Monday, August 21, 2017

TPT 1 DAY BONUS SALE!


It's here!!!!!! 

THIS Tuesday (August 21st), you can save up to 25% off ALL of Glitter in Third and TPT using the code BTSBONUS at checkout. 

This is perfect if you missed the earlier August sale, or if there are other items that you suddenly wished you had picked up!

This 25% off includes all bundles in my store as well, which are already heavily discounted! This includes the interactive notebook bundles, Google Drive & Google Classroom bundles, math games/centers, and worksheet/printable bundles. Not only are these an even lower price than usual, but they contain curriculum that will last the whole year and save you time and energy!

This is the perfect time to stock up for the school year, or to try out some new products that you've been eyeing. I have a ton on my wishlist from different sellers that I want to try out!


Some of my favorite items that I love for back-to-school in September include:

Interactive Notebooks: 


Google Drive & Google Classroom:

Friday, August 11, 2017

How to make your Open House paperless!





Open House: the time where parents walk away with mounds of school paperwork that they aren't quite sure what to do with. At my school, the front office gives SO. MANY. PAPERS. The paperwork is repetitive, but parents have to fill it out for each child. This, clearly, is out of my control. However, I choose to fix what I am able to fix. Instead of giving additional paperwork in my own classroom, I have turned my Open House into a Paperless Open House!

Here are two EASY ways to make your Open House easy and (almost!) paperless!


1. Set up a sign-in laptop with emails
This part has made my life so much happier and easier. If there's something that drives me completely bonkers, it is trying to decipher handwritten parent email addresses. Instead, I drag a desk outside my classroom and plop my computer onto it with a spreadsheet. Parents write directly onto the spreadsheet, and they never forget to do this since it's located right outside the classroom (plus it's the number one question I inquire about.... "did you remember to write your email down?" "The computer is free if you want to put your email in now!" "Do you like being informed? Make sure to write your email down!"


This is what parents see Below are the questions that I include on the initial Open House Sign-In:

After this, all I do is directly copy and paste the emails into my Distribution List on my laptop. And BOOM, I have parent emails for the list! I never send home any sort of paper newsletter (except for kids without Internet access at home), so this is a fabulous way to make sure that all parents are informed all year.


2. QR code with Google Form on PowerPoint or SmartBoard
I used to print out a handout for each famiy to give me more information on their child. However, in the stack of paperwork from the front office, many families either sped through this or forgot to do it entirely. I switched to using a Google Form a few years ago for this task, and I have not looked back!

Of course, you need to make sure that each parent gets the link to the Google Form. I like giving parents a QR code to quickly find the Google Form. Instead of using paper and giving each parent a QR code on their child's desk, I put a QR code up onto the projector. Parents can scan the QR code to get the link to the second Google Form that I send out regarding their home phone number/child's interests/academic strengths & weaknesses/etc. The parents LOVE the QR code, as do the kids! Usually the kids are the first to grab their parents phones and snap the code.

Then, parents can fill out the Google Form link in their own free time! This allow the teacher to learn more


When is your Open House?

Monday, July 31, 2017

It's that time again.... Back to School SALE!


It's here!!!!!! 

THIS Tuesday and Wednesday (August 1st & 2nd), you can save up to 25% off ALL of Glitter in Third and TPT using the code BTS2017 at checkout. 

This 25% off includes all bundles in my store as well, which are already heavily discounted! This includes the interactive notebook bundles, Google Drive & Google Classroom bundles, math games/centers, and worksheet/printable bundles. Not only are these an even lower price than usual, but they contain curriculum that will last the whole year and save you time and energy!

This is the perfect time to stock up for the school year, or to try out some new products that you've been eyeing. I have a ton on my wishlist from different sellers that I want to try out!


Some of my favorite items that I love for back-to-school in September include:

Interactive Notebooks: 


Google Drive & Google Classroom:

Monday, July 24, 2017

Google Classroom.... in the classroom


WHAT IS IT?
Google Classroom is a (free!) learning platform developed by Google specifically for schools that simplifies creating, distributing, and grading assignments in a paperless and digital way. It utilizes Google Drive, but puts everything in one easy and streamlined location for both students and teachers. 

Using Google Slides (a part of Google Classroom), students can easily navigate between various concepts and pages.

An example of a Google Classroom main page. All students have access to this main page.


WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
  • Engagement: Pull out a worksheet on types of soil, and kids are bored. Do the exact same worksheet on a computer, and suddenly students are excited to use it. Excited kids make a big difference in class and in their own learning, Google Classroom helps make that a reality.
  • Paperless: In a world where budgets and resources are dwindling, for many teachers, paper is not much of an option. 90 million tons of paper is used a year, every bit of cutting down on the amount used makes a difference in our fragile world.
  • Preparation: No more rushing to the copy machine during class because you are missing one copy- Google Classroom is virtually prep-free. Click a button, and each student has an assignment!
  • Visual appeal: Interactive digital resources can be colorful and bright, but are not overwhelming to students. Aesthetically pleasing resources make students happier and more engaged!

WHO IS IT BENEFITTING?
Google Classroom will bring your classroom experience to a new level. Google Classroom benefits you, your students, classroom parent, and even administration!

Teacher: Google Classroom saves you prep and grading time. No more rushing to the copy machine at the 11th hour or dealing with yet another copier jamming in 13 different spots. Simply click a button, and every student has access to the same material. No more schlepping your massive teacher bag home every night full of 25 composition books. In the comfort of your own home and couch, you can grade and have access to 25 assignments simply with your computer!

Students: Since all the information is saved on one interface, students have an easy time reviewing a topic. It makes end-of-the-year review about 30 billion times easier. Students love how colorful and fun the pages are. No more black-and-white clip art on your worksheets, students can learn in every color of the rainbow! This results in more engaged students. Having all the information in one place also helps students better understand a concept by seeing the "big picture" and easily going back to understand a previous topic. Work is no longer crumpled in the bottom of a student's backpack. All work is saved on an easy-to-use interface that is accessible on any device in the world with Internet access.

Parents: Your classroom parents will be impressed with the technology integration in the classroom, and will also LOVE seeing all the students' work at home. Parents want to be informed, and this is one of the many ways to do that! Informed parents = happy parents.

Administration: Google Classroom is impressive during evaluation. It provides accountability for students which your administration will be happy to see. Google Classroom is still a new educational trend- that is truly here to stay- and your administration will be thrilled that you are using it. When my principal found out that I was using it in my classroom, she asked me to give a professional development class on it to get more teachers on board!



BUT..... WHAT ABOUT MY SCISSORS AND GLUE?
I get it. I love the cutting. I love the gluing. The folding. The notebooks full of colorful graphic organizers to use as an assessment and portfolio. However, I also love technology. It can be a hard switch, but as everything, it can be done in moderation! I mix my interactive notebooks on paper with Google Classroom. I am a firm believer that a balance is always best. All-or-nothing is not always the answer! Find a happy medium in your classroom between paper and technology. Find what YOU are comfortable with. It can be easy to be overwhelmed with technology if you do too much at once. Integrate it little-by-little until you find what you are comfortable with!



ISN'T THIS MORE WORK FOR TEACHERS?
Google Classroom has tremendously decreased my prep work. With the click of a button, I can assign and distribute assignments to students. No more passing out papers during class, everything is located in one compact space on their username. 

Grading is also SO. MUCH. EASIER. Every Friday I would take a home a large bag full of composition books and writing portfolios and attempt to jostle this massive bag into my Jetta. I would often do this, yet not even grade the entire weekend. Such a waste of time and energy! I am much more efficient with Google Classroom. Instead of physically taking work home and staring anxiously at my giant bag sitting in the corner of my living room all weekend, I do grading on my own time now. I can sit in front of my laptop with a glass of wine, and grade one or two assignments easily and quickly on my laptop. All my students' work is in one organized spot.


WHAT IF EACH STUDENT DOESN'T HAVE A COMPUTER?
It doesn't matter! I definitely do not work in a school with 1:1 devices. I have five laptops in my room, and five Kindle Fires that I bought on Cyber Monday for only $30 each. I purely use Google Classroom during stations, or via partner work. For example, during literacy stations, students will rotate off the five laptops to complete reading response work or grammar work via Google Classroom. During my guided math stations, a set of students will be working on fractions on a number line via Google Classroom. 

I do BYOD in my classroom (bring your own device). Students who have a laptop or device that are allowed to bring it to school, are more than welcome to.  Every year I have a few kiddos who do not have Internet access at home. For these darlings, you can easily print off a hard copy version of a certain page if you assign it for homework. Two pieces of paper is much more environmentally friendly (and easier on you!) than 25 pieces!

Finally, many schools have a mobile laptop cart for checkout, or computer lab access. This is great if you want all the students to be working on something at the same time, like a group collaborative project!



CAN STUDENTS USE IT INDEPENDENTLY?
Like anything, routines and practice will ensure that it is a smooth and easy transition for students. The first week of using Google Classroom with students is TOUGH. My third-graders can't type, can't find a certain key on the keyboard, and some can barely use a trackpad on a laptop. Many of our kids are tech-savvy with an iPad- they can quickly click and maneuver their way around with an iPad, but are clueless with a computer. Every year I have a handful of kids who don't know what to do with a laptop and start clicking the screen with their finger. However, kids adapt. And they adapt quickly! There is a week of a learning curve to get all of them on the same page.

Some of the things that the students will need to learn is how to properly sign on to Google Classroom, as well as sign off quickly to get their full allotted time. Every year I have a couple of kids who are extremely tech-savvy and technology efficient. they generally become a leader and resource for others to ask questions to or get help signing on. Generally, within a week or two students are speedy and swift at the signing-on process and quickly getting to work!



WHAT SUBJECTS CAN I USE GOOGLE CLASSROOM IN?
Any subject that you want! I personally create products for math, science, social studies, reading, and grammar. However, the world is your oyster! Google Classroom can be used and integrated with any subject!


HOW DO I START?
There are many great TPT products that you can purchase that are integrated onto Google Classroom. I created a post with step-by-step directions on how to use, check it out!











Friday, June 30, 2017

Are your kids constantly losing their markers, colored pencils, and crayons?

If you follow me on Instagram, you've probably already seen these!

We have tables in my classroom and use community supplies. Each table gets a supply caddy with colors (markers, colored pencils, and crayons), scissors, glue, and highlighters. I love community supplies because it gets kids learning to share with one another and be patient. This was my first year that my little darlings... well.... always had trouble with the "patience and sharing" concept. If a different kid at their table was using the red marker, they would run up to me and explain to me that their table needed another red marker. We had plenty of class meetings about what it looked like to share, and what it looked like to be patience while their color was being used.

Another way that my kids had trouble with supplies this year is they constantly lost everything! I'm not sure what happened, perhaps they have a new fondness for eating supplies. Yet it was almost daily that one of my students would come up to report that they lost a certain color marker, colored pencil, or crayon.

To ease the pain that I felt this year of supplies being lost (were they eaten? Stolen? Thrown out the window? I shall truly never know), I opted to create drawers that are color-coded. Students will be free to come up and pick up a different color if their table is suddenly missing one. We will create class rules and expectations on this, however. Such as using it as a last resort, or returning a color if you have one too many.

I have two tall, white Sterilite storage towers in my room. I used to fill these with my classroom teacher supplies (staples, adult scissors, binder clips, White-Out, etc.). I decided to make these something that my students are allowed to have access to as well. With the addition of these handy dandy file drawers that a retiring teacher gave me, I now have an incredible amount of storage space in my room. These drawers are perfect for the color-coded colors! Now all I need is a cute name to give this area.... "Color Drawers?" I'll need to brainstorm this!