Literature Circles

Tuesday, August 28, 2012
I am going to try a new system with my literature circles and I am so excited to test out. I created title task cards for the student small groups...discussion director, power player (find challenging words), literacy luminary (find interesting passages), summarizer, key pointer (point out main points), and quiz questioner. After students read, they reflect on their reflection form and create a parallel. Next they form their collaboration groups and share the task they received. The discussion director leads the discussion time.

What have you used for literature circles? Do you have a favorite activity?


Educational Leadership and Too Much Technology?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

For my normal followers, just to give you an advance heads up - this blog post is for my M.Ed. course. So, feel free to read if you wish...but it will not be my usual post!

I created the up top to summarize the reading from Don Hall's The Technology Director's Guide to Leadership. Before I go on, the clip art was created using and if you have not tried yet, give it a try! It is easy to use and students will love the info graphics.  We read about three types of leaders: the sage, sensei, and oracle (Hall, 2008). I thought about my own leadership style and tried to decide which type of leader I am. This was difficult because I could see myself in each area. I know which one I probably am, and I know which one I wish I was!  I am probably mostly a sage, even though I would rather not admit it. I am decisive and I like to get things done. I can also tell others what to do. However, I didn't like the "ego driven" trait. As a Christian, I would hope that I would see others as more important than myself.  I can also see myself in the sensei category. This is also the category I wish I was. I am engaging, a facilitator, and coach/mentor. I know that I am trying to grow in my coaching/mentoring skills and still have a ways to go!  The leadership type of the oracle is my lowest. While I see relationships as vitally important, I am probably not philosophical or disconnected. While changing culture is good, I prefer to change hearts.

Our second reading came from Picciano's Educational Leadership and Planning for Technology (2011).  This was an interesting read and I hope some fellow bloggers will chime in on their thoughts. The questions asked were: Is more technology better? Can technology replace teachers? Is it more cost-effective? (Picciano, 2011).  The Technology is a wonderful tool for teachers to use, but technology will not replace teachers. The human element is extremely important. Teachers do need to learn how to integrate the tool into the curriculum.

The final section I would like to comment on is the section on digital divide. Honestly, I get very frustrated with this at times. Picciano (2011) states that urban inner-city schools and schools in poor rural districts have less equipment per student than other schools. Although I do not doubt this, as a private school teacher I have other views. I have worked for a large private Christian School, and a very small private Christian school in a rural area. The large private Christian school had wonderful technology. The small private Christian school in the rural area had almost no technology including no teacher computers. YET, the poor rural public school down the road had an abundance of technology, overflowing at the seams, from public funds. In fact, they had so much stored at the school, I really wanted them to share what was not being used! One classroom I visited had 2 document cameras, 2 smartboards on each side of the room, 2 ceiling mounted projectors, and 30 iPads. Yes, it was decked out! Why? Because it was a rural public school and received public funds. I was told by administrators that they qualified for many grants simply because of the location and the fact that it was a in a poor rural area. Most Christian schools do not receive public funds and have to purchase everything. The small Christian school could not run alone on tuition but had to have massive fundraisers just to keep the school going. Technology purchases were not an option. Most opportunities for grants, such as Donor's Choose, are also not an option for private schools.

I'd love to hear some of your thoughts on any of these items! Please share your experiences!


Hall, D. (2008). What Kind of Leader Am I?. In The Technology Director's Guide to Leadership. (pp. 11-38). 
     Eugene, OR: ISTE.
Picciano, A. (2011). Educational Leadership and Planning for Technology. (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, New
     Jersey: Pearson.


Friday Freebie!

Well, I must say I am a bit negligent. I did not get to post for Wednesday, Thursday, and I am late for the Friday Freebie! Once I got back into the classroom, it was a crazy busy week! I think I took more home to work on Thursday night than I ever have in my 23 years of teaching. 

But, today I will try to make it up with my Friday freebie. I am offering my "Directing My Actions" again. It has been a popular tool by many. It allows for reflection time for students that need to think about their actions. I hope you all enjoy it!  


Monday Must Haves and Tuesday Technology!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Thanks to The Adventures of a 6th Grade Teacher I found a new blog hop.

It's teacher week - and a busy week at that! For my Monday must-haves, I have several items I really love...

Yes, I love cycling - so my bike is a must. I don't generally ride to school - I'd be too sweaty not to mention I have to leave at 6 to ride 24 miles to work. But, every now and then I will!

My devotional time in the morning is a must to start the day off right. My Bible and Jesus Calling first thing with a good cup of coffee! 

My computer! I must have that one. Love my mac.

My Erin Condren life planner is great. I love using it - and it is pretty, too!

If you don't have a home Scotch laminator, it is a great purchase! It is about $30 and so worth it. It laminates nice and firm. I use mine all the time!

My dear friend Jerrine sent me this in the mail. I am so excited to use neon dry erase markers! ha ha. Who knew dry erase markers could be so exciting? :) (Thanks, Jerrine!)

Finally, at work I love my Ladybug document camera. I use it all day long.  Thanks, Lumens!


My technology tip?  One new thing I love using this year is my iPad and TeacherKit. TeacherKit is a personal organizer for the teacher. I can organize classes, seating charts, and students. I can easily track behavior and send quick emails by tapping the student's picture. The other day I took a picture of a boy giving the spelling test, tapped his picture, attached the new photo to the email, and sent it along with an encouraging note to his parents. 

Finally, if you are new to technology, try Storybird in your classroom. It is easy to use and students enjoy it. Kids can create ebooks and parents can even purchase them if they love the book!


Monster Steps to Division - Monday Made It!

Monday, August 20, 2012
Well, I made some things today...and realized it was Monday...just in time for Monday Made It! Today I made these cute division signs, and the flower subject cards in the next post. Yay!

Are your kids going to learn the steps to long division this year? If so, you'll love these bright simple signs illustrating the steps!


Bright Circle Subject Cards

This year I am only working 3 days a week. I am off today! So what am I doing? Sitting here creating things for school, of course! Today I made some cute subject cards. I use them for daily subject headings. Students copy their work off the board into their planners for each subject. Head on over to my store to take a look and download!


Free New Font!

Saturday, August 18, 2012
I should have been cleaning house today. I rode my bike, met my daughter for coffee, and then what was I doing when I should have been cleaning? Making a new font. Yes, I love iFontmaker! I am sharing this font with you for free! Please pass along to friends. I just ask you to follow my blog as a thanks!

Sorry for the odd sample sentences...I did not choose the words! :) Enjoy.


Alien Writing!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012
We are working on a space unit and will also review paragraph writing. So... we will be writing one paragraph describing an alien. The paragraph must provide enough details so that someone reading it could draw it. After students write the paragraph, they will draw a picture that matches, then get with a partner to read the paragraph. The partner will draw the alien and then they will compare pictures to see if they match! It will be fun to see what the kids will create!

Here is a document if you would like to use it as well.

I don't know about you, but we are into our second week of school now! After a year of administration, I am so happy to get back into the classroom. But...I am exhausted! Wow. Calgon, take me away. :)

Mastery Connect

Sunday, August 12, 2012
I am very excited to using

They have Common Core formative assessments available for download for each standard. Then, you can use their quick BUBBLESCORE tool with your webcam and your assessments will automatically be scored and color coded for mastery. It's a great visual! You can even use your own assessments which we are doing tomorrow. We will have kids take a pre-assessment for the year and have it scanned for quick use.

Yes, I have been ill with the stomach flu all weekend. Yikes! And it is our first FULL day of school tomorrow. Oh my. I need all the strength I can get. So, I'm am closing and getting to bed early!


Kids Come Tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012
First, if you can get there quickly, The Busy Busy Hive is having a giveaway! Visit:

Heather was kind enough to visit my blog yesterday and give me some encouragement! Thanks, Heather! If you get a chance, visit her very cute blog!

Well, kids come tomorrow! We had a mad scramble today trying to finish in time. Our class theme is technology and we used mostly black and white with splotches of color here and there. For some reason, I think it looks better than the pictures. :) We even did a file cabinet remodel!

Podium repaint! This use to be oak wood.

File cabinet remodel. B/W on sides, bright pink and green dots.

Side window...Sorry, all the word "COUGAR" does not show! This is our school mascot.

Front new white board. It use to be a chalkboard.

Job chart with circle numbers on a magnetic strip. Clip chart to match. See earlier post for a copy of this clip chart! Free!


Nothing Here!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012
OK. We are only 2 days into the school year and I am already finding out how hard it is to teach and keep up a blog. Of course, kids aren't here yet, but we are having inservice days. Today we had 7 hours of professional development. Yes, 7 hours. Four hours in the morn and 3 after lunch. Can I just say...I do not have that type of attention span! Yes, the speaker was great. But after 1 1/2 hours, my brain was done. And by the 5th hour, I can't tell you what was being said any more. It was practical; it was useful. I just wish I could have paid a bit more attention!

I wonder how many times I do that to my students. I like to talk. I can talk and talk and talk in class. I'm sure my students sit there and click off at about 10 minutes or less.

Then, I come home and look at all my amazing blogging friends. They are still creating amazing products, posting them, blogging about them and the list goes on. How do they DO it? Really. I want to know.

So today, I really have nothing. I just want to say I am keeping up with my blogging!

Yes! Class Dojo!

Friday, August 3, 2012
I am excited to try out a new app this year with my classroom:

This is a classroom behavioral management system that is easy to use and provides positive reinforcement to students. I can record behaviors and accomplishments right in class with just a click - no extra typing needed. Class Dojo can also send weekly reports to parents and staff. I do use a clip chart, but this will be a way that I can record the information.

Have you tried Class Dojo? Any other class management apps you enjoy?


Twitter Board

Thursday, August 2, 2012
We are trying a "technology" themed room this year. Here is our "Twitter" board. We created hashtags from our class Bible verse, but if you could use almost any words you chose - cheer words for the school, or leadership traits!  The sign in the middle says, "Live out loud! Tweet it out!" I made the iPhone at the top out of "apps" and glued onto scrapbook paper. Then I  glued it on to black poster board.  Once our room is finished, I'll post more pics!