Sunday, March 27, 2016

Joy Cowley Collection & Contest

If you've taught K-2 then you are familiar with Joy Cowley's character, Mrs. Wishy-Washy. I taught first grade for three years and the kids loved reading about Mrs. Wishy-Washy. Did you know that Joy Cowley has other characters too? I had a chance to review some books and share those characters with you. 

The first character I'd like to share with you is Miniboy. Miniboy and his friend Mousie travel into the Land of Kitchen. They are trying to avoid Big Foot and get good things to eat. In each of the books I reviewed, Miniboy and Mousie went on different adventures together. 

The other character I would like to tell you about is Hairy Bear. Hairy Bear is married to Mrs. Bear. He is always fixing things around his house. He has a few misadventures, but that's what makes Hairy Bear fun. It seems like Hairy Bear might be a little accident prone but Mrs. Bear is always there to help him feel better. 

I love both of these characters because they would appeal to boys as well as girls! Each of the characters have friends who help them out so there is a great character connection there. I also love the fact the each book has teaching ideas inside the back cover. Teachers and parents can find a list the features of the text and questions to ask before, during, and after reading. 

These books would be a great addition to any K-2 classroom. Check out the character sets available here.

Would you love to win a collection of Joy Cowley books for your classroom? Click the photo below to enter. The contest ends April 13th so make sure to enter now. 

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Math Groups from AL to DE- Digital Connections

I am so excited about the math groups we have been doing and I wanted to share. I connected with Mrs. Corey through a #MysterySkype. We decided to do something beyond that with our classes so we started brainstorming and planning.

Using Google Docs and Voxer, we were able to develop an idea for our students to work together even though my class is in Alabama and hers is in Delaware. We started with a getting to know you activity. The kids had video conferences using rooms we created. They completed a Google Doc before meeting and then shared information about themselves and had to find 3 things everyone had in common.

Here is the Getting to Know You directions:

Let’s get to know our math collaboration team!

Your Task:
Type some interesting facts about yourself that you’d like to share with your group members.

Make sure to include…
  • your name
  • age
  • favorite subject (not recess or lunch)
  • 5-6 facts about yourself

You will meet your group members via your group’s room on Thursday. You’ll have a chance to share your facts and learn about each other. Try to find things you have in common.

Each roup is challenged to find at least 3 things every member has in common.

Remember to put your name at th8e top of this document in the color you will use to type and reply to your peers!

After our first meeting both classes were really excited! So we planned another meeting, this time the kids had to present a word problem and let the others solve it. Then they had to explain how they solved the problem. As we went we found that not all the kids were engaged the entire time. If they presented the problem they were just sitting and waiting for the other members to solve. So we made some changes. The next time they are going to all be presented with the same word problem at the beginning of their video conference. Then they will each solve the problem and collaborate on Google Slides to share how they solved the problem. Our hope is that the kids will be able to share different strategies they are using.

We couldn't do this without Google accounts and the technology to allow for our Video meetings. Each student has their own Google account so it allows them to create and collaborate on docs and slides even though half of their team is in Delaware.

My homeroom wanted in on the action too so Mrs. Corey recruited Mrs. Marsh. Mrs. Marsh's class works with my homeroom class now too. We are having a great time, using technology, learning about math strategies, and making new friends. I've had a few people ask how we are doing the math groups so I wanted to share in case anyone else is interested in doing them too. If you have any questions don't hesitate to connect with me on Twitter- @MWhiteMES.

I have a little bit of happy news of my own, I took the test and I'm officially a Google Certified Educator, Level 1. I'm really thrilled about this!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Global Math Task Twitter Challenge #gmttc

Have you heard of the Global Math Task Twitter Challenge? If not, you need to check it out! Students create word problems and share them using the grade level hashtag. Since I teach 5th, I use #gmttc5. Then other students around the world solve their problem and respond to the tweet. Want to get on board? It isn't too late! Check out the link for the blog to get more information and sign up for a week. You don't have to sign up to participate.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

@Flocabulary Rocks (or raps)! Free Trial

Have you ever used music in your classroom to help your students connect to content?

Then you MUST check out Flocabulary. This is an amazing site that my kids love. Check out the link below to get an extra-long trial access (75 days). By using the link I'm sharing you'll gain free access for your school, so take the time to check it out. 

My kids love the Week in Rap the most! There isn't a Friday that goes by where they don't ask to watch the Week in Rap. This is a weekly rap that is posted to share the current events from the week. We take a little time to watch the Week in Rap and talk about some of the current events shared. I often get my students to watch for something they didn't know about and then they turn and talk with each other about those events.

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen the video post a few months ago where my students were singing "Cooking With Nouns" (noun song).

One of my favorite songs, which I'll be sharing with my students soon is "Keep, Change, Flip" (Dividing Fractions Song). Last year my kids were singing the song while taking their math test!

I love using songs and music to help my kids remember content and Flocabulary is one of my favorite sites for this. So what will you get? Is it worth it? Here is a run down of the facts about Flocabulary: 

Flocabulary is a web-based learning program for all grades and subjects that uses educational hip-hop music to engage students and increase achievement.
- Teachers in more than 50,000 schools have used Flocabulary’s standards-based videos, instructional activities and formative assessments to develop core literacy skills and supplement instruction across the curriculum.
- With new and expanding resources for writing and project-based learning,Flocabulary is a springboard into student-centered instruction. Check out our Writing Academic Rhymes resources to lead students in their own educational rap-writing!
Flocabulary offers more than 700 videos with accompanying classroom resources and formative assessments to support instruction in math, science, social studies, ELA, vocabulary, current events and life skills, with new content every week.

So what are you waiting for? It is free! Take a minute, click the link/picture, and sign up your school. You won't regret it!

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Spheres of Earth Island Challenge

My classes have been learning about the spheres of the Earth. To make this fun, I had each group create a deserted island.

They had to list all the plants, animals, soil type, water, weather, etc. they would have on their island. I reminded them that they would need to have more than one plant and one animals. I told them if I created an island and said I had pine trees and polar bears I wouldn't have a good change of survival. Here is a screen shot of the padlet before they started drawing fate cards.

 After the islands were created they jumped in their boat to take a break. While out in the boat a storm came up and they were stranded on the deserted island they created.

So they created their island and added all the information to their group's Padlet. Then each day they drew a fate card. The fate cards can be positive or negative. It has been fun watching them come up with solutions to problems they encounter. Some wouldn't work in real life but I can see some misconceptions that we can study soon. 


Some of the groups were able to find their background a take a picture in front of our green screen to make it look lik they were really on their own island. 

Here are a couple of screen shots from the group Padlets. We are almost finished with this simulation but this is one I'll do again for sure!