July 2016 | All About 3rd Grade

Work Smarter Not Harder (Collecting Data & Lesson Planning) with Technology!

Friday, July 29, 2016 / Leave a Comment
Warning:  This post might cause you to free up more time, hence leading to more time for pinning, creating, and searching for more teaching ideas...

Ok so how many times do we plan 6-7 separate lessons for our day?  Be honest…Does your lesson plan book have a section for every subject? Mine did!  I planned 6 lessons for each day.

Math-Spelling-Language-Reading-Social Studies-Science

Well guess what?  Two really great lessons can fit in almost every skill you have planned for your lesson-filled day.  One for math and the other for everything else!

Take a minute to think about one of your reading lessons.  Could it include some spelling or word work straight from the book, passage, or text?  Could it lend itself to a writing prompt or exercise? How about a lesson on parts of speech or complete sentences? Why not use nonfiction to add in a touch of history or science?

Keeping lessons connected and vertically planned will allow our students to go deeper and develop a better understanding of the lessons instead of watering it down and moving on.

Think like this…

Here are 3 screenshots from a lesson on Harry Houdini to give you an idea of multi-purposing your lessons to cover many subjects and standards all within one lesson!

This lesson was planned and delivered using Classkick.
Free app on iTunes and can also be used on laptops or tablets at 

Harry Houdini Chapter 1 Introduction

Study location of Harry's travels before reading the chapter by viewing maps.

Build understanding of time in history by researching shoeshine boys.

These are just a few slides out of a 15 page lesson created in Classkick.  Lessons created in Classkick can include links, photos, pdf's, text, and audio!  Think of the possibilities when you can include ALL of these features in 1 lesson!  Endless!

If you are lucky enough to have ipads or chromebooks you can organize lessons using apps where students can complete a majority of the work from one device. 

Great Lesson Planning and Lesson Delivery Tool

Classkick Link

Great assignment delivery/collection and portfolio tool
Seesaw Link

Example Lessons with one text:

Skills taught in one lesson on Harry Houdini:
-locating text information
-listening comprehension
-writing complete sentences using text evidence AND the evidence can be highlight right on the device!
-word work (word parts-origin)
-history/social studies (geography/time period)

All of this can be done from one device!

For organizing your students' information or lessons, I use screenshots of completed lessons. Then send the screenshot with a description to myself to file under the students' name and subject. (if using the app) Otherwise if using a computer, you can save right from the screen.

The following shows you how it looks on my computer.

#1 Stored Student Files Images
I store all files I feel necessary into a file using each student's name.  I can then have more specific skill files within this file.

This is one student's file.
This is one section of his file.

This is another smaller section of his file.
I can store all the data I want in specific files for easy finding and access if needed.
I use it to plan my instruction, keep track of progress, and store examples of work all in one place. 
(Or you can save all of your students lessons in 1 "easy to access and share" place using Seesaw!)

#2 Use Seesaw (free app or website)
Seesaw is an app and a website that will file your students' work by student, subject, or any file name you wish.

*With Seesaw Plus (paid version) teachers can file into private files for teacher use only, and by skills.

Here's a look into what that looks like in Seesaw.

This is a class feed view.

Or you can sort by student.

Or you can sort by subject or skill.
I use both methods of storing student data for my RTI program.  It might seem difficult at first, but once you get started it becomes super easy and I never feel like I have to dig for student work examples or am at a loss as to how my students are REALLY doing on specific tasks.  I have all of the data stored neatly on a device!  It works like a dream and I will NEVER go back to paper storage again!

Plan Lessons with Apps!
Create lessons that can be stored from year to year with no additional prep work. Use pdfs stored right on your laptop or device and never go searching for a worksheet or file EVER AGAIN!

Hint:  Come up with an organized way of naming your files.  You will thank yourself later...(speaking from experience).

No copying. No stapling. No storing huge files or binders. 
No mess.  No worries!
 I've saved a TON on not having to by fancy paper, page protectors, binders, folders and all other storage and lesson planning materials!  Enough that I can now afford to buy books and apps for my kiddos!

Enough said…

Make lessons into centers!
Have students go one step further and use devices in centers where there are pre-made lessons. Students plug in the pictures and information depending upon what each student needs. 

Here's a visual example from a lesson completed in Classkick.

Use can use any graphic organizer!  Either take a photo of it, screenshot it, save it as a pic file, or as a pdf file.  Anyway you choose, you can easily use graphic organizers digitally and save digitally!  MIND BLOWING!!!

Whatever skill students need to practice, you can put it into a center.  How about one on... 
-Locating Important Information
-Finding Main Idea
-Practicing Fluency

Use graphic organizers that have been stored in your camera roll to create the lesson that can be used with ANY text, ANYtime, ANYwhere, by ANYone!

Show students how to use all the apps. Then they can choose which app they would like to use to complete an assignment. Providing students with choice makes learning more motivating and engaging.  When students get a say in what they are doing, they will be more invested and hence more learning will take place!  (A teacher's dream!)

Students need fluency practice? Let them choose how they practice it.
-YakIt Kids
-Camera Roll-Video tape themselves

Students need to practice sequencing?
-Pic Collage
-Sock Puppets
-CapDis Lite-comic strip creator

Honestly, all of these tips can help you free up your time to do what teachers REALLY want to do...
P.S. If you are looking to learn how to use or manage any of these apps, visit my personal blog where I will forever be adding tutorials and tips for using tech in your literacy classroom!
 Link2Teach Blog Link
Click picture to go there!

3 Tips for Back to School

Wednesday, July 27, 2016 / Leave a Comment
3 tips to help you achieve much this school year!  We all strive for greatness and with these tips you are guaranteed to succeed!

Summer flew by and now it is time to start thinking about back to school already.  I have three tips to help you prepare for back to school and help make your planning and first week easier!

As you're thinking about your space make sure that you know how big things can be.  If you have a lot of space thinking about what posters you may want to have enlarged around your room!

I have the advantage / disadvantage of moving to a new school this year.  Due to this I am not able to actually get into my classroom yet!  I report back in a week and I am starting to go a little stir crazy not having my room already set up!  Luckily I have a friend who sent me pictures of my new blank canvas!  I am so excited about the SPACE that I am going to have!  I created these posters to help fill some of the blank space that is taking over my room!  I am so excited for these!  They are HUGE and are going to help me fill some blank space that I didn't know what I was going to do with.  PLUS, they are my colors and amazing!  Did you know that you could have posters printed at Costco!  These were only $6.99 each!!  LOVE!!

Creating a positive environment is very important! You want your students to know that they are loved, supported and encouraged in your room! Use not only your actions to show that to them, but also your room!

Being able to send a positive message to your students while they are in your room is SUPER important!  I was inspired and encouraged by Ashley Schroeder to take my messages that I wanted to share with my students and BLOW THEM UP!!  She did an awesome tutorial for us, and you can check it out here!!  I created three different sayings that I knew I wanted around my room.  #achievemuch #dreambig #workhard  These are my three main messages for my students! I want them to know that while they are in my room this year they can #dreambig!  They can believe that they can reach the moon, and I am going to help them do that!  They are going to have to #workhard to get there, but then we will able to look back and see that they #achievemuch!  I believe that these all go hand in hand and by allowing them to see these things up around my room they will also know that it is okay to believe these things!

Get your planner ready before school starts because once it starts you are going to be running! Set up the important dates you know, NOW!

My planner is something that helps keep me organized and helps me keep track of things!  I have fallen in love with the happy planner this year and am so thankful that I am able to quickly hole punch it and throw it in my planner!  Then I don't have to jot these down all over my plan book, but instead can have a list that can be thrown away after everything is done!  I am going to take time to add all of the important dates that I already know as well so that way once school starts and I begin planning I don't have to worry about forgetting about 1/2 days, parent teacher conferences or school holidays!

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