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Friday, February 28, 2014

Technology Is The Future!

   These past few days I have had the opportunity to attend the integratedPDX conference put on by the OETC. My district provided us with this awesome opportunity to collaborate with other teachers from around the country and state to better implement technology into our classroom in the most effective ways possible.

  My goal through this post is to pass on five of the best ideas from this conference that I hope you will enjoy and try to implement into your classroom.


Tellagami: This app allows students to create an avatar and then narrate along with a scene. I could think of a hundred things students could use this for. A few ideas are giving a summary of a book, explaining a math problem, a ticket out the door about what they have learned, a writing prompt to inspire other students... ahh the possibilities are endless. 


The best part, this app is FREE! App Store: Tellagami


   Have you ever had the experience of trying to get all 30 plus kids on the right website with a difficult web address such as this:        
Makes you want to rip your hair our right?! Well I have a solution - a cute and easy app called Chrip


    With this app you can quickly add a picture, note, or website to your Chirp. You then "chirp" our your message to the other devices in the room. When the app is open on all the devices, you chirp your sound bite and a link will appear on their device that will lead them right where they need to go. No questions asked! Bam! Save yourself at least 5-10 minutes of instructional time, which is what it's all about. 

**Note of Warning: Students can chirp their own messages, pictures, links etc. to each other/any other device in the classroom. Some major classroom management will be important with the use of this app. Think passing notes on steroids.** 


    Do you wish you had more time in the day to help the kids who don't always get the lesson the first, second, even third time they hear it? Have you ever thought of flipping your classroom? I'm talking about teaching the lesson via video where kids watch the lesson at home, then you review in class, and apply what they learned in class.

    Although this idea seems a little backwards, and you may feel as if you aren't need anymore, that is actually the opposite of what is happening. Think about the difference you can make when you are honing in on the student needs in your classroom and making better use of your time. For this idea you can use the FREE app  EduCreations



   (A super fast example I made- this is actually a video though that walks students through the process.) 

   By using Educreations you can create your own video and record your voice in order to teach the lesson through a video. You can pause your recording whenever you want in order to add more detail to your picture or text. 

    I was a little hesitant at first thinking about having students learn from home, because many of my students don't have access to technology or internet at home, but there are ways to work around it. (You don't have to solely teach this way) Having them watch the video at school during breakfast, lunch, etc. Plus having these videso allows those students who didn't understand the first time to take a device (iPod, iPad, laptop) and listen to the presentations as many times as they need, without requring you to explain it over and over, freeing you to help with other issues as well.  


     Edmodo!! My new favorite technology friend. Edmodo is an online learning communty where students have the opportunity to interact with their classmastes and the teacher through virtual classroom platform. They can join classes that a teacher creates, turn in assignments, take quizzes, and even communicate with their classmates. We have only scratched the surface so far (I personally enjoy the gradebook that is web-based so I know it won't disappear off my U drive again) but we are excited to explore further and even become penpals with a class in Eastern Oregon. 


     This is a screenshot of the teacher's main page showing my groups and professional learning communities that I can communicate with for new ideas and help throughout the day. 

    Here are two different examples of how students participated in an online discussion about one of our Junior Great Books stories. Different levels, but all were interacting together, and using their language and comprehension skills to reach higher levels of understanding.



    Did I mention Edmodo is free?! Check out www.edmodo.com for more information and to sign up for your free subscription. If your class is interested in become penpals I would love to hear from you! Leave me a comment or find me on Edmodo. :) 

    Finally, for some app stacking! The first app is called ThingLink. This app gives you the opportunity to use a picture and make it interactive. You can add links to the picture where you can attach text, videos, pictures, or links to other websites. I made an example of a picture I'm going to use for my after school Newspaper club. 


    Each of the dots represents something that you can click on that will give you further information. But this is just a picture, if you want to experience all that ThingLink can do, use could use a QR Code reader such as I-nigma to scan the code. Scanning this code will quickly take you to the interactive site where you can try it out for yourself! 


     You can also make these QR codes with an online QR code maker, then have them ready for kids to lead them to all sorts of fun links, activities you've created, videos, etc. So that's some app stacking- ThingLink, which you get to with a QR code, that was made with a QR code maker, and then scanned with a QR reader such as I-ngma. 

   So there you go, some tech highlights from the conference. I challenge you to try one new thing and let me know it goes in your class! I would love to hear your ideas, or please share if you have anything else that is amazing and working for you!
         Good luck!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Five For Friday (A Day Late)


   With a catch up week in basketball from our snow day and Valentine's Day, this post is a day late. Better late than never though, right? 

    We continued our study of the Olympics this week. For this activity we reviewed the Olympic values. We did a "chalk talk" activity where students were not allowed to talk, but instead had to let their marker do the talking to write their ideas about what each value meant to them. The kids did a great job, and had such thoughtful and genuine answers. Check out each of the values and our final bulletin board which serves as a daily reminder for us about the way we should act each day, whether competing or not. 

    We strive to live by these Olympic values in our class and our lives! Go for the Gold!

    And in the middle of this lesson, a water main in our city broke and we had our fire alarm go off. Of course this was no regular trip outside... our field was still covered in snow and yes, it was raining!! The fire department took what felt like forever to get to our school, but the kids were troopers!

   During our snow days last week I had a chance to complete our new comprehension packet for our novel study of Number the Stars. It's been sent off to print shop for us to use next week, and will be on Teachers Pay Teachers soon! 

     Due to the snow storm last week, my husband and I were in basketball mode all week. We had three make-up games this week... no wonder I could barely wake up this morning! 

   I'm so proud of how hard my girls play in every game! They never cease to amaze me. Only two more weeks to go. We are ready to finish this season on a high.

   While I'm coaching, my husband is usually reffing. (Not my games though...) Usually he gets to come support me, but today I actually got a chance to watch him in action. He's a pro!

   It's been quite a week! We are ready to head down to the University of Oregon tomorrow to cheer on our Ducks in the Civil War. Go Ducks!! 

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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Winter Olympics Learning

  With the stress of state testing this past week, I decided it would be a great time to introduce a high interest themed unit all about the Winter Olympics. The kids have absolutely loved it so far and have done tons of research, reading, geography, and social learning without even realizing it. So far my students have learned about the history of the Olympics, the torch relay, Opening Ceremony, Olympic Village, winter sports, and Olympic creed and motto. To say they were excited for the Opening Ceremonies on Friday would be an understatement. They have been so inspired that they are begging me to put on our own class Olympics (little do they know that is already in the works).

 Check out my TPT store for FREEBIES to teach about these different aspects.
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     In our district, 6th grade is still in the elementary school, so the mid-winter push is always interesting with kids trying to define their behavior as the "Kings and Queens" of the school. Although I have an excellent class of just 32 this year, they have been a little chatty recently. With the introduction of this unti I have them working in teams to correct each other's behavior, while working together to earn medals for their country. Each table group has become a country that is competing in the Winter Olympics. They had to design their country's flag and do some general research on their country. This will soon be followed by a larger research project and paper that addresses the CCSS. 


     Students also work together as a team to earn "medals" for their country. When we transition throughout the day, countries get "gold, silver, and bronze" medals for being first, second, and third to be ready. Groups can also earn medals for completing homework, or participating in math discussions, etc. So far the behavior has been amazing! Even when it started snowing and sticking- which rarely happens in Oregon- the kids were on task and working away.


     We are having a great time and I'm looking forward to adding more math, geography, reading, writing, and of course fun into our lessons! If you have any other great ideas that you've used in your classroom please let me know- I love hearing new ideas. Enjoy!
            Mrs. Dessert
            Follow on Instagram: coachandteach247