Saturday, June 18, 2016

Notebook Know How by the Pool!

So here's my take...

I have a great book recommendation 
for your pool bag this summer! 

I found this book, Notebook Know How by Aimee Buckner, about six years ago and I still have it prominently sitting 
on my shelf behind my desk. 

I refer back to it constantly! 

Here are my top 3 reasons 
it should be in your pool bag this summer!

1. Motivating:

I don't know about you, but summer time is the best time to read a professional book. I become energized and excited and can't wait to get back in the classroom to try things out.It is a quick read at only 125 pages!

2. Ready to use: 

I use to struggle with how to incorporate a writer's notebook with mini lessons, journal writing time, and grammar during my Writer's Workshop. Aimee has many practical strategies and shows you step by step how to get a notebook up and running.What is nice about the book are the quick reference charts so you don't have to waste time re-reading sections! If you are a fan of Ralph Fletcher's, Craft Lessons, then you will love this book!

3. Comprehensive:

This was the biggest selling point for me! This book helped me to understand how and why to set up a notebook, how to develop and mold the notebook so students could see the connections from our lessons to their writing, and Aimee's book explained how to assess their notebook. Aimee's approach to the notebook gave my Workshop a soul. The student's notebook's became a part of them. I loved watching their proud faces as they protectively would bring their notebooks to our easel area for a mini-lesson or their eager faces when they would scatter around the room to get started on a piece. 

Of course I need something in my pool bag this summer too! I've decided to read Aimee's book on Nonfiction! I will be teaching Science and Math next year and I already know that I want to see students writing in their Science journals. I am hoping to get great ideas from this book! I'll let you know what I find out!

Happy Learning!!!

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Breakout of Your Normal Routine with BreakoutEDU

So here is my take...

Do you love cooperative group work and engaging activities to foster inquiry based learning and problem solving skills? If so, then you must checkout what Breakout EDU is all about?

So what is Breakout EDU you ask...

Breakout EDU creates ultra-engaging learning games 
for people of all ages. Games (Breakouts) teach teamwork, 
problem solving, critical thinking, and troubleshooting by presenting participants with challenges 
that ignite their natural drive to problem-solve.

Watch this video on how it works!

 I am so fortunate that my school has purchased a kit! The students in my class beg for all their lessons to involve a Breakout EDU activity. When I first started, 
I used a game that was already constructed. 

I highly recommend The Candy Caper 
as an introduction 
to how Breakout EDU's are used. It truly fostered 
the collaborative learning environment 
I was wanting to create so students could dig deeper with the concepts they were learning! 

Once I felt comfortable, 
I began to create games based on the concepts and skills 
I was wanting to work on. It was soooooo easy 
and didn't take much time! 

If I haven't piqued your curiosity yet, checkout the top ten reasons you should be using BreakoutEDU's below:


I hope you have fun creating your own Breakouts! 
I would love to hear your ideas! 

Happy Learning!!!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Reaching Readers with Bookopolis

So here's my take…

Bookopolis claims to ignite a love of reading for children. As a teacher I am thrilled to say this site delivers on its claims and a whole lot more! If you have not heard about what Bookopolis can do you for you and your students, then make sure to read my post! I can't believe I just found out about this site this year!

For all the benefits this site has to offer, the best is it is FREE! When you sign up for Bookopolis you will be prompted to create a group for your class. You will choose a login in name and password for your students and they get to choose a personal avatar when they sign in. 

Once your class is set up, students can start adding book titles to their main page. Students can also find other friends on the site so they can recommend books to each other. Each time students finish reading a book, they can write a review. They really like this part because they love to give star ratings!

I love how students have a voice and can interact with each other with book recommendations! Another feature I treasure is the Reading Log! No longer do I need to check agenda's every morning looking for parent signatures to confirm students did their nightly reading! My students click on the Reading Log tab and record their nightly reading! This one feature has helped me greatly this year! I love how I have an on going record that I can access at any time to see where my students are with their independent reading.

Okay, who likes free books for their classroom? If you said yes, then this is another reason to sign up for Bookopolis!!! There is another affiliate company called Kids Rate Books. You can sign up your class to write reviews for specific books. When you first sign up, they will send you 3 free books. Once five students from your class have submitted a review, your class will receive another free book! LOVE IT!

As you can see, Bookopolis has a lot to offer you and your students! For me, it has personally made checking reading logs more efficient and a pleasure. I have a lot more quick conferences with students on what they are reading because it is so easy to access compared to carrying around 20 journals! Give it a try and if you have any questions, the Mayor of Bookopolis is there to assist you!

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Virginia is for Teachers…a New Blog!

So here's my take,

I have been busy in my classroom these past two weeks
 (almost done and ready to reveal!!!) as I head back for work week tomorrow! 

Sneak Peak
But, I wanted to let you know about a wonderful group of fellow Teacher Bloggers I have the pleasure of working and collaborating with! …and all of us are from Virginia!!!

I have been part of a Facebook community for Virginia Teachers for a couple of years. Since 2012, we have tried to have an annual summer gathering to share and collaborate. 

Over the years we have grown and some very fabulous ladies suggested a blog where we can all share our ideas with teachers everywhere!

The new blog is called, Va is for Teachers! If you are familiar with our state slogan, "Virginia is for Lovers", you can understand the name of our blog!

My good teacher friend, Heather from Beg, Borrow, and Teach, carpooled with me down to this years conference. On our way to the conference in Richmond, Heather and I took as many pictures in front of the LOVE signs as we could. 

We were able to get to 3 in an hour and a half…not too shabby and oh so fun!!!

There are about 30 wonderful teachers creating and sharing on this blog. The blog went live on August 15th and each day there is a post meeting two fantastic teachers, each giving out a FREEBIE, and a rafflecopter of fantabulous prizes!!!

Make sure to stop by today, as it is my turn to post, give a FREEBIE away, and the prize you could win today is a $10 gift card to Teachers Pay Teachers!!! My co-poster today is Desiree from Paper, Pencils, and Progress Reports! 

Don't miss out on meeting her and getting her FREEBIE! 

This here is Desiree from Paper, Pencils, and Progress Reports!

My FREEBIE is a close reading previewing strategy for informational text!

We had an awesome time at our Summer Meet Up together! If you happen to be a Virginia Teacher Blogger, make sure to come and join us! We were so thankful to our sponsors who gave generously to our raffle prizes!!! 

Get to know you Scavenger Hunt!!! So fun!

We each brought a gift for an exchange!!!

Prize table for raffles from wonderful sponsors!!!

Heather and I excited from our GoNoodle goodie bag of free stuff!!! 
Awesome advice from teachers who had attended the Teachers Pay Teacher Vegas conference!!!

What a delicious lunch! YUM!!!

My awesome table! Almost all of us won something in the raffle!

This pic made it to the TpT FB page when they asked for heart signs…Very cool!
It was a memorable afternoon and I wish we all gathered more often!!! 

Remember to check out the new blog! Va is for Teachers!!!

Happy Learning!

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Made it Monday, but Posting Thursday!

So here's my take…

Lucky me doesn't have to report back until August 31st, 
so I am busy creating things for my classroom! 

I wanted a subway art sign for all to see when they enter my classroom. 

I found the right saying, but not the right design for me, 
so of course I had to make my own!

I love the bright colors and the dots!

As soon as I made it I had to put it up! 

Love it! 

I will have the poster in my TpT store if you would like one for your room. 

It measures 11X17. 

I uploaded the poster to staples and had them print and laminate it for me!

If you are a TpT buyer, I hope y'all took advantage of 
the Back to School sale they just had. 

My Virginia Teacher Blogger friends and I took the pic below and 
TpT used it on their FB page! So cool!!!

Click to my TpT Store to get the Poster

Happy Learning!!!

Thursday, July 30, 2015

My nErD Camp Experience!

So here's my take…

If you haven't heard about nErD Camp yet, 
here is a little back ground…
Click to watch a video explaining nErD camp!
Now, that you are on board with what nErD camp is all about, 
let me tell you about my experience this past July 6-7!

It was awesome…to quote Colby Sharp, "It was the Bomb!" or Alaina Sharp (yes they are married and have crazy cute kids!), "It was Legendary!"

Since it is a FREE conference that meant I just had 
to secure travel from Virginia to Michigan!

I decided to grab my good teacher friend, 
4th Grade Teacher Michelle Holstine, 
from Montgomery County Maryland for this epic adventure!

We decided on a  ROAD TRIP!

Arrival to Day 1 was filled with excited anticipation! 

My wonderful coworker and fantabulous Librarian,
 Janie Banse joined our nErD Camp journey.

Before the opening speakers, there was a social time to get pumped up for the day! 

There were FREE giveaways (like a nErD camp water bottle), 

Raffle drawings to enter for original artwork
 from outstanding illustrators, 
a FREE photo booth, 

and Accessible Authors mingling around like,

Jennifer Holm (Baby Mouse, Squish), Lisa Graff (A Tangle of Knots), Donalyn Miller (Book Whisperer)!!!

… and so much more!!!

Also, don't forget to get your social media outlets 
ready for overload! 


FREE Photo Booth wearing my nErD Camp Gear!

We owned this moniker! #nErDcampMI
Selfie with Jennifer Holm author of Baby Mouse,
Squish,The Fourteenth Goldfish, and soon
to be released book, Sunny Side UP!

After our social hour, we all gathered
for the opening of Camp!

All the Keynote speakers were inspiring!

Ruth Ayres talked about instilling a 
"Bounce Back Spirit" in students. 
Click below to read more about it!

Click to find out more about Ruth Ayres

Now it was on to sessions! 

There were an array of topics to choose 
from to make everyone happy!

My favorite session from Day 1 was…
Mr. Shu's Best Books of 2015 and all time Favorites!

If you are not familiar with 
Mr. Shu's blog Watch.Connect.Read,
then make sure to start following! 

He is a passionate K-5 librarian 
who's passion for books is so contagious!

Click to go to Mr. Shu's Blog to
find out about his book recommendations!

Mr. Shu's favorite picture book of 2015…
A Fine Dessert by Emily Jenkins

It truly is a wonderful book that follows a family recipe through time periods.

Best part, of course the recipe is included! Yummy!

Michelle and I on Cloud 9 meeting the incredible Mr. Shu!

One reason that makes Mr. Shu so incredible…
he gives books away!!!!

Thanks Mr. Shu!!!

Right after Mr. Shu's session, 
Michelle and I rushed over to the 
Book Bug (onsite indy book retailer) 
to get some of the titles that Mr. Shu recommended. 

I'm sure you can imagine book obsessed teachers 
all trying to get the same limited amounts of books! 

Yeah…it wasn't too pretty, but Michelle and I held our own!

Can you believe that Day 1 isn't over yet! Now, on to the 5k Nerd Run for Literacy! All proceeds and donations go to the nErD Camp Junior that was held right after nErD Camp!

All Geared up and Ready to Run…
Hahaha…if you know anything about me and my knees,
you know I power walked!

Best time yet…47 minutes!!!

Starting Line…and my FREE
nErD Camp water bottle full of H2O!

Hot, Sweaty,& Happy!!!

What a day! There was also a 1st annual nErD Dinner Party, 
but we were unable to get tickets…sigh!

However, Las Tres Amigas still went out to celebrate!

There were two locations of Los Tres Amigos in 
nearby Jackson Michigan…and it was que bueno!!!

On to Day 2!!!

Make sure to get to Day 2 early
… NO, REALLY early because it is SWAG day!

nErD Camp gives away books, stickers, tote bags, 
posters, book marks, and more to the first 300 people! 

Thank you nErD camp! You made one nerdy girl giddy!

After the euphoria of the SWAG settles, it is back to the auditorium 
to kick off Day 2 as a group!

Colby Sharp one of the main coordinators of the conference gave us a 
short and sweet talk to pump us up (it really wasn't too hard to do!)

Colby also went over the raffle winners of the original artwork 
that illustrators had generously donated to the camp!

I about jumped out of my seat 
when I saw I had won a piece!!!

I feel sooooo lucky! I can't wait to have
it framed and hang it in my classroom!!!

 Now, if you have been wondering why nErD camp capitalizes 
the E and D in the word it is because 
Day 2 is ran as an ED Camp model or as an (un)conference.

Click here to read an Edutopia article
all about the Ed Camp model!

The rest of Day 2 was spent in various sessions inspired by those attending!

Michelle, Janie, and I went to sessions on
engaging writers, how one school
incorporated a Teach Like a Pirate Day,
open discussions with the authors and illustrators
who attended (very fun!), and lastly
how to start or participate
in "Literary March Madness"!

I'm planning some future posts based on the great ideas
I came away with from nErD camp!

It was sad when we left our last session! But, there are notes
on all the sessions located on the blog!

Thank you to the nErD camp crew who have already set the date for next year!

Don't miss out on this inspiring FREE PD
coming next July 11-12, 20

 Look on the nErD camp blog early in the year to register!

Michelle and I are planning on going!

Hope to see y'all there!

Happy Learning!!!

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