Monday, September 1, 2014


One of my favorite boards this year I discovered in the land of Pinterest.  I wanted an exit slip parking lot for formative assessment, and loved the Twitter version I found on Pinterest here: Twitter Board.  Here is my version:  

At the end of a lesson, I will ask students a question to show what they learned (or didn't learn) during the lesson.  Great formative assessment tool.  This becomes their ticket out the door, and I can quickly see who needs help and who is on the right trail.  :)  Useful and a huge time saver!

Friday, July 4, 2014

VOKI Talking Characters to Liven Up Your Class

Happy Fourth of July!  If you are reading this right now, you MAY just be a teachaholic like me.  I know I am supposed to be at a parade somewhere head to tow in red, white, and blue or sitting on an adirondack chair by the lake, but the fact is....I am sitting in my house where the air conditioning is finally running.  Our air conditioner has been down and out the past two days, which was TRAGIC not only because it is 108 degrees outside, but because our summer travel fund would have been DRAINED dry.  Luckily, it was fixable and we are back in business! We will head to the pool for Fourth of July fun later today.

At any rate, Voki, Voki, Voki.  Have you heard of it?  I first learned of Voki in one of my graduate degree technology classes.  Of course I forgot about it, until I stumbled across Voki again on PINTEREST.  Imagine that.  Voki is a teaching tool that allows you to create characters that speak.  You can use one of their voices, or add your own voice to the character like I did below.  The characters can be animals, historical figures, and even you.  In my class we have a camping theme, and Marty the Moose is our mascot, so I created a quick announcement below:

Voki has several different options:  Voki (free avatar creation), Voki classroom (a classroom management system), and Voki Presenter (a presentation tool).  The classroom and presenter options weren't user-friendly enough for me to integrate into my classroom at this point.

The big questions is, "How will I use Voki in my classroom next year?"  Here are a few ways:
  1. I am going to have a Voki for the first day of school, projected on my Smartboard, that gives directions & introduces the morning routine. This could carry on throughout the school year...
  2. I am going to use Voki to explain homework assignments or projects.  I will post an avatar on my classroom webpage/blog for students to access at home.  So fun!
  3. Students can create their own Vokis to demonstrate comprehension of a concept.  This makes a great formative assessment tool.
What I love about Voki is that it engages students and sparks their curiosity, which we know is an ENORMOUS part of the learning process.  Student engagement = increased comprehension and increased participation.  


Sunday, June 22, 2014


I have tried many student organization systems over the years to help my students keep everything in it's place, but my favorite tool is...the binder.  Last year I had my kids bring in a 2.5 inch binder, but I found this a little too big.  This year I put a 2 inch Avery binder on my student's supply list, and am confident this size will be perfect.

Last year I created a MOOSE binder (Managing Our Organization Skills Everyday) to go with my camping themed classroom.  After using it for the year, I decided that many changes were needed to make it work in my room.  Therefore, I changed my MOOSE binder up a bit.  Actually, I think I changed the entire product. :)

Here are some of the major changes:
  1. The only items in color are the cover page and the calendars (which can be run off in greyscale)
  2. I put dividers on my students supply lists this year.  If you aren't able to have students get dividers, you can use the subject cover pages I included.  There is editable text so that you can title them to fit your class.  Instead of making them color like I did last year, I kept them black and white.  You can simply run them off on colored paper and put them in a sheet protector.
  3. More of the pages have editable text so that you can customize the binder to fit your needs.
  4. I included a math reference page that help with the CCSS.  
  5. In order to help students keep track of their class assignments, I created a Daily Assignments Checklist.  This worked really well for my students last year.
90% of last year's binder has been given a facelift, and the product is better than ever.  Click on the picture above to check it out on TPT.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Daily Schedule Cards {Coordinates with Camping Theme}

Instead of writing my schedule on the board daily, as I have done in previous years, I made a set of classroom schedule cards to coordinate with my camping theme.  Actually, these cards coordinate with many themes if chocolate brown matches your color scheme.

I printed these on card stock (Kinko's so $$$$), laminated them, and attached magnetic tape to the back so they could be moved around as needed.  Actually, I had my teacher's assistant (a student) do this for me every morning.  Worked really well!

Click on the picture to purchase my schedule cards on TPT.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Camping Themed Alphabet Line

If you have a camping/outdoor theme going in your room, or are thinking about trying this theme out next year, I have the perfect D'Nealian Cursive Alphabet Line for you.  I created this for my 4th grade classroom, since I couldn't find what I loved on Pinterest or TPT.

If you are interested, click on the picture above and it will take you to my TPT store.  I also have a variety of similar camping themed decor on TPT so have a look around. :)

Thank you,