Friday, August 10, 2012

Classroom Technology

Wow! This was a total whirl wind of a week. I had just gotten the hang of posting every day and then I had to go back to work. Monday I moved my stuff from my old office to my new classroom. Then I started setting up my classroom. Tuesday I helped the New Teacher Mentor from last year pack up her office so she could take it to her new school where she is going to be a writing teacher too. I finished the night off at a Girl Scout Team meeting. Wednesday was our first full day back at school and we got to spend it crunching data from last year's SOL test. I spent Thursday writing 3 instructional calendars for the first 9 weeks, one for each grade I teach. Then I had to make sure it matched the grade level teachers calendars as. UGH!!!! But today was the BEST!!! We had technology professional development. And that's what I want to talk about today: technology in the classroom.

We had 4 different sessions today: Smart Board, Moodle, CPS clickers, and digital media (ie. United Streaming).

We all found out on Wednesday that we will all be required to have Moodle websites this year. And I found out that I will be one of the Moodle Mentors, since I had 16 hours of professional development over the summer to go beyond the basics of using Moodle. So today's session was to show teachers how to add items to their pages and what some of the possible items they can add.

For the Smart Board session, each teacher shared a lesson or template that she used in her classroom. I had never used a Smart Board before, so they went a bit more in depth and showed me how to do some of it. For which I will be forever grateful. I can't wait to try some of the things I saw.

The digital media session was mostly to tell us the changes in the districts stance on movies and media in the classroom and what our options were.

The CPS clickers session is the one I was most excited about. Over the past two years I have seen teachers use them in their room and now I get to! We learned how to add quick questions based on Power Points we have all ready created. I also learned how to have the kids answer a paper test using the clickers instead of a scan-tron. I can't wait to set up my Focus question so that the students get to use the clickers every day. After 4 hours of professional development, I went down to the library and checked out my own set of clickers for the year.

So here is my question for you all: What kind of technology do you have in your classrooms and what kind of technology do you wish you had?

Until tomorrow!


Sunday, August 5, 2012

Show Me Sunday: Educational Time Fillers

I am so enjoying being in blogland. I am finding great resources and learning a lot from my fellow bloggers. Today I am linking up with 3-6 Free Resources for their Show Me Sunday linky. This week is about time fillers. Everyone needs those!

In my school division there is a big push to use Smart Pals or white boards in our classrooms every day and  for the students to be writing from bell to bell, so a lot of  my time fillers and reviews revolve around them.

1. Maps, maps, and more maps! For history class I always have a map in the Smart Pals. If we finish early, I ask the students different questions and they fill in the map with the dry erase markers. It is a great way to review too.

2. Brain Quest Questions and Answers to Challenge the Mind - These are a huge life saver. I will use these to ask a question and the kids will write their answers on the Smart Pals (the backside of the map is blank) or on white boards.

3. Parts of Speech Game - I have index cards with lots of words that we use in our writing class. I will pull one at random and the kids have to write down what part of speech it is. Some times I have one of the students pick a word from her vocabulary dictionary we create in class and the rest of the class has to write down the part of speech and which class the vocabulary word came from (history, reading, or science).

I hope that you will be able to use some of these! Don't forget to visit 3-6 Free Resources to get more time fillers and to link up yourself.

Until tomorrow.


Saturday, August 4, 2012


I woke up early this morning and am trying to be quiet so that my hubby can sleep in. I came out to the living room and finished the book I've been reading, Tick Tock by James Patterson. Then I turned the TV on and one of my favorite movies was on, Grosse Pointe Blank with John Cusack. It is a totally cheesy movie, but I grew up in Grosse Pointe and have only been back once in 20 years. Everyone needs a little slice of home once in awhile. While I was watching I decided to catch up on my blog reading and a ton of people were linking up with Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade and her August Currently. So here is mine:

My B2S

1. Organized teacher binder: I have never actually had an administrator ask to see my binder during my evaluations, but this year my evaluator is a first year administrator, so I want to be prepared. You never know what they will want to see!

2. Cable ties- I am going to use those metal cubes that used to be popular in college dorm rooms to set up my writing stations for each class, but I want some of the cubes to have shelves in them. To do this I need to get me some cable ties! (I'll post some pics after I set my room up next week)

3. I have a few Dr. Seuss items, but I'm not sure how well that will go over with middle schoolers. Any one have some suggestions?

Friday, August 3, 2012

New Room

I started off my day decorating a cake for my neighbor and ended up getting to see my new classroom!

Here is the cake:

And here is what my classroom looks like:

The room has a smart board, tv with VCR/DVD player, 2 white boards, 1 large bulletin board (it's above the buckets in the first picture), and 1 tiny bulletin board (it's behind the teacher desk in the bottom picture. I also have 5 tables that I can use for the different centers/stations I want to set up.

So good news is that I got into my room early, bad news is that I got my schedule for the year. I will be teaching all three grade levels, but my classes will not all be the same length. The two 8th grade classes will both be about 50 minutes. I will get one 7th grade class for 45 minutes and the other one for only 10 minutes. For 6th grade, one I will have for 30 minutes the other one will be only 20 minutes. UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!
Any suggestions for how to plan when the classes don't have the same amount of time with me?

Have a happy weekend!


Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Awards and First Day Jitters Blog Hop

I recently joined Newbie Blogger Blog Hop  over at Grade Three is the Place for Me! and one of the other new bloggers who linked up nominated me for these two awards:

Thank you Christy! You can visit her at Kindergarten is a Hoot!!!

Guidelines for the combined awards:

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you

(and follow their blog)

2. Link back to the person who nominated you

3. Include the award image in your post

4. Give 7 random facts about yourself

5. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award

6. When nominating, include a link to their blog

7. Let other bloggers know they've been nominated

Seven random facts about me:

1. I was born in Germany.

2. I played ice hockey as a kid and now I coach several youth hockey teams.

3. I am training to run my first 1/2 marathon for my 40th birthday next year.

4. I LOVE crafts especially with my kids.

5. My favorite color is teal.

6. I enjoy reading vampire novels. My brother got me hooked as a teenager and then my students reintroduced me to the subject several years ago.

7. I adore SUSHI!!!

Wow! I had a hard time finding people who haven't been nominated so here are the 6 blogs  I am nominating for the Versatile Blogger award and the One Lovely Blog award:

1. A Window into Mrs. Wheeler's Class

2. The First Grade Reader

3. Surviving Sixth Grade.

4. Teacher's Toolkit

5. Teaching with Moxie

6. Ms. G in Grade 3

And now the First Day Jitters Blog Hop I found over at Fierce in Fourth.

For this blog hop, I have to share three things I am jittery about for the upcoming school year.

1. This year I am going back into the classroom after 2 years of having a supporting role as a Social Studies Coach.

2. I am switching subjects from social studies to English with an emphasis on writing.

3. I will be teaching three different grade levels within the gifted program at my middle school.

All three of these are making my skin crawl. On the good side I am meeting with my new team this Friday for lunch and then we go back to work next Wednesday.