Saturday, October 11, 2014
Friday, October 10, 2014
1) I'm still totally in love with Plickers!
Plickers is better than ever and just did some amazing upgrades to their website. You can now make multiple choice questions and create the questions online to save for later. I use these a lot in class and was trying to find a streamlined way for us to use them at the beginning of class. Voila!!! I had them paste them in the back of their interactive notebooks.
2) I have a huge number of ELLs in my class and they are amazing. We are noticing that they really don't like to speak academically. I've decided that is one of my focuses this year and employed a trick from last year. The kiddos did an awesome activity on the possibilities of what may have happened to the inhabitants of Roanoke. In the end, the kiddos had to make a claim about what they thought happened. Before I sent them to pen and paper I wanted them to be able to discuss their ideas and get feedback from others. So I did the only thing that made sense....
I made them SPEED DATE!!!!!
I partnered up the kids and gave them questions that would help them solidify their claim.
3) I created an amazing History Lab for my little ones. We were learning about the types of government and I decided to focus on just monarchy, dictatorship, democracy, and monarchy. The students had the task of building the tallest freestanding tower with minimal supplies. Each person, though, was given a task and role that mimicked a different type of government. The kids experienced each government and played roles such as monarch, dictator, elected official, heir, and average person. To add to the excitement of the building the tower, I played this music in the background (after being inspired by my Thursday night #sstlap Twitter group to add more music to my classroom.)
If you are interested in this activity in its entirety, click here and check it out!
Lastly, I've been dipping my toes in Whole Brain Teaching and would love any feedback/suggestions middle school teachers have about implementing it in the classroom.
Have a great 3 day weekend!
Friday, September 19, 2014
Ha! I make myself giggle sometimes! Seriously, that is my pile of grading. Google Classroom is amazing and fabulous and I'm a school girl in love.
I told the kids that this year I wanted top go "paper light". All assignments would be in paper form and online. Students could decide how they wanted to complete them. I also have the luxury of 5 old laptops, 2 beautiful macs, and one iPad in the classroom and a study hall time for kids to accomplish assignments.
About 70% hand the assignment in digitally. Interestingly enough, they still prefer to have the reading in paper form but love to do their writing in digital form.
The second week I used Newsela to organize three articles at three different Lexile scores.
For bonus, I put reading comprehension questions in the comments based upon the reading level of the article.
Voila! Instant reading groups, leveld discussion, teacher feedback and read alouds to meet every IEP.
Have I reminded you how much I love Google?
Monday, September 1, 2014
Thursday, August 28, 2014
The first week back is in the books and it was great! It was wonderful meeting my new seventh graders but I forgot how amazing it feels to loop with kids. My eighth graders came in and it just felt like home. They are such an amazing group of kids and I am so fortunate to get another year with them. Today they were getting sad because they don't want to go to high school next year. Woah Nelly!!!! You just got to eighth grade... Don't fast forward time just yet!!!
I went in my class last week and quickly set up my bulletin boards.
I really love my , "What's Been Going on in the World?" Bulletin board. I have presented five national and international stories from the summer with no words. For a bonus activity for my early finishers, they can take a guess at explaining what is going on in the pictures. If you're interested in the template, click here. I'll be changing them out every month, or as my smarty pants eighth graders say, every news cycle.
The first day I launched with my getting to know you video...
And then had them tell me about their likes and interests with Play Doh.
On day two did the Survivor Island activity that Dave Burgess talks about in his book and my teacher buddy, Ben Brazeau (@braz74) made (I modified it a bit for middle school students). Of course I had to add a bit of my own flare too it so I made this super fun launch video.
I also got to us Kahoot! Which I totally adore!
If you haven't used it yet, it allows you to do online quizzes and surveys where kids can use a myriad of devices to answer the question. It's much like Socrative or PollEverywhere but it has more of a game show feel to it. The kids loved it and I was able to use it to collect that beginning of year data, like do you have a computer or tablet, do you have wifi, etc? The kids adored it and I love that I can download all my data to a spreadsheet.
Lastly, I'm super excited because next week we're signing the kids up for Google Classroom and the whole cluster is going to use it. The possibilities are endless!!!!
Did you try anything new the first week of school? Let me know!!!