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 adding.  In doing this we are checking that it goes under the right list.  We do one list at a time.  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 I'm going to pick a color and I have to write the word in the rectangle and then pick one thing underneath.  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 where there is some sound/letter confusion.  This simple method has proven helpful to my little writers.  I hope you give a try and it's helpful for your littles, too.

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:


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!