Sunday, August 27, 2017

Decibella and her 6-inch Voice

I started school about 2 weeks ago.  This year my 4th grade class is extremely talkative.  My partner teacher has also said her class was very talkative.  She recommended I read a book to my class, Decibella and her 6-inch Voice by, Julia Cook.  It is a picture book.
My kids loved this book and now instead of referring to voice volume with numbers we now refer to them  as either whisper, 6-inch, table talk, strong speaker, or outside voice.  In fact, they loved it so much I decided I'd make a reminder for them.

I have hot glued each little poster onto a ribbon and move the clothespin to where I expect their voice volume to be.  I have created these in full sized sheets and half size sheets, if these are still not the right size for you, when you go to print you can click on "More Settings", then in layout choose anywhere from 2-16 pages on one sheet, this will make the images smaller upon printing.   You may choose to just put up the voice volume poster you expect.  I have created these posters full page and half page.  I have also included one sheet with all of the volumes.
I could have easily used this in kindergarten.  My fourth graders have responded very positively to this, too.  If you are interested in this resource you can find it here.

You may want to visit my store to check out other resources I have.  




Sunday, August 13, 2017

Which Are Your Favorite Apps?

Unfortunately, I only have two iPads for my classroom.  I currently have written a Donorschoose.org project for two more and have my fingers crossed that I will get those.  I don't think I have to tell a teacher why having iPads in the classroom is so great, but if you don't have any maybe you aren't aware of all of the things your students can do with them.  So I thought I'd highlight five of my favorite apps I have on those two iPads that I use with students.

My all time favorite app is doink.
This app allows your students to create greenscreen projects.  The app is $2.99.  I have used this app when I taught kindergarten, first, and now fourth.   I could teach a kindergartener how to film using Doink and allow this to be a center in my classroom.  So, I know any age group can use this app.  My fourth graders do amazing projects on it.  Our school has a Deaf and Hard of Hearing program on campus.  Last year I mainstreamed.  This app was absolutely great!  I had the child sign her mission report, her mission was the backdrop!  The interpreter, interpreted into the microphone, you should have seen the pride in her face when I played back her report.    Last school year, we trained teachers on how to use this app, you should have heard the laughs as we played with this app.  Some fun items to use with it, is a green suit, I bought mine on Amazon for $9.99.  You can also paint pizza boxes green and now you have a small greenscreen.  You can use the stir sticks from Starbucks or paint straws green and students can glue their art/puppets to them and film.  The items that make this app easier for kindergarteners to use are a tripod, an ipad mount, and a microphone.  I get many ideas by following @DoInkTweets on twitter.

The next app that I love is Seesaw:  
I downloaded this app years ago, but only began using it last year.  This app is free and is also web based.  This is basically a digital student portfolio.  Students can upload their own classwork.  You can also have students share, so you could ask a student to explain a math problem, then allow other students to comment on it all digitally.  So very powerful!   You can connect parents which allows them to see their student's work.  You can also use Seesaw to communicate with parents.  If you'd like to see what Seesaw can do, check out their youtube video.  I joined the facebook group Seesaw Teachers, here people post all types of ideas of how they are using the app.  Seesaw also has many webinars to teach you step by step how to set up your classroom to how to use it.  I also follow@Seesaw on Twitter.

I also love Tellagami:
This is another app I have used in kindergarten, first grade, and fourth grade.  Tellagami has a free version, but I'd say the $4.99 purchase for Tellagami Edu is well worth it.  This app is especially great when the parent is not okay with photographs.  In this app students create an avatar and then speak into the iPad to record their voice.  If you have students that are non-communicative they can type in what they'd like to say and the app will speak for them.  When I taught kindergarten, the autism program mainstreamed into my room and I had a student who was non-communicative, but he was able to do a farm report in this way. I follow @tellagami on twitter for ideas.

 The last app is one that I use, but the students love when I use it.  It's Teamshake:
This app is $0.99.  I only started using this three years ago, so I've only used it in fourth grade.  To use this app you add your class list.  It will create groups for you, you tell it the size of the group and you shake your device and up come the groups.  My students know when I grab for my phone, they all will say, "Shake it up!"  I shake it and then tell them which group they are in.  

If you haven't tried out these apps, I hope you give them a try!  

You may want to check out my TeachersPayTeachers store.  

 



Sunday, May 7, 2017

Brainstorm, List, and Write!

I have found this method very helpful when teaching writing to our littles.  Some struggle with ideas, others struggle with formation of letters, and some struggle with sounds in words.  This strategy helps those strugglers.  I begin with the whole class and I often start by having the class watch a video about the topic.  For example, if we are writing about pigs, I might show this video Pig Video.

After the video we will brainstorm what the students have learned, or what they already know about pigs.  I have some butcher paper with the topic in the middle ready to go and will record what students say.  Before they begin raising their hands to tell me the answers, I ask them to turn to a partner and share ideas.  This way my students who are learning English or need time to think, can hear an answer given by another student before answering.  When we are done, it looks like this:



From here we begin to make lists.  They have already generated some things when they brainstormed, I put the brainstorm paper next to my list paper.  Now we begin to categorize them by what pigs, "have", "like", and "are".   Again, before I pick students I will tell them, "We are going to list what pigs have, tell your elbow partner something pigs have."  I ask students to answer in a complete sentence. As they say their sentence, I point to the word "Pigs", the word "have" then write the word they are say.  In doing this we are checking that it goes under the right list.  We do one list at a time.  Sometimes, I will fold the paper in thirds and only have the one list visible.  When we are done the completed list may look like this:






I put the subject in black  and make each list a different color.  Then we practice by reading the sentences we can make.  So a simple sentence that may be made would be "Pigs have curly tails."  I model this by showing students how I write the black word and then pick a list, first copy the word in the rectangle then pick one word under that.  This way students do not just copy everything.  I can now easily teach students who get how to make a simple sentence to make it more complicated for example, Pigs are omnivores, smart, and cute.  I can also teach students to add because.  Many of my student's know how to spell "because", I sing a little song to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star".  It goes like this:  "b-e-c-a-u-s-e, I can spell because."  It's simple, but for some reason catchy.   Those students who are ready may write something like, "Pigs are omnivores because they eat meat and vegetables."  I encourage students to sound out all words by themselves.  This gives them sound practice and I can also see who is having sound/letter confusion.  This simple method has proven helpful to my little writers.  I hope you give it a try and you find it helpful for your littles, too.

If you're interested in giving it a try you may want to visit my store.

Or try these specific resources from my store:  Martin Luther King Writing


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Yay! For Google Forms!

This week my amazing principal, hosted a Tcubed workshop.  What is this you are wondering?  Well, it is Teachers Teaching Teachers and she set it up EdCamp style.  Teachers got to choose their own learning and decided which sessions they would attend.  I was asked to present, I would only have 25-30 minutes.  Another amazing teacher from a neighboring district shared something pretty cool with me.  I have been using it ever since.  So I decided, since, I found this useful so would my colleagues.  (I was a little afraid it was something boring to share)  It was google forms, in the past I've used it to create a quiz and put it in my google classroom.  I've used google forms for quizzes when I want something super quick because the spreadsheet makes it super easy to correct a whole class in minutes.  BUT this amazing teacher found another use for google forms.  Ready for it....he uses it to collect data on behavior.  As soon as he shared this with me, I used it and I was amazed.  My student who I thought was having problems all day long, nope, it turned out most of his behaviors were happening during transitions, because google forms date and time stamps when you enter information you can track when the behavior is occurring.  Ready for the most amazing part?  You can upload the file to your phone.  Did I hear you say "WHAT?  I don't have to follow my student with a clipboard and annotate what just happened?"  No you don't, this is the most amazing part, you can have the form on your phone and then just check a few boxes and data is collected!  The students just think I'm adding ClassDojo points, they have no idea I'm collecting data on a child.  When I presented this, I had a special education teacher let me know I just changed her life!  She emailed me the next day and said she stayed up until midnight creating forms.  :)

OK, so now you ask, how do you do this?  Watch the link and I'll show you how to create the form.
How to create a form on behavior

Want to see how to upload it on your phone?
Upload behavior form to a phone

The very first time I ever created a form for a quiz, I can't remember how long I looked around in my drive, but it was quite a while.  It's not there.  You must go back into your forms app and then you will find it.  On the first line will be the forms you most recently viewed or edited, below that will be all the forms you have ever created.

Now what happens if you've created a google form and you'd like to change it.  No problem.  When I created mine, I had put a place to write in.  I realized I never used it as it took too long to type out a response.
Making change to a form that you already created

So this is great for classroom use.  As a principal, how great would it be to have a form similar to this to check off for walk-throughs?  All data would be right there in a spreadsheet.  Wow!  The possibilities are endless!

I hope you find this tool as amazing as I did.  Who knew google forms could be used for more than creating a quiz or survey.  Yay! For Google Forms!

Sunday, February 5, 2017

How to Fix the One Thing that you Dread Doing in Google Classroom

Use this link to visit my store for the TPT store-wide sale on February 7th and 8th:  TPT Store

What is the one thing that you dread doing, as a teacher, in google classroom?  I don't know about you, but I dread when I have to print student work.  It's this tedious thing to open each student's work one by one and then print.  ARGH!  Well, I attended OC CUE Tech Fest 2017 and learned how to do this in 5 minutes or less.  If printing is something that you dread doing, because you know how long this will take, you've got to try this.



Go to the chrome store and search for PDF Mergy and then add it.  Once you have it on your computer then all you need to do is go into your google classroom and pick the assignment you'd like to print, select all, then merge, doing this will merge all of your students work onto one pdf file. (Since it's a pdf you can not make comments)  Printing is something that would take me at minimum 20 minutes now takes less than 5!  YAY!  

Here's another time saver.  Have you wanted to see your google classroom class list as you are grading each project?  I have.  Well, now you can.  If you add these extensions you can:


and


These two extensions will allow you to have your screens side by side.  So you can click on each child and up pops their work.  You no longer need to close and open each child's document one by one, you have a second window now that will show work along side your class names.  This will save you time when you want to put their grades in as you grade.  YAY!  Another time saver!!!

Hope these time savers help you out!  They've helped me!  





Sunday, December 11, 2016

The End of Average Thinking

I recently read a book recommended to me from someone on my Twitter PLN #Edchat.  The book is The End of Average by, Todd Rose, I finished it about a month ago, but I keep coming back to it, as it really makes me think about education today.


His main point is that average is not really average, so why do we base everything on an average?  He proves that mathematically basing things on the average is truly not the way to do this.  We find the average and rank things and people.

Another point he made was education was modeled after the Industrial Age, for example, think of the bell system, it was developed to get people ready for working in factories, those factory workers listened to the bell to signal lunch, breaks, and the end of the work day.  Children were then trained in school to listen for the bell for those same reasons.  The author asks, why do we still place students in a grade level by age?  Why do many districts discourage students to be retained or accelerated a grade?  What if every student started school with the gift of time? Instead of all students learning the same concept and then everyone moving on at the same time, what if we gave students as much time as they needed to truly understand the concept?  We know babies don't all learn to crawl, walk, or talk at the same time, why do we expect students to all learn the same information at the same time?  If a student already knows the concept they move on.  Why do we teach concepts to students who already know it?  We wonder why we have so many students with "learning disabilities" and others with "behavioral issues".  Have we ever thought that maybe they don't have a learning disability, instead they just need time to learn it?  Or are students with behavioral problems really students who are bored or so frustrated that they haven't grasped a concept that they are acting out?

I recently learned of a school in Santa Ana, California, Advanced Learning Academy (ALA) that does just this.  In fact, here is their vision statement, "The Advanced Learning Academy aims to provide SAUSD students with personalized student-centered instruction that accelerates learning.  Students and teachers have the opportunity to be innovators and collaborators.  The school is focused around unique instructional methods that support competency-based learning coupled with project-based learning.  Both students and teachers are given the space and support to "fail early, fail, fast, and fail forward", as we learn and innovate new paths in learning.  Students will learn daily iterate continuously and engage in skills that support 21st Century learning." I don't know what kind of results they are getting but this is cutting edge education, this is a new way to think about educating our children.

My own daughter struggled in school, I was concerned she was not reading "at grade level", by 3rd grade she was struggling in reading and writing, upon having her tested we found out she had a very high IQ, but may have had some processing issues.  I beat myself up about enrolling her in school at 4 years old, as she was a late November birthday.  If she could have worked at her own pace, and judged on her individual growth, not on an average, I think she would have enjoyed reading in school.  Although she struggled in school, she graduated college and is doing great, that one poor grade did not define her.

The book End of Average, by Todd Rose made me think.  What if as educators we did what we ask of students all of the time?  Become divergent thinkers and think about how to "rethink" the educational system.   We keep talking about teaching students 21st century skills, but we are still modeling schools after the industrial age.  Something's got to change...

I recently came across a video that talks a lot about the same things as the book, if you don't have time to read the book, watch the video, it will make you think:  Changing Education Paradigms I think it will make you think, too.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Screencastify

I am currently enrolled in a class.  Last week we had our technology portion of the class.  I learned about many apps, websites, and "techy" tricks, but the one thing I learned that I immediately took back to my school was the Chrome app "screencastify".  I was so excited learning about this, that during the lecture I emailed my principal and she immediately emailed back.  This solves our problem with our morning announcements.  I teach at a school with deaf and hard of hearing students, now morning announcements can be signed and broadcast!   Since our school uses chrome books, it's always exciting to find apps that will work with them and that others have used successfully.  If you are unfamiliar with adding an app from the Chrome store, watch how I add screencastify, click on the link and follow my directions on screencastify, Directions to add Screencastify

After you have recorded you can then get a link to share with anyone.  In the upper corner you will see the share icon.  Click on that.




Once you click on that, this screen will pop up.
  
You will then get a link that you can either email to people, share in your google classroom, or convert into a QR code!  So exciting!  I have the free version, with the free version you can record as many videos as you like, but each video can only be 10 minutes long, which is enough for me.  Those of you that want more options you might want to consider paying the annual fee, with that fee you have a longer recording time, you also will be able to crop videos, with the free version you do not have that capabiity.  I have students record themselves using the educreations app, explaining how they solved a problem,  I only have 2 ipads for the classroom.  This app will solve the problem, as we have a class set of chrome books!  

So when I was using this, it took me some time to figure out how to see my videos.   This is how:




I can also now record myself explaining something and then add it to my googleclassroom for students to view!  The possibilities are endless!