August 28, 2016

Free and Easy First Week Fun

Welcome Back!

As the pack of students floods the hallway and makes their way to your classroom, have no fear. I have 3 fun, free, and easy activities you can do with your students to ensure the first week has a perfect balance of fun and function.

Sample bulletin board of t-shirts my
students created last June.
Click here for a Summer Fun T-Shirt Craftivity

This print and go activity has so many possibilities. You can pretty much put anything at the top of the shirt and make this work for your classroom. This September, I will be asking the students to write/respond about "Summer Fun".

I have included three different levels of response depending on the needs of your learners. One version with just lines, another with lines and a blank space for drawing, and a third with just a blank space.

You can print on colored paper, or have the students embellish in their own way. If you are going to break out the glue and glitter, I recommend you print on cardstock to give the artwork a bit more stability.

Once t-shirts are complete, collect them and you have a ready-to-go bulletin board!

Speaking and Listening Task Cards
Check out my Speaking and Listening Task Cards. These cards can help establish the speaking and listening norms in your classroom and it gives your students an opportunity to do what they love best- talk about themselves! 

Although this is designed for pairs, the first few times we use these cards, I do it as a whole group or within a small group setting. I take my time explaining the norms, modeling the expected behaviors, and give each side an opportunity to share their ideas as well as question their partners. The "listener" half is very challenging for many students. This activity gives them the practice of listening for information and not simply listening to respond with their own input.

Once you have established the norms, continue to use these cues to lead your students through many different discussions throughout the year. Change up the question cards depending on the content you are working on: incorporate them into your guided reading groups, use them for think-pair-share activities, or have students defend their positions with one another on various topics. These cues are flexible enough to be used in any situation where students are speaking and listening to one another.

This is a great first day activity, but it could be done anytime and in many different contexts.

Get a roll of toilet paper. Stand at the door to greet the students in the morning. As they come in, ask them to take "as much as they will need". (I never tell them what they will need it for...) Once the morning bustle has settled down, explain to the students that they will share one thing about themselves for each piece of toilet paper they have. 

Some students will stick to one fact per square. Others may "think outside the square" and rip their pieces into smaller pieces so they can share more about themselves. And, others may keep their piece "whole". It's a fun activity that can give you some great insight into how your students think.

Have a great start to the school year!

August 14, 2016

Searching For Ticonderoga or, (Where Has My Favorite Pencil Gone?)

An Open Letter From a Fourth Grade Teacher to Her Favorite Pencil
Dear Ticonderoga,

It been an amazing run. Really. I look back on our time together (more than a decade) and can't believe how quickly the time has gone by. We've been through it all; good times (grading, conferences, CSEs) and not-so-good (testing, BEDS day, PD) and you have always been right by my side. You have been the one constant in this ever-changing career...until last fall.

I've searched deep within and I am convinced: it's not me, it's you. You have changed. I miss your perfectly centered graphite and your spongy non-smudging erasers. What's happened? How could this be? I want the old Ticonderoga back. The one I know and love.

At first, I thought it was me. Perhaps I had angled the pencil incorrectly while trying to sharpen. I even blamed the students, "How hard are you pressing down to erase?" "You broke another tip already?" But, it was you the whole time. All you. 

I even have proof.
I am begging you. Please bring back the old Ticonderoga. Find it within you to center that graphite and hold on to a correctly constructed eraser using a quality ferrule. You can do it. You did it before and you can do it again. 

You have it within you to get back to "The World's BEST PENCIL". And when you do, I will be right here waiting...

August 7, 2016

WHY YOU STILL NEED SPMS! or, (What Are You Waiting For?)

Hello Everyone!
Remember how I told you about the membership I'm using to take amazing photos, videos, and graphic designs with just my iPhone? Well, it's open to new students again - but just for a week from August 8-15th! Now is your chance!
This membership has been a game-changer for my social media presence and my business. It's self-paced, gives you lifetime access, and I take it right from my phone whenever I have a free moment. With the ease of access and linking capabilities, you will be able to not only keep up, but excel, in areas of your business with just your iPhone!

If you're interested, make sure you sign up by August 11th before the price increases by 10% - (affiliate link)

This course has revolutionized the way I approach social media. In the three months I have been learning and applying different techniques, I have noted the following:
* Number of followers on Teachers Pay Teachers increased by 30%
* Number of followers on Instagram increased by 80%

Now, granted, I may have increased followers without the knowledge I have gained...but I doubt it would have been that fast. The catalyst has been my ability to create quality images and posts from just my iPhone!

Sign up today and you'll get instant, lifetime access to easy-to-follow lessons on:
* product photography
* graphic design
* sales graphic creation
* lighting and setup
* script writing
* video production & editing
* iPhone productivity
* & all of it from your iPhone - learn on the go!

You'll also get access to a private Facebook group that yours truly is in, learning all the latest tips on iPhone visual marketing.

Let me know if you have any questions!