Sunday, September 30, 2012

Laminator Junkie

Don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about.

You do. You do know.

Because all teachers are laminator junkies. I bolded that for effect.

Sooo.......Want to see mine?

Isn't it tiny? Isn't it cute?
I got it from In the mail.

I've been laminating all afternoon. It's arrival was perfect timing, because I realized that I had run out of CAFE cards. Perfect little Sunday project! Let me show you how this sweet little number works.

First, you slide whatever it is (paper, people, not Chris Hemsworth) you want laminated into a sheaf of laminating film. It's very easy to line up, which I can't always say for the school laminator. Then you slip the paper and the film into a paper sheaf that protects the project from the heat. 

Then the sheaf slides into the laminator (see, I told you it was teeny!) and it slowly gets pulled in and comes out the other side. 

And there it is! But let me just say that this picture stinks. It really is not all wrinkly like that. I had to use my stupid phone because Lulu had hijacked my iPad and I was too lazy to go wrestle it away.

My professional laminator's opinion? 

The film is on your bill, not the schools
It's slower than the big machines (but you don't have a big machine at home, do you now?)
It's teeny tiny (if you have laminator envy this could prove to be a problem for you)
It smells like new appliance. Wait, that's a pro.

It's Teeny tiny!
It fits anywhere, even on the dashboard of your car, if you have a plug in thingy. Lam and vaca. I like!
Stores easy
Comes with a big packet of lam film
You get to put the stickers on
It's cute
You can lam at home
Smells like new appliance.

So yeah. Very cool. Like, I have my own laminator at home! 

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Last Winner of the 200 Follower Mega Giveaway! and CCSS Writing Standards

The final winner for my 200 follower mega giveaway is....

 Allie Elliot!!

 I haven't been blogging for this entire last week. We have finally hit the time of year where the to-do lists aren't getting any shorter despite chipping away at them hard.

 C'est la vie.
I tell you, I am fired up about the 4th grade writing standards. First of all, I'm not daunted by them because I have no prior knowledge of what was expected before the CCSS. Secondly, it's such a brave new world after teaching first grade writing! This is the wow factor, I tell you.

I have been working on some ways to sneak in persuasive writing. Persuasive writing is so exciting, so dynamic, and so worthy of learning how to to well. Keep your eyes open for some exciting things rolling out of P&P.

I hope everyone out there is feeling healthy! The virus train has struck our house and classrooms. Blech.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Winners 2 & 3 for 200 Follower Mega Giveaway!

Announcing the two lucky winners for today!!

Brielle Anfinson and Pattie Wooten are today's big winners. Check out their loot:

a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway What a most excellent way to start a Tuesday!

Monday, September 17, 2012

It Looks like I'm Not the Only One in a Giving Mood

Sorry for the double post. I'm just so excited I couldn't wait.

Wanna see something? Something big? Something ENORMOUS? There is this giveaway happening that is SO GINORMOUS that it makes my giveaway look a little wanting. And that's really saying something, because I think my giveaway is HUGE.

Go check it out... Jenna at Diving Into Learning is celebrating fall in a BIG WAY. You can even win a free item from my store!

I love helping people celebrate. It just makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.

Speaking of winners, come on back tomorrow morning and see who won the next two chunks of my 200 Follower Giveaway!

Classroom Hand Signals

I always love trying new things in the classroom, especially when it comes to behaviors and procedures. That is my "weakest link", so it's no wonder I'm always looking for the panacea that will forever solve my problems.

What I'm going to share with you didn't solve all my problems. It really is a cool system, though. I don't know how jiggy it would work with first graders, although I wish I had known about it when I taught my firsties. It works fantabuously with my Fab 4's!

Hand Signals.

Darn. I just realized how blurry this photo is. We'll just have to deal until I can shoot a better one.

My favorite of all the hand signals is the #1. How many times have you been interrupted by a wildly waving hand, and instead of the stellar thoughts you expect you get the "I have to go to the bathroom". Now I see that #1 sticking up and I know what it's all about. I can give a quick side whisper "You can go in 2 minutes, as soon as I'm done explaining the assignment". It's a beautiful thing. 

By the way, the #1 is in no way a reference to "#1", if you know what I mean. But it does help me remember what that signal means. 

These are FREE this week, so come and check them out!

Stop by later today to see who won the next two chunks in my 200 Follower Mega Giveaway! It's not too late to enter

Sunday, September 16, 2012

First Winner of the 200 Follower Mega Giveaway and More Giveaways!

I am very excited! Like, over-the-top, doing-cartwheels, eating-chocolate excited.

The next few days will be the drawings for my 200 Followers Mega Giveaway.  I drew the first name this morning. The winner of the first giveaway pack is

Kelly Malloy!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Congratulations Kelly!! What are you going to do with all those great winnings?

The next two drawings will be tomorrow. You could win the items listed here...
and here...

There is still time to enter! Did you know that you can enter more than once for blogging about the give away? You could enter every day if you blogged about it every day. That's like 20 more entries in the next two days. Can you say Awesome Loophole?!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Have you ever read Fig Pudding by Ralph Fletcher?

My team all uses it as a read aloud for the beginning if school. I didn't know what to expect from it, but I am really enjoying it! The Fab 4's are begging all day long "When will be time to read Fig Pudding?!" And yes, they really do have that ?! in there. They get all squeally and excited with anticipation.

I was warned by Ms. J (1/3 part of the fabulousness that is Team Fab 4 at my school) that there is a very sad part, so I am bracing myself for that. There is a reason I don't usually read books like Where the Red Fern Grows aloud. Because I cry. Big, ugly, red, sniffling, hiccuping cries. I don't like to do that at school.

I'm loving it, though. I can't wait to get to school tomorrow and read another chuck with my sweetlings tomorrow.

Is that weird to call 4's "sweetlings"? I don't think so. After all, they are so very sweet.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Pets in the Classroom - Teaching Responsibility and Last chunk of Giveaway

Do you have an animals in your classroom? I mean, other than the ones sitting at desks and tables *wink*.
Tell me about them. I want photos and stories!

I have a long history of animals in my classroom. It's a little joke worthy, being the girl with the zoo in her room, but fun. I've had rats (by far my favorite), fish, Anoles (lizards), mice, a mean little Hamster, finches, hermit crabs, and bunnies. At this moment, I have only the buns and the fish. I am getting grand-babies of the prolific pair of finches I had two years ago, which nearly singled-handedly populated many classrooms in my school. I have two new fish, because all my other fish died the day before school started.

The buns are named Mr. Buns and Lady Pouf Pouf. Here is a photo of them (warning: baby wabbit talk incoming!):

AaaawwWWWWW! Don't you wanna squish dare widdle bunny buns wight in your wap? 

The new fish are named Nacho and Lolita. They have survived day 1 in the "tank of death", as I now call it. 

So why all the animals? I have a list:
Caring for them models and encourages compassion and responsibility
It creates a soft and warm environment
They are fun
They are cute
They eat extra non-eaten fruit and veggie snacks or lunches (classroom composting!)
They make you the most sought-after teacher in the school 

Now I know what you are thinking; "It's too much work. They eat and poop and I don't want to deal with that. Ever." I have a solution for that, too. Kids want to take care of the let them. It takes a little modeling and guided release, but children are fully capable of taking excellent care of the class pets. So how do you do that?

I started on the second week of school. I left the buns at home until that point, because I wanted to make sure I didn't have any severe allergies and I wanted to let my class settle in without them. On Monday of the second week, we sat down together at morning meeting and made a list of all the things animals, wild and domesticated, need to be healthy and happy. It turns out they need pretty much the same things! We made a venn diagram to illustrate the similarities and differences between their needs. The whole point to get a discussion going about what your class pets need to be healthy and happy; then you discuss how they get the things they need to do that.  

That brainstorm reduces down into a list of care-taker responsibilities, which I call our "Zoo Keepers' Promise". It looks like this:

The students have now made a promise to do these things daily to keep our class pets healthy and happy. We do discuss how different class pets have different needs. This list was made mostly with the bunnies in mind. 

Then I assign 2 Zoo Keepers for the week. During first recess I show the Zoo Keepers how to lift the bunnies, carry them, give them food, give them water, clean their litter box (did you know rabbits use a litter box? So do rats!!) and give them treats. I show them how to take the bunnies into the courtyard and how to set a kitchen timer so they know when it's time to come back in. 

After I model and they practice, I show them the Class Pet Caretaking Journal. 

Each different type of pet has its own journal. Inside the students keep track of exactly what they do each day to care for the pets. Here's a peek at the inside:

The Caretaking Journal really builds in responsibility. The kids have a list of things that need to be done, and they check them as they complete each task. I can also look and see when the bunnies got treats, if they got played with, when they last got clean water, and how their litter is holding up. It's slick! My favorite part is that I give out pencil toppers (which special jungle themed pencils) and a certificate congratulating the Zoo Keepers for a job well done.

If you are interested in the Zoo Keeper Class Pet Care Kit, you can find it at my TPT store:

Now, that additional MEGA GIVEAWAY!! Here are the first three giveaway you can enter. To see details, visit my prior posts about the 200 follow giveaway.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here's the fourth and newest giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

That is a total of 21 items!!! WOWZA! The drawings are on Monday. Enter them all!!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

MEGA Giveaway,Fancy Anchor Charts and School Spirit

I am at 199 followers! ONE MORE TO GO!!!!!

To get in on the MEGA (Yes, now MEGA!) scroll to the bottom. But read this other stuff first, because it's fun.

First of all, my daughter Olivia (who goes to my school) told her 5th grade teacher, who then relayed it to me, that we don't have many "novels" in our house. 

Um, that sort of makes me look bad., you know? The teacher who doesn't have many novels? The truth is that I have a whole library for all our books. See posts from July 2010 to see it. 

I am loving Clutter-Free Classroom's idea of using duct tape to line anchor charts. It's brilliant! Look at how it does the double duty of fixing them to the wall while making them extra special fancy. 

I love it. L.O.V.E. it. On a side note, do you see the "Why do Readers Abandon Book" chart? One of the suggestions from a sweet student was "You might just be tired of reading and want to lay around for awhile." Honestly is the best policy. You notice I didn't add that one in.

This is homecoming week. Our football players and cheerleaders do this thing they call the "Spirit Bus". Travel to the elementary schools and run through the halls high-fiving and hollaring and whooping it up. The kids LOVE it. I do, too. Go Raiders!

It's especially fun with the 4th graders. When I taught first, the kiddies all sat in the hall and wondered why the hell football players were all of a sudden running through our school. 

Now for the MEGA Giveaway!! It's getting bigger and BIGGER and BIGGER!

Check out these three sweet giveaway packages. For details, go back to the last couple of posts and you can see details for these great products. There is also a NEW giveaway package at the end. Check it out and enter!! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ok, so I'm having issues with TPT and rafflecopter at the moment. Must be all the traffic from people lying in bed with their laptops/ipads. I'll get the new giveaway up tomorrow.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Ok, I'm overwhelmed. Flabbergasted. Beside myself.

People, you are so, so generous. Here come round THREE.

Liz at Bayside Teacher is giving away a 4-Level Game Pack of Coordinate Battleship!! Do you hear that? It's my inner geek pumping her fist in the air and giving a rebel yell. BATTLESHIP?!! Oh, heck yeah!! Check out Liz's store and blog; she's from the lovely land of Oz.

Patti at A Series of Third Grade Events is tossing in Place Value Movie Themed Unit: Lights, Camera, Place Value! Um, HELLO!! Does it get any cuter? I'm going to die of cuteness from all these adorable, lovely, beautiful, CUTIE PRODUCTS!!

Nicole at One, Two, Three: Math Time (Hello?! You had me at Math....*snicker*, oh math, how I love you) is throwing in Base Ten Place Value Mats: Hundreds/Tens/Ones, Addition, Subtraction.  Do we all not need (desperately) place value mats? Indeed, we do. Check out Nicole's store and blog. There are lots of goodies!

Kelly at Teaching Fourth is tossing into the ring "Owl About Me Posters" and "Owl Themed Motivational Posters" (did she say Owl? OWLS??!! I'm in love with these products!!). So the word on the street is: if you like OWLS, you'll love KELLY. 

Leah at Learning for Keeps is throwing in any one item of your choice from her TPT store. Oh my gosh, you have to RUN to her blog and check out her newletter formats. The. Cutest. Ever. EV-VAH. 

Kathy Griffin from Teaching Strategies is offering up one free item of your choice from her TPT store! Fab stuff here, people!

Heather Schmidt from Creation Castle is offering one free item of your choice from her TPT store!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And don't forget to enter the other two economy-sized raffles. You can enter any and ALL of my giveaways. See, you could win single, double, triple, quadruple ("WHAT???!!" you say? "But that's 3 giant giveaways!" I tell you, I'm just that happy about this giveaway!!)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

To see details, go here

a Rafflecopter giveaway

and to see these details, go here.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Giveaway is Growing! More Goodies to Win!

First of all, I just want to give a shout out to my fellow bloggers and teachers. You are amazing, generous people. Thank you, thank you. Just for being who you are: big-hearted lovelies who share their passion with the world.

I've gotten some goodies to add my 200 follower giveaway! Instead of adding to the drawing that is already in place, I'm going to add another drawing. You can win at both, so don't be shy for entering any and all drawings! It's hard to not enter them myself; the stuff is that good!

Let's begin the wild rumpus, shall we?

Laureen at Teach With Laughter has thrown in one item of your choice from her store. You just have to see her "Stuck Together" compound word pack! Like, totally adorable! And she's got me for sure with her Star Wars math stuff. The geek in me is turning cartwheels. Check out her blog while you're hopping around; it's so cute and full of lots of good shares! I'm a new follower, for sure!

Molly at Shining and Sparkling in First Grade has graciously thrown in 20 Spelling Printables to Use with ANY Spelling Words ( … lling-List. This pack is so cute! If I was still teaching first grade, I'd be trying extra hard for this one!! It looks like it would be a great D5 or center activity!

Kristin from "Taking a Walk on the Teaching Side" (is that so fun or what?!) is throwing in Common Core writing prompts cards set 1.   I snuck on over to check out Kristin's blog and do you know what I found? A post on iPad apps!! I love that!!!! You should definitely sneak over there, too. 

Peanut Gallery is giving away "Don't Let Punctuation Bug You (Punctuation Posters)"  You need to get to this store; it's crazy with cutie themes!! If my teaching partner Jessica sees her Hollywood theme, she'll be all over it!!  Check out her blog, too, while you are hopping. 

And to round out this giveaway pack, Teresa at Fun Games 4 Learning is throwing in her Ultimate Math Board Games collection. Now, I love anything that starts with the word "ultimate". Like, how can it get better than that? This baby is worth winning! I might have to cheat and win it myself. (Just kidding. Maybe.)
Check her out!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And here is the FABULOUS first Giveaway chunk. It's not too late to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sundays Fundays When School Begins

It's a beautiful Sunday morning? You know how water tastes really good when you are super thirsty, or chocolate when you are on a diet? Weekends never taste as sweet as when teachers go back to school.

Can I just take a moment to share with you how much I LOVE 4th grade? Like, I love it with such a big, giant, squishy love. I love it. Love. It. L-u-u-u-u-r-r-r-r-v-v-v-v-v-v-e it.

I love it almost as much as I love these tiny monkeys.

Let me tell you the ways I love it.

1. They work!
2. They get funnies!
3. They have a lot of schema!
4. They understand when no means NO, and sit-down-and-quietly-work means just that.
5. They do not eat erasers, put their gum under your rug or roll around during reading time.
6. They understand the power of mistakes and Jolly Ranchers.
7. They are silly and serious and fun.
8. You get to play Math Pickle, use Edmodo and other technology.
9. You get to teach about glaciers, caves and bats. And woolly mammoths.

I. Am. Never. Going. Back.


How was your week?  Please share, teacher bloggy friends!

Now that your eyes are just beginning to gloss over and you are getting ready to click away, let me remind you about........

200 followers. 200 followers!!

Here's the line-up for the giveaway:

Any item of your choosing from my TPT store

a to-be-determined TPT item from Chrissy  at "Buzzing with Ms. B"

Fun and Colorful Word Wall Cards for Each Month & Many Themes!

 from Christina  at "Bunting, Books, and Bainbridge"
(see it here)

Two (yes, TWO!!)  fabulous coffee cozy from Staci's at "Going Nutty in First Grade" Etsy Shop (seriously, check these little guys out! I'm rooting for the pink 'stache, of course. These are gorgeous!)

Block It Out addition boards from Amanda  at The Teaching Thief. Make sure to check out all the cool freebies she has at her store!

1 item of your choice from Tara at 4th Grade Frolics

Everybody loves a party so if you'd like to throw your hat in, I'd be overjoyed to feature you in the give-away! Just email me your blog link, a link and description of the product. 

I'm opening the Rafflcopter, so let's get this party started! The give-away will end a week from this Sunday.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Give-away is here!! Win some Teacher Booty!

So are you feeling it? The excitement? The tension?

200 followers. 200 followers!!

Here's the line-up for the giveaway:

Any item of your choosing from my TPT store

a to-be-determined TPT item from Chrissy  at "Buzzing with Ms. B"

Fun and Colorful Word Wall Cards for Each Month & Many Themes!

 from Christina  at "Bunting, Books, and Bainbridge"
(see it here)

Two (yes, TWO!!)  fabulous coffee cozy from Staci's at "Going Nutty in First Grade" Etsy Shop (seriously, check these little guys out! I'm rooting for the pink 'stache, of course. These are gorgeous!)

Block It Out addition boards from Amanda  at The Teaching Thief. Make sure to check out all the cool freebies she has at her store!

1 item of your choice from Tara at 4th Grade Frolics

Everybody loves a party so if you'd like to throw your hat in, I'd be overjoyed to feature you in the give-away! Just email me your blog link, a link and description of the product. 

I'm opening the Rafflcopter, so let's get this party started! The give-away will end a week from this Sunday.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Poor, sick, fish

Do you have pets in your classroom?

I do. We have bunnies and we have fish.

We used to have rats, finches, hermit crabs and lizards, but they all died.
And I think the fish are next.

The fish have been around for a long time. We first got the original two goldfish when my daughter Bailey was in third grade. I can remember this because the fish is named after her third grade teacher, Mrs. Smith. Mrs. Smith is now 4 years old.

I was up on a ladder yesterday, putting up my writing posters. I happened to look down, and my eyes landed on the tank. I noticed that Mrs. Smith (and Mr. Benhke, my Lulu's second grade teacher) lying on the bottom of the tank. I went over to have a look and not only were those two lying on the bottom, so was Bubbles!

I was sad. I love my fish, even though they do nothing but swim around and poop.

I got online and googled "bloody fish on bottom" and I got a great hit on the first link. It turns out the ammonia level was too high in the tank.

Guess what I spent the rest of the afternoon doing?

No, not bandaging fish, or giving them cold-packs. I cleaned out the entire tank, which you are never supposed to do, but I was so worried about Mrs. Smith. I hope she recovers.

I hope that someday a student thinks I'm such a great teacher that they name a fish after me.

Update: Every single last one died! Even Mrs. Smith.

I am so sad. And they were just fish.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Fun with fluency facts - Math Attack

The debate about math facts runs rampant in many districts. We know (or should know) that fluency with addition, subtraction, and multiplication facts is necessary to open cognitive space in the brain for bigger math thinking. It's the same reason we want kids to be fluent in reading; when they can read the words smoothly, quickly and with expression, the brain spends less thinking power decoding and uses that space for comprehension.

Math? Same thing. When kids can easily and automatically throw out math facts, it shows that their brain is spending less energy with computations for those smaller numbers 1-10. Have you seen the videos for Singapore math? Those kids fly with their facts.

The most amazing thing I have seen lately was a video of 4th graders doing mental math. They couldn't write it, and were asked to explain their answer. The problem was 16 x 35. Within seconds hands were flying up with the answer. The teachers I was watching the video with were still trying to figure it out, most of us doing invisible math in the air with our finger, carrying over and adding. The kids gave answers like this:

"I know that 10 x 30 is 300, and 10 x 5 is 50, that's 350. 6 x 30 is 180; 300 plus 100 is 400, 50 and 80 is 130, so now I have 530. 6 x 5 is 30, so the answer is 560."

"10 x 35 is 350. 6 x 3 is 180, and 6 x 5 is 30, so that's 210. 350 + 210 is 560."

and my favorite:

"If I halve and double, I have 8 x 70. 8 x 7 is 56, so 8 x 70 is 560."

Every one of these answers relied on knowing the basic facts. The ability to quickly add or multiply the basic facts gave these kids an edge. They quickly broke down the numbers, and then built them back up.

Ok, so, we know that our kids need fact fluency. I am no fan of the timed test. My oldest daughter failed, failed and failed again at timed tests. She is completely capable of math facts, but her weekly timed tests didn't show it. She never got to progress onto other fact families because she was stuck redoing the same set  of facts over and  over. Her own anxiety held her back. Once the teacher let go of having her be timed, she flew through the sets.

I am, however, a big fan of games. A little daily practice and repetition with facts can anchor them firmly in a child's brain. A few years ago I stumbled on Math Pickle. I went back to revisit it last night, looking for answers to the math fact dilemma. There is was, the answer to my dreams. Each grade level has activities aimed at mathematical thinking. Actually, a lot of them are games. Activities, games, it's all good.

I am going to introduce a grade 2 game today. It's an addition game, involving alien lego fighter ships. You have to get the right combination of addition facts to destroy the enemy ship. Everything you need to teach is there: a video explaining the game and the thinking that goes on in the background, a ppt, worksheets, the whole she-bang. Check it out here.

This is my thinking: if my kids come in every morning and play this game for 10 - 15 minutes a week, trying to get the fastest time with each ship, then I am providing between 50 and 75 minutes of addition fact practice weekly.

Seriously. How cool is that?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Using Technology in the Classroom - Edmodo

A while back I posted about using Edmodo. I think it was for Blog Hoppin's Teacher Week Linky. This week, as part of TBA's Open House Week, I want to go back and revisit this awesome web 2.0 (that just means "interactive") so you can see what a powerful tool it can be for learning and communication. At the bottom are the class forms I use for parent communication; I'm happy to share them with you!

 Edmodo is meant to look and function like Facebook. Why is that cool? Because so many adults are already familiar with the format, so it's an easy tool for parents to use. At the upper levels, kids are also familiar with Facebook and other web 2.0 technologies. The younger kids? They are so digitally fluent that they can pick up on this stuff like *that*.

 With my first graders, I used Edmodo strictly as a communication tool for parents. It was my virtual newsletter. I posted alerts, reminders, photos and videos of their childrens' learning. This year I will still use that function for my 4th graders and their parents, but I will also be using it as an interactive learning tool with the kids. Let's check it out.

When you first open Edmodo and login, you'll see your "wall". You can have multiple classes set up, so a menu on the left will allow you to choose which class you are looking at. I only have one active class, "Mrs. M's 4th graders". See Einstein? That's my profile pic. You can use a photo of yourself, but since I am having the kids post anonymously I thought it would be fun for me to have an avatar, too. 

Why would I have the kids post anonymously, and how did I do that? I want my kiddos to feel free to take risks with their work. If they can post anonymously then they won't worry about being judged. How I did that was have them give themselves a username that was an animal when they signed up. I have master list of all the kids and their usernames, so I'll know who is posting and who isn't. 

This morning I posted an interactive post-it board called "WallWishers" to our wall. At home the kids can access the post-it board and add their thoughts, or we can do it at school if they don't have easy access at home. 

I use this page to also post alerts and reminders. The parents of my students can sign up under their child's account, and while they can't contribute to conversations and actions of their kids, they can watch what we are doing and interact with me. They will get the alerts and reminders, too. 

Did I mention that the users (including the teacher) can set their account so that messages from the teachers will be sent as a text message to a mobile device? I have it set so that I get messages on my phone, so if a parent sends me a message I get it right away.

Here is a peek of how I used Edmodo last year. I sent out reminders quite a bit! The bottom post is a message to the kids about one of our chicks that hatched and couldn't walk. They got to see at home over the weekend that he was ok!

That brings me to the next part, which is the library. You can store photos, videos, assignments (whatever you want!) in the library. I used Edmodo to post lots of pics of the kids learning last year, as well as video. I would snatch a quick video of one of them explaining what we were doing in math, or how they got an answer. The parents were given a peek at life inside our classroom.

One of my favorite functions of Edmodo is the calendar. It's extremely easy to use. I love that my students, their parents and I are all seeing the same calender, which I can update as soon as there is something to add. 
The parents won't have to add another piece of paper onto their fridge or bulletin board.

On the top menu you'll see button that says "grades". You can post assignments! I'm always wondering with my own kids what they are working on and when is it due, because the slips that come home tend to get misplaced. I've started off my class this year by adding our September "at home reading minutes". As the kids turn them in at the end of the month, I can mark them down. Parents can see if their children's work was turned in.

This is one of the most fun parts of Edmodo. A teacher can create "badges" for their students. Badges are like virtual stickers, and who doesn't love stickers??? There are lots of pre-created badges, so you don't have to get creative. I created the ones shown below. The blue one is a "Sign Up" badge that each of my students will get as they create an account. The other ones are "Read At Home" badges for the first three months of school. Kids will earn and collect badges. It's a great way to acknowledge student work and accomplishments without a in-your-face presentation display in the classroom. 

Edmodo is worth checking out as a tool for your teaching and communication. I love that I can access it anywhere, even my phone or iPad. It's easy and fun!

If you would like a generic copy of my parent letter, how-to-sign-up letter, reminder letter, and username/password form, click here!

Also, don't forget about my 200 follower giveaway! Here's what you can win!

19 to go!!

It's time to celebrate blogs, bloggers, bloggees, and everything in between. I'm so close to 200 followers! It totally and completely thrilling, so I am throwing a GIVEAWAY!!

Here's what you can win....

Any item of your choosing from my TPT store

a to-be-determined TPT item from Chrissy  at "Buzzing with Ms. B"

Fun and Colorful Word Wall Cards for Each Month & Many Themes!

 from Christina  at "Bunting, Books, and Bainbridge"
(see it here)

Two (yes, TWO!!)  fabulous coffee cozy from Staci's at "Going Nutty in First Grade" Etsy Shop (seriously, check these little guys out! I'm rooting for the pink 'stache, of course. These are gorgeous!)

Block It Out addition boards from Amanda  at The Teaching Thief. Make sure to check out all the cool freebies she has at her store!

1 item of your choice from Tara at 4th Grade Frolics

The raffle won't start until I reach 200, but it's getting close! Keep your ear to the ground so you can get your entries in!

oooooh, I'm so excited!