Tuesday, January 7, 2014

How is it possible....

...that my desk can look like this after 4 hours of work?

Sunday, January 5, 2014

What's in your Bag?

Quick. Run and find your work bag. Yeah, you know the one....
Dig into it and find the most bizarre thing you have in there. Grotesque earns extra points. Link up and share. Vote.

I found this.
it's a flattened fruit bar

Vote for your fave random bag-booty. The winner gets any one free item from my store. Voting closes January 20th. 


I went to a techie-professional-development thing a few weeks back. I always come out of these things all fired up with ideas. Does the professional development you get at your district ever make you feel that way?

The mini-session I sat in on was using QR codes. QR stands for Quick Response, and you've probably seen them on store windows or cereal boxes. The word I want to put emphasis on is QUICK. I found out just how quick these babies can get your kids from sitting on their duffs to researching.

First thing I needed was something that I wanted my students to link to. I had a video on the Nile that I wanted them to use as research for natural resources.

Next, I needed a code generator. There are a million of them out there, and all of them should be free. My favorite is QR stuff.  http://www.qrstuff.com/

I pasted the link in and downloaded the QR code. I printed it out and give it to each student with an iPad. The QR scanner was already loaded on the iPads, so they scanned the code and it immediately brought them to the video. Easy Peasy. 

The best part is that there is some magical draw to scanning codes for kids. The motivation is huge. 

I love techie things that actually make my job more fun!

Friday, January 3, 2014

20 Shades of Adorableness

Oh, how I love this little furry face. Is she not insanely adorable?

I'm crazy for this dog. 

Her name is Kip. 

Kipperdoodles was laying next to me and suggested I throw a sale in honor of her adorableness. Her furryliciousness. Her Kippness. 

How could I not

So here you go,  Kip. A 20% sale, just because you're you

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Learning Through Curiosity - Inquiry Units

Gary Paulsen is one of those go-to writers for reluctant readers. Have a kiddo who has a hard time connecting with books? Put Hatchet into his or her hands. Let Paulsen work his magic.

My group of highest skilled readers were in need of a challenge. I had purchased a 5-book set of several of Paulsen's books on dogsledding. They came in reading levels from S-W, so I knew I could have kids with different reading skills use them. I chose Dogsong for my high group.

It didn't seem enough to have them read the novel, though.I wanted something more for them, something that would ignite their passion for the book and make them feel like they were part of the story. Enter the Inquiry Unit. Give them a reason to become curious (the learning incendiary device), let them ask questions, then let those questions drive research into deeper understanding.

I found a cool Discovery Channel video clip on the controversial dual sides of dogsledding (let the flames take hold!). This is the hook that will snare the Fab Fours into wanting to dig deeper. Wonderings come next, followed by the filling of background knowledge through introductory exploration of the topic. After another set of questions are formed following the initial back-filling  of knowledge, a topic relating to dog sledding will be chosen by each student and researched. The post-research explosion of learning will happen as they create a presentation project of their learning.


All this happens as they read the Gary Paulsen book. I don't get to just guide their reading, I get to guide their curiosity-driven learning! Whoo-hoo!

If you'd like a piece of the action, check out the unit tools I created special for this unit.

It wouldn't be much fun if I was doing this unit alone, so of course I want to share it with you! 5 lucky followers can win a free copy. You don't want to miss this one; it has teacher tools AND student tools.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

One Little Word for 2014

I had a nice little blog post all typed up in my head when I came across this. Sometimes fewer words are better, so thank you to Sunny Days in Second Grade for making our lives simpler today.

I had a gut-twisting realization this fall. I guess I've always known it, tried to live it, but a facebook post made me rethink it. It went something like "Kids are learning by making mistakes". Of course. We all know that. But I was thinking about teaching while in the shower (the best thinking place besides driving alone) and all of a sudden I really understood what this meant - like in a Big Picture kind of way. 

My expectations are too high most of the time. Sure, I can let kids make mistakes with math and reading and spelling and all the other academic things. But when it comes to classroom manners, socialization skills and behavior expectations, I am way, way hard on the Fab Fours. 

So my word for 2014 is Patience (with a capital P). I am going to be patient with the blurts, the sidetalking, the farting, the hallway talking, the too-loud lunchroom shenanagins, the interruptions. I am going to guide my students, with scaffolding and love, on these important points of learning.

What's your word of 2014? Link up with Sunny Days and share. 

Aha! I found the link! This was my inspiration.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Thankful Thursday Gratitude Party

It's time to say thanks to a blogger who inspired me this week. Matt over at Digital: Divide and Conquer has been teaching me some pretty cool tricks the last couple of weeks. I love that there are teachers out there are passionate about using technology in the classroom and are willing to share their experiences through blogging. 

One of my new favorite teaching tools, thanks to Matt, is a visual organizer for bookmarks called Symbaloo. Symbaloo is providing my students with a single page filled with all the links they may need as resources for an inquiry unit. I don't have to worry about my Fab Fours coming with something unsavory while searching, or using valuable time sifting for relevant links. 

Thank you, Matt!! Check out Matt's post on Symbaloo here

Which blogger are you thankful for this week? Link up and share!
Here are the guidelines:

1) copy and paste the link to the post that inspired you into your Thankful post
2) send your thank-ee a little note so that they can bask in your gratitude. We all love a little love, don't we?
3) use the button and link back to the Thankful Thursday Grateful Party post of the week
4) link up!

This first Grateful Party will start this Thursday. I can't wait to see who you are thankful for!