Monday, November 25, 2013

My Students are Blogging!

Check out some of these posts.

They would love some feedback!
Keep in mind, that this is unpolished writing. They are simply recording their thoughts.

These kids make me happy. They really like sharing their thoughts. 

What do you think? Do you have your students blog?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Storytelling with Feltboard & Educreations

This is our first foray into Feltboard

I directed each student to create a scene with at least 2 characters. They saved their scene, imported it into Educreations, added text if they desired, and then recorded themselves telling the story.

I think it was a successful first endeavor.  :)

Here are a few of the stories.

Amber's story - Lost Dog!

Kimberly's story - The Amazing Wedding

Veta's story - Adventure Day

What do you think?

Friday, November 22, 2013

Our Frogs

Our class has 4 frog habitats that we are observing. They will be in our room for a few weeks before we have to give them back. The students have enjoyed watching them swim and many like to pick them up. I just like to watch. I don't like to touch slimy things!

Today the kids worked in groups to change out the water in the tanks. It was really starting to smell bad. One person said it smelled like a cat box. Ewwww! When the tanks were fresh, each group helped one another to take pictures. That was a lot of fun!

Students were instructed to write on their blogs about the frogs and what they have observed. Here are some of my observations.

I have observed:
1. I know that our frogs breathe air.
2. Some of my students really like to handle the frogs, and some of them are like me.
3. The longer the water stays in the tanks, the worse it smells.
4. The frogs like to hide under the plants for protection.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Anti-Bullying Week

My class wrote on hearts to share their thoughts about bullying. Here are a few…

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Mixed Numbers & Improper Fractions videos

Good evening! I just wanted to pop in and share my student's videos from today.

Assignment: The students were directed to go to our Edmodo page, save the 4 photographs to their camera roll, import them onto different pages in Educreations, solve the problems, and record their reasoning.

It was a major success! Only 3 kids didn't get a 100. Love it!

Click on the links to watch a few. Let us know what you think.

What do you think?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Autobiography Project

My students recently completed an at home project! I was scoping out TPT last year and ran across a cute autobiography project.

Click on the picture to view on TPT.

I created a rubric that I also sent home with the instruction sheet. I supplied students with construction paper from school and they were off!

I was astonished with some of the things they shared with this project. Some of my kids have big dreams and I LOVE that!!!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Life in a 1:1 iPad Classroom - Morning Routine

Every morning my kids do the same thing.

Students start arriving in the classroom at 7:45 and aren't late until 7:55.

They unpack their backpacks, turn in homework, and turn on their iPads.

Their first job is to authenticate on our district's internet server. The district has different levels of filters depending on grade levels, so my kids sign-in every day to access the internet. Their sign-in is good for 24 hours.

Then they navigate to XtraMath. I have blogged about this amazing resource before, but in case it is new to you I will explain a little. XtraMath is a FREE website that helps kids with their math fact fluency. It is set up for easy classroom use. It is also compatible with iPads! Yay!

After they login, they see their progress on a chart.

They press start and move on.

I love that the keypad is so easy for them to access. It automatically pops up when you use an iPad. The kids are given 3 seconds to answer to get a smiley face and ten seconds before it prompts them with the correct answer. Go check it out if you haven't already. You won't be disappointed!

XtraMath only takes about 5 minutes, so when my kids finish, they go to Spelling City. I love this app and I am hoping that my principal will buy me a teacher membership so we can do more on it.

I have two levels of spelling every week: the basic list and the advanced list. We take a pre-test every Monday. Students who miss three or less use the "Star" list and students who miss more than three use the "Regular" list.

They choose their list and then choose their game.

This is a great way to start our day. It has plenty of brain exercise, provides time for practice of essential skills, and is a calm entry to our morning.

Announcements usually come on about 8:05 and I sharpen pencils afterward. Kids have until about 8:15 to finish their XtraMath and spend some time on Spelling City.

What do you think of our morning routine? Do you do something similar?

Any suggestions?

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Life in a 1:1 iPad Classroom - Procedures

So I want to start blogging to share how I am structuring my class around our iPads. We aren't using them to their full potential, yet, but I have high hopes!

Let's start with a few procedures…

Where do the kids keep their iPads during the day?
     The kids keep their iPads on their desks facedown when I need their attention or when we are working without using them. When I need the kids to have a clear desk, I have them place their iPads in their book boxes which are located on a small table between their groupings of desks. (see below) I do not ever let them put their iPads in their desks.

What about sound?
     Each student was given a pair of earbuds or they could bring headphones from home. They use these when they are on a program or app. I do not allow them to have the sound on during class for others to hear.

What is the procedure for charging?
     When the iPad is at less than 20% at the end of the day, the student places their iPad in the charging cart for the night. If their iPad goes into the red during the day, they simply charge it on the cart. This can usually take place during a special or lunch when we are out of the room.

What if someone misbehaves?
     I have only had to take away this privilege once to make my point. The students know that I expect their attention and good behavior throughout the day if they want to use the iPad. I can very easily have them do the same work on paper.
     We were very specific about our expectations for using and handling the iPads from the very beginning. I haven't had any trouble with the kids abusing the privilege yet.

How do the kids know when they can use their iPads and when their focus needs to be on the teacher?
     When students finish their work, they get on their iPads. They have several options, that I will discuss in another post, to use during this time. When I need everyone's attention, I say, "Dark and down, please." This means to stop whatever you are doing on the iPad, press the sleep button, and place your iPad face down on your desk. Not difficult at all! It works for when they are at their desks and when they are around the room.

What other procedures do you want more information about? Let me know if you have any questions. I know that when I was doing research over the summer, there weren't many blogs that detailed exactly how a 1:1 iPad class was run, so that is what I would like to share.

Tell me what you want to know!!!  :)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The World is Turning Upside Down

This is how I am feeling right now.

All this testing is getting to me. Every three weeks is too much.

Let me show you what is on my plate (and almost every teacher in my district) for the next several days.

Thursday Nov. 6
Grades are due
Make sure all parents have conference reminders
iPad Teacher camp 4:00-6:15

Monday - Friday Nov. 11-15

regular teaching day

Reading Campus Checkpoint
Parent Conferences until 6:45
PTA program at 7:00

Math Campus Checkpoint
Science Campus Checkpoint
Early Release at 11:55
Staff Development until 3:40
Parent Conferences until 6:00

On top of that… I have iPads this year in my room. I feel so much pressure to do spectacular things. Not really happening. I want to do more with them, but I feel so contained because of these tests we are taking every three weeks. It's like I don't have room to be creative.

Can you say stressed? 
I can!
Oh wait…

Thanks for reading my rant.

Monday, November 4, 2013


I am a little late posting…

Sorry! I am a horrible blogger during the school year.

I made 2 snacks for my kids to celebrate Halloween.

Cuties dressed up as jack-o-lanterns! These were setting out when they walked in. Some of the kids ate them at lunch, but most took them home. They were a hit!

Spider web cupcakes! I handed these out as the kids left for the day.

It was a Happy Halloween!