Monday, June 20, 2016

Beginning of Year Activity that helps students become familar to Google Classroom and Google Slides

One great way to introduce Google Classroom during the first week of school is with a geat to know you/team building activity. It's also a great way to take a traditional game or idea that you have used in the past and make a few tweaks with technology to make it a collaborative 21st century activity that will be fun and engaging for your students! We recently did this activity to begin our Summer School/Stem Camp because some of the students had never used Google Classroom or Google Slides before and it worked beautifully! As the teacher, you will need to first set up your Google Classroom account and create a new class for your students. They will join by entering a class code.

2 Truths and 1 Lie
Once you have set up Google Classroom, you will create the 2 Truths and 1 Lie game in Google Slides. I started with the title, "How well do you think you know Ms. ___?" and put my name where the question mark is. The students loved this and were immediately hooked. Then I displayed my 2 Truths and 1 Lie slide that looked like this.
The students then talked with their group about which fact they thought was the lie, we voted on it, and then I revealed the 2 facts that were true and the one that was made up. Then, the next part of the activity is completely collaborative and interactive and serves many purposes. 
Google Slides is like Powerpoint in that you can add as many blank slides as you need. I suggest assigning the number of blank slides as you have students in your room. At the beginning of each year I assigned my class a number 1-22 for example to help keep up with our technology and class assignments. The numbers were in alphabetical order and this activity also helps teach them their number. Students will open the Google Slide game from their Google Classroom account. Give each student their number and tell them to click on their number slide. Then each student will create their own 2 Truths and 1 Lie slide. Then you can display 4-5 slides each morning and have the students guess the lie of each student in your class. This was an amazing get to know you game!

If you'd like me to send you the template I created for this game just email me!

Enjoy! I know the summer is the time everyone is preparing with new ideas for the upcoming school year!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Read Works Digital

Many of us have been using for a long time. This is an amazing free resource for teachers. offers educators thousands of reading passages with questions and novel studies. As education continues to evolve and curriculum and tests become digitized, has now come out with a digital version of their product. We have had a chance to use during our summer school program and have been very pleased with it! There are hundreds of articles for every grade and Lexile level. Students are able to read the article on their own device (we used Chromebooks and laptops) and then participate in a vocabulary study or answer questions. I like that the questions include some multiple choice AND technology enhanced (TEI) questions. Students are able to complete the assignment and turn it in to the teacher.
For easy management, students are able to log in and join a class with their Google accounts. All the teacher needs to do is set up a new class, get a class code and then students type in the class code the first time they enter the class. Teachers are able to create multiple classes which is nice for differentiation, remediation or enrichment. Thank you!


Friday, June 10, 2016

Google Classroom in Grades 3-5

Our county hosted a Teaching and Learning Summit professional development mini conference at the close of the 2016 school year. I presented numerous ways of using Google Classroom in the Elementary Grades. Below, I have embedded the presentation. ENJOY!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Summer Reading 2016

One of my goals this summer is to read A LOT! The most fun part of this challenge is finding the perfect books to read. There are a lot of recommendations this time of year, and I have compiled a list of suggestions from around the Web that you may find interesting as well! Cheers, to laying by the pool or in the sand with a good book!

For the Critical Thinker in Me

For the Counselor in Me

For the Social Justice Advocator in Me
Chosen as many College and Universities Common Reading Book of 2016, specifically Duke University-

For the Romantic in Me

For the Scandal & Grey’s Anatomy Obsessed Me
Recommended “unofficially of course” by Olivia Pope

For the Teacher in Me

For the Spirit in Me

National Geographic Kids and Nonfiction Reading

For those of you who live and work in Virginia, do you know about It is a wonderful resource for parents, teachers, libraries, and students! One of my favorite resources they offer is access to National Geographic Kids photographs, videos, magazines and ebooks. You can access these materials by clicking on elementary/middle school and then selecting National Geographic Kids.
Click on Browse Magazines for online access to magazine issues since 2009.
You will have access to read the entire magazine! This is an amazing resource for kids to find fun nonfiction articles to read over the summer and throughout the school year!
This is also an invaluable resource for educators who are interested in finding new and innovative ways of having kids interact with facts! For example: you could show a page like the one below and offer the following questions/activities for gifted students, early finishers, morning work, bell ringer activities, library/computer lab, math, science, research etc. 
1. Research 2 more facts about the Gentoo Penguin.
2. Wild Giraffes sleep about a half hour a day, the shortest amount of any animal. Find out which animal sleeps the longest amount, complete a table similar to the one below, or even give the students a habitat and have them choose 3 animals that live in that habitat and make their own table. 
3. Have students draw a colossal squid eye that is 10.6 inches across!
4. If Saltwater Crocodiles are the biggest living reptiles, ask students what the smallest living reptile is and have them find the difference in lengths! Or, they could write a number sentence for this fact. (ex. 3 saltwater crocodiles can grow as long as how many baseball bats? 3x6=18
5. Have students take a screen shot in Google Earth of where the smallest Chameleon lives and then determine how many miles away they live from their house!
6. Bumblee Bats are the smallest living mammal, have students write a simile and metaphor using this mammal. 

Through this website, you also have access to 322 National Geographic ebooks at all different reading levels like the ones pictured below!
All images from this post are from Finditva and