Thursday, July 30, 2015

Teacher Tricks and Tips Thursday

Hey friends!  It's Meghan from Keeping Up with Mrs. Harris.  Can you believe that it is almost time to go back to school?  I can't believe it either, but I have a Teacher Tips for this Thursday that will have you excited about integrating technology into your morning routine.

How much fun would it be to greet your students each morning by displaying a new iMessage to them with either a writing prompt or sentence correction message on a SmartBoard or projector?

My Tech Tuesday tip for you is how to use a FREE online website to create your own iMessage images that you can use however your little heart wishes!  The possibilities are endless!  Here are the easy steps!

Fake iPhone iOS7 is a super easy website to use!  It has tons of FREE features that help you customize your message.

The first option is to customize your "settings" for your iPhone.  You can change the name, phone carrier, time, etc.

They really thought of everything when setting up the iMessages!  You can even change the amount on your battery.

You can even customize your wifi signal!  This might even fool your brightest students to encourage "buy in".

The next section is where you can really have fun!  This is where you can upload images, create messages, etc.  You can even change the color of the text bubbles for text messages or iMessages.

You and your students are sure to have a blast with these fun iMessages!  I can think of a million ideas already for using them in professional development and with my own children/students.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Workshop Wednesday - Talk Back to Books

Howdy y'all,
It's Gary from ScrappyGuy Designs.

Time certainly does fly when you are on Summer Break.  My responsibilities for the new school year will begin THIS FRIDAY! Our grade level is meeting for some planning time before we go back to Preplanning on Monday. I tried and tried and tried to convince my team to meet at the beach, but they weren't biting.

As I get ready to head back I'm thinking about how different this year is going to be especially since my BBB Jessica Ivey, more affectionately known as Jivey, will not be amongst us. She is going whole hog on this TpT thing and I wish her all the luck in the world. To pay homage to her greatness I'm stealing an idea she's posted on her blog before to share with you. Here's her post:

Jivey Talks Back to Books

Here's a picture of these great Talk Back to Books bookmarks that I use every year with  my students.

You can pick this up here.

I print these out on heavy cardstock and then cut apart to give to each student. I have them all come to group and read aloud a favorite book such as Clark the Shark. I hand out sticky notes after I read a few pages and ask them to fill it out this way:

Name Date Time
T - Title of book
A - Author of book
G - Genre of book

Then I pose a question for them to respond to on their sticky notes. Since the first question on the Talk Back to Books is "I'm thinking..." I usually go with that one. Students can write about the thoughts the book has already provoked for them.

I have them write at least two more stickies about the book (their choice) by the time we finish the read aloud. Then they take all three of the stickies and turn them into a Response on the book overall. This is a short one at the beginning of the year, usually just a paragraph. But I ask that they mention the three ideas they thought about while we were reading.

As we do more and more of these interactions the students will hopefully begin to internalize these questions and work them into their responses throughout the year.

This bookmark is a win-win in my eyes. I get to gauge what they are capable of in their writing and they get to learn the basics of a good response and how to think about books as they read.

I hope you find this useful!

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

What is GoNoodle and How Does It Work?

Happy Tuesday, Friends!

It's Theresa from True Life I'm a Teacher, and I'm here for Technology Tuesday!
A couple of years ago I kept hearing about this website called GoNoodle. I had no idea what it was other than it offered brain breaks. It wasn't until just last year (embarrassing, I know), did I actually sign up, and start using GoNoodle.

Before I started using GoNoodle, I searched YouTube for kid-appropriate brain breaks that my kids would love. I found 7 or 8 that my class just rotated through regularly. Nothing was wrong with them, except that sometimes YouTube wouldn't cooperate, and it just sort messed up the moment.

What IS GoNoodle?
"GoNoodle helps teachers and parents get kids moving with short interactive activities. Desk-side movement helps kids achieve more by keeping them engaged and motivated throughout the day." (Read more here).

GoNoodle provides many different options for short (or long - depending on the time you have available) movement breaks that get kids up and moving. Some are dances, some are songs, some simulate running, jumping, and some are calming breathing exercises.

How does it work?
GoNoodle is FREE! All you have to do is sign up. There is a paid version, GoNoodle Plus, that gets you access to even more brain breaks, which eventually I might try. For now, the free version has everything we need and more!

Sign up here or click the picture below!

If you're a non-teacher reading this, but have kids, you can still SIGN-UP! You'll be able to keep your kids having fun, and busy for hours! This is also a FANTASTIC resource for homeschoolers! 
I definitely recommend searching through GoNoodle, and watching as many of the brain breaks as you can to get a feel for what you and your class can do. Use the "Demo Class" though, so you're not actually growing your Champ under your new class. They'll be so sad if they miss their Champ growing.
To keep things easy, I name my class by the current school year. I'd never be able to keep up with anything else.

If you're school departmentalizes, or you're a specialist, you can name the class otherwise. For example, if I was the music teacher, I might name a class by grade, then teacher's last name (2nd Grade - Copeland). It'd make it easy to switch to whatever class I was seeing at the time.
How cute are these Champs? And the names? Hilarious. I choose the first Champ, just so we can get started on the very first day of school without ANY delays.
"Champs are the primary motivation system in GoNoodle. Every time you play an activity with your students, you help grow your Champ. When you grow a Champ completely, you get to choose a new one to grow." {For more info about Champs click here)
Your new class is now ready to go. The Champs are always giving some silly little saying or "fact" that the kids get a kick out of!

From here though, I'd recommend heading back to your demo class so that you can actually see some of brain breaks. To do that, just click on "Dashboard" > Demo Class.
Once you're within your Demo Class, you'll see a few different options at the top of the screen.
Once you've seen some brain breaks with your class, they'll definitely have favorites! You may also have some favorites of your own that you want to incorporate regularly throughout the day.
Do you already GoNoodle? I'd love to know what your favorite brain break is!

Are you planning on using GoNoodle for the first time this year? I'd love to know what you're most excited about! Sign up here!

Whether you already GoNoodle, or you're just signing up, I created a a list of rules my class follows as it pertains to brain breaks, as well as a list of some of our favorites! Grab them here or by clicking on either of the pictures below. Enjoy!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Behavior Code Cards

Hey Friends It's Erin from The Elementary Darling! Today we are Keepin' it Fresh at the Primary Peach with some behavior code cards.

 In my school we use PBIS, so this is one strategy that we use for behavior and to control the chatter!

It is pretty easy to use. I hold up the number of fingers while describing my activity or instructions. Then I put a magnet next to the code we are currently in, as a reminder to the students. I introduce this on the first day of school and the students pick it up really quickly. This helps keep the classroom chit-chat to a minimum. 

The following codes are included:
Code 0- Working quietly, zero talking
Code 1- Students can speak to the teacher.
Code 2- Students can speak to a partner
Code 3- Students can speak to their group.

I have found that the students love the participation and are always referring to the white board to check. When it gets a little noisy, I raise my hand into a fist, to quiet the students down and remind them which code we are in, and the expectations of that code. It may seem simple, but the visual reminders are great for my students!  These are in my TPT store for purchase, BUT because I am celebrating my last weekend of summer (we start school on Monday) I have changed them to free until Monday when I get up to go to school! Grab them here or click on the picture below!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Back to School: Organizing Sneak-a-Peek with Stations

Hey there friends! It's Theresa from True Life I'm a Teacher!

Today is all about Teacher Tips & Tricks :) Who doesn't love a good teacher tip?!?
The countdown is on! ONE week from TODAY, I will be meeting my sweet seconds (and their parents)! EEEKKK! Where has summer gone??? I've been spending lots of time in my classroom lately, and things are finally starting to look better...I think. I hope. Fingers crossed!

I am so excited to meet my new students, and as usual, I am super nervous! I mean, I've spent all summer thinking about my new kiddos - what are their names? what are their interests? personalities?  and uhh, how many of them are there??? Haha!

I gotta tell ya...I love sneak-a-peek (this might be called meet the teacher/open house/back to school night at your school)! But I also hate sneak-a-peek! Don't hate - I'll explain!

I love meeting my students and their families, but at the same time, there's only ONE of me, and so many people to meet! Plus, there's about a million things to try to get accomplished, and ya'll...parents are short on time!

It's hard to remember, and keep track of everything! Fortunately, a few years ago, I started using STATIONS for sneak-a-peek, and it was a HIT (with parents AND with me!).
What are Sneak-a-Peek stations?
Stations (think of these like centers, almost) are set up and spread out around the classroom. Each station has a different "task."

How many stations are there?
This depends on you, your classroom, and your school. I have 10 - but you may only need 6. Just depends on what all you want parents/students to do and/or complete while they're there.

Here are the 10 stations I have:
Why have stations?
Before I used stations, there was inevitably a line of parents and students and no one really knew what to do (including me, HA!). It was awkward, and there weren't enough to me to go around and answer questions.

Stations provided the perfect solution.

Basically, parents can move at their own pace through the stations. In addition, they're spread out around the room, so there are no clumps or lines of people just waiting for a pen to become available.

Bonus? Parents LOVE how organized everything is. Each year, I get countless compliments from parents who share how impressed they were at the organization, and efficiency of the evening. There's nothing quite as important as making a good GREAT FIRST IMPRESSION!

How does it work?
I start with a checklist. I mean, seriously, who doesn't love a checklist? I make checklists #ihavelistsformylists (In other news, there is a typo in the picture - but it's fixed in the product, as well as the FREEBIE...keep reading!!!)
Next, parents just follow the yellow brick road. Just kidding. They follow the station signs. Easy. (Please pardon my old "button" - these pictures were from last year!)

Here's a look at the checklist I give parents when they first walk in. I also quickly explain how the room is set-up. This checklist is specific to my class (I'm co-teaching, which is why you see two teachers' names).
Buuuut, I have a FREEBIE for you! Cause, why not??? Below is an EDITABLE checklist for you to use during your Sneak-a-Peek/Meet the Teacher/Open House/Back-to-School Night! Just click on the picture below :)
Interested in ALL the stations and forms I use? You can find the entire product, here, in my TpT store! There are 10 stations (PDF version and an EDITABLE version). PLUS, 18 back-to-school forms, many of which are EDITABLE as well!