Friday, July 26, 2013


I am super excited to share my new job with the world!  I will be teaching a 3rd/4th grade combo class.  It is at a private Christian school, but that is super exciting too because I get to pray with my students daily and read and teach them the Bible.  I am looking forward to all the things God will do this year.  Thank you to all those who kept me in your thoughts and prayers during this last year as I searched for a job.  It has been a struggle, but God even provided through that.  I was able to learn many things by being in so many different classrooms as I subbed.  Plus I got to meet many amazing teachers!

Of course I am itching to get into my new classroom to organize, decorate, and plan.  I will definitely be posting pictures as soon as I get in there.  My husband will be happy to see some of my school collection gone from our house.  Over the past five years, I have collected quite a bit of stuff.  Now I can actually start using a lot of it. 

Until then...

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Student Response System

I always get excited when I learn about some new technology.  This time I came across Netclick which is a web-based student response system.  Some schools have Smartboards or Promethean Boards with clickers/texters.  However, many schools cannot afford that technology.  The good news is that Netclick makes it more affordable to have an interactive classroom.  I watched the demo and it shows students using any device (computer, tablet, iPhone, Android) to interact with the teacher's Powerpoints.  I think that is another fabulous feature is that you can use the Powerpoints you already have rather than having to recreate the information in some other format.  It allows you to export the data to see how the students answered for each slide.  You can lock slides so students can't interact.  Students log in with a code that appears at the top of the Netclick screen. The Netclick screen shows the answer the student touched.  I like to share new things I find.  While I haven't actually used this technology yet in my classroom, I can definitely see its usefulness and plan to use it in the near future.  If you are familiar with Netclick, please leave a comment so we can learn the pros and cons.  Thank you!  Happy Independence Day!

Friday, May 17, 2013

Organize your classroom library!

Organize your classroom library!

I am excited to share my latest discovery.  I have been searching for an app that would allow me to keep track of my books.  The Classroom Organizer is better than anything I could have ever imagined.  Here are some of the reasons I like it...

  • It is FREE!
  • Scan the ISBN on your book and Classroom Organizer quickly logs title, author, ISBN, and a picture of the book.
  • There are other fields that can be filled in such as reading level and points etc.
  • Set up students so they can check out and return books on their own.
  • Students can leave a review of the book for others to read before they check it out.
  • Students can mark the condition of the book upon check out and return so they no longer have to bother you about a book with a loose cover or missing pages etc.  They can just mark it and put the book in the "book hospital."
  • Teachers can set the maximum number of books for students to check out as well as the number of days they can keep the books. 
  • Reports:  Book Checkout History, Current Books Checked Out, and other reports
  • Access via app for iPhone and Droid as well as the desktop computer.  As far as I can tell there is no access via iPad.
Many of you may be thinking that you would like to utilize this in your classroom, however, you don't have the time to scan (blank) number of books.  Neither do I, but it would be a great project for a wonderful volunteer. 

Leave me a post if you have used this or intend to.  I am always curious to know the ups and downs of technology in other classrooms.  Thank you for stopping by!  Have a great day from my classroom to yours! :)

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Do your students have the writing blues?

Many students dislike writing.  However, blogs motivate students to write!  Is it any wonder since the generation we teach wasn't raised on pencil and paper but rather technology and social media?  Blogs are a great education tool to teach writing.  Somehow knowing you will get to type your writing on a blog for everyone to see and respond to makes planning and writing it on a piece a paper a little bit easier to take.  The exciting part, to me anyway, is that they get to respond to each other's writing.  It's almost like shared writing journals, but more fun.  So maybe the next question you're asking is which blog is safest for my students?  I am excited to share a site one of my 4th grade friends shared with me.  It is called Kid Blog.  She was out on maternity leave and was able to write to her students and tell them about the new baby, and they were able to respond.  Exciting! 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Teachers Need a Personal Secretary

I am back!  I knew this was going to happen...start a blog, then have long gaps in my posts.  Here is the scoop...I have had two long-term sub jobs for some wonderful ladies who had the sweetest little babies!  It is so hard to go back to work after having a little one.  You just want stay home and cuddle that sweet baby for as long as you can!  Anyway, I am thankful and honored they asked me to sub in their rooms.  It has been wonderful, exciting, educational, and scary all at once.  Things that surprised me about being in the classroom were the amount of paperwork!  The acronyms are insane...PLC, QPA, DRA, FAIR, PST...well you guys know about all these.  One other thing is the number of meetings teachers attend.  I teasingly told a friend the other day that teachers need a personal secretary to handle all of the phone calls, paperwork, copying, filing, and appointments.  No matter, there is no place I'd rather be than in the classroom!    

One more thing...I saw this app on another blog.  If I put it on here, maybe I won't forget to look at it later.   Socrative App

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Classroom Management

If you have never heard of Class Dojo, you should check it out! I recently began using it.  I set all the kids up in the system, giving them each their own unique monster.  I projected Class Dojo on the board throughout the day.  It is similar to a clothespin system where you move pins up or down, but instead they get reds (negatives) or greens (positives).  There are some great features to Class Dojo.  For one, it keeps a daily, weekly, or all time total.  So I cleared it daily so they all had a fresh start.  However I could switch it to "all time" to see each of their running totals, for every 20 greens (positives) they get a prize.  One hundred points is an Icecream party.  The second thing I like is that you can specify the positive or negative behavior and it clocks the time.  These two pieces of information are valuable for parent conferences. You can create the positives or negatives that pertain to your class and write comments if you want to add more detail.  The third thing I like is that you can print reports for parents.  They do need to make them more customizable but it is still a great feature.  Another great feature is their is an iPad app so you can mark behavior on the go.  The best feature is that it is FREE!  I take the computer mouse to my reading table and if I need to give out greens or reds I just click on the student(s) and the behavior.  I don't need to say a word because when they see the monsters come up on the front board, they check their own behavior or noise levels.  Often times if the whole class has phenomenal behavior I do two random picks and let the computer pick who gets the greens. That's another awesome feature.  I use this with a second grade class. I would be curious to hear from others who have used it in other grades.

Getting rid of paper!

While the job market in education is stalled, at least in my area, I have been blessed to have many substituting opportunities.  The most recent was six weeks in second grade!  It was a fabulous experience!  While there were many highlights, I really wanted to share a couple of my faves with you.

First, there are times when Pinterest can be a lifesaver!  This is one of them.  The way our schedule worked was first bell at 7:45, kids come in get unpacked, listen to morning announcements, and kill two or three minutes before we lined up to go to special area.  Since I hate wasting time, I needed to make that few minutes count for the kids. I could have given them a worksheet, but that is no fun and the kids who got there on time might have seen that as punishment because the late students wouldn't have to do the paper.  Plus it was more paper for me.  I'll get to the paper issue in a minute.  One night I was perusing on Pinterest when low and behold there was a pin showing students writing on their desks!  That was the solution!  I started having the kids fill those two minutes by writing multiples on their desks!  They loved it, no paper for me, and they began getting to class on time!  While they were at special area, I walked around with a rag and spray bottle, checked their work and erased.  Let me add, they used DRY ERASE MARKERS.

More about paper.  This time in math.  The typical routine was watch this funky little animation that came with the math series, do guided practice together.  Then have the kids do independent practice by themselves and turn it in.  Ok, that's more paper for me.  Can you tell I am not a big fan of paper? Plus this routine is not very exciting.  Our academic coach is great about sharing resources with us and we happen to be going over some thinking math strategies in our meetings.  She shared the website NCTM Illuminations with us and it is chuck full of interactive math tools!  One in particular was the pan balance used for teaching equality.  The kids were antsy about that math paper taunting them on the corner of their desk.  They kept asking, "Do I need to write this down?"  I would type a problem into one pan and ask them to give me another problem to put in the other pan so it would balance.  Before long they were adding, subtracting, multiplying, and doing multi-step solutions.  It was amazing! They were so engaged and begging me to give them bigger numbers and harder problems.  Had we done the math paper, they would have been limited to the numbers and ideas presented.  Instead they were able to think bigger and at higher levels.  It was a learning moment for me too. I want as many days as possible to be like that day.  I can't explain the joy I felt watching them be so eager to learn!