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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tried It Tuesday: Math Apps!

I'm back to join in with Holly's great linky: Tried It Tuesday!

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At school, I do more than just try out new apps. I promise! Even though it probably doesn't seem that way with each passing week of this linky. I couldn't help, but want to share a few more apps with you this week.

During center rotations on Fridays try to incorporate review over the topic from the week and review for the basic operations. Part of specific learning disabilities is the fact that material has to be worked with and reviewed often for it to "stick" so that's what we do.

The last month or so, I've started downloading and incorporating some new free apps into my center rotations. Zombie Math, Sushi Monster, & Wings.

Zombie Math
The "world" (background) changes depending on which operation your using

You can see that this student had a correct answer from the human running off to the side. 
Zombie Math is my student's absolute favorite! There are levels for addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division. Basically, you have zombies coming at you and above their head is a math problem. When you type the correct answer in the Zombie is zapped and becomes a human once again. What I really like is that when the play is paused, you can still see the problems. This works very well for a couple of my students who get very stressed with time limits. They are able to work out problems on their whiteboards and answer the problem on the game without consequences. 

Sushi Monster


Sushi Monster is an app that only works on addition and multiplication. You have to pick plates that equal the number that the monster is wearing around it's neck. You need to feed the monster to keep him happy. There are several levels of difficulty, and the monster in the middle changes with each level of difficulty too.

Wings


Wings is a fun app for multiplication. We haven't used this app much yet, just downloaded it the other ay for the last few minutes of class. The students liked that they could move their iPad around to "swoop" and get the numbers.



One last thing.. 200 Follower Giveaway is going on now! TPT gift certificate, lesson planner, and clipart are all things you could win. Click the picture to enter :)







Monday, April 29, 2013

Giveaway Time!!

 Take a look on the side bar over there ---->


Notice anything new? There are two correct answers...but I won't make you guess.

The first change is another social media button. I'm joining the bandwagon and joining Facebook! I figure it will be away to share things I don't necessarily want to blog about, and family/friends who don't necessarily blog or want to follow that way. I'd love for you to follow me there as well. If you'd "like" to just click the button on the side!

The second change is that I now have 200 followers. What!? That is completely crazy!! I never dreamed I'd have 2 followers let alone 200! So I feel a little celebration is in order!


Many of you may know that I am switching from K-5 Special Education to 4th grade General Education next year.  I'm pretty excited for the transition and all that it will hold. I'll be able to work with my mentor teacher from this past year, and co-teach with her. I'll be teaching ELA as my school is departmentalized. All sorts of newness all over again, and I can't wait!

But I have to.

There is still this school year. I love the kiddos I work with and the staff members as well (. There is still a lot to do to get ready and done for the last few weeks of school. I feel as though I have a foot in this school year and a foot in next year as well. I have things I both need and want to do to finish out this school year, but I can't help to think about next year as well.

That's why I've made this giveaway something that hopefully everyone can benefit from whether thinking of plans for those last few weeks of school...or onward to what the future holds.

 


If you can bear with me for just a little while longer (sorry for the novel of a post) just two more things that I want to say.

Please look and be sure that you are not a no-reply blogger! I've made so many great friendships over the past through months through commenting and then emailing to converse with other bloggers. If you are a no reply blogger, then you miss out on this, and besides, it's hard to remember to check all of the comments that you have left to see if any replies have been made. If you are unsure, please check out a great tutorial from Jivey here!

Also, in case you haven't heard... teachers are taking over Instagram! I love this app and although I have a personal account that I post "teachery" things to, I will be creating an account specifically for this little blog. I will let you know for sure come Tuesday what name it will be under (most likely this blog). If you would like to join in, but you aren't sure if pictures of your personal life need to be displayed too, check out this wonderful tutorial from What the Teacher Wants to separate the two!




There you have it... be sure to to try for any items that catch your eyes and join me with some other social media ventures :)


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Blogs, Bagels, & Books!

For those of you who have followed this blog for awhile now, you may now that I am a big fan of Donna from Math Coach's Corner. I've bought several of her products and have used them with even my students who struggle the most; the great part is through her attention to detail in lessons and games my students "get it." It's amazing.

Something else that I find a little amazing is the fact that Donna bopped by my blog this week. Not only that, but she contacted me last night to tell me she is featuring that post on her Blogs & Bagels weekly spot today! I was just a wee bit excited when I read that last night. I'm not sure my husband truly understood why I had the level of excitement that I did.

 

If you would like to see my math games post that was featured you can click on the picture below. Or, an even better idea, click to go back to Donna's blog, read up on my post and four others and then click to follow for more great math ideas throughout the week!



Onward now to a great linky that is going to hurt my wallet in the very near future: Mentor Texts with the Collaboration Cuties. (Scholastic Warehouse sale is coming up in a couple of weeks and my wishlist has grown exponentially due to this linky, and garage sales are popping up...)

This week the topic is social studies. I tried very hard this week to narrow it down to just one book; this was not an easy feat! I have a deep love for history, so I have worked hard to include engaging nonfiction and historical fiction books within my classroom library. Today I'm highlighting a book from one of my all time favorite children's authors: Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco.


Below is what Leah Polacco shared about the book, I think she does a much more fitting job than I do of telling about this heartwarming story.

 Pink and Say highlights the brief but intimate friendship of two young boys, Pinkus Aylee (Pink) and Sheldon Curtis (Say), during the Civil War. When wounded attempting to escape his unit, Say is rescued by Pink, who carries him back to his Georgia home where he and his family were slaves. While the frightened soldier is nursed back to health under the care of Pink’s mother, Moe Moe Bay, he begins to understand why his new found friend is so adamant on returning to the war; to fight against "the sickness" that is slavery. However it isn’t until marauders take Moe Moe Bay’s life, that Say is driven to fight. Although ultimately, both boys are taken prisoners of the Confederate Army, fortunately Say survives and was unable to pass along the story of Pink and Say to his daughter Rosa, Patricia Polacco’s great grandmother. As it was told, Pink was hanged just shortly after being taken prisoner, therefore Patricia’s book "serves as a written memory" of him. At the end of the story Patricia bids the reader, "Before you put this book down, say his name (Pinkus Aylee) out loud and vow to remember him always."
One of the more heartwarming moments of the story is when Say tells Pink and his mother that he once shook the hand of Abraham Lincoln. Convinced that his encounter is a "sign" of hope, Say reaches for Pink’s hand, exclaiming, "Now you can say you touched the hand that shook the hand of Abraham Lincoln!" At the end of the story when the boys are separated, Pink reaches for Say one last time to touch his hand.
After hearing this story from Patricia Polacco in the words of generations preceding, I eagerly touched her hand; the hand that has touched the hand, that has touched the hand… I can assure you, the hope is still alive!
PinkandSay4




One last resource that I want to share with you. The Smithsonian's History Explorer has over 300 books cataloged that would be great to draw from for any social studies unit. This site seems to be updated frequently as well. Each book has a brief synopsis, whether it's fiction or nonfiction, and a grade level band that the book would be appropriate for. This is just one little segment of a website with a wealth of information. 

Be sure to link up and share your favorite social studies texts with the Collaboration Cuties!


Saturday, April 27, 2013

Student Motivation Saturday: Check-in Check-Out

I'm not sure what it's like in your part of the world, but it finally feels like spring here. Perfect timing too, it was a beautiful 66* watching my alma mater in their spring game performance. It made for a fun afternoon and K-State won so that's always great! :)

A look at the field before kickoff and the stadium renovation. 
This week for Joanne's Student Motivation Saturday, I am sharing an intervention technique I learned through my practicum class: Check-In, Check-Out.


This intervention is best used for off task or non-participation behaviors.

What it is: A system of support that is designed so that students can receive feedback out their behavior throughout the school day. After each subject/period, teachers provide feedback of specific goals on a behavior report card. Progress is graphed and students are reinforced when criterion for that performance is met. Parents may be asked to sign the student's daily progress as a way to increase communication between home and school.

I tweaked this intervention slightly, and had a student rate himself on how he felt he was doing toward behavior goals. This was compared to ratings that I had given him. I wanted to give this particular student a voice. Here is an example of what his self-rating component of this system looked like.

I added an extra line to write in goals as they came up for each individual hour, if there was something specific to work on during those classes. 

For the student I used the intervention with, having a voice was important. Before lunch we would talk about the ratings, see how if there were things that could be changed to make things better, and discuss how the day had gone so far. This was coupled with the game like system I shared a week or two ago, you can read more about that here.

More information on this intervention can be found by clicking here.

If you have a motivating technique be sure to link up!



Thursday, April 25, 2013

Peace, Hope, Love, & Kindness


I had fully intended on joining this linky from the moment I learned of it. Some of my best blogging buddies, Joanne, Jivey, and the Collaboration Cuties had a wonderful idea: to share some of the good in the world, with all of the hard times that seem to be happening. Ideas swirled of stories of teachers and students in my building, then something happened.

Something always happens, doesn't it? Whether good or bad events happen that change, shape the way we plan things out. These events can be major for the nation, such as the events that transpired in Boston; or these events can rock the world of a new family.



Last week, a Vet Med student from K-State, a kid I had a class with in undergrad, became a new father. He and his wife were married just a short time before my husband and I and they were so excited. But something happened. During the growth and development, some sort of mutation occurred, and Landon is one of four children with a subdural hygroma; perhaps the only child born with this condition. Trent and Karen created a blog to document the little victories in Landon's life. As it stands doctors aren't fully sure of this little one's life expectancy. Trent is so transparent in his blog, and although I work with students with special needs and have other strong ties to individuals with disabilities as well, I cannot begin to imagine what this family is going through.

Trent shared something last night that I thought was fitting for this linkup. Trent is talking about the possibility of a gene mutation that could have caused the difficulties that Landon is facing.
"Upon finding out that Landon was a 'mutant', I joked to Karen that we should find Professor Xavier's number, we have a new member for the X-Men! In reality, I would love for Landon's mutation to have given him a superpower, a gift that would make him a world hero and role model. But maybe instead of the ability to fly or x-ray vision, Landon was given the power to teach us things we can never learn in a classroom: compassion, love, patience, and hope. To cherish the moments we have and the victories we win. To traverse our difficult times with grace and faith. Landon may not be able to jump over buildings. Realistically, he may never have the chance to learn to crawl, and yet, in my eyes, he is more of a hero to me than any comic book protagonist. If we could all embrace this lesson of love and benevolence, what need do we have of crime fighter? Landon's lesson is that we can all be heroes to someone else each day because we usually don't need saving from an evil mad scientist. Usually we need a hug, a kind word, a held door, or friend to reminisce with."

What a perspective and truly profound thought. Go be somebody's hero today.
 

If you would like to read more about this family. There blog can be found here.  Prayers would be appreciated, but if you feel the urge to do more, some of the K-State students have come together to support this family and built up a site to raise support, it can be found here.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Workshop Wednesday: Card Games

Today the natives have been a little restless today. Maybe it is due to the fact that it was close 50 degrees, sun shining and it's just gorgeous compared with yesterday's snowfall. It's alright though, the week is half over so the craziness will be over soon. It also means that it's time for Jivey's Workshop Wednesday. The topic today is card games.


From the posting of this topic I knew exactly what I wanted to share with you all. In one of my undergraduate classes, a professor of mine assigned the task of creating a "manipulative kit." We could choose any manipulative commonly found in classrooms. I  chose playing cards!


Here is a quick look at the kit. My professor wanted us to have at least one educational game pack that is functional and something the kids could grab on indoor recess days. My computer from college bit the dust, so I don't have the cute frames. Boo!

Then I remembered a great free e-book that had 69 pages of card games, how-to's, and covered basically every game from my pack and more. If you'd like to check out those games, just click the picture below!



 Be sure to link up and read up on various types of card games!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Tried It Tuesday: Puppet Pals

 

Happy Spring everyone! Kansas has been crazy with gorgeous weekends of spring temperatures, and wacky weeks full of rain and snow. I guess I'm glad it works that way.. that way I can enjoy my weekends to fullest.

I'm back for Holly's Tuesday Tried It. I thought I would get off of my iPad app kick after last weeks post. Then something happened last week that inspired this post. So I'm back again with another free app!

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Last week I thought I shared a great idea for my MTSS group: using Sock Puppets to share what we had learned about complex consonants in 30 seconds or less. The sock puppets were cute, the kids liked it, the activity/informal assessment was great, there was a good response from many of you Tuesday night after I posted.

Then Wednesday happened.

Wednesday, my little MTSS group met again. This time, a little guy who had been sick the day before was back. I started to explain what I wanted him to do, as well as finish sharing our projects. He stopped me midway through explaining and asked me why we weren't using Puppet Pals.

I politely had to say I hadn't heard of the app.

Sometimes, with the big mass downloads, the kids get several new apps while it takes awhile for the teacher iPads to get the same ones. Well, the kid was right. This app rocked the socks off the sock puppets. {Though I still think that app can be utilized.}

You can choose from a ton of characters, record longer, better backgrounds. It's just better. Annnnd you can save to your camera roll without purchasing an upgrade like in sock puppets. It amazes me how well my students can navigate and teach me about iPads on a daily basis.



Here is an example of how to use the app.

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Then today I discovered another great free app. So we see if I can wait till next week to post or maybe I will post it sooner :) 



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