Paperless Collaboration Made Easy

Planning with your teammates can be quite a challenge!  Limited time during the day to meet and differing after school schedules can really complicate a team trying to plan cohesively!

Too busy for collaborating in "Real Time"?
Random emails and files arriving when you don't have TIME to manage them appropriately?

Have I got the tool for YOU!

Web Tool to store PowerPoints, Files, Websites, etc. Perfect way to share with others and retrieve in the classroom!  Collaboration tool for students and teachers!

Juggling so many forms of communication is driving me batty!  We are standards-based, so we are constantly looking for ways to supplement our curriculum.  Additionally, we have become a team of 5 teachers, and our PE times are now split. Our common planning time has now gone POOF!  What's a busy team to do?  Using Livebinders has become a time-saving and efficient way to keep our common needs in one place.  You can store up to 100MB of files, websites videos for FREE…all in one simple spot.

Once you've created your account, you are ready to start!


Differentiating Reading Goals in the Classroom

As teachers, we all want to promote lifelong reading.  That's a given.  How we DO that as teachers, grade levels, and schools tends to vary.


Developing Point of View with Mentor Texts

One of my absolute FAVORITE reading strategies to teach is Point of View.  Students really begin to think deeper about literature!  Understanding character is the building block to so many other skills.

I love...just LOVE entering the 2nd grading period of the school year!  We start to really delve into books and have the BEST book talks!  I generally begin a standard using our basal reader then expose my children to as many mentor texts as I can.  I certainly have my favorites, but each year I happen upon a few new ones to share my my kids.

I Wanna Iguana by Karen Kaufman Orloff is such a CUTE story!  This a a GREAT text to not only support characters with different point of views, but it lends itself nicely to Persuasive Writing!  In this story,  Alex wants to have his friend's pet iguana after he moves away.  The story unfolds as Alex & his mom exchange letters to each other.  

Creating anchor charts together is a great way to model graphic organizers--like simple T-charts.  Hmm--do you see some comparing and contrasting going on???

Doreen Cronin's "Diary of a _____" series are great fun, as well! If your school has access to Tumblebooks, any 1:1 classroom can have a class set of Diary of a Fly and Diary of a Spider.  Perfect for some quick Lit Circles or Guided Reading! 
Devin Scillian's Memoirs of a  Goldfish and Memoirs of a Hamster bring in the point of view of house pets!  There is a great video available on You tube, too!  Great resource to use for your D5 centers to Listen to Reading.
Another favorite in our classroom is Stellaluna.  Story Online also have a read aloud for your children whole group or Listen to  Reading.

The absolute ULTIMATE point of view mentor test is Two Bad Ants by Chris Van Allsburg.  This selection is also in our basal reader.  Lucky us!  I like to read it aloud without showing them the pictures.  Only after I have read the page do I display the picture.  Pretty quickly they see that there is no forest, mountains, or brown lake.  They get so excited trying to predict what the ants are describing! There's a pretty neat free resource online that you might like to use with this.  You can find it HERE.  All of your CCSS are linked up for you, too!

Need a collection of graphic organizers?  Here's another great link for you!  

Story and characters are labeled for you in a familiar organizer each time!  I plan to put these in a Reading Center, along with the books for my students to read during Read to Self.  I can't wait to see how they grasp the concept and OWN it over time!

You can find organizers for:
  • Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
  • Miss Nelson is Missing by James Marshall
  • The Pain and the Great One by Judy Blume (Boy! Did my kids have opinions about THAT one! Amazing point of views from a brother and sister.)
  • The Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neill
  • Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
  • Rotten Ritchie and the Ultimate Dare by Patricia Polacco
  • The Sneeches, The Cat and the Hat, Green Eggs & Ham by Dr. Seuss
I hope this collection of mentor texts will get you MORE than inspire to dig into and love exploring Point of View in your classroom!


All I Want for Black Friday is….

Hi sweet friends!  I'm only a day and a half into my Thanksgiving Break, and I am LOVING this time to get refreshed!  AND…..get all of my lists GOING!  I've got 
  • Grocery lists (Low Country Boil for our alternative Thanksgiving dinner this year) and…
  • My online shopping lists are going by the DAY!  I'm al title addicted to right now.
  • My Back-to-School lists to squeeze in all of the academics before  Benchmark Testing & have some fun along the way!

So, I was super excited to join in the FABULOUS ladies at The Primary Pack a super fun linky!

Here goes!
I've got some BIGGIES on my list this year!  
I'm really hoping to gift MYSELF with a new laptop!  I've worked SUPER hard this year to help with the extras for my  TWO kids in college!  I've been using my school-issued Mac Air…which is a DREAM, but teachers do not have Admin rights!  It is so frustrating!  AND….I might have filled it up by linking up my Google Drive to it.  Just maybe…..
I'm also hoping  that my sweet hubs will catch the hints I've been dropping about some Hunter Boots for this winter.  I may live in Alabama, but honey…it gets cold and just stays WET!  Our parking lot always seems to have several inches of water.  I've already had to change my shoes and wear slippers in my classroom TWICE and it's only November.  Dear daughter says they're kind of heavy' heavy but…Hey!  won't that my my steps on my Fitbit WORTH  more??  I just love how cozy and SASSY they look!
Do you think he'll take the hints????  Any helpful advice?

The TOP two products on my list are these two beauties!  
I've joined a new team this year, and they really love doing a huge unit on Tall Tales!  Can not WAIT!  I already have Rachel Lamb's awesome unit, but I think this set will complement that one perfectly!  Hope King is super talented!
My class this year is just WAY too pokey with the cutting and pasting in our math INBs this year.  We just finished up the addition set of this No-Cut series by Teach Clubhouse, and it was just perfect!  Now…I'm hoping to snag a sale!  I'm pretty certain some CLIP ART will wind up in my final purchases, too.  Oy!  The addiction!

Click the image to find this in my store!
Now is the perfect time to prep for those three final weeks of the school year before Winter Break!  I think  you'd love this set I used in my classroom last year!  You can read about how I put it together last year HERE.  My kids went bananas over the little gift bags!  How sweet is THAT!  I loved setting them out and having purposeful centers that reviewed some key skills.  We were hitting fractions pretty hard when I snapped this picture---the Freezing Fractions and Fraction Frenzy task cards are part of other task card sets.

If you use Reading Street and haven't stumbled upon these, I'm about to make your life a bit easier!
Click the image to see all of my Reading Street Interactive Notebooks & Focus Wall Posters
I absolutely love INBs, and the set I created to use in my classroom has been SO well received my by sweet TpT friends!  I completed 3rd grade last year and am creating 4th grade THIS year!
They come in a paper saving format with two per page!  Definitely a plus for me!  Makes it so much easier to use my pretty paper, too!

So many of my pages are versatile enough that you can use them with ANY reading passage--not just the basal reader pages!  I just love the structure of having a routine that includes three elements each and every week:

  • Comprehension Skill
  • Vocabulary Skill
  • Selection Vocabulary
My Focus Walls for 3rd grade Reading Street provide a "One & Done" set up that allows you to switch out each week in a snap!

Hope you have a WONDERFUL holiday sweet friends!


Classroom Tip for Managing Centers

Hi friends!  So excited to join in The Elementary Entourage’s Annual Tricks & Treats Blog Hop!

 Wanna see my trick from LAST year?  Be sure to click HERE!  I shared how I use Symbaloo in my 1:1 Digital classroom.
My tip is super quick and can be used for ANY center that uses an answer sheet.

I love using centers that are completely open-ended, but I also like for my kidlets to be accountable at times.

Problem: One little Goober will forget that he started a center.take ANOTHER sheetthen, right in the middle of my small group lesson, little Susie can’t do the center because there are no more sheets.


My solution is pretty simple.  All you need is:
  • ·      Seasonal stamp or sticker
  • ·      Sharpie

Create a set of answer sheets for every child in your classroom.  Then, put a cute little stamp or sticker in the corner.  You can change it seasonally or to help you differentiate your kidlets!

 Once they are stamped, I number the pages.  This corresponds for the number system I use for all of my kids.  We line up in order, I use a number system to file their weekly papers.  

Yes....keep going until you have enough for every child to complete the center ONCE.  

This cute center in not mine!  This one dates way back and was a free download.  I did a little searching and the author happens to be a fellow blogger.  Be sure to check out Confessions of a Teaching Junkie to see more of her recent stuff!  

Then, you will simply fill your folder, envelope or wherever you store your answer sheets with your center.  Now...all you kids need to do is...
  • Choose THEIR number
  • Work on their center
Not finished? No problem!  Have them return their paper to their spot for NEXT time!  This is super quick to prep--you can even let your sweet friends get these prepped for you!

Now that I’ve tricked about a TREAT!!!

I’ve put together a little Sample to use in your centers this October.  Super easy to use for a small group lesson, center, or RTI for the standard!

I’ve also put all of my Halloween Task Cards on sale until Monday, October 19thrd.  Once midnight hits..POOF!’ll be regular price!  Click the image below to see my FREE sample and these items that are all 20% off for this short time!

Now...hop one over to see more great Tricks & Treats!


Weekly Communication Using Padlet

Hi friends!  The last few years, our administration has required weekly communication in the form of some sort of newsletter.  As a 3rd grade teacher, I really struggled with this at first—we really felt this was a great time for the line of communication to shift to the student being more in charge. However, in the digital age, it is time to evolve with the needs of our parents.  I’ve tried several things over the last few years. 

  • ·     Weekly emailed letters
  • ·     Weekly homework stapled in a homework book
  • ·     Printed newsletters in weekly signed papers

All are viable forms of communication, but I always wondered if my parents received it!  Add the most recent glitch—our email server blocking all emails from Hotmail---I knew I needed a new solution.

Enter, one of my favorite Web 2.0 tools..PADLET!  I’ve blogged once before about how I use it with my students in my 1:1 digital classroom.  You can read about that HERE if you are interested or need more info on how to set one up.

Padlet has several features for sharing.  I’m sharing with you how to embed the Padlet on your classroom website—creating once.  The result??  Each time  you add a newsletter, homework assignment (whatever you want to share), you will NEVER … wait for it…have to update your website AGAIN!  Here’s how it works in a few simple steps.

I promise you…this is easy!  You do not need to be techy.  Seriously..copy and paste.  PROMISE!
Design your Padlet
I really suggest using the “grid” layout.  Each time you add a padlet to the page, the most recent will automatically rise to the top.  This format also keeps them neatly arranged without any effort


Once inside, copy the text inside the Embed section.

Then ...

 There it is!  By clicking on "preview", you can see how it would look on your website.  

It is ready for your parents to scroll up and down, select the newsletter to view, and even print.
 On my school-hosted website, which is where I actually have this for my parents, it works a tad different.  I’m still going to find where to place the HTMLand just save it.  Mine looks like this--perhaps your school site is similar.

 On our school site, it isn't quite a pretty as my blog, but it works for our parents to access all of the school information in one spot.

 Hmm....I really need to update my picture!  Hahaha!

Last but not leastfrom now on, all you need to do is add your newsletter, parent letter, or homework to the Padlet.  It automatically updates on your website for you! 

I promised you one and DONE All I do now is send out a quick message on Remind to let parents know it’s there.

Now, there are no worries of the email getting lost in someone's inbox, papers being lost from school to home, and  now provide easy access to all newsletters at any time. 

There are so many possibilities doing it this way!  I hope you’ll give it a shot, friends!