Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Wednesday Websites: Free Online Exemplars

Exemplars are incredibly important for showing students what you want them to do--what a high quality piece of work looks like.  I have found time and again that they set the bar for my students.  The first time I give an assignment is always the hardest, but after that it gets easier.  I file away the best ones to use as exemplars when I give the assignment again.

If you are giving an assignment for the first time, though, or are not happy with what students submit, you have a few options.  The first option is to take the time to make your own.  The second option is to use it as an opportunity to revise.  Revisiting assignments and revising them to make them better teaches them to learn from their mistakes and always strive to do better.  The third option is to surf the net for online examples.  Here are a few sites with exemplars...

#1-Online high school exemplars  and elementary exemplars across the core content areas.

#2- The Annenberg Media website has examples of what rigorous foreign language classrooms look like. This website may not have many exemplars to share with students, but there are examples of students engaging in learning to give teachers an idea of what students in a foreign language classroom are capable of.

#3-Online exemplars of work in the arts (drama, visual arts, and music).  When you get on the site type the word art in the search.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Fabulous Freebies: Memorial Day

Summer is about to start, and there are a few holidays left to squeeze in!  The first is a holiday formerly known as Decoration Day: Memorial Day.  This day is more than just one last day off for those of us who teach until June.  Below is a list of free resources to use to teach your students what the day is all about.

#1- TeacherVision is a site with Memorial Day printables for all grades.  It is easy to navigate, and can be a useful site for a number of other themes in the future, as well.

#2-For a reading comprehension activity that shares some quick facts about the day click here.  (Note: this is best for grammar school age readers.)

#3-Let them do a craft.  Create a Patriotic Pinwheel.

#4-Click here for a reading on Memorial Day.  There are also some activities on this site that you can use to supplement your lesson.

#5-Play patriotic bump with this free game.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wednesday's Web Tools

These are all websites I've enjoyed using with my students.  If the description sounds interesting, click on the image to be taken to the website and investigate more!

1) This is a website that generates bingo cards.  You can choose from their list of themed cards or use your own word lists to make your own printable cards.

2) Animoto is a website where you can create short digital movies.  Just upload pictures of your class and let them generate a mini movie of a trip you took, a special project, etc.  Then you can share it with the class and their families in school or via email.

3) Use the website ToonDoo to allow your students to create their own comic strips.  They can create one based on a story they read in class or make up their own.  They really enjoy working with this website.

4) This is the newest one to me.  It is a coloring page generator.  I recently used it to create a one-of-a-kind coloring book of memories.  Use it to make a momento from a fun class trip.

5) This is a site that I've used to have students create fun plot summaries of stories.  They can go online and create their own cartoons with captions, characters, settings, etc.

6) This one is a fabulous online archive of pictures from Life magazine.  This is a great way to introduce famous people and events from history.  Create a gallery walk that allows students to see and develop a context for the content before studying it.

7) The seventh one is a list of really cool virtual tours.  I was able to show my students a spectacular 360 degree view of Machu Picchu.  I found a site with a live feed from a nature preserve in the Sahara.  This page is definitely worth checking out and using with your students.

8) Finally, the Smithsonian website has a rich bank of
lessons that can be used to bring history to life!

To see a list of many more free online resources, check out my pinterest page of Websites Useful to Teachers.  

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Free Summer Reading Programs for 2015!

Here are some great nationwide summer reading programs to help your students continue their learning throughout the summer!

Scholastic Summer Challenge 

Students can help to break a world record and earn digital rewards by logging on and recording their reading minutes. Teachers can preregister your students and compete with classes from around the world!

Barnes and Noble Summer Reading Program

Get a free book after filling out a reading journal available on the Barnes and Noble website.

Half Price Books Feed Your Brain

Students of all ages can earn Bookworm Bucks for Half Price Books for logging their summer reading program this year. Students only have to read a minimum of about 15 minutes a day with a minimum of 300 minutes total to earn this reward and students up to age 14 are included in this easy program. High school students can earn Bookworm Bucks by reading two books and leaving a short review of each.

Sylvan's Book Adventure

Students read and take comprehension quizzes to participate in this summer program. Points are earned based on the books read and students can select their prizes accordingly.

TD Bank's Summer Reading Program 

TD Bank will deposit $10 into a young saver's account after they have read 10 books this summer. Students simply read 10 books, record those books onto TD Bank's sheet and bring it into any local branch. This could be a great way to encourage reading and help students learn how to save money. This program is for kids in grades K-5.

Chuck E Cheese Reward Your Kids

Students record their daily reading on a printable calendar and turn in into their local Chuck E Cheese. Two weeks of daily reading results in 10 free tokens. There is a catch: food must be purchased for free token redemption.

Your Local Library 

Almost all local libraries have summer reading programs for kids. My local library even has a summer reading program for adults! It's always worth it to participate.


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Wednesday Websites: Readers Theater Resources

One great way to encourage your students in the upper primary grades to read fluently and closely for more in depth comprehension is to have them participate in a readers theater.  If you do the Daily 5 in your classroom, you probably have students reading with someone.  A fun way to encourage that and hold them accountable is to have them practice reading scripts together that they can then perform in front of the class.  There are a lot of great resources online to choose from.  Here are a few of my favorites...

TeachingHeart is a website with links to well over 50 scripts for transitional readers.  There are some well known classics such as "Casey at Bat" and Rumplestiltskin.  But, there are also many, many more to explore that relate to a range of topic and themes.  There are scripts for Christmas, Earth day, animals and more.  This site is definitely worth checking out!

Readers Theater All Year has scripts for just about every holiday.  Most of the scripts come with approximate grade levels so you can quickly search based on theme and readability.  

Finally, don't forget about TeachersPayTeachers.  If you do a search for free plays and scripts, you will find a number of quality resources to download.  

The play's the thing to catch the interest of your students!!  Check these sites out today.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Wednesday Websites: Brain Breaks

GoNoOdle is a must-check-out-because-your-students-will-love-it website.  It is ideal for the primary grades where students' stamina is limited to small burst of time.  You can create an account for free and then access any number of brain break videos/exercises.  Olympians will take your students through short training sessions before leading them in a virtual athletic competition.  It is a great way to give your students a short break to get out the wiggles in the classroom before transitioning into a lesson.

For other virtual tools, check out my pinterest board of "websites useful to teachers."

Monday, May 4, 2015

Save up to 28% at the TPT Teacher Appreciation Sale!

Now is the time to save! TPT is having one of their rare site-wide sales from May 5-6. I and many other TPT sellers will be offering their entire stores at 20% off and you can save even more when using the TPT code ThankYou.

Have fun shopping!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Fabulous Freebies: Math and the Common Core

A while back I posted some freebies to go along with the reading common core standards.  Now I'm posting for math.  As many of you are aware, the standards for math are not laid out like the reading standards.  Thankfully, there are a number of teachers who have made them more user friendly.  Here are the standards by grade level and resources to help you.


Kindergarten1st gradeKindergarten-2nd grade3rd grade-5th grade3rd grade4th grade5th grade6th-8th grade6th-8th grade

Sample Assessments

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