Saturday, September 21, 2013

Budding Blog Linky

I've been blogging for almost a year and I've stumbled through a few obstacles...a few may be an understatement!

One of those obstacles is having an audience.  What's the point of putting your thoughts and ideas out there if no one is seeing them?  (Maybe I'm the only one who feels that way...)  Recently, though,  I got my first ego-booster in my blogging world when a stranger (a.k.a. someone I do not know personally) started following me.  Another big boost came when a different stranger re-pinned my very own pin that links back to my blog.  I finally feel like my blog is getting out there.

I was reading through my Feedly teacher blogs when it dawned on me...a linky is the way to get my name out there in the face of the blog world.  Why didn't I think of this before???  So I've started linking up.

Today I'm linking up with Jess at I {heart} Recess for a Budding Blog linky party.

This is a linky designed to give new bloggers (with less than 200 followers) the chance to showcase their blog and to find other bloggy newbies. To link up, just answer the same 5 questions I have, include the image above, and link back to I {heart} Recess.

So, here goes...

1. Why did you start blogging?
I started blogging in February.  A coworker and I had just returned from a technology conference and we were pumped up about all things techy.  We made a pact to 1-start a blog, 2-make a QR code activity, and 3-start a TpT store.  Well, I've done 2 of those...still working on the TpT.  I like blogging because I like reading blogs.  Although my ideas aren't completely original, I like to think that things I do in my classroom might help someone else better their teaching abilities the same way other teacher blogs have helped me.

2. What is your favorite subject to teach and why?
Good question...hard to answer.  I've been teaching for 6 years and all I've taught so far are Reading, ELA, Writing, and Social Studies.  I loved teaching 5th grade Social Studies because the subject matter (Civil War to present day) was so interesting and easy to make fun for the students.  3rd grade Social Studies...not so much! I love teaching Reading because there are so many ways and resources you can use to teach the same concept.  I'm scared to death at the thought of teaching Math, mainly because I've never taught it!

3. Describe your teaching style.
I love teaching small groups.  For me, this means stations/centers.  I like the teacher-to-student ratio that small-groups create.  I also like the differentiation that is readily and easily accessed through stations.  I love teaching students who struggle academically.  It's challenging but rewarding when they have those little "a-ha" moments.  This year I'm teaching an inclusion class and a below-grade-level EIP class.  (This is starting to sound like a fast food da bababa, i'm lovin' it!)

4. Give three interesting facts about you.
1-I have fat thumbs.  Seriously, they look like toes!
2-I have trouble with my 'R's.  Always have, but because it didn't impact me academically I didn't qualify for speech.  I can remember sitting cross-legged in my bedroom floor with my daddy when I was in kindergarten saying, "R-R-Ruffles have r-r-ridges" to try to fix my 'R's.  More times than not it came out "wuffles have widges."  To this day, I still struggle with 'R's.
3-My nostrils flare when I'm angry.  It's a dead giveaway.  No poker-face when it comes to being angry.
**By the way, all of these have been and still are sources of ridicule over the years :)

5. Do you have a TpT store?  If yes, post the link.
As I said earlier, this is a part of the pact that my friend and I made.  However, I have not yet bitten that bullet!  I think it's an inner fear of creating 'new' products.  I don't think I'm that least not yet!

Now it's your turn to go link up!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

September Currently

This is my first attempt at linking up with Farley's Currently.  Here goes...

Listening-to college football...YAY!!!
Loving-this new school year
Thinking-so much to do, so little time...boy, am I a good procrastinator!
Wanting-to start a Donor's Choose project but not sure what to ask for first
Needing-to get busy planning ahead...boy, am I a good procrastinator!
<3-1. find the good  2. work ahead  3. smile more

**Thanks to Albuquerque Amy for the tutorial on how to link up!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

A Pin-teresting Open House

We’ve been in school now for 7 days and the eighth ninth tenth was cancelled due to excessive rain.  Bummer!  Not like I could use the time to get myself together or anything!  Anyways, to be on the productive side, I decided I’d finally post my back-to-school, meet-the-teacher, open-house pics.

My teammate and I used several Pinterest and TPT free finds this year.  I’ll link them throughout this post.  Be sure to leave these fabulous ladies some love!

I must say, this year’s open house went very smoothly and I felt so stress-free.  I know it is because of this neat open house station system that I found on Pinterest.  I greeted parents and students at the door and directed them through the stations.  While parents were filling out forms and grabbing wish-list items, contact info, and goodies, I had time to chat with the students and answer other questions parents may have had.  I didn’t have parents backed up waiting to talk to me because everyone had something to do.  I’ll definitely be using this station system again!  Thanks to Reagan at Tunstall’s TeachingTidbits for the idea and for the free chevron backgrounds at TPT.  

The first station was a sign-in.  This is a Title I requirement to document parent involvement.  

From there, students found their desk with their nametag on it.  Here they picked up their goodie bag and back-to-school forms.  Thanks to Stephanie at 3rd GradeThoughts for the idea and the free label.  The kids loved them and a few even brought them back to school on the first day for their recess snack. Thanks to Andrea for the cute polka dot nameplates I found on TPT.

Next stop, parent questionnaire...This was a quick questionnaire that a colleague shared with our school.  It asked the parents to describe their child and this year's goals for their child.  

After that, parents visited our wish list.  Parents were able to choose from these extra supplies to help stock our classroom.  I asked for things like tissues, plastic storage baggies in various sizes, hand sanitizer, sanitizing wipes, pencils, erasers, dry erase markers, plastic bandages, etc.  Parents could just pull the treasure chest off the board and bring that item in on the first day of school.  Unfortunately we're still very under-stocked.  I liked that this gave parents a concise idea of the things we need.  It also helps lessen the chances of having 87 boxes of gallon size baggies and no hand sanitizer!  Thanks for the idea, Sara!

At the 4th stop parents were able to download our contact information.  The QR code loaded our names, emails, and school phone number and website directly into the parent's phone.  For those without a smartphone, we provided business cards with the same info (from VistaPrint).  This idea came from Pinterest also, but the link provided says the blog no longer exists so I can't give credit where credit is due.

5th and finally, the parents and kiddos were able to grab another goodie.  The water bottle idea came from a pin that linked only to the image, so once again no credit can be given.  But the label was a free download that I tweaked in Paint.  Thanks, Erin!

A close up of the water bottle label...

All in all, I’d say Open House was a success.  How was your Back To School night?

Monday, July 29, 2013

Cool Back To School Blog Hop and Giveaway

Hey friends!  I know it's been a while!  I've been busy relaxing and traveling this summer but it's getting down to the wire...time to go back to school!  Check out this neat blog hop/giveaway.  I found lots of new blogs to follow.  Good luck!

Friday, February 22, 2013

QR Code Frenzy

This blog is proving to be witness to a lot of firsts.  This post is no exception.  This week, I attempted (for the first time), to create a QR code activity for my third graders.

I’ve seen lots of great QR code activities out there, but most of the ones I found were for math.  Since I don’t teach math, I decided to create one of my own.  And I couldn’t be more proud of myself! (Humility is a virtue!)

I started on Pinterest (imagine that!).  A long time ago, I found a pin for QR Stuff where you can not only create QR codes, but you can also fancy them up!  And it couldn’t be easier.  Just 4 simple steps left me with cute QR codes that linked the students to images of comic strips.

The students scanned the QR code, read the comic, then rewrote it using quotation marks correctly.  In order to challenge the students to be creative with their “said” words, I told them that “Said is Dead.”  We discussed other words that could be used instead, and I provided them with this poster to encourage them to use these more descriptive “said” words.  Grab your own “Said is Dead” poster [here].

As you can see, the kids really enjoyed this QR activity.  They worked hard and did a great job!  I’m so glad that my first QR code adventure was a success!  What do you do with QR codes in your classroom?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

edmodo...for third graders?!?

Recently I was able to attend FETC in Orlando.  Can I just say, BOY was I OVERWHELMED!!!  But I learned a lot!  One thing I brought back from that technological frenzy was not exactly new to me.  However, I was able to view it in a whole new light.  Enter edmodo.

If you haven’t heard of it, edmodo is a free learning management system that resembles social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.  It provides a safe, controlled environment in which students and teachers can interact and communicate easily and quickly.

Now, our school system had been using edmodo for about a year.  I even had an account, but I could only see it as a professional development tool.  I didn’t see how I could utilize it in MY classroom.  Until now!

My third grade students have been doing a novel study using the book, Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater.  After each chapter, the students would write a response in their journal.  Sometimes the response was to answer a question about comprehension or inferring, other times it consisted of making graphic organizers or drawings about what they had read.  After FETC, it dawned on me that I could use edmodo as a reading response journal.  PERFECT!

So, my students created accounts.  I posted a question.  They replied in complete sentences, at least they were supposed to!  But, at least they responded!  And the best part…They were EXCITED about ‘writing’!

Here are a few examples of our posts:  (P.S. The grammar, spelling, and punctuation is still a work in progress!)

I can't wait to discover new ways to use edmodo with my third graders.  Any ideas???

Monday, February 11, 2013

A First Time For Everything

A friend and I have decided to start blogs.  She teaches second grade and I teach third.  This is completely new to me, but here goes nothing!