Monday, December 8, 2014

Get Moving with QR Codes

Anyone else have a squirrely group this year? Mine definitely need to move...a lot!!! We use GoNoodle three or four times a day and I'm constantly looking for other ways to get them up and moving. The past two weeks we've been doing a lot with QR Codes. Last week when we worked on inferring, I posted QR codes for 5 different photos around the room. The kids paired up and each selected a different QR code. They scanned them, then met up to look over their photos and make inferences about what they thought was happening in the photos. After we got some practice, we went back to our story of the week, Click Clack Moo: Cows That Type, and I airdropped two photos to the story to them. Farmer Brown looks so cranky in this one!

They dropped the photos into a document using Noteability and typed up a sentence about each picture. It was a ton of work (and there was definitely some whining when things didn't go just right), but it's rare to get 100% engagement with 29 second graders, but we had it!!!! Here's the document. Feel free to grab it here!

This week we're digging deep into geometry. After taking a progress monitoring assessment, students got to get up and get moving around the room using Stuckey in Second's freebie, Shapes Around the Room.  Here's some pics of my kiddos getting the wiggles out while showing what they know about 2D shapes. My plan is to grade them, then have them go scan the QR codes to check their own work.

Thanks for stopping by! Only 9 more days until winter break!!!
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Friday, November 28, 2014

Babies and Book Creator

Ang and I disappeared for a while. Even after 13 years, the beginning of the year just wears me out! I have no idea how my favorite teacher bloggers keep up with everything.

In happy news, Ang welcomed her second daughter, Harper, yesterday. I can't wait to get my hands on her! So, needless to say, Ang is going to be too busy to blog for a few months.

We really created this blog to help out our fellow teachers. What would help you in implementing more technology in your classroom? Let us know and I'll work on blogging about it!

One of my new favorite projects this year is my students' scrapbook. We're using Book Creator (a super easy app that does exactly what its name says) and each student is responsible for creating and updating their own books. I started the year by taking a "1st Day of Second Grade" photo of each student. I airdropped them (do you airdrop? It makes life so much easier!) to the kids and they uploaded their own photos into their books. They then wrote about their first day. We're working on taking photos of work we're proud of, taking photos on field trips so we can write about them, and just using our cameras to capture moments in our day. The kids seem to really enjoy creating their books and are way more engagd in writing and keyboarding. I'm working on not being so controlling and letting them make mistakes :)  One of my favorite teacher tricks is to tell kids I've never used the app and to go discover for 10 minutes and report back what they've learned. They always, ALWAYS end up learning way more than I could ever teach them - and they usually find things I didn't know were there. Saves me from doing all the talking and they feel much more empowered.

Other ways we use Book Creator:
Elf on the Shelf antics - Ang and I each have an Elf who make their debut on the first day in December. The kids snap a photo of the Elf and write about what the elf was doing when they found it. They title their own book and have a blast discovering the Elf each day.

Publishing their writing - We use Being a Writer for our writing curriculum and there's not a lot of opportunities for kids to publish their work. It's so easy for them to snap a photo of their illustration and type in the text. The autocorrect helps keep me from having to help them fix up their spelling.

Hope you had a great Thanksgiving weekend!

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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

My feet hurt!

Yesterday was our first day back to work. Why is it that no matter how clean and organized you leave your room at the end of the year, there always seems to be a million little things to do once the new year comes? Ang and I spent much of our time today laminating, making subject signs and cutting out those massive piles of lamination while rocking out to some old school hip hop. I am one lucky girl to have such an amazing teaching partner!!!! Tomorrow we're off to a training in the morning and more planning time in the afternoon. One our goals is to create our year plans. We've been inspired by Amy Lemons at Step Into Second Grade. Mimicry is the sincerest form of flattery, right? If you haven't seen how she plans out her year, take a look here.

In other news, I need new shoes! What is it about summer that turns my strong teacher feet into these delicate little flowers who throb after just an hour running around my room? I love my flip flops, but they're just not cutting it! What are your favorite teacher shoes? I think these are adorable, but I have questionable fashion sense :) Seriously, it was a big deal that I bought a dress and a skirt this summer!

In other news, one of my best friends got married in Hawaii this summer. She's having a party and a friend and I painted their new cornhole boards. They are adorable, if I do say so myself!
We hope you have a great week!

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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Blog Hoppin' ~ Where?

My Classroom Digs

So, we're not back to school yet. I headed over to school yesterday and took some "Before" pics. I'll be back next week to post my afters. I have to say, now that I know how to make cute stuff, I totally want to redo a bunch of stuff in my room. BUT....I'm holding off for one year...just one. Why? Why you ask? Because they're building a new school for us!!!!!!!! My classroom was built many, many moons ago and I cannot wait to move into a brand new asbestos-free room! So, here's my before photos. I'm happy to say I've cleaned out a lot of stuff, so there's not too much to do.

Look at those cute helpers! That's Syd, Ang's daughter, and Caitlin, my daughter. They're such good friends and are the sweetest!

Some of you are already headed back to school. Caitlin's starting kindergarten this year (cue the tears!) and I'm bound and determined to document it! I love taking pictures of the kids on the first day and adding them to their portfolios. They love seeing how much they grew over the course of the year. I've got some cute First Day of School chalkboard signs for grades K-5 in my TPT store for free. Click the photo and go grab yours!

Have a great Tuesday! ~ Erin

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Monday, August 18, 2014
(Click the photo to head back to the Blog Hop and check out some other great bloggers!)

It's our first blog hop! Ang and Erin are a 2nd grade teaching team. We teach 2nd grade in Oregon and last year we helped pilot a 1:1 iPad program. We each have about 30 kiddos in our classrooms and every one of them has an iPad! We started this blog to connect with others who teach with technology and to offer help and support to those who need it! Follow us here and join us over on Facebook. Head over and give us a like to keep up to date on all things technology! We have a few freebies over there you might like.

Erin's up first!


My last name is Gaston. Grown ups think Beauty and and the Beast and my middle schoolers loved ask me if I had a "ton of gas". 
 My husband and I first met when I was 13, then again while we were working at Disneyland. We didn't start dating until I was 27, though :) We've been married for almost 9 years and have had 2 beautiful girls. Caitlin is 5 and our sweet Claire passed away when she was born. Caitlin's ready to start Kindergarten this year and she'll be coming to my school! I'm excited to get to see her at school everyday!



I truly have the best friends a girl could ever hope for. My friends are either all colleagues or friends from grade school! When we moved to Oregon from California 9 years ago, it was hard to start over, but my girlfriends both here in Oregon and in California are tried and true! 
(P.S. Sorry to my friends...we need to take more pictures together!)

Things I Love:

Disneyland!!!!! Even after working there for 8 years, it's still magical every time we go! We try and go once a year, usually around Christmas time. There's nothing more special than Disneyland at Christmas! 

  Tim McGraw...seriously, who doesn't?

Dutch Bros. Blended Soy Caramelizers...delicious, but I'm trying to quit!

Reading mindless chick lit! Robyn Carr, JD Robb, and Nora Roberts are my current faves. My dad put some built-ins on either side of our fireplace so I could hide my massive collection of books!


Now Ang's Turn:

I am originally from Portland, Or., but moved to Eugene to go to school at the University of Oregon (GO DUCKS!)
I have a lovely little family down here. I have been married to my wonderful husband Phil for 5 years. We met through my roommates boyfirend at the time. The funny part was that I was actually suppose to have a date night with a different boy that night and he never showed. I guess it was meant to be. One he came for "Soup Night," he never left. He is the best thing that has ever happened to me and my family. I also have a 3 year old daughter Sydney, and getting ready to have another baby girl on Thanksgiving day. Wish us luck!

What would I do without my friends? I have many friends from my early years to college and on to work, but I have to say the majority of my friends are teachers. Surprise, Surprise! I love hanging out with my friends, but I have many a friends that I only chat with once or twice a year. I am not one to call and text them all every moment.

Things I Love:
NAPS! What person does not like naps. Any chance I have I take one. I am also a huge fan of sports, especially football of any kind. Let's just say, the ESPN logo is burnt into our home TV. I also enjoy watching the First 48 episodes. I am a avid coffee drinker, love to craft in my spare time and LOVE, LOVE, LOVE technology!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Community Builders or Literacy Stations?

Happy Sunday! The hubby and kiddo disappeared this morning letting me sleep in a little and came back with donuts and my favorite blended coffee ~ a blended soy split shot caramelizer (thanks, Dutch Bros!). It's so bad that many of the people that work there know my order when I pull up!

I've got two ideas on the brain this morning and am splitting some time between the two of them. I promised Caitlin I'd only spend an hour working this morning. The look on her little face made me realize I might be spending too much time on the computer lately. She said, "Really? Oh, Momma! That would be great!" So, these will take a little longer to finish, but I hope to have both of them finished before our school starts on September 3rd. I need both of these this year, so I thought other people might also! When they're done, I'm going to be giving one of each away over on our Facebook page, so if you're not a fan, head over and give us a "like" to be sure you get to enter to win! Comment below and let me know which one you'll choose if you win!

Hope you had a great weekend! Here's to my last full week off before we head back to school!
~ Erin

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Saturday, August 16, 2014

A birthday freebie ~ Chalkboard Signs!

It's my birthday, so I'm giving you a gift! Head over to our Facebook page and give us a like, then grab these super cute Back to School Chalkboard signs under the "Fan Freebies" tab!

Have a great weekend! ~ Erin

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

An App A Day~ Reflector

Though the program Reflector is not necessarily an APP (so don't go to iTunes to look for it), it is a program that works with everything on your iPad and has changed my teaching! This program is $12.99 per license or you can get a package of licenses and save. It is well worth the money.

Here is the link for the Reflector site with all the info (pricing and help pages): Reflector

Reflector is an AirPlay receiver that allows you to wirelessly display your iPad or iPhone. It is available for MAC or PC. Anything that you do on your phone or iPad can be mirrored onto the screen for any type of activity. Whether it be for behavior tracking while kids are working, video, instructions, demonstration, assessment of student work or showing other ways to do things.

In my classroom it is used everyday in all subjects. That is why I am choosing to share this with you. There are other programs that do similar functions, but this is the one I have found is easiest for me. When using Reflector, you have to know how to use Airplay. Airplay comes on a variety of Apple devices, and is very simple to use (even my kids share with it). As I get my students used to it and they understand the rules of it, it works so well to assess what my students have completed (or not completed) and I can show the entire class one certain thing all at once (ex. how to solve a math problem another way or if everyone is having a similar problem on their iPad, I can show them how to do it through Reflector). When we are reviewing content, I have my students get to Airplay but they don't click to show until I tell them to SHARE. As they get better at the process, we can get through almost an entire class of answers in less than 5 min. That's what I call fast assessment and they love showing. You can also show up to two devices content at one time on one screen, which is great for comparing and contrasting. If you try and do more devices, it will slow the program down and make the images smaller on the screen.

The only concern that I have found, is that you have to have wireless internet connection because it is used through the internet.

Give it a try and see what you think. I have found that it is the easiest way to get students engaged in what is going on (because they want to share in front of everyone) and you can see what a number of  students are doing in a short amount of time.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Class Dojo Freebie!

I got an email this from from Class Dojo announcing they've added messenger service which allows you to text parents without giving out your personal cell number. I'll have to check it out! Ang and I use Remind (formerly Remind 101) and love it, but Dojo's messenger might be worth a look.

So I promised a peek into how I use Dojo points in my room. It's fairly simple. I hung a positive clip chart and kids move their monsters up the chart as they earn points. The goal is to earn 20 points a week (of course, the true goal is for me to recognize each student 20 times each week! Not always easy!). At the end of each day, we gather on the rug and I announce who gets to move their monster up the chart. The kids love celebrating each other and everyone gets celebrated at least 3 times a week, even if they've been struggling. I love seeing them high five the kiddo who took a few extra breaks and that smile when they get to move up a level. They may not get as high up the chart, but they're moving up and that's a great feeling.

 I don't actually use clips. Instead I took screen shots (shift-command-4 on a Mac) of the point screen on Class Dojo that shows their names and monsters. Then I loaded the images into Pages to edit them. I printed those and stuck some painter's tape on the back. Makes it easy to move them around. The kids had asked to track their own points, so I added a T-chart to them and handed them out. They liked keeping tallies of their points.
I also have these up - they're the categories I used in Class Dojo.

At the end of each week, I recorded kids' points on a point tracker. Every few weeks they got to "buy" rewards with their points. This year I officially closed my class store and switched to mostly non-tangible rewards. The kids loved it and I saved a ton of money! I printed the cards in color and loaded them into a 4x6 photo book. Then I printed about 10 sets in black and white and filed them behind their color counterpart. Kids flipped through the book, chose their reward, I marked the points spent and gave them a black and white card to redeem at a later time. Lunch with me, dance parties, and pajama days were the best sellers!

Are you ready to Dojo? If so, you can get everything I've shown here (plus 4 student tracking sheets to send home & blank reward cards!) in my Class Dojo Positive Clip Chart Pack over at Teachers Pay Teachers. However, if you head over to our Facebook page and give us a like, you can access our fan freebies! I've uploaded the 5 page positive clip chart over there for free!
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