Thursday, November 20, 2014

Favorite Apps: Plickers

So, you don't have a class set of iPads.  Not even 1?  What about an iPhone?  If you have at least 1 device/iPhone, this is the app for you.


This app only needs to be on the teacher's device.  This app allows you to take data on your students responses to multiple choice or true/false questions.  All you have to do is set up an account, which is free.  Then you add all of your students.  Each student is assigned a number.  Print out the black and white cards.  Each card is different and has a random shape.  This makes it impossible for students to copy answers or know what anyone else answers.  Make sure each student gets the correct number.

Now you are ready to use.  This app is perfect for formative assessment.  You can see which kids are ready to move on and who still needs additional practice.  Login to plickers.com  Pull up the question set that you want to use.  Project the first question on the board.  Login to the app on your iPhone.  Read the question on the board and have students to hold up their card to she their response.  Use your iPone to scan around your room.  You will see each student's name and answer choice pop up on your phone as it registers their answer.  It will tell you who has/has not answered the question and the percentage of students who got the correct answer.  You can find out more about this app {HERE}

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Sunday, November 16, 2014

My Favorite Apps: 10 Junior


Do you spend FOREVER teaching kids all of the different ways to make 10?  I know you do and there are several kids who never really seem to get it.  Well, this is the app for you!  The entire app is about how to make 10!  


It starts out very simple.  It guides kids to match 1 and 9 to make 10.

The next few levels only have 2 numbers.  In this level, kids are matching 4 and 6 to make 10.


 Students are still only working with 2 numbers.


 After a few more levels, students begin working with more numbers, but it's still pretty basic.


Now, it's beginning to get a little challenging because students have to be careful not to block numbers into a corner.  Once students combine numbers to get to 10, it turns into a block and will not move.  Students have to work around the 10 blocks to continue combining numbers to get to 10.


Here's what it looks like when students have made some combinations of 10.




The best part, this app is FREE!  You can find more info {HERE}



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Thursday, November 13, 2014

My Favorite Apps: Where's My Water?

I know what you're thinking.  "Is she serious? This is a game."  Well, yes and no.  It is a game, but it requires kids to plan ahead, solve problems, and use critical thinking.  While this app does make kids think, I really use this as a "reward app."  I only have this app on my iPad.  When students have worked really hard towards a specific goal, they get to "play" on the iPad.  While they think they are playing, they are still working and learning.  Anytime I can get my kids to think and try to solve problems that are beyond their current level, I am thrilled.  Since this is a game, they are much more willing to try.  They don't even mind trying the same problem multiple times until they succeed.



 This app begins simple.  The object is to get enough water to the drain so the dragon, Swampy, can take a bath. You also need to fill up each duck with water.  Water flows down and uses the basic principals of physics.  If you create a curve, you can shoot the water in that direction.

This is the first level of the game.  As you can see, students would take their finger and "dig" a hole to allow the water to go down.  As students trace the path, the water begins to flow.


This is a much more advanced level.  Now we have purple goo.  (I have no idea what it is really called.)  The purple goo is bad.  If one drop gets into the drain, Swampy gets mad. There are also additional challenges.  You have to get water to it the containers which act as a switch causing the bridges to move.  Once water hits the red container, the red bridge will swing over and over the purple goo.  If the goo fills up and hits the blue container, than the blue bridge will open and allow all of the goo out which will go into the drain. 

As you can see, that even though this is a game, it requires the students to think and solve many kinds of problems.  You can find more information about the app {HERE} 

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Sunday, November 9, 2014

Favorite Apps: ChatterPix Kids

ChatterPix Kids is so much fun!  My kids beg to use ChatterPix Kids for everything.  I love using ChatterPix Kids for summarizing, retelling, and point of view.  At this time, this is a FREE app.



To begin, students decide if they are going to take a picture with the camera or select a photo from the library. 



My students took a picture of the polar bear they drew.  (We did a step, by step drawing using chalk.  This student is a perfectionist when it comes to his art.)  After students take the picture, they take their finger and draw a line across the mouth (or wherever they want the mouth to be.)  If you look closely, you can see a dotted line across the polar bear's mouth.  

The next step allows students to record their message.  They have 30 seconds and can record as many times as they want until they are happy with their recording.  For this lesson, my students had written a nonfiction article (paragraph) about polar bears.  They recorded themselves reading their paragraph.  When they were finished, the polar bear spoke the information.  When we had Open House, parents went around the room and could listen to all of the different polar bears sharing information.


You can find more info about this FREE app {HERE}
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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Favorite Apps: Zircuits

This is one of my favorite math apps because the kids think they are playing.  They have no idea that they are learning and working on their critical thinking skills.  I also like that when my kids get stuck on a puzzle, they will work with a partner to try to solve it.  This means they have to use their oral language skills to express themselves and their social skills.

This is the opening screen.  Students press the play button to get started.

Students are then take to this screen.  Students can see which levels they have completed so they can pick up where they left off.  This student has completed all of the levels in this section.

Here is the very first level.  The first few levels of the game walks you through the steps to teach you how to play. Students simply touch the 1 and then the 2 and the two numbers will switch places.



Here is the last level of the first section. As you can see, all of the symbols are red except for 1.  The > between the 2 and 0 is green because that sequence is correct.  As students switch the numbers while solving, the symbols will turn green as they are correct and red if they are incorrect.

 As you can see, this game requires the students to think and plan ahead.  The kids LOVE this app and call it a game.  I love it because it pushes my kids to think critically and solve problems.  If you want more info about this app, you can click {HERE}


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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Favorite Apps: Book Creator

Do you have iPads in the classroom?  Even if you only have 1, it can become the greatest educational tool you have.  Over the next few weeks, I am going to share some of my favorite apps with you.

I love Book Creator because it is so versatile.  All of my kids can use it and I can easily differentiate the assignment so that everyone can participate on their instructional level.

When you open Book Creator, you have 3 icons on the top left.  The "I" allows you to select the color of the page. 

You can change the size and style of the text.

You can delete a picture that you added.

You can export your student's work into iBooks.


Under the "+", you can add photos from your library, take a picture with the camera, write or type text, and record your voice.  This feature is what allows all of my students to participate in the same assignment.  For my higher kids, they can type their sentences and record themselves reading their stories.  My middle kids, they can type or write their sentences. My lower group of kids can orally tell their stories since they are unable to spell most words.

 Here is an example of a page that one of my students wrote.  They typed in the text and added a picture of a scene they created in Felt Board.  (I will share more about Felt Board later on.)


This app is super easy to use and allows all of my students to participate on the same assignment.  It allows my kids to show their knowledge in manner that they can be really proud of.  If you want to find out more about this app, you can click {HERE}





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Friday, October 24, 2014

Social Thinking

Do your kids love superhero?  Mine do!  They love this new social skills program that I've found.   The kids get to work with the superhero Superflex.  Superflex saves Social Town from the team of Unthinkables.  Super flex teaches the kids different strategies they can use to defeat the Unthinkables.

The first book teaches kids how to outsmart Rock Brain.  They learn what to do when their brains get stuck on activities or topics they want to do.


Several of my students have a difficult time knowing the difference between a big problem and a small problem.  The Superflex curriculum has the answer.  We are now using this book where my kids are learning about Glassman.  Glassman makes you have a HUGE reaction to a small problem.  My students are learning different strategies they can try immediately to defeat this villain.  


To help my kids get motivated to learn and practice their skills, we turned our closet into Social Town.  We have Superflex flying down to rescue the citizens.  Since we are talking about Rock Brain and Glassman, we added them to our town.  All of the kids also have their own superhero mask they get to wear during our lessons.  Social Skills is now the highlight of our day.


You can find out more about these resources by clicking here.


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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Do you use Whole Brain Teaching?

Do you use Whole Brain Teaching in your classroom?  This is my first real attempt at it.  I must say, that I have been absolutely amazed at the progress my students are showing.  I am using WBT strategies in writing.  I am starting slowly and will progress as my students and I grow in this process.

During the second week of school, I asked my students to write a paragraph about where they like to go.  Here are a few examples of what they gave me:



I like going to the store because I can get toys and I can play with them when I get hot and I get candy at the store  and I get coke


I like to go home
I like to zoo.
I like to dog.


I like going to art.
I like drawing.
I like painting.



Yesterday, we wrote a paragraph about our favorite movie.  We discussed topic sentences and why topic sentences are so important.  I used the lesson from the book Whole Brain Teaching for Challenging Kids.  I really liked how the lesson was outlined.  Here's the writing my kids produced.



My favorite movie is frozen because it is sad and they sing.  Ana freezes her head and she shuts the gates.  Elsa sings when the gates open.  She is happy.


My favorite movie is Mulan because she brings honor to her family and she helps her father.  She goes to war.  She dresses like a man.


My favorite movie is How to Build a Better Boy because he is a robot and he plays football.  He is a robot because a girl made him in a lab on a computer.  He plays football because he wants to.



I know what you're thinking.  I did NOT coach or correct anything.  Amazing, right?!  I can't wait to see where we are in May!  It's going to be a great year!!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

We Love Special Ed Teachers!!

Did we mention how much we love special educators??! 
Well just to show you how much, 24 of us have joined together to help you start your new year out with a BOOM! 
We are beyond excited and even more excited for you! Ok, maybe even just a wee bit jealous! :)
These 24 awesome special educators, including me, have put together 5 fabulous giveaways and a freebie hop with over 20 freebies just for you!! 
Shall we get this party going!!? 
Are you ready?
The first 3 giveaways are split into 3 categories; early childhood, primary, and intermediate! So be sure to enter the one for your grade level! You can click on any of the pictures to view the product in their store or to wishlist it in case you don't win!!{wink}
Here's a look at everything one teacher will win in the Early Childhood Pack!
WOW!
Here's a look at everything one teacher will win in the Primary Pack!
Seriously!!!!?? Are you feeling the Love?!
Here's a look at everything one teacher will win in the Intermediate Pack! As you know, it can be a challenge finding resources on TpT for this level, but we did manage to put a few things together that we think you'll love!
a Rafflecopter giveaway But wait! There's MORE! David at "Attainment Company" was generous enough to give two lucky teachers a copy of this e-Book for their iPad. (This e-Book is compatible ONLY for iPad, so if you do not have an iPad do not enter!)
a Rafflecopter giveaway 
How many of you have seen this book, or are even using it in your classroom to assess and determine presents levels?? Brigance CIBS
Last year a new and improved updated version was released...... Brigance CIBS II
and we're super excited that Robin at "Curriculum Associates" has generously donated it for us to give to one of you!! Folks, this is a $339.00 value!! Now this one definitely makes us just a wee bit jealous!  (Our apologies, but this one is for U.S. residents only) a Rafflecopter giveaway And now it's time for a............... FREEBIE HOP!
You can grab my Picture Schedule for your classroom by clicking on the picture.  I have included the basics and a blank card so you can customize it to fit your classroom.  I like to put magnetic tape on the back to make it easy to rearrange my schedule as needed.



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