Thursday, November 1, 2012

Teachers Helping Teachers With Hurricane Sandy

Watching the news about Hurricane Sandy, it's hard to fathom what people are having to deal with.  The images and stories are unbelievable and I can only begin to imagine how difficult rebuilding will be. It's a helpless feeling to watch people suffering so far away....

So with the images fresh in my head, I was thrilled to see that Laurah from The ESOL Odyssey blog is organizing donations of teaching resources to help schools and teachers who have lost materials in the storm. I love the idea of helping people who live across the country from where I do and I love the idea that I can contribute to the rebuilding of someone's classroom!

So if you've got a teaching resource to donate, please click the image below and head over to The ESOL Odyssey to sign up.  


Thanks so much!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Thanksgiving Poetry Bookmarks

Thanksgiving has come and gone for me... I'm Canadian and we celebrate on the first Monday in October and it's typically a much smaller affair than it is for those of you south of the border!  

I'm always amazed at the enthusiasm for Thanksgiving in the United States... I love that it brings families together for huge feasts and that there's a big focus on the idea of giving thanks.  I'm hoping you and your family have much to be thankful for and that you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

 So here's a holiday freebie for you to use with your students... it's a set of Thanksgiving bookmarks that also allows you to review poetry terms at the same time!  There are 16 bookmarks - some have poetry term prompts and some are left blanks - lots of options for you to pick from!  I've also included two sheets of Thanksgiving themed poetry/writing paper.

Click the image to download a copy of the bookmarks or you can download them from my TpT Store.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

Check out more FREEBIES!

 Huge collection for all grade levels!
Freebie Fridays

Monday, October 22, 2012

Blogging Mishaps and Memories and a Linky

I love finding new and different linky parties to join and I just couldn't resist this one from The 3am Teacher.  Be sure to check out her blog if you haven't already... first of all, she's hilarious and I always get a good giggle when I read her posts.  And second, I love her clip-art... it's so stinking cute!! 

I've been blogging since February 2012... so that makes a whole 10 months of blogging.  I wasn't quite sure what I was getting into... but I now that I'm a "bona fide blogger" (I hope!) ... I love it!   

Here are some of my favorite things about BLOGGING!

1.  I feel like I "know" people because of blogging... like I could really sit down over a cup of coffee...or glass of wine ;-) and we'd really hit it off.  Connecting through blogging and facebook has been amazing... and I real feel like I've got a whole new group of cyber-friends!

2.  I really do think I'm a better teacher because of blogging... for real! I teach high-school but now regularly include ideas and tips I've read in blogs that target k-3!  My students often ask me..."Where did you come up with this idea? Is it from a kindergarten blog??"  But they're having fun and they're learning... isn't that what it's all about.  

3.  I can edit a post after I publish it... my first blog post had a typo even though I read it a hundred million times before I hit "publish"! I was mortified and thought that nobody would ever read my blog again. 

Here's my top Bloggy Moment

I was honored to be chosen as one of Education World's Top 25 Blogs for Educators in March 2012.  Yup... my blog that was all of 6 weeks old somehow made it on to the list!! To say I was shocked would be an understatement... I must've refreshed the page 100x just to make sure it wasn't a mistake and actually someone else's blog!! I was thrilled and grateful to them for the exposure and the honor (although I'm still stumped as to how they even found me!)

Thanks for reading this post... and any other posts you find interesting! I hope over the last ten months you've been able to find an idea or inspiration for your classroom.


Thursday, September 27, 2012

Halloween Freebie

Halloween is one of my favorite "holidays" of the year!  I love to dress up in a silly costume for school and really enjoy seeing the creativity of the students - some of their ideas are incredible. (Last year, we had 5 students come as different Tetris pieces that all fit together!)

Halloween falls on a Wednesday this year... smack in the middle of the school week!  I know that my students will have the "Halloween Wiggles" so I like to have some activities that I can do with them to help them focus and get back on track!

Here's a fun freebie for you to use as a writing prompt, poetry prompt, art prompt or simply as classroom decor!  You can download it at my TpT store OR you can download it directly from my blog by clicking the image below. 

I like to display the poster (or project it with a document camera) and have the students use the words or images as prompts for a story or poem.  Perhaps they have to include the purple words in their first paragraph, or put 2 orange words in their first sentence.... Why not write a haiku using a word from each color?? Or write a poem using the images as a starting point? 

Students could also use the poster as an inspiration to create their own "word art" or "subway art". (You can find lots of other examples of "subway art" online.)

I'm sure you can think of even more ways to use the poster!  Please share your ideas... I'd love to hear more!

The full download includes a copy of the poster in color, a copy in black/white and a sheet of b/w pumpkin writing paper!

Have a Happy Halloween!

Classroom Freebies Manic Monday

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Pinterest Power

So, I'm a huge fan of the visual clipboard site called Pinterest... it's like eye-candy for me!  I could spend hours browsing the beautiful pictures and never grow tired!   I've found amazing recipes, unique craft ideas, some of the most hilarious quotes, incredible blogs and unbelievable teaching ideas.  (My classroom has never looked so good!)

I've started posting a "Quote of the Week" in my room and I love the discussions my students and I have had as a result.  I've got an entire stash of quotes that I've found on Pinterest at the ready for each Monday.  If you'd like some inspiration check out my board of Quotes, Posters and Sayings!

There are literally thousands of teachers using Pinterest to gather ideas and inspiration... it's really amazing what people come up with and are so willing to share.  Here's my board of School Stuff.

Another fun aspect of Pinterest is the fact that people from all over the world can collaborate and all pin to the same board! What an amazing concept!  A global village of teachers connecting through Pinterest.  Some of my favorite collaborative boards are The Lesson Cloud, Connect-A-Blog, and the fantastic boards organized by The OC Blog.

There are entire teacher boards dedicated to FREEBIES!! Who doesn't love a good freebie?!  Check out Fabulous & Free and Free Lessons for some fun and free ideas and products!

Be sure to check out this list of teachers using Pinterest at Debbie Clement's incredible blog Rainbows Within Reach.  Add your link below... but be sure to head over to her blog to see the links she's organized over the last few weeks - she's sooo organized to have them sorted into categories. 

photo of: The Great Upper Elementary Pinterest Link UP hosted by RainbowsWithinReach

Have fun pinning!!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Classroom Ipad Rules

I was thrilled last year to be given a class set of ipads!! I can't believe what a difference they've made for my teaching!  However, I knew that before I could hand them out to my high-school students I'd have to develop a list of rules about their use and a system to keep track of them.

My new students are very excited about using the ipads and can't wait to get their hands on one next week.  However, before I let them loose I need to go over some of the basic rules for their use.  I spend some time talking about how lucky we are to have them (one of only 2 classrooms at my school with access to ipads) and that using them is a privilege.  Luckily the students really seem to pick up on this and respond well to the rules that I've established for their use.

The first day I allow the students on the ipads I go over the rules that I have posted in the classroom. (Click the image below to get a copy of the ones I have posted.)  We spend some time talking about why the rules are in place and the importance of following them. And we talk about consequences... which are really very simple in my class... you break a rule, you lose the ipad for the day.  You break a rule twice and you lose the right to an ipad for a month.  Last year... I only had one student break a rule twice. (He somehow managed to put a lock on the ipad that only he could undo. Sooo frustrating!!)

After talking about the rules... I let the students just play!  They love it! They take pictures, they distort the pictures, they watch videos, they web surf and they giggle! I let them get the giggly "oh my goodness these ipads are soo cool, I can't believe we get to use them"... giggles out of their system. It seems to work!  The second time we use them... it's all business.

Luckily, the settings on an ipad can be locked down very well. My students cannot download programs, change settings, add / delete an app or do anything too terrible to them.  Frustratingly, they can change the language (I once opened an ipad to see Japanese!) and change the wallpaper settings.  Minor inconveniences that I can ask the students to fix... they do it once, get caught and never do it again!  (Having a good sign-out system means I know who changed things!)

What are some systems you have in place for using ipads or technology in your classroom?? Have I missed something hugely important?? Would love to hear what some of you do? 

To read more about why I love my ipads check out this previous blog post.  Stay tuned for more posts this year too!  I plan to write about some of my favorite apps and uses for the ipads.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

Ultimate Middle Years Giveway and Blog Hop!

Welcome to the "Ultimate Middle Years Giveaway and Blog Hop" designed to highlight a great bunch of Middle School bloggers!  There are over $300 worth of prizes to be won - which is amazing!!!! (Including a shopping spree in my TpT Store!!) Who doesn't love to win prizes??  But, you've got to be quick... the contest only runs from Aug. 25-27th!  Those of you who complete the entire Blog Hop Challenge will receive a HUGE package of "Freebies" from participating teacher bloggers!  Click the image below to find out all the information on the Blog Hop!

Innovative Connections

I'm a Middle / High-school teacher and I love the Middle Years! There's a little bit of big kid, but a whole lot of little kid still in them... and their energy and enthusiasm is contagious!  Pop by my blog often for lots of freebies and fun ideas to incorporate into your classroom. As part of the Blog Hop, I've donated a $15 shopping spree from my TpT Store!!

I've got the wonderful job of highlighting Elizabeth from Fun in Room B.... (don't you love her blog button?!)  She has lots of great information about teaching math in upper elementary and loves to teach with foldables.  She's also been researching and experimenting with Whole Brain Teaching so be sure to hop over to her blog to see what she's figured out! I'm a little in awe of her blog - she's very crafty and has some great posts highlighting her crafty talents... I only wish I could be so skilled! And... her classroom looks A-MAZING!!! She's posted pics!!

She also sells some fabulous products on TeachersPayTeachers so be sure to check out her store!


If you want to start blog hopping check out the links below! There are some fabulous bloggers participating!

Thanks for stopping by!!