Saturday, October 19, 2019

Four Ways to Use Google Classroom in Your Classroom TODAY!

Let's talk about Google Classroom.

Have you tried it?
Do you use it?
Do you LOOOOOVE it??

If you answered no to any of these questions, maybe it's time to learn more about it.

My school became a 1:1 school about four years ago. However, if you don't have technology for every child in your class, that doesn't mean you can't use GC. Not at all! It still works great for center time even if you only have four or five computers and immediately fills one of your weekly center slots for any subject.

Just an extremely brief overview for those unfamiliar with GC. In a nutshell:
  • You make an assignment for your entire class, small groups, individuals, etc.
  • The students complete the assignment and turn it in to you digitally
  • You can check the assignment from anywhere that you are connected (including watching Netflix, in your pjs, with your feet up)
  • You can respond and leave feedback to the students digitally
  • You can share the finished activity with the student's parents via e-mail

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVED using GC in my room. However, there was one problem, it could take much longer to grade than paper assignments with some of the activities! I found that the ones that were most beneficial to both my students and myself were when I assigned the following types of assignments.

1) Writing Assignments:
I loved these because the students standardized testing in the spring was all digital. They needed the practice learning to type and use the tools. I especially loved that I really could grade them from home in the evenings without taking stacks of paper home. I could be present with my husband, watching tv, and still take time to read and leave feedback to my students. This allowed my students to continue with their writing the next day with feedback from me.

2) Remedial or Enrichment Assignments:
I could assign links to my students for a teaching video to watch and then links to online games to play to practice a particular skill. If you haven't tried this, it is AWESOME and the students love it. You can assign individually or in small needs-based groups. is a great one for games!

3) Digital Task Cards
I started making digital task cards to assign during centers. The only extra prep on my part was the response sheet. I found that this was much faster than having to open up each assignment and go through individual slides for drop and drag answers. The students loved the colorful digital task cards. You can see all of my digital task cards here. The best part is they are only $2 each!!

4) Google Forms
Using digital tests meant no more paper grading and students received a grade immediately upon completion. Our team started making these for everything! It really made looking at the data so easy. Instead of using valuable time grading, we were able to use that time to assess which students needed more instruction.  You can easily make your own tests.  Give it a try!

If you haven't tried Google Classroom, I strongly suggest you give it a try.  Seriously, your students will treat you like a ROCK STAR!

I have a Halloween Digital Task Card item in my store that is FREE for you to try out. It is a 4th grade level, but you will be able to get an idea of how Digital Task Cards work. Click here to see it.

I love making Digital Task Cards so there are new ones uploaded to my store often for each grade level 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. If you don't see what you need, please send me an email, and I will be happy to make what you need.
You can find all of my digital products by clicking here.

That's just...
My Kind of Teaching

Monday, September 16, 2019

Take the DREAD out of Missing a Day of Teaching!

Being out of school... 

It's one of teacher's worst nightmares.  Teachers will drag themselves out of bed and force one foot in front of the other just to go to work.  Why?  Because being out of work causes so MUCH work and preparation, that it's just easier to go, fever and all.

What if being out of work could become so easy, that it would literally take you just a few minutes to prep for an entire day (or two or three)?  I can help make that happen for you!

These Sub Plans are so fun and engaging that your students will continue practicing important grade level skills without sacrificing learning.

The best part for you?  They are NO PREP!  Just have a class set prepared and in an "Emergency Sub Plan" folder prepared and ready to go.  There's nothing for you to do on the day when an emergency happens and you just can't put one foot in front of the other to make it in.

What comes in each set of sub plans?

 I love making these sub plans of high interest to the students so that they really enjoy these activities and they are not just "busy work".  Each thematic sub plan includes two paired passages written by me.  One is fiction and the other is non-fiction.  These can be used over multiple days or just use one and let the students anticipate the other on another sub day!

 Each sub plan also includes language arts activities to keep students practicing on important grammar skills when you are absent.

 In addition, there are at least two writing activities for students to use.  Each set of plans has different types of writing opportunities.

 There are five math activities that are specific to the grade level and include a variety of math concepts.  Answer guides are included for the sub to check the students' work.

Here is a closer look of some of the third grade math concepts.

I've also included a few fun extra activities to use if there is some extra time that needs filled during the day or if you need activities for early finishers.

To make it even easier on you, there are four pages of editable instruction pages in each sub unit.  Simply type in your instructions and have ready to go, or send it in an email to your teacher bestie in an emergency!

One of my favorite things about these sub plans is that they are built around highly engaging themes that students might not have been exposed to previously.  For third grade students can learn how to make homemade ice cream, Komodo dragons, real pirates, and the groovy sixties!  Fourth graders can learn about construction, the history of kites, the history of movies, and weird weather.

I admit, I didn't wait until a day that I was absent to use these.  I used all of these with my fourth grade students as fun thematic themes when we needed a couple of days of something different.  They were all a huge hit!

You can see all of the sub units by clicking here.

So, while I hope that you don't have any major reasons to be absent this school year, we all know that it happens.  At least, I can make it as painless as possible so that you don't have to worry about your classroom and can instead focus on yourself. 

Taking care of yourself is important.  Making your life a little easier is just...

My Kind of Teaching

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Ten Easy Centers with Items Already in Your Classroom

I used to struggle to plan activities for one day or one week at a time.  One day, I had an epiphany to plan for a month at a time, and I couldn’t believe how “extra” time for my after school life suddenly opened up! 

Choose one day to stay late at school (or spread it out over two days so that you aren’t so late).  That’s only TEN days per YEAR compared to almost daily before I started this plan.  Look ahead at your curriculum map, and note the concepts and skills you will be covering.  The first thing I did each month was to get my centers for literacy, math, and extension classes ready.

Wait a minute…  Did I just say centers??  (I know you are thinking that those take a LONG time to prepare.)  Yes, you are correct.  They USED to take a long time to prep until I realized I could make them mostly NO prep or extremely little prep with the help of a couple of my most helpful students.

In my classroom, my students rotated to 1 center each day for 20-30 minutes per center.  I needed five centers for each week for four weeks.  That meant that I needed at least twenty centers for literacy, twenty centers for math, and twenty centers for my extension classes.  That was SIXTY centers.  That would have taken a LONG time to prepare.  Well, in my old way of thinking, it would have. Let me show you how it works.

In my NO PREP monthly series, there are 10 centers each month with 2-3 bonus activities. (Read a blog post about them, and grab a freebie for your own classroom HERE.)

Using these, I would need about ten additional centers for my classroom.  The good thing was that some things in the classroom never changed, which made it so much easier to plan.  Look at your own classroom, and decide what you can use almost all year without changing.  Not only does this help with your planning, but it is great for your students because they know exactly what to do at these centers.  

Here’s a list to choose from:

11) Technology – Some options here are Google Classroom, online games, website research, BrainPop, YouTube videos with comprehension questions, etc.
  2) Books – Give your students time to read books…free choice books, assigned reading, math books, science books, social studies books, etc.  Just get them reading.
  3) Games – This is an absolute favorite!  Keep out that game of Trouble or Sorry in both literacy and math centers.  Students are using reasoning, logic, reading, math, and so much more when playing a board game.
   4) Writing – Whether you assign a topic or let students complete free choice writing activities, writing is so important.  Each child can keep a spiral ring notebook for the entire year to write in.  Don’t be afraid to use writing in math also! 
   5) Puzzles – Keep a 1,000-piece puzzle set up in the corner of your room for the entire month.  Students love working on puzzles, and they are a great stimulator for the mind.
   6) Teacher Center – Make yourself a center each week.  Use this time to work with small groups.
   7) Reader’s Theater or Book Club – Have a small group of students work on fluency, oral reading, comprehension skills, and more as they read together.
   8) Partner Activity – There are so many things you have in your classroom when you look around that will make perfect activities for two students to complete together.  What about something you love but that is not large enough for more than a couple of students to use?  This is a perfect time to put two or three of those out for the month.
   9) STEM – Prepare some STEM containers with tasks that students can work on either individually, with partners, or in small groups.  They can be as simple as popsicle sticks in a pencil box with instructions like “Build a bridge.” written on an index card.
   10) Task Cards – Use task cards spread throughout your classroom for a fun
scavenger hunt.

I hope this list has inspired you to look in your classroom at what you already have on hand in your cabinets and shelves to help you think about how you can implement those items into your classroom immediately for month-long centers to help make lesson planning easier.

Working smarter, not harder, that’s just…

My Kind of Teaching

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Addition and Subtraction Fact Fluency Games

Maybe you are just finishing up the first month of school or maybe you have those first day of school butterflies still hanging around as it’s almost time to begin a new year.  Both are exciting times.  I always love and look forward to the beginning of fall, especially when a new school year is all settled in.

Rules and procedures are implemented, and the days are going smoothly.  Cool crisp mornings, thoughts of apples, pumpkins, falling leaves, bonfires, and hayrides are the excitement in the air.  It’s one of my favorite times of the year in and out of the classroom.

The “testing season” isn’t upon us yet, and we can really dig our feet in to learning.  I especially love using games in the classroom.  As students practice fluency facts for addition and subtraction or multiplication and division, the more ways I can make it fun, the more my students love it.  I’ve always been of the philosophy that if it’s called a “game”, suddenly, the students are all about it!

First, second, and third graders all need practice with addition and subtraction fluency.  These games will help boost those skills.

I’ve made these games with both a Halloween theme and an autumn theme.  The games are exactly the same.  The only things that change are the clip art.  I have a set of these same games for five games of addition and five games of subtraction for students working on fluency facts to 20.  I also have the same games for multiplication and division facts 0-12.  Laminate all of the games for durability before using.

Four different boards can be used to play tic-tac-toe.  Students can use dry-erase markers or small manipulatives to cover the squares.

My students love this game!  This games can be played with 2-4 players.  The object of the game is to be the first to build a complete scarecrow by adding two numbers correctly and then spinning for a piece of the scarecrow.

Students will move around the game board as they answer subtraction problems.

 For this game, each student will use a different color of marker.  As the students answer the subtraction problems, they will then cover the leaves with the same number.  The student with the most leaves covered is the winner.

Who doesn't love a simple game of memory?  Students will play a memory game to find the matching equation and differences.

Two game boards included for two players to play against each other, or this game can be played to see which dice wins.  Roll, solve, cover.

 My students love playing BUMP all year long!!

 Students will race to solve the addition problems and escape from the spider's web.

Students will spin the two spinners, solve the addition problem, and make a line between two dots.  When a square has been made, the student will add his/her initials. The winner is the person with the most boxes at the end of the game.

Students will take turns drawing an addition problem and solving.  If a "Rotten Apple" card is drawn, the student must return his/her apples.  The person with the most cards at the end of the game is the winner.

Add games to your classroom for centers, early finishers, indoor recess (I hope you don’t have too many of those in the fall), remediation, enrichment, or more.  Your students will be engaged and love learning.

Click on the pictures below to see these games in my TpT store.

Fall Addition and Subtraction

Halloween Multiplication and Division

Fall Multiplication and Division

Fun and games, that’s just…

My Kind of Teaching.

See you soon,

Monday, August 26, 2019

Morning Tubs for 2nd and 3rd Grade for September

Morning Tubs in second grade or third grade can be such a fun and stress-free start to your morning routine.  If you missed out on using them in August, that's okay.  September is a great time to get started using them in your classroom! Your students will be excited and engaged with learning each and every morning.

Can you believe the month of August is almost over and September is looming on the horizon?  Whether you have been back in school for a couple of weeks or you are getting ready to return, August always seems to be a stressful month.  Using morning tubs in the classroom helps to begin each morning with a positive vibe in the classroom which helps with that stress.  

When I first started developing these morning tubs, I knew they needed to be easy to implement, use things already found in the classroom, and fast prep.  Each activity is print and laminate with simple lines for cutting.  They can easily be prepped with your feet propped up watching your favorite Netflix show!

Nine Tubs for ELA

There is very little difference in the morning tubs for 2nd and the ones for 3rd for ELA.  
Tub #1 - Antonyms and Synonyms  
Just add clothespins!

 Tub #2 - Noun, Adjective, or Verb?  
Students love poke cards!

Tub #3 - Digraphs  
Just add clothespins!

Tub #4 - Narrative Writing  
Eight interesting pictures will get your students writing.

Tub #5 - Compound Words  
Memory Game 

Tub #6 - Sight Word Game
The words are different for the two grades.  Second grade has sight words for second grade and the third grade tub has sight words for third grade.

Tub #7 - Plural Nouns Sort  

Tub #8 - Sentence Punctuation
Students love having a reason to use play dough!

Tub #9 - Make a List
A fun form of writing!  Students are offered many ideas for making a list.

Nine Tubs for Math

The differences in the two units are evident in the math activities.

 Tub #1 - Make a Pattern (Same for 2nd and 3rd)
There is no specification for uni-fix cubes, so you can add anything you have in your classroom with the colors for students to use to make patterns.

Tub #2 - Build the Shape (Same for 2nd and 3rd)
Magnets can be added to the backs of the popsicle sticks and used on a magnetic surface.

Tub #3 - Roll a Number 

Second graders will roll a three digit number and represent with manipulatives.

Third graders will roll numbers to the thousands place and show the number in different ways.

Tub #4 - Number Puzzles
Students will put the puzzles together by skip counting with different number patterns.  Second graders use three-digit numbers.

Third graders will form puzzles using counting patterns within 10,000.  Adding a magnet to the back of the puzzle strips and a cookie sheet makes for a more engaging activity.

Tub #5 - Missing Numbers 
Students will identify the hidden number from the hundreds charts (second grade).

Third graders will also identify the hidden number for numbers in the thousands.

Tub #6 - Time
Second graders will complete the triangle puzzles for time showing the hour or the half hour.

Third graders will complete the time puzzles for time to five minutes.

 Tub #7 - Inverse Operations
Second graders will play a memory matching game for the inverse operation of addition and subtraction.

Third graders will complete the same activity with the inverse operations of multiplication and division.

Tub #8 - Complete a Calendar (Same for 2nd and 3rd)
Students will complete a calendar for the current month and answer the questions.

Tub #9 - Domino Fun
Second graders will play a game to practice doubles facts using dominoes.

Third graders will play a game to practice multiplication facts of a number multiplied by itself.

Four Tubs for Fine Motor

Even second and third graders need fine motor practice to hone those skills.  These activities will help.

Three Tubs for Critical Thinking

 Students will complete the activity by matching the picture on all sides.

Second graders will complete the place value logic activities with numbers in the hundreds. 

For third graders, the numbers are in the thousands.

Students will solve the riddles using the key cards.

I hope seeing these pictures help show you that there can be a place for these in second and third grade.  Morning Tubs is certainly not an idea that is only for the smallest learners.

These tubs can be found by the month or in a bundle in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store.  Click on the picture below if you are interested.

Would you love even more tubs?  You can get a set free when you sign up for my e-mails.  Click on the picture below.

I hope you enjoyed this look into my September Morning Tubs.  Fun and learning go hand-in-hand in my book.  That's just...
My Kind of Teaching!