Saturday, July 20, 2013

Glogster I Love You ... and a SUPER SUMMER GIVEAWAY! :)

Do you use Glogster? Guess what, if you don't, you should! It's free for educators, and it's pretty much amazing. While working on some curriculum this summer, I really wanted to create some resources for my students to practice interacting with text digitally. With the new CCSS, some of the states are moving to digitally testing students. This means that our kids will have to read and annotate a text using the computer. They will they compose their responses and answer any questions in an online format. I don't know about your school, but mine just isn't ready for that. Our students do everything with paper and pencil with the exception of a few multiple choice tests.

So, I got to experimenting. I found some great resources released by Smarter Balanced and used them as a springboard from which to pick passages and question prompts. Here is what I've put together so far:

The last one isn't quite finished yet. I'm hoping to have one for each unit I'll be teaching this year, which is 7. The awesome thing about the glog is that the students can click on the pictures or links and download a video, document, or other resource. There are so many uses and practice options for having glog as a tool in the classroom. 

I'd love to hear if other people use Glogster, and how it helps in your classroom. What do you use it for? If you don't use it, do you think it would be something that would be a valuable tool for teaching? 

 OH AND I DIDN'T FORGET ABOUT THE GIVEAWAY! Farley from Oh' Boy 4th Grade is giving away a $100 gift card to School Outfitters! Yep, 100 big ones. Click on the link to enter for your chance :) There are probably a million things I could spend that money on ... oh the possibilities. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Sweet Summer Time

Summer is in full swing, but I don't quite feel relaxed yet. Since school's been out I've actually been working on rewriting our 4th grade reading curriculum. Does your school pay teachers to do this as well?
We are basically starting from the bottom up, changing everything as we go. The CCSS is quite specific about the expectations for our students, and in order to prepare them we have to raise the bar. So, a coworker and I spent the last few weeks breaking apart the standards, prioritizing them into units, and finding challenging texts to use as exemplars. When we started I thought it was going to be much easier than it actually turned out to be. However, we are almost  finished and I am completely ready to start my summer.
While it's been a lot of work. Every unit now has:
Suggested Text and Other Resources
I can statements for the students to track their learning 
 Suggested mini-lessons broken down by targeted standards
 Sample lesson plans and thinking stems
 Graphic organizers
Exit slips
 Formative assessment options

7 units later and my brain is a little fried! One of my goals this summer was to work on things for my TpT store, but after this, all I want to do is lay on the beach and read a book!

What things do you work on for your classroom over the summer if anything? Do you take a break and turn off your teacher brain for the summer, or spend hours like me revamping and rethinking lessons?