Sunday, May 22, 2016

Get Bloggy With It!

This time of year is a great time to try new things.  I mean, why not?  The kids are a little (a lot) crazy and schedules are constantly changing for testing, assemblies, visitors, and programs.  So why not try to add something new?!  

I absolutely LOVED blogging with my 4th graders last year. The writing was authentic, engaging, and meaningful.  They would write and write and write.  They would respond to their peers appropriately, learn about each other on much more personal level, and they became more careful, thoughtful writers.  I think I became a better teacher to these kids because they opened up about what they loved, feared, and looked forward to and they enjoyed doing it. Their blogs were little pieces of them that they allowed me and their classmates to be apart of.

SAD NEWS: Kidblogs is no longer free.  As wonderful as it was I just cannot afford to pay a monthly fee for it.

HAPPY NEWS: I have found a new way for my 2nd graders to BLOG!! I think it's better than Kidblogs and it's FREE!! It's called Easyblog.

Seriously.....2 weeks before school is out.  Oh, the luck!! No worries, we are going to write and work on our blogs until the very last day because they LOVE it. 

Some of my kids are teaching us how to do math, one is telling us all about his paintball team, and others are sharing their excitement about moving this summer.  

The app makes it easy for the kids to add video and pictures. There is a link that can be easily emailed to parents so that they can see and respond to their child's blog.

Of course, I respond to each child's blog post but when they get a response from a parent their little faces beam with pride and excitement. 

I made some blog idea cards if you have a kiddo that needs help coming up with an idea of something to write about.  You can pick them up here.  I don't really think that you will need them but just in you go.  Cut them apart, place them on a ring, and put them in a place near the computers or iPads.

I am so excited to start this from the beginning of the school year next year.  

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts, questions, and ideas.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Good Things

What happens when we give kids the chance to share something important to them?  This is one of the many things that I loved about Capturing Kids Hearts from Royse City.  I completely understand the importance of giving the kids the opportunity to share something good for a multitude of reason but I also know it takes time.  Guess what?  I found a way for the kids to share their "good things" first thing in the morning.  We call it our Daily News and we do it on a padlet wall with our ipads.

Have you heard of Padlet?

We call it our Daily News but it's done on the iPads and is immediately projected onto our whiteboard to read throughout the day.  And it is FREE!!
All you need to do is set up an account.  You can go here to create your own.

Each morning I open a new padlet wall, super easy.  Scan the QR code with a few ipads.  The QR code is on the right side when you click the share button.  The kids are now ready to write.  

I think they think the best part is the emojis they get to use.  They LOVE the emojis so setting a limit might be smart.  Otherwise you will have a page full of pictures.

The kids have the opportunity to share something important to them.  It's their "good thing" to start the day.  This gives me the chance to have a conversation with the kids about the things that are important to them that I may have otherwise never known.  

It's about relationships.  When they know we care, they will care.--We must CAPTURE their HEARTS!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Let the Balloon Countdown Begin...

Can you believe it?!  It's time to start the END OF THE YEAR Countdown!!  I made a quick trip to our local Dollar Tree and picked up a package of balloons.  I had a choice between Dark Gold and Dark Gold.  
So I went with Dark Gold and now let the BALLOON POPPING Begin!!
{click here}
Of course, you can print mine and use it BUT I tailored the surprises to fit my day, schedule, and my class.  

This time of year I start pulling out all the tricks I have from the ole' teacher bag.  I think we learn a lot about ourselves as teachers these last few weeks.  Stay strong ladies and gentlemen...we. can. do. this. ;-)

My kids LOVE a free app that I use called Spin to Win.
You get to put in your own prizes or rewards and they get to spin.  Some of the prizes I put on the wheel are:
Treasure Box 
Sweet Treat
Sit with a Friend at Lunch
Blast Off Tickets (our school wide incentive)
Sit with a Stuffed Animal
No Shoes
Write with a Pen 
Sometimes I use the Name Selector app, which is also FREE. You just need to program your student's names into the app.  

If that student has been working hard and making good choices then they get a chance to spin. They LOVE this! 

Happy Countdown, Friends!