#BHMChallenge – Week 3

Respecting Differences, The Strength in Feeling Powerless, Documenting your Journey, Improving our Community, Significance in Nobility, Embracing New Experiences, and The Power of Storytelling! Join us in week 3 of the Black History Month Creativity Challenge!  We encourage you to share your creations on social media using the hashtags #BHMChallenge2020, #AppleEduChat, and #EveryoneCanCreate!

#BHMChallenge – Week 2

Entrepreneurship, Finding Your Passion, the Power in Creation, the Passion in Inventing, the Significance of Using your Imagination, Design Thinking, the Fight for the Marginalized!  Join us in week 1 of the Black History Month Creativity Challenge!  We encourage you to share your creations on social media using the hashtags #BHMChallenge2020, #AppleEduChat, and #EveryoneCanCreate!

#BHMChallenge 2020 – Week 1

A love of STEM, Changing Your Community, the Power of Perseverance,  the Gift of Music, the Power of Relationships, Fighting the Unjust Law, and Building your own Way.   Join us in week 1 of the Black History Month Creativity Challenge!  We encourage you to share your creations on social media using the hastags #BHMChallenge2020, #AppleEduChat, and #EveryoneCanCreate!

Flipping Instruction with Edpuzzle

flipped class

I’m flipping! My classroom that is…. I’d been thinking about it for a while and then because of personal reasons it became a necessity.  What is flipped instruction, you ask?  According to Wikipedia, Flip teaching or a flipped classroom is a form of blended learning in which students learn new content online by watching video lectures, usually at home, and what used to be homework (assigned problems) is now done in class with teachers offering more personalized guidance and interaction with students, instead of lecturing. Now because about 80% of our students don’t have access to technology, I will be doing what has been called the “In Class Flip”.  Learn more about it here.

In my classroom, students rotate through stations that focus on reading comprehension, vocabulary development, and writing.  The focus concept will be a video that is a station and I’ll be a station as well.  Transforming my classroom in this manner really helped me to spend quality time with my students through small groups.  I can’t wait to start out the school year this way.

Once I realized that I would be spending a huge chunk of time away from my classroom, I decided that students would have to continue to receive core instruction even though I wouldn’t be there.  I had all of my flipcharts ready to go, but how could I get that information to them in a way that would keep them engaged and focused.  Enter Edpuzzle!


Edpuzzle allows you to take just about any video (from on the internet of self-created), edit it down to the portions you want, add audio notes and questions for students, and create virtual classrooms where you can monitor individual student work.  And it’s all FREE!

Through Edpuzzle, I can add checking for understanding questions for my students throughout the video that will self grade.  Win/Win!  It can be embedded through Edmodo, and students can log in through their Google or Edmodo accounts!


Here is a screenshot of the data I am able to get of what students are doing.  This allows me to streamline my lessons and form small groups for instruction.


Did I mention that students can’t skip ahead in the video?  Another WIN!


So if you’re interested in flipping or blended instruction – or just want to find another way to keep students engaged in learning…try Edpuzzle.  I’m sure you’ll love it! 🙂

Until the next time,


Finishing Strong! with (The Giver)

finish strong

We have only a few weeks with kids and I can hardly wait!  I love my kids – love them to death…..but WE need a break from each other!  I suppose I’m getting on their nerves just as they’re getting on mine! Because I was 100% positive that if I heard “Are we doing work today?”  I was going to have a nervous breakdown and start running and screaming down the hall.

It’s our fault I suppose….all year long we stress to  the students that what we’re doing will make them better readers and writers – but due to the stress the states puts on us we follow it up with, “This will get you ready for PASS!  You need to get ready for PASS!” like that standardized test is the golden brass ring that is the end all – be all. *scoff*  So once PASS is over and we realize that we have three more weeks of school left……Oh…..My…..God!

After the left test was done, I received incredulous looks from students who didn’t believe my answer of “Work” when they asked me what we’re doing today.  Thankfully, I saved the best for last this year……The Giver!


In my opinion, The Giver is the granddaddy of all dysotopian novels.  If you’ve never read it, stop what you’re doing and read it right now!

The kids absolutely loved it! Especially when I paired it with mew best engaging tool….Kahoot!


Kahoot is a game-based classroom response system.  As a teacher you can create your own “quiz” or browse from the thousands that are already available on the website.  Students put in a pin using any mobile device (tablet, phone, computer, etc) and you’re good to go.

My kids absolutely {{puffy}} heart love Kahoot!  Just the thought of a Kahoot on the horizon causes them to come in silently, get right to work, pay attention, and work HARD!  Just take a look at them!

kahoot crazy

To see the excitement on their faces was all I needed.  The movie comes out August 15th and my kids have seen the previews.  When they look at me with looks of disdain and say “But, it’s in COLOR!” – my heart dances!  Oh I can’t wait!

Until the next time,


I <3 Google! {20 Day Blogging Challenge}


It’s unbelievable all of the resources that are available through Google!  I’ve had a Dropbox account for at least four years now and I used that primarily for online storage.  I mean, who doesn’t love the fact that you can sync across any platform you want?  I’d leave my computer at school, work on whatever I needed to at home, save it to my Dropbox, and viola!  It would be there when I got to school in the morning.  I could share files with my teammates making emailing documents a thing of the past.  What more could a girl ask for?  Well, I’ll tell you!


With a Google account, you get much more than just storage space.  There’s Gmail, Goole Calendar, Google Drive, Google+,  and YouTube!  

First of all, within your Google Drive space you can continue to share documents….and you and your team can work on them at the SAME TIME!!  No more is there a necessity to have to sit down face to face to work on everything.  Or you having to repeat yourself multiple times so that the “recorder” can get the information written correctly.  Plus you can access your files anywhere, especially now that they’ve added the Google folder for your computer. YES!

No more creating a survey through some pre-made survey program.  You can create a Google Form that has whatever YOU need.  We assign our students lunch detention for inappropriate behaviors.  In the past, each teacher would assign a child lunch detention and email it to our Data Clerk.  She would then have to print out each email, type it into an Excel document, make sure that the duplicates were moved over to another day, and then email it out to us.  About 10 minutes before lunch began, she would have to call out the names over the intercom – interrupting instruction time. And if she were absent…..it put us a day behind. This year, I created a Google Form to handle all of that.  The responses go into a spreadsheet that we each have access and we call out the names right after the bell rings.<3 it!

Lunch Detention


My students all have Google accounts through Google for Education and it is the best way to share information between us!  With my principal’s approval, I purchased a domain at GoDaddy for $2.00 and used it to create our accounts.  It was very simple.  Before we left for Christmas break, students created a nonfiction book report video.  Once they finished they just uploaded it to our shared Google Drive folder and I had it immediately!  I use Evernote to grade projects and once I finish, I just email them a copy of their graded rubrics.

You can even create quizzes for classes through Google Forms as well – which you can set up a formula for it to grade itself….HELLO!

No need for Skype with Google Hangouts….I mean how can you not love this…..everything you need is right at your fingertips.  

I was even able to create a YouTube channel where I upload work that student’s have done, as well as videos of them working and playing.  

Click here for more idea of how to use Google Drive.

If you’re a fan of SATC like I am you’ll understand me when I say…”And just like that Google kicked my Dropbox’s sweet little a**!”

Until the next time,





Reading for Meaning – An Amazing Resource Thursday Throwdown {January 2nd}

Today I’m participating in I’m Lovin Lit’s monthly Thursday Thrown Down!  

Thursday Thrown Down


I’ve been using Reading for Meaning since the early 2000’s.  It’s definitely an oldie…but goodie!  And, I just realized, not even sold anymore.  🙁  So I better not lose this CD! LOL!



Reading for Meaning is a software program for grades 3–8 that improves student reading comprehension through the use of authentic literature, lessons, and graphic organizers.

The program focuses on five core topics found in reading comprehension curricula:
main idea, inference, sequence, compare and contrast, and cause and effect.
Within these skill areas, Reading for Meaning includes:

  • 5 whole-class modeling lessons to teach critical skills
  • 30 structured lessons in which students read selected literature passages, construct graphic organizers, and answer open-ended comprehension questions
  • 5 electronic graphic organizer tools for teachers and students
  • a library of 30 additional lesson plans that cover today’s most popular children’s literature

I like Reading for Meaning, because it provides the teacher with an introductory lesson that uses a video (the “Kid Cam” episode) to introduce the concept.  For the main lessons, the text is provided – READ (with audio), a graphic organizer – THINK, and then a open-ended writing activity -WRITE to use the text and graphic organizer to answer questions.  I take it a little further and add a multiple choice component, since that’s they way they will see it on a standardized test.

See examples below:









Can you tell the difference between my Honors students and Non-Honors students??

Here’s an example of what a multiple choice question looks like.  They students answer the questions using our ActivExpression devices so we get immediate feedback.


RFM (Rats)

What I really like about completing this activity is that it forces the kids to re-read the text numerous times.  It really helps me convince them of the important on close reading activities and the appropriate way to respond to open-ended questions.

If you have time today, make sure you head over to Erin’s and link up.  I can’t wait to see the amazing things that you do in your classroom!

Until the next time,


Book Reviews….Video Style!

We all know this…..if you wanna get better at something you have to practice!  We want our students to be better reader and writers so we try to find ways to make them read and write!  Oh, what cruel and unusual punishment we put upon these children! Ha!

At my previous school, where I had 90 minutes to teach reading and writing, my students read 20 minutes a day in class.  We also used Accelerated Reader to keep track of reading as well as encourage students to read.  At my new school, we have 55-60 minutes a day (so there’s no way we can read 20 minutes a day) AND no AR! 🙁

So students are required to read one fiction and one non-fiction book and then complete a  book review or report on it.  This time, students completed  a Tellagami movie on their non-fiction book report.  Here is an example:

A few students have lost their iPad privileges due to inappropriate usage, so I thought, “Why not put that green screen to use?” Here is an example of  a green screen video:

I’m pretty proud of my kiddos!

Until the next time,


Teacher Week ’13 – Taming the Wild


It’s day 4 of Teacher Week ’13! Hosted by Blog Hoppin’, today’s topic focuses on Classroom Management.



Being the daughter, neice, and cousin of teachers, I was able to see first hand what excellent classroom management looked like. I was also blessed with an awesome partner teacher my first three years of school and was able to see on  a daily basis what good classroom management looked like.

I’ve have done quite a few different things for my management plans, starting with Harry Wong (whom I {puffy} heart love) to my current management plan – Class Dojo and Jefferson’s Bucks (which I {puffy} heart love)! 🙂

I’ve talked about Class Dojo before. Since I’ve already posted about Class Dojo, I’m going to link up with First Grade Parade for her Throwback Thursday as well!



Originally posted February 13, 2013
I use Class Dojo as a part of my classroom behavior management system. What is Class Dojo you might ask? ClassDojo is an online program that allows you to provide immediate feedback for student behavior (positive and negative). It enables you to easily award and record points, achievements and rewards for behavior and performance in class in real-time, with just one click of your computer, smartphone, or mobile device.


ClassDojo provides instant visual and audible notifications for your students, in addition to allowing you to keep the feedback over a period of time. It also allows you to decide what behaviors you find important and award points that way. And it’s so easy to set up. You can copy and paste your class roster from almost any document – even a PDF!

Since my laptop is continuously hooked to my projector and Promethean board, students can constantly see their progress. And even if the screen is on something else they can hear the ding or dong that comes from points being awarded!

My ClassDojo points are connected to my Jefferson’s Bucks. Having a certain amount of Jefferson’s Bucks allows them entry into “The Jefferson’s Jam!” Every week, students’ individual points turn into money. But, I also added a component that ensures the class works together. At the end of the week, the class percentage allows them to be able to multiply their points for more money. 80-89% class percentage? They can multiply their points by 2. 90-99% class percentage? They can multiply their points by 3. 100% class percentage (which has happened once). They can multiply their points by 4.

We had our second quarter Jefferson’s Jam on Friday and the kids had a blast! Students can order subs or pizza, as well as bring in other treats for the party. It has a zero cost for me – all I have to do is set the date, determine the participants, and order and pick up the food!

Check out our party video here:

We spent a great deal of time outside, and as I looked around I was shocked at the amount of litter out there! So I created an impromptu community service project. We did a trash clean up right on the spot! I made it a competition though, because who wants to pick up trash at a party? Students were put into teams and the team that collected the most trash would get a prize. Needless to say after 3 minutes, the playground yard was immaculate, and every attendee is officially $100 richer in Jefferson’s Bucks! They all did such an awesome job, I couldn’t decide!



I’ve already uploaded my students into Class Dojo for this upcoming week and I am ready to go!  Haven’t tried Class Dojo yet *gasp*?  Head over there and give it a try!

Until the next time,



Linky Parties – QR Codes {8/01}

It’s Thursday and I’m killing two birds with one stone! I’m linking with with iTeach 1:1 and Learning to the Core‘s for their last Tune Into Technology series.  *sad face*  I have really enjoyed this series and have learned so many things!  This week’s focus is QR Codes and there’s a great giveaway, too!


I’m also linking with with Erin at I’m Lovin’ Lit for her Thursday Throwdown Linky Party.  QR Codes are definitely a way to keep learning interactive!


What is a QR Code?  you might ask.  Quick Response Codes (QR Codes) are  two-dimensional bar codes that can contain any alphanumeric text and often feature URLs that direct users to sites where they can learn about an object or place (a practice known as “mobile tagging”). – EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative

QR Code Example

QR Code Example

With the advancement of QR Codes you can provide students with a variety of information:  URLs, YouTube videos, Google Maps Locations, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Four Square, App Store Download, iTunes link, Dropbox, Plain Text, Telephone Numbers, Skype Calls, SMS Messages, Email Addresses or Messages, Contact Details, Events, Wifi Login, etc.  Now that’s a whole lotta stuff!

I have not had the opportunity to use QR Codes in the classroom yet…..iPads coming in a few weeks! :-), but I’ve used them in a few ways and I have LOTS of plans for them.  Currently, I put the QR Code on our weekly contract that will give parents a link to our classroom website.  I’ve also created a QR Code to provide parents with my contact information.

Contract Pic


My upcoming plans entail the following:

Having a QR Code up on the Promethean board for students to scan as they walk in to direct them to the website I’d like us to start on or to embed QR Codes in the flipcharts once we get to a part of the lesson that will direct them to a certain site.

My dear bloggy friend Joanne over at Head Over Heels for Teaching, does a neat idea that I am stealing….Scan to Win Tickets. She makes little cards and on each card is a QR code that awards a student some type of prize.  If you’re interested, head over the her TpT to find out more information about it!

I also plan to use them for scavenger hunts.  This year and last, students use ActivExpression devices to go on a scavenger hunt about the important people in our school.  The iPads are not quite ready yet, so next year the students will use their iPads to go on the Scavenger Hunt.

ActivInspire Scavenger Hunt

ActivInspire Scavenger Hunt


The final plan that I want to share is using QR Codes as a quick check during small group or independent work.  Students will complete assignments and then scan the QR Code to see if they answered the question correctly.

So there are my plans for QR Codes.  What are yours?

Until the next time,