Monday, March 18, 2019

Using One Breakout Box with 23 Students...

Breakout boxes are one of my favorite activities to incorporate review of learned skills.  The campus I taught at last year had a few boxes and I used it twice during the year, but I wanted to use it monthly, so I purchased my own over the summer. I prefer having my own box so that I always have it whenever I would like and so I know what each lock's code was set to from it's previous usage.  You can get a box with all of the locks on the Breakout EDU site.

I purchased the Single Breakout EDU kit so I had to figure out how to make one box work with 23+ students each month.  Here is how I have incorporated my Breakout Box every month this school year.

First of all, I absolutely LOVE the monthly puzzles in Megan's TPT store!  Her games are perfectly planned for primary students.

To set up the puzzles, I print off 6 of each puzzle I want my students to solve in groups.  I usually laminate the puzzles but if I ran out of time, I just place them in the plastic sleeves, as you can see here.

I set each puzzle in a stack on shelf in my classroom, with the hint cards and a post it note with the group's number and the team members names.

So now I have 6 groups with each group having the same materials to solve their puzzles.

Then I place 6 post-its around the classroom with each team's number and the name of that team's leader for the puzzles.  It also shows the teams the space in the classroom where they can work so that no other teams borrow their brains.

Click the pic below to see my sensational second graders solving puzzles together in their teams.

When we first started our Breakout Box in September, I would scaffold how to solve puzzles and we would solve puzzle number 1 at the same time, still in teams, and once a team solved it and opened the lock, we would learn about puzzle number 2, etc.  I started helping less each month and even allowed my students to take their team's puzzles to their work area and solve them in any order they would like.

To keep my students from crowding the box, the team leader has to send me a pic through Seesaw.  I walk around with my iPad while students are working, providing hints as hint cards are given to me, and if I get a Seesaw notification, I check the picture and then go to that team and let them know if it's correct or incorrect.  If it's correct, they can go to the box to open a lock.

Here are some screen shots of my iPad with answered puzzles.

Once I check a team's work, then I simply click X and delete the item.  No need on sending it to families, it's just an assessment for me to see.

Click below to see one of the team's opening a lock!

Once a lock is open, we all celebrate and everyone keeps working on the remaining puzzles until we have all the locks opened.

Oh, and for fun, I lay detective music on Spotify the whole time.  We love Pink Panther and Mission Impossible the most!

Sunday, March 17, 2019

So Much Fun with Seesaw!

Have you heard of Seesaw?

Seesaw is a digital journal for students to share their work with only their families and their teacher.  i started using is 2 years ago in my Kindergarten classroom and I have embraced it more each year.  There is SOOOOO much it can do so I wanted to share some ideas of how I have utilized this amazing tool with apps and with general student sharing.  I have found that parents LOVE it because they can see all the creative work we do in class, since most of this creative work will never go home.  It also allows us to use apps to show what we know and share those tech tools for learning with our families, since we can't take our iPads home.

In Writer's Workshop, our most recent unit of study is procedural text, how-to stories, so we learned about the app Popplet.

This app is awesome for creating thinking maps.  We used the app to create a flow map of how to build a leprechaun trap.

Once students created a flow map, they saved it to their iPad, then uploaded it to Seesaw using the ADD FILE feature.

After the image from Popplet was uploaded, then students could explain their work so parents could see the flow map and hear their child explaining it.  Click here to view the above Popplet on Seesaw.

After we wrote how to build leprechaun traps, then we built them!

After building them, we uploaded a video explaining our work.  Click the image below to see the video explaining one of our traps.

(Here's my FREE leprechaun trap kit on TPT.)

Another app we LOVE is Chatterpix.

Chatterpix is amazing!  It allows students to snap a picture, then animate the picture by drawing a mouth and recording words.  Here are some fun examples of Chatterpix in our classroom.  Click each picture below to see the video on Seesaw.

Biography of Martin Luther King Jr.

Each student was given a shape and created that shape as a shape penguin and explained the attributes of that shape.

Students created a quadrilateral and explained the attributes.

Persuasive writing about turkeys in disguise

(You can grab my FREE Turkey Dressing unit on TPT.)

The next app that we use often is called Adobe Spark.  We use this app for so much, that I think it deserves it's own post soon....

Its a great app for students to snap a picture, then record an explanation.  It creates a trail of images with explanations.  Here is an example that was uploaded to Seesaw.  Students were placed in groups and given a prefix, then created an Adobe Spark video describing the words they decided upon that had that prefix.  Click the image below to take a look at one prefix video example.

DoInk is a green screen app that we use as well, then we add our saved green screens to Seesaw so families can view them.

Here is my kindergarten class from last year creating their own version of Gingerbread Man to tell with Green Screen, then upload to Seesaw so families can see their awesome work.

Here is my current class of second graders building pieces to retell Stellaluna in groups of 3-4 students.

Once they finished, they uploaded to Seesaw so their families could see and I could assess their retell components.  Click below to see one groups' work.

Apart from using apps, Seesaw is just great for sharing what we know in creative ways and for families to see our work.

We can share our writing.  Click each Seesaw image to view it.

Here is one of our bat pop up books.

Here is one of our pumpkin monsters after reading I Need My Monster.  This one is just an photo, not a video.

Here is a published penguin book from our research project.

We used Shelia Rae, the Brave to learn about adjectives that describe character traits by making a mask in which our faces went in the middle and we wrote words to describe Shelia Rae.  Then we read these on Seesaw.

We built gingerbread houses with place value blocks, then added up the value of our house based on the blocks used.

Here we did retelling of The Dot with a puppet and our retell ribbon.

(You can grab the retell ribbon for FREE here.)

You can also use many amazing tools already built into Seesaw, including their very large Activity Library.

Teachers can search for ideas that are ALREADY MADE, and add them to all students' journals to complete, OR select certain students to complete assignments, allowing differentiation.

Click below to see a Seesaw activity in which students showed they understood common and proper nouns and explained how they knew using examples they created.

Seesaw also has drawing tools that allow students to draw on a photo, and record their thinking at the exact same time their drawings appear.  Click to see these two students sharing the clock they built and their skip counting on the clock.

Another way I use Seesaw is for students to send me their thinking, so I can see it, then I can choose to delete it.  This is great for exit tickets and for permission to go to the Breakout Box.  (Click here to read how I use Seesaw with Breakout Boxes.)  Once I see their explanations, I simply discard it.  There isn't a need for parents to see everything, especially if it's a quick assessment for me to see if they understood a concept or need more practice.

How can you use Seesaw in your classroom?

Saturday, February 9, 2019

Who am I?

Who am I?  So many different words describe me, but anyone who meets me quickly learns of my genuine passion for teaching, educating, and children.

Teaching and educating are two different things in my opinion.  I believe teaching includes academics and social skills, while educating includes helping anyone - young or old - to learn how to contribute to our world and make the world a better place.  Maybe this is teaching children how to think for themselves and solve problems.  Maybe this includes teaching fellow teachers effective methods so they can help their students.  Educating is a deeper level of teaching - but that's just my opinion.

I mention both of these because teaching and educating is a big, HUGE, part of me.  I never imagined when I was a baby teacher, right out of college, that 15 years later I would truly be an educator.  I educate children with passion and excitement through technology integration, hands on games, classroom transformations, and so many other innovative practices.  Take a look at a few examples of my passion...

Dinosaur day classroom transformation to review rocks, shapes, measurement, sight words, and so much more!  I even hand painted each child a shirt.

Pirate themed review day

Student built space station during STEM time to practice and review objects in the night sky

Click here to see this in action on Twitter.

Here is our 100th day of school spy lab to review number and counting concepts and rescue our kidnapped Zero the Hero!

The wedding of Q and U - never write a Q without a u!

We love tech tools to Show What We Know!  Many of these apps include:

iMovie to create our iMovie alphabet wall, which includes QR codes to each letter's movie so students can scan them and review that letter's sound.

Green Screen is used to create so many story retells!  Check out our Stellaluna retell in October!

Chatterpix is our all time favorite!  You can turn anything into a speaking object.  We love this for sharing facts about our learning.  Check out our shape hunt in which we used Chatterpix to tell the attributes of the shapes we found.

We also love Adobe Spark to tell things we have learned.

For example our knowledge of prefixes, pumpkin life cycles, and how to care for the Earth.

We share alllll of these awesome learning adventures in our digital portfolios that go straight to our parents in Seesaw!

And the robots..... we use them for sight words, numbers, map learningcontractionscounting money - so much!

Anyways, if you need anymore examples of my passion, just read my blog

or check out me out on Twitter
or on Instagram
or my Facebook page
or my TPT store.

Educating educators is another HUGE passion of mine and a big part of who I am.  I have presented for Abilene Christian University for the Alumni in Action conference.  I have worked with three school districts in Texas to help with Daily Five and Writer's Workshop learning.  I have mentored 8 new to the profession teachers and I present for Staff Development for Educators.

I absolutely, positively love to share ideas with other teachers.  That's a big reason why I started this blog and my TPT store, which led to other social media platforms that allow me to share ideas.

My passion for education has allowed me to be named the district teach of the year in Pflugerville ISD

Aldeo ISD

and the Texas Excellence in Education Teacher of the Year

 I am thankful for these honors, but they're only achievable when I place my students first in all I do to prepare for each school day.

But my number 1 passion is simply children.  I CANNOT believe that each day my JOB is to be with children!  I have always been passionate about children and have tried to find ways to make the world a better place for children.

I have traveled the world to help children....




I have also taught in 3 states - Texas, Ohio, and Utah.  Every country and every state has taught me so much about becoming an educator - an educator that I never imagined I could be.

All of my passion for teaching, educating, and children has made me realize more and more each day how much more I want to learn to become a better educator for children and adults.  I love attending professional development conferences and classes.  Here are some fun snapshopts of past trainings, including I Teach K and Get Your Teach On.

I just always want to remember this motto as I teach, educate, and fulfill my passion.  It comes from Get Your Teach On.

What an awesome time to be an educator.  We have so much to learn and so many ways to learn!


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