Saturday, June 29, 2013

Currently JULY!

Is it July already?! Where has summer gone!

I have seen this Currently Linky posts everywhere, but never knew who started them! Finally found her!
Farley at Oh' Boy 4th Grade hosts these linky parties every month, and has a blogger sponsor them with products! Great way to find new blogs!

  • Listening - We are heading to Huber's Winery today with friends. Huber's is one of my favorite places up here, and on the weekends during the summer, they have live music on their patio. And today's weather is going to be goregous!
  • Loving - I have just gotten more into my blog within these past few weeks thanks to Charity over at Teaching Blog Traffic School. But I am loving it! I have really enjoyed finding new blogs, writing posts, and creating new products! I am small, but growing!
  • Thinking - It's already July! I start getting back in the swing of things when we get back from visiting our families. But I feel rejuvenated and am starting to go stir crazy!
  • Wanting - I need an actual vacation though. We haven't had one since our Honeymoon alst year to Chicago. Everytime we go to Chattanooga or Memphis it is to visit family which is great, but not necessarily a vacation.
  • Needing - I haven't started packing for said 3 week trip to visit family, and I always manage to lose or forget to bring something!
  • Tips, Tricks, or Hints - I have been following and participating in linky's to find new blogs. But I have been trying to write about what I know and love. If you like what you see or have any suggestions, please comment or follow my blog. 
Enjoy the rest of summer!! Does anyone have any tips for a newbie?! I am having a contest for a $10 gift certificate to my TPT store over at my Bloglovin post! Check it out! :-)

Friday, June 28, 2013

MORE QR Codes!

Where will this take you? 

So the last time I wrote about QR codes, I wrote about using them for self checking assessments. (You can find the blog post HERE and there is a link to a freebie from there as well!) But this time I was thinking about how I can use them for classroom management. So I've come up with several ideas that I can't wait to use this year!

  • Videos - I make or find videos for my students so that they can review math topics when they get stuck or when they are studying for a test. They have found them very helpful, but sometimes have a hard time finding them on my Edmodo sight if they are not directly above the fold on the home page. I can use the URL from the video to attach to a QR code, print them off and have them put them in their INB with their notes for that topic. 
  • Anchor Charts - I usually only keep anchor charts up for current topics, unless it is over something that we constantly refer back to. I have seen ideas for taking pictures and keeping them in a binder in the classroom for students refer to, and this would be nice especially for me! You can do the same thing with the QR codes by taking pictures of the chart. 
  • PowerPoint, InterWrite, SMART board - My school uses InterWrite tablets, and I absolutely love mine and don't know what I did before. It basically lets me control my computer, while also combining the interactive whiteboard. It uses a projector and screen so I still have my full whiteboard when I don't need it. Anyways, you could do the same things with these types of files but I would first convert or save them as a PDF file to avoid issues of not being able to open the file. 
  • Teacher Information - Parents can scan these on open house nights, parent teacher conferences, etc. to instantly have your contact information sent to their phone.
  • Secret Award Incentives - Print the codes and place on cards, bottle caps, etc. and have students draw for an incentive. They scan the code to find their secret award!
  • Links - I have posted one on my whiteboard with a "Scan Me" sign for students to scan as they come into class for a link we will be using that day. No more worrying about spelling or broken links!
  • Classroom Newsletters - Go Green! Send home QR codes for parents to scan to get your classroom newsletter!
If you don't have access to smart phones or iPads in your classroom, don't worry! You can download readers for computers that will work with a webcam! Very easy!
What are some other ways that you have used QR codes in your classroom?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

App Review - Show Me vs. Educreations

Instead of writing a post about Interactive Whiteboards, why not Show You! 
Pardon the writing if it gets messy! 
This was my first podcast, more nervous than when
I make these for my students, but I hope you enjoy!

I have posted a PollEverywhere poll below asking which do you prefer. 
All you have to do is text the code to 37607 to cast your vote!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Say Goodbye to Google Reader, Hello Bloglovin!

Google Reader is officially being discontinued after July 1st. To make sure you stay connected with this  as well as some of your other favorite blogs, you can follow us through Bloglovin! It is available as an app and online to allow for easy access! Follow my blog with Bloglovin a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, June 24, 2013

App Review - StudyBlue - Digital, Pre-Made Flash Cards

StudyBlue has become one of my favorite apps! This is an internet and app based program that creates interactive flash cards and allows you to study the ones you got wrong, quiz you, and create a study guide!

Teachers can create an account and have students sign up for the class or students can create an account just for themselves. They have initially only added Universitys and high schools, but you can request a school to be added. Once you join the school, you can add a course. Since I teach at the middle school level, I added my school and then listed my name and Mathematics 7 as the course. The students can then join your class and have access to any flashcards you've created. You can give them a class code to join from or they can search for it. Students do not have to be part of a class to use this program, and they can create there own flashcards.

Once you have the account, you can add a set of flashcards very easily! They have a database of all of the ones other people have created you can choose from or you can create your own. They have pictures to go with a lot of the cards as well. 

I used this with my students during our Geometry unit, because they were not learning the vocabulary on their own. I created the account and flash cards then posted a link to my Edmodo page for the students to use. I also gave them the directions listed below to help.

You can find many videos on youtube to help, and several on schooltube as well. 

What other kinds of technology based study tools do you use?

Saturday, June 22, 2013

FREE Product - Circumference and Area Rhymes

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday
My students loved using these rhymes to help them remember the formulas for Circumference and Area of a circle. Anything that will help them remember, I'm all for! I also have included "student sized" posters for them to put in their INB for them to be able to reference back to!

FREE Product - Distributive Property Angry Birds

My students had a lot of problems understanding distributive property with Algebra this year. I found the concept of using Angry Birds online and created a poster and PowerPoint for a lesson. Here is the poster I used for his lesson. The poster is free from my TPT store. I will be adding the PowerPoint soon, but it will be a paid for item.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

FREE Product!- Bring Your Own Device

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

I am excited to be participating in 

my first Linky Party with 
The Organized Classroom's 
Manic Monday Post!

When we are doing an app based or Internet activity, I allow students to bring in their own devices to use in class. But more specifically when doing app based activities, I have come to realize that not all apps are available on the different app markets. While the Blackberry/Android market seems to have the most apps, the Apple market seems to have the most educational apps. Some of them you can find on both markets, but a lot of the ones I have used are only on the Apple market.

Instead of answering 100 times (or more) which devices will work for an app based activity, I decided to create a poster to hopefully cut down on this. I will laminate and attach a magnet to it and put it on the white board where I display my homework for the night for a visual reminder for students. I will then use it to check off which devices will work.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Going Paperless - Flubaroo

Last semester at the OCTI professional development, I learned about a "script" through Google Drive that will grade forms and send grades to students through email. Because of our impending grading tool from my previous post, I was so excited!

You create the assignment using a form on Google Drive, and you can add as many questions and different type of questions as you liked. It is best to use multiple choice questions because of the computer having to interpret short term answers. It will also analyze the questions based on how many students got the question right when compared to the total, and create reports and charts. It displays the grades in a spreadsheet to allow for organization. You can send their scores and what questions they missed through their email address. Because all of our students in the district have an email address, I would instruct them to use this address because some email servers are blocked at school.

I think this would be best for an EXIT slip or short quiz. Students can take the assignment on a computer, tablet, or smart phone so long as they have the link. Our iPad cart has an email address attached to each iPad where I would send the address to prevent incorrect links.

I have not tried this out with a class yet because we are out for the summer, but what I have tried on my own works very well! Attached are DETAILED instructions from everything to creating the assignment to sending the grades. I have also included screen shots of the process in an additional link. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Going Paperless - Help!

This year, we heard lots about how many copies we were making, paper we were using, etc. I am blessed to not be limited on any of these aspects, but they are hinting that this might not be the case for next year. I don't like the papers just as much as the next teacher, and fighting and praying to the copier gods that it wouldn't jam on me for the billionth time is very frustrating. The things that cause me the most paper are by far TESTS! In the past, we have used Edusoft grading system with scantrons to automatically grade our tests for us, but we have been told this will be cut next year. We have been so upset about this because it saves me HOURS of grading!

So let me break the numbers down for you...

A test is usually two to four copies (front and back) and scantron. They get their test back with a report on it as well so for a total of four to six pages per student, 115 students, that is anywhere from 460 to 690 copies per test!! Let's not forget the two to four page study guide as well, so that's another 230 to 460 copies. For a grand total of anywhere from 690 to 1,050 copies per test!!!I know that's a lot of copies, and when we design the test we make it take up as little room as possible by shrinking diagrams and columns. But what can I do to help limit this? We do copy tests front to back so this cuts the paper in half, but as a school we are charged by the copy and then by the paper separately.

The first thing that comes to mind is a class set. So now I would only need 30 copies of the test, and if you are keeping up that is 60 to 120 copies for the test, but I would still need the scantron and study guides. This is what a lot of my other team teachers use. My concerns with this is that in math, you need to be able to highlight, cross out, show your work, etc. to questions to solve sometimes. (And in a perfect world, my students would do this 100% of the time!) But I do have several students that don't even write so much as their name on the test, or show any work! (that's a whole other topic in itself) We also do test corrections, so how do I get them a copy of the test so they can do these for questions they missed? I am not comfortable with posting a test to my class website.

With Edusoft, some teachers have them take the actual test on the computer. My same concerns apply to this as well as we take our MAP assessments on the computer as well and some students don't focus. Plus I think this opens up questions about cheating through the internet as well. And this is a luxury we don't have for next year, gotta love budget cuts.

This is only accounting for tests and study guides, no graphic organizers, EXIT slips, quizzes, assignments, etc. We also did a "default activities packet during part of the year that was 9 pages of critical thinking, puzzles, math related activities that students could work on when done with an assignment and  could earn a prize at the end of the quarter if they did them all. WHEW!

So with all of the other technology we have available, there has to be something that would help?! Right?!
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