Friday, July 18, 2014

Wish List - Open House

If you are reading this post I have a gift for you!

I use these Wish Lists during Open House and parents love them. It's a way for them to contribute more to the classroom and get the supplies they know you will need.

 In the past I've used my Bird Themed wish list and my Superhero themed wish lists. If you don't have birds or superheroes in your classroom you may find the stars more your style. Enjoy friends! -Tracy

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Wordless Wednesday - July 16th

You can follow Tracy at her new blog: The Knit Wit Teacher

We are linking up with Second Grade Sugar and Spice for Wordless Wednesday. 

My husband has family in England so we travel over to see them as much as we can. 

On my last trip over I FRIED my very expensive flat iron by plugging it into an adapter. This was the 2nd flat iron I had ruined overseas. It was a high quality adapter so I thought I was safe. Lesson learned friends. I gave in and just bought  a European plugged hair dryer and mini flat iron. 

Now whenever I travel to England I always pack them. I know it's silly to keep them around my house for years when I only use them once or twice but it's so worth it. 

The last trip I was able to visit Bath. I'm a huge Jane Austen fan so this was a big deal for me. 

It's a beautiful city that is steeped in history.  If you ever get the chance to visit please do. 

My question for you is? If you could visit anywhere in the world where would it be? 

Christmas in July Sale

Indiana teacher bloggers are having another $1 sale!!

I have 4 items that are marked down for $1.

Check out all the other amazing products that are included in the $1 sale! Happy shopping!!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Markdown Monday

You can follow Tracy at her new blog: The Knit Wit Teacher

Today I'm linking up with Kelly and Kim's Kindergarten to showcase two of my TPT products that are half off!

One of my best selling products is my Giving Cage

Use this Giving Cage in your classroom during open house to request additional school supplies. 

Post this Giving Cage for parents to see with the supply birds around the cage. Parents will select the supply they would like to donate and send the donated item back in with their child. 

Great for use with bird theme classrooms or boho bird theme.

I am also discounting my "Be a Hero School Supplies":

These products work great for getting those additional supplies and parents have told me how much they loved this idea. 

~Wishing you a GREAT Open House! 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Technology Thursday - July 10th

Once again we are linking up with 
Teaching Trio for their Tech Thursday Linky.

I love technology. I love that my district will be 1:1 K-12 in the fall. It has truly opened doors for our students and I'm proud to be part of such a forward thinking district. 

This week Michelle will be talking about Showbie and I will be talking about InstaGrok: "The Search Engine for Education"
You are probably asking yourself "What in the world is InstaGrok?" It's a great new way for students to search the web. I fell in love with this during my SDE Reading, Writing, Math and more conference.


How to Use InstaGrok Video: 

What I love about InstaGrok is how visual it is for students. It's not a long list of webpages with a small caption like in a Google search. Students are aimlessly clicking away on links trying to find info to fit their search. It's visually appealing and quickly offers students a view of Key facts, Webinars, Videos, Images, Quizzes, and Key Concepts; Key Concepts is neat because it helps students for related topics. This has always been an issue in the past but now it really helps narrow down the topics. 

InstaGrok is unique in how it presents information. Take the next 10 minutes and watch the videos if you haven't. Trust me. It's worth your time. If your district is going 1:1 or even moving in that direction I see InstaGrok completely changing how your students search for information. 

As with most apps there is a free version and a paid. The free version has everything I need. The paid $45 classroom version has some neat features like Teacher dashboard and assignments but as of now I will stick with free. 

Stay tuned for Michelle's post about Showbie. 



     Last summer our school district told us we would be going 1:1 with iPads in 4th grade. I was ecstatic!!! Think of all the things I would be able to do, how much independence my students would have, and there would be so much less paper! So a few weeks into the start of the school year the iPad roll out happened, and I am not going to lie....I was completely overwhelmed. The class had their shiny new iPads, now how did I integrate them into my ENTIRE curriculum?

      Showbie played a huge role in giving me the organization I needed for my digital class. Last year I had 29 students and doing work on the iPad helped to cut that HUGE paper load down. However, 29 emails for each assignment did not work for me!! Showbie helped to group my assignments together and put them all in one place.

     First step is to download Showbie onto your iPad. (The basic version is free!!)
      When you sign up as teacher they will give you a code for each subject you create. The program gives a lot of options. You can have one class, divide it into subjects, or even divide it into periods.  When the students download the app it will ask them for their code or codes and they are automatically put into that area. It's that easy!!

     You can then create an assignment for students to complete (it's more like an empty folder for them to put it in). When students are done they pick the assignment and click add file. 

It is then loaded for you. You will see each individual student in that group, and it will indicate if they have uploaded and assignment or not. You can click and individually grade the assignment with the brush of a finger tip. Students can see the corrections you made, and you can even have students correct and return assignments.

     Showbie can be a stand alone program. Assignments, recordings, and videos can all be put on there for students to complete. I didn't use this feature often. The best part for me, is that the program is compatible with almost 50 other apps. A complete list is found here: Apps that Work with Showbie 

     My students often downloaded PDF's into neu.Annotate, and then would export them into Showbie.  If you have PearsonSuccessNet, you have every workbook page for math or reading available. They can be saved as a PDF for your students!  I want to stress what may seem like a lot of steps to us is not to our students! They are definitely digital natives and master it in minutes!! This app, or one like it, is a must in the 1:1 classroom!!!! 


Math Curriculum

You can follow Tracy at her new blog: The Knit Wit Teacher

This summer has been filled with curriculum meetings. Each grade level met across my district in a very cold room and we mapped out our year. In the past our district used Build Your Own Curriculum to make our curriculum maps. This summer we are redoing and adding everything into PIVOT.

Michelle and I, along with the other 4th grade teachers, have been mapping out our Reading, Writing, Math, Spelling/Grammar for the entire year.

You can read all about our Writing Curriculum here.

Math was a bigger issue for us because Indiana did away with Common Core. Our new standards are similar but enough of a change to give us pause.

Our district uses enVision Math.

 When we adopted enVision we previewed the Indian version and we loved it. Around this time Indiana adopted CC so our district purchased the CC enVision thinking it would be similar.

We were wrong....I'm not a fan of the Common Core version as it seems completely out of order and does not have a clear scope and sequence.

In my opinion the Common Core version felt rushed, thrown together, and the order of the topics was ridiculous. It was almost as if they threw it together so the publishing company could say they had a CC edition. I hated it.

Now that Indiana has done away with CC we are using the Indiana enVision again. (And there was much rejoicing)

Keep that in mind with this curriculum map.

That being said, I'm confident you can still find this map useful. You can search the map for the topic you are covering and hopefully still use our resources. If nothing else use our map as a guide if you have to create something similar! Remember to check back often. This map will update as we make changes!

This map hasn't gone through the "Make it cute and pretty phase". Give me time and that will change. :)

Michelle and I will continue to add and change this as we use it this year. This is our starting point. Hopefully it can be yours as well. -Tracy

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Technology Thursday ~ July 3

You can follow Tracy at her new blog: The Knit Wit Teacher

Today I am linking up with 

I recently attended the Reading, Writing, Math and More conference put on by SDE in New Orleans. The conference was fantastic. One of the sessions I went to was by Lori Elliott and she talked about Photo Mapo.

This app has completely changed how I viewed teaching Indiana history / geography. If you combine this app with Google Earth the possibilities are endless! This app allows you to add a map along with photos and descriptions. Michelle and I were thinking of using this with Indiana history. Our students can use Google Earth to type in Indiana landscapes, research that landscape, and then create using Photo Mapo. This would be perfect for studying the 50 states as well. 

This app allows students to create and make projects that look inviting! Just look at those pictures. Doesn't it make you want to go there? 

Writing Curriculum

You can follow Tracy at her new blog: The Knit Wit Teacher

This summer has been filled with curriculum meetings. In the past our district used Build Your Own Curriculum to make our curriculum maps. This summer we are redoing and adding everything into PIVOT.

Michelle and I, along with the other 4th grade teachers, have been mapping out our Reading, Writing, Math, Spelling/Grammar for the entire year.

Michelle and I spent a lot of time mapping out our writing. We searched through blogs and Pinterest to find ideas to go with each unit.

I've uploaded our Keynote so you can see the map. I'm new to embedding PDF's so bare with me.  I'm also going to attach our Learning Activities for each genre.

This is our starting point. It's a good start and makes this new to 4th grade teacher feel much better. Thoughts?


Narrative Writing:
Narrative Anchor Chart
Revising and Editing Anchor Chart 
Narrative Writing Framework
Narrative Writing Topics

Persuasive Writing:
Pinterest Persuasive
Read, Write, Think Lesson 

Expository Writing:
Smekens: Book Clubs linked with Writing
Expository Writing Pinterest
Read, Write, Think

Research Report:
Pinterest Board
Anchor Chart: Make a Plan
Anchor Chart: Paragraph Changes
ReadWriteThink Lesson

July Currently

You can follow Tracy at her new blog: The Knit Wit Teacher

How is it July already? Sorry I missed posting on July 1st but in all honesty I didn't realize July was upon me! 

I'm linking up with Oh, Boy 4th Grade for the July Currently. 

Listening: To my dryer. I am ALWAYS listening to my dryer. The heating element is going out so instead of 1 cycle to dry my clothes it's taking 2-3 cycles. It's a pain and I need to get it fixed or buy a new dryer but I haven't gotten around to that yet because lets face it....Dryers are EXPENSIVE and I had to get new tires before vacation so the dryer is on hold.

Loving: Summer weather. Winter in Indiana this year was horrendous. Truly. I think we had around 15 snow days. We had -20 wind chill days, lots of ice and snow along with the just down right cold days. I was miserable from December to April. So I'm saying bring on the 100° days. Please.

Thinking: I should start packing. With 4 kids, a husband, and myself packing it's no easy task. I should really get started on it......but since I know we aren't leaving till tomorrow I keep putting it off.

Wanting: A chef to make me breakfast. I love to cook. Saying I love to bake would be even more accurate. I'm simply not motivated to do either in the morning.  I dearly love breakfast and I wish I was more inclined to make it. The only problem is: I am not a morning person. Having a chef is my dream.

Needing: To mow the grass. My husband is highly allergic to grass. When he tries to mow he has to wear a mask. It's not pretty. So I've taken over that job.

I actually tried to teach Colin how to mow but his 10 year old eyes were not so great at seeing the lines so he kept leaving a small line of grass in between the rows. It was driving me crazy so I took that chore back. I really don't mind doing it but lately we've had a lot of rain so my yard is kinda soggy. I'm hoping the rain holds off today so I can get it mowed. I love the look of my yard after it's been mowed.

4th Plans: This year my family is taking a trip to a cabin in Gatlinburg. For the first time ever we are vacationing with family. We are meeting up with my brother/sister-in-law with their 2 kids along with my parents, who are raising my niece and nephew, and we are all staying in a cabin together. That's 6 adults with 8 children. We are outnumbered my friends. Hopefully we all survive.

Now that I've realized it's July I'm starting to panic. I really need to get my room finished. I haven't been in since I painted last! I'm waiting on the floors to be washed so I can finish unpacking all the boxes that are currently piled up on my shelfs.

My goal is to get back in after vacation. Hopefully the floors are done by then! Happy July friends. Enjoy every minute!