THE WINNING WHITEBOARD

Greeting my students with a smile and shouting a big “GOOD MORNING!” always does the trick to wake up my classroom. BUT…  one other important tool not to overlook in the “be a positive teacher everyday toolkit” is the glamorizing of the white board. In the beginning of my teaching career, having a pretty whiteboard everyday wasn’t easy (because I had three different preps and three different classrooms!) Now that I am more settled beautifying my board is one of my favorite things to do in the morning as I am drinking my cup of tea and reviewing my lesson plan of the day. Here are some of my favorite tips to do inspire in your classroom:

  1. Use multiple bright and bold colors on the board
  2. Think of a fun question for your AIM– make it a grabber so students will want to be interested in your lesson
  3. Don’t forget to have fun! Your class should be be energized and vibrant especially to set the tone for the morning

Here are some photos of my boards!

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Teaching? I’m on the phone!

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Seven ways a smart phone can make a teacher’s life easier!

  1. Use your phone to record who did the homework.   Don’t collect all that paper if you only have time to verify who completed the assignment. You can easily use the scan to spreadsheet solution- Got the Homework Blues?
  2. Randomly call on students  or choose groups with one of the name generating apps: Randomly, Pick Me!, Decide Now! or Who’s Next? so that you can get them into groups for great interactive activities such as The Great Debate (Socratic Seminars in the Classroom!)
  3. Present directly from your phone.  My classroom computer is really old and really slow.  Now that I have Office 365 on up to 5 devices, I can project a PowerPoint presentation directly from my phone.   My set up time is now under a minute!
  4. Get rid of the paper immediately by snapping a digital copy.   I know I will lose that late assignment or make-up test.  It is safer to get a digital copy and send it to email or to a cloud file!  Try to go paperless as I’ve shared in the past here-   The Paperless Teachers Desk (It can be done!) Here’s how – Continue reading “Teaching? I’m on the phone!”

SHARK TANK FOR YOUR CLASSROOM

Many of my readers have been asking me for extended tips on implementing Shark Tank in your classroom (since reading my post on History’s Great Mystery (How can I make my classroom more interactive?!)

This activity is a HUGE hit in my history classroom. This is basically a marketing 101 lesson.

The Basics:
Break students into groups. Each group gets one invention. The group presents the invention and has to sell the items to three – five “ investors”.

The Play by play:
Start the class by asking what technology has changed during their lifetime. How has it changed cultural, social, political and religious interactions?

Then show a pitch from Shark Tank. I like the LuminAID storyline & clip – find it here. Stop after the 2-3 minute pitch. Ask students why the LuminAID pitch was successful. Write answers on the board.

Go on to show more of the clip and introduce the concept of the valuations.

Give students 1-2 class periods to come up with their pitch and then a class period to present. The rest of the class should take notes while the pitches are being presented.

The Lesson Ideas:
Here are a few lesson ideas by topic-

The Industrial Revolution – Invite students to sell you items from the industrial revolution in a game of SHARK TANK. Pick three – five “ investors”. Ask them to sell you investment ideas from the time period such as the Erie Canal, the railroad, the telephone. Teach them how to make a three minute pitch and calculate how much they need for their investment. Check out my other teaching marketing ideas here.

The High Middle Ages – Ask students SELL you technological items from the Commercial Revolution in a game of SHARK TANK. These include the windmill and guilds.

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FREE Back-to-School Shopping Spree!

WOW! New York Teachers are you ready for this? A FREE Back-to-School Shopping Spree. You heard me right. A FREE Back-to-School Shopping Spree.

As per the qns.com story:

Materials for the Arts (MFTA), which is operated by the Department of Cultural Affairs, with support from the Department of Sanitation and Department of Education (DOE) has an ENTIRE Warehouse that provides free materials to teachers — from binders to paper and computer chairs.

Teachers, who are required to make appointments, can pick up items every Tuesday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Thursday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. If a teacher is looking to be added to their school’s member account they can go through their principal or send an email to education@mfta.nyc.gov.”

COUNT ME IN! and Check out more here!

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Howdy! How do you do? (Classroom Icebreakers 101)

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Classroom introductions. The ICEBREAKER! The moment your students (and YOU!) have been waiting for all summer. But the butterflies, they are in the pits of your students stomachs. How do you make it effortless for everyone? Well, here are 5 different ways to break the ice and say “hello!” the easy way. Start by breaking your students into groups and then have each group introduce their team members via a game. Here’s how:

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Got the Homework Blues?

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It’s time for Back to School organization!  One thing I absolutely hate doing is collecting homework.     See my earlier post here:  No HW assignments for 2016? Can it be done?  Assuming you assign homework, what should be done with it?  Collect, Grade, Every day?  The paper piles up!

If your bag is stuffed with student work,  you may want to check out BerryWing’s Scan to Spreadsheet smart phone app which sells for a few dollars.     This could be your new workflow:

  1. Walk around the class, verify assignment completion.
  2. With your phone, scan a QR code taped to each student’s notebook to record credit.
  3. Email the created excel spreadsheet to your work account.

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Bored of your Borders?!

 

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I like adding borders to my class handouts.  See some of my work here:  Everybody Walk the Dinosaur. For those days when there is just no extra time in your teaching-packed day, the built-in borders from Microsoft Word are a great way to spice up an ordinary handout.

Follow the example below, and you’ll see that it is really easy to made something special!

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Gifts for GRAND teachers!

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Many parents and students always want to give me a little thank you at the beginning of the year, the holidays or end of the year. While I am always grateful for these
kind offerings, I try not to take anything of true value from my
students. Usually a lovely well written thank you card suffices.
However, if my school did allow it (and not all do!), here would be my
top 5 teacher gift choices for the grand teacher in your life (or that
recent graduate of education)- in ascending price order.

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Back to School Faculty BINGO

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As back to school week approaches, I thought I would share with you one of my favorite faculty games – back to school FACULTY BINGO!

For me heading back to school is filled with many emotions- I’m excited, I’m nervous. I have spent the whole summer prepping, (and enjoying a little ME and family time of course!) but by August/ September its the back to school jitters.

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Everybody Walk the Dinosaur

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Each school year I have a new “theme” for my classroom. This year I went with the theme of DINOSAUR! Jurassic Park is one of my favorite movies and green is my favorite color so it was a natural choice for me!

I have a perfect google classroom dinosaur theme banner available!

Coupled with adorable borders to use for all of my “Back to School” papers. I will include it on my welcome letter to parents. I featured the following footprints:

Stegosaurus
Anomoepus
Iguanodon
Tyrannasaurus
Caricichnium

They are all available for purchase in my TPT store! The fun dinosaur “footprint” borders come as a set for your classroom! Set includes 5 types in 5 colors – all png files with transparent backgrounds. I have included both portrait and landscape versions.   Find it here!

Let me know what you think of my dinosaur border and animations. Do you DIG it?