2020 Presidential Candidates: Resumes and Scavenger Hunt Task Cards

Wednesday, June 26, 2019 3 comments
2020 Presidential Candidates: Resumes and Scavenger Hunt Task Cards More about this Pin Engaging Them All Engaging Them All Saved to My Work on Teachers Pay Teachers now 2020 Presidential Candidates: Resumes and Scavenger Hunt Task Cards #usgovernment #usgovernmentactivities #socialstudies #middleschoolsocialstudies #election2020 #primaries2020

Woah! What a start to summer!!! We have watched movies in the backyard outside, seen Toy Story 4, and spent a ton of time in the pool! I so enjoy the slower pace of life and my time with my kiddos that are growing up way too fast! I also appreciate that I have only been on break for 5 days and I have tons more to enjoy!!!

As many of you know, I get absolutely jazzed around election time and the upcoming: Presidential election is no exception!!!

I wanted to take the time this summer to create some great resources to get your students jazzed and informed about the next election.

Today I have finished my labor of love (I've been working on this since February!!) of candidate resumes and task cards for all 27 major candidates.  It is a great way for your kids to get a concise overview of each candidate so they can compare and contrast.

On each resume, I have included biographical data, education credentials, work history, & military experience. I have chosen to focus on minimum wage and economically helping families, education, immigration, and healthcare for the issues discussed.

There are 21 task cards that help students investigate the candidates in greater detail. I have them look for those that have been governors, served in the military, been a Rhodes Scholar, etc. The task cards give the students a scaffold for investigating these amazing women and men!

This item is going to be part of a larger growing bundle. I will be making a Primary Word Wall which will help students understand topics like Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), single payer insurance, refugee status, and much more. I will also be creating an interactive bulletin board to track the primaries in January, and an escape room to help students navigate and further understand the presidential primary process!

I think that should take up my summer nicely (on top of teaching coding camp and taking a course in STEM education....at least I'll have a tan while doing it!)

***Head on over to my Teachers Pay Teachers Store right now! This item is 50% off till midnight on Friday!

Going Digital! Creating a Digital Planner with Google Slides

Saturday, June 1, 2019 2 comments

Creating a Digital Planner with Google Slides #teacherplanner #planner #teacherplanner

A couple of days ago I posted a picture of my digital planner on Insta and a couple people asked if I could share my template! Of course I can, but I also wanted to give a quick tutorial as well.

Not only do I use Google Slides, I use the Bitmoji extension for Chrome, the Noun Project add-on for icons, and the Unsplash add-on for amazing commercial free photos. These are also two add-ons I use in creating my TPT products!

Here is a video tutorial on how to use these add-ons to create a super fan and totally cheap planner. 

I do like to print them out and pin them upon the wall because I need that physical reminder and I just think they are so cute they need to be seen! 

Digital Tools to Get Your Students Reading and Thinking Over the Summer

Friday, May 10, 2019 3 comments
Digital Tools to Get Your Students Reading and Thinking Over the Summer #ebooks #activities #elementaryschool #middleschool #highschool

I got a question from a colleague yesterday on the best ways for kids to access books online this summer. Specifically we were looking for free books because we are a Title 1 district and wanted the process to be as easy and as inexpensive as possible for the parents of our community.

As usual I went into a DEEP dive. I turned to my favorite Facebook Community, "Teach with Tech" . This community is affiliated with the Teach with Tech Online Conference that I will be presenting in this summer.

The conference is entirely online from July 22 - July 24. If you sign up and choose the free option you will have access on the 22nd to that days 21 presenters. You will have access to those 21 videos until July 29th. For $10.95, you will have access to all three days, 60 presenters, and can view all of their presentations for up to a year! I might be biased, because I am presenting, but I think that is a steal!

Anywho... I totally digress! I turned to the Teach with Tech community on Facebook and crowd sourced the answer. As usual, I was blown away at the amount of information I received and the willingness to collaborate of everyone involved! 

I got so many great ideas, I wanted to get them all together. I expanded from just ebooks because that is definitely a one size fits all topic. Students can work on their literacy skills in many different ways!

  1. Favorite Paid 

Image result for epic books

My absolute favorite is Epic! Books. It is free for teachers, but for parents to use it over the summer, they would have to subscribe for $8 a month. Teachers can print out flyers with directions from their accounts. Parents also get their first month free. For more information on Epic! Books, check out my blog post here.

2. Favorite Free

Image result for open ebooks

If you are a Title 1 School, you have access to Open eBooks, a free digital library for elementary, middle, and high school students. The easiest way to access these books is by signing up with First Book, and then follow the directions  for signing up with Open eBooks. Open eBooks has a pretty amazing selection and is good for students in PreK through high school.

3. Favorite Find

One of my surprising favorite finds is Sync: Audio Books for Teens. Every week during the summer, middle and high schoolers can download two audiobooks for free. Students will need to download the free Overdrive app to listen to the books. I have already downloaded this weeks books and I'm addicted! The website comes with flyers and handouts to give to your students before they leave for the summer. 

4. Your Library is Your Friend

The most suggested free reading option was without a doubt, your local library's digital resources. Many libraries use the OverDrive app to offer free access to eBooks and Audio Books. The Libby app and the Sora app are associated apps that help you search your local libraries for the books you need.

As a teacher, reach out to your local librarians. You can definitely take a field trip to the library but many librarians will come to your school and show the students how they can access the digital resources. Most importantly, if you are in middle school, take the time to let the kids take out their devices and walk them through the process of signing up.

5. Who knew YouTube was for more than just cat videos?
A couple years ago one of my middle schoolers told me that whenever she wanted to read a book and didn't have the money to buy it, she just went to YouTube and found someone reading the book aloud. She was totally right. If you are looking for middle and high school books, students can often find them on YouTube.

It is not true for every book but there are many titles available!

This is also true for elementary books! There are some fabulous people out there dedicating entire YouTube channels to reading aloud picture books.

This would be awesome to provide to parents. Many parents don't share literature with students because they don't enjoy it themselves or they simply are not good at reading aloud. The channels would be great to share so the whole family could enjoy reading together.

Below is a growing database of online reading options for summer. Toggle through the fields at the top to find what you need. Here is a quick link to the database

Lastly, don't forget about podcasts! I know they aren't books but if our focus is trying to get our students to read, listen, and think podcasts can help kiddos do that! Take a look at my podcast post. Below is a podcast database!

Please reach out and let me know of you have any suggestions to add to my list!

Digital Tools to Get Your Students Reading and Thinking Over the Summer #ebooks #activities #elementaryschool #middleschool #highschool

Quick Tech Tip: Flippity.net and Escape Rooms

Tuesday, May 7, 2019 5 comments
Quick Tech Tip: Flippity.net to make quick escape rooms! #edtech #escaperooms #digitalbreakouts #breakoutedu

Hey all! I wanted to jump on super quick and show you a cool tool. I always feel like I have to write a novel on here and then I posy great ideas on my Instagram but I really need to combine them!

I have been dabbling in the world on Escape Rooms and am really enjoying myself! I have made a couple of physical escape rooms and some digital ones and both kids and adults love them. I was teaching the concept in a grad class of current teachers the other day and they all loved the concept but realized it does take a chunk of time to create one.

On my quest to make their lives easier, I found the Flippity.net, which I already love to use for putting students into groups or choosing a random name. Has a quick and easy lock generator!

Basically, you enter your prompt, answer and hint on a spreadsheet and Flippity makes the locks for you.

I have embedded these in a Google site digital escape room but I can see this used in many different ways!

  1. Take a worksheet and cut it up to make the problems separate "locks". Make the answer the combination to the lock. Add even more engagement by placing these problems up on a wall or around the classroom.
  2. If you have a station activity, add an overarching question and answer that they have to unlock before they move to the next station.
  3. Us the locks for a whole classroom reward! Countdown to a an event, vacation, etc. and have a password for each day. If the class meets the expectation for the day, the receive the "password". When the lock are all unlocked, they receive their reward!
So, let's crowd source this idea: how might you use these locks in your classroom? Leave a comment below!!!

If you are interested in checking out some of my escape rooms, click on the links below!

Click here! This is a FREE digital escape room on digital citizenship!

Click here!

Click here!

Creation in the Classroom Part 1: Green Screen

Tuesday, March 19, 2019 2 comments
Use Green Screen in the classroom to engage students in elementary and middle school.

If you have followed me for awhile, you know how passionate I am about making an engaging space for my students. I try to amp my creativity up to help spark a passion for learning.
I think it is important for us to create in our own classes so we can model the process to kids. Most importantly, I think we need to give our kiddos the time, space, and support to create themselves.

When I say create, I mean to create artifacts of their learning. No child ever said to me, "Miss, remember that packet we did last year. That was so fun!". Come on...let's be real. I have heard, many times, "Miss, do you remember that play we did/movie we created/game I invented, etc!"

This blog post will be a first in a series of ways you and your students can create artifacts of their learning that will engage them and spark passion!

First up we are talking about my favorite movie making technique: Green Screen! I have been using Green Screen technologies with my students for about 5 years now, and as an instructional tech coach, not a week goes by where I'm either teaching a teacher how to do it or modeling for the educator. Here are some of my tips and tricks!

  1. What do I use Green Screen for?
In my district, we use Green Screen in so many ways! As a teacher, I use it to launch lessons and give directions.

I've used it with students from Kindergarten through high school in many different scenarios.
    1. Storytelling videos to work on their speaking goals - Kinders
    2. Listen to, read, rewrite fables to work on their four domains (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) - English Language Learners
    3. Planned a trip around the world and we used Green Screen to take picture of them "on" their trip. They included these in a slideshow. - 6th grade
    4. Created statues with their bodies to symbolize the weaknesses in the Articles of Confederation and they used the green screen to take picture with backgrounds. - 8th grade
    5. Reported on penguins from Antarctica - 2nd grade
    6. Created PSAs after researching problems teens encounter. - 7th grade
    7. Created videos to go along with merchandise they created - 7th and 8th grade
    8. Took pictures in front of Washington monuments they researched and included it in a project. - 4th grade
    9. Take pictures at family events, after school socials, etc. - elementary and middle school
    10. Book trailers and reports with all grades
    11. Shakespeare retellings with 6th graders.
    12. Fractured Fairy Tales with 2nd graders.

2. DoInk
Green Screen by DoInk is my absolutely favorite way to shoot green screen. It is an app that easily allows you to take videos and photos. You can  actually use any color as a background and easily adjust on the app. It is super easy to run. When I use it with 2nd graders, they very quickly push me out of the way and operate it themselves!!!
The only drawback to DoInk, is that it can only be used on IOS phones and tablets. This definitely limits its use for some classrooms.

3. Open Broadcast Software (OBS)
OBS is free software you can download to any computer. If you mention this software around middle schoolers you will often here, "Oh! That is what the YouTubers use!".
OBS is a solid option but it has a much steeper learning curve. I learned it by watching MANY tutorials on YouTube. It is not a tool that younger students could use independently and even middle schoolers find it has a ton of steps. It is, though, a good alternative if you don't have access to an iPhone or iPad. Here is a pretty detailed instructional video I made!

4. iMovie
In my district we have Apple computers so we are lucky to be able to use all the capabilities of iMovie. In iMovie you can layer videos shot in front of a green screen with backgrounds to create the video effect. It is super easy to do. Unlike OBS and DoInk, though, you really don't get to manipulate the items (make the background bigger, make the subjects smaller, etc.) It is very limited in its capabilities but it does layer the two video pretty clearly. Here is a video walking you through this!

There are other ways to make Green videos such as WeVideo and Android apps, but these are my three go tos!

Create GreenScreen videos in your classroom to spark engagement, work on speaking and listening skills, and convey knowledge. This works super well with informational text units!!! #elementary #middleschool