Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tried it Tuesday and Techie Tuesday Link Up!

Today I  am linking up with Technology Tailgate for Techie Tuesday Link Up and Fourth Grade Flipper for Tried It Tuesday!
One of our big discussions this year as a primary building has been about how to help our little kiddos build math fluency with basic addition/subtraction facts...As we know basic number sense is key to a child's success in understanding how numbers work!  Just like research shows that in order for students to be able to read they need to build automaticity with sight words and decoding strategies.. 
So as I have been on this adventure to find a way to work on our problem, I was chatting with my step mother-in-law whose son is in 2nd grade (yes, my brother-in-law) about what his class is doing in order to build math facts!  Surely enough, she shared with me that his teacher has her students use a website called Xtra Math.  Of course, I jumped on it right away and was soo excited to learn more about it!
So today I decided to give this website a try with some of my kiddos who are still struggling with their basic facts!  I was so happy to find out that this website works on the ipads and does not require flash!! Thank goodness! :)  Students were super engaged and wanted to try to answer the facts as quickly as they could so that they could earn more smiley faces! (You'll see what I mean once you try it out!)
What I love about Xtra Math:
1. It is individualized for each student based on how they do on the short "placement quiz"
2. After each session it demonstrates a visual of how quickly the students were able to answer each question.
Ex: smiley face means that they answered it within 3 seconds
a green check means that they answered it within 10 seconds
a red x means that they answered it incorrectly
and a blue timer means that they were unable to answer the question in the allotted time. 
( * I also like the visual icons because they provide specific and positive feedback for the students!)
3. Students will move up on harder questions as they have mastered problems throughout their sessions. 
4. Teachers can see individual and class progress towards their math fluency
5. Quick and easy!
6. Parent access and student access to practice at home
7. Parent letter to go home 
8. Math facts include addition/subtraction/multiplication/division (great for all grades!)
9. There is an "online" teacher who gives you directions and helps along the way
10. Easy access for students to login!  All they need to know is there individual PIN #
1. As we know "timed" tests may cause some anxiety for some of our learners, but each fact gives the child enough processing time (if needed) or gives the answer when incorrectly answered.  
Click here to learn more about it and to sign up! 
To help get to the website quickly on the ipads, I created QR codes that link directly to the Xtra Math website.  Each student's card has their name, PIN #, and QR code to the website so that they can efficiently get to their math facts quickly! 
I hope you find this website helpful in your class as you help your students build automaticity with math facts!
For a little more info about the Xtra Math website hop on over to Learning to the Core!


A Technology Blog Hop

Spring into Technology with Classroom Freebies!
Several phenomenal teachers, Technology Tailgate Coaches and bloggers are joining forces for an amazing classroom technology blog hop!  As you hop from blog to blog, you will visit some of your favorite blogs and discover a few new blogs too!  Each with a fabulous freebie just for you!

Thank you for hopping over!

QR Codes are a great way to integrate technology into your classroom and give students immediate feedback. We have been using QR Codes with our kiddos for the past few months and they are loving them!  We have used them during math, with our animal unit, and during reading.  You can download QR Code Reader Apps for free on your iPad, iPod Touch, or smartphone. We are currently using Qrafter App on our iPads at school and I've been using Kaywa QR Code Generator to create QR Codes for our activities.

  Our newest activity is related to our next math unit - geometry.    Students will answer the questions about 3-D shapes and then scan the code to self check their responses.  

This free packet includes 3 different QR activities with 3D Shapes. The shape cards can be used with the whole class, small group, or individually. They can be used as an "I Spy" activity posted around the room, in a center, or as an assessment.  (Our kiddos love I Spy activities!)  

To download your free copy, just click HERE.

How You Can Use QR Codes In Your Classroom

Make Learning Stations

Use QR Codes for math stations.  Students can play games such as "I Spy," "Scavenger Hunts" or complete task cards.  These types of games can have QR codes attached them as a self-check response system.  This is a great way for students to receive immediate feedback on their work! :)  

Incentives and Praise

Award prizes by having students scan a code!  This can be done for whole class prizes or individual prizes!  Flap Jack Education Resources offers these QR Code Freebie Coupons! ....Click here for your own copy!  You could also create  QR Codes with positive praise messages! (Way to Go!  You Rocked It! Touch Down! Homerun!  STRIKE!, etc)

Show Exemplars

You can create QR codes for linking students to examples of quality work, whether it's PowerPoint or slideshare for a class presentation, or people speaking a foreign language specific to your current lesson.


This website takes a written message and translates it into an automated voice message!!  So cool, right?  This can be a great accommodation to add to your repertoire of strategies for those students who have stage freight or who are shy to do presentations.  Once the student completes the oral recording and you have the written translation, simply grab the QR code!  This could also be used for when you are absent.  Simply write the directions in the text box for each activity and the website will translate your written message to a voice message!  This way students don't have a 1,000 times to do! 

Vocaroo-Audio Recording

This is an online tool that allows you to do voice recordings. Students can record a book review, oral presentation, an oral reading response to an assessment, etc. 
A great way to get students involved in loving to read is to have them create book reviews for books in their classroom library or school library!  Students can use the VACROO oral recoding website  and then print the QR codes onto stickers and stick the QR code inside the cover of the book. When students are going to choose books it allows them to hear a student's review to help them figure out if they want to choose the book or not to read! This is also another phenominal way to integrate technology while students are synthesizing what they took away from the book and making their own opinions why others should read it! This can also be used for teacher purposes too!  Just like the QR VOICE you could record your voice for direction to make it sound more authentic!  This could also be used for those students who have stage fright and have not built up enough courage to do presentations in front of their class or even a small group.   But can do a great job if no one is watching!! ...I can already think of a student who might benefit from this!  
Once you have completed the recording, save it, then add the web link to a QR code generator (Kaywa QR Code Generator)
Check out my VOCAROO recording here!

QR Codes without a camera

Link Up QR Codes to Websites or Interactive Games

I am currently trying to find various websites that are iPad friendly! It can be difficult to find websites with interactive games or instructional videos that don't require flash!
-Link up instructional videos from Youtube, BrainPop Jr (attach the QR code video link to an assignment)

-Link up online reading websites such as Tumble Books
-Link up interactive games that align with your instructional focuses 
Thank you so much for stopping by and visiting!  If you are new to my blog and liked what you see, don't forget to follow me!  The next stop on the path is  
Lauren at iWonder

In case you didn't start from the beginning, here is an ordered list of all participating blogs!
Kristin from iTeach 1:1
Heidi from Rakis Rad Resources
Leah from Learn With Leah
Amanda and Aylin from Learning to the Core
Kristen at Teacher Playground
Jen at Tech with Jen
Kay at A Little Tech
Melanie at I Luv Twek
Carrie and Caitlin at Table Talk with C & C
Lauren at iWonder

A special thank you to Jen at Tech with Jen for designing the blog hop button!
Interested in joining our next blog hop?  Join here

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Five for Friday . . . . a few days late!

I am linking up again with Doodle Bugs Teaching for . . . .

We had a busy week!

1.  As a part of our measurement unit, we learned about area this week.  Our kiddos really enjoyed making "area robots", an activity I found on Step Into 2nd Grade

2.  Our animal unit is one of my favorite units to teach!  And the kiddos LOVE it!  They are so engaged!  As a part of this unit, students did research on a "mystery animal".  We did all of the research at school and students created the mystery box at home.  The outside of the box was created to look like the habitat of the animal.  Students added facts about their animal on the outside also.  The top of the box has a pull tab with the mystery animal's name and picture.  We shared the boxes with students in the class next door (since they didn't know what animals we had chosen).  I was very proud of their creations!

3.  This week we also learned about cause and effect.  We tied it into our animal unit and we read "A Bad Case of Stripes" - one of my favorite books!  Our kiddos worked in pairs to find the cause or effect for events from the story.  They self checked their answers using QR Codes.  You can get a copy of my A Bad Case of Stripes unit by clicking HERE.

4.  As a part of our classroom economy, students can buy different things for the class.  One of those is "game day".  This was a perfect week for game day!  After working hard all week, we had a "game day" on Thursday.  Students could bring in games from home as long as they weren't electronic - no PS3, iPods, etc.  I loved watching the students play board games, card games, build with jenga blocks and kinects, and even play Twister!  It's a great way for them to build their visual spatial and social skills.  They had a fantastic time!

5.  Next week we are starting geometry.  We are going to start with learning about polygons, 2-D shapes and 3-D shapes.  So, I spent the week finishing my geometry unit!  I'm excited to try some of these activities out with our students next week!  Click HERE to get a copy of it.  

Hope everyone has a fabulous week!


Friday, April 26, 2013

Reading Response QR Code Activities

Back at it again with our QR codes!  Our school is lucky to have at least one classroom set worth of ipads, so I figure we might as well make use of them!!  We have limited access to apps to put on the iPads, BUT we do have a QR code reader and generator that I couldn't be more happy about!! A few months back I posted about higher level comprehension questions using a TIC-TAC-TOE board....I have decided to revamp that product and add QR codes!  This product includes both fiction and non-fiction generative comprehension questions that can pretty much be applicable to most books children are reading.  

Here is the original: Guided Reading Higher Level Comprehension Prompts (Fountas and Pinnell)

This product includes everything from my orginal product + more!!
-Comprehension Teaching Cards
-3 TIC-TAC-TOE Boards (Regular)
-3 TIC-TAC-TOE Boards with QR Codes (all boards focus on different types of comprehension skills, no boards are alike)
-Blank Fiction TIC-TAC-TOE Board (Teacher/Student choice) for which QR codes to place on the board
-Blank NON-FICTION TIC-TAC-TOE board (Teacher/Student choice) for which QR codes to place on the board
-3 different recording sheets
-Directions for all 4 activities 
-One set of Non-Fiction QR code Questions (use for activities 
#3 & #4)
-A key for each TIC-TAC-TOE QR Code Board 

-Color QR codes by comprehension skill
I decided to take a risk and use one of the activities with one of my intervention groups to see how they would respond to higher level non-fiction questioning....

Students had been reading the book "GRIZZLY BEARS" in guided reading this week and learned how to search for information about it's habitat, appearance, babies, food, and other interesting facts they learned.  

Once we completed the book I had them do an extension activity with the same book, Grizzly Bears, independently as one of their literacy stations. 

Students simply got to choose any 4 QR codes on the sheet, scan the QR code, read the comprehension question, and then write their answer on the recording sheet.  I did give students flexibility that if one question didn't quite fit for the book they were using, then to try the next QR code. 

Students worked hard independently to stretch their thinking and think more deeply about how non-fiction text features help them as readers.  You may notice that their answers might not fit the question exactly, but I was proud that they give it their all!
Activities Included:
ACTIVITY #1-TIC-TAC-TOE with pre-made QR Codes (Students need to get 3 in a row, answer the comprehension question from the QR Code. Then record their answer on a loose leaf piece of paper, reader's response notebook, or choose 1 of the recording sheets (I have provided 3 different kinds) from this package. 

ACTIVITY #2-TIC-TAC-TOE- Student/Teacher selects the QR codes to be placed on the TIC-TAC-TOE Board
-Students need to get 3 in a row, answer the comprehension question from the QR Code. Then record their answers using a loose leaf piece of paper, reader's response notebook, or choose 1 of the recording sheets (I have provided 3 different kinds) from this package. 

ACTIVITY #3-Place all of the QR codes in a bin/basket and decide how many comprehension questions you want your students to answer (Encourage them to pick different colors to hit various comprehension skills). Then record their answers using a loose leaf piece of paper, reader's response notebook, or choose 1 of the recording sheets (I have provided 3 different kinds) from this package. 

ACTIVITY #4- Roll a QR Code Reading Response
-Make a KEY
-Number off each type of comprehension skill (1-Making Connections (red QR Code), 2-Characters (blue QR code), 3-Plot (green QR code), etc). Have students roll a dice to figure out which type of question they will answer. Choose a desired number of questions you would like them to answer. Then record their answers using a loose leaf piece of paper, reader's response notebook, or choose 1 of the recording sheets (I have provided 3 different kinds) from this package. 

Ex: If a student rolls a 3, then the student will search the pile for a GREEN QR code since it is labeled #3. 

These are great activities that you can use for independent reading responses, additional guided reading activities, or do whole class through a read aloud. If questions don't seem to be a good fit for the book, choose another question! 

I hope you find these activities engaging as well as help your student deepen their comprehension! 

I would love to hear back and see how you used the TIC-TAC-TOE boards in your class! :)
Click here to get your Non-Fiction QR Code freebie!  
Click here to get the complete package of Fiction/Non-Fiction QRs 
**If you like this product be sure to follow my TpT store for new & updated products in the future!!**
Thanks for stopping by for freebie Friday!!

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Monday, April 22, 2013

A Very Busy Monday . . .

Today was a jam packed Monday!  We started off talking about Earth day.  Since we are learning about animals and habitats, we watched a few "School House Rock" Earth videos about how to save the ocean, rainforest, and rivers.  Our kiddos loved the songs!  

This week we are focusing on cause and effect.  We took the ideas we learned about how to protect the earth and incorporated that into our habitat unit.  Students are working in groups to learn about a specific habitat.  So, we talked about the causes of pollution and how it effects the habitat they are studying.  Today we started writing our ideas down.  Many of the students related their ideas back to our recycling unit from the beginning of the year.  I can't wait to read their finished written pieces later this week!  

We are going to continue learning about cause and effect this week with "A Bad Case of the Stripes" by David Shannon.  

To go along with this story, I created a new unit that I'm super excited to use this week.  This unit includes - 
*cause and effect posters, organizer, sort and QR Code Activity
*an acrostic poem
*adjective activity
*retelling organizer
*can-has-is organizer
*character organizer
*several writing prompts and writing pages
*writing rubric
*stripes medicine activity
*face to create Camilla (or student) with a bad case of stripes

Check back later this week for pics and an update on how I used the unit with my class!  For your copy, click on the pictures above or HERE.  Please let me know what you think and how you used it with your students!!  I would love your feedback!

We finished up our measurement unit today.  Our kiddos love an "I Spy" activity.  So today, we did an "I Spy Sandcastle" Activity from Amy Lemon's unit I Can Measure!  Students searched the room for different sized sandcastles.  They estimated and measured the sandcastles in inches and centimeters.  I just love this unit!  Great ideas that are easy to implement and our kids love them!

We are starting Geometry next - one of my favorite math units!!  Can't wait!!  I hope the kiddos are as excited as I am!


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Five for Friday

The weekend is finally here!!! Woo hoo!!!!  I am linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for Five for Friday!

1.  This week we had a LOT of rain!!  I think in one day we had 5-6 inches - CRAZY amounts of rain!  There was a lot of flooding (even some hail) and due to the rain we had to have several days of indoor recess.  That made for some antsy kiddos!!  One entrance of our school was flooded pretty bad and we nicknamed it "Lake Washington".  One of my students suggested we go swimming!

2.  We've been working hard this week learning about animals and habitats.  We finished learning about the last few habitats - oceans, freshwater, and the arctic.  Students spent a lot of time researching their animal for their "mystery animal" project.  We also worked in small groups to research a particular habitat.  I found these super cute Habitat Flipbooks on TPT.  They are from The Teaching Reef.  Students are almost done researching and we are going to assembly the books next week.  Very excited!!

3.  In math this week, we focused on measurement.  Students created a Measurement Garden from the I Can Measure! Unit from Step Into 2nd Grade with Mrs. Lemons.    

4.  We also did a measurement hunt.  Students measured things around the room in inches and centimeters.  I was planning to take them outside to do this, but all that rain got in our way!

5.  I spent my free time this week finishing my animals and habitats unit - FINALLY!!  I feel a sense of accomplishment to finish my first big unit!!  I've also been preparing for my observation coming up next week.  Always a stressful thing!!  I'll be glad when it's done!  But, the husband distracted me this weekend with a "date night" to see the new Tom Cruise movie "Oblivion", which was just what I needed!

  Hope everyone has a great week!