Friday, August 8, 2014

PBLNY Final Day

Our third and final day ended with another amazing Keynote Speaker,
Yong Zhao.

Wow! I know I keep saying this, but these speakers have blown me away. I have learned so much from every single one of them.

Mr. Zhao was entertaining, so funny, and informative.
He said we have to get our kids to be "Out of the Basement Ready".
"We don't want them coming back and living with us."

"They need to be:
Psychologically Ready
Emotionally Ready and
Financially Ready."

"When technology transforms ~ education has to catch up."

He talked to us about what jobs are going to look like in the future and what we as teachers have to do about it. If these middle-tech jobs are going to go away, what do we have to do? We have to cultivate children to be creative. What are we doing now? Are we teaching/leading/helping them be the creative people we are going to need in the years to come?

I can't wait to read his book.

If you ever get a chance to see him I highly recommend it!


My break-out session was with Katie Regan.
She knows her technology!!!
I would love to sit and chat with Katie. :)

This session was about Social Media and Project Based Learning.

I would consider myself to be pretty tech-savvy, but I learned a lot more about what I can do with the kiddos and parents in my classroom during this session.

This post is interesting. When Katie asked us how many of our students were on FB hardly anyone raised their hands. (Of course I didn't, mine are 5, 6, and 7, but you never know) I was thinking of my own children. I haven't seen them post much lately. In fact, not at all. When us "old folks" took over Facebook it wasn't cool for them to be on anymore and they found other apps.
Now, you don't have to be worried about all of them. Some of them can be very useful, but we do all have to be aware of these apps they are using that we may not necessarily know about. I sure didn't.

We discussed several apps to use in the classroom and for connection to home and school.
We explored Twitter, Google +, and FB in way different ways I had before.

I am excited to have a FB page (private of course) for my parents. I can snap a photo of the kiddos and upload it immediately for my parents to see what their children were doing that day.

My Twitter is going to stay educational (for the most part). I will still throw in some photos from time to time. I can't resist. :)

This is my new thing this summer. I really haven't used it in any real way. I have found some amazing people to follow. There is so much information out there.

There were many more things that Katie shared. I will continue them in another post coming up.
 Too much information!!!

I am so excited PBL!

Have a wonderful day!

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Thursday, August 7, 2014


Our Keynote Speaker was Ron Berger.
I was so lucky. I was able to listen to him twice. Once as the Keynote Speaker and then in a breakout session called "Looking at Student Work".

I kept looking at him and listening…wondering where I have seen him before. It took me until he showed a video I have seen several times.

Austin's Butterfly

If you have not watched this, I highly recommend you do at some point. It shows how to get students to critique their own and other's work to get high quality work.

Mr. Berger says when critiquing you have to:
Be Kind
Be Specific
Be Helpful

Here are some quotes from Mr. Berger that I found to be very meaningful and essential in assessing student's work.

"The final project should not be the only assessment. There should be many assessments. It's an ongoing process throughout ~ multifaceted."

"Build a class culture with a growth mindset."

Check out the schools Ron Berger is working in all over the country.

He was amazing!


The next person I was able to listen to was Chris Sperry.

He talked to us about Integrating Media Literacy and Critical Thinking.
Wow! I would LOVE to be in his high school Social Studies class.

I never thought about all the different ways you could use media literacy in your classroom.
He had us compare two paintings to show cultural perspectives.

They have lessons right on their website for you to use. There are MANY middle-high school to college lessons. I have found a few elementary ones. I am excited to try one out this year.

Head on over to check out all the amazing things Project Look Sharp has done.

Well, I am off to another day of PBLNY!!!
It's the last day. Although I will be happy to sit in the sun tomorrow to digest all of this, I am sad it will be over. I have learned so much!

Have a wonderful day!

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Wednesday, August 6, 2014


I am blown away with all the information I got yesterday from PBLNY. AND…there are two more days!!! WOW!
Yesterday began with our Keynote Speaker, Sam Chaltain.
He talked to us about some exceptional schools and what they look like.
Is it more technology that we need? In these schools that was not the main focus. It was about community, belonging, feeling, talking, singing, caring, etc..
 What a way to start! He got us so ready for the rest of the conference.
Check him out. If you ever get a chance to see him, I highly recommend it!

Then we had some breakout sessions. I went to see Dayna Laur.
Another great speaker.

She talked about Authentic Learning.
This video that she shared moved me.

This is the epitome of Authentic Learning.

How can we do this in our classrooms? How can we make our kids want to do this?

Dayna was inspiring and interesting. I would love to be able to hear her speak again.

I am looking forward to learning more today!
Have a wonderful day!

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Sunday, August 3, 2014


I had the opportunity to review the app FarFaria.
It is so cute and there are many different stories for your students to read.

There are levels for the students. They have choices of several "places" to go and read tons of books. 

FarFaria - Children’s Books for the iPad and Android Devices

FarFaria is an app that provides the perfect story time experience. With more than 700 amazing children’s stories—and five new ones added each week—story time has never been easier. 

Created for children ages 2-9, FarFaria helps children develop a passion for reading and encourages families to spend quality time reading together. FarFaria’s engaging story-discovery experience encourages children to stumble into new stories they’ll love forever.

  • Unlimited reading from our library of more than 700 stories.
  • Five new, engaging stories added every week.
  • Interactive experience is fun for kids and easy for parents
  • Every story can be read aloud with a Read-to-Me feature.
  • Reading-level badge on every story cover.
  • Offline access to read Favorite stories
  • No advertising. No hidden fees.

Try FarFaria for Free: Download FarFaria and read one story every day for free with no obligation to pay. 


Here is an example of a summer reading list for grades 2-4.

I hope you go check it out!
Have a great day!

Oh, and by the way, I am joining in on the sale for TpT!

What's on your wish list?

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Thursday, July 31, 2014

I-Charts and Stamina Charts for Daily 5

I keep my I-Charts up for the entire year.
I have a whole Daily 5 section on my bulletin board. 
I start off with just the titles of the components of Daily 5 and one-by-one we add in our I-Charts along with our Stamina Charts.

I found some Stamina Charts on TpT. 
Here are some really adorable ones. :)
This is by no means a complete list. :)
Click on the picture to go to the link.

A Special Kind of Class

First Grade Brain

Adventures in Room 5
Interactive Chart

Fun in PreK-1 & Kinder

I am thinking that I am going to set up the Daily 5 board just like last year. It was in a place that was accessible to the students and it looked nice above the computers. 
Where do you display your I-charts and Stamina Charts?

Have a wonderful day!

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Implementing Daily 5 with a Student Teacher

I have a student teacher this fall. I am so excited about having her in our classroom. She has already shown so much potential. She had to do some observation hours last year. She came in and taught a lesson on Polar Bears. She had their attention the entire time.
I am not worried about her at all. :)
We are going to be working together to build stamina and introduce the students to every aspect of Daily 5.

I am excited to be working with the new book. I still have time to read it and go through everything I need to before school begins. 

I always have to remind myself to go slow, rewind, and model~model~model.
When I have done this, my classroom runs so much better. 
I have posted the I-charts the students have created (with some editing on my part :) for the entire year. I go back to these often. Sometimes after a break we will go over each part for one day. A whole lesson on what the students are suppose to be doing and what the teacher is suppose to be doing. 
There is so much involved in Daily 5. 
I will be back tomorrow with some I-Charts examples and ideas. 

Does anyone have any tried and true ideas that have worked while implementing Daily 5?

Have a wonderful day!

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hello Friends!!!

It's been so long! Ahhhh!
I have had a fun-filled summer already and it's only half over. Sorry to the folks that are planning on going back soon. :)

I have been to three Phish Shows and Paris. Yes, I went to Paris. My husband had to go on business. Poor me!!! :)
I had an amazing time. There is so much to see and do. I could have spent three months over there and not seen everything. This was our first trip to Europe. I want to go back soon!

We were there for Bastille Day!
If you'd like to see more photos click on the picture. :)

We couldn't have asked for a better trip. 

In a school related sense :), I have updated my Calendar from August 2014 to July 2015. It's free. Head on over and get it. I have multiple copies. I use them for Guided Reading groups, individual conferences, math groups, etc. 

What was the best thing you did this summer?
I would love to hear. :)

Have a wonderful day!

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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Online Learning Guest Writer

Have you seen Catherine's Blog? It's called Learning is Fun!

She has so many amazing posts about how to put fun back into learning. Whether it's online of offline, she has some really great ideas. Head on over to check it out.
I have heard so much about parents having their kids going offline this summer. I think it's awesome! If this is not for you, here is an blog post by Catherine to help you find some online activities for your kiddos this summer.

How Online Learning Resources Can Harness Kids’ Creativity
E-learning is one of the most effective ways of educating kids, but young online learners are highly likely to lose focus, get bored and indulge in unproductive activities like chatting, texting and checking email before zoning out altogether. I wouldn’t blame the kids though, because smart teachers and parents have plenty of online learning resources to stimulate kids and make them more creative. Here are the top four – guaranteed to keep kids, even those with notoriously short attention spans, creatively engaged. 

Photo by Lupuca

  1. Crafts
A quick Google search will come up with hundreds of websites offering DIY craft ideas and projects for kids. If your child is the ‘crafty’ type, or even if he isn’t, he’s sure to find something that grabs his attention and inspires him to unleash his latent creativity. There are e-learning resources dedicated to a variety of crafts – pottery, bookmarks, glass painting, and holiday and seasonal crafts– and loads of other fascinating stuff. You can also find crafts to suit your child’s age and skill level; and in any case, most of them come with detailed instructions to make it easier for novices. 

  1. Games
Letting your child play online games may not be your idea of ‘learning,’ but research shows that playing online learning games for kids actually boosts their social and emotional skills, fosters critical thinking and problem-solving and helps them master basic and advanced skills in a variety of academic subjects. Besides, online games are so much fun and kids never realize they’re learning something in the process!These games are also known for the intellectual stimulation they offer. So the next time your child begs to be allowed to play online, get him started on educational kids’ games.

  1. Coloring
Kids love to color and there are many good reasons why you should encourage your little one to take up online coloring as a hobby. Coloring a page online helps young children to develop hand-eye coordination as they learn to focus on details and color within a specified area. Kids who lack confidence in their drawing skills or find drawing intimidating can relax when they’re simply coloring a piece of art online – it exercises their imagination and gives them the freedom to play around with colors without the fear of criticism. Online coloring pages allow kids to experience a sense of accomplishment upon completion. 

  1. Brainteasers
The best part about assembling a jigsaw or solving a crossword puzzle online is the sheer variety that’s available. Most websites offer free and sometimes even printable brainteasers suitable for a wide range of skill levels. Children who engage their minds with brainteasers are known to have higher IQs and better memories.They also get to exercise both sides of the brain, enhance their visual skills and indulge in a very absorbing form of recreation. 

There’s really no downside to letting your child take advantage of these fun and creative online learning resources, but ‘everything in moderation’ is a good rule of thumb to follow!

Author Bio:

Catherine Ross is a full-time stay-at-home-mum who believes learning should be enjoyable for young minds. An erstwhile elementary school teacher, Catherine loves coming up with creative ways through which kids can grasp the seemingly difficult concepts of learning easily. She believes that a ‘fun factor’ can go a long way in enhancing kids’ understanding and blogs at

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