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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

My Best Friend: Google Classroom!

This school year I was fortunate enough to attend technology training that introduced me to Google Classroom.  Since our 3rd, 4th and 5th graders participate in the 1:1 initiative, each of my students were able to use Chromebooks this year. In addition to Google Classroom, the students learned all about Google Drive, Docs, Slides, Sheets, and of course navigating through email.  I was THRILLED to learn about Google Classroom and here's why....

1.  It makes learning interactive.
2.  The students are more engaged and more motivated to learn.
3.  It provides students with opportunities to enhance their word processing skills.
4.  Students learn what it's like to post on forum boards as an additional form of communication.
5.  Grading and reviewing student work is SO much easier.

I could go on and on about this topic, but I would rather show you some screen shots of what it actually looked like this year in my classroom!

Once your students have been added, this screen is similar to what will pop up on their account to show there is an assignment for them to complete.  Here, you can see the teacher view - letting me know that seven students have not completed the assignment.

For this lesson, I wanted my students to review Main Idea and Details through a nonfiction text. The following slides were created by The Creative Apple Teaching Resources, in which I purchased from TpT.

The text included a few paragraphs about sloths (two slides total). The students read the text and then completed the following graphic organizer to demonstrate their understanding of main idea and details.

For this activity, students had to revisit the text and find 5 key details about sloth; providing a written (or typed) complete sentence.

Based on their key details, students then had the identify a topic sentence, main idea, and support the main idea with three of those supporting details. 

Applying everything they learned about sloths, on this slide the students typed their summary of the text including the main idea and supporting details. Looking back in the text to provide evidence of for their summary was a very crucial part of this activity.

It's unfortunate that some of our students have never been to the zoo to see what these animals look like and how they behave in their habitat, so I added this slide to the assignment for a little fun. Students knew this was a video because of the camera icon at the top left corner. Clicking on the slide/link brought the video to life and they learned a little more!

Embedded into the picture on this slide is a link to a Google Form that I had created. After the video, students were to click on the picture for the link and follow it to the Google Form. Once they submitted their answers, they had completed the assignment.

The quiz was easy. I wanted the students to get used to the format and I needed to learn how to collect the information from Google Forms, myself.   For their first activity like this, I was pleasantly surprised at how well they did.... and how much they enjoyed it!

Looking ahead to next school year, there is still so much that I need to learn, but one thing is for sure.... I will be using Google Classroom and all of the extensions that go with it on a frequent basis. I have even started creating my own Google Slides tasks and will be sharing them with the TpT community.  Look for my first series now - Digital Destinations - Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing book study!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Bike Rodeo

My first year in fourth grade I've had the opportunity to experience many new things with my students; one particular event being the 4th grade Bike Rodeo.  My students attended a couple of classes on the laws of and safety of riding bikes and during their last session, they got to put their newfound skills to use! I was able to sneak out and capture some pictures of them in action. I am so proud of what they were able to learn and accomplish in just a few class periods with our Guidance Counselor, Resource Officer, and a representative from the Safe Routes to Schools program. They had a great time - just see for yourself!  

The students gained a wealth of knowledge during the rodeo. They learned how to use hand signals when turning, how to obey traffic signs, and of course to always be aware of their surroundings. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

The Ron Clark Academy

One word can sum up my visit to RCA.... Aaaaamazing!  There will never be another professional development opportunity that can even come close to matching this one! If you have been, then you know what I mean. If you haven't been, well I sure hope you can arrange a trip to Atlanta during your time as an educator. From minute one, it was an engaging and exciting experience - and of course, something worth sharing.

I will warn you... What you are about to experience could be considered "picture overload" but there was so much to take away from this experience!  I'll do my best to explain some of the pictures and hope that something in them will inspire you to inquire about visiting!

First Stop: Mr. Clark's Math Class

During this lesson,  he didn't speak while teaching. He signaled the students to think, work, and respond in unison. Every child was on task. 
5th graders' work = AMAZING!
Once the lesson was over, he jumps up on the tables to monitor independent work.

This student responded correctly to the independent problem and was granted permission to also monitor and check his classmates' work!

Students are given the opportunity to explain their thinking and methods of solving the problems.

Elementary Shenanigans!!!!

Hope King from Elementary Shenanigans is such an inspiration. After following her for several years, I finally had the opportunity to meet her and watch her teach! In the pictures below, her 5th graders were finding evidence in the text....with a twist!  :)  Jenga blocks were involved!

Meeting Kim Bearden was also a huge highlight of the tour. I wasn't able to see her teach, but I was able to hear her speak. Everything that she had to say was directed towards teachers...taking care of themselves! Sometimes we get so caught up in taking care of our students, that we forget ourselves. She shared a personal story with us that was truly inspirational.

Of course, a trip to RCA means becoming Slide Certified! So much fun sliding down the two story slide in to the crowd of students and staff! 

Cheesing with some of the RCA students!  They were such sweet children!


And the BEST part of the visit was being able to chat with Ron Clark himself.  He is such an inspiring and interesting person to talk to that it is always so much fun (my third time actually). Our faces are priceless, but captures the moment perfectly!