Technology

“My… won’t load!” The smartboard is broken again…. “This link doesn’t work what do I do now?” “The computer ate my homework.”

Technology is great, when it works. However, there is still something to be said for a book or pencil. They can’t get corrupted (well maybe by a puddle) and they take a lot longer to become obsolete. Having witnessed teachers using programs to teach for them and others who use technology to assist in the learning process, I can see pros and cons in it’s daily use.

Children are not designed to sit and be on a computer for half the day. They are movers and shakers.  This isn’t to say adults are supposed to sit all day either, we just have more patience. Helping students to connect their learning in their brain and body, through the mind and music, or other multiple connections can help with recollection of information. Muscle memory is a powerful thing!

This being said I wanted to post a piece in technology since it is so prevalent in our classrooms. Included are some useful infographics of educational apps and websites for the classroom.

Learn and Grow,

-Miss. Moriah-

 

-Do you remember using geoboards? They took up a lot of space in the room for storage and could be challenging for some students to use. With this online version you always will have the colors of bands you need and no one will get poked with the geo-pins!

-This site is cute for students just learning fractions who may need a little more practice at home. The site talks to you and guides you through a pizza fraction adventure. I like it because if mom and dad don’t remember fractions well either the student can still learn independently. The information is read and written plus there are images.

-This educator compiled a bunch on resources for fractions on her blog. Check them out! Many are games or classroom tools.

-Again, depending on your students you will have different needs for technology. I found some of the items on this list more useful than others. But I liked the compilation overall. This list includes lesson planning sites, social learning, and useful tools. With 50 links on the page its worth a click.

-Of course no list of resources would be complete with out this tidbit! So my students are all on their tablets, now how do I make sure they are doing what they should be doing…. Don’t worry I don’t an article to help you out! I hated being hovered over as a student , I’m sure I was not the only one. This article includes tips from teachers on how they handle technology in the classroom. Here are FREE downloadable posters to remind students of some technology rules for the classroom too.

-I have to say I’m not Google Classroom savvy. However, many schools are starting to use this new system. I found this website with  a slideshow telling you all these cool things you can use the online tool for as well as a book (about $20 on Amazon). So if you are new to the product and your school heavily uses it it might be with a glance.

 

-What else can you look for that may not be on this list? Take a virtual field trip, listen to an audio book, play a book on youtube aloud and save your voice, use an app and text about a good day, us the tablets and record the skits your class did for parents to see at conference night. What else can you think of?

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RTI and IEP’s

When my parents went to school one size fits all education was all that was in place. Today, we recognize that everyone processes information in different ways and at different paces. Some students need a little more support and differentiation than what can be offered in the classroom by one teacher though. That’s where RtI can come into play. RtI (response to intervention) can be given to all students and helps them catch up or stay on track with their peers. This educational intervention is offered to all students and having it does not require a 504 or IEP plan (which if you don’t know what those are you can read more about in the lower links). However, if a child needs these services RtI help them get on the path to those services by exhausting all other options faster.

        Here you will find links and images for not only you as an educator regarding IEP’s and RtI but, some useful things to send away with parents as well!

Learn and Grow!

-Miss. Moriah-

IEP’s

  • This site has good tips for parents going into an IEP meeting. They provide excellent real world analogies and “we” statements that can be used in the meeting.
  • Looking for IEP meeting tips? This page provides before meeting , what to ask during, and after thoughts. As an added bonus you can find an article to help pick through the differences  between an IEP and a 504. This is a great tool for parents or support staff just learning to navigate the ins and outs.
  • While this PDF is a bit lengthy, it is very useful if you word with students who have IEP’s! This book, now online, was written by a lawyer and an educator to help you best succeed at navigating the IEP world. The book is written mostly in a listing format so it is easy to read. The tips are useful and it is worth a glance if you need help with the ins and outs of IEPs.

RtI

  • Looking for a handout on RtI for a parent teacher conference? Struggling to explain what it is in non-teacher terms to someone in your community?  This handout could be just the ticket!
  • RtI can vary between school districts quite a bit. If you are confused as to what goes in what tier or how to best serve students the RtI network might be able to help you.
  • Are you a classroom teacher that needs to do some RtI? Are you becoming an RtI specialist but a little stuck on what some of the papers your students may need look like? This teacher uploaded a bunch of materials for others to view. I found it helpful and hope you do too!
  • This teacher created reminder bracelets for students as part of her RtI program. Read all about it and get her cool print out here!

 

Bell Ringers and Early Finishers

Early Finishers

Students work all work at different paces. Having 5 yell ‘I’m done! What now?’ , can be a challenge when you are trying to help another student or pick up the phone. Early finishers are perfect for students who need extra engaging tasks after the assignment is finished. They allow their peers to keep working and you to help others or answer the phone that keeps ringing in ELA!

Included here are some nice ways and ideas for using early finishers in your room. Check out the images at the end of the post for even more ideas!

  • Write one task on the board for students to do if they finish early.
  • Leave an early finisher bin in the room. Students can select an early finisher activity to complete from the bin.
  • Have an “I’m Done” jar with tasks students can do.
  • Allow students to do homework.
  • Do you have class jobs? Maybe you are the mailbox sorter and have not sorted! Ask to sort the mail.
  • Write a friendly letter to a classmate.
  • Have a shout out jar. Ask the students to write a shout out of something they saw a peer doing that was nice and put in in the jar.
  • Have some Madlibs photo copied for a fun Friday!

Bell Ringers

Bell ringers , morning work, brain worm ups, whatever you decide to call the first task of the day is fine by me! I love the idea of giving students a task, brain teaser, or word problem to get their brains in gear and help them settle in for the day ahead. The bell work usually takes 5 minutes but can last longer you will visually see all students are ready to learn when they have to bell work completed. No wandering students here! The morning work helps not only the students mentally prepared for the day but, if students are given breakfast in the classroom they know to sit and eat at their desks. You can establish a book and break fast routine. Hey, gotta get those 2o minutes in someplace! Here (and in the images) you will find ideas of bell ringers to get your class’s brains in gear.

  • Read 2o minutes while having breakfast.
  • What is going on in a picture in a few words or phrases.
  • Word of the day! Can you use it in a sentence?
  • Give students a journal prompt. ( What did/ will you do this weekend?)
  • Put a BIG word on the board. How many other words can the make using those letters?
  • Pull out a prefix card or two. How many words can they make using those prefixes?

Classroom Jobs and Scheduling

Having been in a classroom where the teacher never assigned students jobs I see the value in it even more now than before being in his room. Student jobs not only help the classroom run smoother because they help tasks get accomplished as a community but the jobs also take stress off of the teacher. Asking students to help with small tasks can help free up the few minutes in the day you need to help explain a challenging math problem to a student.

Having jobs in the classroom are not only beneficial to the teacher but the students. Students will learn responsibility by taking on small tasks weekly and rotating why gets each task. While being the paper passer or official lunch counter isn’t a huge task, students don’t usually want to let their classmates down.  After all, they want the spelling test back or their lunch accurately put in just as much as their peers.

Jobs are not the only part of making a schedule in the classroom. It’s important for students, especially those who struggle to read time, to know whats going on when. Having a schedule posted in the room of the daily routine can be useful to not only the students but the teacher. If you are running late to music and the clock looks like the picture someone is sure to remind you!

I love the idea of using calender’s to help students know what is going on later in the months as well. You can place little cards in the slots (that can be a classroom job) or simply print one out from Google to display with icons for major events/ holidays. If you print one it’s nice to get it done BIG! Then you can write notes for due dates to students in colors as reminders in the room.

Enjoy and Grow!

-Miss. Moriah-

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Classroom Arrangements

Arranging your family room can be a challenge, but a classroom even harder! With 23 bodies to match the furniture your moving about it’s not an easy task. Not knowing who is going to be chatty, need to be near a door, where the board will be, or the room size can make planning for a future room a bit stressful. I’ve seen rooms that have been converted closets, the room dictated the desk arrangement, or others were they were two classrooms in size! Big or small you have to arrange them all. Not knowing what my room or your room (my dear reader) may look like in the future its hard to say how I will set it up. So I went and decided to look at a bunch of arrangements I liked and post them here.

I wanted to leave space for movement in my classroom because I like to keep learners active in both the brain and body. In many of these arrangements you will notice space is purposely left in areas of the classroom for movement or desks are pre-clustered to allow partner or collaborative work. While I’m going to be a wonderful teacher, who is better to re-word directions or repeat a missed direction than a peer? I’ve included a few easy alternative seating ideas as well. As an adult learner it is hard to sit in a desk for a long stretch of time, as a child learner it’s even harder! Options are great, if you can learn on the floor, a pillow, or ball great! I’m happy if everyone is learning.

However I wouldn’t leave you handing with out a link out to help create a more traditional room too! Scholastic provides this nice virtiral classroom tool teacher can use FOR FREE to arrange a room. All you do is drag and drop your basic classroom layout (windows, doors, shape) and then place in the furniture. They have most of the basic classroom tables and desks there so it’s a nice jump point.

I hope that you find this assortment of seating ideas helpful to you!

Enjoy and Grow,

-Miss. Moriah-

 

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Graphic Organizers

Teachers often come up with super inventive and creative ways to engage students in the writing process. This is especially true for those students who are just learning to form paragraphs or learning new languages. But sometimes it’s best to use a concept that has been proven to work and not try to reinvent to wheel.

Graphic organizers are a wonderful tool for many subject areas, they can be created both on and off the page. These visual maps can be extremely useful for students who have strengths in an array multiple intelligences (look up Mr. Howard Gardner if you are unsure what this is). While the map or organizer can help students to structure thinking it also shows us (you!) as the teacher where the student might be missing some information depending on the type of organizer being used.

Here you will find a variety of graphic organizers that help knowledge pop both on and off the page!

Students as Organizers:

Human Spider Web: Have you ever made a getting you know you web? This is similar! Students use their knowledge of a story (picture book, chapter, or entire book) to create a web of events. As the teacher start off with the beginning then ask toss you web (the yarn) to a student to fill in more until the web is complete. It’s a good way to get in a reading check, a verbal web ( or have a recorder at the board), and get some movement in!

Class Timeline: No one said your organizer has to be on paper! Write or print 1st , 2nd, 3rd, etc. on paper, parts of a story, or events in history you just learned. Ask students to take the papers and line up in the correct order in the front of the room while others check. Talk about the parts of history or story. Who is out of place and why? Take a picture of the students in correct order and have a hard copy of the graphic organizer for them to keep in Google Classroom or on the Ipads if this technology is available.

What do I do with this Wacky Organizer?

Woah! This organizer looks cool! I kinda want to use it but, have no clue how to explain it. Hold on, help has arrived. There is a fantastic website that explains how to use different types of organizers and then gives basic outlines or each one on a different page. Don’t let your students get board with Venn-diagrams or you for that matter. Check out this page for tips and new ideas.

Check These out!

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Movement for Success!

Teachers know that kids need movement in their day to stay focused. Sitting on the floor or at a desk for too long would make anyone wiggly and unfocused! Children, especially in earlier grades, need movement in their day to help the brain and body stay alert and energized. Even small change ups in how you as the students to move in the room can have an impact throughout the day. Check out this post for links and suggestions on how to get you classroom moving throughout the day.

 

Move to learn:

  • Teach students to edit each other sentences in a new fun way. The work walk where students take pens and edit 1-3 errors they see on each others papers while rotating in a clockwise motion. Students can be assigned to capitalization, punctuation, etc.

  • If editing item for practice on the bard get students moving even bigger! Ask students to stand up and use their bodies to help show the corrections as you read. (e.g. a capitalized letter is represented by raising both hands in the air in a tepee or an exclamation point is represented by jumping up and down in place. A period can be an index finder forward in personal space).

 

  • What about math?Demonstrates positive and negative integers by creating a human number line. Or go outside and create arrays within your class size.
  • I borrowed this from another teacher, thank you Mrs. R! A great math idea for younger or struggling students is asking them to show with their arms. Create a plus or plus / minus with arms if they think they need to add or subtract in the problem. If a student is really struggling they can peek at a neighbor. You will see but they won’t. You will also see the hesitation between signs if they are unsure which is good feed back for who needs a little extra.

Science moves too! Something I have used to help students learn about the ocean, jungle, or other similar spaces is enact the place and things that belong there. Students would start sitting in a big circle after they have a bit of knowledge on the topic (maybe day 2 of the lesson) and slowly build the place they are learning about with their bodies. Ex. Teacher begins telling the story and building the scene of an ocean. It’s a clam day beautiful blue sky/ (pick a place maybe)/ its stormy and dark/ etc. Select one or two students to be types of fish, waves, seaweed, turtles, etc. All students can be involved the quieter or less mobile students can be rocks or starfish. In the end, all students will be moving or part of the system. Ask them to look around , ask questions pertaining to what they created, send students back to tables/desks to write about the experience.

– Ameba Tag: Show students how germs spread or amebas break and form via tag. Use elbow tag for the amoeba tag base.

  • Play “Heads Up/Seven Up”/ 4 corners for a round at the end of the day or as a movement break.
  • Basket ball review for many different topics (google for examples)
  • Instead of a hand raise in a class count (like who needs passes to the library) have students stand or place a hand on the shoulder.
  • Touch your ear, lace your finders, find different ways for students to show responses and keep them engaged!

Links to More Ideas!

– Does your class have the wiggles? Need a quick bran break? Here is a list of energizers to get you refocused! Need more energizers than whats on this list? Some of these cross over but some are different. Click here for more ideas.

-Check out these two videos. Here and Here

 

– This free website has a ton of brain breaks! The catch is you need to log in. Watch the video on the home page for more info. Check out gonoodle.

Want a book of ideas to keep on hand? Susan Roser has a wonderful book of energizers. You can find her book on Amazon or other major book stores. Energizers! 88 Quick Movement Activities That Refresh and Refocus.

 Move ,Learn, and Enjoy!

-Miss. Moriah-