Animate Google Classroom!


Google Classroom comes alive!  Customize your Google Classroom theme with an animated gif.    First,  find the upload picture button on the upper right hand side of your classroom.


Next, find a gif file that you like in the proper size.  The minimum is 800 by 200 pixels.   Upload just like any other picture file.


Now, you can adjust the size.


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The Farewell Address

Usually by the last day of school, the students have checked out and just waltz in to school collect their report cards. You would think they would be satisfied with checking their grades online in 2017 but nonetheless that would ruin their perfect attendance so they all come in (the freshman at least :)). By June 28th there isn’t much teaching to do so many students spend their day sitting in a hot non air-conditioned classroom staring at their smart phones. So a few years ago I decided I would make their trek into school worthwhile – I give them a farewell address.

The farewell address has become the highlight of my course. Students don’t expect to hear anything from their teachers on the last day which is why I highly recommend
sending them off feeling motivated for the summer. I always include meaningful quotes as I reflect on the close of the year. I  share tidbits about how I became a teacher. I always try to explain to students that they don’t need to know who they will become as adults at 16 ( a valuable message for many of them to hear). I’ll share only part with you so not to bore you with the whole 35 minute speech. I highly recommend giving it a chance in your classrooms!

Here it is:

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My Curse of Knowledge Moment


When the videos began to fill my inbox, I began to realize the power of the assignment.

Originally, my classroom video project was meant to entertain jaded older students in the post spring break period.  I was tired, they were bored – OK, let’s try something different.  I have been using student videos as exit tickets this year and students seem to enjoy it.  See my post The Power of Student Voices!

As a teacher, I suffer from the Curse of Knowledge.  I’ve presented the same material over and over to hundreds (thousands?) of students and I have forgotten how hard it is for a beginner to understand it.    My course videos look and sound pretty good, but it is far more effective to have students explain concepts.    My students sang, danced, graphed and animated!    They enjoyed showing their work in class and loved helping others learn the material.

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A Classroom Comedy Hour

What is a math teacher’s favorite sum?
Knock, knock. Whose there? The end of the year…

Ok, my comedy skills are not that amazing… But the end of the year tends to be an incredibly stressful time for my students. Between prepping for those end of year standardized exams and them looking for summer internships the tension is heightened. By June, I like to liven my classroom up by hosting a classroom comedy hour. Each student gets three minutes to be a stand up comedian to review the material we discussed in class in preparation for any type of upcoming assessment.

First we watch a few clips of kid comedians and discuss what worked with the sketch.
David Burrus is always a hit!

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Pop – Up Cards – Easily create memorable Valentine’s Day Pop-Up Cards for your classroom

SIGN ME UP!I know I’m a little behind with this post re: Valentine’s Day BUT… I had to share this amazing activity I enjoyed with my students a few weeks ago. We made historical pop up Valentine’s Day Cards for the classroom!

I taught my students a basic way to make a pop up card – Start with a simple card or piece of paper and fold it in half. Then cut parallel lines (in pairs of the same length) into the middle fold as shown in the picture. The cuts should be no more then half the length of the card. Push the flaps forward until your card looks the same as the top half.

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The Mannequin Challenge – for the Classroom


I have been waiting all year to try out the Mannequin Challenge in my classroom! Finally I had the opportunity this week to get my students to “freeze in time” for this awesome task.

The Mannequin Challenge was a trend that spread across the internet asking people to freeze in a particular moment in time usually while a camera captures the moment. I chose to participate without the camera. Here’s how you can too.

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