Friday, October 30, 2015

Spooktacular Weekend Sale

I wish you a Spooktacular Weekend with your students and your family. I know all the young and old alike are excited about Halloween.

I have an exclusive Sweet Treat for subscribers only. This  is a sample from my Halloween Math Games unit. Make sure to subscribe to my email list to receive your free ebook and Halloween Math Game sample.

Have a wonderful weekend,

Thursday, October 29, 2015

4 Effective Uses of Infographics in the Elementary Classroom

How you ever used infographics in your classroom? Kathy Schrock has great resources for using infographics in the classroom. I love her definition. "Infographics are a visual representation of data. When students create infographics, they are using information, visual, and technology literacies."

Infographics can be a great alternative in presenting information in the classroom. Students are more attentive and engaged in their learning.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Staying Organized at Home and in the Classroom

Staying Organized at Home and in the Classroom

I was recently visiting with a friend who was concerned about her adult daughter. After a visit with her daughter's family, my friend said her daughter lives in total chaos. Her house is a disaster. She has no idea of her children's schedules. My friend's daughter seems depressed and overwhelmed. I can only imagine the impact of her lack of organization has on her two young children.

I'm now retired from teaching so it's pretty easy for me to relax and not worry about staying on schedule. But, this can also present a problem. I really have to be conscious of staying organized because I have extra hours in the day. My online educational business requires me to stay organized in a completely different way.

I read an article on 22 Habits That Will Make Your Life a Little More Peaceful Each Day. It sounds like an easy way to live each day but it does take work to get there. At the beginning of the year all of us have our classrooms totally organized with everything in it's place. Now that it's almost November, I'm hearing teachers feeling like they can't catch up.

I have a few suggestions for getting organization back in your life.

1. Take on only what you can handle. - This is so important. I know people who always say "YES" when asked to join a committee or host an event. Then, they complain that they don't have enough time in the day. This also includes activities for your children. Reducing their after-school activities can help reduce stress for you and your children. They may be unhappy at first but their lives will be calmer in the long-run. You know how much you and your children can handle. Stick by your decision.

2. Put things away immediately - This includes clothes, cleaning up after meals, bedroom, etc. It's easy to come home and just throw things down on the counter or table. Everything has a place. If something doesn't have a home, it probably needs to be discarded. Europeans live such a simple life. There's no clutter!
I'm always losing my cords to my mobile devices. I purchased an electronics travel bag from Clever Container to hold my cords and power supplies. I just traveled to New York and used my electronics bag. I was so proud of myself for not losing anything. I also purchased another organizer called "Stuff It" to hold scissors, glue and other items I need in the classroom or at home.

3. Create folders - I'm sure you have items that you may need for quick access. I have a folder for my easy access items. I create folders for files on my computer and use colored manila folders for important documents. I have a special drawer for my files and I've purchased plastic storage boxes just for file folders.

Using Folders to Stay Organized

4. Find personal space just for you - Find space in your home that is just for you. My husband works out of our home, so he has his office and workshop as his personal spaces. My personal space upstairs in our loft area. This is so important for your mental health, too. You can relax and meditate here or use it for a time of prayer. I just purchased a desk for my granddaughter to have in her bedroom. Hopefully, Harper will use this as her personal space to do her homework.

Personal Space to stay organized

Personal Space for Meditation or Prayer

5. Develop routines - When you develop a routine at home or in the classroom, you don't have to worry or stress about it. Knowing your routine takes the guesswork out of daily life.

6. Use Reminders and Calendars - I get so upset with myself when I forget appointments or events. Use your iPhone or mobile device to add appointments. Do this as soon as you know what's coming up. I'm very visual so I use planners along with my calendar on my iPhone.
Calendars to Stay Organized

Staying organized not only helps you but it helps your family and your students.
Monday, October 12, 2015

Reading Current Events - Apps and Websites for Reading the News

Students can read a variety of current events with the apps and websites I've provided. This is great for studying informational text.

Do you find yourself searching all over trying to find appropriate current events for your students? Are you searching for news that is of interest to your students? Instead of having your students read articles in the newspaper or magazines, provide online applications or apps available for students to read. Reading current events and seasonal articles are wonderful introductions to reading informational text.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Google Sites: Tool for Teachers and Students

5 Ways to Use Google Sites

I'm sure most of you have a school website where teachers are given their own class portal with different features. For those of you who do not have a school website or wish to have a more interactive alternative for your students, I recommend Google Sites.

1. I use Google Sites for a specific reason. Because I create products for my buyers on different educational online marketplaces, I put my online resources and recommended books on a Google Site. If a site no longer exists, I can easily delete the link. Or, if I come across a new website or book I want to add to my list, I can just go to my Google Site instead of editing each product. Click on these two so you can see the different between them.

Countries Around the World for Google Sites

5 Ways to Use Google Sites: Internet Safety

2. Google Sites is a great FREE tool for students to write, share and collaborate on projects. With higher level thinking skills a priority, students can add information to the same page while doing their research. Students can access their site from anywhere.

3. Teachers can use Google Sites for their personal portfolio. This can be used for teacher evaluations and more. My friend Jennifer Kimbrel with Tech With Jen has an excellent post about using Google Sites for storing teacher evaluation artifacts.

4. Teachers can embed videos for students to watch. Instead of students going to YouTube, videos that you create or YouTube videos can be easily added to a site.

5. By using the File Cabinet feature, teachers can store files for students to access. If a student is absent or loses a worksheet or assignment, students can just download the file from the Google Site.

There are many more uses for students and teachers. Why do you use Google Sites?

Here's a great video tutorial in learning how to use Google Sites.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Flipping For Fall Hop - Inferencing

Flipping for Fall Blog Hop

Even though I live in Texas, I can already feel the crispness in the air. Fall is my favorite time of the year because it's football season, I love delicious fall foods and the beautiful colors of the autumn leaves. The school year is underway and our local elementary is preparing for its school carnival. Students and families get so excited about the fun activities.

Cam Jansen: The Mystery of the Carnival Prize

I chose inferencing as a target skill for this fun mystery book. Making inferences is an important skill and can sometimes be difficult for struggling readers. Cam Jansen Mysteries are favorites of students as they learn basic concepts in reading mysteries and making inferences.

Reading a Cam Jansen Book

Lesson Introduction
I suggest that you begin the lesson by asking students if they have ever been to a school carnival or carnival in their area. This always leads into a great discussion. "Today we're going to begin reading a book about the Mystery of the Carnival Prize..."; "Have you ever won a prize at a carnival?..." "How do you feel when you don't win?"; "What do you think this mystery will be about?..."; "We're going to study the skill of making inferences or drawing conclusions from reading text... Finding clues in solving the mystery is an important part of making inferences."

Good readers ask questions and make inferences before, during and after reading:
- What questions do I have about the topic?
- What does the author mean?
- What was I thinking as I was reading the text?
- What was the big idea from my reading?
- What clues from the story/passage help me understand the meaning?

** Inferring means to go beyond the words of the text and make judgements about what is not there but implied. ** (Guiding Reading and Writers)

In reading a mystery, students have to read closely and go beyond the words of the story so they can find clues and make judgements.

- Discuss characteristics of Cam and how she has a photographic memory. Explain how she snaps a picture of things. She stores clues in her head so she can remember them and solve the mystery. "What do you infer from the characteristics of Cam?"

Working with the Text
Inferencing in Reading Mysteries

I have two different activities in this freebie. 

I Wonder...
- Because we want students to ask questions before, during and after reading, I provided a lesson for students to complete as they read the book. This can be used as students read each chapter. Answers can be written as the students read. Doing this activity helps lead into inferring. (You have flexibility in how you want to implement the activity.)

Making Inferences
- This activity uses what characters say or do in making inferences. Students will first write down what the text says. Next, students will write what they already know, and then write their inference from reading between the lines.
- For your literacy center, I've added task cards for students to read and then write their inferences. These task cards contain excerpts from the book. (Answer key is given.)

Making Inferences - Cam Jansen Mysteries

A little more about mysteries and inferencing...

Reading Mysteries

If you'd like to extend your study of mysteries and making inferences, take a look at the additional products that I've provided. The Case of the Missing Monkey by Cynthia Rylant is part of the High-Rise Private Eyes series. Graphic Organizer Detectives is a combination of different graphic organizers with a detective theme. Mystery Genre is collection of posters, graphic organizers, and vocabulary in studying a mystery. The Cam Jansen Mystery Lapbook can be used with any Cam Jansen book.


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