Thursday, July 11, 2019

QR Codes for Listening to Reading

I love teaching first graders, but in the beginning of the year it is always tricky to get some of my kids excited about reading.  I hear, "I don't know how to read" a lot.  I have found that using QR codes on the back of popular pictures books can be a huge positive for lower elementary classrooms.  Not only does it help to encourage reading, but who doesn't love listening to a story being read by their teacher.

I have decided to start creating these QR codes with a small section of my character eduction books.  My plan is to place these in my Time In corner of my classroom.  I plan to create a post about this area in early August.  Follow the link for more information.  This are a will be used as an outlet for my kids that are needing a break from a tricky situation or just need a place to be more mindful of their behaviors.  Listening to a story will be an option to help them calm their body, so they can return to our classroom learning.  

Here is a quick tutorial on how I used SeeSaw to create easy QR codes of me reading stories.  

Step 1: Go to SeeSaw and choose post to student journal. Select create a note.  I love this option because you can type in the title of the story, so it makes organizing them easy! 

Step 2:  Type in the title and author of the book you plan to record.  Hit the microphone icon at the bottom on the screen and begin recording.  Once you are done, hit the green check. 

Step 3: Select who you would like to send this to.  You may choose to send this to all student journals or just one specific child.  I always make myself a student and post items like this just for me to see.  

Step 4: After the recording/note posts you are ready to create your QR code.  Hit the three dots below and select create a QR code or choose to save. 

That's it!!! It is so simple and easy.  I choose to print the QR Code so I can add it to the back of the book, which makes for easy listening. 

What do you like to use for listening to reading in your classroom? 
Please share ; ) 

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Numicon Math Centers

It is June and I promised myself that I wouldn’t think about teaching until
after the 4th of July.  Well, here were are talking about math centers.
I took a quick trip to the teacher store to look at new options for a few math
manipulative to use in my inquiry stations. I found these Ten Frame Towers and
the ideas are pretty much endless. How have I never heard of numicon and
why am I just now discovering all of these amazing, inquiry-based, activities to
use these with? 

Here are just a few ways I plan to utilize these in the first few months of school. 
My first graders main focus for the first part of the year is being able to master
ways to make 10 and these are perfect for doing just that.

We also want them to be able to add within ten and recognize dot patterns, ten frames, and numbers in a snap.  This helps to grow their number sense, which in turn makes mental math much easier in the long run. Check out these ideas.

I don’t know about you, but my kids would love this frog pond idea.  You can get foam circles to make into lily pads and those cute little frogs can be found at your local Dollar Tree. 

One thing that I have noticed in my 12 years of teaching is that more and more, children are starting school without basic fine motor skills. Fine motor skills are used to do tasks like using a marker, cutting out and gluing shapes, or to hold the paper still while cutting it up with a scissors or drawing on it with crayons. Why not help to improve that and work towards strengthening their number sense at the same time. I have already purchased the locks here because I know this one will be a huge hit!

**Also you can find those plastic tweezers at your local Dollar Tree** 

I hope you find some of these ideas useful!! I can’t wait to try some of
these out next year! What do you do with your kiddos to help grow their
number sense and promote inquiry?
Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Magic Squares

I was recently given a book to take a peak at and let me tell is simple, easy, and has wonderful ideas to help amp up some of your word work and phonemic awareness lessons.  The book Recipe for Reading is now a go-to for me.  I wanted to share a simple and fun way to get your students excited about thinking, writing and using sounds.  These magic squares were a great way to warm-up our brains before beginning guided groups, plus it required higher-level thinking to generate their own set of words.  Here is a quick peak at how it works.

I start off with a quick warm-up using the boxes.  Each child gets a box with a vowel pattern we have been working on (r-controlled, diphthongs, etc).  I set a timer for 2 minutes and have them generate as many words as they can using the vowel pattern and the consonants provided inside the box.  After the time is up, they read and share their words.  I also have them circle one and write it in a sentence on the table top.  

A student might see: chirp, third, bird, first, sir 

The book also has sentences for dictation and sentences for reading using the sounds within the boxes.  I recently made enlarged magic squares using familiar vowel combinations.  You can grab some sample magic squares by clicking the image below.  I am in the process of typing the reading sentences up so my kiddos can practice making words, writing the words in sentences, and reading them.  This short 10 minute activity can cover so many concepts in a short amount of time.  Can you say perfect for RTI and guided groups?

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Apps Worth Downloading

There are so many applications out there right now that it can become a bit overwhelming.  This year my grade level made the switch from Android tablets to iPads and the possibilities with the iPad are so much greater. I really love to use applications that enhance my lessons and encourage student creativity.  Here are just a few applications I use on a daily basis and love. 

This app is a favorite in my classroom and is used almost everyday.  They have a lite version and a paid version.  I currently have the lite version (free) and we can still do so much with it.  This is used as a web organizer.  We have used this in math to show a variety of ways to make numbers, retell and character traits in reading, and even creating multi-syllable words.  Here are some of our samples.  

 Click here to listen       

2.   BookCreator

This app can be used in so many different ways.  I have used this for creating class books and sharing with parents.  My kids love to record themselves reading their writing and uploading pictures from their stories.  We have also used this with the app Chatter Pix to create facts about animals.  This application does cost money but it is so worth it.  It even allows you to generate QR Codes for the books that you create which makes it easy to share with parents.  I just add the QR code to my weekly newsletters and I’m done. Check out our most recent books.

3.   Flipgrid
This app has both a paid version and also a free version.  I currently have the free version and it has been great.  This application is used for sharing information within your classroom and others.  I love this because I can create a grid and then share it with other classrooms in my building, city, and state.  This is a great way for my students to collaborate with others.  We recently started learning about how to be a better bystander.  We did a class read-aloud and then the students created a grid discussing what they could do to be a better bystander.  We shared it with our school and others had the opportunity to add to it.  Check it out below. Click the link below to view the grid.

What are some of your must have applications that you use to increase student learning and enhance your lessons?