Saturday, June 17, 2017

Summer Reading

Summer has officially begun for this tired teacher, which means that I can now tackle some books on my TBR list :)

What books will you be reading this summer?!

Using Tech to Assess Student Learning

As teachers we have tons of papers to correct and tests to grade (my correcting pile reaches mountainous heights each week!) So, I was pretty excited when I discovered that I can create fun, engaging assessments that automatically grade themselves. 

KAHOOT has totally transformed my classroom! I've been able to cut my correcting time in half and provide students with immediate feedback.

As an addd bonus, Kahoot is so dynamic that students actually ASK to take quizzes! I know it is important to assess student learning to check for understanding and mastery of a topic, however kids are assessed so much these days! In my district students take the STAR assessment, are assessed for fluency every quarter, take benchmark literacy assessments, math performance tasks, progress monitoring assessments, and the Smarter Balanced Assessment in the spring. WHEW, that's a LOT of testing.

So, what is Kahoot?

Kahoot is a FREE online, interactive quiz program that lets teachers create quizzes, surveys, and discussions that students play on their mobile device.

I created a quiz for the end of a 4th grade social studies unit on the 50 US states and capitals. My class was excited, engaged, and laughing... while taking a quiz!!

Head on over to Kahoot to try out a sample quiz and start creating one of your own! Click here to try my 50 US States and Capitals Kahoot.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Back in the saddle again!

Writing while working a full time job and being a mommy of three is tough. Very tough. But, tonight a sudden burst of inspiration has kicked in (with a little help from several cups of vanilla chai tea) and I think I've finally nailed the rewrite of the beginning! There is still some tweaking to do, but I finally feel that I am on the right track.

And to keep me on track I've found this nifty website to plan my daily writing. Since I've been working on the same piece for the last year I'm starting off at 21% instead of 0. Feeling like a winner already ;-)

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books

Today I'm joining The Broke and the Bookish for their Top Ten Tuesday linkup.

Ten books I'd buy right this second if someone handed me a fully loaded gift card

This list is going to be tough to keep at just 10... I've got some new bookshelves going up and can't wait to fill them (not that I don't have enough books to fill them already, lol).

The crates just need to be stained and secured. Then I can start loading in books!!

So, I'm basically going to work off my Barnes and Noble wishlist. Many of them are pre-orders that are coming out soon (not soon enough! I think I need one of the Ministry of Magic's Time Turners so I can get my hands on them now!), but the ones on my wishlist are available now.

Now, if the book gods will kindly give me my loaded gift card, I'll be off to the bookstore!

What books would you buy with a fully loaded gift card?

Happy Reading :)

Sunday, July 31, 2016

A Wizardly Wonderful Week with a HUGE GIVEAWAY!

Happy Birthday Harry Potter!! 

Today is a wonderful day!!
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child has been released and I have my copy!!

So once I am finished with this post I will retire to my chaise lounge where I will spend the rest of the day devouring this book! Sorry kids, you'll have to fend for yourself today. Mommy has lost herself in the wizarding world!

I've continued to spread the Harry Potter love into my classroom as I prepare for the upcoming school year. Last year I put up my HP pinwheels and fans...

And this year I'm working on a few more HP items. The Deathly Hallows was a HUGE book so I've still got a lot of pages left to work with!!

First up, an HP lantern to hang in my classroom:

I chose a large section of the book that still had the binding intact. Taking several pages at a time, I curled them in towards the center. Before hot glueing the pages to the center I ran a piece of sting through from the bottom to the top. I then tied some old beads to the bottom. I love the final look!!

My next project is one I am really excited about...

I made the signs out of the cardboard box from our new washing machine. Each sign will hold the name of a different fictional place: Hogwarts, Ember, Narnia, District 12... I can't wait to finish and hang it in my room!!

There is also a pair of Harry Potter themed lamps in the works. I'll post pictures of those when I'm finished.

So, Harry Potter kicks off the beginning of a great week!
Teachers Pay Teachers is hosting their annual sale starting tomorrow!

And I have a $10 gift card to give away!!
Enter below for your chance to win $10 to spend on resources for your classroom this year!! Might I suggest an awesome display of middle grades novel quotes ;)

Good luck, and happy reading!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Summer Reading 2016

SO much to read, SO little time! Hopefully the relaxed pace of summer will give me more time to read and write. This is an ambitious list, but I know I can do it!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Red Queen

I recently read Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. This new young adult series is about a girl named Mare Barrow. She is a poor thief from the Stilts, dreading her upcoming conscription on her 18th birthday. For over a hundred years Red soldiers have fought a Silver war, spilling their common red blood to protect their gifted, silver-blooded kings. Mare's story is one of bravery and courage. She stands up for what she believes in and will do anything for the people she loves. That's why it is so important for her to avoid being sent to war. For Mare's people, war means death.

You see, there are two kinds of people in the Kingdom of Norta. There are Silvers (Kings, Queens, Lords and Ladies) who have money, power, summer palaces and winter palaces. And there's everyone else, Reds like Mare, whose only purpose in life is to serve the Silvers. They are forced to be laborers, working hard for very little pay. The Reds outnumber the Silvers so why don't they fight back? Silver blood comes with supernatural abilities, powers that Reds don't have. Magnetrons can control metal, shadows can bend light, nymphs can control water, and strongarms have immense strength. But these are only a few of the amazing abilities silvers possess. 
Their blood is a threat, a warning, a promise. We are not the same and never will be. This is the true division between Silvers and Reds: the color of our blood. This simple difference somehow makes them stronger, smarter, better than us. (page 9) 
One day, Mare discovers that despite her Red blood she has a superior Silver ability, an ability that could save her or doom her. Of course Mare makes this discovery in front of the entire Silver community where all eyes were on her! No one can know of her Red blood, so she must turn her back on everything she has ever know, anyone she's ever loved, and lie to the world. Pretending to be a Silver princess, Mare is forced to hide her true identity. 

She has only one choice to make... along or join the rising Red rebellion. 

No spoilers here! You'll have to grab a copy of Red Queen to find out!

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good fantasy novel. Victoria Aveyard expertly creates a world where anything seems possible. She makes the Kingdom of Norta feel like it's the town right next door. Best of all, Mare's story does not end here! After devouring Red Queen, check out the sequel Glass Sword and the novella Cruel Crown. (The action and suspense really builds in Glass Sword!) Aveyard is still writing the third book in the trilogy and I cannot wait to see where Mare's journey ends!

This book would make a great addition to your middle/high school classroom library. The Accelerated Reader level is 5.2 and the content is not too mature for your advanced middle school readers (no need to worry about language or sexual themes in this series). I put 2 copies of this out in my 5-6th grade classroom and they were snatched up right away. My students are making great connections between Mare and Katniss (Hunger Games). One student even said that "Red Queen helped to fill the void left behind when she finished the Hunger Games Trilogy!"