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Monday, June 5, 2017

Camp Google

Today I stepped out of my comfort zone. 

A while back an email was sent out in our RESA district for presentation proposals in regards to Google Apps. I thought about it...for a moment...then decided WHY NOT! I looked at how Google has been used in my classroom and quickly decided that I definitely had some ideas that were worth sharing. I submitted my proposal, and to my SURPRISE...and yes I was surprised...I was selected. 


My presentation focused on the use of Google slides in the elementary classroom. One activity was academic based, the other focused on build classroom community. I titled my presentation "Picture This", because both activities used classroom snapshots that were either taken by me or my students. 

I was very nervous stepping into today, but it exceeded my expectations. I had a BLAST presenting and listening to other teachers as they shared about their endeavors. So thankful for the opportunity and looking forward to many more!


Saturday, May 20, 2017

And Just Like That...

It never ceases to amaze me how fast time flies...especially when you're having fun! Once again I find myself in awe as the school year has come to an end. I cannot believe that year 9 is officially in the books and I'm heading into post planning. This year I had a group of students that taught me so much. We grew together and I am thankful for the journey we shared. 



The end of this year...and looking forward to next year brings another round of changes. I'm excited about the road ahead, and will explain that more in a future post. Happy summer sweet teacher friends. To those still treading the end of year waters, peace to you and happy end of the year! 

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

A 2nd Out of the Box: Mathket-ball

A 2nd Out of the Box: Mathket-ball: Mathket-ball is a game I've played for years! See how we took it up a notch!!

Mathket-ball

Mathket-ball is a game I've played for years! Long description short, you review any subject and allow teams to shoot at a hoop with some sort of ball to earn points. 

Today we stepped it up a notch! 
Let me begin by letting you know I have had my eye on a Mini professional basketball hoop for a while...I now own it! In the past I have just used a plush basketball I got from the dollar store.

 I stayed late a little yesterday to make some posters to set up for our game. I included rules that I felt were important for my 2nd babies, and created a basic run down for the game. 











I also changed the background on my laptop so that the activeboard became the basketball court!! THEY LOVED IT!


As for the game, I spent time the past week or so developing a document that had several questions for each Georgia Standard of Excellence in 2nd grade math. I printed, cut, laminated...you know how that goes. I figured better make something that can last for a while. I also stopped at the local Dollar general and got some super cute popcorn cups to sort my cards for the game. 


The premise of this game came from another game "grudge ball". Not sure if you've heard of it. I had not, but found it intriguing. Students work in small groups to show their knowledge. In return for correct answers teams are given the opportunity to erase a point from any other team. They are also allowed to send a player to the line to shoot for extra points. 


        




After playing today I know that there are things that need to be addressed. Number one...figuring out the pace depends on your group of learners. For my kiddos it worked best to have teams all working through their chosen question at the same time. They then had to cue me that they were ready to give the answer. I would check and let them know if they were correct. If so they chose which point to erase first, and then shot for points. 


This may seem harsh or unfair, but it did some AMAZING things in my classroom! One team in particular was being targeted and had all of their points erased. Instead of stepping in I watched in anticipation. Another team approached me and asked if we could give that team a point. I explained that the point had to come from somewhere. 

They conferred a bit more and returned... 🙌!! They asked me if they could erase one of their own points and give it to the team that had none! I am beyond impressed with this caring group of children. Needless to say I said of course and the game continued in this most encouraging manner. 

The game was a success. My students loved it and asked if we could play again tomorrow. I am still making tweaks to the game and am planning on placing this on TPT. That being said I would love feedback and critique on my product as I finish it before putting it on TPT. If you would be interested, PLEASE comment below and I will send you a copy of my product for review. In return I will let you have the finalized product for FREE!! 

To close out today I want to leave with you some images of my kids playing Mathket-ball! Enjoy your last few weeks of school.









Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A 2nd Out of the Box: A Butterfly Funeral

A 2nd Out of the Box: A Butterfly Funeral: ...you heard me right!  A set of words I never thought I say. Butterfly funeral. Today started like any other. We came to school shared...

A Butterfly Funeral

...you heard me right! 

A set of words I never thought I say. Butterfly funeral. Today started like any other. We came to school shared our learning throughout the day, then ended with our science lessons. 

We have been raising butterflies from larva. Ours were purchased through amazon, in connection with Insect Lore (Butterfly Kit)



We got our caterpillars in larva form...so small....so interesting. Over the next few days we watched them eat, and eat, and eat, and get FAT! Love it. We watched in awe as we got to witness butterflies breaking through the chrysalis!!! FANTASTIC that 3 did this while we were in the classroom. To our dismay one of our little fellows didn't survive. It stopped part of the way through metamorphosis and just never finished.

 Today was the day my students have been waiting for. RELEASE DAY! We walked out to our nature trail and discussed what we had learned about our butterflies. Each time one took flight cheers erupted and joy filled my soul! Nothing like it. Our final little fellow, who survived, seemed to be struggling. One wing was bent, but he was still determined. We watched him fly to the ground and try several times to take flight. We discussed what could be happening, and I listened as students cheered each time our little guy tried to fly. Then...choking back a few tears...I watched as our last little butterfly took flight into the nearby trees. The best part was the celebration that took place around me as my amazing group of 8 year olds celebrated the life they had watched from the beginning! So amazing.


This is were the funeral comes into play. We went back in the room and talked about our chrysalis that never finished. One child asked what we would see if we broke into the chrysalis...DISCLAIMER: I had waited plenty long enough to know that this one would never finish...I used this as a teaching moment and we, somewhat, dissected the chrysalis to view the inside. We learned that metamorphosis had not fully finished and out butterfly was only partially formed. Once our "serendipity" learning moment was over another student chimed in. She asked what I was going to do with him. She couldn't bare the thought of him ending up in the garbage and asked if we could bury him. So...we did. We marched down to the edge of the woods, dug a hole, talked about butterflies, and buried our 5th little friend. Now some of you may be wondering why this went that far. My students. That is exactly why. Once we finished burying the little half formed butterfly, several students stopped to thank me for my actions. It was worth it. I know that with all my heart. 

Everyone that knows me understands that my love for butterflies runs DEEP. Has since I was very little. I am so glad to share this love with my students as we raise butterflies and release them into the wild. I never thought that I would experience a "Butterfly Funeral", but today that became a reality. I loved every sweet moment we shared today. 


Saturday, April 29, 2017

Google in the Classroom: Part 3

Today's post is going to be short and sweet. 
After receiving 10 Chromebooks through Donorschoose.org I received a package from Google directing me to their training and professional development opportunities. I immediately looked into it...and I must say I am LOVING IT! Today I took and passed the Level 1 Google certification!

Each certification has a paid exam, that if passed, last for 2 years. Level 1 certification is based on basic implementation of Google Apps in the classroom. Level 2 steps into advance implementation. There are also opportunities for certification as a Google Innovator and trainer! I look forward to working through more professional development with Google in the future. 

We've been on a Google themed journey in the past 3 blogs and I would truly love to hear your stories, ideas, reflections, and suggestions.
Please consider commenting below and sharing your experience with Google in the classroom.