04 September 2017

Digital Morning Message (Google Slides)

Do you still write out your list of things to do in the morning on the whiteboard?  Well, it's time to get with the program.  Save yourself time & ink by upgrading to the Digital Morning Message.  This resource is designed to be used with Google SLIDES so you will need to have a google account to link the file up to your personal DRIVE!  My *FAVORITE* part about this Digital Morning Message is you can easily personalize the slide by embedding YouTube videos (which already has a 5 minute musical / visual countdown timer) to assist students in managing their time wisely.  

Even if you teach in a departmentalized setting, this resource is AMAZING because it helps students know what to do upon entering your classroom, thus making them more responsible and less reliant on you!  With this digital resource, the headings include: Good Morning, Good Afternoon and there's one BLANK slide with the same formatting for you to CUSTOMIZE to your liking!

Take a peek at each slide of this resource here:

And for those who teach in bilingual settings or Spanish classrooms, this file is ready-to-go so you can start class con un mensaje de la maƱana (o tarde)!
Even though I teach elementary school kids, it doesn't mean high schoolers and middle schoolers couldn't benefit from some friendly teacher reminders on how to start class!  TIP: Use the "Insert" and click "VIDEO" feature to embed content related video clips you will access during class.  For example, I love to embed SchoolHouse Rock clips that I find on YouTube through this feature.  The best part is, when you embed the video clips this way, you never have to deal with annoying ads!

I know several teachers and students around the country will be starting their first day of school tomorrow.  This makes for a great back-to-school resource!  As for me, we're halfway finished with first quarter (five weeks remaining until Fall Break)!  Best of luck for a successful school year!

06 June 2017

Be a Pineapple! (Welcome Bulletin Board)

I have always had a LOVE for all things PINEAPPLE!  So, as I was preparing for back-to-school last year, I whipped up some pineapple name tags to become my welcome display board.  This board is located next to the entrance door out in the hall and stays up all year with the names of all the students in my class!

Growing up in the 90s, I fondly remember my sister and I getting these adorable Dole pineapple stuffed toys.  I had a surfer boy pineapple wearing shades & holding a surfboard.  My sister had the beach girl pineapple accessorized with a purse and hula skirt. I was able to find some pics of these Piney Pals on ebay.  Did anyone else have these?  So, basically these cuties were my inspiration!
After typing in the student names, I just cut with my paper cutter (I guess you could cut out the shape of the pineapple, but let's be real - ain't nobody got time for that!), and then laminated before posting.

If you'd like to use the same clothespins as me for your bulletin board, I found some miniature white clips at Michael's.  You should be able to find it with their scrapbooking brand, Recollections.  After securing enough rows of twine (or ribbon) to your board, these name tags clip on easily to complete the display!

What I love about these pineapples is they're so happy, not to mention the kiddoz loved them too! Bring the joy and kindness of these pineapples into your classroom by clicking the image below:

 P.S. I'm linking up with Tara at 4th Grade Frolics for her #MadeItMonday posts - she's got the tropical vibe going on too - go check it out!! :) ... AND...
Happy Summer!

02 June 2017

End the Year with a Class Talent Show!

Once you've reached the point of no return, when the end of the school year is so close - I mean the countdown has finally hit the single digits, let's be real, no teacher wants to plan!  In fact, the best thing to do while you are in survival mode is to relinquish more of the dread planning over to the students.  A wonderful solution to solve the end of the school year blues is to host a Class Talent Show! 
 Now, I used to work at a school where this was an End of Year tradition on the last day of school because we shared a campus with a middle school who allowed us to borrow their really fancy stage in the MPR.  The teachers would kick off the event with a festive rendition of "Twist and Shout," because no matter your age or dancing ability, all faculty members could handle that move!  Also, our principal went all out in the props department: inflatable instruments, microphones, plastic star sunglasses, feather boas and Mardi Gras necklaces.  I'm rocking the mic and the pink shades down below, and my sister is seen with the blue guitar!  Just so you know, a couple of the 5th grade teachers held auditions for the Talent Show and only a few acts from each grade level were guaranteed a spot because of time constraints (serving lunch is kind of a big deal in the MPR).  

However, a talent show is an event that doesn't need to be hosted schoolwide!  In fact, I think the students might even prefer the class talent show to a schoolwide one because it allows them to remember their classmates in an admirable way! It also allows the students to carve a bigger mark into your heart as their teacher when you get the opportunity to shine a spotlight on your students' talents and abilities outside of the classroom (which doesn't happen too often during the regular school year filled with the academic standards). To help you implement your own Class Talent Show, pick up my easy-to-use Class Talent Show pack which includes:

  • printable decor & party suggestions for making this a memorable celebration
  • printable announcement / parent letter (the body of the text is also editable)
  • printable Certificates of Participation (the student name, date & teacher fields are all editable - just duplicate the slide you like, type student name & print!)
  • printable Talent Show Sign-Up list (helps you to organize the order of events)
The beauty of this end-of-year event is it requires little teacher planning and motivates the students to plan out a memorable event for their peers. You will be surprised at how seriously they take the challenge of showing off their talents! :)

14 January 2017

My Dream (A Martin Luther King Inspired Bulletin Board)

We our blessed to enjoy a 3-day weekend in honor of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  Some people end up commemorating this day as day to complete acts of community service.  Many cities throw parades.  I am grateful for the people who worked so diligently to open the future to a better society for us through the Civil Rights Movement!

This year, I taught my class about Martin Luther King, Jr. with the following videos:
*Kid President
To teach the concepts of current global injustices the students may not be aware of, I discussed & showed this video on 62 Million Girls aimed at making sure girls without access to education are given the ability to get an education.  Michelle Obama has a program called "Let Girls Learn" and Malala's efforts are called "Girl Rising."
"The time is always right to do what is right." - Martin Luther King, Jr.
After building enough background on this important leader, I used this great & FREE template by Jodi at Fun-in-First for my bulletin board.
I teach at a Leader in Me school so I assigned the students a homework assignment in which they were required to teach a parent/guardian about Habit 8 (Find Your Voice and Inspire Others to Find Theirs).  Then, they were to dig deeper and discover a time when their parent/guardian took a stand or stood up for an injustice by using Habit 8.  Finally, the student wrote their own "Dream" to solve an injustice in the world.  I collected the papers and revised/edited before they published onto the free cloud template from Fun-in-First.
After writing their final copies neatly on the reduced size clouds (75% of the original size), they cut it out and glued down on the top left corner of their turquoise signed name background papers.  If you'd like to use this template, click the image above.  Also, make sure you have the font: KG Eyes Wide Open installed.  Lastly, the students cut & glue a picture of themselves to the bottom right corner.
  If you need something to post beside your bulletin board, you may use the photo above if  you are a Habits or Leader in Me school!

Wayne Ford has created an infographic focusing on Martin Luther King Jr and some of his famous quotes.  This is another great visual to share with your students as you help to build background!

12 January 2017

How to Make Grading Easier! (Google Classroom Tutorial)

Luckily my school district has gone GOOGLE.  This means every child from Kindergarten through 8th grade has their own unique GOOGLE account and unique login information with a district-provided email.  No matter if they are at home or at school, as long as the child has Internet access they may sign into their Google Drive accounts and work on any of their files.

Google Classroom is for you if you are a teacher who:
1. Dreads grading (the process, having to look at unsightly conventions & handwriting errors)
2. Constantly Takes Paperwork for a Ride in Your Car (to/from school without being touched)
3. Is familiar with and already uses Google on a daily basis (for personal and/or work use)

This past summer I was introduced to Google Classroom, and might I say, it is as simple as it looks! Check out the quick tutorial video!  YES!!! It is really easy to get started, especially if all of your students are in a database because your school district technology department has already setup student accounts.
As shown in the Google Classroom 101 video, if you select "Make a copy for each student" when delivering an assignment to your class - it keeps your teacher DRIVE organized without all of the notifications and student files cluttering your "Shared With Me" section.  Google Classroom will give you sharing rights to view each individual student's work but its not taking up memory space in your DRIVE storage.  This is a sanity saver for me!! 

The dashboard allows you to see who has and has not submitted the assignment.  Regardless, you have access to view every student's file.  Another great thing about grading with Google Classroom is you are in control of how little or how much you want to grade!!  And, just as Google Docs/Slides/Sheets (you know Google everything) auto saves as you are working on a document, so does Google Classroom as you are grading!  I can't believe how many times I wish my online gradebook had this feature.  After providing students with their grade and comments, you can "return" the assignment to them so they may view your feedback!

After you have completed your class grading, sort by last name, print and/or toggle back and forth between your online gradebook system for easy inputting of grading.  Typing comments gives that specific and immediate feedback we know is greatly beneficial for students, but it also saves your pretty FLAIR ink pens from dying out after a major writing project or assignment.

If you second guess yourself and really can't figure out whether or not you graded a student assignment or returned it, you can quickly view points received and a message that says "not returned" letting you know your student hasn't been sent your feedback or total points yet.  If you have a bunch of students who should receive the same feedback, simply group them together and before you are prompted if you are ready to return to each individual, you can enter comments that will be delivered to all in that group.  I love how this cuts down on grading time so quickly!

There are some cases where I prefer to give feedback within the actual document itself.  To do this, you can open the actual document and add specific comments on the particular page, paragraph, etc. that you'd like to provide feedback on.  

Here's to hoping your school district will GO google too!

If you'd like to try the free Text Features assignment shown in the preview images above, click here!  Sorry I'm only providing VIEW ONLY access so you will have to make a copy to edit as mentioned with the yellow text box on the title page.