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How I use IPEVO In My Classroom

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I was very lucky at past schools to have a document camera and a Smart Board. At my current school, when I first arrived we didn’t have either. We did have a projector, an awesome Mac Computer, and an iPad. I could live without a Smart Board, but the whole not having a document camera threw me.  I was used to being able to project worksheets, projects, activities, etc up on the board so students could see exactly what it was like. It was weird not being able to do that.  But, two technology pieces came to the rescue (well three if you include the iPad I already had) – the Just Stand and the app IPEVO.

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With the app IPEVO, the stand, and my iPad, I now had the makings of a document camera. The Just Stand is amazing!  You can move it, turn it, etc, but I tend to keep it level and use it only as a document camera. My iPad fits in the top and using the camera or the IPEVO app you can project whatever is below it.
Here my student is projecting her story on the board using the Just Stand, app IPEVO on camera mode, and the iPad.
As you can see from the picture above it works pretty much like a document camera would. It projects whatever is underneath it. I can use it to project student work and can use it to write and show kids something we’re working on! I love that I’m now able to have the functions of a document camera.
It also has another option that let’s you actually write on the iPad.  You can do this in camera mode or just on a blank white board of sorts.  I use this all the time for spelling and phonics activities and for math.  I’ll just write a problem on my “white board” (iPad with IPEVO app) and then the kids will solve it on their white boards.  It’s much quicker to erase than writing it on the real white board and I can walk around and monitor the room while I’m writing.
So there was a quick peek at how I use the IPEVO app.  Do you have a document camera in your classroom or do you use other tech pieces? Comment below….

How I use Code.org In My Classroom

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Do you use coding in your classroom? If not, you have to try Code.org.  Coding is such an important part of technology. And, as we know, jobs that our students will be doing in the future most of them will heavily rely on technology.  I always thought coding was just a bunch of numbers and gibberish and never quite understood it. However, after using Code.org myself (I made myself a student account) I’ve learned right along with my students.

Set-Up:
Set-up is super easy and free.  Go to Code.org, click sign-in, and click on create a free account. It is free which is amazing because the lessons are valuable and there are many levels.  Once you create a teacher account you are able to create a class account and then student accounts. It is simple to do and once it’s done you are ready to go!  
How I Use It:
The first time my students worked on coding I modeled step by step how to log in.  Once they were logged in, they were good to go on their own.  Code.org starts students in Course 1 and moves them through at their own pace.  I teach second grade so Course 1 was a good starting point for my students and myself.  Code.org provides videos to explain what to do and has fun activities for practice. For example, some of the activities require them to set-up code to move the characters around from Angry Birds.  Each lesson builds and gets more complicated as it goes.  
Students loved it and wanted to code during free time, which I was fine with. Some even chose to work on coding during Fun Friday.  I did have a dedicated block of time each week for coding.  During Morning Meeting, on Tuesdays, I called it “Tech Tuesday” and kids would code for the activity.  Students can also work on it at home. There is a little slip you can print that has the log-in information for home use.

Certificates:
Once a student finishes a course level there is a certificate you can print out. The kids love being recognized for their hard work!

Do you use Code.org? If so, what is your favorite part? Write me in the comments below…

How I Use Kahoot in My Classroom

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Today I’m excited to share one of my favorite apps with you that I mentioned in my Friday Favorites – Favorite Tech Apps – Kahoot! Kahoot is an app that is new to me this year and the kids and I both fell in love with it! They would request that we used it and they’d be disappointed on days when we didn’t.

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I used Kahoot as a way to review content that I had already taught in the classroom.  It’s a great way to do review without the kids having to do 20 problems on a worksheet.  Our school is 1-to-1 with iPads, which helps, but Kahoot can be done as a whole class, partnerships, teams, or independently.  I have used the multiple choice type questions, but I know they have other options too.
I like Kahoot because you can create your own quizzes.  They do have a bank where you can search for already made Kahoots, but I often prefer to create my own.  Creating your own is nice because you can tailor it to the specific way you’ve taught, specific vocabulary you’ve used, and your school’s specific standards.
Below is an example of one of the Kahoots I created for my class.  I would create a new one each week that went along with our Journey’s story.  We would do the Kahoot on Thursday to help review for the test on Friday. I would include vocabulary questions, grammar questions, and phonics questions.  
Below you’ll see all of the Kahoots I’ve created. The wonderful thing is these are saved for next year.  So once you’ve created it, you’ll have it to use year after year and won’t have to recreate things.  
Here is an example of what the questions and answer options look like.  When you are creating the Kahoot, you have an option to have 2-4 answer choices.  You can also have more than one correct answer.
Below is an example of one of the searches I did on Kahoot. We do a unit on 3D shapes and I thought it would be fun to review the shape names and attributes using Kahoot.  It did work well, but I suggest you look closely at the Kahoot before the kids complete it.  Since these are created by other people, there are sometimes mistakes and often they don’t teach the exact content you teach so you want to make sure it fits your class.
I know this was a quick post, but I want to leave you with a few of the reasons why I love using Kahoot in my classroom…
  • The kids love it and they are engaged.
  • It provides instant feedback. Once the answers are in or the time is up, the correct answer is shown.
  • All students can play and participate. Sometimes too it’s fun to break it up into teams and partners. They get quite competitive with the points!
  • Great review of content and it’s not a worksheet. I’m not a fan of worksheets. While I know paper is necessary for some tasks, I don’t think kids need to be doing worksheets all day long. I love that Kahoot reviews the content, but in a different format then a worksheet.
  • Quick and easy to make!

Friday Favorites – Tech Apps

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Every Friday this summer I am sharing some of my favorite things with you! The month of July is focused on technology and academic areas.

Check out past Friday Favorites…
PD Books
Read Alouds
Kids’ Favorite Series
Book Studies

Today I’m sharing some of my favorite apps to use in the classroom. We are very lucky because each teacher has their own iPad to use in the classroom and we are 1 to 1 for students too.  A few of these apps are for students and a few are more for teachers. Stay tuned for some additional blog posts coming soon about these awesome tech apps!

Kahoot – My students and I both love Kahoot! I started using it this year and primarily used it to review content.  It’s kind of like a quiz, but also like a game show. Students can play as a class, in teams, partnerships, and individually.  On Tuesday, I’m sharing a blog post where I go more in depth with how I used Kahoot in my classroom.
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Xtra Math – Xtra Math is another great student app.  This is a good way for kids to practice fact fluency. It starts them off with an assessment to see where they are at and then provides them practice on areas where they struggled.  It has little “games” like Race the Teacher and is constantly monitoring their progress.  On the teacher sign-in, it’s very easy to keep up with the kids, see whose been practicing, and see where they are at. I really like how it’s quick practice.  It has them do about 5 minutes and then they are done for the day. Quick, easy, and to the point!
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Code.Org – I love, love, love coding and so do the kids.  With the importance of technology, the number of jobs in technology that exist now, and the number of technology jobs that will exist when our students graduate – technology is a skill that they need! Coding is also a skill they need.  Code.org provides practice at their pace. I’ve even tried it out and it’s quite fun. I wish they had this around when we were kids! Stay tuned…I have an additional blog post coming on this one too!
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MobyMax – MobyMax is a great all-around educational review. It provides options to practice math, reading, language, vocabulary, writing, and more.  I like that it starts with an assessment and then gives the students lessons based on their needs.  They also work through lessons at their own pace. This app/website is great for differentiation!
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Class Dojo – This is more of a teacher app, but still a good one.  We use Class Dojo to monitor and give grades for our non-academic standards – conduct, effort, and personal habits. I love that you can personalize Class Dojo for the behaviors that you are looking for. There is also a component where you can invite parents to see their progress (we don’t use this part at my school).
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iPevo – iPevo is another teacher app. As I mentioned, we are lucky to have a teacher iPad that can connect to a projector through Apple TV. We do not have document cameras at my school, but the app, iPevo, allows your iPad to turn into a document camera. It can project writing samples, work, etc on the board and there is also an option to use it like a white board. Stay tuned for a blog post on this…
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Thanks for stopping by! Next week I’ll share some of my favorite math lessons and activities!

Friday Favorites – PD Books

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Please note Amazon affiliate links are included in this post for your convenience.  As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

For my first Friday Favorites, I will be sharing some of my favorite professional development books.  I figured this was a great time of year to share PD books because I know many of us spend some of our summer break reading them to get new ideas for our classroom.

So, here are my Favorite PD Books…


Reading with Meaning by Debbie Miller
– This is one of my all time favorite PD books. Back in AZ, my literacy coach shared this book with me and we taught PD on it at the district office. Debbie covers schema, asking questions, inferring and more. She provides ideas for charts, books to use, and provides specific examples of how she taught these skills in the classroom. This is my favorite book!

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All About the Authors by Katie Wood Ray – This book is great for teachers who use Writing Workshop (whether you have Lucy Calkin’s Units of Study or not). Many ideas for how to teach writing and the importance of kids spending the majority of their time writing. Provides lesson ideas.
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Teaching with Intention by Debbie Miller – Another awesome PD book especially for a first year teacher. Debbie explains her practices and the importance of teaching with intention.

Literacy Work Stations by Debbie Diller – This book is perfect for anyone wanting to use literacy stations in their classroom. Debbie walks you through the whole process from how to choose your stations, what to put in your stations, how to run your stations, etc.  This helped me set up literacy stations in my classroom when I started using them years ago.

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Math Work Stations by Debbie Diller – Great ideas in this book for using math stations in your classroom. This book is geared more towards K-2, but ideas could be made more challenging for third grade and up. She explains the set-up process and also the classroom management piece of stations. She includes many station ideas for activities and games.

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Spaces and Places by Debbie Diller – This book has amazing ideas for how to set-up your classroom. I highly recommend it for new teachers or teachers switching classrooms/schools/grades. Tons of great ideas for things to consider and think about when setting up your room!

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Comprehension Connections by Tanny McGregor – I love this book. It has amazing lessons and ideas for how to help kids understand the different comprehension concepts and make connections with what they are reading.  I actually did a little note-taking and sharing when I read this.  You can read all of my thoughts on this book…here

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Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck – A book we read as a school a few years ago. This is perfect to read as most schools are working on a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed mindset. Interesting read!

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Check back next Friday for another edition blog post of Friday Favorites. Next Friday, I’ll be sharing my favorite class read alouds.

Friday Favorites – New Summer Blog Series!

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I’m excited to announce a new summer blog series I’m starting tomorrow! It is called – Friday Favorites! Each Friday I will be sharing some of my favorite teaching books, items, tips, lessons, activities, etc with you.

Here is my focus for each month:

June – All About Books – Professional Development. Read Alouds, Kid’s Favorites, etc.

July – Activities/Lessons and Tech Favorites

August – All About Back to School – Supplies, Community Building Activities, and more

Tomorrow’s blog post will focus on my favorite professional development books! Be sure to check in tomorrow to read all about my Friday Favorites!

End of the School Year – Tip #5

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For the month of May, every Wednesday, I’m sharing quick End of the School Year tip…

For previous tips…

Today’s tip is all about planning for next year and organization.  By the end of the school year, my library starts looking a little crazy. While I do have a specific organizational system in place, (which you can read about…here…) it doesn’t look like that in May.  Some books have seen better days, some books are missing, and many books are in the wrong place.  There’s just something about the month of May.  So there are a few things I do…
1- I order new books for my library using my bonus points from Scholastic.  This is a great time to replenish your library, order some of the new series, and replace some books that might have gone missing.
2- I weed out a lot of books from my library. Some of this weeding out is to make room for new books and some is to get rid of books that my students have no interest in.  This is a great time to donate books to a school in need or any donation area!
3 – I put the kids to work.  Kids love to help the teacher clean. So, the last week of school, each kid gets a bin and takes out any books that don’t belong. For example, I have a mystery book bin. Any book that doesn’t have a mystery book sticker gets removed and set on the table.  Then, once every bin has been cleaned out. They help me put the books on the table back where they go.  They love helping with this and it goes so much quicker having 17 kiddos help instead of me doing it all by myself.
So – just a quick tip today. Friday is our last day so things have been busy!  Hope everyone enjoyed my 5 End of the Year School Tips!

Five for Friday – May 26

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Only 3.5 days to go! And we have a 3 day weekend! Summer is almost here.  I’m linking up again with Kacey over at Doodle Bug’s Teaching for Five for Friday

We had our last conferences for the year on Wednesday. I had 15 conferences practically back to back so it was a very long day. We’re very lucky that our school gives us a day off to do conferences so we’re not having to squeeze them in before and after school…but it was still a long day!
We continued working on fractions this week.  Yesterday we played Fraction Bingo. The prizes were stickers and notepads from Mrs. Johnson’s closet lol. I’m trying to do a little spring cleaning and figure I could share my items with them!

Speaking of spring cleaning from #2 – I have a problem…I am a hoarder of teaching supplies. Like it’s bad.  I’ve been at my current school for three years and opened boxes that I had no idea what was in them. Things I haven’t touched, used, or needed for three years – so it’s been a week of purging…
The students finished up their Think Like a Disciplinarian presentations this week. I know I mentioned them last week, but I have to brag on my kids again. They did such an amazing job! Each presentation was unique and each child presented their material in a different way, which made it fun as an audience. My friend in the picture above learned about being a magician. He even did an awesome card trick when he was finished!

So I’m sure everyone is feeling the end of the school year crazy.  This week I instituted quiet classical/soft music pack-up.  They had been especially crazy the day I started this, so we listened to some Piano Guys tunes while packing up and the room became more peaceful and zen. I highly recommend trying it!
Hope everyone has a great 3 day weekend!

End of the School Year – Tip #4

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For the month of May, every Wednesday, I’m sharing quick End of the School Year tip…

For previous tips…

 How many of you have had parents ask for suggestions of things there kids can do over the summer so they don’t forget or fall behind? I’ve had that countless times, which is why I created the Summer Resources Sheet below – which is End of the Year – Tip #4!
The Summer Resources sheet contains information, ideas, websites, activity books, etc for parents to use to help their kids stay on top of school stuff over summer break.  Every year I update it and make sure the websites fit things my students use in the classroom and then I email it out the last week of school. I’ve had many parents email me saying they appreciate the ideas and suggestions. This can be pretty quick to pull together and I use lots of ideas and websites that we already use – so it didn’t take a lot of hunting and digging for new things! 
**I apologize for the blurriness of the screenshots below…
I also send home a list of book suggestions from Scholastic. As you can see, this is from 2009, however it still has great book suggestions and again gives parents and students ideas of things to work on over the summer.

Hope you found this tip helpful! Stay tuned for the last tip…next Wednesday!