Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Fabulous Freebies: Etc's new items!




My partner in blogging crime has recently came out with two new freebies at her store. Check them out and please remember to rate freebies!




Find databases of high quality children's literature with this easy to use freebie!





Etc is a wonderful teacher known for her use of games in the classroom to help making learning fun. I've learned  many games from her that I used for years in my classroom and became some of my favorite activities. Even if you don't teach Spanish this freebie can still come in handy as a way of learning a new game that you can use in your classroom. Having games in your repetoire is very handy when lessons don't go as planned or when you have unexpected time left at the end of a lesson.


Have fun checking out Etc's newest freebies!


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Wednesday Websites: Top Three





Websites Useful To Teachers is a pinterest board of mine with five dozen cool websites to check out. I am always adding new pins with new web 2.0 tools, activity generators, videos, online games and apps, etc. It is worth checking out.  To give you a taste of what's popular, though, here are my top three re-pinned websites....

1) Tagxedo is a website that allows you to copy and paste text into an application that uses it to create pictures and word clouds.

2) Handwriting Worksheet Generator allows you to do just that.  You can type in letters and words you want your students to practice writing and it will automatically generate handwriting worksheets that have students practicing their penmanship.  Have young ones still learning to write their name?  This website is perfect.

3) Bingo Card Generator allows you to take a set of spelling or vocabulary words you've been working on and create customized bingo cards to use as a review game with your students.

Check them out now or bookmark them for later when you're ready to start thinking about school again!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Wednesday's Wonderful Websites: Online Databases of Children's Literature



It isn't hard to find children's literature, but it can be hard to find children's literature that is high quality and diverse.  When I took a graduate class in children's literature, these were some of the online databases that were recommended:


1) Children’s Literature Guide: http://www.acs.ucalgary.ca/~dkbrown/index.html

2) Kay Vandergrift’s Special Interest Page: http://comminfo.rutgers.edu/professional-development/childlit/

3) Links to websites of Children’s Book Awards and Notables: http://www.ala.org/alsc/awardsgrants/notalists/ncb

4) Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children: http://www.ncte.org/awards/orbispictus

5) Recommended Literature for Kindergarten Through Grade Twelve: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/cr/rl/  This one is probably my favorite.  When you go, in you can customize your search so that you it will show you all of the books that talk about homelessness in a certain age range, for example.  It is definitely worth bookmarking!

6) Awards and Best-of-the-year Lists from Cooperative Children’s Book Center School of Education University of Wisconsin https://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/links/links.asp?idLinksCategory=2

7) 50 Multicultural Books Every Child Should Know: https://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/books/detailListBooks.asp?idBookLists=42



As you look for some fun new books for the upcoming school year, I hope that these resources will be as helpful for you as they've been for me.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Fabulous Friday Freebie: The Ultimate



I am posting one freebie---just one.  Rockin Resources on Teachers Pay Teachers (TPT) has put together one free pdf with hundreds of links to other freebies on TPT.  There are math and literacy freebies for PreK through 12th grade.  Note: a few of the links don't work or link to resources that are no longer free, but based on my experiences, that is true of less than 10% of the links.  This is definitely worth bookmarking and going through when you have a spare minute this summer.  Enjoy.  It is the ultimate collection of TPT freebies!

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Wednesday Website: A Site Every Teacher Should Check Out




The Florida Center for Reading Research  has put together a site with a plethora of activities, all available for free.  There is no login required.  You can go on and find literacy research, activities and assessments.

Teachers who are using the site to plan lessons can search by grade and skill for the materials they want.  It breaks down phonological awareness components for younger students and comprehension for older students with everything in between.  It also has materials on differentiating instruction.

For principals, there are simple overviews of literacy instruction and learning.  There are also materials for conducting walk throughs of classrooms.

Finally, there is a link to What Works Clearinghouse, a site that shares the latest research on instructional approaches.

Take a few minutes to click around and you'll find a treasure chest of quality materials.

Friday, July 3, 2015

Super-Sized Friday Freebies



The Fourth of July is almost upon us.  So, this week I'm rolling the Wednesday Website and Friday Freebies post into one super sized post on free apps to check out.  Most of them are geared towards elementary students, but don't click off just yet if you teach older students.  Numbers 2, 6, 7 and 8 are really for everyone! Here they are:

1) Rhyming Bee is great for having students work on rhyme.  There is a cute little bee holding a word.  The child has to decide which flower has petals with rhyming words that match the bee's word.

2) Sleep Pillow plays loops of soothing sounds like rain and crackling fires for rest time in Kindergarten or background white noise while they work independently.

3) I Say helps students with their listening skills and auditory memory.  It looks a lot like the old game, Simon Says.

4) Simoo is a lot like I Say, but with cows.

5) Spelling City is a free app that allows teachers to create assignments for students based on customized spelling lists.  Students enjoy playing games with the word and completing the assignments online.

6) Class Dojo allows teachers to encourage behaviors by giving students points for meeting expectations.  Parents can login to check out their child's weekly progress.

7) Remind  is an app that allows teachers to send out text reminders to parents and students.  The receiver cannot respond, so it cuts down on group messages that blossom out of control when everyone writes back.

8)  Turboscan is a free app that allows you to take a picture of a document and convert it to a pdf.  Before it converts the image, it will clean the picture up so you don't see shadows.

9) Profs' Phonics Smar-test has activities to work on the phonological skills that are the first foundations of reading.

10) Kidsdoodle  is a fun app that allows students to draw and write on a black backdrop.  What they create shows up in bright neon rainbow lights.

Stay tuned!  I will be posting the rest of my fav summer finds in the next few weeks.  If you have favorites, feel free to share them in the comments section.

Happy Fourth of July!



  

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Fabulous Freebies: Finding Grade Level Texts



Recently I was asked for tips on helping find appropriate texts for students.  So, I've compiled a list of resources that  are free and accessible.  These resources offer suggestions for how to assess a students' independent level along with how to find texts on a variety of levels and topics.  

#1: Unite For Literacy  is a site that has a collection of picture books.  Students can flip through the books online, read the text themselves and then listen to the audio recording of the page being read aloud.  Students can search according by content area.  Two new books are added to this site each week.

#2: Reading A to Z is a resource that costs about $100, but they do have free leveled sample texts online to download.  They also have programs and apps that they offer two week free trials on.

#3: While this is not a free resource, it is a bit of free advice for quickly assessing students' reading level.  The formula for testing whether or not a book is a good fit for the child is pretty simple.  Listen to a child read aloud.  If they make more than 5 uncorrected errors in a 100 word passage, the book is not at their independent level.  If the child shows an interest in a book that is beyond their independent level, don't discourage the child from reading it.  Instead make that a book they read with a buddy reader.

#4: Scholastic has a book wizard where parents can go and search for titles and cross check the levels.  If there is a series that the kids like, I'd encourage them to go through all of the books in that series, as they will all be at approximately the same level.  (For example, the Henry and Mudge books are all listed at level 16.)

#5: Project Gutenberg  has an online collection of children's literature whose copyright has expired.

#6: There is a collection of audio books at: http://www.childrensbooksonline.org/library-audio.htm

#7: Students can listen to books read aloud to them at: http://www.readtomelv.com/
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