Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Technology Tuesday- typing activities

Thanks for popping back by for the second Technology Tuesday! This week my students started doing some practice typing. I've found 2 websites that have activities that are fun and simple to give K-2 kiddos practice finding letters on the keyboard.

The first site is one you might already be familiar with. It's abcya.com. Your students can get to the typing activities with this URL: http://www.abcya.com/kids_typing_games.htm or by searching "typing" on the home page of abcya.com.
Here's what they'll see
My favorite, and one my students feel very successful with is Type Rocket Jr. Students try to type the letter that appears on each rocket. As they type the letters, the rocket explodes. They're really loving it!

The 2nd site is Learning Games for Kids. There are typing courses that start out having kids type one letter at a time and increase to typing complete words.
Here is the URL for these games: http://www.learninggamesforkids.com/keyboarding_games/typing-course.html

Hopefully you can find some of this worthwhile for your classroom. I'm going to cut things short tonight. I'm a little tired. I had half of another teacher's class in my room today since there was no substitute for her so I had 32 kiddos instead of my usual 23. So much for my lesson plans! It's hard to find room for that many to sit when you're not set up for it, you know? I feel for those of you that have that many students on a regular basis. I really appreciate my smaller class! But we did a little math and a Thanksgiving art project I quickly prepped at recess and it all worked out. Her kids were really sweet. Do you ever have days when there aren't enough subs to go around?

I'm off to get a few things ready for the rest of the week. Have a good one!

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Technology Tuesday- Digital Writing

Welcome to Technology Tuesday! Every Tuesday I'll post something technology related that I've discovered or tried in my classroom. 

A little background: This year my classroom is one of several in my district piloting having 1:1  devices in the classroom. We have a class set of Lenovo Thinkpad laptop/tablets we share with a sixth grade classroom at my school. The devices are stored on a rolling cart her sixth graders roll back and forth for us. It's working out well. Luckily the teacher I share them with is a really nice person and it was easy to work out a schedule for using the Thinkpads.

I've spent a lot of time searching for websites my 2nd graders (and K-1) kiddos could use for digital writing. The K-2 Common Core standard reads "With guidance and support from adults, explore a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers." So far we've explored Padlet.com and Storyboardthat.com and I like both of them very much and my students do too! 

Padlet.com is a fun, easy to use, and very versatile website where students can share and collaborate with each other. As a teacher it is very easy to set up an account- and it's free! As a student it's easy to log on to the padlet wall the teacher sets up. We use Padlet.com on Thursday and Friday mornings to answer a quick "question of the day' that I make up. 
The first wall I set up asked my 2nd graders to tell what their favorite food is. Students typed their name then the answer to the question. In real time they see their responses and those of the other students pop up on the screen. After some of them got their responses up I showed them how they could add a photo of themselves. As these started to pop up they started shouting WoW! It was really fun to see their reactions! I wish I could show you our wall, but with names and photos I probably shouldn't. So I'll leave you with this short video tutorial that go me started. If you try Padlet.com or you already have, I'd love to hear how you use it!

Storyboardthat.com gives the students a chance to create a 3-frame or 6-frame storyboard, like a comic strip. They add a background to each square in the storyboard as well as characters and dialog bubbles the website calls "textables." I love that term! There is no end to how creative kids can be with this tool. I would recommend it for 2nd grade and above, maybe 1st grade in late spring. Students can get on Storyboardthat.com and create for free, but a teacher account your students can save their work to go back to later and you can easily see what students are working on. I used the free 14-day account and will probably pay small fee to keep my account. The website looks complicated so the first time we used it I had the whole class make the same storyboard step by step with me. After that they have used it on their own. It amazes me how quickly they figured out what to do! If you're looking for a digital writing tool for your class, you might want to explore
Storyboardthat.com. Here is the video tutorial that helped me figure it out.

Yesterday we had a district Tech Expo in place of a regular professional development day. It was set up like a conference where teachers could choose the sessions they wanted to attend. It was so much better than the traditional way we've done PD days before. I presented (my first time presenting to a group of teachers! I very nervous!) about these websites and teachers seemed to like them so I thought I'd share them with you.
I hope you'll join me on every Tuesday on my journey to learn how to implement technology in my classroom!

And for any of you who might be a veteran, be married to one, be the mother or father of one, thank you for your service and the sacrifices you made so that we could enjoy our freedom!

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Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Frankenstein Directed Draw

I haven't been a very good blogger lately. Where does the time go??? I'm back tonight to share a quick post with you about a directed draw my class did today. It was so fun! If you're looking for a simple Halloween project in the next 2 days, this could be it.
Last night I drew this Frankenstein. He was so much fun to color! (As a little girl coloring was one of my favorite things to do! I still remember when my cousin taught me to trace the lines first, then color the inside of the shape. Thanks, Jan!)
I'm sorry I don't have directions to share. I drew the line for his head first, then did the bolts and face. Next we did the shirt, and the pants were last. Feel free to pin this cute guy! 
Here are some of the ones my students drew. I love how they turned out!
 Have a fun Halloween with your class! I'll be back soon with some technology related posts. Stay tuned!

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Sunday, September 28, 2014

Red Ribbon Week Book Review & Givewaway

I've been a bad blogger and haven't even posted photos of my classroom yet this year. Yikes! Part of the reason has to do with our kitty Stevie. (I'm going to take a minute for something personal here then get to the book review.) You may remember me mentioning him before. He was blind and somewhat deaf and had several other medical issues. Sadly his kidney disease got the better of him recently and we lost him last Tuesday. Our lives had been centered around him since June when we thought for sure he wouldn't make it much longer. We gave him subcutaneous fluids every day , them every other day, then 3 times a week. For a while he improved and was running, purring, and playing like the happiest kitty on Earth. Then things changed and he had a few seizures and just couldn't recover. We tried so hard to help him and he tried so hard to get better. He was only 4 1/2 years old. We miss him very much! Here's one of my favorite pictures of Stevie.

Now for some happier news... I'm having a giveaway! Woot! Woot! You have a chance to win one of 3 autographed copies of this adorable book that can help you celebrate Red Ribbon Week. It's called

Sarah's Sick Day is about a little girl named Sarah who wakes up one morning with a sore throat and fever. Her mom tells her she needs to stay home from school that day. The problem is that it's Share Day and Sarah really wants to share her birthday doll plus she'd miss snack time with her best friend, storytime, and it's her day to sit on the class beanbag. So Sarah remembers about the purple medicine in the cabinet and thinks that she'll just take a sip to help make herself feel better. Luckily she can't get the cap off and mom comes in just in time. She explains about the danger of taking medicine by yourself. Sarah promises never to do that again and mom lovingly tucks Sarah back in bed with her birthday doll.

I received an email from the author of Sarah's Sick Day, Erainna Winnett, asking if I would like a signed copy of her book in exchange for blogging about it. I looked at her website and watched the trailer for the book (which you can see HERE) and quickly replied YES!

This is a very sweet story and I'm looking forward to reading it to my class during Red Ribbon Week. I like that it addresses the issue of taking medicine rather than illegal drugs or alcohol. For a few years in my first grade room I would bring up friend trying to make friends take drugs and the dangers of alcohol then the hands would come up and I'd hear stories of "my neighbor who smokes marijuana" "my dad gets drunk sometimes". And I feel bad that some kiddos don't know about drugs and drinking too much and I don't want to be the one to tell them about. Right or wrong, I want the innocent ones to stay innocent a while longer. But I feel this book touches on something very pertinent for little kids and it seems very likely that K-2 kids could try to take medicine from the medicine cabinet on their own.

Erainna has graciously offered 3 autographed copies of Sarah's Sick Day for a giveaway.  The giveaway only goes for a couple of days so that your books can be mailed out to you very soon. 

If you're a pre-K to 2nd grade teacher, you definitely want this book! It's also for sale on Amazon and you can access her website HERE.

Good Luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Sunday, August 3, 2014

New Hard & Soft G Sounds Activity Pack (freebie & Currently too!)

Whew! That must be my longest blog post title yet. I've enjoyed my time off this summer so much. Just relaxing at home. It's been nice. At the beginning of summer we thought we'd lose our little blind kitty Stevie to his kidney disease. He's 4 years old and it hit him again hard! But with a lot of effort of his part, from us, and from our fabulous vet, he's still here- happy, purring, and playing.
Aside from that I've been able to catch up on some reading and get some things ready for this coming school year. I can't believe it's time to get back in the classroom already!

One of my projects was to finish up this hard/soft G sound packet I started using with my first graders last year. I had a group of higher readers who were getting confused about how G could sound like J in a word like huge. So I created a word sort and game for them to play with my instructional aide. They had so much fun with it! And it got them through that little struggle they were having. With more time to work on it the activity pack I've added a Read/Write the Room activity for my whole class to do and a few other things. I like having something like this because it's easy for my aide or parent volunteer to do with a group too. It looks like this and you can pick it up in my TPT store. It'll be in my TN store early tomorrow.
My aide started off with a word sort to explain how the G sound changes depending on what follows it (often anyway).
They did this over a 2-day period. My aide is so wonderful and teaches some of our RTI groups, so she was able to judge what my students needed.

After that she thought they were ready to play this game

I wanted to save myself some printing, so next year I'll use these same cards for a Memory game. To play Memory with them I'll print a 2nd set of cards and sort them so that each pair of students gets only 16 words. I'll put each set a in a baggie and that way I'll actually have 3 games and can they can play Memory several times. Once the game has been played in a small group with me or with my aide or parent volunteer I may include it as a choice for Work on Words during Daily 5.

This word sort also helped incorporate what my students were learning about language.

You can check out the entire packet on my TPT store. I included a directions sheet for each activity so that an aide, volunteer, or sub can easily know what to do. Here's a little freebie from the packet for you. Just click on it to download.

I'll leave you with my Currently.

I almost forgot... I created some ocean themed number cards for Math Work Stations. They're in my stores too and I'll have school themed ones there tomorrow. Wow! Thanks for sticking with me  through all that! Have a terrific week back in the classroom or hanging out at home!

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Alphabet Letter Exchange Show & Tell

This morning I'm linking with Barb over at Ruby Slippers Blog Design to show some 2013 Alphabet Exchange photos and to tell you how the exchange is going for 2014.
These first photos are from Kathy in Virginia.
This close up photo shows a few of the letters better. H is for hat, Y is for yellow pom-poms, W is for water (I think it had ocean animal stickers on it.), S if for snake, and I loved the A is for astronaut! It was so cute! I think it came from Alabama.

Packaging up their Y's to be mailed

Just look at these excited little ones! Aren't they adorable? I love the little ones holding their envelopes high!

Photo from Kara in Tennessee

Thanks for the photos Kara & Kathy! And now for the TELL part of show & tell.

The Alphabet Exchange is FULL for 2014- 208 teachers from 38 states and 2 Canadian provinces.
You can still sign up to be on the WAIT LIST, though. It seems every year that a few teachers need to back out before the project gets started and I've been able to include a few more people. Click HERE for the wait list form. Group and letter assignments will be out within the next 2 weeks.

Thanks again to Barb for hosting this linky each week. Be sure to check it out and maybe link up too!
Thanks to Krista from Creative Clips for the cute hanging frames I found on TPT.

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Name BINGO with Avery Labels

Helping our students get to know each other is a high Back-to-School priority for all of us. Even though 16 of my 20 students were with me in first grade last year, I need to do some getting to know you activities so the 4 new students can feel like they belong in the class too. To help them out, on the first day of school one of the things we'll do is make and play Name BINGO.
I did this last time I taught 2nd grade and the kids loved it! Who wouldn't, right? It's their own names, it's a game, there might be stickers or M&M's as prizes...  You get the idea. I've seen ideas in books and things where kids write names in the bingo squares, but some of my students have very messy handwriting or will spell a name or two slightly wrong even though they're copying it. Wouldn't that be the case everywhere? Hopefully it's not just me. So instead of having the kids writing the names, I put them on Avery labels. I use the labels where there are 30 per sheet (#5163) and put two names on each label so it looks like this

That way I can cut the three columns of stickers apart and give one to each student and they'll have all 20 names. I'll also cut each column of stickers up the middle (between the two names) so that each name is on its own small sticker. A little hint: only cut up thru the top of the last sticker so the column doesn't get cut in two pieces- they're easier to pass out way. Like this

I also make one sheet of stickers with the word FREE instead of names. I cut these apart and give each student one "free" sticker.

Here's a bingo card you can grab by clicking on it. 

I let students put the name stickers and the "free" sticker in whichever squares they choose. You could, of course, have them put "free" in the middle if you prefer. In the empty squares they can write in their own name (so it's on the card twice) and 3 other names. It'll look something like this when they're finished.

For more first day of school activities check out these other bloggers I've linked up with for their K-12 ideas. 
Thanks to Mackenzie from Brownbag Academics for organizing this!
Brownbag Academics

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