Sunday, March 26, 2017

The best hack for using glue in the classroom

Glue sticks. Those 2 simple words bring me both joy and aggravation. I have a love hate relationship with glue sticks. On the one hand I love the ease of glue stick, no more puddles of glue, no clogged tops. It seemed like the perfect answer. But they let me down. Lost caps, dried out sticks, sticks that get turned so much the glue pops off the stick never to be fully insertd again. Nothing can ruin a perfectly good day quicker than lost glue caps. They must be hiding somewhere with all the missing socks. 
Glue sponges, cut and paste made easy

I keep my relationship with glue sticks going because I just couldn't face the alternative- clogged liquid glue. I can't tell you how many hours of my life have been spent trying to soak those little orange tops. I ruined many perfectly good paper clips trying to excavate though dried out glue. 

Well my problem is solved. I can't believe I haven't tried this before. Glue sponges. I've seen these little buggers on pinterest for years, but I never actually tried to make them. I was a fool!!!!! Seriously, glue sponges are my newest favorite hack. They are simple to make, and they actually work! 

     Follow these simple steps and your life will be so much happier!

It's so easy I could just cry! I thought the kids would get glue all over themselves, but they don't a couple kids might need to wash their hands, but those are the same kids who needed to wash their hands after using a glue stick. I have learned that you might need to spray the sponges with just a little water now and again.  I add glue every couple of weeks, but that's about it. I suggest you use anitbaterial sponges. If you don't they might start to smell a little. But don't worry, you can always add a couple drops of mouthwash to the sponge and that works to kill any bacteria.

Now are you ready to have some fun? 
Grab these fun cut and paste activities......


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Using Flipped Lessons in Kindergarten

Are you using an intervention block? Do you need to increase reading fluency? Have you heard about flipped lesson? I've been reading about flipping your classroom for a while, but I just didn't see how it could work in kindergarten. It seemed to be an upper grade level tool.  In case you're new to the party, flipped lessons are basically a way to use video on the IPad or digital device to teach a lesson at home. Then the kids come back to school already having watched and they are ready for enrichment. It "flips" the traditional approach of direct instruction in class and then using homework for enrichment.
DIBLES-reading fluency-kindergarten-struggling readers-

But what about kindergarten? How can we use the technology to increase student engagement?
Well, I've been playing around with flipped lessons and I think I may be on to something! But of course we need to modify for kindergarten.  Flipping has been a game changer for me and my kids.

So, how do you do it? Like most things there's an app for that. I take a skill that my kids need more instruction with, and I create a video lesson on my IPad using the app Explain Everything. The lesson is basically what I would teach and how I would teach it, in a small group, with my kids.  Each lesson has some kind of printable. I put a QR code on the paper and the kids simply scan the code, and watch the video and complete the activity. You can try out my Spring Math FREEBIE here.
math center-flipped lessons-addition

It. Is. Awesome. My boss' jaw literally dropped when I showed her. You can use chrome books, IPads, you can even use a phone. Any device that has a screen and Wi-Fi will work. Can you see the possibilities? You can send the paper with the QR code home and the kids get additional practice at home. How many times have you said I wish I could model for my parents how I want them to help with homework? Guess what?  You can! This not only helps the kids, but it's like the parents are sitting in your class. Watching how you teach.
phoneme segmentation-ipads-reading

Have you ever wanted to clone yourself? You just can't get to all the things you need to get to in a day. Well now you can. I need my lowest reading group to have daily practice with phoneme segmentation. But it takes time, and that is something I don't always have. Now I can make sure all my kids are getting the extra practice every day, and as you can imagine their skill level is increasing. I have never been as effective at getting my kids to reach their benchmarks as I have been since I started flipping.

I use the flipped lessons for individuals or small groups, but I also use them with my whole class. I project the video on the big screen and the kids are viewing a math lesson and I can have a minute to walk around and assess - or can you imagine, have a minute to clean my desk!

I'd love to hear about your experience with how you use flipped lessons. Let's increase reading fluency, and number sense, bu embracing technology in a new way. Please comment with any ideas or tricks you might have. I will be adding more flipped lessons to Della Larsen's Class on TPT so check back and see what's new.
RTI-guided reading

math centers-diret instruction-RTI

spring math-freebie-addition