Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Teachers are HEROES SALE

Cue the Mariah Carey "Hero" music...Shout out to all teachers out there! TpT is celebrating us with a "Teachers are Heroes" sale! Well deserved! My store "Adventures of a Techie Bookworm" is 20% off Wednesday and Thursday and TpT has a promo code you can use to get an additional 10% off! Here are a few of my favorites for March celebrations of Dr. Seuss and St. Patrick's Day

Click images below to view 
these products in my store or go directly to my store.


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Creative Writing with a Sub: Create-a-Story

Let's be honest. Teaching is tough. Totally rewarding and undeniably fun, but TOUGH. Late hours, unending e-mails, and lesson plans galore…not to mention you better not get sick! In a profession where you are surrounded by germs and runny noses, it is almost impossible to take a sick day without having to scavenge together last minute sub plans. The dreaded sub plans…almost worth reconsidering that sick day. I remember the guilty feeling when putting together sub plans with a movie and a few "activities" for students to work on while I was at home in bed. Not exactly engaging. That was until I found a creative way to keep engagement up in the classroom…and it involved writing. Yes, you did hear that correctly---my students LOVED the writing I would assign with substitutes. They would beg to have more create-a-story writing in class. Use these no fail writing templates to keep students engaged in creative writing with or without a substitute.

How do these work?
1. Brainstorm how to create a picture with the shape in the picture frame. Consider this circle template… That circle could magically become a sun, basketball, ice cream cone, lollipop, wheel, eye ball, or even a turtle!

2. After taking time to draw and (color) a picture, students write a creative and descriptive story about their picture.

3. Students can share their creativity with each other and watch how one shape can develop into many different stories.

Have fun watching your the creative juices flow!

Click on the link below to view this product in my store and always have on hand when you get sick.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Classroom Management Part 2: Playing Possum

Let's face it…Elementary school students are not naturally quiet. In my struggles to grab attention or quiet down a classroom (especially before holiday parties…), I invented a little game called "Possum".  It is beautifully simple and extremely effective. I still play this game in my library lessons (grades K-5). Even 5th graders LOVE it! Students will try to win this challenge by being the last student not caught talking by the teacher. The best part is that this game can last over a long period of time and still keep student interest. I once had a game of possum last 3 months in a second grade classroom and half the year in a 5th grade classroom. Students couldn't wait to start this game over.

How do you play?
1. Teachers explain that "playing possum" is when a possum tries to not be caught by a predator by being completely still. In this game students "play possum" by being completely silent. Students will often ask about sneezing, coughing… this does not count as talking.

2. If the possum catcher (teacher) hears a student talk or whisper, then that student is out and has been caught.

3. The last student left in the game is the "Possum Champion".

4. After finding a winner, all students are back in the game.

Note: The possum catcher (teacher) does not have to tell students if they have been caught. This leaves them in suspense and motivated to continue to be quiet.

Play this game anytime for a quiet class in seconds!

Pack includes rules, posters, checklists, award certificates, nonfiction opossum reading and comprehension questions, and resources for more opossum research.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Classroom Management

Do you need to freshen up your classroom management system? Try Class Dojo!

Over the year I have used stoplights, clip charts, stickers, and many more behavior management systems. Last year I stumbled upon classdojo and feel in management love! Kids will adore making monster avatars that can earn points for positive behavior in the classroom!

Want to add some color and decor to your classroom rules? Check out my Classroom Rules Posters to display in your room to teach simple expectations. There are three types as shown below.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Death by PowerPoint: Creating Powerful Presentations

We've all been there. Sitting as a victim suffering from "death by PowerPoint"… Too much text, crazy graphics, animations galore, and dare I say it… reading word for word off the screen?!? In education, one of our jobs is to direct kids and teach them how to be powerful presenters. They need to convey information learned in a thoughtful and engaging way to their audiences. In this presentation, I tackled many of the common mistakes that presenters make using PowerPoint. The technology/presentation tips focus on the following

  • Size, font, and amount of text on slides
  • Use of graphics
  • Animations and transitions
  • Practice
  • Editing
Students had to find and guess the mistakes shown on each slide and then learn the proper way to have powerful presentations. This made a world of difference and "death by PowerPoint" definitely got students thinking about their own PowerPoint presentations and staying away from too many cute graphics and animations all over their slides. They are becoming more polished and professional and I couldn't be more proud. Click here to see this in my store.

How do you help guide students to use PowerPoint effectively?

Standardized Testing

Are standardized tests causing you to sweat? What are you doing to prepare students to successfully take these tests? Here are some resources I have used to prepare literacy students to get better acquainted with the multiple choice Part-A and Part-B format.

Literacy: Many of these standardized tests like the PARCC test take long pieces of literature and informational texts and have students analyze by answering multiple choice questions supported with evidence (Part A and Part B questions). This multiple choice prep helps give students a chance to practice answering questions after reading picture books The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch and Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens. Both of these books are available on Tumblebooks as well for students to work and listen to the texts independently or in a small group. Click the images to view in my store. They are both {FREEBIES}.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Digital Citizenship

Living in the "information age" how do you promote digital citizenship in your classroom/school?
Being the Digital Literacy Specialist at an elementary school, it is one of my jobs to promote responsible, respectful, and safe integration of technology. One of the things that I do to teach students about the importance of being good digital citizens is using a "technology treasure box" filled with tips of how students can safely use technology and develop positive digital footprints. I use these posters all year to remind students of the importance of digital citizenship. Check out these products at my store: Digital Citizenship PowerPoint and Poster Pack and Bookmarks.


I also promote using our devices in a safe and responsible way by posting these signs around our library and in classrooms. We have the color printer and try to teach students the importance to using resources wisely. Visit my store to view: Technology Care Poster Pack, iPad Care Poster Pack, and Printing Posters.

How do you promote digital citizenship year round at your school?

Sunday, February 15, 2015

VOICES: Teaching Writing Strategies and Skills

Do you use and LOVE the teaching strategic writing in the classroom? As I teacher, I loved using these VOICES headers (idea from Ladybug Teacher files) and created strategy cards as an interactive writing focus board. I utilized the strategy cards much like the CAFE board idea from The Two Sisters and Daily Five. I would give students a focus strategy and had students put post-it notes on skills they were trying to improve in their own writing.  Click the image to view in my store.

Blog Design Kuddos

Thank you Megan from "A Bird in the Hand Designs" for creating such a beautiful blog design. I couldn't be more thrilled with how it turned out. A match made in blogger heaven. Check out her blog to see her other brilliant designs.