Friday, August 8, 2014

Back to School!

It's back to school time! For me this is as literal as it gets. I've moved on from my online classroom and back to a traditional classroom. This means I have A LOT to do to get my new classroom ready.

A month ago, I walked into a bare classroom and wondered what I should do to fill it and make it mine. I thought about themes I've had in the past and those just didn't feel right. So of course I got on Pinterest and started cruising around online. I was inspired more by classrooms that had a color scheme than those that had a different type of theme.

So I chose my colors: orange, blue, and green. I love this color pallet because it is happy and bright. I found some fun, cute patterned paper and got to work! I started by creating circles because I knew I needed polka dots around the room. Then I got ambitious and used my circles to make paper garland to hang in the windows in my classroom. I'm super happy with the way that both turned out.

My classroom isn't all the way completed, but it's definitely better than how it started. I'll continue adding to my decor, but the basics of my classroom are done and can be found at Teachers Pay Teachers.

More products and pictures to come!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Four Critical Questions for PLCs

Professional Learning Communities have been sweeping our educational system. We've really narrowed the focus of how to best use our teams to look at data and increase student achievement. There are four critical questions that PLCs use to help drive discussion and action. I like to have these questions posted so that I can keep my focus on them. Also, it's nice to have a recording form that matches the questions.

This product is available on Teachers Pay Teachers for only $1 (CLICK HERE) and includes: 
  • A poster of the Four Critical Questions for PLCs
  • A 2nd poster with an alternate heading
  • A pdf recording sheet to record answers to the four questions and to categorize students
  • A word document recording sheet that is the same as the pdf recording sheet but you can edit and/or type on it

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

P.O.W.E.R. Writing Process Posters

Writing well is a PROCESS! It is so important that students understand that great writing doesn’t happen in one step. In my class, to help students remember the steps of the writing process, I use the acronym POWER . Each letter stands for one of the steps of the writing process: Pre-Write, Organize, Write, Edit, and Revise. I really stress to my students that writing well gives people POWER, and their writing will be stronger if they take it through the whole writing process.

This product is available on Teachers Pay Teachers for only $3 (CLICK HERE) and includes: 
  • Two basic POWER posters that outline the steps of the writing process. One of the posters includes a basic version of how the Six Traits of Good Writing apply to the writing process and the other does not.
  • One POWER poster that details the parts of each of the steps in the writing process.
  • Two options of 5-Poster sets that have one poster for each of the steps in the writing process.
  • Two options of a parent newsletter that explains the POWER writing process to parents. One of the newsletters includes details about the Six Traits of Good Writing and the other does not.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tuesday Tech Tip - Jing!

I am on online teacher. This means that I am at my computer ALL day! I am constantly trying to find short-cuts that make my life and job easier. The tool that I use the most often is a screenshot tool called Jing. It's crazy easy to use, sits on the corner of my desktop silently until I want to grab it quick, and keeps a library of every image or video I've ever taken with it so I never lose anything!

With Jing, it so easy to grab a quick screenshot and then highlight, put an arrow, or type on the screenshot and then paste my new creation wherever I want it. I can even save it as an image file. I use this all the time to make reference guides for my students.

But that isn't all! Jing can also make videos of what I'm doing on my screen. I can choose to have it pick up audio or not. I use this feature to help teach parents, student, and colleagues how to use a program or to give an overview of a course, or whatever I want! It is just so easy. I don't even have to set anything up or edit. And then it gives me the choice to save the video as a file or as a link that will let people open and view my video without any specific software. Click here for a very short, no audio video I recorded of a Jing overview.

I use Jing so often that the word has become a verb in my common vocabulary. I often say things like, "I'll Jing it and send it to you." This tool has simplified my life. I love it and hope you can find good use out of it too!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Liebster Nomination!

Thank you to Sandy at Elementary Expedition for nominating us for a Liebster Award!
The Liebster Award is basically an award for new blogs,
and nominations are passed around as a way to connect with others and share the love. :)
To be nominated for a Liebseter Award, a blog must have less than 200 followers. 

To accept the award, nominees must do the following:
1. Link to the person who nominated you.
2. Answer questions from your nominator.
3. Share 11 facts about yourself.
4. Nominate 5 to 11 other blogs (that have less than 200 followers).
5. Pose questions to your nominees.
So here we go!
1. Who nominated us? 

Questions from Sandy:
Because this blog is created by both Becky and Echo, you'll get to find out a little about each of us.

Which subject is your favorite to teach?
Echo: I love to teach writing. Students do not own their language until they can write it, and being able to write well is powerful. I like to empower students to be able to write well.

What gets you through the day?
Becky: CrossFit workouts, Diet Pepsi, tight squeezes from my kids, music, prayer, creating things on photoshop, instagram, flavored almonds, quest protein bars, and hanging out on the grass with my dogs, hubby, and kids.

What is your favorite inspirational quote?

What kind of music do you listen to? 
Becky: Pandora Stations: Cold Play, Pitch Perfect, Kids Bop, LDS music, and Workout Radio

What do you do to relieve stress?
Becky: Laugh, Workout, Run, Talk on the phone to my friends, mom, fellow teachers, EAT, watch TV, hike, drive somewhere new, go shopping!!!

What is the distance from your home to school?
Becky: I get to teach FROM home for an ONLINE school. I am!

What other jobs have you had besides teaching? 
Echo: I had a lot of different jobs through high school and college. I worked at McDonald's, a bowling alley, a car wash, a sign company, a book store (my favorite), and a telemarketing company (my least favorite).

What are your favorite things to do in your spare time (not teacher-related)? 
Echo: I really like to read. I also like to play tennis.

Why did you start blogging?
Becky: I wanted to document all the fun things Echo and I love to make for classrooms and teachers. I have been doing this for 9 years, and Echo for more and finally decided to put it in a place for others to use with me! TeachersShare!

How long does it take you to get ready on school mornings?
Echo: I currently work at a virtual school. That means I wake up and don't have to do much before I start working. But to get ready to teach on my webcam, it takes me about 45 minutes.

Where did you attend college?
Becky: Dixie State University In St. George Utah, and Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah
3. 11 Facts About Echo:
  1. When I started college I was majoring in Communications with a minor in English. My plan was to get my secondary teaching license. But then I changed my plan and ended up majoring in Elementary Education with a minor in Interpersonal Communications.
  2. I love to play games. Any games. I love board games, card games, and video games. I love to play the wii with my kids, especially any of the Mario games.
  3. I am currently two years behind in my family scrapbook! Yikes!
  4. My husband asked me to marry him before we had even been on one date.
  5. My family visits our local shaved ice shack quite often. I always get pina colada flavored shaved ice because it tastes the best and it never dyes my mouth funny colors.
  6. When I got my first teaching job, I was hired as a 5th grade teacher. It wasn't until 30 minutes before school started on my very first day of teaching that my principal decided to change my position to teaching a 4th/5th split! I had never even looked at the 4th grade curriculum.
  7. I have a black lab/chow mix named Harley. I tease that he's part horse because he is SO big!
  8. I am frequently guilty of forgetting to switch the laundry into the dryer for so long that I have to re-wash the clothes.
  9. I enjoy making dough for bread and pizza, but I don't really like cooking much of anything else.
  10. My first car was a Chevy Celebrity. Oh yah, look that up! It's a beauty. :)
  11. I have the best kids! They are perfect for our family.
5.  Questions for my Nominees:
  1. What is your favorite restaurant?
  2. What TV show are you most likely to avoid?
  3.  What is the funniest thing a student has ever said to you or in class?
  4. How long have you been blogging?
  5. Besides your ID and money, what types of things do you carry around in your purse or wallet?
  6. What is the last movie you saw at the theater?
  7. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
  8. Where have you traveled?
  9. What is your favorite season and why?
  10. If you hadn't become a teacher, what would you have been?
  11. What is your favorite dessert or treat?

Thanks again for the nomination, Sandy. This has been really fun!

Freebie Friday!! Teacher's Monogram Bag Tag!

This is a way cute monogram template to use!!
We used them to write teacher's initials on and 
laminate for their laptop bags.
 It would be cute on any teacher bag, on any MOM bag, 
or even as a little wall decor on a bulletin board!