How to make your book clubs paperless



Make your book clubs paperless using Google Drive & Google Classroom

I love using book clubs (also known as literature circles) in my classroom. However, the amount of papers needing to be organized and passed out continuously stressed me out. The packets were big and cumbersome, and it always resulted in more work for me as the teacher when a student lost their packet. My world of literature circles completely changed when  I realized how easy that literature circles could be if they were made digital using Google Classroom. It felt great to bring my literature circles into the 21st century and paperless using Google Drive & Classroom! You may notice in the photos that I use actual books instead of e-readers... which makes book club not completely paperless. That is up to you! My classroom is not 1:1, so e-readers are not an option for me! You can still have a paperless book club even without being 1:1!

Below, read eight easy steps to create a paperless book club! There are lots of different ways to do book clubs, I am just sharing what I like best in my room. Feel free to leave comments about how you run yours in the classroom, I am always looking for new ideas to incorporate into my teaching and LOVE hearing from you!



STEP 1: CREATE YOUR GROUPS
Book clubs consist of a group of students reading the same book, then discussing. In order to do this, you need to group your students! I generally like 4-5 kids per group.There are two different ways that I create groups for book clubs that I believe work best. You can....

GROUP BY READING LEVEL
I most often group my students by reading level. I always look for books that are just slightly above the students' reading level. We assess the DRA at my school, so I try to balance out the DRA level with which books that I think students can "handle." Grouping by reading level is nice because it is easier as a teacher to figure out the appropriate number of pages for students each week, since you have a better sense of how much they can read in a week without getting frustrated or stressed out. It takes a lot of the guesswork out of which books are too "hard" or too "easy" for students.

GROUP BY INTEREST
The other way to group is by interest. I have a pretty good idea what each student in my class is interested in (dogs, sports, nature, etc.) so I can mix reading ability this way. Students who are interested in and are eager to read a certain book are going to keep a growth mindset and conquer reading a book, even if the reading level is a bit more challenging or easier than usual. Remember, book clubs allow for self-differentiation. A too-easy book for a high student can still provide a plethora of ways for critical and higher-level thinking in terms of the assignment given. Sometimes a less-than-challenging book allows a less confident student to decipher and interpret it in more complex ways.




STEP 2: CHOOSE YOUR BOOKS
Make your book clubs paperless using Google Drive & Google Classroom

Now, I KNOW that the title of this post is how to make your literature circle paperless. But you know what? I prefer reading a hands-on, physical book as opposed to a tablet. I notice that most of my students are the same. I'm personally not much of an e-reader, and many of my students do not have Kindles or iPads to read on at home. If your school is 1:1, this is definitely a great option! Otherwise, paper books work great! You can also give students an option. Sometimes students will purchase the electronic copy to have at home on their Kindle, or even will bring their device in from home to read on it. I do not push students to read either on a device or in a book- the choice is up to them!

Now, time to find which books that each group will read. Take a walk over to your school's reading room to find some books! Don't have a reading room, or are you not thrilled with the selection? You can prep for book club with a variety of methods.

  • Firstly, you could buy the books for cheap in the New/Used section of Amazon. 
  • Check out the $1 deals on Amazon
  • Purchase the books on Scholastic, and use all the points you get to receive more books for free. 
  • Look into Donor's Choose to fund your book club and set up a project to better your classroom.
  • Submit a purchase order for books from Amazon into your school finance person.
  • Ask your reading specialist or school librarian if they have any extra funds for books 

When choosing the books, I love to lean toward the classics. Many students are so enthralled with their Wimpy Kid series or Harry Potter (nothing against Harry Potter.... I am an HP fiend. #teamslytherin), that there are many classics and award-winners that they choose not to pick up. Many of the best children's books are passed up because some of the covers look "old" or outdated to students. I like to use book clubs as a way to get those sorts of books into the hands of my students. Students often discover new genres or series through the "forced" reading of book club.

I noted some of my favorite books for book clubs in third or fourth-grade that my students particularly enjoy as well. I also included Amazon links if you're unfamiliar with the book or want to check out the new/used prices!

FOR HGH READERS
(Glitter in Third is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising feeds by advertising and linking to Amazon.).


STEP 3: ASSIGN PAGES
Make your book clubs paperless using Google Drive & Google ClassroomI like to sit down ahead of time and map out all the pages that the kids will be reading. My first year I started teaching, I would assign pages on the spot. This resulted in a lot of unequal pages for various weeks. Instead, I now decide how long I want to do book clubs. I usually do four weeks. I take the total amount of pages in a book and divide by four. This number is roughly how many pages they will read each week. I say roughly because I like to end on the end of a chapter, so sometimes their reading will be a little longer or shorter to ensure that the last page they read each weeks finishes at the end of a chapter.

My Literature Circle for Google Drive & Classroom resources has a spot in the beginning where you can first choose the number of weeks for the kids to complete a book, then they have spots to write down all the pages. This is a great way for the kids to keep track of their reading and what their roles/responsibilities are! When I assign these, I have an iPad at the seat of each spot at my guided reading table. When I call a group over to my small table to meet, students quickly log in, then fill out the pages and their role for the week. This way, I know that all the students have it written down and can be held accountable if they did not do the assignment.


STEP 4: SET UP EXPECTATIONS
As with anything in the classroom, I believe that expectations are the most important step to ensure that everyone is the on the same page.

My students and I work together to create an anchor chart for "looks like" and "sounds like." We talk about what the discussion looks like (students focusing/getting to the small table quickly/bringing all supplies) as well as what the discussion sounds like (one voice at a time/speaking in a level 2 during discussion/level 0 while reading).

I always act as the student and demonstrate each role and what is expected using a read aloud book that we are working on. That way, all the kids are familiar with the story we are discussing and can focus on how I am completing each role. I show my thought process while thinking through it for the Summarizer role, then write a summary. For discussion leader, I demonstrate how to take the information from the chapter to write an open-ended question. For Word Wizard, I pull out a dictionary and show how I find some difficult words from the chapter to research. Demonstrating each role has a tremendous impact on students regarding what is expected of them, and really does stick with them.

Finally, I email home an example of what constitutes a 4, 3, 2, and 1. Of course this depends on your parental community, but at my school the parents are very involved. They want their student to do well, and sometimes don't realize if their students' work is not the best that they can do. Having an actual visual of what the work would look like to receive a 4 is extremely helpful. Sending home an actual example helps parents encourage their students at home and also serves as a way for parents to remember to remind their students to read (because let's face it, third-graders are very much still learning how to be responsible. Parents help make this learning possible!).



STEP 5: KIDS DO WORK ON ROLES
Make your book clubs paperless using Google Drive & Google Classroom
I use literacy stations in my classroom. During our book club cycles, one of our stations is Book Club work (the other stations are generally DEAR, reading comp, and small group time when I work on a specific reading strategy or skill with the students). Kids can take their book home and read for the required 20 minutes a night, and they are also more than welcome to do book club work at home. It is up to them! It is a great way to teach time management to kids. Often kids will want to spend most of the language arts block independently reading, so many of my kiddos will take their work home to make sure that this happens.

When a student is working on book club in the classroom, they simply grab a laptop or iPad when the rotate to the book club station. Then, they quickly log on to Google Classroom and get to work! We practice how to log on/off all year long, so students become pretty skilled at it quickly in the year! It can be frustrating in the beginning - keep practicing! It will eventually become like clockwork!

I use my Literature Circle for Google Drive resource to conduct my book clubs, available here. My roles generally consist of:

  • Discussion Leader: Come up with higher-level questions from the reading and lead meeting
  • Word Wizard: Use a dictionary to learn new words from reading
  • Character Comparer: Compare two characters of one's choice on a Venn diagram
  • Summarizer: Write a summary from the reading
  • Connection Conductor: Find connections to your own life from reading
  • Perspective Person: Write a letter from a specific character regarding what is happening in the chapter.
Feel free to use the roles above to create your own, or pick up the resource here to save you time and make it a no-prep activity!

Each week, I assign one role per student (if your groups are large, double up on a role). The student comes ready to share their role with the group the following week.



STEP 6: MEET
I meet weekly with my students. Book clubs can be personal- I want the kids to read the book and enjoy it, not feel rushed to finish. Some teachers I know have book club meets a few times a week. I personally feel like this is too much - I am an advocate for encouraging reading for pleasure at a young age. However, I also see how this would be a good way to track your students and ensure that they are keeping up with the work. So anything that works best in your classroom- you know your kiddos best!

My book club meetings are in place of any guided reading/small group work. What I love about book clubs is that it is mainly student directed. Whichever one of my students is Discussion Leader leads the discussion. I am there to monitor the discussion and make sure everyone is on task... but for the most part, I pretend that I'm simply a fly on the wall. I want to hear their ideas, not project my own ideas!

In the beginning of the year as they are first learning how book clubs are conducted, I serve more as a mediator and leader. It is a lot of fun to start loosening up on the reins and passing on the leadership role as they become more comfortable. I also tell the kids that they are graded on participation- which involves listening as much as it does talking. Often kids (and adults.... I am often 100% guilty of this) wait for others to finish talking but are not listening to what they are saying. Participation is listening to others and voicing one's own opinion in a respectful manner.

When you meet, I find it easiest to have an iPad at the seat of each spot on your guided reading table. When their group is called, students will find a spot at the table, log in to their Google Drive, pull up the literature circle role for the week, and the discussion will start!


STEP 7: GRADE
I use a rubric each week to grade my students. I have this on each of their Google Drive assignments, so all I have to do is drag a circle over each grade that they receive. I like to break up my grades into the sections of Listening, Discussion, Role fulfillment, and Participation. I do mine on a 1, 2, 3, 4 scale. Dragging a circle over their grade makes it super quick and easy- I actually great during the last few minutes of their discussion group! Students can also instantly see what their grade it, which offers instant feedback and reflection.


STEP 8: REPEAT!


You can create your own book clubs using Google Drive! Hopefully this post gave you ideas regarding what roles to do and how to set it up. I also offer my Literature Circles for Google Drive to save you time. It includes discussion expectations, an assignment page, discussion starters, an editable grading rubric, and six different roles for students.



How do you do book clubs in your classroom? Is this something you'll be doing this year? Have you tried doing it online before? Tell me about it below!



Make your book clubs paperless using Google Drive & Google Classroom


How to introduce collaboration to your elementary students

A team-building activity to introduce collaboration in the elementary classroom

Teamwork and collaboration! These are important parts of raising a 21st-century learner in the classroom, yet many students do not entirely understand what this it. I stress the importance of teamwork and collaboration throughout the year, but I take time in the beginning of the year to help students truly understand what it means. Throwing around the word "collaboration" can be confusing to students without breaking it down and explaining exactly what it is.

I don't know about you, but my third-graders always struggle with working as a team in the beginning of the year. My third-graders are easily frustrated and often have the approach of "my way or the highway." I often get many tears in the beginning of the year as students grapple with understanding how to be part of a bigger team and listening to one another. When a different student disagrees with their idea or opinion, my kiddos often will get sad, angry, or no longer want to contribute to the group. Like anything, teamwork and collaboration is a skill that needs to be practiced!

Below, I highlight an activity that helps explain teamwork to students by giving a large variety of examples in the real world, not only with humans but with inanimate objects, systems, and organizations. Below you will find the steps to this activity. All you need is two sets of Post-It notes per group. It is essentially no-prep and can easily fit into a 45-minute or hour-long window. I usually forgo a day of language arts to fit this it into my schedule, since this lesson deals with writing, critical thinking, and analyzing. I think this activity is perfect on the journey to being a great team member, especially in the beginning of the school year. Read and see if this is something that you would be interested in doing in your classroom!

Step 1: As a whole-group, discuss what collaboration means. It means when individuals respectfully work together for a goal while listening to others to make decisions. We talk about how we can see this in the classroom (examples: doing a group project, deciding how to organize the classroom library, solving a difficult math problem together as a group). We talk about how we need certain skills to do this, including listening and cooperating.

But... can only humans do collaboration? What else in the world works together? How can various components or pieces work together for a common goal? What else in life works together besides humans? Give the example of a grocery store. Who is working together there? The employees must work together to sell the items. The delivery man must work together with the store to deliver the items. The electricity company must work together to make sure there is lighting in the store. Think of all the possibilities!

I then tell students that we are going to be brainstorming various types of collaboration in the world in teams. We talk about how to be a good teammember, and make an anchor chart regarding what it looks and sounds like. For example, it sounds like one voice at a time. It sounds like respectful disagreeing and agreeing (we also write down sentence starters for this). It looks like students listening and making eye contact.

A team-building activity to introduce collaboration in the elementary classroomStep 2: Put students into teams and designate a recorder. I like to do 3-5 students per group, depending on how many students that you have in your classroom! The recorder is the only student that gets to write during the activity. We go over the expectations regarding working in a group (not shouting/talking over one another/etc.). I have my students pick the recorder, and if multiple students want to be the recorder, they play rock, paper, scissors to decide. If you think that your class may struggle with this, do a random number generator or simply designate the recorder yourself.


Step 3: Pass out Post-It notes in one specific color, and one Sharpie. I tell my students NO TOUCHING any of the supplies until I say to begin the activity. We also go over Post-It Note basics (for example, do not pull out all the Post-It Notes like an accordion). Only the recorder gets access to the Sharpie and can write.

A team-building activity to introduce collaboration in the elementary classroomStep 4: I say begin! Students have five minutes to write down as many things that work together for a common goal. For example, a computer (the hardware/software/etc. works together to create a machine).  A flower (the roots/stems/petals/inner workings all work together to create a healthy plant). The human body (all the various systems work together to create a healthy individual). They put down one item per Post-It. As you can imagine, they accumulate a lot of Post-It Notes very quickly! After five minutes, it is pencils down.

Step 5: Share! Call on individuals at each table to share a few of their Post-It Notes with the class. Remind the class that if someone writes down their idea that they hear, it is NOT copying. We are learning together and sharing new ideas collaboratively. We are trying to get a large assortment of Post-It Notes. After sharing for a few minutes, I give students an additional two minutes to write more down. Many times sharing jumpstarts their brains and they have a whole bunch more ideas to write down!

Step 6: Discuss how to group and categorize. Basically, students are looking for similarities in their Post-It Notes. Perhaps on their table they notice that on Post-It Notes they wrote down the "circulatory system," "digestive system", and "nervous system". This could go under a bigger umbrella category of the "human body"! Write down the "human body" on a different color Post-It, and line up the similar Post-Its underneath it. What about "tree", "flower", and "grass"? This could fall under the bigger umbrella category of "nature". Demonstrate this to students with your own Post-It Notes on the board or under a document camera.

Step 6: Pass out Post-It Notes in a different color and tell them to begin categorizing! Take 5-10 minutes for this, depending on your students' abilities. This can be a lot more difficult for students and works on vital critical-thinking skills. Students often have a hard time seeing the forest through the trees, this helps them work on making connections and seeing pieces as a whole.

Step 7: Share student findings and relate this to collaboration! Ask students to share on group, and all the pieces underneath it. Discuss how these things work together. For example, all parts of a circulatory system work together to make blood flow in the human body. However, the circulatory system works with the digestive system, nervous system, etc. to create a healthy body. Everything builds on one another to create something. How is this like individuals in our classroom? What sorts of things can we as individuals do to collaborate on a projector or in the classroom?


Do you have a favorite teamwork or collaboration activity for students? Share it below in the comments!

A team-building activity to introduce collaboration in the elementary classroom





How to start Quiet Time in the classroom

How to start Quiet Time in your classroom!


The school day can be fast-paced, chaotic, and, well, loud. Many students do not react well to chaos or feeling overwhelmed, and need a bit of downtime to get themselves refocused, recharged, and ready to learn. The perfect way to do this? Start Quiet Time once a day in your classroom

I take fifteen minutes a day to implement Quiet Time in my classroom- a built-in downtime for students that is 100% student-directed. I believe that students need choices to take responsibility and accountability of their learning, and Quiet Time gives them a set of choices. I started Quiet Time after taking a Responsive Classroom training (you can also purchase the book if the training is not available in your district or close to you! The link is my Amazon Affiliates link, FYI). If you haven't heard about Responsive Classroom, Responsive Classroom (or RC) is a teaching approach that focuses on engaging academics, effective management, positive community, and developmental awareness. Quiet Time supports these four aspects.

Before I began Quiet Time in my own third-grade classroom, my students would come in loud, disruptive, and chaotic after specials. It was hard to get my students settled down, and it was a stressful time for the students. I knew that I needed something that would create an expected calm before the rest of the busy afternoon full of learning.

Below, I will discuss what Quiet Time is and how you can start it in your classroom!


WHAT IS IT?
Quiet Time is a built-in downtime each day in the classroom. Many teachers already do this under various names - whether a "cool-down time" after a busy recess or "educational recess" after a difficult math lesson. Students get a choice during Quiet Time, it is a period during the day that is unstructured and allows for student choice.

Just like the name, Quiet Time is a completely silent time. This means no talking to one another, or even to the teacher! Quiet Time is NOT a time to interact for students to interact one another. Some students want to draw silently together, but I believe that this time needs to be purely for themselves. Even if students are not talking, I think it can be hard to get focused and redirected when you're somehow interacting and communicating (even if not speaking!) with someone else. To fully recharge, you need to focus on yourself.


WHAT DO THEY KIDS DO?
How to start Quiet Time in your classroom!I allow my students to read, write, draw, or relax during Quiet Time. But you know what? Students do not have to do ANYTHING! They can simply put their heads down if they would like to. This is a time that is all about them.

With so many standards to teach, kids rarely get to have choices that are artistic. With Quiet Time, most of my students choose to color or cut out shapes/headdresses with paper.


WHEN DOES THIS HAPPEN DURING THE DAY?
It is 100% up to you! Some teachers do this after recess, lunch, or specials. Personally, I always do it after specials. The kids know to come in silently and do their Quiet Time activity of their choice.


HOW LONG?
Quiet Time can last anywhere from five to fifteen minutes. I personally always do fifteen minutes in my classroom. YES, this is a lot of time during the day. But I think that the benefits outweigh the cost of time. My students are ready to learn after they get their "me time." I am saving valuable instruction time instead of having to constantly refocus students during a lesson.

If I notice that my students are taking a long time cleaning up after Quiet Time, I take away Quiet Time minutes for individuals the next day. You'd be surprised at how quickly they put their materials away when they are afraid of their personal time being decreased!


ISN'T THIS A WASTE OF TIME?
No! My students used to dawdle after recess/lunch/specials... now, they come in quickly to the classroom because they LOVE Quiet Time. They want to get to work on their dinosaur drawing, or find out what happens in the next chapter of their book. Students will not miss instructional time if they are taking way too long at the water fountain- they are missing their free choice time! It is funny how much quicker that simple tasks can suddenly take when students do not want to miss out on their personal time and activities.


WHAT IS THE TEACHER DOING?
This is Quiet Time- you do you! The students are recharging, but this is also a time for the teacher to recharge. Since Quiet Time is about each individual, this it a no-guilt time! I take this time to check my texts, peek at the news, pick up my desk, or get a few items together for an upcoming lesson.


HOW IS THIS IMPLEMENTED?
As I do with all procedures and routines in my classroom, we sit down as a group and create an anchor chart. What does Quiet Time look like? What does it sound like? We discuss how we must have a Level 0 voice, meaning no talking. They need to be calm and focused, stay at their seat, and share with others. We also practice it. In the beginning, we do Quiet Time for three minutes. Then four minutes. Then five minutes. We build our stamina to make sure that we are able to do Quiet Time correctly.

Even if you have already started school, it is not too late to put Quiet Time into your routine! This is something that can be introduced all year long when you think that your students are ready.


What do you think? Do you do Quiet Time in your classroom, or some form of it? Tell me all about it below in the comments!

How to start Quiet Time in your classroom!


Morning Meeting in the classroom


Do you have Morning Meetings in your classroom? Morning meetings are a way to further your positive classroom community, creating a classroom climate that feels safe, secure, and fun for students.

I learned about Morning Meeting through several Responsive Classroom courses that I took- I HIGHLY recommend signing up for these professional development courses if they are offered at your district. It completely changed my classroom management style, as well as turned my focus toward social and emotional learning, instead of solely on academic learning. Responsive Classroom is an approach to teaching that ultimately enables optimal student learning. Instead of simply focusing on student's behavior being "good" or "bad," it looks at every perspective of a child's time at school.


WHAT MATERIALS DO I NEED FOR MORNING MEETING?

Absolutely nothing! There are so many Internet resources for morning meetings (I linked a couple fo videos on the bottom of this post). Although you can always choose to incorporate materials into morning meeting, you don't need anything to do it. All you need is for students to either sit in a circle, or pull chairs over in a circle. Remember that EVERYONE in the room will participate in morning meeting- this includes any parent volunteers of IAs that are in the room!

If you're interested, check out Morning Meetings by Responsive Classroom in your professional library, or you can find it here on Amazon (this is an Amazon Affiliate link which provides a mean for Glitter in Third to earn a fee by linking to Amazon.com at no cost to you). 



HOW DOES IT WORK?

There are four components of morning meeting. Although morning meeting follows this specific structure, each of these components is adaptable and flexible. I change each section of my morning meeting every day to keep it interesting, yet the structure is the same so that students know what to expect. This helps students feel a sense of stability in the classroom. Morning meeting takes about 20-30 minutes each morning, but without a doubt it is the most important part of our day.
  • Greeting: Students literally greet one another by name. I emphasize the importance of making eye contact, not standing to close to others, looking interested, etc. It helps the social skills in your classroom. Not every student hears their name at home, this is incredibly powerful to ensure that every student in the classroom feels important and reminds them that they are part of the classroom community. 
  • Share: This is a time when students share events going on in their lives. There are so many ways for them to do this. Sharing allows students to practice public speaking, as well as how to communicate. Even the student not sharing is learning- they are learning how to be a good listener and conversationalist. The listeners learn how to ask empathetic questions. This is NOT show and tell. I also make sure the kids know that this is not a time to brag, and to be empathetic when sharing (for example, not talking about another student's party they are going to if other kids are not invited as wel).
  • Activity: An activity can be a game. An activity can be learning review. I NEVER use the word "game" for this, because students come to expect it. Everyone participates in the activity that helps create group communication. My students often play these cooperative games during recess and dismissal as well because they enjoy them so much!
  • Message: Every morning I write a message on the board. I read it to the students. Sometimes, we do a choral reading. In the message I mention some things that are exciting that are coming up so that the kids will think about what they can look forward to during the day. I also go over the schedule for the day. 



WHAT ARE THE RESULTS? 

Morning meetings create a positive classroom culture. My first two years of teaching, I did not do morning meetings. I see a complete difference of the attitude and respect that my students give one another. My students take the social and emotional learning that they learn during morning meeting, and utilize it in places like the lunchroom and playground. Morning meetings set the tone for the entire day. A peaceful, calm, and stable morning starts the day off right. I saw behaviors in my classroom decrease as morning meeting goes on throughout the year. It creates an incredible climate and culture in the classroom that fosters meaningful student relationships. Through morning meeting, students learn respect, trust, empathy, and kindness.

Morning meeting prepares kids for the rest of the day. Some students have bad mornings. Some students may have had a bad night. However, they will know that morning meeting will happen every morning and offer some level of familiarity to them. Every student deserves to feel valued, and this quick start to your day will help achieve this goal. It is a time where every student matters. Each child knows they are welcomed. Morning meeting is so much more than simply hearing a child's name, but a time that will increase a student's confidence and allow a child daily practice in appropriate and respectful communication.



WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?

There are some fantastic videos on YouTube of teachers' classrooms where a morning meeting is performed. I embedded a few below!





HOW CAN IT BE SUCCESSFUL?
As with anything in teaching: model, model, model! Show what the procedure should look like. Discuss what it looks like. Make sure that students know that only one person is talking at a time, it is a time for respect and listening. Create the morning meeting rules together so that the students are responsible and held accountable for the rules.


MORNING MEETING IDEAS
You want to start morning meeting - that's awesome! It can feel overwhelming to start. Here are some ideas to get you started:

Greeting

  • Simple
    • All students stand up in a circle. A student walks across the circle, says "good morning *insert name here*," then sits in that student's spot. Next, the student who got greeted finds someone else to greet. This continues until everyone has been greeted.
  • Skip counting
    • Pick a number to skip count by. For example, four. A student will start. They count four students, then say good morning to that student. They take the student's spot, then the greeted student continues the skip count. The greeting is over when all students have been greeted.
  • One-minute greeting
    • Students have one minute to greet as many students as they can.
  • The Price Is Right greeting
    • Students form two lines facing one another. A student runs down the line getting high-fived. 
Share
  • Table share
    • Every day, I let a different table share. Kids do not have to share, it is up to them.A After they do a respectful share, they say, "Thank you for listening. I will now take one respectful question." Students can ask a question - NOT a comment. We emphasize that the share is about the sharer, not the person asking a question.
  • Maitre d' share
    • The teacher will yell out a number (like "party of 3!"). Students need to quickly create a group of three. Then the teacher will come up with a share question ("what is your favorite color?"). The group members share with one another, then the teacher calls out a another "Party of" number.
Activity
  • Four Corners
    • You probably remember this oldie-but-goodie from your elementary school days! A counter sits in the middle of the room and counts to ten. The other students in the classroom walk to a corner. The counter yells out a number ("corner 2!"). Everyone in that corner must sit down.
  • Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah
    • A student hides a small ball (or stuffed animal, whatever you have in your room) in a slightly concealed spot. The other students walk around the room looking for it. When they find it, they say, "zip-a-dee-doo-dah!" and walk to the opposite side of the room. The game is over when all students have found the item.



Do you use mornings in your classroom? How do you do it in your classroom? Leave me a comment below!


Winning Wednesday giveaway on Instagram!



Hey there!
I wanted to announce a new weekly giveaway I will be hosting on Instagram. Introducing- Winning Wednesday! It starts today @GlitterinThird on Instagram.



Make sure to stop by Instagram today and all future Wednesdays to enter! Entering is easy, you just have to tag a teacher friend! You can get even more entries and chances to win by tagging as many friends as you'd like.

Good luck, see you there!








5 ways to use Google Classroom if you are not 1:1


Is your school 1:1? If so - that is awesome! A neighboring school district of mine went 1:1 two years ago, and I love hearing about how it works from my teacher friends that work there. However, my school district is not yet 1:1, so I can relate to teachers out there who are also not 1:1! Many people think that not being 1:1 means that you can't use Google Classroom resources in your classroom- this is absolutely not true! I use Google Classroom every single day in my classroom, while only working with 5 laptops. Our school also has the option of checking out a small group set of iPads. Using Google Classroom is just as easy as 1:1 when you only have a few devices (or even just one- the teacher laptop!). Providing a mix of a few devices along with normal teaching materials gives a good balance in the classroom of hands-on, concrete learning with technology!

Below I discuss six ways that you can use Google Classroom if you have a limited amount of devices within the confines of your classroom. I hope it provides a good scope of how versatile that Google Classroom truly is, no matter the amount of devices in the classroom!


1. DURING SMALL GROUPS
Google Classroom is easy peasy to incorporate into any block where you work with small groups. In my classroom, small groups are used in math and reading. I utilize math stations as well as literacy stations, so during my math and reading block I can quickly incorporate Google Classroom.

The teacher can set out a laptop or iPad at each spot of your small table during teacher time. My students know that as soon as they get to their seat for teacher time, they need to immediately log in and pull up the day's assignment. We work through a page in one of my resources as a group. For example, if we are learning about multiple meanings, I will assign a slide from my Dictionary Skills for Google Drive resource. I will scaffold my thought process when doing multiple meanings, then we work on the questions together. Worried that students will be too distracted to listen to you when they have technology in front of them? I always have my students do a "half-close" on the laptops, meaning that they close the laptop cover halfway. If you're using iPads, use a white piece of paper to cover the laptop. Tell the kids that any time the teacher is speaking, their iPad needs to be covered. Think about adults with televisions or their phones- we so easily will stare at our phone instead of the person right in front of us, it's human nature! Diminish and minimize those distractions to make sure the best learning is happening!


2. AS A STATION
An example of my
 literacy station rotations
This is an awesome way to not only incorporate technology into math and reading, but also to save you a ton of work each day. I have a set Technology station during math (my stations include independent work, math centers, technology, and teacher time). My easiest station to plan is by far my technology station. I simply need to pull up a page or two from the topic that we are either studying or reviewing, and assign a copy to each of my students. This takes about one minute on Google Classroom!

If you let your students use the laptops or iPads at their desks, I did run into one problem. The one issue I ran into for stations was that during rotations, my students who had just finished the technology station would loudly state, "WHO NEEDS A COMPUTER?" As helpful as this is (not), it was distracting, loud, and unnecessary. I made a new procedure for finding the laptops around the room. My students know that when it is their turn to rotate to the station, they need to quickly find a computer from around the room and get to work. As long as the computer was at an empty desk, they could snag it and bring it to their own desks.

Sometimes I use Google Classroom during stations for new content, but I also sometimes have it as a spiral review. It is a great way to really focus in on a skill that you want students to work on. One of the hardest topics on my classroom every year is equivalent fractions. I often assign a page of my Equivalent Fractions for Google Classroom resource throughout the year to keep my students sharp on this topic. When you have a difficult topic from the beginning of the year that took students a while to master, definitely keep checking in on it throughout the year to ensure complete mastery!


3. ROTATING DAILY DURING MORNING WORK
It's so important to make use of every minute of the day, especially when you are trying to get all your students on technology at least a few times a week! I love having a rotating morning work schedule for my students. Each student in my classroom is assigned a number based on their last name. Each day, I put the six students who get a device on the board (example: #5-10). Those students know that after they arrive and unpack, they will be working on a Google Classroom assignment instead of their usual independent reading upon arrival. I find that the assigned students for the day unpack at lightning speed because they are so excited to get to work on their device- bonus! 

One of my favorite resources to assign for morning work is Picture Writing Prompts for Google Classroom. It contains 40 online pictures to help spark writing ideas. The pictures are silly and fun, great for kids to infer what is happening in each picture! Writing is tough to incorporate throughout the day, but during morning work helps make it easier!



4. WHOLE GROUP ON SMARTBOARD
I often do whole group lessons in the beginning of a math unit, or for a science/social studies lesson. All of my Google Drive resources are Smartboard compatible. This means that all those great drag-&-drop interactive pieces of the Google Drive resource can be moved around by your kiddos' little hands on the Smartboard! Simply calibrate your Smartboard for the day, and use the resources to guide your lessons! I don't know about your students, but my students are over the moon when they get picked to go up to the board and do a drag-&-drop question and move a piece on the board in front of everyone. This is a fantastic way to make a whole group lesson on a topic that can usually be a little dry (*cough cough* soil components. Soil is not my thing) .





5. WHOLE GROUP.... NO SMARTBOARD... WITH PROJECTOR
No Smartboard? As long as you have a projector, you're in luck! Students can come up to your laptop to maneuver or type in answers. It is VERY similar to how a Smartboard looks and functions, but the kids won't be touching the board. This will definitely spruce up lessons and give kids that fun hands-on ability that Smartboards provide. All the students in the room will benefitting from this, and it will still be digital for all!


Do you use Google Classroom? Are you 1:1? If not, how do you get all your students a chance to work on technology during the day with limited devices? I'd love to hear all about it!

Back to School Sale: August 1st-2nd!




TEACHERS! It's that time of year again! The Teachers Pay Teachers Back to School Sale is this Wednesday and Thursday (August 1st and 2nd)! Everything at Glitter in Third is on sale for 25% off - including bundles!

Also, make sure to enter the GIVEAWAY for a $25 TPT gift card- for both you and a friend! Find Glitter in Third on Instagram @Glitterinthird.

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Are you all ready for the TPT sale? When do you start school?