Friday, August 31, 2012

Edmodo ~ Facebook for the classroom

"Oohhh! Facebook!"
"This is so cool, Mrs. Morris."
"I love this class."
"I love this website."

Do you want to hear that from your students? I loved hearing it from mine!

Click HERE to go!

I was planning on using a wiki this year, but I have changed my mind after working with this. It is great. My kids are so excited to use it.

  • Teacher has access to all accounts.
  • Quick to post a comment, alert, assignment, quiz, or poll.
  • The assignments, quizzes, and polls can be self-grading!
  • Teacher has the option to moderate all comments before they are published.
  • FREE!
  • You can link to other websites for easy access.
Here is an example of a quick assignment. I posted this yesterday.
The kids just click on the link and read. When they are finished, they come back to Edmodo, click on the turn in button (their view says Turn in), type their response and hit send. Easy!

There is a Library for you to store resources and a calendar that all your students can see. You can also upload your Google docs!

This is the Help page. It is actually helpful!

Follow these steps to get it set up with your students:
  1. You (the teacher) set up a page by clicking on the I'm a Teacher button. It is very simple. It guides you through setting up your preferences. It will also give you a code. You will need this for your students to join your group.
  2. Get your class in the computer lab or with a class set of laptops.
  3. After they navigate to Edmodo, they will click on the I'm a Student button. You will give them the code, they will create a username and password. They do not need an email address to do this.
  4. After they have successfully chosen a username and password they will be guided through choosing a profile picture and they will be sent to the class page. 
  5. Ta Da! Finished!
The first thing we did was go to XtraMath. Here is the post for that:

Go try it!!!!!
I did have to make an important point with my students.
I said, "Repeat after me - Edmodo. Say it. Edmodo. It is not Facebook. Please don't go home and tell your parents that we got on Facebook in class today!"

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Peek Face Portrait

I posted last week about using this in my classroom...

Click HERE to see the post and link to the freebie.
I did this with my class and here is how they turned out.

We had a good discussion on goals for school, behavior, and in our lives. 

It  is going to be a great year!!!

Monday, August 27, 2012

First Day Success!

I just have to say that this was a great first day. I didn't really know what to expect from this new grade level. I was a little apprehensive. It was for nothing. The kids were great! We started the day with Whole Brain Teaching and it just went up from there!

We know all 5 rules, Class - Yes, and the Scoreboard. I love it! Most of my kids were very energetic about it, but I can tell that I will need to pump it up for tomorrow. I am not a naturally peppy person. I tend to be calm and mellow most of the time, so I am going to make a bigger effort tomorrow. Step out of the comfort zone!

Yesterday I shared my plans for the first day, but here it is again:

We accomplished everything, in this order! I was amazed! They caught on really fast and we were able to really discuss my expectations and the reasons for them. I was so happy to see their excitement about their STAR binders and our class economy! They were talking about the jobs and many of them said they didn't know how they were going to choose for their application! Part of the "homework" tonight is to go over the job descriptions and decide on their top three because we will be filling out job applications tomorrow!

The tubs of books really came in handy for our restroom break time. They loved seeing pictures of my family and animals (dogs and cat). I forgot the reading surveys at school, so I will have to review them tomorrow. Drat!

I am most proud of our reading journals!!! 

My girl journals - I only have 7 right now.
We took the time to really personalize them. I bought some cute paper, letter stamps, and stickers. I learned that we just need to dump the 3D stickers, because I had a hard time covering the front with contact paper since it was raised... Oh well. I will make that adjustment tomorrow when we do our writing journals!

About half of my boy journals.

Boy journals
They were so excited to do this! I brought them home and put clear contact paper over the front covers. I hope that keeps them intact for the duration! I wanted to preserve their hard work. I also added red duck tape to the spines. This will be great when we have 5 journals in every desk. They will just be able to look at the spines and grab the red one for reading!

They aren't perfect, but it was during class, so I had to be quick!

Here are some examples of the inside:

First page (A) is for a record of their grades. This page is for me to write on.
Two more examples:

Pages B-E are reserved for the Table of Contents. Then we numbered 1-20 on the next pages.
We are ready to journal!!! That starts tomorrow!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Last Classroom Update

Well, it's Sunday evening. The last Sunday evening of the summer. School starts tomorrow and I am READY!

I am not ready to wake up early. I am not ready to be stressed. I am not ready for the paperwork.

I am ready for:

Here is a quick tour of my room for those of you who haven't seen it. Just skip over if you have!


Walk in and look to the right

Front of the room

 Promethean board, Elmo, and crate seats!!!

Wall opposite the door

Turning in papers and our Boggle board
I am so excited to start our CAFE board and anchor chart frames.
Back wall

Changeable schedule with room to write the times for specials

Wall beside the door

Back to the door!

Teacher & Student Gifts

Last year I made little welcome bags for my 2nd graders. Check that out HERE.
This year I was wanting something a little simpler and found the solution on Pinterest!

If you want the free printable, click HERE to get it from Amanda's Parties To Go.

Quick, easy, and it isn't candy.

Now on to teacher gifts...

I saw this quote online and I L.O.V.E. it!

I just added regular and peanut M&Ms. Tied on the tag and voila!

I made these in powerpoint and printed them 2 to a page. Click HERE to get the freebie!

I really like the labels for the top of the jars...

I also wanted to make a gift for my 2nd grade team. This is what I came up with...

Click HERE to get the freebie!
Here is something sweet to put in the teacher's lounge:

Click HERE to get yours!
Let's make this a positive year!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Meet the Teacher Night & Plans for the First Day

Meet the Teacher Night
Last night our school opened up to meet this year's students and their families. They can come meet us, see their new classroom, and drop off their school supplies. If you want to see some of the things I had for last year's meet the teacher night, go HERE.

This year I knew a few things:

  1. Only about half of my students/families will come
  2. They don't want to stay long so I need to keep it short
  3. It is not the time for a presentation
The first year, I made an iMovie with all sorts of information to share. I had it going the whole time and I think one parent glanced at it. Last year I had a powerpoint running with basic info, but again most parents didn't pay attention to it. So this year I kept it simple.

As they walked in, they saw this:

Here is a closer view:

Click HERE to download the Transportation List. (FREE)

The paper on the right is the sign-in sheet. We are required to turn in sign-in sheets for any event that involves parents. I also had parents give me an idea of how their child was going to get home. They wrote their child's name under the correct heading on the transportation list.

Beside those papers were 2 more:

Click HERE to download these papers. (FREE)
On the right I asked for their email address and on the right I am keeping track of children who wear glasses. I want to make sure that I know those students who are supposed to wear them, but forget or don't want to bring them to school.

Click HERE to download. (FREE)
I have these small information sheets that all my parents fill out. That way I have contact information, how they get home, and permission for their student to participate in our online activities all in my classroom.

These are papers that I sent home. It is just basic information, a supply wish list (on the back of the General Info page), and the sign-up for Remind 101.

This is a great way to send out reminders. Sending home notes or leaving messages are good, but you just have to hope they get to the parents. Remind 101 goes straight to their cell phones. And let's be honest, everyone has a cell phone with texting capabilities. We all keep them close by. This is a really effective way to keep parents updated with important information.


Plans for the First Day of School

Well, it is the last weekend of summer. My building is open today, but I am ready so I decided to stay home today. I went grocery shopping with my husband, prepared my lunches for the week, and made breakfast burritos that I will freeze and reheat for the next week at least. I am currently doing laundry and trying to think about what I am going to wear next week.

I feel like I am ready, but am I? This year is going to be very stressful, I know it. There are a million tests that my kids have to take. I am such a perfectionist. I want my kids to do wonderful on every test and so I have a hard time when they don't. I know I am going to work my butt off this year. *big sigh*

Here are my plans for my first day:

As you can see, our first day will be about routines, procedures, getting to know each other, setting up our supplies and going to 2 specials. Yes, I have Art and Music on Mondays. :)

We will start hitting curriculum hard on the second and third days of school. We have a lot to cover before our first round of testing, but I know how important it is to establish routines, expectations, and procedures.

Be sure to check back tomorrow to see the gifts I am giving my team and students on the first day of school. 

SHHHH! Don't tell!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

WBT In My Room & Certification

I feel like WBT is all over my room! Check out these pictures.

Oral Writing steps compliments of Amanda from The Teaching Thief.
5 Rules compliments of Miss Nelson
Super Improver Wall compliments of Tara West
The main techniques compliments of 3rd Grade Thoughts
Homework bookmarks for the Universal Homework Model - I actually made this one!
I love it. I know that having all these visual reminders will help me get things off to a good start this year. I also have some cue cards for myself for the first hour and day.

Click to download free from TPT compliments of Deanna Schuler
I love this binder!
Super Speed 1000 (reading) I have the student's copies made and in their STAR binders!

Super Speed Math I have level 1 addition copied and in STAR binders!

I can't wait to use this to help my kids become writers this year!

I love pictures. Aren't posts with a lot of pictures better to read? I think so!


I have been doing a lot of posts about Whole Brain Teaching for 2 reasons.
  1. I think it is wonderful and I want to share the techniques and resources with as many people as possible.
  2. I am working toward my WBT certification!  :)
Here is more information on certification straight from the Whole Brain Teaching website.
WBT Certification

I am currently at 1,100 certification points!! I am waiting on the online test and then I will be preparing to make a video!!

Does anyone want to join me in working towards certification???