Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Techie Tuesday - October 25th

Welcome to my second edition of Techie Tuesday!

The featured website in this week's edition is Class Dojo

Class Dojo is a fantastic site that is a new take on classroom management. Students earn and lose points based on skills/behaviors that you can select. It has basic behaviors to begin with, but then you are able to edit them or add new behaviors with point values. I really love this site because students can earn points back after they lose them. It's all about second chances and positive reinforcement.

One trick I have learned over the years, is to create a fake student. I have a student in my class named Whacky Wilbur. He serves as my warning when I am about to take away points. Typically all I have to do is give Whacky Wilbur a few negative points, the students hearing the sound and straighten up. It has been a lifesaver for those times when it's more than a couple students being disruptive.

Ghostly Goals

Goals are extremely beneficial to students, especially when students intentionally set them. There's no more "I'm going to get Honor Roll this quarter" generic goals. Now they have to explain the steps they are going to take in order to earn Honor Roll. Short term and long term goals are both equally important. I have students who need those shorter ones that help keep them on track for the larger goals, and then I have students who are always thinking big picture and looking further down the road. 

In the Hyperdoc above I included links to what my 5th and 6th grade goal sheets look like, as well as a link to a very simple SMART goal that can be used both long and short term. At my school we are fortunate enough to have planners, and that is where my students write their SMART goals.

Techie Tip of the week

A very useful trick in Google Drive is starring items. There are documents I use on a daily basis, ranging from my morning directions to my Math and ELA pacing guides. Instead of searching for them every single morning, I use the "Add Star" option.

When you come across a file or folder you would like quick access to, right click on it then select "Add Star". After that your file or folder will appear in the "Starred" section on the left hand side of your Google Drive. Isn't that handy?

Is there anything you'd like to see featured in Techie Tuesday? Any techie tips for using Google Drive you'd like to share? 
Post below in the comments!

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Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Joys of Flexible Seating

I have had a lot of questions about my classroom arrangement, seating, and management so I thought I'd write a blog post to share with everyone about it.
Okay everyone take a deep breath, I am about to say something crazy....ready?... I do not have a seating chart or assigned seating. BREATHE! It's okay. I haven't always been this way. I am now in my 10th year of teaching and up until 4 years ago my students had assigned seating, they stayed in their seats to work quietly, and there was a very rigid structure to it. I typically would assign partners for them to work with and groups for group projects. Then one summer I spent time reading other teacher blogs and articles about flexible seating and allowing students to move around more.

I will be totally honest with you. I was scared! I had to give up some of my control?! Are you serious?! Then I decided to just go for it. The outcome was amazing!!
In the four years I have had flexible seating I have only had one student who just couldn't focus. He got his own seat and each day I would ask him if he felt like he could work with a group. Some days he would say yes, other days he would say no. I still gave him the option and didn't keep him from having the opportunity. 
I like to look at my classroom now as organized, creative chaos. Ask my students what they like about my classroom and they will tell you that it's all the choices they get.
Instead of desks I have 8 tables and have acquired some big comfortable chairs from rooms being cleaned out on campus. I like to rearrange my classroom randomly because I get bored of the way it looks. At first, I wondered if this was too much for the students, but they always get excited when I rearrange things.
Most recently I received 4 bean bags, 2 camping chairs, 4 wobble cushions, and 2 fun teen chairs from a project that was funded through DonorsChoose.org. We have two black coffee tables to go with them. I then lowered one of my tables down to the lowest level, so that the students had more seating options. It's so much fun to come into class where it is a comfortable teaching and learning environment.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Techie Tuesday

Today I started my first Techie Tuesday. As the C5 Technology Teacher at my school, we are trying different ways to have professional development. Traditional PD is so yesterday with meeting after school, so it's on to something new and exciting!

Our district has a subscription to Renaissance Place for AR and STAR benchmark tests. With parent conferences coming up next week I thought it was important to share some new ways to share the testing data with the parents. The diagnostic report will show parents the grade level equivalent that their student tests at as well as the areas where they struggled on the test.

Being a GAFE district, we have been trying to get all our teachers logged in and using the different apps. The first step is to get the teachers logged in and using Google Drive. I remember learning about color coding the folders and it blew my mind! I wanted to share this with my teachers to show them a small step in getting organized with Drive.

At my school, the teachers can be very reserved about sharing their successes. I'm not quite sure why it is, but I LOVE hearing about successes in integrating technology, no matter how small! I created a Padlet where teachers can go and share their wins with the rest of the staff.

If you haven't checked out GoNoodle.com, now is the time! They just released this amazing new dance called "Dance Party".  Students create an account at home, create their own champ, and then link it to your classroom account. In class, you select "Dance Party" and their champs will show up in your class dance! The kids get the biggest kick out of it!

So far this has been a hit with my staff, I have received a lot of positive feedback. For me, it was hard to keep it this size. I get excited about sharing things and sometimes go overboard, but when you are first starting something smaller and more direct is better. :) You don't want to overwhelm anyone.

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Monday, July 20, 2015

Monday Made It - July 20

I'm joining up with Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics again for Monday Made It!  I actually have 2 this week. I have been in and out of my classroom working on it along with searching ideas on Pinterest... which is very dangerous.

My first Made It was inspired by the metal tray other teachers have been using to keep track of their students' whereabouts. I decided I needed something different and easier to handle. I had already done a lot of hands-on projects and bought a lot of stuff for my room, so I decided to make my own clip chart version!


The students will each have their own clothespin and will move it to the appropriate spot when they leave. I am going to hang it by my door, so in the event of an emergency I can grab it and be able to say exactly where my students should all be.

You can check this out at my TPT store where it is marked down for today only, just for Monday Made It! :D

This was my other Pinterest inspired craft. I have the old plastic drawers in my classroom and I was really tired of the way they were looking. I really don't have the money to go and buy new ones. I was debating what to do with them (including to just bring them home and put them in the garage for the time being) when I saw this amazing teacher on Pinterest who was going spray painting crazy in her room! I was so excited!

I went to Hobby Lobby and purchased spray paint:

Here are my ugly drawers before:

Then here is the awesome new set of drawers!  It took 2 coats to really make sure it covered it and any blemishes, but now it looks new and is colorful!

I was so excited by this that I went and bought my spray paint (using my 40% coupon) and I continued to paint! More pictures to come!

I'm returning to school again today so I will keep sharing the progress of my classroom and any projects I complete. :)

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday Made It - June 29th

I am linking up with 4th Grade Frolics and joining in with her Monday Made It! 
My goal is to keep up with this every week, keep your fingers crossed for me.
I only have one "Made It" for today and that is a Novel Unit that my 4th grade team and I created together. Our school is fortunate enough to be 1:1 with laptops now, so we wanted to cut down on the paper and copies. We created this in Google Docs. The goal is to have everything in one document so that it is easy to check in and you do not have a lot of files floating around. This could be printed out if you would like to do that.

Even though the document says for a 4th/5th grade class, this would be easy to adapt for any grade level.

The file is a View Only, but you can make a copy to save as your own and edit as you please.
The BFG Novel Unit
I would LOVE any constructive feedback from this as I am working on novels for other books. Please be sure to follow my blog to continue getting updated on EdTech and using technology in your classroom.

Thank you for coming by!

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

ISTE 2015

ISTE 2015 is taking place right now in Philadelphia, PA. Sadly... I am still here in California. One day I will attend ISTE. My favorite thing about conferences is my name badge... geeky right? :) I just love it along with the ribbons you can attach! Thankfully there is a #NotAtISTE15 name badge! Go to the Google Plus community Not At ..... EdTech Conference and you will be able to create your own!

What is ISTE?
ISTE is the largest EdTech conference in the nation.There are people from all over sharing ideas and tech for you to use and share with everyone. It's like the best PD session ever!
I hadn't heard of ISTE until I attended the CUE conference last year. CUE is an ISTE affiliate.
Learn more about ISTE at their website.

Not at ISTE? Here's how you can keep up.
On Twitter follow the hashtags #ISTE15, #ISTE2015, and #NotAtISTE15
I highly recommend using an app for Google Chrome like Tweetdeck. This way you will be able to add columns and following the hashtags easily.
Another way is to follow me on Twitter @CampsCrusaders, and I will be sharing from educators who are tweeting using the above hashtags as well. Over at The Edublogger they have listed more ways to stay involved with ISTE.

Not at ISTE? You can still have fun as if you were!
Join the Google Plus community Not At ..... EdTech Conference. Here you will find a way to connect with other educators who are not at the EdTech conference. There are fun challenges and other ways to collaborate!
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Friday, June 26, 2015

Exciting School Finds at Target

Yesterday, I went shopping for groceries at Target and just happened to stop by the Dollar Spot because it looked well stocked. I was so excited at what I found! My head is reeling over what I can do with all of these, thankfully I've found several great suggestions on Pinterest. I know many of your are groaning that I'm already thinking about school considering some of you just got out or in the middle of your time off... but I can't help it! I'm always thinking about school.

 I just LOVED these signs! I'm planning to hang them up in the front of my room.

They had awesome chalkboard and dry erase labels! Now, to be perfectly honest... I don't know EXACTLY what I'm going to do, but I just HAD to get them. Anyone else feel that way about things for school? :) 

The "Create, Inspirate, Learn" border I want to put around my writing center wall or maybe a wall for Genius Hour. 

I'm going to use the dialogue bubbles with the pictures I take of the kids on the first day of school. I'm thinking about having the kids write what they're most excited about it in, or a meaningful quote on the bubbles.
Check out my Classroom Organization/Decor board on Pinterest for more ideas on how to use these exciting finds.
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