Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Question of the Day - Great Way to Promote Writing and Get to Know Your Students Better

Question of the Day is something both my students and I love doing in our class. Each day I post a question on my board. 

This is an "optional" question that students can answer if they want to. Sometimes the questions are silly, sometimes they're serious, sometimes they are about school, sometimes they are about home. I mix it up to keep it engaging and fun. Students are allowed to write their answers on sticky notes and then post their answers up on the board. I ask students to write their answers during any free time, Daily 5, or writing time. It is super fun to read their responses throughout the day. At the end of the day, we take 5 minutes right before we leave to read through all the answers. This gives the kiddos a chance to listen to their peers' responses and get to know each other better. I also learn a LOT about my students from doing this. Because this is an optional activity, I sweeten the pot a little bit by offering a fake penny to each student who writes an answer (we use a coin system to buy non-tangible rewards in my class). Then, I place all the answers in a cup or bucket and have my helper of the day draw 1 name out. That person gets a fake nickel as a "reward." This also gives me a chance to embed good sportsmanship opportunities. :-) 

I've discovered that this is a really great way to build classroom community and climate. I learn a lot about my students, and I will often write my own answers too, and the students love learning about me. I invite visitors coming through to write responses also - the students get a kick out of that (i.e. other teachers, the principal, etc...)! This is one quick and easy way to integrate writing, speaking, and listening easily and quickly into the classroom, and it helps me to build relationships and positive classroom while only taking about 5 minutes of class time. 

The possibilities for how to use these questions are really quite endless. While I do mine on the board, you could make a bulletin board, you could have students write responses in notebooks or on iPads, you could have students share with partners by doing Mix n' Match or another cooperative learning strategy, you could use these as journal prompts, etc... 

Thinking of the questions is always the hardest part about these. For a no-prep option, please see my TPT store to download a whole set of questions (220 questions to choose from) already typed and prepped. All you have to do is print and cut in half! I've also included two different versions of the QOTD (question of the day) pennant banners I created to go with the questions. I will be throwing a sale on this item for 20% off now through Friday! Click HERE or click the picture below:

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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

NWEA MAP RIT Goal Setting Sheets

Does your school/district use MAP assessments to help monitor progress? Mine just recently went to this system. I love the immediate feedback that it gives. 

My students focus a lot on setting goals. I recently created these goal setting sheets as a simple way for my students to be tracking and setting goals in regards to taking their MAP assessments. 

People set goals in various ways. Some are more details than others. For my students' purposes, I created some simple sheets. These goal setting sheets are a great way for students to set personal goals when taking the MAP assessment by NWEA. I put these on TpT in case others could use them too! Teachers can print these out - 1 set per student. Students could either keep them in a binder or folder, or the teacher can shrink them down a little bit and have students cut/glue into a notebook (like a journal or goal setting notebook). Students will be (hopefully) motivated and kept accountable for their work by graphing, setting goals or action plans, and trying to track their progress. These goal setting sheets include both math and ELA.

Eventually, I'd love to break it down by area and have students track that too. Then students will know more specifically what areas they can celebrate and what areas they may need extra practice in. 

If you are interested in checking out my version, go to my TpT store, or feel free to use this idea in your own classroom. :-) Click below HERE or click the picture below to access the product. 

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

iPad Expert Application

I created this application to have my students "apply" for the job of iPad Expert (or Manager). I seriously had the cutest responses ever. I had one girl write that she wanted this job because it would be her first job ever, and she said that if she were to be hired, it would give her experience for later in life for more jobs. After handing out applications to whomever wanted one, I then "interviewed" the applicants. This was such a great way to incorporate writing and justifying in the classroom. I was able to see who actually wanted the job bad enough to fill out the 2 page application! Again, while I was interviewing students, I got some pretty adorable responses. I asked one girl if her parents knew that she listed them as references and what they thought about it. She said that her parents thought she was too young for a job, but they were happy for her anyway. Too cute! :-) 

Check out my version at my TpT store, or feel free to use this idea in your own classroom. It's a great tool, and you will be highly amused by the responses you get! Click HERE or click the picture below.

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Monday, June 8, 2015

Summer Earnings

I know it has been awhile since I've posted anything on here. I haven't even worked on anything new in my TPT store in forever either. What have I been busy with? Well, last year I made a switch. I switched from primary to intermediate!!!! After 9 years of teaching 1st or 2nd grade, I was moved up to 4th grade! Luckily, I am someone who loves change, so it ended up being a great change for me. I will always have a special spot in my heart for primary students and grades, but I've definitely made the big jump up, and I'm really enjoying it! 

 This summer, I am not only working on some committees for my school district, but I'm also working hard at my "second job." My second job is to work from home earning points that can be turned into gift cards and/or cash! This is awesome, because I can sit around in my lounging clothes, watch tv or listen to the radio, and click and earn away. I then use the money and/or gift cards I earn for school supplies, treats for myself, date nights with my husband, etc... My friend had a great idea to purchase all of her beginning of year supplies this summer, using Amazon money from some of these websites. I think that is a fantastic idea, and it will certainly help my budget come August! However, I also think one should #treatyoself! and enjoy a special treat every now and then, so I hope you all do that too. :-)

I will post the top 5 various apps and websites I use below. Please be sure to click and sign up with my links, as I do sometimes get referral points. Enjoy, and I hope you are all doing something fabulous with your summer breaks! 

 #1 - Swagbucks - This website is my #1 way to make money! First, you have daily tasks to do for points. These tasks are located on the left hand side, and they are there every day. Then, Swagbucks rewards you and give you points randomly for every few searches. There is no rhyme or reason to when they award you points, so don't bother trying to figure it out. It is completely random. Next, they have a section to fill out surveys and earn points. This is a huge point builder!!! Finally, they have 4 apps that you can download onto your phone or device to run and play videos. Playing a set number of videos will earn you points. I will have to have a day or time when I can sit down and outline in detail all of my Swagbuck tricks, but send me a message if you ever need help. I get anywhere between 50-300 points a day, depending how vigilant I am about it. Every 100 pts is equivalent to $1, and the points build up fast. Their reward catalog is huge, and they have a TON of great options for gift cards - both in store names and in denominations. Please check this out, as this website is seriously the easiest way to make extra money!

#2 - Bing Rewards - This website is simply the Bing website, but they have daily tasks, and then they reward you points for # of searches. I always make sure to get my set number of searches in each day!!! This website takes a little bit longer to build up points, and their reward catalog is not as extensive, but it is still worth it. I signed both my husband and myself up for the reward program (I must admit, I do the searches for him though...), and between our two accounts, I earn a $5 Starbucks gift card every month or so. It doesn't sound like much, but it builds up, and my (husband) coffee budget thanks me for it. 

#3 - Ibotta - I love this app! It took me a couple years actually to really get into it. I think that they've really improved and added quite a lot of coupons and cash back opportunities over the last couple years. This app is one you download onto your phone. Then, you can look at the different rebates available. They are sorted by category, and then they are sorted by store. The rebates are "unlocked" by completing quick and simple tasks (answer a question, watch a short video, read and learn a new fact, etc...). While you are shopping, or after you are done, you choose the rebates you would like to redeem for, scan the UPC code, and usually take a picture of your receipt (the Wal-Mart one you scan the QR code on the receipt and the Price Chopper one you have to swipe your loyalty card). Ibotta then finalizes and makes sure you have the correct items, and they let you know if you've qualified for the cash back. The cash back builds up in your account, and you can either redeem it (once it reaches $10) for gift cards or PayPal money. Brilliant! It's free cash back on stuff you would already buy! Again, I like to either get Starbucks gift cards, Amazon gift cards, or straight PayPal cash for my summer social fund. :-) You can either download this app and enter the code: "co5sq" or you can go to the ibotta website herehttps://ibotta.com/r/co5sq 

#4 - Receipt Hog - This is another great app. This app does take a while to build up money, but once you have enough "coins" (that is what they use instead of points), you can redeem them for PayPal cash! To use this app, download to your phone, and snap photos of receipts for purchases you have made any retailers that sell groceries, health items, and/or beauty products (i.e. grocery stores, club stores, convenience stores, pet stores, dollar stores, drug stores, etc...). They have also started accepting receipts for non-grocery stores such as clothing/department stores, electronics stores, home furnishing stores, office supply stores, and/or home improvement stores! Again, you are already out there buying groceries and making other purchases. Why not make money while doing it?! To download, simply go to your app stores and search for Receipt Hog. Enter the code "tect6935" when prompted. You can also go to the Recipt Hog website herehttp://app.receipthog.com/r/tect6935

#5 - Ebates - This website is excellent to use if you are anything like me and avoid the holiday crowds like the plague. I shop for almost all of my gifts online. 1) I'm usually too busy and lazy, and I HATE running errands. 2) Crowds give me a headache to be around. 3) I can earn cash back if I shop from home. 4) Again, I'm too busy/tired/lazy. See how that works? :-) Ebates is a website that will give you a percentage of cash back depending on the retailer and the amount you spent on your purchase. To earn your cash back, however, you have to go to their website, find the store that you'd like to shop at, and click the link to "open" a new shopping trip that will qualify for cash back. To use my referral link, click HERE, or go to: http://www.ebates.com/rf.do?referrerid=qY9TJ1xvrYcrDqiFMq09Kg%3D%3D&eeid=26471 

This list is certainly not all-inclusive, as I use a few other ones also. I will have to get my friend to send me her referral info for some of the others I use that she told me about. Let me know if you have any questions, and happy back to school shopping/treat yoself shopping/whatever shopping! Enjoy those points!
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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Smile Makers

I teach in a Title I school with a large percentage of ELL students. While there are many challenges about teaching in this type of environment (and I've taught in both Title I and non-Title I schools), I do love it. I love the students, and that is something I feel passionate about - Title schools need passionate people! A lot of times when I'm dealing with frustrations, I have to remind myself that it isn't the students at all. A lot of times it's figuring out a way to work with other adults and follow through with communication, and that is a very good skill to know, regardless of the profession or what environment you are working in. These kids come from backgrounds that many of us will never know or understand, and school is their safe place. It is our job to provide a positive, structured atmosphere and to expect what others will not out of these kids. 

Anyway, off my soapbox now. :-) One strategy for working with ELL students is to label the classroom. In the past, I've had to create my own labels - type them, laminate them, cut them, and hot glue or tape them, all around the classroom. This year, thanks to SmileMakers, I received labeling stickers that are reusable! I love this product, and it makes it so easy to label the classroom. The lettering is large, so students can see from a distance, and it is easily readable with a nice, clear font. Additionally, the labels have not only the word, but they have a picture also. So perfect for ELL and emergent readers!!! The coolest thing is that the pack came with a large selection, and then I could pick which labels I wanted to use! The rest I've put in my closet for another year. :-)

Click the picture below if you'd like to order a set of these labels, or click HERE.

SmileMakers has a great teacher reward program, and they have a nice selection of top quality classroom products. They have a nice deal going right now, only until September 27. To receive 10% off, no minimum order, use code: SMILE25  and click HERE, or click the picture below!

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