Sunday, July 26, 2015

An Interactive Open House

Even though my Open House for back to school isn't for a few weeks, I'm trying really hard to get as much done now as possible!  I usually don't mind the late nights to get stuff done during pre-plan but with a 5 month old...  I'm thinking I might be getting too old for that (at least this time around, lol)!

This year I am doing something different!  Our Open House usually starts out with the entire fourth grade in the cafeteria and all the teachers talk about what they can expect from 4th grade this year: curriculum, field trip dates, etc.  Then they are let loose up to our rooms for exploration time!  It never fails that parents are busy filling out paperwork or talking to me.  The kids, for the most part, are shy and trying to scope out the room from the safety of their parents side, LOL.  Well I want all that to change...

I introduce to you my interactive welcome sign!

This bad boy will be up on my white board and I will have the remote pen ready to go so my new kiddos can just walk up and start clicking away.  Even though the families just heard a few things to expect for the upcoming year, they definitely didn't get all the good details or what our specific classroom will get into.

I created this by uploading my own picture to ThingLink and made it interactive from there!  If you have never heard of ThingLink (don't feel bad, neither did I!), it is a program that essentially can make any photo or video interactive!  Think of all the possibilities!!!  There is a free version but I caved and paid for the year subscription because it has SO many cool features that I want to try with my kiddos this year.  I think it would also be an incredible tool to use if you happened to be doing a Flipped Classroom!

I thank Kim at iTeach STEM who, a couple of days ago, posted in one of our Facebook groups her newest "All About Me" page on her blog (click here to check it out) for introducing me to this awesomeness!  Well let me tell you, it was an instant game changer when I saw it.  Instead of a bunch of writing, she has a picture of herself using ThingLink and I instantly knew four different ways I wanted to use the program in my classroom!

How would you use it in the classroom?  Leave your ideas in the comments section!

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Sunshine State Book Review: Athlete vs. Mathlete

Athlete vs. Mathlete by W.C. Mack is probably my favorite book so far!  I love the characters, the main and the secondary!  They are real children.  They have mood swings, they're loyal, they worry, they have fun, they make mistakes.  I think it's very important for kids (especially my student's age) to see that you're not the only one going through these feelings but it is important how you handle them and that some mistakes cannot be undone with a sorry.  I also liked how the books shows the positives to both cliques: the "jocks" and the "nerds."  There is a great life lesson in here as well; life isn't always fair but how you deal with it is what matters.

Summary from Scholastic:
Owen Evans lights up the scoreboards.  His brother, Russell, rocks the school boards.  These twin brothers couldn't be more different.  They've long kept the peace by going their separate ways, but all that is about to change.  The new basketball coach recruits Russell for the seventh grade team and a jealous Owen has to fight to stay in the game.  When someone tries to steal Russell's spot as captain of the mathlete team, will the two be able to put aside their differences in order to save his position?  Or will they be sidelined?

This is a cute little book trailer that might help interest your boys!

Genre: Realistic Fiction
Lexile: 610
Grade Level: Grades 3-5 (3.4)
Pages: 208
Skill: Point of View (the chapter jumps between Owen and Russ' point of view)
Food: Doughnuts (it's the best seller in the Mathlete's bake sale, even if the "enemy" brought them)

Athlete vs. Mathlete is definitely one of those books that will appeal to boys!  We all know how hard it is to get them to read and this will do the trick, even if he's not an athlete or a mathlete ;o)  One of my absolute favorite things about this book is that it's a series!  I hate it when my kids fall in love with a book and want to keep the adventure going, only to find out that it's a stand alone book.  Athlete vs. Mathlete has two other books in it's series: Double Dribble and Time-Out!  Click on any of the photos to find out more info!


If you would like a copy of the award for reading this book click here to grab your free copy!  There are three different versions: SRC test, AR test and just reading the book.

Next up on our Sunshine State Review is Alien in My Pocket: Blast Off!