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!

  a Rafflecopter giveaway

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!