Saturday, May 28, 2016

Saturday Apps #12: TinyPDF

Apps make the world go round....well not quite, but they do make our mobile devices go.  I stumble upon apps, I find apps on Pinterest and Facebook and seek out apps on AppsGoneFree. 

Today I'd like to feature TinyPDF by Appxy and how I use it for Readers' Theater and how it can be used for close reading.

I use this app at home with daughter because she loves to read plays but doesn't like to read otherwise.  I didn't want to have to print out and highlight scripts so I found that this app totally solves that problem!  I plan to use my classroom iPads (5) for this next year, after playing with it and getting used to it.

The first thing you need is a script to work with.  Whether you write your own, find them or purchase them (try this FREEBIE), you need to have it on the iPad you wish to use.   You can e-mail it to yourself or use

(which I recommend since I use my laptop and iPads a lot, interchangeably).

Here's how I use it

Thursday, May 26, 2016

New 2 & 3 person Reader's Theater PACK

Do you think bugs are interesting?  I do.
Do you think bugs are gross?  I do.
Do you freak out when bugs are around you?  I do.
Do you know a ton of cool facts about bugs?  I do.

My newest pack of partner and trio Readers' Theater plays is finally done and I'm so excited to try them out!  I've worked long and hard on these gems; doing a ton of research.

click to get it

Here's one of the plays for FREE so you can check it out and see if it's worth adding to your guided reading resource stash or a good fit for Read with Someone.

click to get it

I cAN'T wait to start my next Readers' Theater project (get it....can't/cANT)!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

End-of-the-Year Classroom Clean Out

I started packing up my classroom earlier than I ever have this year and had my students helping me. . .

Ain't this the truth!  Yet that's all most of us are given.
. . .but I was the last teacher to check-out and leave last Friday.  Why?  Well I started going through all my cupboards, which meant I went through all my binders too.  When all was said and done it felt really good to know that when I go back in August, things will be organized, tidy and easily accessible! 

My favorite thing to re-organize before leaving was a big metal piece of furniture with tons of drawers where I keep office supply stuff.....yes, I'm a nerd.  But I know I'm not alone....  I got it for free from our school district's warehouse a few years ago.  I've since painted and decorated it.  And the other side is empty so students can use it to either do magnetic words (Writing Groups) or Tumble Trax (Math Groups).

I made this video on a whim with an app on my iPhone called Insta Video just to play around with it.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Long Range Planning

I just wrapped up another school year and what am 
I doing this morning?

Long range planning for my next school year.  Probably doesn't make sense to many but, with school still fresh in my mind (and both of my children taken care of this week), it's the perfect time to reflect and put those thoughts into my plan for next year.  Over the course of 17 years, I've gone from day-to-day planning to week-to-week planning to quarter-by-quarter planning.  I make my own calendars in Word and then enlarge them on the copy machine.  Next year I'll be doing a 1/2 combo so either I'll have separate calendars for each grade or use different colors for each grade on the same calendar.

Yesterday I worked on math and trying to line up our math curriculum and the CCSS for each grade so we're doing the same thing(s) at the same time so I'm not always a split personality and can still do math in small groups.  I've done the best I can do I think. I screen shotted my units and plugged them into a document I created with Word.

The thing I love about this week is that I'm a gypsy....going from coffee shop to coffee shop to work.  Well as I had lunch yesterday at Kenny's (Chinese) Kitchen, I ripped my fortune in half...
Hmmmm, like Alanis Morrisette once said, "Isn't it ironic?  Doncha think?"  I'm reading this fortune as it doesn't apply to me because I've ripped it :-)

I love the app I used to make this simple photo collage!  It's called Photo Collage Maker and it's free!

Next up is reading planning: Houghton Mifflin and the CCSS.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Class Yearbook

Have you seen that commercial on Hulu about "falling into a show hole" because you've binge watched an entire series?   Well I feel more like I've fallen into a "blog hole" and just dug my way out today.....yikes!

Too much on my plate and a student teacher this spring (who was FABulous) are what I'm blaming it on.  And I ran the Paris Half Marathon in March and trained for it (then gallivanted throughout Europe while my student teacher held down the fort), which took up a lot of time but was so worth it!

Today is my first day of summer vacation and freeeeeeeeeeedom!  We ended our year with one of my favorite writing projects, our class yearbook.  It was our last quick writing assignment and turned out so nice.  But this year I did something new with it: I passed it out to kids on the last day of school on the bus that took us out to the Eagle River Nature Center for a guided nature walk and picnic field trip.  The kids read it from cover to cover, on the way to and from our beautiful trip.  I sat with two of my squirrely boys on the way back and they were even quizzing me on it ("What is Nickel's favorite color?  What is Sadie's favorite thing about first grade?, etc.)

I copied the cover, a class picture and the autograph pages onto an 11x17" piece of copy paper and it became their cover.  I had them color it on one of the last days of school.  I wish I had had time to laminate them too, but oh well.

I've updated this FREEBIE because I have a new favorite font and favorite borders (Krista Wallden)!   I know many of you are not yet done so I hope you'll take a peek at this and use it with your kiddos because it's really a nice keepsake that is special to your class.  Click on the images above to snag it!

Vive les vacances d'ete!