Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Book Making for First Graders

After I shared my Spookley lesson with a friend of mine, who teaches kindergarten, she said you have to check out Story Maker at  So when I took my class up to the computer lab I told them when they were done with their math homework they could try something new.  It is simple to use.  I demonstrated how to use the program and let them experiment on their own.  

On the right side are three icons, picture, text, and full page.  When you want to add text you push the text button and the text screen appears.
You push the picture screen and you can create a picture using all kinds of tools and colors.  

On our computers at school if you save your project it will save but not open back into abcya so the children can not go back and edit it.  I have them make one page and print.  So I make sure we have that part of the book.  

The last icon is for preview.
The pages turn out so cute and professional.  I will definitely have my students use this program for publishing some of their work. One of my students had so much fun she made this short turkey story.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Spookley the Square Pumpkin

One of my goals this year is to improve my teaching in the computer lab and another one is to create more class books.  So I combined these two goals for this Halloween lesson with the book, The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin.  

The purpose of this lesson was to provide my students with a learning opportunity that would work throughout the Halloween week while still working on writing and technology outcomes. 
Lesson One:  (Shared Reading)
Focus:  To read and enjoy the story The Legend of Spookley the Square Pumpkin and compare and contrast Spookley’s feelings.

Lesson Two:  (Computer Lab -- Day One)
Focus:  Using the program Notebook 11 create a unique pumpkin, print and save the document.    
Tools to Demonstrate:  Toolbar, Arrow pointer, delete, shape, enlarge, turn shapes, fill color bucket, print and saving the document.
Lesson Three::  (Writing Workshop)
Focus:  Write 2 complete sentences in writing journal to describe your pumpkin.  You can give your pumpkin a name.  

Materials:  Pocket Chart & Cards with Adjectives (Shapes, Sizes, and Colors)
Lesson Four:  (Computer Lab -- Day Two)
Focus:  Each student will retrieve a saved document and add two sentences to it.  Then they will print and take a picture of it with an ipad. .   
Bring:  Writing Journal to the Lab
Tools to Demonstrate:  Adding Text, Choosing a Font, how to print, and take a screenshot.  

I put all the printed pages in a binder to create a class book.  I like to use binders with page protectors because they stand up to student use and then at the end of the year it is easy to give the students back their work.
The computer teacher at my school created a power point presentation for the parents. Unfortunately I could not load it onto this page. If you want to see it let me know and I can email it to you.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

My first lesson with a QR reader

One of my "sick goals" during my time off is to create a lesson using a QR reader.  It was not easy to find directions on how to create a lesson.  Of course I want to do this for free. One of my biggest obstacles was staying focused and awake.   It took me a while however finally I found a blog with great tech ideas that pointed me in the right direction...Reflections on Teaching, Learning and Technology.

Sara had a post where she wrote about creating a lesson about QR codes for I followed her suggestions and after a few misses I created a lesson of my own.  

Here is what I learned in the process of creating a lesson using QR codes!!

1.  Never Give Up.....
The first couple blogs I read were not helpful, thank goodness the sixth one was.

2.  Start with Kaywa. I had to sign up but it did let me try for free with joining.  I was able to download the codes I made without paying.  

3.  I had to click the "more" button and look for the word text.  Then I could type whatever I wanted.  Next, click Generate and download the format you want.  So simple!!!

4.  Following the suggestion from Sara at Reflections on Teaching Blog, I downloaded the app i-nigma from the app store.  Yeah, this was free and it is perfect for the kiddos.  Very easy for kindergarteners and first graders to use.   

5.  Finally I created my lesson.  I imported all my qr codes into word document and printed them.  I cut them out and put them on apple cut-outs because that is what I have at home.
6.  I created a simple recording sheet for my students. 
7.  Now Monday on my first day back at school my students will have a fun activity to do for spelling.  If you are interested in trying my lesson you can get a FREE copy HERE!  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Reading in the Wild

During my few days off of work I picked up Donalyn’s book Reading in the Wild.  It is such a good book for any teacher who teaches reading to students.    She emphasizes the goal of reading instruction is to develop all students into lifelong independent readers.    We want our students to love reading and see themselves as readers in and out of school.
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Ms. Miller identifies habits of successful wild readers……..
1.  Students need time to read and write.  If you want your students to see reading as important, you have to treat it as a priority in your classroom.  Dedicate time for your students to read and write. 
2.  Let your students self-select their own reading material.   If reading is going to be enjoyable to your students then they need to have some say in it.  You can make suggestions however in the end you need to respect their decisions.  This does not mean teachers do not teach lessons with given material, it means during independent reading time children can read what they want.  
3.  The best part of reading is sharing what you are reading with others.  So give your students opportunities to talk about reading and let them share books with other students.   Find time or places for students to recommend books for their friends to read. 
4.  Help the students develop reading plans or goals.  Let your students decide (with guidance) what they can commit to do.  You want the goal setting to be successful.    

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“The more students practice, the more they enjoy and develop confidence in reading and the more likely they are to read in their free time. “

Reading Emergencies …..stealing time to read throughout the day.......even if it is just a few minutes at a time.    I like this term.  I am going to encourage my students to keep a book or two in their desks at all times so if a teacher comes in the room and they found themselves with a few minutes they can take out their books and read quietly. 

Signs of a Fake Reader/Avoiding Reading
We all have students who avoid reading focus in on those students and their interests and help them find books that will make them successful readers.  
1.  Finishes few books
2.  finishes books to quickly
3.  Abandons books often
4.  Conducts personal errands during reading time
5.  Fidgets or talks a lot
6.  Rarely has a book read

Why are daily read aloud so important??????
I am just as guilty as the next person when it comes to reading aloud.  My reading aloud time is right after the Math Block and if I have students who struggle with Math, I tend to work with them extra and skip my book. I always hope I can squeeze it in later however I rarely have a minute to spare.  Reading aloud is so important and here are Donalyn's reminders why: 
*Highlight great writing
*Model reading strategies
*build community
*expose children to different genres/authors
*builds fluency and vocabulary
*reinforces that reading can be fun

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New Ideas I want to incorporate in my classroom:
  • ·      Add a student book recommendation to the first grade news
  • ·      Create a poster “Currently my favorite book is…..”  someplace in my reading center.  I want to make the poster interactive so the first graders can change their favorites all by themselves whenever they want.  
  • ·      Hold a book swap/book drive at the end of the November and January


 I googled book swap images and found this I want a wagon for my book swap.  

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Religion Center

This year I moved my religion area from a little table (that got pushed around) to my two file cabinets.  I pushed my two file cabinets together and put white contact paper on them to make them look like one piece.  I am using the front of the cabinets to display some of our prayers and the illustrations that go with them.  

I am now in my second week of recovery.  I think I slept most of the last two weeks.  I thought I was going to read and catch up on some projects.  WRONG!!!  I sleep most of the time and wake up just to do a little bit of this and that.  However I do feel a little bit better each day.   

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