January 26, 2016

Using Flocabulary in 5th Grade {Free Trial}

I started using Flocabulary a few years ago when I discovered the "Five Elements of a Story" video on Pinterest. It was a true "Pinterest success" ;)...I had a great way to review and reinforce common characteristics found in fictional stories, and my students absolutely loved the catchy song. I mean, they begged for me to play it again and again. How could I say "No"? I couldn't...So, needless to say, the "Five Elements of a Story" rap was embedded in my brain as much as my students'. My students kept asking where I had found the video, so I ended up putting the YouTube version on my classroom website. My students would come into school and tell me that they watched it from home. They were actually excited to watch an educational video *cue jaw dropping to the floor*.

Flocabulary has its own YouTube channel. The YouTube channel (and Flocabulary website) have many free sample videos for you to tryout.

1. Flocabulary offers a wide variety of songs and videos for MANY subject areas. I teach language arts, so that's the main tab I use (along with vocabulary), but there are also videos for math, science, social studies, current events and life skills too. The life skills videos section consists of "Social and Emotional Learning" videos, as well as "Financial Literacy" videos. The "Social and Emotional Learning" videos address topics that counselors would find beneficial for students to watch, such as "Bullying", "Conflict Resolution","Managing Frustration", "Goal Setting", and many more. I used the "Oversharing" video in my classroom this year. We were starting our own Kidblogs and it was a great way to review privacy on the Internet with my students.

2. Each video has accompanying resources that you can use with your students. There are three different versions of the song lyrics that you can use with your students, as well as activity sheets to practice the skills that are covered in the video.

3. You can use the "Write Your Own Rhymes" section to have students create their own educational songs. After your students listen to some of Flocabulary's songs, you know they'll want to bust out some lyrics of their own. This section of "Flocabulary" gives your students advice for writing their own songs. And, the coolest part is that it also provides beats that they can use for the backgrounds of their songs. All you have to do is give your students a topic you're currently studying, and it will provide them with a fun way to showcase what they've learned. You can record their songs and play them for the entire class.

4. The "Week in Rap" section is an engaging way to cover current events. Each week a new video is created to recap important news stories. There is a junior version for younger students too, so check them both out to see what is most appropriate for your kiddos. There are resources that you can use with your students to check their comprehension (see examples below).

If you'd like to try Flocabulary (and why wouldn't you???), you can have FREE access for your ENTIRE SCHOOL for 75 days! That's waaaaaay longer than the typical 30 day trial you can get for your entire school. The catch is, Flocabulary is only offering this promotion from January 26th-February 29th! Make sure you click on the image below to get FREE access to Flocabulary for 75 days! What teacher doesn't like something free?!?!?

January 01, 2016

Figurative Language Poems~Freebie Included

One of my absolute favorite units to teach each year is my poetry unit! Here's a prior post that includes some of the activities that I do with my students to help them analyze and create their own poetry. As we start our poetry unit, I always begin by reintroducing and reinforcing my students' knowledge of figurative language. Figurative language is a common characteristic of poetry, and students need to have an understanding of figurative language to comprehend the poems that they read. Figurative language is so important it's mentioned in our CCSS twice (under the Reading Literature and Language strands)! I also explain to my students that they should be trying to enhance their own poetry with figurative language.

So, I created a resource that will hopefully help students gain a better understanding of each type of figurative language, provide them with a way to practice their oral reading skills, and includes an assessment of students' knowledge...Figurative Language Poems! Hopefully you will be able to use my Simile Poem Freebie in your classroom! Enjoy! :)

February 15, 2015

Moby Tablet Giveaway

As you know from my last post, I'm a strong supporter of MobyMax. My students use MobyMax a lot as both an intervention and enrichment tool. If you currently incorporate MobyMax into your lessons, or are interested in doing so, they have a tablet that makes student use SO much easier! AND...drum roll please...You have the opportunity to win a Moby Tablet for your own classroom (see the giveaway Rafflecoper at the end of this post)!!!

Here are four reasons why the Moby Tablet rocks my socks...

Reason #1: Price Point
The Moby Tablet is only $69, people! It's much more affordable than other types of tablets. It's reasonable enough to write a grant for an entire class set in the future (on my to-do list)!

Reason #2: Safety Settings
One feature that makes the Moby Tablet stand out compared to other tablets is its control settings. This is probably my FAVORITE feature of all. There are always a couple of students in each class who try to browse the Internet if you're not watching them like a hawk. You know who they are...Luckily, you can set up the following safety features for student use. You can easily lock which websites students are able to visit on there Moby Tablet. That is a great preventative approach. I'm all about it!

Reason #3: Ease of Use
In my classroom, we often use Chromebooks to complete assignments. Although I love our Chromebooks, I have found the Moby Tablet to be easier and quicker for students to use. The Moby Tablet is less bulky than a computer, and students do not need to go through the whole log-in process that they would need to go through on their Chromebooks. After my students turn on the Moby Tablet, it is setup to go right to the MobyMax sign-in page. With the limited amount of time we have for instruction every day, saving even a couple of minutes is a lifesaver!

Reason #4: Student Engagement
Students LOVE being able to use a tablet! In my classroom, it's extremely special, since we typically do not have access to tablets. I like to setup contests through MobyMax, and I often award extra tablet time to students who have been earning the most points in the contest. If you have one, or just a few tablets, you could easily use them as a center, or rotate their use through members of your class.

November 17, 2014

MobyMax Giveaway

Have you heard of MobyMax? If not, you need to check it out! MobyMax is a website that provides teachers with math and language arts (reading, writing, vocabulary) lessons and assessments that they can use with their students. One of my favorite things about MobyMax is how it differentiates lessons for EACH student. It provides helpful feedback and mini lessons to students who struggle with the concepts they are learning. It also provides higher level passages and lessons to students who have already mastered the content being reviewed. 

It's ideal for teachers because it provides SO MUCH data on students' performance. It tells you the amount of minutes students have been actively (and idly) on lessons. It gives you an ample amount of detail on students' performance on assessments too. I can't even begin to go into how much detail you will get!

My team teacher and I started using MobyMax last year, and we loved it. This year, our principal purchased a school-wide license, so everyone in our school has the opportunity to use this amazing curriculum resource! Now, you have the opportunity to win a Year-Long Moby Max Pro Classroom License (valued at $99)!  Just check out the Rafflecopter at the end of this posts to enter the giveaway.

Note: All of the images in this post are from MobyMax's website. There are many other features that the website can explain. I just wanted to point out a few of my favorites. And, I couldn't do a better job of explaining the features...

I like the positive reinforcement kids can get from Vibes and Badges. They get so excited every time they earn a new badge. It shows them their hard work is paying off!

 I like to create optional contests. It gives students who would like to do extra work outside of school an incentive for doing so.

11/18/14: I asked my homeroom students to share some reasons why they like MobyMax, and here are a few things they said...

"MobyMax helps students focus more and finishing problems is more rewarding due to the games factor."

"The thing I like about MobyMax is it gives you a second chance if you get the answer wrong."

"I like how it has the daily jokes!!"

"MobyMax helps you with math and reading. It also inspired me to learn."

"MobyMax made me proud of how much I've learned and how smart I've gotten."

November 06, 2014

Making Inferences

Sorry that I've been MIA since August. I've been going through a rough patch in my personal life, but it's been getting better. So, I'M BACK! 

I wanted to blog on the reading skill I've been teaching this week! It's such an important skill for students to grasp, and it's realllllly important for students to use evidence (quotes) from the text to support their answers. I MAY or may not have used this for my recent observation...;)

Quote accurately from a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.

Part 1: Reviewing the definition

>Make sure your students understand what two components are needed to make an inference (clues from the text and what they already know). Students need to understand that an inference is an educated guess about something in the text that isn't directly stated.

>When I taught my lesson on making inferences, many students in one of my classes came in with the misconception that making inferences was the same as making a prediction. It's important to address that they are two completely different reading skills!

>I used the BrainPop Jr. "Making Inferences" video to review the definition of inferring with my students. Make sure that you set a purpose for watching a video with your students. I made it clear before the video began that my students should focus on filling out notes on the two components needed to make an inference, as well as what an inference is.

Part 2: Creating connections

>Have you used the skill of inferring in language arts earlier in the year? You probably have!! Remind students that they make inferences when they come up with character traits, the theme of a story, etc.

>Have students come up with examples of how they have used the skill of inferring in different content areas!

>Explain how students will use this skill in the real world/in a future career. 

Part 3: Practice (multimedia and text examples)

Multimedia-I found the following video after a quick YouTube search. I absolutely loved it, and my students were able to make some great inferences with it. However, it is a pretty intense video, so make sure it's appropriate for your students before using it in your classroom!  I also had students focus on the theme of the commercial (during the second time it plays) to tie in some prior learning.

Text-Using the "I Do, We Do, You Do" strategy, we practiced making inferences and supporting them with evidence from the text. We used passages from my "Making Inferences for Older Kids" product (below). I used the "You Do" responses as an exit slip/formative assessment for the lesson.

Part 4: Creating Pieces of Writing

>So, after some more practice making inferences from the text on day numero dos, my students began creating their own pieces of writing. I assigned each student a different place (ex: bowling alley, the rainforest, at a football game, etc.) to create a piece of writing about. Then, they had to create a skit that included enough clues for other students to be able to infer the location they were writing about. 

{I had kids act out my example skits first-as a hook}

>I posted a tutorial on Google Classroom that showed my students how to create their own Google Story Builder video that they then uploaded to their blogs/shared with the class. The class successfully made inferences on their locations. My students LOVED Google Story Builder, and even kept working on it when the bell rang for recess-Say what?!?! 

Here is the example I showed my students before they began making their own video clips:


I'm also linking up with Farley's November Currently.  It's been a little while since I've done one of these...

August 11, 2014

5th Grade is Wild!~Jungle Themed Classroom

As last year was winding down, my team teacher told me that she really wanted to do a grade-wide jungle theme.  So, of course I was on board.  I loved my technology themed classroom last year, but it's always nice to change things up. 

I've been in and out of my classroom all summer. I know, I'm VERY lucky! My secretary and custodians are so friendly and helpful. It was nice to get most of my room done before August, so I've been able to relax a little more than usual at this time of year.  Don't get me wrong, I still have a lot of lesson planning to do :( and school starts next week! Ahh!

I just wanted to share some pics. of my classroom, so you can see what I've been up to!

August 10, 2014

OTES ePortfolio Design {for Ohio's Teacher Evaluation System}

Last year was the first year my school district used Ohio's Teacher Evaluation System. I created materials to put together a binder that showcased the work I did to address each standard. I don't know about you, but I wasn't a huge fan of printing off my evidence, hole punching it, and placing it into my HUGE binder. 

This year, I decided that I wanted to do something a bit different. Something that would make my life A LOT easier...an OTES ePortfolio! It's an easy way to type in my evidence to support each standard (which I don't need to print out), and there's also a feature that allows me to upload samples to support each standard (again, no printing out pages/wasting paper). AND, the BEST part is that I can easily share my work with my principal using Google Site's easy sharing feature.

So, if you're looking for away to stand out during your OTES evaluations, and you're tired of lugging around a huge binder with artifacts to support your tireless work, you may be interested in my ePortfolio design. Check out the video below and fill out this form if you are interested! :)

July 31, 2014

Back to School Sale

I'll be participating in TpT's upcoming Back to School Sale! EVERYTHING in my store will be on sale. Enter the promo code BTS14 to get 28% off my products! :)

July 26, 2014

New Collaborative Blog!!!

Hello there, Stranger! I know I haven't blogged in awhile. I've really been trying to relax and enjoy my summer! I hope you have been too! I'm not going to lie, I've spent A LOT of time at the pool, shopping (I'm more than slightly addicted to Express), and watching reality TV (Real Housewives, The Bachelorette, People's Couch, and the list goes on...). 

Don't get me wrong, I have put in some time in my classroom, but it hasn't been stressful because I just pop in for an hour or two whenever I want. I love my secretary and custodians! I plan on posting some pictures of the progress I've made in my classroom in the future. My team teacher really wanted to do a jungle theme, so we've been rolling with that.  So far, it's looking good! 

I also wanted to share with you some SUPER exciting news....I'm not a collaborating with some other extremely talented teacher bloggers in a new blog called "In the Middle". The bloggers that are contributing to the blog's posts are Erin Cobb from I'm Lovin' Lit, Lindsay Perro from Beyond the Worksheet, Mr. G from Mr. Educator-A Social Studies Professional, and Shayna from Science Teaching Junkie. In the Middle focuses on ideas to incorporate within the middle grades.  We are going to have some fabulous "Back to School" posts coming soon! 

In the Middle

My first post is all about communication! One thing that I will mention in my post is about how I pass out business card magnets at my Open Houses.  This year I included a QR code to my classroom website in addition to the website's address and my other contact info. (it's in the corner you can't see). Anyways, I posted the pic. below on Instagram recently, and a couple of people mentioned that they had never heard of the Xyron Creative Station.  It is awesome! As I mentioned, I used it to magnetize business cards, but you can also buy adhesive (sticker) and laminate cartridges. Click here to go to Xyron's website.

Lastly, I wanted to share a few Vegas pics. with you. Better late than never, right?!?

Here's my picture with THE Paul Edelman and the lovely Jenny from Right Brain Kid and Casey from Miss Case's Classroom!
I was such a fan girl when I got my picture with Deanna Jump from Mrs. Jump's Class and Amanda Nickerson from One Extra Degree.
 Last, but definitely not least, I finally had the opportunity to meet Erin Cobb from I'm Lovin' Lit in person! Let me tell you, her presentation rocked! 

June 04, 2014

Wordless Wednesday-EOY Gifts

I just finished up my students' end of the year gifts (idea from Where the Wild Things Learn)!

Photo: Finishing up end of the year gifts for my kiddos (idea courtesy of @wildthingslearn)! Only three days left!!!!

What type of gift are you going to be giving your students?