Saturday, March 26, 2011

Study Jams & other free Scholastic Resources

Study Jams are free animated educational math and science movies by Scholastic.  Think BrainPopJr. without the paid subscription (on a side note, many Brainpop movies are free or can be viewed with a free 14 day trial).
Scholastic is best known for their book clubs, but they also have a wealth of great free resources on their website.

Here are a few of my favorites:
What are your favorite educational (for teachers or students) websites?

Google Reader & Do you Twitter?

What is Google Reader, you ask?  It's one page where you can view every new blog post (in it's entirety) WITHOUT having to open up 50 billion tabs and go to each individual site.  Then, if you find a site you want to comment on, you can just open up one page.  The best part?  Since you use Blogger, it is already connected to Google so it is already set up for you!

Free Tech 4 Teachers posted about Google Reader this week.  Their blog also has an informative video explaining the RSS process in very simple terms from Common Craft.  If you aren't following Free Tech 4 Teachers, you are missing out!  He posts fantastic stuff almost every day.  Also check out the Common Craft website, I found some really neat things on there.  I consider myself to be pretty "techie" but I learned a lot from their site.

How did I not know about Google Reader long ago?!  It's going to save me so much time and I LOVE IT!  Hopefully you will find it useful, too.

Also, one last thing.  Do you use twitter for education?  Like blogging?  Do you have any companies/prominent educators who give you ideas?  I would like to find some people to follow on there and really utilize twitter.   So let me hear from you!  Follow me on Twitter

Fab-u-lous Giveaway!

Some of my FAVORITE ladies are getting together to create an awesome giveaway!  Babblin' Abby, THE Deanna Jump and Mrs. Fabulous herself are giving away a literacy pack over at...
Fabulous in First

So go check it out!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

TouchMath product reviews

I recently acquired the following TouchMath products:

<b>Touch2Learn Math Fans</b>
<b>Touch2Learn TouchNumerals with Base 10</b>

<b>1st Grade Subtraction Kit</b>

The math fans are the best product that I've come across in a while and they are by far my favorite.  On one side there are pennies, which helps the students learn about coins early on.  On the other side, there are shapes and fractions!  The students are highly motivated with the math fans.  They are very enthusiastic about subtraction using the TouchMath products and strategies.  I have some students that struggle with math concepts, but the Touch 2 Learn fans gives the students a concrete manipulative to help construct their knowledge of a concept. 

The lessons included in the accompanying teachers' manual covers everything from one-to-one correspondence, counting and number order, greater than/less than, place value, addition and subtraction.  The students love the fans!  My Principal and Literacy Coach stopped by today to check them out and they raved about the fans!  I'm presenting these at the faculty meeting tomorrow.
  I used the subtraction kit worksheets in conjunction with the fans.  The subtraction kit has all the worksheets you need to teach the touch point strategies.  

  Base 10 with Math Fans
                           Hundreds Block                 Tens "Touch Stick"                          Ones

The foam TouchNumerals were very neat!  The oversized foam numbers fit perfectly in little hands.  While students are learning about number correspondence and basic computations, the base ten plastic trays and foam operation symbols help every step of the way.  Students can use the foam dots to begin to make connections between objects and numbers.  

I will be adding more pictures and details as we continue to explore with our TouchMath products.  Overall, I have been very impressed so far and I would highly recommend these products!  If you are looking for more information, you make click on the product name above the picture to link you directly back or you can click here.

You can also head over to We Are Teachers to become a TouchMath Champion.  Perks include free products for your classroom for you to review!  

Saturday, March 19, 2011

For Japan With Love

Friday, March 11, 2011

TouchMath Champions

Do you use TouchMath in your classroom?
If so, you should head over to We Are Teachers to become a TouchMath Champion.  You can earn points towards free products by blogging and writing reviews for their products.
The We Are Teachers site also has several easy grants worth $200 + a Flip camera that only take a few minutes to apply for.  Take a few minutes to check it out!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Corporate Grants

I'm working on some pretty big corporate grants.  Does anyone have some success stories with grant writing?  Any pointers?

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Dinosaur Unit: Making Salt Dough Fossils and Green Screen Movies

All kiddos love dinosaurs, so this week is especially fun.  We are using salt dough to make our own fossils.

Here is a recipe for the salt dough, courtesy of

Salt dough recipe

- 1 cup of salt
- 2 cups of flour
3/4 to 1 cup of lukewarm water (the amount of water depends on relative humidity).

Mix the salt and flour together in a salad bowl, using a wooden spatula. Then add the water until a large ball has formed. Knead at length on a lightly floured work surface (somewhere smooth and easy to clean). The quality of dough you finish with will depend on the time spent on kneading.
Ready to bake models
 If the dough is sticky (too much water), add a mix in the right proportions of flour and salt.
You can also use coarser salt : mix it with water to dissolve it.

*Note: I add coffee grounds to age the mixture and to give it a brown color.

Next, we make some impressions by imprinting toy dinosaurs feet into the dough.  I have also let them use seashells (get a big bag of them at Walmart for under $5 in the craft section) for texture.  We let it sit for a long time until it is completely hard.  I would recommend doing this sometime early in the week.

Also be sure to check out Mrs. Jumps' Amazing Dinosaur Unit here.

We wrote adjectives for dinos, created a story about what it would be like to find a fossil (those drawings crack me up!) and read every dino book I can find.  I also borrow giant dino toys from my teaching buddy down in K (Can you tell she has two boys?).  :)  Adding posters and dinosaurs everywhere really adds to student interest and creates alot of buzz.

Green Screen Movies

We are going to attempt our first ever green screen movie this week! By placing simple (lime) green fabric behind the students, you can insert any background (pictures or film) when editing it on the computer.  I have made lots of flip camera movies, but this will be my first attempt with the green screen.  I'm very excited!  Beth Newingham explains this entire process in great deal in her blog on Scholastic Top Teaching.
The theme for our movie is "Old times compared to Modern times".  I'm going to kinda see where this takes us, but I think I may prod them in the direction of transportation and the home.  These are two areas where it would be very easy to picture out modern day influences and they could do alot with it.

We will also be doing many activities from Mrs. Patton's Long Ago And Today Unit FREE.  This is a 3 part unit, and it has some amazing ideas!
You can even watch an animation from Proctor and Gamble of The History of Laundry which is very fascinating.

 Have you used a videos in your class before?  Also, I'm very open to more dino-related activities!  :)  Have a great week!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Ipad and firsties

Do any of you have an Ipad you are using with elementary kiddos?  How do YOU use it in the classroom?

I'm seriously considering buying one of the new models when they come out.  I would also use it to keep up with appointments/work for graduate school, reading books and of course music.  So it would be a win-win situation.

Here are some great K-2 Apps
And here is another random site I found interesting:

I'm also very interested in applying for Apple's Distinguished Educator program next year, so I think the Ipad is a must.

Did you know Apple gives educator discounts?

A wordle of my Educational Philosophy

Wordle: My Educational Philosophy
Click on the picture to go to Wordle and see the large version!

I was intrigued by another blogger, Mrs. Malchow, who posted her philosophy of education into wordle to create a visual representation.  I thought I would try my own.

"Students" and "reading" are apparently very dominate in my philosophy.  Can you tell I'm a first grade teacher?!  :)

On the bigger version, you can also see that the following words stand out: learning, classroom, writers, rotations, readers, math, group, curriculum, also (hmm may need to look into this...), progressivism, teacher, area, educator, responsibility, and knowledge.

I was shocked to see that "technology" was absent from my wordle.  This is something that I will definitely need to go back and incorporate.  I love that wordle lets you know what you are really emphasizing, whether you meant to or not!

What would YOUR wordle look like?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

I'm featured on Edutopia's homepage!!!!

My member profile is currently being featured on the Edutopia's K-2 homepage!  :)  Check it out here.
Edutopia is George Lucas' Educational Foundation- empowering and connecting teachers, administrators, and parents with innovative solutions and resources to better education.  So cool!  :)
What are YOUR favorite educational websites?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Today is such a great day.  For starters, I hit 100 followers (thanks!)

Next, I have recently received two blogging awards:
 (Thanks Tiffany)
(Thanks Sunny, Mrs. Pearce, and Shannon!  )

The Rules
1. Thank and link back to the person who awarded you this award.
2. Award 5 great recently discovered bloggers
3. Contact those bloggers and tell them about the award

So here are my pay it forwards:

Ok and now my 7 facts:

1. Last night I somehow volunteered myself to present at the county technology conference on Flip Cameras.  If you have any amazing stuff you do with videos, let me know.

2. I use The Daily 5, a CAFE board and Lucy Calkins' Units of Primary Study in my classroom.

3. I have the book "Words Their Way" but I'm still trying to wrap my head around everything.  If you use this program, I would love to hear how you do it!

4. I am almost finished with my Master's degree!  I will complete my degree at the end of the summer.  It is in Special Ed- Mild/Moderate Disabilities.  Basically, it has helped me with the referral process and gives me strategies to better teach kiddos with learning disabilities (and really all my students).  The courses are completely online through The University of Southern Mississippi (NCATE certified!).  You can learn more about the program here.

5. I have a grey streak in my hair that appeared there when I was about 5 years old.

6. I have the best husband in the whole universe.  

7. I am not a neat person.  But I'm creative, so it balances out.  Sort of.  :)

Lastly, it was kind of a breakthrough day.  I use my iphone and our class ipod touch daily, but today was the first day I had the children record themselves reading.  Just go to "Voice Memos" and press the red button!  It was great for them to hear themselves.  Also, I have a student with selective mutism (read: she has never spoken to me.  ever.) and she recorded herself!  I was excited to hear her read!  She did such a great job- it was a big step.

Happy Tuesday!