Friday, June 28, 2013

Fabulous Friday Freebies: Teacher Freebies to Fill Your Mailbox!


I love getting free things in the mail! Nothing is better than finding freebies, samples and more when I open my box instead of just bills or junk mail. Here are some educational freebies you can sign up for to fill your mailbox! Also,check out part 2 and part 3 for additional freebies!

Get a free Idea Book for Educators. The Idea Book has teacher guides that go along with A&E programs. I have never ordered this before so I'm not sure how it is but since it's free it can't hurt to sign up for it!

Sign up for your choice of free sample issues of Scholastic Magazine! I love receiving free magazines in the mail for my classroom. They often include free posters & other classroom materials. Usually once you get one free magazine, they will continue to send them free periodically to get you to sign up for it. The freebies range all the way from pre-K to secondary level and can even have options for other languages!

Get a free Stossel Good Intentions Gone Wrong DVD. They do ask that after getting the DVD you leave feedback. This could be a good lesson for social learning.

Order a free The Federal Reserve & You DVD. You can get one free DVD per mailing address & name so you may want to have this shipped to your home instead of to school.

Get a free First Year Science Teacher's Survival Kit! There are lots of freebies in here so even if it not your first year teaching science it may still be beneficial to sign up. Plus it's free, so it can't hurt!

Get a free Braille Alphabet card. This could be a great way to help students learn about Braille and how people communicate through the sense of touch. Please note that this freebies is for US addresses only.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Using Portfolios in the Classroom

One of the most effective tools I use to motivate and focus students is portfolios.  Many of my students have a difficult time staying on track, keeping up with their materials, meeting deadlines, etc.  When I give my students portfolios, it does several things to help them: 1) It puts all of their important due dates and assignments in one place that they find easier to keep up with.  2) It prioritizes assignments and puts them in an official file, communicating the importance of them for the students.  3) It becomes something that students take pride in and and responsibility for.

On the other hand, it is also helpful because it gives me a collection of their work to show parents and administrators how they are progressing.  When someone asks how my students are doing, what they are learning, if they are showing growth, or how I justify my students' grades, I have something solid to show them.

When I set up the portfolios, I do the following....

1) I plan with the end in mind.  I figure out what I want students to be able to do and what standards I want them to demonstrate mastery of.  I design a project that engages the students and incorporates the target skills.  I create a rubric for how I am going to grade their work.  Then I break the portfolio down into a series of assignments that show progression towards a big picture goal.  For example, if they are working on writing a research paper the due dates correspond to steps (research, notes, outline, rough draft and final draft).  If they are working on writing Spanish essays, the assignments get progressively longer and more complex.

2) I create a timeline/assignment sheet that identifies what I want them to do and by when.  I put it in a table format, print it and staple it to the inside cover of a file folder.  The assignment description includes mini checklist rubrics. I also include a space to put their grade and comments.

3) I color code everything.  Their folder is one color, the assignment sheet is another color, and rubrics are a yet another.  It is bright and easy to find and identify.

4) Students use it on a weekly, if not daily basis.  They are expected to keep up with it and organize it.  Student-teacher conferences always include a look at the portfolio.  Grades directly correlate with the portfolio, and because students have a grade sheet in their folder, they always know how they are doing.

Many of you probably already use portfolios of some sort.  If not, give it a try!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Fabulous Freebies: Literacy Common Core

Common core is the educational buzz word/phrase these days.  Now that summer is here, I'm posting some fabulous freebies that correlate with the reading standards: reading (I'm combining reading literature and informational texts into one), writing, speaking and language.  These can be used by parents out there looking for activities or teachers looking for something to send along to parents of former and/or new students.  Or, it can just get tucked away in a folder to be pulled out at a later date.  But, without further ado, here they are....

#1-Reading: Check out this reading contract and log.  It is simple and attractive.  It is a great resource to use with parents and students because it provides an explanation of the importance of reading, a contract that lays out the logistics and a log to track their reading.  There are several ways it can be used:

a) Send it home to be used by your students over the summer.
b) Keep for next year.  (You are probably already on summer mode and not thinking about work.)
c) Start a summer reading club.  This can even be a neighborhood thing or a once-a-week get together at school to promote reading.  There are a number of free reading incentive programs that promote summer reading.  Check out one of our previous blogs about free summer reading programs.

#2-Language: Check out this antonyms puzzle.  It is a fun way to go over summer vocabulary and opposites.  Once kids/students have put it together, they can create their own puzzle using more difficult vocabulary, synonyms, word analogies, etc.

#3-Writing: This is essentially summer stationary.  It can be used several ways.  Here are a few ideas:

a) Have kids use it to write about your family vacations.  They can add some color and you can put it in a scrapbook.
b) Visiting the grandparents in another state this summer?  Have the kids write about the visit and send it in the thank you note.
c) Have your kids write to summer pen pals using the stationary.

#4-Listening & Speaking: This is a simple question and answer activity with summer vocabulary.  It practices the 5 W questions.  Going through it orally helps students with their listening skills.  It can be made more fun if played as a game.  Take out the oral piece and it can become memory.  Just cut the cards apart, place them face down and match the picture and corresponding question.  Keep the oral piece and it can be a version of go fish where students draw rectangular cards that are made up of the picture and question.  When it is their turn they have to ask the question to see if one of the other players has the item.  This is great for early elementary, but the idea can be adapted and used with more difficult vocabulary.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Fabulous Freebies: Favorite Educational Pinterest Freebies!

I love using Pinterest to find new ideas for my classroom. It is a quick way to find new hands on activities and a way to follow other teachers and see what they are using in their classroom. My largest personal Pinterest board is my Free Lessons & Teaching Resources board that has more than 250 freebies! Here are some of my favorite pins that are absolutely free!

If you enjoy these freebies, follow me on Pinterest to find more fun lessons & teaching resources.

I like this multiple intelligence test that you can use in your classroom to see what type of learners you have in your classroom. This would be perfect for the beginning of the year and it's a great way to get to know students.

Construction Management has a great list of 100 engineering projects for kids! This could be a fun hands on learning experience and many of these could be incorporated into cross-curricular lessons.

Freeology has a wonderful collection of graphic organizers. Graphic organizers are perfect for any subject area. I always like them as well since I am a visual person. There are printables that are good for a wide variety of ages and subject areas here.

Find 50 free journal pages at Grace is Overrated. I was impressed with the variety of pages and activities listed on each one.

Do you have a favorite freebie from Pinterest? Leave the link to the pin below and share!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Introductory Spanish Resources!

Check out Excellence in Teaching and Learning.  There you'll find a number of printable activities at reasonable prices to use for centers, exams, quizzes, homework, class work, sub plans, etc in your Spanish class.  Unit I materials cover the vocabulary for numbers, greetings, calendar and time.

The activities include Spanish Centers: Introductory Unit, Spanish Centers: Greetings, Spanish Centers: Los Numeros, an 80 page compilation of activities, and much, much more (including 5 brand new activities).

Everything comes with answer key and/or rubrics.  And, at $1-5, everything is priced to sell.  Don't reinvent the wheel, creating activities.  

Buyers say the resources are great, helpful, and "well worth the buck."

Check out the store's digital resources today!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Fabulous Friday Freebies: Father's Day

Father's Day is just about a week away.  As we wrap up the year (for those of us who are not done yet) we might take some time to send kids home with a Father's Day gift.  Here are a few ideas...

Have student print up and decorate cards.  This site has a number of links to other websites with free printable cards.

Sending home a final newsletter?  Include a list of places with Father's Day freebies.  Some of the businesses that are giving away free food are listed at  Places to go for free gifts and whatnots can be found at the freebie depot.

Have your students create their own gifts.  There are so many great ideas out there: memory jars, poems, candy gram, and much more.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Fun packet for end of the year downtime!

It is easy to find yourself with more downtime in your classroom at the end of the year. Sometimes grades have to be closed out and turned in early and the end of the year usually marks a more relaxed atmosphere for students not taking final exams. To help keep students that have finished early or have free time on task and using their brain, I have created art packets that rely on using each student's creativity. 

This Fast Finishers Art Activities packet contains 50 printable creative drawing pages. You don't have to worry about messing up the classroom or getting out a bunch of supplies since students only need a pencil and something to color with for the activities in this drawing packet.

It has been rated 4/4 stars by more than 50 teachers so check it out!
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