Thursday, February 28, 2013

Meograph: Interactive Story Telling

I recently learned about Meograph. It is a free on-line program that allows you to create interactive on-line stories using multimedia, maps, and links in a timeline format. You can watch a demo that shows you how to use it. I really loved the Google Earth aspect to this. You can tell a story from any place on the earth you want to. When you tell where you were when the story happened, you can zoom in and out on the earth to show more or less detail in the map. 
I created a Meograph to tell about a mission trip I participate in for a number of years. You could use this for field trips or to have students do book reports to tell about where and when something happened. 
Meograph is very intuitive. It was so very easy to use. Try it out! It takes just a short time to investigate and learn how to use.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Classroom Management using Post-its and a Cell Phone

I have polled a number of teachers about how they were prepared to deal with issues related to classroom management. Many have stated that they did not feel they were formally or adequately prepared to set up a proven-fail-proof system that would help them to manage behavior in their classroom. One teacher shared that they took an actual classroom management class. It consisted solely of watching their instructor teach a class. Class participants took notes on how she reacted to and dealt with issues that come up in her room. 

I have come to the conclusion that many teachers feel the same...they were not adequately trained to manage what could go awry in their classroom. In speaking to teachers at different schools, it seems that in many cases, even the way we handle how things go in our classrooms can vary widely from teacher to teacher within the same school.

I have tried the tried and true "Flip-Card" method in which students all begin with a green card. If they struggle to meet expectations, they might flip their card to yellow as a reminder that they need to slow down on the path they have taken. If it gets out of hand, they will have to flip their card to a red card. They can earn grace and go back to a green card. I used to make the students flip their own cards as a matter of personal responsibility. However, it seemed that this system wasn't truly effective because generally, good students always stayed on green and the same difficult students always stayed in the yellow to red didn't seem to impact or change anything.
This Post-it was created using Post-it Generator

This week, I designed a method that has literally changed the course of behavior in my classroom. Introducing.......................the fancy, smanchy yellow Post-it!

Our enrichment teachers send a yellow slip with students to notify their parents if they have had any misbehaviors. It has to be signed and returned. To go along with that, I am using yellow Post-its in my classroom when needed. If a student is not responding to verbal reminders about their behavior, I will hand them a yellow Post-it that they stick to the edge of their work space.

I have them sign their name on it. I will later put the date and the issue I had with them on it.
The rule is: if you do not receive ANY yellow slips at all by the end of the day, you will receive a bonus sticker for your behavior chart (which is good for turning in for a prize once you get to 20 stickers).

You might think one would feel defeated if they receive one. I have a way to solve that problem. I set my cell phone alarm for various times throughout the day with a specific alarm tone. Students know that if they do not have a yellow slip at their desk during that time, they can line up in a flash for a "Random Bonus Sticker". You see, students who receive a yellow slip can actually have them taken back by me if they choose to make an effort to change their poor choices. So, if they received one, but happen to have it taken back by the time the alarm goes off, they can earn that random bonus sticker. However, because they earned a yellow slip in the first place, they do not qualify for the end of the day bonus sticker. 

What do I do with all these sticky Post-its? Easy! I simply stick them on my clipboard that holds all the weekly behavior charts so that at the end of the day, I have an automatic catalogue of all the behaviors I need to notify parents about.

Mind you, I am choosing my battles with what I choose to report...these notes are only given out if the student is not responding to verbal reminders. 

After only using the slips for about a week on a consistent basis, the students know I mean business and they are responding well with this. In fact, they are responding so well, that one day, a parent was in the class and her phone went off with the same alarm. They automatically lined up at my desk for their sticker! I went ahead and rewarded them!

I am truly searching for a method that works, so if you have one, PLEASE send it along!!


Monday, February 4, 2013

QR Codes for Audio in Kindergarten

Here is a fun activity we are involved with right now. I am teaching about landforms. Kindergarteners are sharing what they know about landforms with their classmates using QR codes, Audioboo recordings, Google Earth, an LCD projector, and our classroom document camera. You can adapt this to any activity all the way up through high school!

If you have any questions about how to do this or have a great idea for how you can adapt this, I'd love to hear from you!!!


Saturday, February 2, 2013

Teaching Materials Sale 28% Off of EVERYTHING!!

Sunday through Tuesday, I am hosting a sale on Teachers pay Teachers in which you can receive up to 28% off of any of the products in many of the stores at the site. Simply click on the picture above to be taken to my store at the site.

If you would like to receive the additional 8% discount added to my 20% off discount, make sure to use the promo code: SUPER as you check out!

Some possible items you might find interesting:

(regularly priced ONLY $1!) on sale for $0.72

(regularly priced $4) on sale for $2.88

(regularly priced $4) on sale for $2.88

(regularly priced $2.50) on sale for $1.80

Final sale price will be given after you type in promo code: SUPER


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