Thursday, June 16, 2016

12 Teacher Instagrammers You Need to Be Following

Instagram is by far my favorite form of social media. I LOVE staging pictures and sharing my favorite things with y'all, but one of the biggest reasons why I love this app so much is the amazing teacher instagrammers out there! I have gotten SO MANY IDEAS and been inspired countless times from teachers sharing on Instagram. I've gathered 12 of some of my favorites to share with y'all for today's post.
Warning: there will probably be a part 2 to the post because there are so many amazing teachers out there!

If you want, you can follow me too! I have 3 different accounts (I told y'all, I'm obsessed with Insta!) I have one where I post everyday life, one that I share my book recommendations, and one where I post about all things teaching.

Stacey is the queen of book recommendations to me. If there's a book that you need to have in your classroom library, Stacey knows what it is! 

I LOVE Martina! She has the best content on her Instagram. Her blog posts are amazing, too!

Every time I look at Bethany's pictures, I have to fight the urge to go shop because everything she posts is something that I need for my classroom! Love her!

Brittany is just amazing. She's so creative and always has new ideas that you can easily implement in your own classroom. Plus, her whiteboard idea is simply genius. 

Fourthnten is another teacher that I always look to for book recommendations. She also shares pictures of her everyday life, which I love!

Melissa is one of my all time favs! She's a huge reader and I'm always adding to my TBR after seeing her pictures. 

If you don't leave Hannah's Instagram feeling inspired and motivated, something is wrong! This girl has the PRETTIEST pictures!!! Love, love, love!

Terri is the best! She's so creative and shares so many useful ideas. Her anchor charts and pictures from her Erin Condren are swoon worthy. I would kill for her handwriting! 

The Colorful Apple shares the best classroom pictures. I love seeing pictures of actual classrooms, so she's a must follow!

Msaplusteacher is another must follow for book recommendations!

The Sweet Life 5th is a relatively new account that I started following, but she's quickly become one of my favorites! 

Sandy is an 8th grade ELA teacher and one of the only high school accounts that I follow (yes, I know 8th grade isn't technically high school, but I attended and teach at a K-12 school that 7th thru 12th is considered high school, so that's what I think of it as). I love seeing what she does in her classroom and seeing how I can adapt it to fit my 5th grade class. Her ideas really challenge my advanced kids and I love it! 

Monday, June 13, 2016

Keyboard Shortcuts Display Posters

Happy Monday, friends! I've been enjoying my summer for about two weeks now, but I've also been trying to get in a little bit of work to prepare for the upcoming school year! I always think if I use my summer to organize and prepare, the school year will be easy peasy! (Yea, right!) 

Today I wanted to share my newest creation: Keyboard shortcuts display posters. My kids always struggle with right clicking on a Chromebook, so I did a little research to see if there was a shortcut for this and realized it would be a great idea if kids knew many of the shortcuts that we use on a daily basis! You can grab your copy of the posters here

Want to win a copy? Comment below and I'll randomly pick a winner in the morning! :) 
Be sure and leave your email! 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

It's the Beginning of the Summer!

The classroom is packed up and summer is officially happening! I love my job, but summer is my favorite time of year and we all need a little break to regroup and get reinspired! 

Do y'all have to pack up your classroom each year? We always do because they wax the floors during the summer, but I'm painting this year so I had to take everything off the walls. I'm basically starting from scratch, which is kinda scary! I love the yellow walls, but I've had them for 6 out of the 8 years I've been teaching and I'm ready for a change! 

See that strip of gray along the right side of the wall? There were built in computer tables there for back when we had desktop computers. Since we are now 1:1 Chromebooks, I decided to remove the tables and make my reading area in that corner. I think it looks SO MUCH BETTER! I can't wait to fill that wall with bookshelves and rugs!

I've got big plans this summer, but for right now, my only goal is to get started on my summer reading. I've always loved reading, but this past year I REALLY got into reading. Follow my new book account on Instagram to see what I'm reading this summer and follow me on Goodreads :)

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Reading Activities for the Last Weeks of School

I have 6 more days, y'all! SIX! I'm going to miss these kids, but goodness am I ready for summer!
Now is a hard time to teach... tons of school events and end of the year celebrations are taking place and the schedule is a bit rushed at times. For example, tomorrow and Friday we will be on a short schedule due to the AR party and a school event. Since next week is the last week of school, some kids will start staying home early in the week, which makes trying to plan lessons and activities hard. I've created 5 activities/ideas to fill in time or to use during a short schedule. 

We did this the day before spring break and it was a HUGE hit! I displayed them in the classroom and the kids LOVE it! They recreated the cover on one side of the paper and wrote a summary on the other side. We will award the winners on Friday :)

You can find the printable for this here :)

Just have kids bring their beach towels and their book and enjoy reading out in the pretty weather! If weather isn't cooperating with you, you can always push the desks back in the classroom and read!

You can find the printable here :)

This one is my favorite! My kids know I'm obsessed with Harry Potter so I think they'll love this one. Simply google a picture of Hogwarts and display it on the board. Find the soundtrack to Harry Potter on Youtube and play it through your computer. The kids can read around the room while listening to the sounds of Harry Potter :) :) 

Do you have any fun ideas to survive the last weeks of school? Share below! 

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

End of Year Reading Reflection

As the year winds down, I want to get my kids' opinion on our class. What they liked, what they didn't like. What stuck with them and what they remember. This is THEIR class and I want to know what they enjoyed about it and what they would recommend to the incoming 5th graders. I also want to know their thoughts on reading and what they are proud of accomplishing or wish they would have done differently. Grab your copy of the questionnaire here

Monday, May 16, 2016

1:1 Chromebook Classroom- Helpful Tips and Sites

Happy Monday, friends! Today, I had a training where we talked to other teachers about our 1:1 Chromebook classrooms and shared sites that worked for us. I thought it might be beneficial to share with y'all that have a class set of Chromebooks, too!

Last year, the entire 5th grade in our district received Chromebooks for every student. Each student was given their own Chromebook and bag. The Chromebook went with them to each class, but it did not go home. The 5th grade teachers went to monthly trainings and were required to come back and teach lessons. This year, our 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 6th grades went through the same thing and those teachers came to the 5th grade teachers to see our model lessons. This process worked really well and I learned SO MUCH! 

Now that  I've been using Chromebooks in my daily instruction, I've learned about some neat sites that I wanted to share with y'all today. I know there's so much more out there, but this is just what worked for me. If you use a site, please share! :)

This is an online flyer generator. It's great for teaching vocabulary, pre reading strategies, grammar, etc. I blogged about how I used it for vocabulary here. You can see some of my smores that I've created and used this year below.

Previewing Tuck Everlasting

A grammar lesson on adjectives and articles

A vocabulary lesson

Nearpod is a site that allows you to show the kids teacher led presentations. The kids join via a session code that you can write on the board. Their screen only moves to the next slide when YOU move it, so it's great for making kids stay with you and not jump ahead. You can read about how I used this site during a figurative language lesson here

Animated video presentations. I created a few for introducing idioms at the beginning of the year. The kids have also created their own for grammar skills and other examples of figurative language elements. The 4th grade teacher showed an example of one of her kids creating one for prepositional phrases and it was really neat! You can check out my examples here.

My favorite! And my kids!
Allows students to upload a Google presentation and record themselves reading and discussing the presentation. The students create their own account using their Google account and they will email you the video when they are finished. We will use this at the end of a lesson when all the groups have completed their presentation.

Perfect for organizing documents, presentations, spreadsheets from Google Drive and for creating assignments for students. We use it at the beginning of every classroom for warm ups.

Google Drive
(This only works if your students have a google account)

Docs- like Microsoft Word. We are using this for our Reading Response journals next year. If you assign it through Google Classroom, it will make a copy for each student.
Presentations- my favorite! This is what I used for the lesson today
Forms- LOVE THIS! I create quizzes with this all the time. It will generate a spreadsheet once students start submitting so you can see the responses. If you use the add on flubaroo, it will grade them for you :)

I create language arts and spelling tests through Google Drive and share them with the kids each week. Saves so much copying!


Since each student has their own Google account, we use email all the time. Sometimes, as a warm up, students will email me their Status of the Class. On Fridays, they email me their Weekly Reflection, telling me one thing they learned in our class that week and one thing they enjoyed. I email them assignments when I’m out sick and have a sub. I also email the links to certain sites that we are doing so they don’t have to type long, complicated URLs.
***When all the kids email you, it will flood your inbox! I create a folder for each of my classes and move the emails to the appropriate folder.

Another fav! Great for quick assessments to see what the kids know (or don’t know!). They are always engaged with this because of the game aspect. Plus, the music is catchy!

I thought this was too young for 5th grade, but I was wrong! If the kids earn it, we watch one video from Go Noodle. Each class gets to pick a mascot and your mascot grows with each video you watch. My kids LOVE Koo Koo Kangaroo!

A video creator. Students upload pictures to it and it creates a video out of them. We used this for characterizations profiles from a novel study. They had to find 5 images that related to their character and create a video from it. The watermark won’t go away unless you upgrade, so that’s a downside. Here's an example of the characterization profiles from our novel study last year on The Westing Game.

This is what we used at the beginning of a lesson to provide a quick review or generate a discussion. Great to use as a beginning or after strategy. You create the poll and email the link to it to your students. They answer the poll question and you display the results on the board. Great for opening discussions or end of the lesson reflections.

* Create a set of rules for using Chromebooks and go over them when you begin using Chromebooks

* Let the kids know that you CAN and WILL check their search history. I haven't had a lot of problems with kids getting on sites that they weren't suppose to, but unfortunately I can't say it's never happened. Checking the history is easy too...just click in the top right hand corner.

* Invest in carrying bags. Our technology head ordered bags for each student so they could carry them from class to class. This prevents dropping the Chromebooks!

*Put names on the Chromebooks, not numbers. Last year when we first got them, we numbered the Chromebooks instead of putting their names on them. Then when it got time to give them to the 6th grade teachers, the numbers didn't match with the new homerooms. This year we realized it would work better to put their name on the Chromebook and the bags so the transition to new grades over the summer will be easier!

Friday, May 13, 2016

Five for Friday

Yay for Friday!
 It's a field trip Friday for me (y'all know, the best kind of Friday! *said in a sarcastic voice*
9 days left people! 9 days! How many more days do you have? I'd love to hear!

Here's my 5 for Friday!

Last weekend I finished Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson. I LOVED this book, y'all! I was so excited to find out that the movie was on Netflix, so I quickly watched it after finishing the book and oh my goodness I was disappointed! The book was SO MUCH BETTER than the movie! So much better! If you haven't read this book, definitely put it on the summer must read list!

I just love my back porch right now :) It needs painting, but it's coming together! Reese is enjoying it, too! :)

I'm getting tables next year and I am so excited! 4 of them arrived this week and I'm still missing one. Now if I can just get the chairs I'll be in business!

I was out sick Monday and came back to school to find these pretty flowers and a stack of finished books. I could not be prouder of my kids and how well they have done with independent reading, especially right now when summer mode has kicked in! We are reading some great books and I can't wait to share with y'all some of our favorites. Be sure and check back next week! :)

I'm starting to prepare for our Readers' Choice Awards next week. Click here to read more about that! :) 

Be sure and link up with Doodle Bugs for Five for Friday!