Sunday, October 19, 2014

Free Technology Idea: Smarpthone and iPhone Drive

This could be brilliant, or it could be crazy......but recently I've been talking with teachers about low- or no-cost ways to get more technology for the classroom. It occurred to me that Android Smartphones and iPhones with wi-fi capability function just like tablets when disconnected from cell service but connected to wi-fi.

Many people upgrade their phones yearly, and with the new iPhone 6 coming out, the timing seems ideal! Why not do a drive at your school for used Android Smartphones and iPhones? You can enhance learning in your classroom for next to nothing!

To help get you started, I created the following *FREE* flyer that can be sent home to parents and hung up in the school. Just click the thumbnail below for your free flyer!


Teach on, techy teachers!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Spiders Are Your Friends

Spiders! We see pretend ones in the store as Halloween decorations (some are pretty terrifying) or real ones outside in a web they have created.  For some reason, these creatures are always something that students want to learn about. How are spiders different than insects? What is an orb web? Are all spiders poisonous? How does the spider not get stuck in her own web? These are questions that students will ask because they are curious and inquisitive.

Did you know spiders are really useful animals and serve mankind well? They eat mosquitoes, grasshoppers, locusts and other insects that are harmful to man. A single spider may kill about two thousand insects in its lifetime. Even though you may be afraid of spiders, very few are dangerous. The black widow and the brown house (recluse) spider do have poisonous bites, but there are no other common house spiders known to be dangerous.

Spiders
Spiders are not insects, and insects are not spiders. Spiders are arthropods because they have spinning glands used to create silken threads. Sometimes spiders are called arachnids because of their eight legs. Spiders and insects have different attributes. All insects have six legs, but all spiders have eight legs. An insect has a three-part body, but a spider has only two parts to its body. Insects have antennae or feelers, and spiders do not. Spiders can usually be found in basements, barns, garages, or attics. In warm weather, you can find them under rocks or logs, sitting on fences, or in the grass and flowers. There are about forty thousand different species of spiders.

Interested in learning more?  Check out a ten page short mini reading/science unit  about spiders. First, the students read a short passage about spiders. Then they answer several questions about the reading based on Bloom's Taxonomy, or they do an activity related to the reading passage. Activities include dictionary work, spider math problems, labeling the parts of a spider, and completing a spider web. This mini unit is appropriate for grades 3-5 and will take about five days to complete.



Sunday, October 5, 2014

Learning Geometry using Number Tiles

My college students will soon start the unit on plane geometry.  I love teaching geometry because it is so visual, but there are others who despise it because of the numerous new words to learn.  In fact, our plane geometry unit alone contains over 50 terms that must be learned as well as understood.

I have found that with my students, mathematical language is either a dead language (It should be buried and never resurrected!), a foreign language (It sounds like a different language from a far away country.), a nonsense language (It makes no sense to me - ever!) or a familiar, useful language. Many times, they are unduly frustrated because mathematical language has never been formally taught or applied to real life.  For example, many primary teachers will have their children sit on the circle when in fact, the children are sitting on the circumference of the circle.  What a wonderful, concrete way to introduce children to the concept of circumference!  Yet, this teaching moment is often missed, and circumference doesn't surface again until it is time to teach the chapter on circles.

Plane Geometry + Number Tiles
Because I believe it is important to find different ways to introduce and practice math vocabulary, I created a new resource for Teachers Pay Teachers entitled: Geometric Math-A-Magical Puzzles.  It is a 48 page handout of puzzles that are solved like magic squares. Number tiles are positioned so that the total of the tiles on each line of the geometric shape add up to be the same sum. Most of the geometric puzzles have more than one answer; so, students are challenged to find a variety of solutions.

Before each set of activities, the geometry vocabulary used for that group of activities is listed. Most definitions include diagrams and/or illustrations. In this way, the students can learn and understand new math words without difficulty or cumbersome words. These activities vary in levels of difficulty. Because the pages are not arranged in any particular order, the students are free to skip around in the book. All of these activities are especially suitable for the visual and/or kinesthetic learner.

A ten page free mini download of this item is available if you want to try it with your students. Check it out!



Friday, September 12, 2014

Math Note Taking


This is Literacy and Math Ideas.  I am back to share some pictures of the recent note taking that my students did in math class.  Click here to take a look.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

"I'm done.  Now what??"
Don't you wish you could just point to your pretty bulletin board when you hear this question?
 
Laurie, a Spanish teacher in New York, created this awesome layout (above) with Autumn Fast Finishers for Spanish Packet from La Profesora Frida.
Below is another creative layout:
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Already purchased La Profesora Frida's Autumn Fast Finishers Bulletin Board Set?  Wishing you could have the WINTER version for FREE??  You can!   Take a picture of your bulletin board layout for the Autumn version and sending it to LaProfesoraFrida on Facebook!

Because we teach in a public school system, we usually have a mixture of ability levels in our foreign language classes.  While we are offering help to students who are having trouble contemplating a subject, there are often those students who understand the content and finish earlier than the rest of the class.  Which is when we hear, "I'm done.  Now what??"

Students who finish fast often fall into one of 2 categories:
-quiet type
-bored "trouble maker"

The quiet type are those students who have a great work ethic.  These students already have a book to read or have brought a bit of homework from another class to work on because they are used to finishing first.  They're nothing to worry about.
Except....  Are they getting as much intellectual stimulation in your class as they deserve?

The bored "trouble makers" are those students who are not actually trouble makers.  They finish early because they are bright students, but then they don't know what to do with themselves.  They might start to wander the classroom or try to talk to students who are still trying to work-- making them appear as though they are trouble makers.
And....  Are they getting as much intellectual stimulation in your class as they deserve?

One useful way to keep Fast Finishers academically focused (whether they realize it or not!) is to apply a Fast Finishers program to your classes.



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I have an Autumn Fast Finishers bulletin board in my classroom  and the idea is to have a number of activities available for students to work on when they're done with their regular work.

There are a variety of activities; writing, reading, speaking, pronunciation, artistic activities, partner work- over 20 to choose from.  The students have a tracking sheet and know that they aren't to bother you while you're helping other students!  (There are several posters included in this packet so students know to only ask you to check their Fast Finishers work if they KNOW you're not busy!)







Check out this interactive, creative Spanish packet at my TeachersPayTeachers store!  Let me know what you think!  I find it incredibly useful, and I hope that you can apply this teaching concept to your Spanish classes as well.

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Already purchased La Profesora Frida's Autumn Fast Finishers Bulletin Board Set?  You could get the WINTER version for FREE by taking a picture of your bulletin board layout for the Autumn version and sending it to her on Facebook

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Congratulations to the Winners of the THREE $100 GIVEAWAYS of TpT Gift Certificates!




Congratulations to 


Megan Wallen, the winner of the FIRST $100 TpT Gift Certificate...

Erica Hildebrand, the winner of the SECOND $100 TpT Gift Certificate...

and 

Wise Guys, the winners of the THIRD $100 TpT Gift Certificate...

Follow me at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Victoria-Leon/ so that you will know when I will be having other THREE $100 GIVEAWAYS of TpT Gift Certificates!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tips & Tricks for ELL Family Engagement


The beginning of the school year is the best time to start to connect with parents and open a dialogue about their child's learning. This can be especially important and challenging for teachers with ELLs.

Come by The ESOL Odyssey to learn some tips and tricks for Engaging the Families of ELLs!




Monday, August 18, 2014

Number the Stars ELA Activities

Number the Stars! 

This is definitely one of my favorite stories! It's set during World War II and is so skillfully written by Lois Lowry that the characters come alive. It's based on a story that was told to Mrs. Lowry by a woman who lived through the German occupation during the War.

Because most students have no background knowledge about WWII, I included an article, with questions, that gives them a better understanding of the events and circumstances happening during those years. Also included is a map of Denmark and Europe, with map activities that can be integrated with social studies classes. This 71 page packet has detailed instructions of how to use the pages.

Ruth


photo of Number the Stars ELA Activities, PDF, novel studies, ready to print student worksheets,Ruth S.
photo of Number the Stars ELA Activities, PDF, novel studies, ready to print student worksheets, teacherspayteachers.com, Ruth S.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Fill Your Shopping Carts

Back-to-School Boost - One Day Sale - August 20th


300 × 250



Teachers Pay Teachers is having a Back-to-School Boost!  Use the promo code BOOST and receive 10% off all Teachers Pay Teachers' products.  Take an additional 20% off all of my products at TpT.  
Go to my TpT store at...

Some of my best-selling TpT products are...
Teaching Tips From an Award-Winning National Board Certified Teacher
Word Problem of the Day - 200 Word Problems & Charts

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Start the Year off Right.....

....by starting EVERY class period off right. 

This is a tip for secondary teachers that teach multiple sections each day. 

Call it what you want - a Bell Ringer, a Do Now, Bell Work, whatever.....just make sure you do it everyday.  It has to be a routine to be useful.

Explain your process the first day & do it from day 2 on!

My students pick up their "Bellringer Book" on the way into the classroom, complete the practice/review problems or respond to the prompt on the board and return the book to the bin on the "Bellringer Table" within 4 minutes. 

It is a great way to start class!  It buys me 4 minutes to record attendance, reset the room from the last class, and check in with late students.  It gets students into class-mode from the moment they enter the classroom and provides a natural consequence for being late to class. 

I prepare a booklet of legal sized paper folded in half for each marking period with the dates printed on the pages.  I randomly check them for a grade.  Sometimes the grade is for completion, sometimes for correctness.  You could  have students write dates in a composition book, or keep a section in their own notebooks for Bell Work. 

If you happen to teach Algebra, I've begun a series of Bell Work PowerPoint files.  Each has 48 days from which to choose.  SET 1 is posted: 



Here is the index slide with hyperlinks to the slide you select for the day:
I'm hoping to finish up & post SET 2 within days:

Good Luck with the new school year.   
It's difficult to take back a class, be sure to start it off right!

Lisa   =)



Save some money for Back-to-School time!

If you're like me, you're always looking for a bargain. One of the great things about being a teacher is the many businesses that offer everyday discounts for Teachers to help you stretch that salary just a little further. On my blog, The ESOL Odyssey, I've compiled a list of Everyday Discounts just for teachers! Hop on by and save some $$!


Have a great school year!


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Writing Prompts for Research Papers

 I like to let students choose their own topics for their research papers, but I find they need a little direction to get started. In my blog, I talk about how to get them going with prompts and questions to consider. I've had great results in my classroom using these prompt cards. Read all about it here!
Happy Teaching!


Monday, August 11, 2014

FREE Back-to-School Augmented Reality Scavenger Hunt: School Around the World

Looking for a fun activity for the first few days of school that gets students thinking and practicing valuable skills? Maybe one that introduces some technology? Then I've got just the thing for you!

My latest is a FREE Augmented Reality Scavenger Hunt that will help your kiddos discover what school is like around the world! Students use Aurasma to scan the flags and go to media (websites, videos, and more) about school in that country. They use the information to answer questions and complete their passport as the rotate to each country.

This is a great way to informally assess where your students are and to introduce some classroom technology procedures. I hope you will enjoy it! Simply click the picture below to get your own copy of my FREE Back-to-School Augmented Reality Scavenger Hunt: School Around the World!




Homework Can Be Fun!



Do you want your students to look forward to homework and begging for more? We suggest our time-tested monthly homework packets! Check out our newly updated August packets. As a bonus, all Kindergarten Editions contain an additional choice of homework with Spanish directions!

 


Saturday, August 9, 2014

ESGI License Give Away!

Free License ESGI Assessment Software

Save $40.00

Do you want to win a free year of the time saving assessment software by ESGI?



I use the assessments below in my classroom, I have tried to perfect these assements for years, and I truly believe them to be the perfect kindergarten and Pre-K. assessment packets. And, yes, they are strategically linked to the common core. Last year I found ESGI and it completely transformed the administration and data collection of these assessments.


Before ESGI, I ran a copy of the assessments for each student, had an organized assessment binder for both math and reading, and then spent hours transferring the data to a spreadsheet that automatically color-coded the students to red, yellow and green. This took me HOURS of time!


But ESGI has changed all of that, it is literally Click Click Done! Now, I test my students on the iPad, have immediate data results and all of the tools necessary to utilize this data to improve student learning.

I have partnered with ESGI and now, all of my tried and tested assessment are right there ready for everyone to use. There are also other options available from other Friends of ESGI, a number of system tests, and yes, you can even customize your own tests if you wish!

Well, I could go on and on, but, lets get to the giveaway.

To enter, simply click on the ESGI link above and sign up for a free 60 day trial. Remember to enter the promo code B7227. ESGI will do the rest. One lucky person who signs up for this free trial using my promo code will be awarded one free year of ESGI.

Also, anyone that comments on this post via Facebook will be entered to win one of two complete sets of my paper tests that will complement your ESGI experience.

Contest ends Friday at midnight. So what are you waiting for? Click, Click, Done!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Free Bell Ringers and Start-Ups
Two Sets

     This set includes a spelling activity, a homophone activity, and a compound word challenge appropriate for 4 and 5th graders.  Answer keys  are included.
                                                                   
   This one starts with a seek-a-word puzzle loaded with “zz.”  Next is a homophone activity.  The last page is a compound word workout.  Answer keys are included.
http://takinggrades.com/Freebies/Free6-8.pdf 
   This download is packed with a little more challenge than the 4-5th grade set,  but the two of them would work well together in most 4th-8th grade classrooms.
                           
Margaret Whisnant      My TpT Store  
  My Website                
     

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Quick, Common Core Reading Practice In 5 Minutes Each Day



(Multiple Grade Levels are Available) These high-interest passages review the Common Core Reading Standards in just five minutes per day.  Historical fiction, realistic fiction, poetry, informational text,drama/plays, fantasy, and science fiction passages are all included to give your students quick, daily practice at your grade level. Common Core Standards are written right next to each short passage for easy progress monitoring. Best of all, the passages are thematic so each week, students build important reading, science, and social studies knowledge as they review each standard.  


Index of Topics Covered at One Grade Level
Week One:  Informational Text
Standards Covered Include:
· RI.1 Details
· RI.2 Main Idea
· RI.3 Cause & Effect
· RI.5 Text Structure
· RI.8 Logical Connections

Week Two:  Informational Text
Standards Covered Include:
· RI.1 Details
· RI.2 Main Idea
· RI.3 Cause and Effect
· RI.4 Vocabulary
· RI.8 Logical Connection
· RI.9 Compare and Contrast 

Week Three:  Literature (Stories & Plays)
Standards Covered Include:
· RL.1 Ask and Answer Questions
· RL.2 Retell (Part 1 of the Standard)
· RL.2 Theme (Part 2 of the Standard)
· RL.3 Character Analysis
· RL.4 Vocabulary
· RL.5 Stories, Drama, & Poems

Week Four:  Literature (Stories & Poetry)
Standards Covered Include:
· RL.1 Ask and Answer Questions
· RL.2 Retell (Part 1 of the Standard)
· RL.2 Theme (Part 2 of the Standard)
· RL.3 Character Analysis
· RL.4 Vocabulary and Meaning
· RL.5 Stories, Dramas, & Poems

Week Five:  Informational Text
Standards Covered Include:
· RI.1 Details
· RI.2 Main Idea
· RI.5 Text Features
· RI.7 Illustrations & Maps



Saturday, August 2, 2014

THREE $100 GIVEAWAYS of TpT Gift Certificates!







Congratulations to 


Megan Wallen, the winner of the FIRST $100 TpT Gift Certificate...

Erica Hildebrand, the winner of the SECOND $100 TpT Gift Certificate...

and 

Wise Guys, the winners of the THIRD $100 TpT Gift Certificate...

Follow me at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Victoria-Leon/ so that you will know when I will be having other THREE $100 GIVEAWAYS of TpT Gift Certificates!