Monday, October 6, 2014

October - Anti Bullying Month - Song


This is one of my favorite videos/songs sung by 14 year old Rachel Crow. Since October is Anti-Bullying Month I thought I would share how you can use it in your classroom (as an excuse to show it :).

You can have students write down what they think, "I'm just gonna comb you out of my curls" means. Explain how figurative language can be used to paint a picture (have them draw a picture of someone combing mean girls or mean words out of their hair - post in the hall). Teach students what pronouns are and then have them count the number of pronouns in the lyrics version of the song. (Lesson idea came this website).





Math Facts Poster





This poster was up in the hallway of one of the schools I go to. I thought it was pretty cool. Student's get to sign their name in one of the numbers once they have mastered that specific fact. The banner is in the younger hallways as well with 1-10.

The poster was made using one of the school's colored poster maker (Staples might be able to make it as well if you don't have a poster maker). 

Here is the link to the adobe files of the numbers (1-12 and 1-10). 

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Parent/Teacher Conferences - Online Sign Ups



With parent/teacher conferences coming up you can use Google Docs to manage your conference schedule. Using Google Docs will allow you to create a schedule template where parents can view and sign up for available time slots online (none of that dreaded paper and shuffling of time slots).  Please note you will need to still manage it and send out confirmations. 


I put the time slots into 20 minute increments. Our district has late conferences the Thursday and gives students a day off school on Friday for teachers to meet with parents. I usually tried to get all my parents in before the Friday so I could spend that day catching up on classroom "stuff" (we weren't allowed to have it off if we were done). The template is geared with the district schedule in mind but you should be able to edit it easily.


If you are interested in trying it out this year I created a signup template that you can import into your Google Docs - Parent Teacher Sign Up Form Link

1. Sign up for a Google account if you don’t have one and then login
2. Click on link below to go to the template
3. Click on “file” and then “make a copy” (this will give you a copy of document that you can then use as your own)
4. Put your name on the file and change the times you are available
5. Click on “share” (top right)
6. Under “who has access” click on “change”
7. Click “anyone with link” and click “allow anyone to edit” (no sign in required)
8. Copy the link and send it to parents via email or newsletter.





Parent Teacher Conference - Forms





Parent teacher conferences are coming up here in our district (October). Pictured above are two forms I would always have during those conferences. 

The first is a student self-evaluation form. It is a two page document (only one page shown above) where they rate themselves with easy to fill in faces (first page) and then write answers to questions on page two (i.e. what do you like about coming to school, what is an area you do well in, what is an area you need to improve in, etc.). Children are remarkably honest on these forms and it helps guide the conference. One year I had a child say that they needed to work on their anger management issues (which was true but I wasn't sure how to bring it up to the parents!). 

The second was a conference checklist. Inevitably I would forget something and it would annoy me so I developed the checklist to help me remember. I would make parents sign it for my records and cut off the bottom part for them (it contained helpful websites and passwords). 

I put both of these forms on line. To edit you need to click on "file" and then "make a copy".





Visual Seating Chart - Sub Idea


For those of you who didn't read my September tech newsletter this was one of the fun suggestions I included for the early childhood teachers. They tend to get a bit overlooked in the newsletter (lots of tech ideas for third graders and above less for below).

The idea is to take a picture of your class, put it in Word and then add text boxes with the student names. Print a copy and leave it in your "Sub Tub" so substitutes would have a visual seating chart of the class. I took the picture above with an iPad standing on a chair. I was impressed how well the kindergarten student's sat for the picture (I think the teacher was too!).  

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fun with Flags






Today's post is called "Fun with Flags" (after Sheldon Cooper's webcast in The Big Bang Theory...yes I love the show!). 

The school is Coosa Elementary School and they have a great art teacher (Donna Sams) who creates these classroom flags each year. They line the entrance going into the school, on both sides of the road, to create a fun drive in experience for parents and visitors. They seem to be made of sturdy canvas and are zip tied to the pole to keep from flapping. Not being an art teacher I have NO IDEA what kind of paint she uses but it holds up pretty much the entire year...even during the most severe thunderstorms!

The backs of the flag have the student's hand print and name. They are generally made the first week of school and are up within the second or third week. 

I thought it was a super cute way to make a school entrance appealing and student friendly.  

Tech Newsletters - August and September



Sorry for the delay in posting. Our district is rolling out 1-to-1 tablets and iPads to students in grades 3-8 and it has been a crazy start to the new school year! You can check out the August and September tech newsletters HERE. Most of the information is specific to the district I work in but there are general ideas as well that might be interesting to readers. Enjoy!