Friday, November 28, 2014

Plickers- Have You Heard Of It?

As teachers we are always looking for new, engaging, and simple ways to assess our students.  I recently connected with another teacher who is also her school’s STAT teacher (just like me!)  For those of you who haven’t read previous posts a STAT teacher in my county wears many different hats, with our primary role being a professional development teacher and instructional coach.  This teacher shared this new assessment tool called Plickers that her teachers LOVE. 

Let me tell you all about it!

Plickers is a powerfully simple tool that lets teachers collect real-time formative assessment data without the need for student devices.

Each student is given a card which is numbered, has a QR code on it, and each side is labeled A, B, C, D.  Students put the letter they want to choose on the top before holding it up for you to scan. 

plickers 2

Prior to giving the assessment, you will download the app or use the website to create questions and your multiple choice answers.  True or false questions is an option as well. 

Then you project the question and once students hold up their cards, you can the room with your phone or if you have a computer with the capability of reading QR codes.  It will automatically read the answers and give you information as shown in the picture below. 


I prepped the cards and loaded one of my teacher’s classes so we can test this out.  I will share our feedback mid-week!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Thanksgiving Favorites

I wanted to share with you some of my favorite Thanksgiving activities!
Some are free and some are paid but I love them all the same!
Make sure you read the whole post because the freebies are scattered throughout!
Here are some Thanksgiving-themed activities I loved hanging around my school:

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Small Group Data Form Freebie

Small groups are an essential piece of every elementary classroom’s reading block.
  My first year teaching, small groups were not part of the instructional model.  We taught whole group and then worked with individuals who struggled with that day’s lesson.  I was brand-new to teaching.  My students learned.  I saw growth.  Their fluency improved.  But did I truly know my students?  No.  Did I personalize their learning? No.
My next year teaching, small groups emerged and my life changed.  My students’ lives changed.  I knew my students better then ever.  I was able to personalize their learning.  They made the biggest gains in all aspects of their reading abilities. 
The Institute of Education Sciences determined that small group instruction is a highly effective differentiating strategy that has a significant impact on student achievement.
To help my teachers this year, I have created a few different options for small group data forms.  In the past, some teachers didn’t keep data- but this year it is a school wide requirement.  It’s not that those teachers couldn’t accurately describe in great detail each students’ successes, struggles, growth, etc.  But it was documented.  The day-to-day documentation helps in conferences, class groupings, and the most in proving the need to develop a 504 or IEP for a student who would benefit from specific support services. 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Tips for Not Letting Report Cards Get You Down

report card blog image 2
It is that time of year that is typically the most stressful for teachers---
1st quarter report cards, conferences, American Education Week,
and maybe even observations? 
Report cards don’t need to stress you out and give you a constant headache! 
A focus of my school this year is to make sure we utilize report cards to accurately document:
1. how the student is performing in the classroom
2. behavior/social concerns effecting performance
3. level of support currently being provided for student success
4. teacher’s plan for assisting in student growth next term

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Technology Ideas (Part 1)

Even though my new position is not strictly technology, technology is still a HUGE part of my job.  My county is currently piloting one-to-one devices at 10 elementary schools.  My school is not one of the piloting schools, but students in first through third grades will begin using one-to-one devices next year.  The other grade levels the following year. 
Staff members received the devices at the end of last year to begin learning and familiarizing themselves.  This year I wanted to make sure the devices didn’t sit in their bags unused, so I have and will continue to look for suggestions for them to begin utilizing with just one device in the classroom! 
We were provided with HP Revolve Elitebooks.  They are dual-purpose, acting as a laptop and a tablet.  We like to call them laplets! (Since we do not like to call them devices… just sounds funny!)
So without farther ado---
Let’s get this blog series started!
tech idea blog post 1

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Building Super Stamina

Last year many teachers at my school began using the Daily 5 framework.  After seeing the many successes from last year, all teachers are joining in on the action this year!  
(This is where I am jumping for joy.. but you can’t see me!)
Based off of the reading resources the county provides us (Reading Wonders) and the curriculum they have written utilizing those resources, I truly believe Daily 5 is the best way for teachers to layout their reading block. 
Last year…
I saw the MOST growth in reading abilities and skills.
I witnessed students FALLING IN LOVE with books.
I can’t even begin to count the number of times I was unable to get a student who was reading’s attention until a student literally tapped them on the shoulder. 
In my new position as STAT/resource teacher, I have began searching for meaningful resources to use for all aspects of Daily 5. 
My teachers have just began Daily 5 so their focus is on what my post is on today…

Monday, August 4, 2014

Animal Wax Museum Recap & Freebie

Here is my first look-back from my classroom this spring! 
Every year in second grade we complete Animal Research Projects.  Ever since I created my Animal Wax Museum Pack this is a breeze for my coworkers and I!
Our students researched, created dioramas, and made their costumes at home with their parents.  In school they wrote their final copies, created their posters, buttons, and animal crossing signs.
Let’s take a look!

wax final blog