Monday, February 23, 2015

Assess with Plickers

Have you heard of Plickers? Plickers is a free teacher created app that uses an internet connected mobile device and a student's unique Plicker card.  Teachers create questions.  Students use their Plicker card to select an answer and hold it up as the teacher scans the cards using an iPad or smartphone.  Data is reported and collected instantly!

Assessing with Plickers is a great alternative to traditional means of data collecting.

I used Plickers to create a formative assessment about American symbols.  The questions I asked my students were created to help inform my instruction.  We took this as a pre-test and will take it again at the conclusion of our unit.

Here is a sample.

What I like about it is that I can ask all or a group of my students questions.  Since their Plicker cards are unique, students are less apt to "copy" each other.  Students also love the fact that technology is incorporated.

To learn more about Plickers, this video was very helpful.

Teaching American symbols is one of my favorite units.  Read more about our writing and craft ideas from these previous posts.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Calendar Makeover using #chalkboardbrights

If you're like me, something happens mid-year that makes you feel the need to change things in your classroom.  It may mean rearranging desks or redoing a bulletin board.  For me, it meant redoing my math area; in particular my calendar.

This chalkboard bright calendar from Teacher Created Resources is just what the area needed.  The calendar set is much larger than my previous one.  It also has a variety of pieces including holidays, special occasions like field trips and several blank ones for you to use.  

Over the years, I've tried many ways to keep the calendar numbers on.  I've tried cutting slits on the calendar and using paper clips, stapling numbers on or in sheer desperation writing the numbers like here.   Finally, I discovered a much more effective way of keeping the calendar numbers in place.

I use restickable dots which I cut in half and place on the calendar.  

The finished product gives this set a real polished look.  

I am definitely happy with this mid-year makeover and am sure that I will use it for the upcoming school year.  

Happy Teaching!     

Please note: I received the calendar set as well as other Teacher Created Resources products to use in my classroom. This did not influence my opinions or views of this product.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Five for Friday

I am joining Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday.  Here is a peek into my week.  It was a great one!  :)

We started our unit of study on American symbols.  I am so excited to use this new resource.  I love this unit but feel I could use more books.  Any suggestions?

A photo posted by Mrs.Parker (@learningwithmrsparker) on

We used our Common Core skills to create this bulletin board comparing both presidents.


Tuesday nights have quickly become my nights to join my #TeacherFriends on Twitter.  I love this weekly chat and learn so much from each #GuestEduCelebrity.  The Twitter chat is hosted and moderated by Debbie Clement and she manages to get great guests and prizes for those of us participating.  In fact, I won this prize on Tuesday.  I am still in shock.  

I hope you'll join me and my #TeacherFriends on Twitter too.  Follow me on Twitter here.  

We celebrated Valentine's Day on Thursday.  #thankgoodnessforfourdayweekends
We are a PBIS school, so I wanted to give my students something positive for Valentine's.  These cards from Party City were perfect.  I found these freebies on TPT and used them for our centers during the day. Find them here, here, and here and tuck them away for next year.

I love Kid President and had to have this book as soon as it came out.  I'd love to give a copy to one of you, too.  Just comment below with a positive quote or a funny story.  Please leave your email so that I can contact you.    

Random generator will select on of you by Tuesday.  Random number generator selected number 2.  Congratulations!

Happy Teaching!

Friday, January 30, 2015

Phonological Awareness FREEBIE

Although, we are nearing the 100th day of school, I still have a few students who are developing their phonological awareness.

During RTI, we work closely to hone these skills.  I love using this but have found that I need more items to support their learning.

I created this Phonological Awareness Bingo game because I noticed that my students struggled to put 3 sounds together.  As we use it, students must be able to put the sounds that I say into words.  Then, they must match the picture.  This requires careful listening as there are similar pictures.

We have been playing for several weeks and I have noticed a great improvement in their ability to blend sounds into words with and without pictures.

I thought that you might enjoy this game for your students, too. Click the image to get your copy.

If you do download this freebie, I'd appreciate a comment to this question.
What do you do to help develop your students phonological skills?

Happy Teaching,

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Computers in Kindergarten

Classrooms around the country are becoming 1-1 classrooms.  My classroom is no different.

To prepare, I took a course on Blended Learning.  Honestly, I was skeptical.  I could not envision my students nor I using the computer with them on a regular basis.  Although, the course was aimed at older grades, it gave me the knowledge I needed to integrate, set up, and use computers in my class.

We've been using Chromebooks regularly in our classroom since mid-October.  The first few weeks were not easy.  I had to rethink my teaching, how I ran my small group instruction and teach my students the basics of using a computer such as logging in.

I decided to use the rotation model as a way to integrate computers into our school day.

The last half of our day is dedicated to small group learning.  During math time, students work independently on the computer or work with a partner at math centers.  The next day, we switch.

Computer time is embedded within our literacy centers.  While on the computer, they are using web based tools such as iReady, IXL, and Moby Max.  These programs monitor their progress and adapt as needed.

Although, I am 1-1, I rarely have all the students on the computer at the same time.  I would rather they are working on age appropriate skills using more traditional methods.

I think that it is important that my students have the opportunity to learn independently but to also work with others in a social setting.  I purposely try to create or purchase center activities that will make learning fun.  I want them to be just as engaged if not more so while working at centers with their peers.  

I must admit, my students like using the computer.  But, I find that they still want me to acknowledge their learning.  Although they may earn a medal or a congratulations, it is my thumbs up or verbal praise that they seek.

Honestly, that makes me so proud.  Computers may be entering our classrooms but it can not replace me.

Happy Teaching,

Saturday, December 20, 2014

#Osmo Review and Giveaway

Recently,  I was asked to review Osmo; an interactive iPad game that uses real objects within the digital realm.  I have used this with my own child and with my students.  I love how this game is not limited by age or grade. Rather, it appeals to all ages because it uses logic and creativity.

Osmo comes with a reflector, a base for your iPad and supplies for two of the three games. Set up is easy.  I recommend that you install the free apps (Tangrams, Words, and Newton) prior to playing.

My students were very curious as I was setting up our classroom iPad for them to work with me.  First, we tried Tangrams. The objective is to build the picture as shown on the screen. The colored tangrams coincide with those displayed on the screen.  For some of my students, this was a bit difficult but with the help of a friend, they were able to create.  This is a perfect game for developing spatial relationships and learning how objects can be moved and rotated to build.

Next, we tried Words.  Words comes with letter tiles and has preset word games which you can play.  This is perfect for my 7 year old but not so great for my emerging readers.  Thankfully, Osmo  lets you create your own set of words to use; myWords.  All you need to do is upload a picture and add the word.

Artwork by Whimsy Clips.

This was a bit hit!  Not only were they engaged and wanting to build the words.  They were learning.  They literally clapped and cheered after each word we built. They had so much fun that they begged to play the same game over again.  As teachers, we know that it is not often that our students want to repeat the same lesson again.

Osmo is a great tool for the classroom. I am thankful to have had the opportunity to use one of Time Magazine's best inventions of 2014 in my classroom. And, now, you can too! The folks at Osmo have generously offered to giveaway one to you.

Enter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hurry so that you can begin the new year in your classroom using this fantastic iPad device.

Good luck!

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Please note: This is open to US residents only.  
I received an Osmo device to use in my classroom for this honest review.