Saturday, July 30, 2016

Resource Sale!

Visit our Teachers Pay Teachers store August 1st and 2nd to get 20% off all our resources! This is a great time to purchase our 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade STEM packets. We have been marketing them for use in summer school, but they are perfect to use in the classroom as well.  During the year, we use them for extra library and guidance lessons to build math and reading skills using fun, creative, career based STEM themes.  They would also be very effective as regular classroom lessons, and enrichment or intervention lessons throughout the year.


We also have MANY resources that would be amazing to use at the beginning of the year!  We have 2 sets of schools rules and students jobs packets to start your year off right! One is a superhero theme: I Lead! What's Your Superpower? The other packet is a technology themed: iLead

There is also a packet that helps your students learn what they have "genius" in. This is a fabulous beginning of the year activity to promote self esteem and a positive classroom culture!  Finally, you will love the ideas we have for creating personal and classroom mission statements!  We included lessons and worksheets to help you get started with mission statements day one! Your students will love starting the year off feeling like leaders in your classroom!


Plus many more resources at our store!

20% off ALL products August 1st and 2nd!

Monday, July 18, 2016

Ladders of Success- Google Classroom Back to School Activity

Recently, I have been thinking of ways to develop meaningful technology activities that engage 21st century learners. By meaningful, I mean activities that come alive through technology instead of uploading a worksheet or questions for kids to type on instead of hand write. I want their learning to come alive with technology so that they are engaged and motivated to problem solve and create with technology in new and different ways. One of these ideas involves introducing Google Classroom to my reading group. I teach a reading class for 90 minutes a day and we use the Success For All program which is big on Teamwork, Collaboration, and Student Led Discussion Groups. I always do a team building activity on the first day of reading. However this year, I want to do a team building activity that not only strengthens our classroom culture, but also introduces Google Classroom (the online learning platform that we will use every day during our reading class). So here is the activity I came up with- Ladders of Success.

1st- I created this document in Google Docs. I linked the video at the top of the Doc, then inserted a table and listed the numbers 1-24. (I will probably only have about 16 students in my reading class and will modify it to only include the number of students in my class.) I also have post it notes on students tables/desks when they enter the classroom. This is a management strategy that I use to save time. They find the post it note with their name on it, and I explain that the number will be their technology number. This way they will always get the same number laptop/chromebook/ipad everyday. This saves a lot of time when they log into the classroom each days especially if using Chromebooks/ipads b/c they stay logged in from day to day.

2nd- I show the video on the Clear Touch Board and as they are watching the video, I ask that they think about the message/theme of the video. Anytime during the video they can write beside their number- about what they can take away from watching the video and how they are going to apply it to their learning in our reading group this year. You can also view revision history and see which student is typing in which location. So, for the class the answers are anonymous (unless of course they click on revision history as well), but you can tell which student is answering a certain way.

3rd- During and after the video all students are engaged thinking about and typing their response to the video. At the end we go over the results as a class and begin the year in a positive, motivating way!

Students have learned that you are setting the bar high in your classroom, that you expect and WANT them to be successful, they know their technology number, they know how to collaborate on a google doc and they get to see their students responses. You can even take it a step further if you have time and teach them how to add a comment, and comment on a peer’s post. All of these skills are relevant today and teach our students ways to be successful collaborators of technology!

Monday, July 11, 2016

Have you read Beyond the Tiger Mom: East-West Parenting for the Global Age by Maya Thiagarajan?

Have you read Beyond the Tiger Mom: East-West Parenting for the Global Age, by: Maya Thiagarajan? I found this “gem” at my local library this weekend and have already devoured it at the pool. I know, I know...believe me I got some weird stares from my fellow pool goers on my choice of literacy, but hey- I loved it! I could not put it down. The author did a good job of weaving current research, her own personal research, interviews, and dialogue together to bring to light many topics that I am passionate about. I also began to ask a lot of reflective questions as I was reading this book. My takeaways from chapter 1 are discussed below.

My Thoughts on Chapter 1:
  • Do Americans value literacy over math?
  • Does our culture place a higher emphasis on building a literacy rich environment from the time a baby is in the womb until beginning school over a math rich environment?
I’ve been to numerous baby showers and even planned them to invite guests to bring a book instead of a card. I’ve personally never included a math or number game or accessory in a baby shower gift, although I religiously include books. The more I think on this, the more I feel a “Shark-Tank” worthy idea forming in my head for this unmarketed math gifting idea! Who’s with me?! As Americans we also place a high value on reading aloud to our kids before bedtime. This tradition is practiced by many hoping to familiarize their young children with concepts of print, introduce them to letter sounds, retelling techniques, and the love of stories. But how many of us have a daily math problem before bed or dinner time or driving in the car? Have you seen the Bedtime Math website? This site has a lot to offer, but most notable is a quick 5-10 minute daily math problem that coincides with a quirky fact that interests students and families. In her books, Thiagarajan includes a list of over 30 tips for building a math rich environment at home. My favorite tips include: Play board games, Play card games of all kinds, Get kids to decompose and recompose numbers, Do measuring and geometry activities with your kids and of course- Include them in PROBLEM SOLVING!

If this peaks your interest, maybe you’ll pick up the book!