math but there are videos for language arts concepts.  Check out the site to see all the features!

How have you used LearnZillion in your classroom?  Have you used a similar site that you want to share with us?

*Disclaimer: I am not being compensated for reviewing this site.  I chose to do this on my own because I love using it in my classroom.

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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Tech Tip Tuesday - 2/4 - Padlet

If you want to join the linky, grab the Tech Tip Tuesday button.  Post about a technology tip.  Then link up below!

Padlet is a fun Web2.0 tool that I found.  There are many uses for Padlet.  These are the ones that the site provides.  I'm sure we can all think of many more.

I like the idea of posting a word of the day and having students use the word in a sentence.   This gives every student the opportunity to participate in the exercise instead of just calling on a few students.  I especially like that teachers can give students immediate feedback on their sentences, as the teacher in this example did.  This would be useful to use with multiple meaning words.  Students would be able to see that some words have more than one meaning.  A requirement for this activity would be enough computers with internet access for every student to use at the same time.  In my school, this would probably require the use of the mobile lab because it would take too much time to walk to the computer lab just for this one activity.  We could use the computer lab if this was an introduction to another assignment.

As for using the site, it is pretty easy.  You can create a wall without signing up for Padlet.  I created an account so I could easily go back and edit my wall.  After clicking on build a wall, you can change the background and add different notes.  To start notes, you just have to double click on the wall.  That will give you the option of linking pictures, videos, and URLs.  You can also add your own files that are not found on the web.  There is even an option to add a picture taken from a webcam.

There are many different options on who can view and what the viewers can do.  The wall can be public, it can be accessed by people that have the link, it can be password protected, or it can be private.  The private option isn't completely private because it allows you to add people by email. After you choose the visibility options, you can decide what the viewers are capable of doing.  They can view the wall, write new posts, or can moderate any posts.

I think this site is easy enough to use with elementary students.  I hope to post more about Padlet after exploring it some more.

Have you used Padlet in your classroom?  Please share a link to a Padlet you've used or created and let us know how you've used it!
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Sunday, February 2, 2014

Giveaways and a sale!

Happy Super Bowl Sunday!  I'm throwing a 20% off sale at my store for today only!  This includes all my bundles.  Happy shopping!


I'm also part of a few giveaways this weekend.  I donated my Valentine Heart Nouns, Verbs, and Adjectives product to this giveaway by Teacher Gems.  Click on the graphic to take you to the giveaway!


The other giveaway that I'm part of this weekend is hosted by Loving Kinders.  I donated my Polar Bear Adjectives, Nouns, and Verbs product to this one.  Click on the picture to enter the giveaway.


Who do you want to win the Super Bowl tonight?  One lucky person who comments before 6:30 EST will win a product of their choice from my store tomorrow.  You can enter here AND on the post on my Facebook page in order to increase your chances of winning!

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