Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Techie Tuesday

Welcome back to Techie Tuesday!

Last year I had 2 main goals. One goal was to increase parent improvement, both academically and behaviorally.  I wanted parents to be involved with their child's school, even if it wasn't them being physically at the school.  The second goal was to place an emphasis on positive behavior.  My solution, ClassDoJo!

ClassDoJo is an on-line behavior management system, that is FREE!  It can be tracked on a computer, a tablet, or a smart phone.  There are several features that I used, that made a wold of difference.

1) Customize-Through ClassDoJo I was able to customize the behaviors that were unique to my classroom, and my style of teaching.  

2) Communicate- I was able to communicate with individual parents for both positive and negative behavior.  It helped to open on the lines of communication.  It also allowed me to send a whole class broadcast to remind parents of what was coming up.

3)Data Tracker- With this app, I was able to track each child's data, which showed what they were doing very well, and what they need more practice/instruction on.  It also showed the class' behavior overall.

To start, you simply sign up, add your class, customize your behaviors.  You are now ready to start tracking behavior.  

When it is time to give a "DoJo," you select the student(s) or the entire class, and then select the behavior.  Once you select the behavior, you will hear a chime for a point, or a "buzzer" for taking points away.  Now, this is where you can customize.  If you don't want to use a sound, you turn it off, if you don't want to take points away, you don't have to.  

Each Monday, before school, I reset the points.  Some teachers never reset, some did it at the quarter, some did when the child reached 100.  It is completely up to you.  Some tecahers also paired DoJo with a treasure box, or a different reward.  I never ended up having to.  

Now, back to the parent involvement.  Throughout the year when something happened, where I needed to contact the parent(s), I sent them a private message on their DoJo.  If the situation required a phone call, I still sent them a message, so they would have a heads up, and them asked when I could call.  Every parent in my room signed up (no matter what their situation was).  Throughout the year, I heard from all parents about how much they loved this app.  It turned into part of their "how was your day?" talk at the end of the day.  The parents also were able to see all the great things that their child was doing.  

Speaking of, this leads me to my second goal, to focus on what each child was doing well. In addition to ClassDoJo, I used brag tags. Brag tags are "tags" that children collect over the year.  The ones I used included, being safe, respectful, responsible, "bubble catcher," good listener, etc.  I also handed them out for  birthdays, zipping, 50th, 100th day, etc.  

Each child kept their brag tags on a ring, on a hook.  This allowed children to continually add to it, independently throughout the day.  Now, there were times when children earned a brag, but I was not able to get it to them right away.  To solve this, I used a tackle/craft box to store the tags for each child.  Each child has their own section in the container.  When I saw them doing something to earn a brag tag, I let them know by a thumbs up, and then placed their tag into their section.  At the end of the day, we celebrated by handing out these brag tags and placing them on their ring.  




When their parents came, school learning buddies, volunteers, or substitute teachers, they were very excited to show off everything that they earned a brag tag for. This system helped to focus on the positive behaviors!

You can check out the brag tags that I used by clicking here. They are on sale all day today!!!

What systems do you use for behavior management?  Please comment below.

Thank you for hoppin' by!  Next week I am going to talk about how I use QR codes to help children with listen to reading.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Must Read Monday: Math Books




I am Linking up with Kindergarten Planet and The Kindergarten Connection this week to look at books about math.  Here are a few that I have used in the classroom!

Counting

Ten Apples Up On Top by Dr. Seuss is a fun book that shows what you can do with 10 apples on top of your head.  After the book, we will often do different activities to go with the book.  We will make a writing book with all the things that we can do with apples on top of out head.  We also do many counting and ordering activities.  My children love this book!


Chicka Chicka 1 2 3  by Bill Martin is a fun book that focuses on counting.  Children love it because it follows the same pattern of the beloved Chicka Chicka Boom Boom book.  It also has a fun song to sing with it!


Fish Eyes: A Book You Can Count On by Lois Ehlert is a counting that book that also focuses on addition.


Ten Black Dots by Donald Crews is a fun book that created pictures with black dots.  At the end of the book, my class creates their own Ten Black Dot picture.  We display all the creative pictures for all to see.  We also play other math games, like Spot the Dot.  In this game I hold up a dot pattern and the tell how many in the subitizing pattern.  This then becomes our math warm up before our math block starts.



Splash by Anna Jonas is a great book that works on story problems.  There is always something happening in the pond.  Animals coming and going. We use this book for Math Story Theater.  This is when we act out math stories.  I have the children pretend to be different animals (we use pictures so everyone remembers who they are).  As I read the book, the children either jump into the "pond" or jump out.  The children love this activity.  It gets them moving, along with helping the really listen to the math story, thinking about the action that is going to be done, and then counting to see how many are in the pond.



What are your favorite math books?  Please leave your ideas in the comments below!

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Weekend Warriors: 3-2-1 Teacher Bio



Hi Everyone!  

I am excited to linkup for this month's Weekend Warriors.

This month it is chance for you to get to know me.  

Here is my 3-2-1


1. I love to ORGANIZE!  I have always been the organizer.  When I was little, and was told to clean my room, I took that to heart.  I would clean out my drawers and categorize my possessions.  When I cleaned my closet, I have to make sure that my clothes hung in rainbow order, and from short sleeves to long sleeves, and then sorted by color, within the color.  This has transferred into my classroom.  I have everything in separate binders, alphabetized, and in rainbow and numerical  order.  Everything is labeled for easy access and filing.  I do love searching organizing tips on Pinterest! 

2. I love to COLLABORATE!  I feel that collaboration is key when teaching.  No one can do everything alone.  I think a strong collaborating team consists of members willing to share and receive ideas, willing to give and take feedback.  They also have an open mind, and are willing to try new things.  Together they work towards a common goal.

3. I love to teach KINDERGARTEN!  Ever since I was 5, I told my parents that I wanted to teach Kindergarten.  In 2005, it came true.  I became a Kindergarten teacher.  I love teaching this age for several reasons.  I love the age, the curriculum, and the willingness to learn (both them and myself).


1. I have two KIDS that keep me pretty BUSY!  I have a daughter, who is 4 years old.  She is very sweet, spirited, strong leader.  I have learned so much from her, and she has forced my to break out of my shell.  I also have a son, who is 2 years old.  He is a comical, compassionate, kind-hearted kiddo.  He has taught me to see the fun in many situations.  

2. I love going to BADGER games! Growing up and living in Wisconsin has made me a life long Badger fan.  In the fall, on Saturday, you can often find me watching the Badgers play football, joining into Jump Around between the 3rd and 4th quarter, and visiting a local tailgate.  There is nothing like a Badger Tail Gate!!!!


1. I would love to visit HAWAII!  I love the beach, the tropics, and the beach (did I already say the beach?).  In addition to the beaches, I love the colorful scenery, and flowers. I love that it seems so peaceful and laid back.  

Thank you so much for taking the time to get to know me.  I can't wait to read your Weekend Warrior Posts!

What is your 3-2-1?

Thursday, June 25, 2015

BLOG LAUNCH

I am so excited to introduce you to my new and improved blog!  

When school let out this year, I quickly began making plans to blog.  Since then, I have been working on possible topics for my blog, finding new and interesting articles to share with you, along with trying to figure out how this blogging thing works!

I do have topics.  I do have articles.  I am still learning about blogging (so please bare with me)!  

Some of the things I have learned so far in my blogging adventure include:
  • How to find a great Blog Designer.  After trying different templates, different widgets, and not being completely successful, I decided to find someone who would be able to turn my disaster, into, well, this!  A very special thank you to Blogs Fit For a Queen.
  • I have learned what a widget is.
  • I have learned how to navigate the navigation bar.
  • I have learned how to post, add pictures, and add links.  Speaking of links, I am going to include a link to a FREEBIE made just for you.  This is a FREEBIE that I use to help me plan out my year.  This is something that helps me stay organized and on task.

Click here for the FREEBIE

I am also very excited to be a contributor with Common Core English With Ease.  She is throwing a fund raiser to raise money to purchase books to purchase books for low-income children in NYC through the 501 (C)(3) Non-Profit, Word Rebel.  You can find out more at www.wordrebel.org. I have contributed my syllable clips to this amazing fund raiser.

Please check out the bundle here.  This bundle is a $28 value for only $6.00!!!!

I hope that you find my blog useful, fun, and engaging.

I look forward to connecting with all of you!




Must Read Monday: Friendship Books



There are so many great books that about friendships.  Here are a few of my favorites!


Making Friends

Have You Filled a Bucket Today by Carol McCloud is a great way to introduce how your actions can effect the people around you.  It states that everyone has an invisible bucket.  In order to fill your bucket, you must fill other people's buckets by doing and saying kind things.  It also talks about what it means to be a bucket dipper.  We then do several activities to reinforce the bucket filling philosophy.



The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister is a book that talks about the importance of sharing with others.  A fish has sparkly gills, and refuses to shared. Therefore, other fish do not want to be around him.  He gets lonely and soon realizes that if he shares with others, he will have the most valuable thing of all...friendship.


Friendships

Otis by Loren Long is about an old tractor, Otis, and his friend, the calf.  Otis and the calf develop a friendship and comfort each other in times of need.  The two of them are inseparable and do many things together each day.  When the farmer gets a new tractor, Otis gets moved outside, away from the calf.  The calf soon gets stuck in the mud, and Otis comes to the rescue!



My Friend Has Autism by Amanda Doering Tourville.  This is a great book to help children learn how children with autism are different from themselves.  In this book, the children find commonalities and talk about airplanes, make models and enjoy playing at each other's house.


Overcoming Conflict

One by Kathryn Otoshi is a color book that plays off of colorful emotions (Blue is quiet and calm, and Red is a "hothead" who bullies the other colors).  No one stands up to Red, until One shows up and shows the other colors how to stand up for themselves.  



Llama Llama and the Bully Goat by Anna Dewdney is rhyming/sing song book about a "bully goat" at school, who teases the other children.  When outside at recess, Gilroy (the "bully goat") is not being nice.  The children tell their teacher, and the teacher talks to him.  When he is ready to be nice he joins the other children and is nice to all.




What books do you like you read about friendships? Please leave your ideas in the comments below!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Techie Tuesday

Every Tuesday (throughout the summer) I am going to highlight a technology tip that can be used in your classroom, or can be used for you, as a teacher.

In the spring of 2012, our Kindergarten team wrote a grant to receive iPads for our classrooms.  That summer we found out that we would be the iPads, and we would be getting enough iPads for each child to use their own during the school year.  


Once we received the iPads, we didn't know where to start.  Our initial instinct was to start downloading as many free apps as we could.  After looking at some of those apps we began to ask ourselves what the purpose of the iPads was going to be.  Was it to teach? supplement? or enhance our teaching and the child's learning?  Our answer soon became our goal.  We wanted to enhance our teaching and the children's learning.  


In all honesty, that still remains our goal.  In order to reach that goal we need(ed) to go through different phases.  Our first phase, the teach phase.  This was the phase of the free apps.  Each child had their own apps, that matched their learning targets.  As the year went on, I became more comfortable with iPads in the classroom.  I then started looking at different apps, and the purpose of these apps.  That is when I stumble upon the Good Notes app.  


This app takes documents (saved in a PDF format), and instantly creates an activity for the interactive portion of our morning meeting, it serves as a quick check in to each child's learning, an on-line portfolio, math boxes, book boxes, and song and poem books.  This app takes any PDF and creates an image that allows children to write on and save it, all on the iPad!  


If this sound complicated, it is not!  All you need is the Good Notes app, and a Dropbox account.


Start by opening Good notes.


Select Categories.

Create a new Category (These categories could be the names of your students if you do not have a 1 to 1 ratio with iPads).



Select the new category you created and press the + in the upper left corner.




Select import, Dropbox.




Select the file.



Select the file to work on.



Children have the option of using the highlighter, the pencil, eraser, or reading it.





Voila! 

We have used this app for countless purposes in our classroom.  It offers a way to track a child's progress.  You can do this by saving their work in this app, or you (or the child) can export the file to Evernote or Showbie, or the file can be emailed.  

As a teacher I have used this app to upload my classroom schedule/calendar, and was able to write my lesson plans over the PDF file.  I also used it for planning for small groups.

I hope you all enjoyed this "Techie Tuesday!"  

I am adding a link to the iPad Rules that we use in my classroom.

Please leave any questions or comments below! Thank you!

Next week I am going to talk about how I increased parent involvement and communication through the use of technology.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Dare to Dream! TPT Challenge #2

When I first heard of the new challenge, "Dare to Dream," I immediately thought of the song, Dream Big by Ryan Shupe & the RubberBand.  The lyrics say, "When you dream, dream big, ...  When you dream it may come true." So here it goes...

For my TPT store, I want to increase my followers, sales, and products.  

PERSONALLY

FAMILY: Personally I hope TPT will allow me to provide my family with the opportunity to do whatever they dream of doing.  I would love to have the money to put away for college, so when they enter adult-life, it will be without the stress of student loans.  I would also love to be able to contribute to the dreams that we have yet to dream.

BUILD A HOUSE: I have always dreamed of building a house.  I would love to have a house that would be our forever home (with upstairs laundry, a mud room, and an in-ground pool).  This would be a home that my children would love to hang out in, and bring friends to, and a place for our grandchildren to visit.  

EXPERIENCE LIFE: I would love to be able to travel more with my family.  My children currently aspire to go to Disney to meet Mickey Mouse and Elsa.  In the future I would love to take them on other family vacations that they will remember for a lifetime.  

GIVE TO OTHERS: With the help of TPT I want to be able to give back to those who have helped us along the way.  I would also like to pay it forward to those who need a helping hand.  

PROFESSIONALLY

COLLABORATE: Professionally I hope that TPT will allow me the opportunity to collaborate with other teachers from all over.  I would love to collaborate other teachers on projects and blogs.  I also hope through this community, I will continue to grow professionally.

SUPPORT: I hope that TPT will continue to support.  I have been apart of this community for only a few short months.  I could not have done what I have done if it wasn't for everyone!  My hope is that I will not only have the continued support, but be able to support other teachers the way I have been supported.

FRIENDSHIP: As I have joined TPT, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook groups, I have seen the friendships that have ensued.  My hope is that I too will find those friendships. 




So, when you dream, dream big...because it might come true!  What are your dreams?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

TpT Seller Challenge 1 (Makeover Madness)

I decided to take part in a Teachers Pay Teachers challenge.  This challenge is put on by some very cool bloggers (Third in Hollywood, Peppy Zesty Teacherista, Sparkling in Second, and Teach Create Motivate).  Our challenge this week was to "makeover" a product from our TpT store.  I chose to makeover my UNO games.  These are games that were one of the first items that I added to my store.  Please head over to my store to check out all 10 UNO games!I am also going to try to include the before and after picture (wish me luck!)



Under Construction!

Hi Everyone!  

Thank you so much for stopping by to check out my blog.  It is very much under construction.  I am currently working with the amazing and talented Blogs fit for a Queen.  


In the meantime, please feel free to check out and follow me on instagram @Meghan478, twitter (MeghansPad), Pinterest (Meghan's Pad), Facebook (Meghan's Pad) and/or my Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Thank you!

I can't wait to connect with you! :)

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Hoppy Summer!

Hello Everyone!
Thursday, I said good-bye to my 9th Kindergarten class.  I packed up my classroom, labeled my furniture, and posted my classroom map for next year.  I then began to think, what can I do this summer?  My answer...start a blog!  Why not, right?
Before I begin posting about all things school, I wanted to take the time to let you know a little about me!  Ever since I was little, I wanted to teach.  Everything that I have done leading up to my teaching degree, has been focused on teaching.  In grade school, I helped my mom at her school whenever the opportunity arose.  I played teacher with my friends and dolls, and took any and every babysitting job that came my way.  In middle school, I continued to help my mom at her school, began hording school supplies, and continued to babysit.  In high school I began teaching downhill skiing, swimming, and water ballet.  In college, I declared my major and continued all the above.
After graduating college, I was hired right away to teach my love, Kindergarten.  In 2010 I began my Masters in Reading program.  In 2011, I graduated with my reading teacher license, and completed course work for a reading specialist.
During my teaching career, I have offered and lead many professional development courses, mentored many new teachers and student teachers, and recently have started selling products on Teacher's Pay Teachers.
My hope is that this blog will offer new ideas to teachers, serve as a resource, and be a place for teachers to connect with other teachers.
I hope that all of you have a very "hoppy summer!"
~Meghan