Friday, December 19, 2014

Persuasive Text and the LifeCards App - A Perfect Marriage

Utilizing the app, LifeCards, 5th grade students created postcards defending/supporting their position of becoming a Patriot or remaining a Loyalist due to the events leading to and during the American Revolutionary War.

Below are a few examples as well as an interactive flipbook depicting their finished work:


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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Document Student Learning with Stop Motion Studio

Create Stop Motion videos on your iPad.  Easy to do in your classroom.  Suggestions from Raki's Rad Resources 

Lego animation, claymation, stop motion animation.  These all seem like complex types of movies that we shouldn’t attempt in a classroom.  In an after school club, maybe, but definitely not in a classroom.  However, I recently discovered that these types of videos can be created quite simply with an iPad, using the app Stop Motion Studio.  Stop by my blog – Raki’s Rad Resources – to find out how my children documented the creation of their sculptures with this app.

 Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources

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Sunday, December 14, 2014

Gingerbread Brain Break and YouTube Compare

I don't know about you, but I even have a hard time concentrating the week before Christmas! Last week, I planned to keep our week as normal as possible, but last night this MAN changed my mind! 
We usually compare and contrast many of these books, but.......
this year... let's work in groups to compare and contrast Gingerbread Man YouTube Videos on our Chromebooks!

            There are so many videos to pick from!


Compare and contrast two or more versions of the same story (e.g., Cinderella stories) by different authors or from different cultures.

There are so many ways to compare! 
Here are just a few:
You can compare a BOOK vs. VIDEO.

Compare 2 Videos!

Compare 3 Videos!

Compare 4 Videos!

Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply reasons that support the opinion, use linking words (e.g., because,and, also) to connect opinion and reasons, and provide a concluding statement or section.

Let students form an opinion and write about it! Students use evidence from the videos to support their opinions!

                                So now what? 
                    Let's GET UP AND MOVE 
                     like a gingerbread man!!!!

I love this CD!

Gingerbread Man

Describe how words and phrases (e.g., regular beats, alliteration, rhymes, repeated lines) supply rhythm and meaning in a story, poem, or song.

Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.



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Wednesday, December 10, 2014


If you ever need a reminder of why we do what we do each day, take a look at this:

I captured this amazing moment as students were doing the Hour of Code to celebrate Computer Science Education Week. We have been having SO much fun in the computer lab! :-)

There are many, many resources out there to get kids interested in programming. From apps to games and robotic kits, anyone really can learn! 

We started each day with a special message from President Obama:

And then, various grade levels did different programming activities. 

1st grade used an app called Kodable last week to get ready for the Hour of Code, and this week transferred that knowledge to Google's Code Lab in Santa's Village. (If you check out Santa's Village, Google posts a new game or activity each day for kids! Today's is a map puzzle if you need a geography idea to use!)

2nd grade used a couple different sites: Tynker's Candy Quest and last year's version of the Hour of Code, which has students program Angry Birds to get to the pig.

3rd and 4th graders did the activities for this year's Hour of Code - with Anna and Elsa from Frozen! Students programmed Anna and Elsa to make snowflakes by moving a certain number of pixels and angles of different degrees to create the patterns. 

If you have students who are interested in computer science, like I said, there are SO many awesome resources to help them learn more. 

These are all FREE apps (some of which we have on our iPads at school):

This Google Doc has several resources for Coding with Elementary Students (thanks to my friends on the #ElemTechCoach Twitter chat!)

One of my favorites is, which is intended to inspire more females to get interested in Computer Science. 

One of the projects they have right now is to "code the holidays" - each tree that is coded will actually light up one of the trees on the White House lawn! 4th graders have been making them as they finish the Hour of Code - maybe make one together with your class on the SmartBoard!

Happy Coding!!

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Monday, December 8, 2014

Landforms and Animoto

3rd grade students created Animotos on various landforms. With each landform, students were required to write characteristics then compare and contrast the following two landforms; hills and mountains / valleys and plains. Below is a video depicting a few student projects. 


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Friday, December 5, 2014

Rules for Using Translation Applications in the Classroom

rules for using translation applications in the classroom.  Great tool for ESL students, but needs to be used moderately and responsibly.  Rule suggestions from Raki's Rad Resources.

Technology can be extremely helpful when you are learning or practicing another language.  The translating apps alone are worth their weight in gold, but as with all technology, students must be taught limits and procedures when using translating apps in the classroom.  Stop by my blog, Raki’s Rad Resources, for some suggestions on rules to use when allowing students to use translation applications in the classroom.

Heidi Raki of Raki's Rad Resources






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Sunday, November 30, 2014

Preparing for the PARCC Test with PARCC GAMES

PARCC Games was created to help students and teachers take on the new Common Core standards as well as the PARCC assessment. This site was designed as a reinforcement tool for previously taught content. Game links found on this site have been previously screened and found to support Common Core learning goals. PARCC encourage students to use the site to practice both during school and at home. They will continue to search for and screen appropriate educational games, so check back often!

What is PARCC
The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) is a group of states working together to develop a set of assessments that measure whether students are on track to be successful in college and their careers. These high quality, computer-based K–12 assessments in Mathematics and English Language Arts/Literacy give teachers, schools, students, and parents better information whether students are on track in their learning and for success after high school, and tools to help teachers customize learning to meet student needs. The PARCC assessments will be ready for states to administer during the 2014-15 school year.

PARCC States

PARCC is made up of: ArkansasColoradoDistrict of ColumbiaIllinoisLouisianaMaryland,MassachusettsMississippiNew JerseyNew MexicoNew YorkOhio, and Rhode IslandThe states in PARCC educate millions of elementary, middle and high school students across the country. In addition, Pennsylvania is a "participating state."  Learn more about the PARCC states.
PARCC is based on the core belief that assessment should work as a tool for enhancing teaching and learning. Because the assessments are aligned with the new, more rigorous Common Core State Standards (CCSS), they ensure that every child is on a path to college and career readiness by measuring what students should know at each grade level. They will also provide parents and teachers with timely information to identify students who may be falling behind and need extra help. 

I am in full support of enhancing teaching and learning. I do however struggle with the time  spent on "testing" and preparing for a test. 
I wish there was a happy medium! 
When feeling overwhelmed with the new requirements for 
1. I read cartoons for humor! :) 
2. I surround myself with hugs and high fives from Team Newell! 
I love these kids like they are my own children!
3. I watch many Kid President Videos!       

I am forever thankful for Kid President! He has  no idea how he has motivated me these last 2 years teaching in Ohio!
 He has given me HOPE
 that ordinary people like ME 
can make a difference! :)
What do you do to stay positive while teaching and juggling the new demands in your state?              Please leave a comment! Pin It