09.30.2018

Thanksgiving Books for the Social Studies Classroom

I love this time of year- the cool air, the leaves changing, the pumpkin spice everything! Yes, I know, it’s part of the fad, but I am one of those who loves all things pumpkin spice! What I really love, though, is story time with my kiddos! This post is full of books about Thanksgiving that you can use for your Social Studies classroom! Enjoy!

1. Magic Tree House #27: Thanksgiving on Thursday

Best for Grades 3 – 5

Fiction

This series follows a brother and sister duo, Jack and Annie, through adventures that start in their magic tree house! In this book, they go back in time to 1621- ready to prepare for their very first Thanksgiving.

 

Magic Tree House Fact Tracker #13: Pilgrims

 

550L

Nonfiction

This book is also from the series, Magic Tree House, but this is the nonfiction counterpart to Jack and Annie’s adventures. Jack and Annie track the facts about Pilgrims. These two are a great way to implement text sets into your social studies class!

 

 

Mayflower 1620: A new look at a pilgrim voyage

1080L

Nonfiction

I love this book because it is FULL of primary sources! Your kiddos can browse through maps, photographs, and illustrations. This book is a great resource for your students to explore, but it’s probably not going to be a big hit during a read-aloud.

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06.25.2018

5 Google Calendar Features You Didn’t Know About

5 Features of Google Calendar You Didn't Know About

Google Tasks is severely underrated! Tasks is one of those tools that keep my life together. Seriously, it’s wonderful!

Google Tasks is a to-do list system that lives inside your Gmail and your Google Calendar. Yes, I said it lives inside. That means your tasks will display in your Google Calendar on the specified dates. It also means that you can turn an email into a task, that will then display in your calendar! Gmail has recently updated (May 2018) to have a sidebar that will display your tasks, similar to the way Google Calendar will display it.

To access Google Tasks, you’ll need to switch from “Reminders” in Google Calendar to “Tasks”. Then, you’re free to add items to your fancy new to-do list! You can even drag the tasks around on the calendar. You know, for those items you didn’t quite get to.

Video for Gmail Tasks

The “Find a Time” feature is a hidden treasure! This feature allows you to schedule based on your “guests” and your available time. This is great for scheduling team meetings, RtI meetings, SpEd meetings, etc. with your fellow teachers.

The trick to this feature, though, is that you need access to the guest’s calendar. By this, I mean that your guest needs to have already shared their calendar with you. This is an easy one-step process that only has to be done once. Once their calendar is shared with you, you can use the “find a time” feature to choose a time that fits both of your schedules without having to contact them directly. Basically, you’re saving yourself from having to wait on someone to get back to you with their availability! I’m sure you’re like me- I will take all the timesavers I can get!

Video Find a Time

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06.20.2018

6 Simple Ways Google Can Save your Sanity During Open House

Use Google to prep for Open House

 

Google Forms is a great way to collect survey data for both students and parents! I love this so much more than paper copies because it’s so much easier to manipulate the data. Because Forms automatically puts your data into a Google Sheet, you can organize the results any way you need! For example, if I need to curate a list of all the students who don’t have consistent internet access at home, all I have to do is sort that column in the Sheet of responses. Further, i can also sort based on preferences for planning differentiated lessons or personalized learning lessons. The best part…drumroll please…it’s organized for you ALL year long!

If you’re running short on time, or just don’t feel like making your own, you can grab the survey I like to use with my 7th graders. It’s pretty generic, so any grade level could use it. It’s editable, too, so you can easily make it fit your needs!

Click here for my survey! 

Form Publisher is one of the greatest Google Form add-one out there! If you don’t have it added, you need it! Form Publisher takes data from the Form and puts it into a pre-framed Doc (or Slides). This is a great way to send personalized emails or letters to your parents that will make you look super techy!

Here’s how:

  1. Create your template letter in Google Docs and use tags (these guys: <>) in the place of your Form information. For example: “Hi <<Parent’s Name>>! I’m so happy to have <<Student’s Name>> in my class this year…” A tip for you: save your Doc like this so you can distinguish it from your others: “Open House Welcome Letter TEMPLATE”.

Still not sure about this? Click here for a template sample.

  1. Create your Google Form survey. Make sure that the words inside the tags (<<>>) from your Doc matches the exact words in the survey question. Also make sure that you have a question for each set of tags.

Be sure you collect email responses! Otherwise, you won’t have a recipient for your fancy new welcome letter!

2. Get the Form Publisher add-on and run it. It will walk you through the prompts, and that’s it!

3. Test it out! Always, always, always test it out with your own email. This way, you can see exactly what your parents will see.

4. Administer your survey at Open House and your parents will automatically receive a personalized welcome email and you look super techy and super put-together!

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02.05.2018

7 Foolproof Tips for Organizing your Drive

Graphic of frustrated teacher at her computer. 1. Color Code your Folders – We can all use a little COLOR in our lives, am I right?! You can add color to your folders by right clicking on the folder, and clicking “change color”.

2. Save to Multiple Folders – Save a file to multiple folders WITHOUT making a copy! These files will be synced and will update at the same time. Click on the file once (so it’s highlighted blue), then press Shift Z, and follow the prompts.

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12.15.2017

The Ultimate Guide to an Interactive Google Classroom

Google Slides is so often underrated when it comes to teaching. Typically, Google Slides (or PowerPoint) is used during a whole-group “lecture” setting, pushed to students via Google Classroom in “view only” mode, or during student creation where they’re creating from a blank slide. While these are all great uses of Slides, there is SO MUCH MORE it can offer- especially when it’s used with Google Classroom!

My goal is to use Slides as a platform for students to be interactive with the technology and with the content. This, to me, pushes the concept of Hyperdocs to a whole new level!

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09.21.2017

Handwriting Sentence Strips – Google Edition

As we all know, Google Docs can be a little different from Microsoft Word. To add a sentence strip or writing strip for those little ones to practice their handwriting, you’ll follow some similar steps as Word, but there are some differences!

I have three easy-peasy steps to create your very own handwriting sentence strips!

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01.22.2017

Self-Paced Learning

I have recently been encouraged to integrate self-paced lessons into my classroom. Honestly, this stemmed from a class full of accommodations that really made it difficult for us to be successful in a whole-group lesson setting. My idea for self-paced note-taking was mostly focused on my inclusion classes, but it turns out that it’s successful for my honors/gifted classes as well, but for different reasons.

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01.22.2017

Maximize your Workflow in Follow-Up Support (Coaching Advice)

I’m always a fan of time-savers, and this is a MAJOR time-saver! Providing IMMEDIATE follow-up support after coaching is key in ensuring your teachers know that you are on their side and that you are valuable to them. This can be pretty easy (time-wise) after one-on-one coaching, but can be a bit overwhelming after large group workshops or multi-session workshops. I recently hosted a workshop that consisted of eight different sessions throughout one day in which teachers were required to attend at least one session. Because of other meetings going on during the day (gotta love in-service days!), some teachers were only able to attend certain sessions. I wanted to provide ALL hand-outs and materials for EACH session to everyone, even if they did not attend. I put all of these up on our Google Classroom for PD, but knowing my teachers, I knew I needed to email them also. Here comes my MAJOR time-saver…drumroll, please…

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01.04.2017

Google FAQs and Keyboard Shortcuts (Instructional Technology)

Over the last few years, our teachers have been encouraged, or expected in some districts, to integrate digital learning into their classrooms. My role has been to support teachers at my school in this new journey. As you would expect with any new tool, my fellow teachers and I learned a lot! 

I compiled a list of common FAQs from both teachers and students about using Google Classroom, along with a list of my favorite keyboard shortcuts.

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01.03.2017

HyperDocs (Instructional Technology)

 

What is a HyperDoc?

HyperDocs are a way to house multimedia sources in one place for your students. Typically, HyperDocs contain links, images, or videos, or a combination. My favorite aspect of HyperDocs is that we can allow our students to have more CHOICE and COLLABORATION in their assignments in a much easier way than we could have before HyperDocs. 

HyperDoc “Must-Haves”

HyperDocs MUST have a few key elements to avoid being a glorified worksheet your students complete on a Chromebook. An easy way to guide your development of a HyperDoc is to consider…

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