Wednesday, August 7, 2013

QR Sight Word Codes

I have been using QR Codes and LOVE them. The kids have loved them too, I think it's using the iPods and scanning it that gets them so excited.

A great website that I have found that I got the idea from is Mrs. Crowder's Busy Bees. She has a great QR hunt to go along with some of the sight words as well as blends. I used the QR hunt and my kids went nuts for them. I think many of my students learned their sight words quicker using the hunt because it was so much fun. She has also added one for math, which I was interested to see since I had been trying to figure out a good way to do them with math.

QR codes are a great way to fill up any extra time you might have during or at the end of your day. I had 26 students and just split them up into their reading groups, paired them with an adult to help, and gave each group an iPod (I was lucky enough to have 6 iPods so each group was able to have one) and the students took turns using the iPod to scan and then share the word.

You can use QRs for anything, just let your mind go and have fun!

Monday, April 29, 2013

Mystery Eggs

So it was after Easter and I was in my local Albertsons and saw the little plastic eggs on sale so I figured I would get some and figured I could use them in my classroom somehow. As I was checking out the checker teased me that I was a little late in getting the eggs. I told him I was a teacher and was going to think of some way to use them. He suggested that I put prizes in them and let the kids choose one. I thought this was BRILLANT! Not only does it make my prize box go much faster, but I can put other things in there such as coupons for taking a class game home for the night, and the kids won't pass it by because it's not a toy or game.

They know the rule of having to take one egg, open it, and then take the prize but leave the egg. My kids almost ask for the prize box more because they don't know what is in the egg!

Clip Chart and Class Dojo

So I posted before about Class Dojo and using it instead of my Clip Chart. But for those of you who really enjoy the clip chart and want to keep using it but are intrigued by using Class Dojo, here is a link about one teacher who is using both. I did try this as well and started off with if students got 3 points they could clip up, but I still found it distracting for the students to be up and down, maybe that's just me. I have almost all of my parents connected to Dojo so communication has been really easy. I did also try to have students write down the number of points they had on their clip chart folders, but I feel this would work better for older students, or to start it at the beginning of the year. It was easy for them to color in the square on the calendar what color they landed on, but they couldn't tell their parents what exactly they did good (or bad) to end the day on that color.

So, perhaps you will be able to make it work in your classroom.
Clip Chart and Class Dojo

Alphafriends Files

I have been using Alphafriends in my classroom since I started teaching kindergarten. My kids love the songs that go along with each letter and they find it easier to remember the name and sound of each letter because they know the name of the Alphafriend.
Here is a link that has each card for the friends (English and Spanish). Alphafriends
I use these PDFs for QR codes and put them up for our letter each week so they kids can find out on their own what our letter is. They love the mystery of it.

There are many great links that other teachers have made with SMARTBoard lessons, songs and song mats, and games.
Here are some links that I have found very useful, I hope you do too.

There are lots of other resources you can find on Google.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Class Dojo

If you have not heard or checked out a wonderful behavior site called ClassDojo, you need to! Having trouble figuring out how to motivate your class to do the right thing? Or not sure how to recognize the students who are always doing the right thing? Well this site gives you that opportunity! You can customize it to fit your classroom and your students. 

I started out using the usual green, yellow, and red card system. I knew that I waned to be able to recognize the students that were always doing the right thing. So I added my own orange color to the other three. I called it the Rock Star space. When I first introduced it to my class, they were so excited and worked very hard in order to get on that Rock Star spot. I would give those students who made it to that spot at the end of the day a special award that they could take home and share. This worked for the first few years of teaching and then one of my teacher friends told me about the clip chart system. I read more into this and found that it was even better than what I was already doing and jumped right into that system. My kids loved it, it recognized the kids that were always doing the right thing and motivated the other students who sometimes struggled to get up to the top spot. This was great but I was noticing this year that it was always the same students who were getting to the top spot and the other students weren't being as recognized for their efforts. So I was looking around the web for a reward menu for one of my students on a behavior chart and that is when I kept seeing things for ClassDojo. 

I looked into it and found that THIS is what I really wanted to use. It doesn't take a lot of my time at the end of the day (I'm not putting gems on clips and moving clips back to the start color), and I think my favorite thing (well things) is that it gives parents specific feedback on what their child is doing well and what they need to work on, plus the system will automatically send reports to parents on Fridays. If parents do not have an e-mail, these reports are easy to print out for certain students so they can be sent home. Comments can't be seen on these reports though. Instead of just going home and parents asking "What color did you land on" and not really knowing what it meant when they said, blue, orange, purple, pink, etc. with ClassDojo they can tell their parents how many points they earned (I focus on the positive points with my kids but let parents know about negatives so they can help their child work on those behaviors).

The other thing that is great is that students get to customize their avatar. My students are motivated to get points and love to hear the beep and see if it's their name that has popped up. We started off just earning points and not worrying about individual awards. We came up with a list of class rewards that we wanted to earn so they knew that they had to work together to get points if they were to meet their goals. 

One of the other things that I really like about ClassDojo are all the changes that they keep making to make the program work better as a whole and for the teacher. The whole staff is very open to questions and suggestions on what teachers would like to see on the site and how to make things work better for us. You can award points from your computer, iPad, Antroid, or iPhone. 

Here is the link: ClassDojo
There are stories on there from other teachers that are using it. I would highly recommend it, it's been a wonderful addition to our classroom. 
Check it out if you haven't already, oh and did I mention that it's FREE??