Thursday, November 28, 2013

I am THANKFUL for Technology!

I am THANKFUL for many things but being a teacher is at the top of my list!

I thankful for TECHNOLOGY!
For several years, I spent months, days, and hours burning DVDs so my students could view the videos that we made. Now I can easily upload them to YouTube to share with parents and family. Permission slips are sent home at the beginning of the year!
Visit our YouTube Channel!

Love this!
 I can't imagine teaching without technology, but I LOVE BOOKS!
Happy Thanksgiving!
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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Reading Informational Text with National Geographic Explorer & Online Resources

We received our district's fall Ohio Achievement Assessment results! The data shows that one of our weakest areas is Reading for Informational Text.
Mrs. Morris suggested we purchase these magazines for our students this year! We use them to better prepare our students for the OAA and to teach the following Common Core Standards:
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.1 Ask and answer such questions as who, what, where, when, why, and how to demonstrate understanding of key details in a text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.2 Identify the main topic of a multi-paragraph text as well as the focus of specific paragraphs within the text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.3 Describe the connection between a series of historical events, scientific ideas or concepts, or steps in technical procedures in a text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases in a text relevant to agrade 2 topic or subject area.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.5 Know and use various text features (e.g., captions, bold print, subheadings, glossaries, indexes, electronic menus, icons) to locate key facts or information in a text efficiently.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.6 Identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants to answer, explain, or describe.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.7 Explain how specific images (e.g., a diagram showing how a machine works) contribute to and clarify a text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.8 Describe how reasons support specific points the author makes in a text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.9 Compare and contrast the most important points presented by two texts on the same topic.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.2.10 By the end of year, read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, in the grades 2–3 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.

Each article comes with a lesson plan, an activity master and an assessment!

I love this option. Even though the students have their own copy, I still like to project the articles on the Smart Board for whole group instruction. 
We can highlight, circle, ect.

Here are a few printables that I made to expose my students to similar questions that are on the OAA & Reading Diagnostics. 

These questions support the NEW Ohio Reading Diagnostics.

Click HERE to download FREE copy!
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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Techie Tuesday Link Up

Welcome to Techie Tuesday Link Up!
Every Tuesday we are hosting a linky for you  to link up with your best technology post.   Please link directly to the techie blog post you are featuring. We are looking forward to seeing your great ideas! 

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Friday, November 22, 2013

Flipping Professional Development/Professional Learning

One of my favorite things to do is to learn. I am always looking for new ideas and different ways to do things. If there is something that can make me better as an instructional leader, then I am willing to try it out. When it comes to Education I am very passionate about helping students and teachers learn in the best possible way.

I truly enjoy Flipping Professional Development because I think it provides a great avenue for learning.

When developing PD, there are many factors you must think about. 
Do the participants have what they need to make it successful?
Will they have time to do things on their own?
Are they savvy enough?

These are all great questions that a developer of PD must keep in mind. Be Prepared for any and everything.

When I am planning I was always think with the end in mind. What do I want my participants to walk away with? I want them to leave with the mindset that they are not overwhelmed and that they can implement the ideas themselves. When developing PD, remember less is more. Do not try to cram in lots of information at one time. It may be great information, but if there is too much you have lost the battle. Having participants leave with a a few ideas that they feel successful implementing is better then sending someone home with a bunch of notes they took quickly (feeling overwhelmed) that now those notes may never see the light of day.

I cannot express enough the importance of planning. As a teacher you must lesson plan and lesson plan effectively in order to have a rich learning environment. As a trainer, you must do the same thing. It not something you can throw together in a matter of minutes. It does take time to make sure you are meeting the needs of all your learners, make sure you have all your resources, and plan for the worst case scenarios (make sure to have a back up plan).

The three components that I use when planning are

  • Explore
  • Flip
  • Apply

I love the idea when presenting on Technology Tools. Here are the tools-->Go Explore-->Which tools could be effective in your classroom?-->How do you plan to use them?
We step away from the lecturing of the tool and  the little time you would get to explore.
Now we begin with the Explore component, which makes for a wonderful Professional Development, which I like to call Professional Learning. The whole idea is to Learn!!

When I got started, I found this great article that inspired me. It is very important to Plan and Plan good. I love the outline on this site and it helps me as I plan as well.

I am not a "Sit and Get" kind of learner and I know that most students and adults are not as well. If you conduct any type of PD, I suggest reading, Sit and Get Won't Grow Dendrites by Marcia Tate. It is a phenomenal book. I use this book as a guide for planning and implementing PD and flipping my PD.

Here some great Technology Tools to use in your flipped PD.

If you have questions at all, feel free to email me at

I really enjoy this video from TED.
Teachers are flipping classrooms, rethinking lesson plans, and re-imagining the role of teacher and student, learner and educator.

I also love this article on Flipping a College class:

Great Freebie:

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Vocabulary Practice with a Twist

Hi there! It's Farrah from ThinkShareTeach. Here's a quick post to share something that was a huge hit today with my kiddos. Building vocabulary is a large part of our reading instruction. We talk about the words, make sentences with them, have collaborative conversations about them them, write about get the picture. We do a lot with our vocabulary, but today I wanted to shake things up a bit.

If you haven't used this awesome website, you have to go check it out. It is really easy. Just type in a conversation, hit create, and your text conversation opens in a new web window. You can save the picture using your right click or copy the web link to post onto Edmodo, email, or wherever.

We have a class set of Kindles, so my students used them to create their fake text conversation. The only stipulation was that it had to make sense and include at least three vocabulary words. Once finished, they copied the URL of the fake text and posted it to Edmodo. Success! This activity was just the change we needed right now, and it provided the practice they needed.

It also gave me some very good feedback as to who was using the words correctly and who was not. Here are a few of our creations:

I can think of so many uses for this website, but I really loved using it for vocabulary practice today. Maybe next week we'll incorporate it in some other subjects. Have you used it? I'd love to hear about your success!

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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Ode to #Pencilchat: Technology Integration in the Classroom



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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Oh, the world we live in!

You guys, the world we live in is AMAZING sometimes, don't you agree?!

Two things today caught my attention that I am dying to share with you!

First of all, have you heard of a website called Upworthy? Each day they share a variety of videos. They describe themselves by saying, "at best, things online are usually either awesome or meaningful, but everything on has a little of both. Sensational and substantial. Entertaining and enlightening. Shocking and significant."

So while Upworthy is a fun site for personal use, many of the videos that I've seen have the potential for social-emotional connections, classroom meetings, and writing activities. Of course preview the videos first, but I hope you find something nice to share with your class! To search for videos, you can choose from a variety of categories, including Inspirational

Next up is an idea that I found awhile back called Augmented Reality. When I first saw the video, I was like OMG! How cool! I want to be able to do that! Here's what it looks like:

Well my friends, today I discovered that it is totally possible for us to do this! It's an app called Aurasma. The app is free, and to create your own you can create a free account. 

Here's an example of how kindergarten teacher Matt Gomez uses it in his classroom, which I found through the Technology Tailgate! Thanks Matt!

I've had a little bit of time to play with it today, and I can't wait to use it!


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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Cursive and Keyboarding

Teaching cursive is not a Common Core Standard, but our school district chose to keep it as a part of our curriculum. 
Cursive is not one of my favorite things to teach so I needed some new materials and supplies to boost my enthusiasm! 
Here are 3 new items that have energized me for another year!

1. Cursive Animation 
  Students loved watching our 1st letter on the Smart Board as an animation! The animation repeats over and over and over! 

2. Found new practice worksheets

Love using the ZanerBloser sampler to make name tags!

3. I have blogged about this app before, but there are NEW updates and features this year! There are MANY cursive apps, but this is my favorite by far!

What's New in Version 3.0

Now allows writing WHOLE words with connected, cursive letters! Still easy to add individualized lists with children's names, spellings lists, or favorite words. Write in Single Letter Mode for more support, then switch to Whole Word Mode to practice connecting letters when less support is needed. NOTE: Whole Word Mode is only available on the iPad. ALSO, in response to your input, we have now allowed you to change the length of reward time in the "Prize Room" or to eliminate this reward altogether. Thanks for your input - you can see we listen to our customers!

If a student does NOT make the letter correctly- it quits and makes them start over! I love that this app does not allow them to practice letters incorrectly!

I love writing with chocolate pudding and chalk! 
Of course I love the animal print background! :)
It was hard to calm my students down after introducing this fun app on our Apple TV! They are so excited to use this app on our iPad minis. 

Students received their cursive permits today!

Official Upper Ram Cursive Licenses will be awarded when all objectives are met! 
To be Continued.........
Permits are hung on lockers in hallway!

Common Core Writing 
(Keyboarding and Digital Tools) 
Standards Grades 1-8. 

Common Core Standards for Writing (Grades 1-8)

W.1.6. With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.
W.2.6. With guidance and support from adults, use a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.
W.3.6. With guidance and support from adults, use technology to produce and publish writing (using keyboarding skills) as well as to interact and collaborate with others.
W.4.6. With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of one page in a single sitting.
W.5.6. With some guidance and support from adults, use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of two pages in a single sitting.
W.6.6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing as well as to interact and collaborate with others; demonstrate sufficient command of keyboarding skills to type a minimum of three pages in a single sitting.
W.7.6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and link to and cite sources as well as to interact and collaborate with others, including linking to and citing sources.
W.8.6. Use technology, including the Internet, to produce and publish writing and present the relationships between information and ideas efficiently as well as to interact and collaborate with others.

The students of the Upper Sandusky Exempted Village Schools use Qwerty Town to practice keyboarding skills to meet Common Core Standards!

What is QwertyTown?

Keyboarding is an essential component of literacy for today’s students. QwertyTown is a modern keyboarding web app. It provides a safe, teacher-controlled environment where students can communicate with their classmates, teachers, and friends. While becoming fluent with a keyboard, students are learning how to interact in a digital environment. This environment prepares them with a fundamental skill set essential for academic and professional success in the 21st century.

QwertyTown teaches keyboarding, an essential component of literacy for today's students.
  • Addresses Common Core Literacy Standards/ PARCC
  • Promotes digital literacy 
  • Customizable for learners with different abilities
  • Entirely web based 

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