Tuesday, January 29, 2013

HearAll Assessment Recorder... Why YOU need one!

As an educator, do you ever wish you could duplicate yourself?  Wouldn't it be nice to monitor that group in workstations at the same time you are conducting a reading conference with another student?   Speaking of students, do your students need to improve their fluency?  What if there was a product that could help you accomplish all of those things without breaking your classroom budget?  

There is!

Learning Resources sent me a HearAll Assessment Recorder to review.  This nifty product has various microphones to pick up many sounds at once.  That means you can record a group at work and hear everything that is happening.  I really enjoyed using the HearAll for Reader's Theater.  The quality of the recordings were good for classroom use, and the device is incredibly easy to operate.  I also love that it can record up to 64 tracks at one time, no matter how long they are!  
Here are a few ways that I am using the device in my classroom:
We record group work to share on our class website.  Students were very engaged and motivated when the HearAll Assessment Recorder was around!

Students record themselves reading and then listen to the playback.  They rate their own fluency.  We can also create class audiobooks that will be transferred to the Listening Station.

Math Workstations & Literacy Workstations

The HearAll Assessment Recorder improves classroom management.  By providing more accountability in small groups, students stay on task and more focused.

Overall, I think this product could be an asset in any classroom.  I particularly like the students'  awareness of fluency when they use the device.  I think it would be interesting to record a student throughout the year and create a digital portfolio utilizing the HearAll Recorder.  I have taught a student in the past that had Selective Mutism; this device would be ideal for assistive communication.

My students were using the recorder independently with ease after a quick modeling lesson.  It is very lightweight and made of plastic; it also appears to be very durable.  I also like that it has built-in rechargeable batteries, and that it plugs into your USB drive.  I think the price is a little steep, but I do believe that it is a good, quality product that would be helpful in any classroom.

You can visit Learning Resources at any of their social media sites:


Or you can order your HearAll Assessment Recorder on Amazon (currently on sale!).

Thanks, Learning Resources!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Pintrest Inspired Lessons Linky: Fractions

This week I am teaching fractions.  The internet is always a huge source of inspiration, so I would like to showcase a few of the great teachers who provided me inspiration this week.  Kuddos to everyone featured; I would not be able to teach fractions without all of you!  Learning in Wonderland is hosting a Linky Party of your Pinterest Inspired Lessons.

Runde's Room Interactive Math Journals have been a HUGE inspiration to my teaching this year.  I've actually been doing math & science journals, and I LOVE them!  Check out this brillant way to document equivalent fractions:
photo of Fraction math journal entry @ Runde's Room
Photo Credit: Runde's Room

Photo Credit: Here is a picture of a fraction game freebie from Math Coach's Corner
Math Coach's Corner has several posts on fractions that have been a huge help!  I'm looking forward to using her Fraction Games (Free!!!)

Comparing Fractions Poster Credit: Math Coach's Corner

Check out her comparing Fractions poster; it's another freebie!  She has an entire wonderful post on comparing fractions you can find here.  And then she has a great building fractions number sense post/game for the younger kids!  Love it!  Math Coach's Corner has been a wonderful resource for me this week; I feel like I have a personal math coach (which I desperately needed this week!).

Photo Credit: Chef's Hat from First Grade Parade
Adorable Cara over at First Grade Parade posted how to make these chef hats.  This would be a fun twist to do with fractions when talking about "Pizza" or "Pie"!

I didn't want to jump into equivalent fraction by just cross multiplying.  I love this video from MathMammoth that explains the visual models and moves into the more abstract concepts later.  Here is a worksheet that goes with it.

Photo Credit: Interactive Tool from NCTM Illuminations

Photo Credit: The Loco Teacher has a great Fraction Map for free that you can snag at her blog!

Anchor Charts

I LOVE anchor charts in my classroom.  I'm not super creative with the design, so I checked out The Hanley's wonderful blog for great anchor charts!  
Fractions---Probably my favorite thing to teach!

Your turn to link up!  Create your own post and join Learning in Wonderland to share!

Talent Show Idea For Teachers: Glowstick Dancers

Last year our PTO started a student talent show.  It has been a huge success, and the teachers have even gotten in on the act.  Read on to find out how to transform your team into Glowstick Dancing Divas!

The "Before" Pictures!  Here is a sneak peek of us getting ready:
Hmmm... Layers and layers of frumpy clothes + fluoresce lights = not cute! 

I haven't found any great videos of our performance (the person who filmed ours was waaaay back in the gym, and you can't really see anything), but here are some examples of other people on Youtube:

To create this look you will need 4 packs of neckless glowsticks (2 neckless in a pack).  Use LOTS of clear packing tape; make sure it goes all the way around your legs/arms.

Does YOUR school have a talent show?

Saturday, January 19, 2013

$$ Fundraising: How to get donations from corporations for silent auctions

Fundraising: How to get a ton of money for YOUR classroom today!

If your school is like mine, we are always doing fundraisers.  I am very grateful for the resources that this brings to our school, but I hate constantly asking the parents for money.  Read on to find out how to get big corporations to help YOU!

Silent Auction

Every spring our school has a Bazaar.  Each classroom puts together a basket to auction off.  Normally, we ask the parents to donate the items for the baskets (ranging from gift card baskets to spa baskets to legos...).  Then, we invite them in to bid on the baskets and give us more of their money. (Are you seeing a trend?)

This year, everything clicked!  I discovered that there are a plethora of companies out there that will DONATE items for you to auction off (instead of asking parents), and you can put in your request online with a few simple steps!

Staycation and Vacation Baskets

The theme of my basket this year is "Staycation"!  I love this idea because their are so many amazing things to see right here in Nashville.  I'm thinking that they might could use these resources to take their kids around town, a special date night for just the parents, or they could also purchase them to treat out of town vistors!

Where to get started

For me, I actually started on pages like Tripadvisor or local websites that review local attractions and restaurants.  Local news sites and newspapers often review these as well.  After finding inspiration on the top attractions in the area, I went directly to their webpages.  Scroll to the bottom and look for "Community Relations" or "Contact Us".  Most had a form for a donation request; it only took a few seconds to fill out!


I started with:
  • Sports: Major/minor teams including football, hockey, baseball, basketball, etc.
  • Zoos
  • Children's Attractions: Science Museums, Water Parks, Minigolf...
  • Hotels
  • Restaurants
  • Spas
  • Concerts
  • Unique Attractions to Your Area: Tours

Breaking it down

If your basket is worth a huge amount, you may want to split it up into smaller themed baskets to ensure that they sell for the maximum amount.

Continuing with the Staycation Theme, I'm going to break it down into: 
  • Romantic Staycation- I'm going to include gift certificates to: a performance at the Symphony, a local hotel, a fancy restaurant, and a trip to the spa
  • Ultimate Kid's Staycation- Zoo, Science Museum, Minigolf...
  • Sports Staycation- Any donated sports memorabilia, tickets to games
  • Staycation with Company- any leftover items that could be added to this basket 

THEN I found THIS!

Did you know that MAJOR companies all over the country will donate items for you to auction off?
I'm putting in a request for DISNEY TICKETS (4 four day park hoppers!).  
You can get donations from: Walmart, Royal Caribbean, Universal...  But you may want to get started really early!  Most companies want at least 6 weeks to process your request; some want as much as 6 months!  You will need your school tax exempt number to fill out most forms; sometimes you may have to fax them your request on official school letterhead.
The National Center For Education Statistics can give you demographics on your school that you may find helpful when filling out the forms.
An example of a community outreach page (Photocredit Titans Website)

PTO Today Forum included the Ultimate Donation List of 2013 that lists pretty much every corporation that gives to education along with a direct link to their site.  Great timesaver!

Staying Organized

I use Google Forms, specifically, Google Spreadsheet to keep all of my information.  I love that it is collaborative, so if I need to send it to a parent they can edit the document in real time.  I can color code my donations: who has sent in their item, who needs more information from me, who has declined, etc. Get started using Google Drive today by clicking here.
A screenshot of my Google Spreadsheet

More Inspiration

Check out these Pinboards for more inspiration!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Volcano Webquest

Click here to view the webquest on Volcanoes!