Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Book Checkout in Classroom

As an author of over 100 books, a former school media specialist and a current First Grade teacher, I can honestly say I adore books!  If interested, read an older post about my classroom library and see how I keep it organized and fresh.

Do you allow kids to check out your personal books?  If you read the older post linked above, you'll know my feelings on the subject!

Here's what I use for checkout.  Feel free to grab if you want.  Nothing fancy! Click HERE!

This year, I have 4 binders with five students in each one.  Each child has his/her own page so I can easily keep track of the data I need.  While most kids take books home not all do and that's fine. For those that do, this helps me show parents to look for lost book, nudge kids to try new genre or book series after the 10th Who Would Win book, etc.  Having child's sheet in front of me helps!)

And if a book doesn't fit it a gallon-sized baggie, it can't go home.   Hey, I have to put some protections in...I've lost a few to leaky water bottles!  (Last year, I did have a child show up one day with a HUGE sweater type bag that zipped.  He wanted Creepy Pair of Underwear.  Did I let him take it out?


Books are always better off at their homes overnight than on my shelves!  

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Place Value Exchange Game Freebie

Grab your Freebie if you're working on place value.  Can be played independently or with a partner.  My kids really love this game and are thrilled to be able to take the game home and play it over and over again.  Directions and all pieces included for easy use.

Click on pic above to get your free game!  ENJOY!

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

No Name-Calling Week Activity

I've seen similar activities but never with an apple...

Not sure where activity came from but I got it (and two apples) from my Guidance Counselor, Alice.  (Who rocks, by the way!)

It's a great activity for No Name-Calling Week, discussions about bullying/upstanders, and almost any conversation regarding Character Education ESPECIALLY when you want to drive home the point that saying sorry doesn't make everything better.

What I did:

I asked kids to tell me the differences between the apples.  Since they were so identical looking, kids replied that they looked the same.  I agreed.

Then we passed around one apple and each one of us gave it a compliment. (You are so juicy and red.  You would be delicious in an apple pie, etc.)

Then I passed around the second apple and each one of us insulted it and said nasty comments to it. (You look like a baby apple.  Goo-goo-ga-ga,  I bet you taste sour and kids would spit you out, etc.)

When the apple got back to my hands, I said I felt awful that I called it an ugly little apple and teased it.  I apologized.  We passed it around again and each student said they were sorry.

When back in my hands once again, I asked, "Did we make everything better?  Do you think this apple forgives us?"

My little ones all assured me the apple would forgive and forget. I acted relieved.

Then I cut the first apple and examined the insides:  I marveled over how perfect it looked inside.

Then we cut the second apple open to a completely BRUISED apple.


Great discussion followed!  Truly eye-opening.  The hurt/hate of words do scar and bruise us.

A perfect week to try it yourself!

Don't forget to secretly squeeze/bruise apple 2 before showing to kids but be careful it still looks like the other apple on the outside.

Here's to thought-provoking discussions with our kids!

Monday, January 15, 2018

More Favorite Apps (Part 2)

Today I'm going to share some more apps I love for various reasons. 

To start off:  Have you played Math Slide?  You can download for free and play each game twice before you decide if you want to purchase or not. (Check on this: that's how it was last year.)  I ended up purchasing each for 99 cents after my kids played.  (NOTE: I got a $50 Apple iTunes Gift Card from our PTO so that's why I've purchased so many apps after test driving them.)

Each game is designed for 1-4 players and kids can easily control that by simply pressing the JOIN button.   If playing solo, a timer appears and kids can try to beat own score.

Here are some shots from first few games: 

The game board rotates so all kids can see it.  To guess answer, kids must slide tile up into dark blue area.  It's not always who can answer first because not everyone has same tiles.  I like it that way so even struggling learners can get points.  

Here are two shots from the hundreds/tens section...I think game 11:

Have you used Chatterpix?  My favorite discovery of the year thanks to our tech gurus at school.  IT IS FREE!  NO ADS! In fact, the developer, Duck Duck Moose, is now associated with Khan Academy and all their apps are free.  See MooseMath above as well.  Apps often lean toward pre-school-K but not all.  See Pet Bingo by them above.  Kids love it!

Basically, kids can take a picture and make it talk by recording their voice.

So much fun and  EDUCATIONAL, too!  Here are 4 quick ways (my examples are on other iPad but I'll update post when I go back to school tomorrow) I've used it recently:

1. Kids had to pick a shape, take a picture of it and describe properties.  EXAMPLE:  Took pic of a book.  Said: This is a rectangle.  I have two short sides and two long sides.  

2. Took a picture of an object and had to describe it using 5 adjectives.

3. Same for Verbs...One child took a pic of a stuffed monkey and said: I'm a monkey.  I like to swing, climb, and peel my banana.  

4. Took a picture of a character in a picture book and stated problem and solution. (My name is Pigeon.  There is a bus driver who won't let me drive the bus, etc.)

So easy to learn!  Takes about a minute.  Really!  

YouTube Kids  (FREE)  

You can set control so kids CANNOT go and search anything on the site.  All content presented on kids' version is fine.  WARNING: Kids easily get addicted to this site.  I reserve this for Friday afternoons only simply because they'd never use any other app.  What's here?  Videos, LOTS of how-tos by young kids, some science experiments, videos of songs performed by kids mostly, etc.  HIGH INTEREST.  


Remember the game?  Fabo for practicing logic and problem-solving skills and spatial reasoning. There is a free version but I upgraded to one without ads and thousands of games for $2.99. 

The objective for each game is the same: get the RED CAR out of the exit in as few moves as possible. Once a game is completed, it tells you how many moves YOU needed and shows the LEAST amount you could have made.  Then it gives option to replay same game and try to beat your score.  A quality app and well-worth the money I spent.  

PBS Apps....FREE!

There is SO MUCH content on these apps that it can be overwhelming.  Took me a few minutes to realize I had to swipe right to get everything for a particular show to come up after presented with a vertical character icon bar.  It's been some time since my own kids were PBS kids but I saw some old favorites mixed in with new shows.  Again, overwhelming content.  Go through and mark what YOU could use.  Above is the DESIGN SQUAD show page. Look at the video bottom center: How to Make a Carrot Flute. PERFECT for our How-To writing unit.  Our custodian is coming in next week to make it for us.  (Need drill.)

This monkey has never been my favorite but the short video on on Visiting the Architects is perfect for my Community Helpers unit.   

While most pages have a FEW entire episodes of the shows featured, most videos are quick.

I'll be back again in next day or two with some more apps.  Hope you found something here today that you're interested in.  If not, go back to my post from yesterday and be sure to check out some free recording sheets for ANY app!

Have a great day!

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Apps I Love For My Firsties (Freebie Recording Sheets!)

Belated Happy New Year!  Now that the holidays are over and my kids are heading back to college, I wanted to share some awesome Apps I recently discovered.  I have 8 iPads in the classroom and I finally feel like I'm putting them to use multiple times throughout the day.  (I did just start implementing Daily 3 so that also accounts for increase in use.)   Hopefully, you can find some you like too.

First up is a must:

This app alerts me to 4-6 free apps every day.  They aren't all educational ones but I've found personal ones this way too.

Here are SOME of the freebies I got in last two weeks.

You see the one on the end?  Animal Math?  This APP is by EGGROLL GAMES and let me tell you, I LOVE all of their apps.  They seem to feature one on the site frequently.  The First Grade Math was featured, too.  Can I tell you it's one of my favorite ones that supports our math curriculum?  Really well done.  (And their Tech Support is top notch.  I emailed with a slight problem on MY end they sent me the free second grade app. On the First Grade App, Emma and a cast of animal characters are featured: Manny (counting games)  Phineas (Number Patterns), Charlie (Greater than, less than) Albert (Even and Odd) Hans (Place Value) Henrietta (Number Sentences) Lydia (Missing Signs),  Kicheko (Addition Set 1) Pria (Addition Set 2) Moe (Sub 1) Rupert (sub 2) and Louie (Flash Card Games)

NOTE: I bought the First Grade App a few months ago not knowing it was featured on the free app site.  He sent me the second grade one.  I find them VERY similar and was glad I didn't pay for the second grade one.  My Firsties could use either one and be multiplication /division on it at all.

Here are some pics of First Grade App

I love ALL Eggroll apps and they are featured quite frequently on the Free App.  I got one from them Yesterday as well as another cute app that my kids might use during Friday Free Choice.

I have their addition/subtraction flashcards and like having the kids use for Rocket Math practice. Although I paid for them, both were featured on free app BEFORE I discovered it.

You never know when they'll expire so grab them as soon as you see them.

While discussing math apps, although not featured on the free app site, I have to show you two that are perfect for my students and are FREE.   

This one is not only FREE, but AD FREE!  Kids have to make combinations of 10 (or you can set for any of these numbers to practice facts.)

It's the perfect way to have them practice combos of ten.  It's a fun, fast-paced game that ends only when you fail to clear a row and the last number in a row reaches you.  My kids love it!  

The one below?  I must admit that I am addicted to it!  While FREE, it honestly has so many ads, that I paid the 1.99 to make it ad free.  If I didn't think it was worth it, I wouldn't have spent it.  Even with the ads, it's still playable but I admit it took me a few minutes to figure out WHAT to press/not press.  (Forget anything marked with special-themed dice, coins, etc.  Just Press plain PLAY.) I 

When the LONG ads came on after a game, they would x it out and launch app again.  

It is so much fun and involves knowing how to add numbers to get to ten.  You can have a number line out to help kids.  The first few times they play, they score low but once they get the hang of it, watch out!  LOVE LOVE LOVE!  The game is NOT TIMED.  It ends automatically when it knows you have no other moves.  Once you download it, YOU'LL want to play over and over again.

Because I have to get my day going, I'm going just to highlight a few more from first pic above that were featured FREE.

Although BREATHING ZONE has expired, there are some free ones out there that are pretty similar.  I love this one for my students and although I have other ways I have my kids calm down when needed, adding this is just another tool in our room.  Sometimes I put it on the projector for everyone just to breathe/relax a bit when needed but recently, when a child needs to calm down/relax, he reaches for an iPad and uses this for 5 minutes.  Great self-regulation.  One child uses it before math each day.  I don't stress he has anxiety or is stressed but the important thing is HE feels it and knows he can do something to help him if his own strategies aren't working. 

You can set it to breathing rates, pick an accompanying soothing sound, and select a female, male or no voice at all.  I took the voice off but I discovered that the voice is part of the soothing aspect for my class.  After I used it for a week, I went back to see if it were still free for a colleague and it wasn't.  But others are.  I downloaded a few and although I didn't like them as much, they are still worthwhile downloads.  I did see these accolades on the site and my sister told me that she read the Mayo Clinic uses the app.  

Baby Flash Cards: I use this for my ELL students.  Lots of categories to pick from and can show pic or VIDEO of the word given.  (Word is always read to kids.)  Glad I discovered it and it was free.  

Paper Plate:  Just FUN!  No ads. I find it soothing as soon as you hear the background music of The Entertainer. This app shows kids how to make some crafts with paper plates.  They can pick from about 15 different patterns (also spin art!) and "make" it online.  Their finished craft is then painted and brought to life.  Honestly, so sweet and well done.  If free, grab it.  The snowman coming to life cracks me up.  Seriously gives me a case of giggles when the rabbit steals his nose.

Some pics:

Picked the dog...

They show me the pieces needed and I tap on one to get started.

 After tapping on the big plate, a new screen shows it with the yellow ball on it.  Follow the dotted lines across to "cut" the piece.  Then repeat and assemble dog.

Once assembled, paint it.  Gives finger a workout!  App helpful for those in need for fine motor skills practice.

Love how it immediately brings the painted pic to life.  Each craft has different "activity."  This one: press buttons on bottom to make dog: bark, beg, play dead, fetch bone, chase robber away, catch a Frisbee and a ball.  Adorable.

Gotta run.  Going to see The Post.  I'll be back again tomorrow with more apps to share.  Hope you found at least one or two you want to try.   Download some FREE recording sheets to be used to hold kids accountable and to let parents know what apps/technology kids are using in school.  Enjoy!