Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Common Core Looming on the Horizon

With Common Core looming on the horizon, I thought I'd share this pin I stumbled across on Pinterest. The free part of Mastery Connect is similar to a Facebook for teachers to share common core assessments they have created. I signed up for this and it looks like it will be an excellent tool!

There is a second tier where schools either pay $4 per student/year, or $159 per teacher/year to add a feature that allows teachers to easily see who has or hasn't mastered content, to go paperless for all assessments via web tools or apps, and to create reports for students, for the school, and for the district. It has a "Grade Cam", if teachers wanted a paper bubble sheet for answers. The Grade Cam "sees" the page, checks it, and loads the score to the database. Scores can be exported to other online grade books. The interface appears to be rather user-friendly and visually appealing.

For now, I'll enjoy the free part of Mastery Connect, as our county already pays for and uses EduSoft. :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Long Time, No Post

So, I've been a busy bee at school and gotten away from posting. Recently found Education.com while searching for a math support page for school. Once you sign up for an account, they will send you a "worksheet of the week" to update you on new sheets. Worksheets range from preschool to high school.

Education.com has lots of other great features on it besides worksheets. The home page has information for parents on bullying, discipline, science fair, etc. It also has links for activities and for videos. Additionally, it has a "Find a School" feature that lets parents search schools in their zip code. I looked up Sharon Elementary and we were rated a 10 on a scale of 1-10 based on our state test scores. The school link shows our demographics, test scores, our test scores compared to the district and state, and a map of other area schools with their scores.

There is also a "Colleges" tab for preparatory information and college information. It includes a list of jobs in demand and top college degrees. The last tab is "Education A to Z" and it explains teacher terminology and any school related topic that you might be interested in learning about.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

If you won an iPad...

Our school has just kicked off 2 weeks of raising funds through Fund Runners. They are giving away 1 iPad to a teacher. Teachers get a raffle ticket for every $1,000 pledged to students for running laps. So, when I saw this picture from a blog called Langwitches, I knew I had to share it with my Sharon Elementary friends and with anyone else who reads this blog. It is too cute and applicable not to share! I also love that Blooming Butterfly poster!

Of course, I found it on Pinterest, my favorite place on the internet.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Vocabulary Flash Cards

Actually found Vocabulary Flash Cards website from Pinterest instead of Twitter. Love how cute and vivid the pictures are on each card! Wonder if our school could use one of these on the morning news every day instead of the slide with definition, sentence, and no picture. I bet kids would pay A LOT more attention to the "Word of the Day". :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011


Whew! First 7 days of school down, 180 more to go! While looking in Karen Bolotin's LiveBinder, (Online News and Magazines for Kids and a fabulous resource that in some way should be linked to your teacher webpage to get students reading high-interest, non-fiction articles online), I linked to Karen's Pinterest page, which has LOADS of picture ideas for the classroom! (Was that the longest sentence ever? Possibly. I hope it was intelligible.)

Pinterest, if you haven't discovered it yet, is a place where you "pin" your virtual, visual "interests". While you need an invite to join, you can request one from their website by submitting your e-mail address. It's a place to collect quotes, recipes, ideas for home redecorating, ideas for school, etc. and to credit the source that created it.

While looking through Karen's Pinterest page, I went another layer deeper onto Mrs. Morris' Simply 2nd Resources blog to a very simple way to show daily state standards. While Mrs. Morris teaches 2nd grade in Texas, this idea will work for any state standards that you want to show in your room on a daily basis and it will keep it neatly organized. So simple, but so creative! Seriously, how did I not think of this sooner? (Click 'Home' on the Simply 2nd Resources to see other fabulous ideas that Mrs. Morris has shared!)

Have fun exploring the WEALTH of links on Karen Bolotin's Pinterest page or in her collection of LiveBinders!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Library of Congress Pictures

How awesome is this?!? The picture resources from The Library of Congress are phenomenal and an untapped resource! How cool will it be to show my students actual photographs of Native Americans and have them make deductions and inferences before they start researching?!? SO glad I saw this link before Monday. LOVE this! And I thought using JogtheWeb was going to be cool. Old school awesomeness!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

BYOT Ideas

I'm back from our first leadership meeting for the 2011-2012 school year and what should be in my Twitter feed, but a stunning list of ideas for using different technology tools in my teaching. I plan to officially start BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) this year with my class with guidance from our Instructional Technology Specialist, Susan Brandon. Students bring the technology they already own at home for use during class. Those who can't bring something can borrow a school laptop so that less laptops are needed per class, thus freeing up a greater number of laptops for other classes.

Skimming through some of the ideas makes me feel like I need to get an iPad...

Sunday, July 31, 2011


Ooo! This site is similar to Wallwisher, but BETTER! It is free to people ages 13 and up, so while it would be fun for students to use, mine aren't over the age of 13. However, it would be a very fun tool to use with parents to communicate questions and answers that are permanently on a board linked to my class webpage. This could save having to answer the same questions over and over while providing vital information, attachments, videos, or photos of events happening in class. This would also be a fun tool to use to collaborate with teaching peers!

Your free account allows you to create as many canvases (backgrounds) as you'd like for posting notes. While there are 25 pre-made canvases to choose among, you could also upload an image to use as your canvas. There are yellow, green, blue, or pink notes to post. On each note you can change the color and size of the font, add tags, and a due date. (A great way to remind parents of project due dates or upcoming tests.) When adding a note, there is a box at the bottom right of the canvas that shows a calendar and a way to navigate seeing the entirety of the canvas. You can also "peel off" a note, thus deleting it. Within your account, you can be notified every time a new note is posted.


Another find from a Tweet about a LiveBinder has led me to a great website called PicLits. Sign-up for a free account and it gives you access to a gallery of photos and a bank of drag-and-drop words to add a caption to create a poem. There is a "freestyle" option if you would prefer to type in your own words.

The best part is the "Learn It" tab. Under this tab is:
- "Write It", which tells about basic sentences, compound sentences, and paragraphs
- "Rhyme It", which talks about why you would choose to rhyme your poetry (or not)
- and "Master It", which has advanced lesson plans on all manner of figurative language techniques, and different genre of poetry.

Granted, because this site has photos, it will likely be blocked at school, but it is also a great site that students could explore at home and then share on FB or Twitter, save, print or e-mail to share at school.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Fountas & Pinnell LiveBinder

Saw this posted on Twitter via Audrey Lash, a LiveBinders user. It is a wonderful resource for numerous books leveled with Fountas and Pinnell's A-Z lettering. Each tab has subtabs with found discussion questions or activities for the books listed. This is a resource I will definitely be using this year to save me from having to do the searching for myself!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Knowledge is Power

I love Twitter! It took me awhile to start using it, but it is an exponential wealth of information via links to education articles, discussions, and Web 2.0 tools. I started following LiveBinders recently.

If you haven't explored LiveBinders before, it is a website that allows you to create an online binder that is similar to a physical binder. You can name your binder, add tabs and subtabs, and organize your resources into it. Resources can include webpages, videos, pdfs, and images. You can share your binder and/or look at binders that others have shared. I had originally set up an account with LiveBinders in my last graduate class hoping I would start using LiveBinders to store my units online as well as having my physical unit. But, if it is usable at school, it would be an AWESOME tool for students to create their own LiveBinder of learning for student-led conferences in the fall and spring!

LiveBinders posted a link to this binder about Web 2.0 that heyjudeonline created. It's a great place to start if you are unsure about how to teach students to search online. Another great binder for teachers is Web 2.0 Tools created by Mrs.B which tells about everything Web 2.0. If you just thought, "I'm not really sure what web 2.0 is OR I don't know what web 2.0 is," then you should definitely look into this binder!

I would also suggest going to CommonCraft if you are unsure about the latest in technology. This site contains short, 3 minute educational/informational videos created by Lee and Sachi LeFever using simple paper cut-outs and a "fun and light-hearted style". (You can also search "in Plain English" on YouTube to find the same videos.)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I stumbled upon Reading Rewards last week when I was Googling ideas for the creation of a new reading log for this upcoming school year. I thought I'd go ahead and make a new log/system to track students' nightly reading while I had all of this summer break time on my hands. I had planned to start having parents sign their child's log each night to help me better track daily reading homework. While perusing documents, I clicked on Reading Rewards. It seems to be free and really awesome! It is similar to Good Reads, but doesn't require students to imput their own e-mail account. It allows a teacher to set up a class and assign usernames and passwords.

The premise is that students earn one virtual "dollar" for every minute they read. Then, the reward comes from their parent(s). Parents decide on rewards with students and help them set goals. Once students have earned a certain number of "dollars", students can redeem those dollars for their reward. The site allows teachers to add classroom rewards to the online "store" where students can also redeem "dollars" for those rewards as well. The teacher can set a class reading goal for any increment of time as well as see graphs of students' logged minutes. The teacher can also set up e-mail verification, requiring certain or all parents to verify that their child read X-number of minutes each night.

The students, each having their own account, can write a review of the books that they read as they fill up their virtual bookshelf. They can read reviews written by other students in their class or by any of the other students that use that website.

This website goes beyond a paper reading log to making reading social and interactive. It helps build a parent, student, teacher connection too. I hope that our school will allow me to use it!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Book Review of The Journey, Guardians of Ga'Hoole #2

The Journey (Guardians of Ga'Hoole, #2)The Journey by Kathryn Lasky

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I didn't like that this book was primarily a transition book to the next book in the series. There was hardly any action. It was more of a book telling about the history of the great Ga'Hoole tree so that you would have background information for what comes next. Hard to get through. Hope the next book won't be so boring.

View all my reviews

Friday, July 15, 2011

Day 5

I have loved looking at new websites to teach with today!  I am particularly excited about using the social studies sites from National Archives.  The Digital Vault activities they have, with digital copies of primary sources is phenomenal and engaging.  It will be a great extension activity as well as an any way to expose students to numerous primary sources, and to learn how to read and analyze their value in research.  I am also interested into delving into the National Archives lesson plans. 

I also really liked the game generator on ClassTools.net because it allows students a choice in which type of arcade game they want to play, but uses the questions that I want them to answer/practice.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Day 4

I had such a fun time making my Read poster!  It is something I will definitely do again with my students.  It would be a great way to bring historical figures to life, especially those dull early explorers.  :) 

I liked making a new Animoto.  A great idea was shared to make an Animoto and have students guess what book it is based on the pictures.  This would be a great weekly thing to have students submit their guesses, similar to a raffle, to win prizes from the media center and to be encouraged to read more, so that they can make even more educated guesses.  I also liked the refresher on using Photo Story.  I don't typically use this for my class webpage, as it can be time-consuming, but I'm sure students would love to use it to make an online scrapbook/storybook for a novel they are reading or to tell a story from their own written works.

Click here to check out my first Podcast!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Day 3

It was fun to explore Google Earth.  I have not previously used it in my class with my students.  If it isn't blocked, it would be great to use it so that students can analyze the movements of both British and colonial troops during the American Revolutionary War.  I hope that SumoPaint is available at our school because I loved the symmetry tool.  I also like the wealth of royalty free pic sites that were shared with us because I despise having to search for long periods of time looking for different pics or clip art. 

I'm excited to use Tagxedo, again, if it is not blocked, because it is very fun!  While similar to Wordle, it pulls text from websites, blogs, tags, or tweets and puts them into different shapes and themes.  It was suggested that students could use it to tell about themselves at the beginning of the year. One of the ideas from the site was to make a class list.  It would be so cute!

I'm also interested in seeing how students could use Voki.com to create a guide of some sort to add to a webpage report on a research topic.  

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Day 2

We've looked at some interesting curating sites today.  I've been adding lots of links to my Diigo account, so that I can access them this school year and share them with my colleagues.  I hope to be able to use Exploratree with my students this year to cut down on paper and to create more class graphic organizer collaboration pieces.  Of course, we'll still use our giant hands-on Venn-Diagram, but this will be another tool I can add to my teaching "toolbox".  I am interested in delving a little deeper into LiveBinders since I have so many physical binders for all of my teaching units.   I got to revisit my old NetVibes page and update it some.  I had forgotten all about it.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Day 1 & Final Project

This is my first posting for my EDIT 6350 class this summer.  It has been fun so far.  I had forgotten all about using my Diigo account and how great it can be for helping me organize my favorite websites.  I will have to remember to take my Diigo account to school with me so that I can access links from there.