Interactive Notebooks

Interactive Notebooks
Interactive Notebooks



How My Guided Practice is Going Digital

I love using technology! I know technology has a time and place, but that doesn't keep me from asking my principal to get my class it's very own set of Chromebooks. Right now we share a class set of Chromebooks with four other classes. It works -- but there's so much more I could do if I had better access.

 It's not feasible for 3rd graders to go completely paperless, but I'd like to give it a try to help avoid these situations.

 I had an epiphany while I was teaching reading and writing larger numbers. Whenever I would write a number on the board in word form, I wondered what my kiddos were doing while my back was turned. Granted I have a great class that is generally well behaved, but still. What are they doing back there? Do I turn around and look, or do I just write faster? I'm sure a couple of them would start day dreaming in the time it took me to write eighty-four thousand, six hundred ninety-one neatly on the board. That's wasted time and I can't afford to lose 'em when I have so much to teach 'em. After they wrote the standard form on their dry erase boards and I walked around the room to check everyone's answers, I would erase all that hard work and start over. It seemed like a waste of time to write that much to then erase it and start over. It dawned on me that I could save valuable time by implementing technology into the guided practice portion of my lesson.

 The answer was simple really - just create a slideshow with the question/problem on the front and the answer on the back. I display the slideshow on my data projector and my guided practice runs more smoothly. We're able to get more done in less time. An added bonus is that I don't have to make up problems on the spot. I teach math first thing in the morning and I can't say that my brain is always functioning on all cylinders that early. Plus, I don't have to remember to include those special tricky problems, because they are already included in the slideshow that I reuse each year.

I've begun creating guided practice slideshows for all my units. It's a work in progress, but I know I'll love having these ready to go next year! When I team up the slideshow with digital task cards and paperless practice then I have more flexibility with how I teach each unit. It doesn't hurt that kids love using digital resources whenever they can!

If you like teacher DIY, then give this trick a try. If you teach in a Google school, then Google Slides is your best bet if you want to start off easy. PowerPoint works great as well. I generally use PowerPoint to create my slideshows because I have a ton of fonts that I like to use when I create resources. PowerPoint allows me to save each slide as a jpeg and then I use that jpeg as my background file for the slide. With this method I don't have to worry about having certain fonts installed on my school computer because they have been embedded into the slideshow as a graphic. Let me know in the comments if you would like a tutorial on this.

Having Fun with Bulletin Boards

I won't lie - I am not fond (huge understatement!) of decorating. Which can be a problem because I teach next to teachers who have pinteresty classrooms!I tend to get caught up in other things and forget about changing out bulletin boards. Does anyone else have this problem?

Then I had a light bulb moment - what if I kept the main part of my bulletin board intact and just added seasonal touches to it? I really got excited about this idea. I think it may be the only time I've gotten excited about any of my own decorating ideas.

I started off by begging my very talented artistic friend to make me a gigantic paper doll of our school mascot. Technically, it's made out of wood - not paper. I originally thought that I would change the eagle's pose each time, but that didn't work out like I thought it would. I glued some neodymium magnets to the back of the paper doll pieces so that it would stick to my metal door. I didn't think sticky tack would do the trick, but the magnets were almost too strong. A couple of times I got quite a workout trying to get the eagle pieces off my door!

The eagle looks so much cuter all put together! Here's my first bulletin board with the eagle. I kept it pretty simple because I just wanted to change out the accents each month.

One of our first science units is on matter. The eagle is wearing a shirt that I bought at NASA. I raided the science supply closet and grabbed a beaker and some safety goggles.

For college day students and staff are encouraged to wear college t-shirts. The eagle couldn't be left out. The UT shirt didn't go over too well since a majority of people at my school are Aggie fans. :(

The next college day just happened to be on the day of my observation. My principal is an Aggie fan so I sold out and dressed the eagle in an A&M shirt that I borrowed from a friend. I, on the other hand, wore my Longhorn shirt!

My election day bulletin board was pretty simple - just the way I like it. A student generously let me borrow the hat she made during her free time in art class.

Our football team made it to the playoffs, so the eagle is sportin' some school pride. It seemed like the eagle didn't stand out well on the white door. One day I got a wild hair (it happens more than I care to admit) and I painted the door with black chalkboard paint. Luckily, I work in a school where that's not a problem.

I like the eagle better on the black background, but now the shirt blends in. This is one reason I don't like to decorate! Now that I have a chalkboard background, I can draw my seasonal accents.

Honestly, I'm not good at drawing but I had 2 artistic friends giving me advice and tips.With the paper doll bulletin board, there are so many possibilities! And, once you get a really talented friend to make the doll, it's pretty simple.

This new way of thinking about bulletin boards has helped, but decorating still isn't my favorite thing. Anyone else have trouble keeping their bulletin boards up to date?

Giveaway Winner

Congratulations to Leigh Anne! She won the $10 TpT gift card. I appreciate everyone who entered the giveaway and wish I had a gift card for all of you.

Don't forget to shop TpT's cyber sale today and tomorrow to stock up on resources for your classroom.

TpT Gift Card Giveaway

Woohoo! It's time for some Cyber Monday shopping. Teachers Pay Teachers is gearing up for a big sale tomorrow and I'm so excited!

It's time to make your list and check it twice. Then if you're like me, go back and add more to it! There's so much to choose from - - - digital resources, task cards, Christmas activities, and ALL the upcoming units we will be teaching! With all the shopping to be done, we all need gift cards.

TpT has been gracious enough to gift me with a $10 gift card to pass along to you. Enter below for your chance to win. I will announce the winner Monday evening so the lucky person can use their gift card during the sale.

What's in your cart?

Identifying Fractions Digital Task Card Flash Freebie

Happy Monday everyone! I'm back today with another FLASH FREEBIE for you. If you haven't caught the Boom Learning card bug yet, you seriously need to.

I utilize Boom Cards during my RtI and math stations time. Students have fun "playing" and I  have valuable data on their progress. Every year I have parents asking me for extra worksheets for their kids. Boom Learning makes a nice alternative.

 Not only can you see how many problems your kids missed, you can also see the specific problem they missed and which answer they chose. I love this! This data helps guide my remediation groups.

FLASH FREEBIE - Click here to get a deck of identifying fractions task cards for free. Hurry - this freebie is only available until midnight (central time) tonight.

If you're interested in checking out this resource or learning more about Boom Learning cards, click here.

Digital Task Card Flash Freebie

I know you've all seen this meme. It's funny! Then you really start thinking about it, and it's not so funny anymore.
This meme helped me realize how grateful I am that I have the tools that I need to create my own resources for my classroom. Recently I've been making a bunch of digital task cards that are hosted at Boom Learning.

Have you heard of Boom Learning℠? I recently discovered this neat little app that is a big hit with my students. I'm making this an integral part of my instruction and you should too.

What's the hype about?
  • Boom Cards are interactive, digital task cards – no printing, cutting, or laminating!
  • Boom Cards work on any device – SMARTBoards, computers, tablets, iPhones, etc.
  • You can easily assign Boom Cards to your students. Students can play at school or at home. 
  • Student data - track student progress and see where your students are having difficulty.
  • Students love playing Boom Cards! Not only are the cards themselves fun, but the app has also been gamified, so students can earn badges and awards. Students receive immediate feedback to help them learn faster.
  • You can easily acquire free and low cost Boom Cards from Boom Learning and from TpT.
  • You can create your own Boom Cards! Boom Learning studio is easy to use - no special skills needed.  

As you can see, students receive immediate feedback so they can learn as they go. Now you can relax knowing that your students are having meaningful practice.

I recently added a set of digital task cards to this resource.

If you already own this resource, go to TpT and download the update to access the newly added digital task cards.

**UPDATE: This freebie has expired. You can preview these digital task cards here.
FLASH FREEBIE - Until midnight (central time) tonight, you can get a free deck of digital task cards hosted at Boom Learning. Click here to access this freebie and try out Boom Learning for yourself. You won't regret it!

Why I love Boom Learning

Have you heard of Boom Learning digital task cards? Wondering what the hype is all about?

 I recently stumbled across this relatively new platform and I LOVE IT! I tested Boom Learning out with my students at the end of last school year. Boom Learning provided great paperless practice for my kids and they really enjoyed it! Whenever they had extra time, they would beg to work on Boom Learning decks! I was shocked! It's really hard to say no when they WANT to practice skills!

Here are a few reasons why I'm loving Boom Learning digital task cards:

1. It's digital! - For you this means no printing, cutting, laminating, storing and NO CLUTTER! Boom Learning gamifies the task cards to keep the students interested. My kids had a ball buying new avatars with the points they earned by answering questions.

2. It's flexible! - Boom Learning cards can be used on ANY internet connected device - NO capability issues! Also, you can assign decks to individual students or the whole class. Students can use Boom Learning cards at home or at school. Boom Learning is perfect for a whole class setting, math stations, and individuals.

3. Data! - Unlike traditional task cards, Boom Learning task cards are self-grading and students receive immediate feedback after each question. You gotta love that! Boom Learning also has reports so you can see where your students are having trouble.

4. It's affordable! - You can easily afford to buy your own license if your district won't purchase one for you. You can begin with a FREE starter account to try out the Boom Learning app. Currently, the basic account is only $9 a year and is perfect for teachers of self-contained classrooms. $9 is a steal and I'm sure this promo WON'T LAST LONG!! You will need to purchase decks of digital task cards. You can get them either through Boom Learning or Teachers Pay Teachers. There are many free decks to choose from and the others are reasonably priced. The best part is you can preview 4 task cards from any deck that you are interested in buying.

If you are ready to give Boom Learning a try, you can get started with a free deck from me. Click on the picture below to claim this FREEBIE. The link will take you to Boom Learning where you can create your free account.

I promise you are going to love using Boom Learning task cards in your classroom!