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 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?

May 22, 2014

End of the Year Fun~May Madness

My May has been extremely busy so far! Here's my May in pictures...

May 12-13: I attended the Google Summit at Kalahari. I love learning new things, especially in regards to incorporating technology in the classroom, so I had a blast! :)
May 15: My three language arts classes each had their own wax museum.  My students wrote five paragraph biographies in April, and then we practiced working on our wax museum speeches after that.  We invited parents and other classes to attend.  I'd never done a wax museum before, but I was so happy with how it went that I would definitely do one again! 
May 16: My students turned in their last book project of the year, and they absolutely ROCKED! I tweaked Primary Polka Dot's Instagram inspired project to work for our reports.  The students thought it was really cool, and t

May 10 & 17: I worked at the Scholastic Warehouse Sale. If you've never been to one before, you NEED to go! Most books are 50% off (some newer titles are 20% off).  It's the 5th or 6th year I've worked at the sales; they take place in December and May every year.  Working at the sales has really helped me build up my classroom library over the years!

May 21: I'm the advisor for my school's student council.  We went to a senior living facility to play some

All May: We've been working on our last set of literature groups for the year. I got the idea for using Kidblog during our lit. groups from Amelia (Where the Wild Things Learn). It's been a great way for students to demonstrate their comprehension and provide thoughtful feedback to one another.

Students who have finished their posts early are now using PowToon to create video summaries of their stories. I showed the students how to create their own videos using the free features, and they picked up on it super quickly.  I'm amazed at what they've been able to make already..I will have to post one of their videos soon!