Saturday, May 30, 2015

Are You a Techie-Kind of Teacher?

On a scale of 1 to 10, how techie would you say you are as a teacher? Personally, I'm pretty tech-savvy. I use Google for a lot more than questions, I handle Adobe like a boss, and at this point, Siri might know more about me than any actual human being!! But, technology in my classroom? Well, let's just say that it's not nearly as advanced as I think it should be!!

Now, it's not for lack of technology! My school is super tech-immersed! We have access to lots of computers, laptops, iPads, etc. whenever we need them. We also have a great technology teacher in the building and helpful tech support throughout the district. So, why so little digital happenings in my room? Yup, you guessed it! TIME!!!! The time it takes to put together tech-dependent lessons is unreal and frankly, nonexistent!!

(Why, oh why, is TIME always such an issue? I was recently reading an article (on my iPhone!) about how "busyness" is a sickness. So true, right!? I suffer from chronic busyness. All day long, I run from one thing to the next, cram as many tasks into a minute as I can, make and make and make "To Do" lists just so I don't forget to do all.the.things! And at the end of the day, when I collapse on my couch literally as soon as my kids go to bed in the evening, do I really have all that much to show for my relentless "doing?" Ugh!)

Anyway... for the last two weeks, my classroom has been the super tech-savviest!! We have been participated in literature discussion via SKYPE!! We've teamed up with another 6th grade from a whole state away, and every few days the kids meet up for discussion about the book Maniac Magee.

So far, the kids have loved it! The first day, we had the students do a getting-to-know-you activity. After they were finished, my students were all abuzz about their conversations. The biggest revelations: the students in the other school get to go on field trips (our district does not have field trips), BUT they don't have dances (they have to wait until they are in 7th grade to attend school dances, whereas my students have a 6th grade dance once a month).

At the end of class the day of our first meeting, one of my students came up to me and said, "The kid in my group plays soccer! I play soccer, too! I never though I'd have so much in common with a kid from Pennsylvania!" (It's that the cutest!?!)

Anyway, we've had two meetings so far and are hoping for two more before the end of the year. It's really been the best experience... the kind of experience that I'd plan all the time if only I had more TIME!! (The only reason this has worked so well is because the teacher of the other class is my best friend, so we were able to coordinate it through a series of late night phone calls and text messages!)

So, how techie are you? If your classroom is not where you'd like it to be, why is that? Lack of resources? Lack of confidence? Lack of time? I'd love to hear from you!

Congrats to all those who are finished (or almost finished) your school year! We still have about three weeks to go!

To all those still at it, Happy Teaching!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

How Do You End Your School Year?

Ahhh... the EOY PARCC testing is over... my SGO testing is over... all of my end-of-year paperwork is completed!!

Happy May Everyone!!

So, my question to you is: how do you end your school year? Are you a keep-teaching-until-the-end sorta teacher, or is projects-til-they-drop more your style?

I'm the latter. I love projects! And usually, as I struggle to keep up with pacing guides and testing schedules, projects often get dropped from my plans during the school year, so I love busting out all of my most favorites during the last few weeks of school.

Right now in math, we are working on this:

I've used this project in my classroom for YEARS and it's always a hit! We just started it on Tuesday after our last day of PARCC testing.

The kids are already loving it! Their favorite part is dreaming up their rides and giving them outlandish names! They also enjoy creating the menus for their concession stands. I had two boys spend 20 minutes today researching what foods can and cannot be deep fried!!

And don't worry!! There is also math :)

We started this project a bit earlier in the year than I typically do, because after we finish it, we will be starting on this:

This might just be one of the coolest purchases I've ever made on Teachers Pay Teachers! I can't wait to see how it turns out!!

I'm in the process of setting up two great projects in ELA, too, so stay tuned, as I'll be posting about them over the next few weeks!

So, how do you end your school year? I'd love to hear from you!!

Happy Teaching!!

Monday, May 4, 2015

Yay for Teachers!!!

It's Teacher Appreciation Week!!

Thank you so much for all you do!! To celebrate, everything in my store is 20% off for the next two days. In addition, TpT will knock off an additional 10% with checkout code: "ThankYou."

I'll leave you with this... I love it!!!

Happy Teaching!!