Monday, February 27, 2012

Not Much, But a FREEBIE!!!...

Well, fellow bloggy friends, I have not been on in almost a week! I apologize. It's been crazy around here. And even still, I don't have much to add tonight. I'm getting ready for my teacher techie party tomorrow at school, so that's consuming a bit of my time. However, I wanted to post a St. Patrick's Day FREEBIE! I've looked at a ton of awesome creations from all of you out there in Blogland, and don't worry, I will be purchasing a few of them (I LOVE all things green and St. Patrick's Day!!!), but I had to create something for my kiddos based on our current spelling/language arts unit. And, I wanted something Irish-y. :) So click on the picture below to get your FREEBIE! 



Enjoy, and I'll be back tomorrow with pictures and news of how my techie party went! I'm excited!!! TGMO - Thank God Monday's Over! :)


Tuesday, February 21, 2012

We LOVE Legos!!!

Not only do I teach technology classes at my school, but I'm also the technology club instructor as well. I wanted to try something different this week for tech club, and we have a contact with a company called Bricks 4 Kidz


It is a company that works with school systems (and I assume individual families) to provide play, challenge, and critical thinking activities using legos. I have to send out a little praise to Sharon Dodson, our local Bricks 4 Kidz representative/teacher. She did an awesome job with our kids yesterday!!! They got to make a windmill that actually worked. Some of the legos were typical ones, and others were technic bricks, which hooked up to a motor with a battery pack. I have not seen my technology club kids so quiet, interested, involved, and focused on something in so long. I am posting a few pictures and a video of one of the windmills. Hopefully the video will work. Please leave me a comment and let me know if it doesn't work for you. You can click on the Bricks 4 Kidz picture or link above to go to the website. You'll have to check your area of the country to see if there are places or representatives that you can take advantage of for your kids. It is well worth the LITTLE amount of money that it costs, and trust me, your kids will LOVE it!!! (I apologize for the video - I took it with my iphone and I can't figure out how to turn it upright. It's a sideways video! :( )







Here's the video (hopefully):
video

Have a great rest of your night...it's almost Hump Day!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

You Like Me, You Really Like Me!

Wow, that sounded really conceited! I just had to channel my inner Sally Field for a minute. I'm so excited because my blog got an award! It's from Staci at Let's Teach Something. Thank you so much, Staci! It's exciting to get an award when you only have 5 followers!!! I think I'm writing all these posts for myself sometimes! (Woe is me, ... j/k) Seriously, I really appreciate anyone who reads my little blog. Go check out Staci's blog by clicking on the link above. I met Staci at the Tri-state Blogger meet-up. It was so much fun. I tell you what, those ladies were the ones to push me and inspire me to start this blog. So really, I should be giving them all the awards...which I think I will do...


Here's to 
Cathy at Sunshine and Happiness in First Grade - so funny! She had me cracking up. She has a "presh" blog! I was one of her first followers!!!! Exciting!!


Chelsea Rose at Blooming into First. This is a new blog I've been following since the meet-up. Plus, I love that she worked at Red Lobster during college. My BEST friend in the world worked at Red Lobster in college, and bless her heart, she still does!!!


Erica from Rausch's Readers - she mostly posts for her students and parents, but she has a really cute blog and lots of pictures!!!!


Shannon at Langston's Learners - her blog is also mostly for parents and students, but it's really cute. She's almost up to 200 followers...go follow her now.....go, go, go!!!


Claire from Special Speckled Eggs - I remember her talking about her blog's name at the meet-up. I could only hear parts of what she was saying about it, and it sounded like she was downplaying it. It's a VERY CUTE name! I love it! :)


Go check out these blogs and follow all of these amazing ladies!!! Give them a chance, and thanks again to Staci for giving me a chance and supporting my wee little blog! :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

OU/OW Word Work Freebie

I'm sorry I don't have a lot to post today. It's been a rough week. I had a parent "complain" to me and then to my boss over something that I had MINIMAL control over. I'm not in trouble or anything, but the complaint was completely ridiculous. PLUS, I am a problem-solver, a doer. I don't mind taking complaints, suggestions, constructive criticisms, etc. I take them pretty well actually. I LIKE to improve what it is I'm doing. If people don't complain every once in a while, you never know what to change. yada, yada, yada, I'm rambling.

Anyway, inspired by the *GREAT* Abby at The Inspired Apple, I created a document for my kids this week. We're working on ou and ow words (the "rough toughies" for those who teach Sitton spelling). I made a "Highlight a Word" page b/c I've used a page of Abby's in the past, and my kids loved it. She said that her kids loved using a highlighter. I teach sixth, seventh, and eighth graders, and they STILL love to use highlighters! Anyway, you can click on the picture below to get your FREE copy of the page!



Happy Valentine's Day ~ I hope everyone survived today, and I hope you're not in a sugar coma tonight!

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Techie Tip that Saved my Life!

I follow a blog by a lady named Jacqui Murray all about technology in the classroom. She is amazing. You can check out her blog, Ask a Tech Teacher, by clicking on her name or here. I get weekly emails from her, including one that suggested having a startup/homepage with all the links you use with your kiddos. I was nervous about starting one because I have SO many websites that I use with my kids, because I teach technology. Anyway, she suggested using protopage.com to get this homepage. 






Well, I finally broke down and tried it. I AM SO GLAD I DID! I had to because I have some kids who don't even know their letters, so getting them to type in a website address was near impossible, or at least it took up way too much time. 


Anyway, it is now my homepage in my technology room, and all of my kids learned how to use it VERY quickly. They know to go right to our homepage wiki (I love that I could teach them this vocabulary word and it's not scary for them to learn a new "tech" word). You set up your links and click right on them and it takes you to the website. It's similar to blogging, and the only downfall that I saw from it was having to put each website one.at.a.time that I wanted to save. Once you put in a few, it gets faster, and if you just start out with a few, it's even easier. If you use websites with your kids for any subject, for centers, extra activities, free time, etc., I highly suggest you look at it and try it. Make yourself a page at your house - try it out. 
It is so easy to change the page(s) for your needs. 


Click here to see my tech class's homepage (via protopage)! You'll notice that I use the BOOKMARKS page, and not the home page, but you could change it up to fit your needs. I'm currently working on adding grade-level pages for the teachers to save as their math or literacy homepages.


I hope everyone's having a great weekend. I slept until 1:30 today. Clearly, I needed the rest. Have a great one!!!
And, if you have any questions about protopage, or my example of one, feel free to email me or comment! :)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Guided Reading...Is it the Best for Our Kids?

My principal sent out an all staff email yesterday with an interesting article. She always sends out things that she finds relevant and/or interesting to us teachers. I had just been reading about and talking (on my own blog) about guided reading groups. It's what I've been taught to do since I graduated college. Anyway, click here and read this (not TOO long) article about guided reading groups. Leave a comment with your thoughts on the matter.


Should we have guided reading groups? If not groups like that, then what? The article doesn't really give too many tips on what we should do, instead it focuses more on the fact that letting our students do more independent reading is not as good as working with harder texts and more teacher TEACHING (not to repeat myself or sound silly).


I'm really curious about this, because I find it really difficult to teach reading. I like teaching it, but it's difficult because I feel like kids' needs are ALWAYS changing, and the assessments (pre and post) are not always indicative of what the kids can (OR CAN'T) really do!


Happy Thursday!




~Ashley

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Peek at my Lesson Plan Template

Inspired by Lisa and Beth at Made in the Shade in 2nd Grade, I've decided to post a copy of my *CRAZY* lesson plan template. It might be a little different from most of yours because I'm not only a small group literacy instructor, but I'm mainly the technology (special areas) instructor. This basically means, I don't teach math, science, social studies, or geography. I actually have adapted this template from a teacher who had one similar about five years ago. I just change it from year to year, depending on what I'm teaching. (I teach at a school for kids with mild learning disabilities, and we are always changing and adapting to what each year's group of kids need.) Anyway, I'm posting my lesson plans tonight. You can click on the picture below to get a copy!



It's almost Thursday. We don't have school on Friday, so technically, I can say "TGIT"???
Anyway, have a great rest of your week.
If you want a copy of my lesson plan template without my name, room number, and info, email me or leave a comment and I can email you the Word document and you can change it to fit your info! :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

February Currently

Sorry about 2 posts in one day...wait, not really! :)
I'm linking up with Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade for her February Currently.
Here's mine:

Techie Party

Ok, 4 things need to be covered in today's post:


1. I have a TPT store account. I haven't uploaded anything yet, but I will soon. I am working with our tech guy at school (shout out to Bob!) on getting some PDF software installed on my computer. I don't have the most recent version of MS Office, and I have tried a couple of the free PDF software downloads, and it just ain't happenin'!!! I have lots of little pages to upload, so I think I will start out with some freebies. I promise, coming soon!


2. I am SOOO excited about an upcoming event that I'm sponsoring at my school. I just announced today to our staff that I will have a "Techie Party" in late February. I got the idea this weekend from the Tri-state Blogger Meet-up from an awesome, hilarious lady named Cathy from Sunshine and Happiness in First Grade. She had a Pinterest party for her fellow teachers, and a few of my teachers are already happily pinning already, so I wanted to vary it up for my teacher friends! Well, I thought I would have maybe 3 or 4 people sign up, but there's 15 that want to come!!! I'm so excited. I am already making plans for the 45 minute "party"! Thanks Cathy for the idea!


3. We OCD passionate teachers at the Blogger meet-up this weekend discussed our love of fonts and all things cute when creating items and writing on blogs. Well, I have a question for you bloggers out there...how do I use my (cute) fonts on my blog (the title/name, links, etc.)? Also, how do you know if you can use certain fonts in items that you create to sell?


4. I'm sorry about the changing fonts and look of my posts. I'm still working on what I like. I'm going to try to post a few more pictures of my classroom, just to see how the pictures look once I post them!


This is a picture of a curtain that I made to cover up one of those shelves (that you don't want everyone seeing what is on them!).



Please excuse this picture. It is a mess - clearly this was back in August when I was setting up and changing things A HUNDRED times before I found what I liked. Even still, my classroom is ever-changing, but I don't mind it because I'm always trying to find what will work best for my kids. I just posted this one to show off my cute little flag banner. I got it on clearance at Target in August. I think it was left over from the 4th of July stash. It has stars, red, white, and blue on it. But it goes well with my Dr. Seuss theme!

Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

My ClassroomS (yes, plural)

I don’t know if it’s a blessing or a curse, but I have 2 classrooms. I teach at a private school for children with mild learning disabilities. I am the epitome of “wild card teacher” at our school, and it’s sort of funny, but I’m considered the teacher who knows the most about technology out of all our teachers….Scary!! I began at our school as a sub, moved to the part-time PE teacher (if you knew me, you’d laugh your head off knowing that I HATE PE, but I needed a job and I loved the school!). Then I became a fourth grade teacher, then fifth grade. Then we adopted a new technology curriculum, and I was chosen as the technology teacher, so here I am!
I do carpool in the morning, then I have my planning period from 8:20-9:20. Then I teach a literacy class for 6-8 graders who are on a 4th-5th grade reading level. Next, I either do lunch and recess or teach 2 middle school technology classes (depending on which day it is). Then there are 2 primary tech classes, and 2 intermediate tech classes. On Monday afternoons, I head up the technology club. On Thursday afternoons, I am the drama club instructor!

I hope I haven’t lost you by now – you must be bored of listening to all of my “duties.”

The point is I have two classrooms. I wanted to post some pictures of both of them. I will be talking about them on and off, somewhat piggybacking on Clutter-free Classroom’s organization project.

Here is a picture of my literacy classroom, with my Dr. Seuss theme.

Ok, well this is just part of my classroom library wall, but it is my largest wall and the focus wall. It’s what you see when you first walk in my room. And…this is what my classroom looked like back in August. It looks similar, yet a little different now. More pics coming soon.

Here is a picture of my technology classroom.

This is also how my tech room looked in August. It’s pretty much the same now, but I’ve added a few more posters depending on what each class has learned how to do independently as of now.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

New Blog Entry!

Hello fellow teachers! I attended a tri-state blogger meet up today in Cincinnati, Ohio. I met a bunch of really talented teachers who are also bloggers, and it finally invigorated me enough to start my own blog. I've wanted to begin one for a while, but I just haven't been able to find the time. Plus, as I told the ladies I visited with today, I've been teaching for six years, and I have YET to teach the same thing consistently. So, it's been difficult for me to think of a purpose for a blog and what I would talk about on an often-enough basis. Well, again, the ladies today said, just post what you've got! Well, I've got a lot from the last six years, so I guess here goes...

I hope you'll come and visit. I plan on posting a few freebies over the next few days, consisting of some things that I've made over the past 6 years...get ready for a little bit of everything!!!