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Monday, March 6, 2017

Plickers ... Oh what fun!!!

Have you tried Plickers yet in your classroom?


Plickers is the best thing since sliced bread!

Not only is it oh so EASY to use BUT the kids loooooove it! No, really they do. They actually beg for it.

I use it a few times per quarter in my 6th grade ELA classes. I take their answers and either use them as a quiz grade or class grade, depending on the skill and how long we've been studying.

Here's how it works:

Go to Plickers.com

1. Sign up - It's free, FREE!!!


2. Click "classes" along the top bar, then click "add new class". Here is where you will name your class/classes. For me, I teach three ELA blocks, so mine are named Morrison Block1, Morrison Block3, Morrison Block5. Next, you will select the grade and subject (elementary teachers can select General) and a class color. Click save.

3. Enter your students. I entered my students in alphabetical order following my roster. Enter their name in the box and click enter. It will assign them a card number. So if you assign students numbers in your classroom, be sure to type their names in the order you have them numbered beginning with one. (If you have multiple classes like I do - My student assigned card number 1 in my Block 1 will be assigned the same card number 1 as my first student in my Block 3 and Block 5).

4. Once you've entered all of your students and classes you are ready to print your Plicker cards and begin the fun!

5. Click "Cards" along the top bar. On this page you have several options. If you teach younger kids, you may want to print the "Large Print" cards. If you teach upper grades, the standard will work just fine. If you teach multiple classes, print multiple copies. It is recommend that you print on card stock and laminate. I did not. There is also the option to buy durable, laminated cards from amazon.



Here is the link:
Plickers

In my classroom, each student taped their card to the inside back cover of their Reading Comprehension Notebooks.


Each card has a unique visual code. Each of the four sides of the card are lettered either A, B, C, or D. Students hold the card so the letter corresponding to their answer choice is facing up (is at the top of the card).

6. Now it is time to create your questions. Click "Library" along the top bar. On the left hand side click "New Folder" and re-name. I usually use the activity name, such as, "Fact vs. Opinion."

7. Once you have a folder named and open, you can begin creating questions. Click "New Question." The questions can be either presented as multiple choice or true/false. Images can also be added here as well. Note: You should also mark the correct answer to the side for easy grading.


8. After you create your question and click save, you have the option to add it to the queue. Here is where I add each class I want to assign this Plickers question. **Differentiating can be done with this step if you teach, for example, advance classes and standard classes. Not all questions have to go to all the same classes.**


9. Download Plickers onto a mobile device such as an iPad or phone. (again it's FREE!!)


10. You are almost finished... when you are ready for the activity, log into Plickers on your computer and pull it up on your phone/iPad. Click "Live View" along the top bar on your computer. Project this screen in your classroom. Now on your mobile device, click the class, click library, click the folder (example Fact vs. Opinion), click on the question and click scan now. The question should now pop up on the screen you've projected in the class.


11. The students will silently read the question and hold up their cards with the answer they choose. Once every student has their card held up, scan the room with your mobile device. As you scan each card, the screen with alert you.

12. Continue through the questions.

13. Once finished, click "Reports" along the top bar and click "scorescheet." Select the class and date you gave the questions and click apply. Here you can collect data and grades on each student.


Once you have your classes set up, the rest really is easy and quick. It saves a lot of time - No More Grading to Lug Home -
And best of all the kids really have fun!!

Here are some videos to help you as you get started:

Video1

Video2



Let me know what you think! I'd love to hear how you use Plickers in your classroom!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Hot Chocolate Bar

I recently hosted a Ladies Fellowship at my house and since it is February I thought it would be nice to have a Hot Chocolate Bar. (Turns out it was in the 60's that day - that's the south for you!)

I scoured the internet for some inspiration and here is what I came up with:


I placed chalkboard stickers on some insulated cups and had a small bucket with chalk so everyone could write their name on their drink. I also found some cute chalkboard tags at Target that I tied around glass jars in order to label each of the toppings.

In the glass jars I had mini marshmallows, peppermint pieces, chocolate chips, and white chocolate chips. I also had chocolate and regular sprinkles, salted caramel and chocolate syrup, whipped topping, large marshmallows, and chocolate covered spoons.


I added two bowls of valentine's candy to munch on as well.

Finally, I created a treat using store bought cupcakes, dollar store plastic glasses and valentine's candy.


I also offered a selection of other drinks including soda, tea, and coffee.


After spending some time looking at some scripture on Love, we made cards to send to our church members that are away at college and those that are shut-in. We hoped to spread some Love to them this month and let them know they are in our thoughts and prayers.


Overall, I think it was a success (despite the unusually warm temps outside). Everyone seemed to enjoy creating their own special Hot Chocolate.
I didn't even break the bank. Most items I bought at either the Dollar Tree or Kroger.

Have you ever hosted a Hot Chocolate Bar? I'd love to hear about it! Don't forget you can follow me on Facebook and Instagram!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

While You Were Out

As a middle school teacher, it can be hard keeping track of who has been absent and the assignments they missed.

My solution...

a "While You Were Out" board.



By the time students are in middle school, they need to begin to practice personal responsibility.

When they are absent from my ELA class, I have them check the class calendar to see what they missed during their absence. I place all extra papers in a pocket chart that contains 5 file folders - - 1 for each day of the week.


For example, if a student misses school on a Monday, he/she will check the calendar the day they return for any missed assignments. They also check the Monday file folder for any papers or handouts.


Above is a closer look at the calendar I use - stinkin' cute, isn't it. (Link is below for you to download for FREE!!)
I stapled all the months together, then peel off each month as it ends (as shown above).
I file the used calendar pages in my filing cabinet until the end of the school year, then toss.

I just write short notes on what we did that day in class. For example, it might say "read pgs. 1-10; vocab. study guide". Students would then know they need to read pages 1-10 and pick up a study guide from the file folder pocket for the day they missed.

This system has been so easy and keeps me sane!! I don't have papers piling up on my desk that I need to remember to pass out to absent students.

Below is the pocket chart I used that fits five file folders. I had some colored folders already so I used those, but some cute ones from the Target Dollar Spot would be awesome too.

Black


Get it here: http://amzn.to/2klispd


Check out these other colors:

Lime

http://amzn.to/2jPGyEJ

Teal


http://amzn.to/2joOnFA

Next I used a blank calendar for the school year.

Here is a the one I downloaded from TpT for FREE!!!

I'd love to hear how you manage absent students in your classroom! Share your ideas below and don't forget to follow me on Facebook!


Hunter Boots - A Must Have

Here in Tennessee we've been having awful January weather!

It's not cold. It's not snowing; there is no ice. But it HAS been raining... endlessly. Or at least it feels like it.


It is more like spring right now instead of winter.

Thank goodness, though, I bought a pair of Hunter boots a few years ago.

They are expensive, but so worth it. When I finally broke down and bought them, we had just moved to New England.

I have gotten so much wear out of them. Best of all, you can wear them all year long. I've worn them in every season. Mine have trekked through snow and jumped massive puddles.



I highly recommend that you invest in a pair. I wear my black Hunter boots with everything - - dresses, jeans, shorts, and leggings!!

Click here to find a great deal on them!

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Another Valentine's DIY

How stinking cute is this?!?




My daughter received this last year on Valentine's Day from a classmate.

She continues to use it a year later.

I was thinking about how cute it would be for me to give one to each of my reading students... or maybe have them make their own???

Anyway, here is what you need:

* Plastic Bookmark Covers http://amzn.to/2kvbD4D



* Paint swatches from your local hardware store



* Ribbon

* Heart Shaped Hole Punch http://amzn.to/2jhcVvi



* Address Labels (optional)http://amzn.to/2kvfU8b



* Cute Stamp and Ink (optional) http://amzn.to/2k2LV6F



Steps: **Note** Check that your paint swatches will easily slide into the sleeves; some trimming may need to be done before you begin the following steps.

1. Use hole punch to punch hearts into each color on swatch. (see image above)

2. Stamp image on bottom corner opposite of heart punch. (see image above)

3. Type a sweet message (don't forget to sign who it is from) and print on address labels. (see image above)

4. Stick labels to the back of each swatch.

5. Slide finished swatch into bookmark sleeve.

6. Tie a ribbon through the hole at the top of the bookmark sleeve.

7. Rejoice in knowing that you are giving a gift that will be used and treasured for days, weeks, years to come!

How will you be spreading love and joy this Valentine's Day? Comment below, I'd love to hear from you!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Valentine's Day DIY

Valentine's Day DIY

Teachers, Moms

Here is a great DIY for Valentine's Day.

My daughter and I have been doing this for a few years and it has been a big hit and a fun project that we look forward to working on together each year!

I really get tired of all the candy and the little cards that just get tossed aside. This is a gift that is usable and won't create a sugar spike in the kiddos!

Before you begin, you will need a few supplies. The first one is a little bit of an investment, but can be used year after year.
Head to Amazon and purchase a Wilton Heart Mold.



While you are on Amazon, you will need to purchase these 3x4 inch bags as well.




Okay, so now you are ready!

Step 1:

If you are a mom, find your child's old stubby crayons. You know the ones, the broken, gross looking ones. If your house is anything like mine, I'm sure they won't be hard to find!



Teachers, you can just find all those stubby, broken, used crayons at school.

Step 2:

This is where children come in handy. Peel off any remaining paper that might still be left wrapped around the crayons. I usually let my daughter do this dirty task.



Step 3:

Break or cut the crayons into tiny pieces.

Step 4:

Place tiny pieces together in heart molds. Be sure to fill the mold up all the way to the top so that it is practically overflowing.

Step 5:

Bake at 230 degrees for 15 minutes.

Step 6:

Cool, then pop out.

Step 7:

Place crayon(s) in the ziplock bags and attach a tag using a stapler.


There are many tags out there on Pinterest. My favorite is this one by Cherished Bliss:




http://cherishedbliss.com/you-color-my-world-valentine-card/

It is free to print and comes in both girl and boy colors. If you have card stock, print it on that for added durability, or do as I do and print it on plain copy paper.




This project is not only great for Valentine's Day, but could be used as Christmas gifts with this mold as well!



It would also be fun as a science experiment or craft at school, camps, VBS, etc. Use a mini muffin tin for those occasions:

http://amzn.to/2jXeuPv



My kids and I created a fun tutorial that you can find on my Facebook page - Timeouts and Tootsie Rolls - if you'd like more information.




Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Middle School Classroom Tour

Here is a mid-year look at my Middle School classroom. We keep the overhead lights off 90% of the time per student request. They love the darker atmosphere. There are lamps and string lights placed along the room and the projector is on most of the time as well. Having the lights off really provides a calming environment.

Here is the view standing in the back of the room:





Here is the back wall:


And the side wall where I meet for reading conferences:



My favorite accessory to decorate any classroom with is the tissue pom pom...



Check out Amazon to get a great deal on a variety pack.

I can't hang them from my ceiling, but that would be super cute too!

Now here is a look at our 6th grade teacher lounge makeover!

Before:



After:




This was super easy and didn't cost a dime. I used left over boarder and pom poms from my classroom, some decor I wasn't using at home and put the whole thing together in no time flat.

Thanks for stopping by and don't forget to follow me on Facebook at Timeouts and Tootsie Rolls!!