Friday, July 18, 2014

New Tech, #Geniushour Set Up, & Trace's Room

Are you familiar with Trello? I found out about it from What's Going On in Mr. Solarz' Class? passion time (genius hour) resources. He has his students use Trello to plan their project for genius hour. Want to see work from his class? Click here!

When I saw this I knew I needed to use it with my class when I start genius hour this year. I love the way it is organized so I set up a board with instructions and a sample for my students to see. Here is my board if you want to take a look!

If you think this is something you might use and you are going to sign up for a free account please use this link:
This will help me get free gold access.

Here are a few other Trello Genius Hour examples I found and thought I'd share with you.
Genius Hour Projects on Trello
Status of the Class Trello

Have you ever used Pic Collage?
I saw an idea on Pinterest and I fell in love with it. I'm going to use this to have students made a collage about themselves to start school. I am planning to have them use Play Doh the first day to make something that represents them. So I will have them make a picture of it and a selfie. Then I'm going to have them use the Pic Collage app to create a collage to share things with their classmates. I made one myself so I have an example to show them.

Of course, I've worked a little bit in my room this week. I have dedicated my new cabinet space to Genius Hour. I plan to have my students post their wonders on the cabinets on the left side. I think I'll use post it notes for them to do that. I found the quote that I added to the top of the cabinet- "Wonder is the beginning of wisdom." I also found a place for the poster I ordered from Vistaprint. I love the way it turned out. I'm not exactly sure what I'll put on the long cabinet doors under Genius Hour but I'm sure I'll need space for something else. 

I printed and laminated new signs to post outside the classroom. I've been using the set I had before for 3 years so the old ones were well worn. Want to get some of these for your classroom? Head on over to my TpT Store and purchase a set. I love them because it is an easy way for the kids to change the sign to let anyone know where we are. Where Are We Signs ($2.00) 

Monday and Tuesday I helped my friend Trace get her room ready. She is an awesome 3rd grade teacher and this year she decided to change her theme. She is doing the super hero theme so I asked her if I could take a few pictures of what she has done. I wanted to share them with you so you can take a peek into her classroom too!

MARVELous Math Wall

The Spidey sign flips over and the other side says science. She uses the pocket chart for vocabulary words.

Ironman's Intentions- will be used for students to post goals.

Captain America Can- place to post rules

Incredible Habits- this is still a work in progress but I still had to post it. She still has to add border. 

Dash's Data- This is where her class will graph their test, attendance, and behavior data. 

Wonderful Work

She is super talented because she painted and made all the super hero posters! My personal favorite is the Wonderful Work board with Wonder Woman. 

The days of summer are ticking down! I can't believe it but teachers start back July 30th. I'm excited to start a new school year.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Tech Presentation & Room Work

This week I started off by presenting about Technology I Use in My Classroom at the North Alabama Technology Conference.

I was super excited to be able to share a lot of the tech tools I use in my class. There was no way I could share everything but I did share the things that I use the most.Click here to download the pdf of my presentation!

I've also been working on putting the finishing touches on my classroom. I've been looking and deciding exactly what I want to put up and what I'm leaving down this year. I was able to move my bulletin board to the front of my room for the math wall. I'm planning to use this board for our daily math board.

I also purchased a couple of floor lamps for my room!

Here are the cabinets that were added to my wall (top cabinets). They are not brand new, just new to me but I am so happy to have the extra storage space. It helped me to clean some of the clutter off the filing cabinets.

I moved my meaningful mistakes and number crunchers signs to around my door. I'm planning to use my back wall where the new cabinets are to display stuff for the genius hour I'm planning to implement this year!

We have to keep a data wall inside our classroom this year. Last year we tracked data in the hallway but not in the classroom. I didn't want to call it my data wall so this is what I decided to use! 

We only have 2 more weeks of summer before school starts back for the teachers. We return July 30th and the students return August 5th. I can't believe it is almost time to start back but I think I"m ready!

Thursday, July 3, 2014


Wow! This is the first time I was able to go to ISTE and there was an overwhelming amount of information available.

The Expo was like Tech Nerd heaven! They had all the latest and greatest technology and I wanted one of everything. Too bad I'm not independently wealthy!

Have you seen the newest Smartboards? They are like a television screen with 2 pens stuck to the bottom. If you have a SmartBoard you probably know you can only write with one pen at a time. Well, the new one allows you to write with more than one pen at a time! That's great when the kids come up to write on the board!

I also ran into Mobi and had my picture made with him. My students will think I saw a celebrity because we use BrainPop all the time in my classroom.

The one thing I know I'll be doing next year is Genius Hour. Guess I've been under a rock because the first time I heard of this was during #5thchat on Twitter before leaving for Atlanta. So imagine my excitement when there was a session about it. Have you heard of it? Do you use it in your classroom? I'd love to hear from some of my followers that do this in the classroom. I just have to figure how to work it in, but I'm going to do it!

I could go on forever about all the new things I saw but I'll just share a few. The first is a website called Click the image below for the site. It allows you and your students to create an infographic. I haven't used it yet but it seems pretty straight forward.

There were several groups who talked about having students serve at the tech support for teachers at school. I love this idea because I'm the Technology Integration Mentor (TIM) for my school and there isn't enough time to show them things I'd like and teach my class too. I would love to train student leaders to help with technology.

#MathPhotoaDay- Victoria Olson has her students do a photo that relates to math to contribute to #MathPhotoADay on Twitter. I love this idea because they could use several different apps to create their own photo a day. Want to see some from her classroom? Check out this link. 

Now my mission is to find someone to sponsor or let me pilot standing desks in my classroom. Can you imagine how amazing it would be to have a classroom full of these? I know I hate sitting all day and my students do too. I do a lot of brain breaks but this would help as well. Standing helps them focus more.

 They are adjustable so they would work well for students of any height. They are crazy expensive for a classroom teacher and I don't see my parents paying $500 for one desk. So I'm on the hunt for a sponsor. This would be part of my dream classroom!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Summer in My Classroom- Organizing & Vistaprint

I worked in my classroom a little bit more this week. I took the time to organize my math manipulatives, games, and cards so I can find them when I need them. You can't see great in the picture but I organized the drawers: fractions, decimals, dice (yes, I have enough dice to fill the drawer), whole numbers and measurement/geometry. 

I picked up some new border at the school supply store this week and changed the border for my bulletin boards in the classroom. 

I also put up black fabric on the far end of this hallway display we have on the lockers and added new border out there too. I had polka dot fabric on this end and it faded really bad so it was time to replace it. This is where I display student work. Now I need to come up with a title to put on the end to complete this.

I have an old Smartboard that doesn't work on the side wall in my classroom. Last year I used it to write the quote of the week, joke, and weird but true fact. I decided to change that up a little and I used my Cricut to cut out letters and add to the board. I'm going to post objectives for the subjects I teach. 

I purchased Common Core Posters for Math from TpT. However, I couldn't find any for the science and SS objectives for Alabama. So of course I made some! I created them using the course of study objectives for Alabama. I'm still searching for some cute clip art to go on the social studies posters. I bought some cute clip art for the science posters from Scrappin' Doodles.

I was super excited that my brochures came in today!

I made these using Vistaprint and I only payed $34 for 50 brochures (including shipping). I'm always impressed with the products from them. These brochures look so professional. 

The back has information about the subjects each teacher teaches, wish list, and contact information. 

On the inside of the brochure we introduced ourselves and discussed the 7 Habits since we are a Leader In Me school. I also added something about the organization of our binders with graded papers. 

I can't wait to send these out to my students.

I will be posting in the weeks to come about the technology I use in my classroom. I'll be presenting a session at our district technology conference. Once I get my presentation ready I'll post it here in case anyone is interested in learning as well. I'm also going to ISTE in Atlanta! I'm so excited because this is my first time! I'm the technology integration mentor for my school so I'm usually the one teaching others about technology. I can't wait to learn some new technology to use in my classroom and to be able to come back to share with everyone.

This coming week I'll be working in my room again. Everyone says I should take a break, it is summer. However, I can't just sit at home. Everything here has been cleaned, clothes are washed, and daytime television is killing me. I don't have any little ones to look after. So I'd rather work a little along to get my room ready instead of doing a mad dash the week before school starts. So make sure to check back next week to see what I was able to accomplish!

I would love to hear what everyone has been working on for next year (if anything).

Friday, June 13, 2014

Summer is in Full Swing

Summer is here and we have been out of school since May 23rd. I had to work May 27th and I've been off since then. I am already going stir crazy and looking for something to do. Don't get me wrong, I love that I can sleep in but there is only so much I can do around the house without needing some outside stimulation. 

So I was excited when my principal sent an e-mail saying we could get in to the school building to start working this week. Of course, I had to go! This first picture is what my room looked like when I arrived. 

This is what it looked like after working for one day. I was only there for a few hours but I was able to accomplish a lot. 

My furniture is now in place but I still have a lot of cleaning out to do. I'd like to find a good way to organize my math files, games, activities, and manipulatives so they are all together in one place but I'm still trying to find the best way to do that. I've cleared out a filing cabinet drawer but I haven't starting that project yet. 

This week I also ordered the brochures I send to my students before school starts. Since we are switching classes again next year, Mrs. Smith and I went to together to create our brochures. I chose the design with the school colors and I love the way they turned out. I'll share a picture once they arrive. 

I also ordered some Random Acts of Kindness cards. I created them using the free business cards. We do a lot of these and I wanted a way for students to leave a note with each one. I think I'll have my students leave one of these cards when they do random acts of kindness.

Free Business Cards by Vistaprint

I also ordered a few books from Amazon. 
Doing Science in Morning Meeting

Doing Math in Morning Meeting

Teach Like a Pirate

I did morning meeting with my students last year and they really liked it. I think their favorite part was when I let them sign up to bring things in to share. It was like show and tell for 5th graders. There was always someone who had something to share. They shared jokes, magic tricks, pictures from trips, and insects they found. This coming year I'd like to be a little more consistent with morning meeting and thought if I could incorporate science and math (subjects I teach) it would be a great way to start each class after transitions. 

My brain is already thinking of ideas of things to do different next year. Do any of you do morning meeting or closing circles with your students? I'd love to hear your success stories!

I'm always looking for new ideas to try in my classroom! Are you planning something new to try in your classroom next year? I'd love to hear about them so please feel free to share!


Friday, May 30, 2014

Daily Data

Summer is here and I'm already trying to find something to do. Monday was a holiday and Tuesday was our last teacher work day. I haven't done a lot this week but I did make a file to add to Teacher Pay Teachers. I've had a few people ask about my Daily Data board that I do with my students.

I purchased sorting circles from EAI. I teach two math classes so I picked two different colors of push pins. I picked them up in the Dollar Spot at Target last year. Each class has their own colors and the buckets on the left side of the board hold those pins.

Each week I post a different question and the students use a pin to record their response on the venn diagram. One year I used number circles but with the number of students I have this year I found that the push pins worked better.

In their math journal, the students record the question and draw the venn diagram with the responses. Then we use that data to create graphs, observe trends, and make inferences. Want to check out the file? Take a look in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store. 

Daily Data File

Friday, May 23, 2014

Week 37- Final Week of 2013-2014

This was our final week of school, but we didn't slow down all week. We started off reading to Kindergarten students. 

All the students loved this! One of the Kindergarten student said he wanted to read all day with his partner. 

This week we also did another engineering challenge: Cup Pyramid. I loved seeing the creative ways my students came up with to solve this problem.

Wednesday we dissected cow eyeballs! This was a hit with almost everyone. We had a few students who had to leave because they were a little grossed out. When you made a slit in the front of the eyeball to get the lens out liquid squirted out. 

Check out the faces! They were really grossed out but had a lot of fun. 

Thursday was 5th Grade Graduation! We were all dressed up for the program.

Brandon and Dyani won the Principal's Cup this year for outstanding leadership, character, and positive attitude. Congratulations!

After Graduation we had our final walk. The 5th grade students walk the entire school while all the other students and teachers cheer them on. It is great because our 5th grade students get to see all their former teachers. There are normally lots of tears shed. 

 Here is a picture of Mrs. Reasner, Mrs. Smith, and myself (left to right). We were all dressed up for the occasion too.

That night we had the 4th grade and 5th grade dance. So needless to say, it was a full day!

The last day of school was field day and class party. The fire truck also came and hosed us off for a little while. 

 It was a hot day but we all survived!

 We came in for lunch and to cool off for a while.

I loved it today because so many of my former students came by to see me!

It has been a wonderful school year! We had so much fun and learned a lot along the way. It was great to get special notes from my students thanking me for being their teacher this year. I will miss all my students! I hope you all have a great summer!