Monday, June 19, 2017

10 Reasons Why You Should Go Digital with your Teaching

Let's talk about the Digital Classroom! In the past two years, my teacher has begun to be transformed by the use of digital technology in the classroom and I think the benefits are worth shouting from the rooftops (or on the internet) to you! Now I am not talking about solely putting your students on an iPad and having them use an app, though that is very valuable in itself. I want to talk about why using digital interfaces and resources like Google Drive, Google Classroom, and other digital resources is totally worth it!

I do not like waste, and paper and ink is probably a hot commodity at your school. When you have children complete just a few activities on Google Drive or using a digital resource, you can  skip the printouts, copies and ink/toner usage. Yahoo! If you use a lot of these types of activities, imagine the reams of paper saved!

2. NO or Limited Prep
Yay! Saving time is probably the most valuable thing for a teacher (well that and more sleep)! With digital resources or Google Drive resources all you usually need is a link to a certain webpage or doc. Occasionally a product or resource will come with a printable, but I have not seen many, and when I have, it is often optional. The only prep I have to do with Google resources is to either assign it through Google classroom or move it into a shared folder or share it with my students in Drive! Cinch!

3. Easy to Give Feedback
In particular, Google resources are easy to give feedback on, and in Classroom, feedback is facilitated too! You can offer support to your students via comments and feedback right away! Or wait until later, if you are in the middle of another task.

4. Correct or Grade Anywhere/Anytime with your Device or Computer
What's fun about Google Drive in particualr is that you don't have to worry about bringing a pile of papers home! Unexpected sick day or snow day? Forgot your school bag? As long as you have yur device or computer and internet access you can correct , check and grade anywhere!  Even Starbucks or the airport! Wow!

5.  Great for Collaboration
Students can complete partner and group work collaboratively by sharing in Google Drive!
Students no longer have to get together in person to get their project done. Thank you modern technology! Also, if it is an in class project or activity, and someone is absent  - no big deal - they will have already shared their items or have access to the file from home and can still do their part!

6. You CAN use it with young children, even kindergartners

Digital learning works terrific with my second graders and I know teachers who have used Google Drive resources and Google Classroom successfully with students as young as kindergarten. Check out Della Larsen's blog, Della Larsen's Class, where she busts some myths about just that! You can also check out all the terrific ways she has incorporated digital into learning for kindergarten and grade one at her TPT store here!

7. Schedule in Advance
Google Classroom allows teachers to schedule out assignments in advance which helps us teachers with prep and planning!

8. Digital Learning will Prepare Students for the Future
Let's face it, this type of digital learning and work is how children will continue to work and learn as they continue through  their schooling. Experts in education and technology agree that classroom technology use IS only going to increase and students ought to be prepared for that by getting their feet wet now.

9. Engagement
Kids these days are often more engaged when working on  a chrome book, computer, or tablet. Take an antonym worksheet, give it to second graders, and then place the same students on a Google Drive Antonym Match activity like this one. Guess which one will have students more engaged? Students find more enjoyment out of working with technology, are more enthusiastic, and less likely (in my experience) to get off task, or get their classmates off tasks. Also students seem to be able to finish work more quickly (probably because they are more engaged) and less students seem to have to "finish up later".  How great would it be to not have students with those 10, 20 or more incomplete papers in their cubbies or desks?

10.  Differentiation!
Digital resources make it easier for you to differentiate for students - no copying multiple papers, etc. - you simply could assign different activities to students via Google Classroom or share different activities with students as you feel fit. You could provide some students with individualized resources for preview or review and reinforcement. With some Google Drive resources, some of the slides included may be  a little  harder and several may be easier so you could instruct some  students to "complete slides 1-10" while other students may be assigned slides 11-20 (for example)  depending on their needs.

Would you like to check out come examples of digital resources and Google Drive ready resources?

I have created my own resouces which I use with my second graders and which would work with grades one and two also. Take a look by clicking on any image below!

Here is a walkthough video to show how the antonym match works in Drive. Trust me, it's a lot easier to peek at this for 1-2 minutes instead of me trying to explain it!

The walkthough video for Digital Editing Practice!


A quick walkthough of the Digital Synonym Activities.

And here is your peek at the walkthough on Youtube of what the Digital Homophone Activities will look like!

For a digital resource that does NOT require Google Drive, try Erintegration's Pick a Path Math Digital Interactive Story! Click here to check it out. My students tried it and had fun. You just need access to internet and to be able to use a link (some schools block

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Amazing $75 TPT Gift Card Giveaway

It's another TPT Gift Card giveaway! And just in time for teacher appreciation week (or weeks, depending on if you celebrated last week, this week, or like me, both! ) Thanks to Kelly from an Apple for the Teach for hosting this amazing giveaway and be sure to enter soon. Check out the giveaway details and enter below!


 Prize: $75 Teachers pay Teachers Gift Card Giveaway
 organized by: Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher), Co-hosts: Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher), It's a Teacher Thing, Mickey's Place, Reading and Writing Redhead, A Plus Kids, Amanda's Little Learners, The Chocolate Teacher, Heart 2 Heart Teaching, The Literacy Garden, PreK Kristin, Teaching Ideas For Those Who Love Teaching, Teacher Jeanell, Kamp Kindergarten, Leah Popinski, Digging Deep to Soar Beyond the Text, MM Bilingual, Right Down the Middle with Andrea,Trending Technology in Tennessee, A Library and Garden, Kelly McCown, Planet Happy Smiles, Teacher Mama School, Catch My Products, Samson's Shoppe, Glistening Gems,  Jackie Crews, and Kathryn Watts. 

 Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter. Giveaway ends 5/13/17 and is open worldwide. Are you a blogger who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your blog? Click here to find out how you can join a totally awesome group of bloggers!

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Monday, March 20, 2017

Rae Dunn Teacher Blogger Giveaway!

Rae Dunn GIveaway - win 10 pieces and nine resources from amazing Teacher Bloggers at Reading and Writing Redhead's Blog

Hello Teachers! It is almost spring, so some of my favorite bloggy buddies and I thought we would celebrate with a super fun giveaway for you! We have joined together to give you an amazing Rae Dunn prize, along with a  terrific free resource from each of nine teacher bloggers!  Read on to learn more, and to enter by using the Rafflecopter.

Aren't all the teachers you know going nuts for Rae Dunn? Are you too? Well I have to admit it took me a couple weeks but I quickly got a little addicted to shopping for the cute, original, handmade pottery items and I found many of my local stores had mugs and bowls and  so I began to stock up. Well, I realized many of you were also on the Rae Dunn hunt, but were having no luck so I thought, why not, share the LOVE? So the winner of this giveaway will receive four Rae Dunn pottery mugs and six (yes, six) Rae Dunn bowls! The mugs are hand shaped and each has individual differences, so keep in mind, they won't look exactly the same shape, though they are similar shapes and basically the same size. Plenty of room for your morning coffee while you prep those lesson plans. The mugs are labeled with "Hustle", "Blessed", "Mr." and "Mrs." The bowls are also each unique and fun and each one is just a tiny bit different from the others, along with it's unique saying. The bows are labeled "Giddy Up", "Bon Appetite", "Mine", "Hey Girl", "Delish", and "Tasty". They are perfect for cereal, salad and more! The Rae Dunn goodies will be shipped to the winner via Priority Mail, in 1-2 boxes, wrapped in lots of bubble wrap and paper. 

ALSO, because we want to help out our fellow teachers, we will be sending the winner one terrific prize from the Teachers Pay Teachers resources of these nine wonderful ladies:

Rae Dunn GIveaway - win 10 pieces and nine resources from amazing Teacher Bloggers at Reading and Writing Redhead's Blog

Are you teaching poetry, writing, reading, addition or subtraction this spring? Well, we have a resource for that and much more! Check out who is donating a resource and which resource the prize winner will receive! Thank you to the kindness and generosity of these ladies!

The Cutesy Class Reading Strategies Resources  for Teaching Reading Engagement 
Stress-Free Teaching Read and Roll 
Eat, Pray, Travel, Teach A Year of Kindergarten Writing Prompts 
Daisy Designs Spring Sentence Builders
Elementary Matters Mystery Numbers: Addition and Subtraction with an Extra Challenge 
Primary Inspiration Vocabulary Work for Literacy Centers - Activities for Any Word List 
Laura Love to Teach Third Grade Common Core Math Pack
This Literacy Life Poetry Analysis Activities for Any Poem with Task Cards
1st Grade Fireworks Bunny Bundle 

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rae Dunn GIveaway - win 10 pieces and nine resources from amazing Teacher Bloggers at Reading and Writing Redhead's Blog

Thank you so much for stopping by and BEST WISHES!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Surviving Outdoor Recess in the Winter

Surviving Outdoor Recess in the Winter: Tips for not freezing your you-know-what off when you have recess duty in the winter from Reading and Writing Redhead
So, it's winter, it's freezing out and the wind chill is no joke, but you still have outdoor recess?! Brrr! What can you do to survive? And how about your students?  Check out my 10 tips for surviving outdoor recess in the winter!

We all know as grownups we should layer on a cold day, but it is worth saying. I mean, I have been known to wear a short sleeve shirt and thin cardigan in the winter, forgetting I would have to stand outside for 15-20 minutes. It is a good reminder for adults and kids to layer. Long sleeve or short sleeve shirts under a flannel or sweater, with a warm jacket on top is just smart! Then if your classroom is hot, you just remove layers, or if like mine, it is chilly, stay layered up!

                                Surviving Outdoor Recess in the Winter: Tips for not freezing your you-know-what off when you have recess duty in the winter from Reading and Writing Redhead
Which could be as simple as still allowing kids to go on the playground equipment even in the winter! Some schools don't allow this, though and students stay on a blacktop the whole time. We encourage kids to keep moving during recess, and even if they want to just chat with friends to walk and talk. When I am doing my job as recess monitor, I literally walk around the playground in big circles, which enables me to keep an eye on everyone, see what all the kids are playing and helps me stay warm!

Surviving Outdoor Recess in the Winter: Tips for not freezing your you-know-what off when you have recess duty in the winter from Reading and Writing Redhead
I know this may sound silly, but especially at the beginning of winter, your students may need help thinking of what they could play at recess once the snow has fallen. Simple ideas like building snowmen and making snow angels are classics but kids may need to get creative if they are stuck on a blacktop like at my school. They do plow the blacktop so some students at my school brought out sidewalk chalk and made a giant number line and wrote all kinds of counting patterns. The principal taught kids at recess one day how to play Red Light, Green Light (the students really didn't know of this game). Some kids may like a simple challenge like running loops around the playground or relay races in or out of snow and some may enjoy building in the snow.

Surviving Outdoor Recess in the Winter: Tips for not freezing your you-know-what off when you have recess duty in the winter from Reading and Writing Redhead

Easier said than done right? And this often can depend on your student population. Do whatever you can to communicate with parents guidelines for cold weather clothing for recess. Send paper notices, post on your blog, tweet, share at open house, use, e-mail, put it in your newsletter and REPEAT. Remind folks to label their children's gear with their names too. If your students do not always come to school with what they need, start early in the fall and get a school wide coat or mitten drive going (or both). Look into grants for your school to get spare jackets for children. Our school nurse has spare sweatshirts, coats and even shoes (we are lucky) for kids, and as a teacher you know we by things ourselves so try the Dollar Store and the Dollar Spot at Target for cheap mittens and gloves. Also, hint for you: keep a few extra tissues in your coat pocket for those students with runny noses in the winter weather!

Surviving Outdoor Recess in the Winter: Tips for not freezing your you-know-what off when you have recess duty in the winter from Reading and Writing Redhead
Kids could use hula hoops to create designs in the snow, balls could become parts of a snowman, empty sidewalk chalk boxes could be used to mold snow for parts of snow forts, and much more! I bet the students could come up with terrific ideas!

Enough said! Check (click image below to see some) or sporting good stores for hand warmers for teachers! They came in very handy when I was in the marching band and we had to be outside with thin gloves on for all the football games, sometimes into December!

If you really have to, there may be someplace you can stand to get out of the wind briefly. This happened last week when we had outdoor recess but I don't think the principal knew how bad the wind gusts were. There are a couple spots by walls and the backboard that came in handy. This goes along with #8...

Surviving Outdoor Recess in the Winter: Tips for not freezing your you-know-what off when you have recess duty in the winter from Reading and Writing Redhead
This only works if you, the teacher are in charge of when you take out your class and if there is some flexibility. In my school's case, we can't change the recess times, but often in winter we have indoor recess for the 10 am recess, but go out for the 1:05 pm recess. 

Surviving Outdoor Recess in the Winter: Tips for not freezing your you-know-what off when you have recess duty in the winter from Reading and Writing Redhead
I know, it's kind of a cheat, but I am only talking when it's really, really bad out there and I only mean one, two, or three  minutes early.  But we know the students take a few minutes to wander over and get in line anyway, never mind how long it takes them to quiet down and then enter the school and make it to their rooms. On the other end of recess, it does take longer for children to get coats, boots, etc. on so some may be late for recess too.

Surviving Outdoor Recess in the Winter: Tips for not freezing your you-know-what off when you have recess duty in the winter from Reading and Writing Redhead
Kids should be very careful on icy patches or stay away from ice altogether and not pick up and throw ice or icy snow.

If you are concerned that it is just too cold, or too windy, speak to your administration and advocate for your students and teachers.
In the winter, you need to keep an eye out for students who may just be TOO cold and starting to show signs of hypothermia. Watch out for:
Cold and bluish extremities
Clumsy movements (out of the ordinary) or jerky and stiff arm and leg movements
Slurred Speech
Skin color looks gray or white
Burning feeling in fingers and or toes
Call or radio your school nurse or 911.
See Mayo Clinic for more information.

Stay safe and stay warm!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

$75 Teachers Pay Teachers Gift Card Giveaway

Hey everyone! Stop by and enter to win our $75 TPT Gift card! How awesome would that be? You could stock up on so many terrific products that would help you and your class this month and into next year! Yippee!

Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter to win and good luck!

GIVEAWAY DETAILS Prize: $75 Teachers pay Teachers Gift Card Giveaway organized by: Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher). Co-hosts: Kelly Malloy (An Apple for the Teacher), Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten, Amanda Kristofferson, A Plus Kids, Heart 2 Heart Teaching, Reading and Writing Redhead, Teach with Hope, Rebekah Sayler, Peas In A Pod, A Library and Garden, Schoolhouse Treasures, Brynn's Teacher Bag, Simone's Math Resources, Ms. K, Jackie Crews, ZippadeeZazz, The Chocolate Teacher, Planet Happy Smiles, Growing Grade by Grade, Elementary at HEART, La-Nette Mark, Teacher Gameroom, Teaching Biilfizzcend, and Claudia's Classroom

Rules: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter. Giveaway ends 12/13/16 and is open worldwide. And don't forget to enter our weekly $25 Teachers pay Teachers gift card giveaway as well! Are you a blogger who wants to participate in giveaways like these to grow your blog? Click here to find out how you can join a totally awesome group of bloggers! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, November 26, 2016

12 Activities You Can Do with Your Class in December

It's the end of November! How did that happen? I have been thinking about what fun things I will be doing with my class this year during the month of December. I thought I would share some of the ideas with you since I bet you will be planning too! Most of the ideas are not Christmas-specific since I know some teachers are not allowed to celebrate Christmas in the classroom. I also try to spend a lot of time in December focusing on activities that emphasize generosity and kindness Read on to see what I am looking forward to doing with my class!
1. Secret Snowpal
This is an activity my colleague came up with so I don't have anything formal to share with you, but what I do is have the kids draw names and then send home instructions and write their snowpal's names on it. The students design a special one of a kind card for their snowpal, bring it back to school (sneaking it in by having it wrapped and in a plastic or paper bag for anonymity). Then on a specific day, we exchange them. Students open the cards, read them, and try and guess who gave them a card. It is a lot of fun and really sweet! Here is a brief video of a class who did the same!
2. Collect Toys for Tots
I send home a letter to my students' parents and respectfully request they don't give me a Christmas gift (but they often do anyway, which is always okay) and instead ask they consider picking out a toy for a tot with their child and bring it in.
3. Holiday Party
If your school allows, it is fun to have a holiday party with your class. Mine are usually low key, and I have cookie decorating, Mad Libs and more!
4. Make cards for the elderly
My town has a council for the aging and they love to get birthday cards and get well cards  from the kids. I think they also would enjoy getting holiday cards.

5. Send Christmas cards/New Years cards to military serving overseas
In the same vein as the cards for senior citizens, your students could make cards for military personnel serving overseas. You may want to do this one on the first day of December though, to give your cards time to reach them before Christmas.
6. Run a coat/mitten/hat drive
This is great in places that have cold falls and winters. I have heard some schools have mitten trees which they place in the lobby and kids bring in mitten donations. My school has also collected coats, hats, and scarves.
7. Collect food for a local food pantry
We like to get a few volunteers to help bring the food to the local pantry when the drive is over. Otherwise, it can sit around too long.
8.  Random Acts of Kindness Challenge
 Have students do one random act of kindness a day for each day until Christmas vacation starts. Try searching random acts of kindness on TPT for ideas. You can also brainstorm with your class and download my freebie from TPT to have your students list their ideas. Click here to grab it.
9. Nursing Home Visit
Is there a nursing home nearby? Plan a nursing home visit. Your class could sing songs, read poems and/or put on a short performance. It is amazing the wonderful feelings that would bring during and after for both the nursing home residents and your students! Your class could also collect spare change and, after consulting with the nursing home, buy a small gift for one or two residents who staff knows would not otherwise receive a gift from anyone.

Your class could also create decorations that the nursing home might hang in common areas or give to residents to decorate their personal space!

10. Giving a Class Donation to Charity
Instead of you, the teacher giving each child a Christmas gift, consider donating just $1 per student to a charity. You could also have the class involved in the decision. For example, many of my students love cats and could really be excited about donating to a rescue organization or shelter. This would also be an interesting opportunity to discuss how to "vet" a charity, or evaluate it to make sure it is honest, and if it would be the best place to donate. For example, WWF is a terrific charity that donates huge amounts to important causes. They are transparent about the fact that if you donate, say, $100, $15 will go to fundraising and marketing. For example, you might get a cute stuffed polar bear or calendar but the cost of that comes out of your donations. Students and you could also use websites that review charities to help you make decisions. It could become a lesson in awareness, economics, decision makings, and even business! And the best part, at the end, you and the students have contributed money to a worthy cause.
11. Play Winter and Christmas Tunes
If you are allowed to play them, there are so many fun songs! And some are relaxing, and winter-themed, like Winter Wonderland. Check out my blog post here for specific suggestions! It's titled 10 Christmas Songs to Play at Your School Holiday Party.
12. Watch a Charlie Brown Christmas
My all time favorite! Click here to see details on Amazon!

What is your favorite December activity to do with your students?

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Surviving November - Blog Hop, Giveaway, Tips, and Resources to Help

Happy November everyone! Can you believe it is here already?

To celebrate, a few things are going on: First, the bloggers of I Teach K-2 are getting together to share ideas, resources, and bring you a fun giveaway of 5 $25 TPT gift cards! Read on to see how to enter and how to hop to the next blog in line! Second, any of my November themed resources will be on sale at TPT.  And I also have a bunch of FREEBIES, by the way- plus if you follow the link up, everyone involved has a freebie for you! Finally, I have a few tips on how you might be able to survive November!
Let's start with some tips for you, the teacher!
TIP #1: Layer
Seriously. No matter where you are, the temperatures probably vary a lot in a 24 hour period. Some of you have air conditioning still on in schools, and if you're like me, you have heat blasting at you all day, sometimes full force, but sometimes, it does not work well and you are freezing in your classroom. So layer up! Short sleeves or long sleeves, sweaters and jackets are your friends, as are scarves to keep your neck warm when it's chilly and then you can ditch them when it heats up. 

Tip #2: Take Care of Yourself
Try to get some sleep and stay active outside of school so  you can beat germs and stay healthy if possible (sometimes it's just not, right?)!

Tip #3: Consider those Kiddos
For some children, (and let's face it, adults), the holidays are very stressful, and Thanksgiving is the start of an extremely difficult period. Things at home may be challenging, or maybe they fear not being able to celebrate Thanksgiving and Christmas at all. School might be the stable place they count on, and they face 5 days or more of no school at the end of the month of November and a week to two weeks off in December. It might be tough for some children and they might show anxiety or stress in the classroom. Consider keeping things as normal as you can in November and December, despite the unending possibilities of holiday classroom fun, and thinking about keeping as many of your routines as you can the same to help support them.

Tip #4: Pace Yourself
I mean, it is still early in the year and December looms large. Pace yourself. Set realistic expectations for your and your class. I know at the end of November  I have to do report cards, and sometimes I get discouraged until I remember it is still VERY early in the year. Be kind to yourself and your kiddos.

Now, let's talk about what you can use in your room this month.  So let me share with you what is available for you and your class, and yes, I have a bunch of freebies! For any item, click on any image to see it at Teachers Pay Teachers.

Click here to get the FREEBIE sample of the Place Value Practice pack and see if it will work for you and your class!
Here's a closer look at the cover:

And here is another FREE product that has compound word practice with a Thanksgiving theme! Thanksgiving Compound Words Practice has a cut and glue activity and a compound word game too!
Try this FREE Thanksgiving Thankful Turkey craft! Pretty self explanatory from the image below. Click here to take a closer look!
Next is a  turkey themed place value practice pack for your students to practice working with ones, tens, hundreds, place value blocks (base ten blocks) and more to get them comfortable with all things place value!

The Thanksgiving Story Problem Pack FREEBIE is a sample of story problem practice pages you will find in the Thanksgiving Math and Literacy Pack.
It has a cut and glue format where kids match up the story problems with their answers and glue on a record sheet.
The Thanksgiving Math and Literacy Pack has tons of great activities for November. It contains odd/even Riddles, compound word practice, place value practice, addition and subtraction story problems, math task cards, Thanksgiving themed morning work, and ABC order practice.
Here are just a few samples!
Have you tried any of these fall products? Or do you have a favorite from somewhere else you'd recommend?

Thanks for joining me for the Blog Hop, the tips, resources and more! Look for the rafflecopter just below so you can enter the giveaway!
Now it's time for the giveaway and below, you can see who else linked up and is participating in the giveaway! 

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