Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tech Tip Tuesday ending temporarily

Thank you for being loyal followers of Tech Tip Tuesdays since they started back in December.  I've been so grateful for the guest bloggers on Tuesdays when I didn't have a tip ready.  But unfortunately, I think it was just the beginning of the end.

I am so sad to share that I cannot continue weekly Tech Tip postings.  Keep reading to understand why.

I was so excited when the idea came to me in December.  I had a running list of ideas that I just had to share with you.  And then the list ran out.

I thought I'd have time to add more ideas to my list.  But that hasn't happened. :(

Work and life has gotten in the way.  I can't continue to work a full-time teaching job during the day and then blog, create products, market, etc at night.  I've neglected lots of things in my life in order to spend time on the computer.  It's very hard for me to cut out something in my life that I'm passionate about.  But at the same time, I feel like I don't have a choice.  I need to spend time with my family.  I can't ignore my boyfriend every night.  I need to get back into a workout routine for my health.  With spring coming soon, I want to get outside more and be active.

With that being said, I hope to get back to regular postings during the summer when teaching isn't consuming most of my time.  I'm not stopping altogether, I just won't be posting weekly Tech Tips until summer at the earliest.

Again, thanks for your support over the last 3 months.  And thank you for understanding why I had to make this difficult decision.  I know many of you have joined me recently just for my tips.  This isn't goodbye.  I promise I'll be back!

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Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Tech Tip Tuesday - Class Dojo

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

I am in love with Class Dojo!  I've heard about it for awhile now, but didn't have time to check it out.  I spent some time over my snow days last week playing around with it and was ready to introduce it to my students as soon as we went back to school.

Can I just say it was the best thing ever!!  I have some boys that need reminders about behaviors and this free online classroom management system has done the trick over the last week and a half!  I don't feel as tired at the end of the day because I can focus on teaching instead of managing behaviors.  I find myself giving directions one time only instead of repeating myself 50 times a day.

I haven't taken advantage of all the features because of lack of time.  I haven't connected Class Dojo with any tangible rewards.  Just points on the screen.  And that's all it's taken to drastically improve the behavior of my class.  I am so proud of my students for behaving the way I know they are capable of every single day.  Sure, I still have moments where I have to verbally remind them to follow directions.  But the frequency of those reminders has dropped tremendously.

I have the program up on the screen for most of class so they can see their points.  They love looking at the percentage at the end of class to see how we did as a whole class.  They also like to see when they've had 100% days - which means they've only received positive points.  I can't always have the program displayed because I need my computer for other things and I don't have a Smartboard or extra computer.  When we're out of the classroom, I can track points on the app on my phone.  They love walking back into the classroom to see that they've earned points for walking quietly in the hallway.

Here are some pictures of the site.

After you log in and create your class, you will see all the classes here.  I have different students for math than I do for homeroom, so I created a new class for them.  Even though I have my homeroom students for social studies, I wanted to create a separate social studies class because this is in the afternoon and it is easy to compare their behavior in social studies if I have it as a separate class.

When I'm ready to start, I'll click on start for the class I want.  This will take me to the students' avatars.  The avatars can be customized for students if you give them a login code.  I haven't used this feature or the one for parents yet.  I might wait until next year when I get a new class and can use the site for the whole year.  I'm using this year as just a trial year to test what I like and what I don't like.

After I click start, I will see the avatars.  These were randomly assigned when I set up my class.  The point values are from the last time we had class.  The points don't automatically reset each day.  I wish they did, but I haven't figured out if that is possible yet.  Before class, I click on the reset bubbles button and the points start over.

I entered my reading group names as the last name for each student.  This makes it easy to sort by reading group later on.  There is a way to award multiple students points at the same time, so I like to have my reading groups near each other.  It takes less thinking and time on my part.

When you click on End Class, it takes you to the report.  You can customize the report for today, this week, this month, etc.
During this week, my students were 91% positive.  You can also see on the left the individual percentage for each student.  Most of my students that receive negative points are repeats, so I usually only have a handful that have less than 100%.

I have much more to share with you about Class Dojo, but I will save that for another time.  Please let me know if you have any questions on how to use it and I can answer those questions the next time I post about it.

What is your favorite classroom management system?

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Help me celebrate my 30th birthday


Hi followers! My birthday is coming up quickly and I'm looking for donations to a giveaway to help me celebrate!

Here are the details:
  • I'm looking for products for K-2, 3-5, Middle or High School, and Clip Art.
  • Donations accepted until 8pm EDT March 30, 2014 or sooner depending on how many submissions I receive.
  • Giveaway will go live on my birthday - April 5 and last for one week. Winners will be notified on Sunday, April 13.
  • You will pick one place where you want followers - TpT, Facebook, blog, etc.
  • Please email products to techieturtleteacher@gmail.com in addition to filling out the form.
 If you're interested, please click here or on the picture at the top to fill out the form.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Tech Tip Tuesday - Literacy Leveler

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

Today's Tech Tip Tuesday is from Jessica at Mrs.Plemons Kindergarten.

Hello! I'm super excited to be guest blogging with one of my favorite new apps for leveling books in your classroom library.

It is the Literacy Leveler by Fikes Farm, LLC. I downloaded it because it was available for free for a short time, and it is usually 4.99. But after using it I would definitely say it is worth every penny!  Here is how it can help you in the classroom.

First it is super easy to use.  You just scan the barcode on the book (in that top part, it was impossible to get a good screenshot with a barcode, lol) and boom it gives you the lexile level, dra level, and guided reading level! It's that easy :) 

Every book I tried had at least a lexile level, but most had all three levels listed in seconds!  Even some of the harder to find scholastic books.

Next, you can search for books by title, author, Lexile, DRA, or Guided Reading level.  I love this feature for finding lower level guided reading books for my kinders.

 When you find and scan books you can save them to your library to look up later sorted by when you scanned them or alphabetically by title.

 So overall this is one of the easiest to use and fastest way I have found to look up reading levels for books that I have and I love it! I hope it makes your life a little bit easier :)
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Saturday, March 8, 2014

Hands On Measurement Fun - CCSS 2.MD.1 and 2.MD.2

Earlier this week, I saw another TpT seller post a product that I just had to have!  Tara from 180 Days and Counting lives near me and teaches in my county, but we've never met in person!  Since she also teaches second grade, I know her products fit with what I'm teaching.  Anyway, she had a giveaway on her Facebook page for 2 of her products.  I purchased both and printed them immediately!  I want to share with you how I used one of them with my students.  With all the snow days this week, I haven't gotten around to using the other product yet.

Hands on Measurement Fun has 6 centers.  Here's how we used them.

On Wednesday, I split the class into 2 groups and we used two of her centers - Cotton Ball Toss and Frog Jump Measurement.  I ran one group and my intern ran the other group.  I wanted them to switch groups and complete both activities, but I didn't want to rush them.  Each group only completed one activity.  We completed the activities using inches, feet, and yards.

On Thursday, we split into the same 2 groups and worked on the other center.  This time, we focused on measuring using centimeters and meters.

I don't have pictures of the Cotton Ball Toss because my intern was running that center.  I forgot to take pictures of both centers.

This product is well worth the money!  My kids loved the centers!  I loved the fact that they were learning and having fun at the same time!  I have a difficult group and they were on task the whole time!  I am excited to use some of the other activities next week.

Check it out!

What is a product that you saw and just knew you had to have?

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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Tech Tip Tuesday - Contact Me form for blogs

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


Today's Tech Tip is from Kristy from On the Way to Mrs. Bearfield's Class.  She has a wonderful tutorial on how to add a contact me form to your blog!  I followed her steps to add a form to my blog.  I hope you will too!

Before we begin I will state that this process can be a bit tricky because there are a lot of steps. Make sure to follow each step carefully to ensure that your form is set up properly. I assume that you already have a blog and are just needing to add the form.

The first thing you need to do is make sure you have a Google account. This account will allow you to access your contact me responses. You can have the responses sent to any email address. If you need help setting up a Google account, Google provides a great step by step process here.

Add the "Contact Me" blog page: 
1. From your blogger dashboard click on "Pages" on the right hand side.
2. At the top of this page click, "New Page", then click "Blank Page".
4. Save this. We will need it later.

Create the "Contact Me" Form:
1. I use this template from Google Docs. Most of the work is already done for you.
2. Click "Use this Template" in the top left corner.
3. Here you can make changes to what the form includes.
4. Click on "More Actions" in the top right hand side of the form. Then click "Embed".
5. Copy the code that pops up.

Adding the Code to your Blog:
1. Go back to your "Contact Me" page on Blogger.
2. Once the page is open on the top left, click "HTML".
3. Paste the code and save the form.

If you view your blog now you will see the form! The next step will make sure that you are notified anytime someone contacts you via the form.

Setting up Notifications for the Form:
1. Go to Google Drive. Make sure you are logged in.
2. Locate the form. The title should be "Contact us Form"
3. At the top in the middle, click "Tools", "Notification Rules".
4. Check the boxes that say "A user submits a form" and "Any changes are made".
5. Choose if you wish to receive emails right away or if you prefer to be emailed 1x per day.
6. Save.

The best way to test the form is to go back to your blog and submit a form. If you set it properly you should receive an email shortly. Forms can also be used to take surveys about your blog or products. Many sellers use these forms to collect data when hosting a giveaway. As always, let me know if you have any questions. I am happy to help.

~Mrs. Bearfield~

Thank you Kristy!  If you enjoyed this post, please check out her blog for more tips: On the Way to Mrs. Bearfield's Class

If you are a seller, you should check out her Teachers Pay Teachers store.  She has amazing clip art!

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Monday, March 3, 2014

another snow day! linky party!

I have another snow day today!  They called it last night before it even started snowing!  But another day off means more time to work on products, blog posts, etc!

I hope to finish progress reports, create and post at least one new product, revise my plans for the week, and clean off some space on my DVR!

I don't know what will happen at the end of the year with all these days off we need to make up.  I'm not going to worry about it now!  I'm enjoying the time off even though my students really need a routine.

I'd love to link up with other people who are enjoying a snow day today.  Share a blog post about how you're spending your day or what you plan to accomplish.  You can link up about almost anything!  Just use the graphic at the top of the page if you do!

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