Saturday, October 18, 2014

Bright Idea - How to Quickly Write Thorough Sub Plans

One of the many disadvantages of commuting long distances to work is waking up sick or having a child wake up sick. I could never drag myself into school for a few minutes to get sub lesson plans together like many of my coworkers could.

Here is what I have come up with to help with my unexpected absences.

This is especially helpful if I want the sub to continue what I've been teaching. If you have a sub tub, then make sure that it's up-to-date.

When I'm home trying to think through where everything is when I write my plans, it's helpful when everything is typically in the same place.

Long ago, I started keeping a sub lesson plan template on my computer. Back then, I had a laptop that I took back and forth to school. Now I have a school laptop that stays at school and a home laptop. I can store the template on my home laptop or upload to Google Drive so I can share between the two. Once I update the template with the day's plans, then I attach them in an email to the school secretary and/or one of the other fifth grade teachers (whoever I think will check email first) so they can print them off for the sub.

Here is an example of my plan template. I have one for every day of the week since no two days have the same schedule:

When I am half-asleep in the AM, I don't want to have to remember every little detail on how my class runs. That's why the template is so helpful. I've already thought about my daily routines ahead of time and have (hopefully) coherently written them out when I'm not sick or worried about cleaning up vomit.

In this day and age when technology is a part of almost every lesson, it's really important to outline how everything works. Unless a sub works in only one building/district, chances are that everyone has something different. Even different versions of the same company's technology operate differently.

The stuff in red is the only part that I need to update when I'm going to be gone. I usually have my plans done in less than a half-hour since I have all of the routine stuff done.

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider joining me on {Facebook}, {Pinterest}, or view {previous Bright Ideas} for more great ideas.

For more bright ideas from many more bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!

Friday, October 10, 2014

A Flurry of Pictures Update

Wow. Things are so stupid crazy right now! We've been busy, busy, busy, and I feel that I haven't posted for a long time. So here's what we've been doing...

US Cellular funded another big Donors Choose project for me. Last year, it was two stand-up desks. This year, it was close to $1000 worth of hardcover books and baskets for my classroom library!

Last week was conferences. Had a 4-8pm session on Tuesday, 1:30-4:30pm on Wednesday, and 8am-8pm on Thursday. Since students weren't at school on Thursday, the contractors ground and refinished the cement floor in the classroom next to me. All. Day. Loud and smelly. HOWEVER, I came home to these beauties that my husband and four-year-old daughter picked out from the "flower orchard" while my oldest was at Girl Scouts.


Made these.


Bundled these.

My kids still love The Walking Classroom. Learning all sorts of fun facts!

Made these for conferences (idea from Runde's Room).

Maximo still helps us stretch in the morning, though some of my students still don't get that his questions are redundant. Do any of your students not understand the purpose of these stretches and can't handle it? I have a few who just don't get the point and think it's an opportunity to show off.

Got a {Stitch Fix}.

If you're starting your Halloween planning, here's a linky from {The Teacher's Desk 6}.

I linked up one of my first products, {Candy Corn Math}.

Friday, September 26, 2014

iDeas for iPads {Giveaway}

We are fortunate enough to have a class set of Chromebooks in our room almost the entire day. We use them frequently throughout the day for Spelling City, IXL, Typing Web, Google Docs, and many other sites.

I recently introduced them to {} as another option for the technology math center. They are completely addicted. To the point where I heard many mention that they were going to continue it at home.

Students learn basic ideas of coding software as they make the Angry Bird reach the pig, for example. They have to think critically about the distance and direction that they need to make the bird move. It starts with easy code, then gradually builds to more complicated programming that requires some trial and error. The students who start off bragging that "this is so easy" become very quiet about five to ten minutes into the program. Out of my entire class, only one student was visibly frustrated. And he is a fairly bright student. It was a nice change for some of my students who normally struggle to experience some success.

This is a free site and there are plenty of options to keep students busy and engaged for many hours.

Be sure to enter our giveaway for an iPad Mini!!

This giveaway is only open to teachers (classroom and homeschool) who are living in the contiguous United States and Canada. The winning entry will be verified and proof of eligibility may be required. Please see the complete terms and conditions at the bottom of the giveaway for more information.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hop around to the other Lesson Deli ladies to get some more great technology ideas!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

This Week In Social Studies {Giveaway}

I know that I've expressed my disappointment about my new district's social studies curriculum. Don't get me wrong, the curriculum itself is fine, but it's a lot to cover during the course of the year. As a result, there isn't much opportunity to go into depth for many of the topics. For example, I spent an hour every day for a quarter teaching about Native Americans. That was about forty class periods. This year, I get around six class periods. I have amassed so much knowledge and so many great activities that I have to abandon. That makes me sad. So no more {corn grinding}...

This week during my two class periods, I was scheduled to compare Native American regions and how they adapted to their environment and used the resources. Instead of using the book, I decided to use {Leveled Nonfiction Texts - Native Americans} from The Sweetest Thing (who is pretty darn sweet, I might add).

I decided to use her product because the text was differentiated into three different levels and the format was visually appealing and organized perfectly for comparing and contrasting. She included many engaging activities in the product, but I only had time to use the leveled texts and the compare/contrast graphic organizer.

I printed off the lowest Lexile for the kids and let them work together at their tables. We went over the graphic organizer so they would recognize the important information when they read it. Then they went through the first passage and highlighted the information for the graphic organizer. Highlighting makes everything much more fun! Then they added the info to the organizer and started the next region. All students did a great job and this product was exactly what I wanted!

Here are some pictures of the kids at work.

And here's a closer look at the product.

I am thrilled to share with you that The Sweetest Thing is donating a BUNDLE for me to give away to my blog followers! The winner will have their choice of either {Bundle #1} or {Bundle #2}, which will be enough to last you all year!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Bright Idea - Easy Interactive Notebook Tabs and Mind-Blowing Tip!

Our reading notebooks are divided into sections instead of having a master table of contents. My coworker had hers divided up with adhesive labels, such as Avery, folded in half to create the tabs. One end of the label was on one side of the paper, and the other end was on the other side of the paper. When it was creased, it extended beyond the edge of the paper to create tabs. Then she wrote on the tabs. Fairly cheap and easy!

Well, my tabs had to be preprinted (of course), so off to the computer I went. I opened a label template in Word (gotta love Avery template 5160!) I highlighted all of the cells and centered them. Then I kept them highlighted and changed the orientation of the text. That's this little guy right here:

Then I chose my font and started typing. I used a font anywhere from 10 to 14 pt, and I left a blank line between the two titles on the label (so it would be labeled on the front and back of the tab).

This shows 18 labels.

Students each got a label, and I instructed them to stick on the left end so the the words are on the part hanging off the edge. Then I had them carefully turn the page, make a crease in the blank area between the two titles, then stick down the other side. I don't have a picture of that part of the process, so hopefully you can imagine what that looks like. Then I handed out the next tab and showed them how to stagger them down the side. I will say, some of them are a hot mess. Others got the hang of it and they look quite nice. Either way, they serve their purpose.

After I already set up my teacher reading notebook, I had a thought...

I stumbled upon this on a whim. Bit of space on a lamination sheet + two lonely labels = What if? But you're probably thinking, why in the world would I want to laminate labels?! My plan is to laminate my tabs to make them sturdier and more durable, but I'm sure there are other uses, too. Maybe a small desk name tag or maybe write-on/wipe-off surface on the front of something.

Here's how you do it. Either pre-print your labels or do blank ones if you're doing write-on/wipe-off. Laminate them as usual. Then cut apart the labels. You should be able to peel off the backing, leaving a label with a laminated surface. Then you can fold it in half for a tab or use it as you normally would as a label. Pretty cool, huh?

If you enjoyed this bright idea, please consider joining me on {Facebook}, {Pinterest}, or view {previous Bright Ideas} for more great ideas.

For more bright ideas from many more bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Apps and Websites for Your Classroom Library

I asked for recommendations for classroom library apps and websites, and my Facebook followers did not disappoint. There were five apps mentioned, so I decided to give them all a whirl to see which one fits my needs.

Scholastic Book Wizard Mobile - FREE
This is the app that a first tried. I got a box of books from a Scholastic book order, and I thought that I would give it a shot. I quickly got frustrated as books that I bought FROM THEM did not scan or appear in their database. The search option did not bring them up, either. Out of the 23 books I tested, it only found 18. If they could update their database, this one might actually be pretty decent because you can export your list for end-of-year inventory and such. It also has a pretty nice synopsis of each book.

Literacy Leveler - $3.99
This one is only an app. The library is pretty extensive - it found most of my books. I was able to search to find the rest. Within the app, you can sort by title, author, Lexile, DRA, and GRL. If you could export the list for inventory purposes, it would be awesome.

Level It Books - $3.99
This is also just an app. I was able to scan or search for 22 of the 23 books. This one also has an option to check in and out books. There are a few other features that I don't need, but there is no ability to export the list.

Book Retriever - $0.99
I couldn't get it to scan a single book. The connection kept failing. And I'm not even going to see if I can enter them manually. Next...

Classroom Organizer - FREE
This is an app and a {website}. I could scan or search for all 23 books. I can export the list to Excel. Books can be checked in and out. The app crashed a few times for me, so there's definite room for improvement.

One follower also mentioned that she purchased a {book scanner} on Amazon. While I am all for all things technology, at $80ish, I'm going to explore the other routes first. But I might just get one anyway, because it looks really fun...

Feel free to comment with other apps and websites that I may have overlooked. The perfect one has to be out there somewhere!