Hello, hello and welcome to a beautiful Tuesday morning! I have plans later today to meet my mom and sisters to pick up part of my wedding dress (the belt!) and go out for lunch. The weather is great here today and I’m very excited 🙂
What I’ve been up to…
Yesterday, my oldest sister and I (and baby Lucas) went to O’hare to pick up my other sister and her husband. They’ve been in Asia for the past couple weeks and it was great seeing them and hearing about their trip. Here’s the pic I snapped of them in the car ride back
to Chipotle home.
What I’ve been up to (school wise)…
I’m really trying to enjoy these last few weeks of summer because August 15th is going to creep up on me before I know it. I went into school last week to see my new classroom (we got a very large new addition put on during last school year and I’m LUCKY enough to have a brand new classroom in that wing!) It was more than I could have ever imagined and right after leaving the school, I went straight to the teaching store to get some things laminated that I’d been working on.
I’ve become obsessed about QR codes (QR codes are those black pixel box thingys- I’m very technical- that you can scan with your phone or iPad that bring you directly to the site. QR stands for quick response. You can download a free app called “QRreader” to scan these things.)
My sister-in-law had gone to a conference a while back and told me about how they had given the teachers several ideas on how to use them in the classroom. Of course I took this information and
stole it used it in some different ways.
Here’s an example of a QR code I made. I always start the school year off by talking to the kids about what they want to be when they grow up, and from there we talk about how they will get to this through working hard, staying in school, and going to college. I made this QR code over a picture of the college I went to to display with our projects they will make. When scanned, it will take you right to UWW’s website.
Making QR codes could not be easier. I don’t know what I expected, but I thought it would be hard… well, I’m here to tell you that it isn’t! After some quick searching, I found 2 easy, fun websites.
QR maker is a very easy, straightforward website. It walks you through the steps, 1 being selecting the type of media it is, 2 being entering the URL, and 3 being downloading the code it makes. It’s that easy!
This QR maker is slightly (and I mean only slightly) harder to do, but it’s the one I used above with the picture in the background. With this one you need to create an account or login with Facebook. Then the process is the same (choose media type and enter URL) until the next page. It will give you tons of different pictures you can use as a background or you can upload your own. All I did was go to the UWW website, save one of their pictures to my computer, and then upload it on this website. After you’ve got the picture you want, you can drag, re-size, and move the QR code anywhere you want on the background picture. Click “generate”, then “next”, and you’re done! This site gives you the option to pay for a better quality one, but I’ve used the free one several times and it always look just fine to me!
I’m thinking I’m going to QR code this blog for my parents on newsletters and also send home other QR codes on websites I want them to visit at home. Many of my students don’t have computers at home, but all their parents or family members have phones that can scan! I’m thinking of making codes for YouTube videos on letters or sounds I want them to practice or other games they can use at home!
Total Participation- Thumbs Up and Down
At our school, we always read a book over the summer or during the school year on something we want to focus on as a staff. Last year it was all about different total participation techniques– ways or activities you can use in the classroom to get all students engaged and involved. It was great to see new ideas and I tried many of them in my classroom each week. One of the best ideas, in my opinion, was giving the students answer or response cards to hold up. In my class, we do a lot of one student coming up to the board to point to the answer or letter. The rest of the kids really wanted a turn too, but rarely paid attention to anything except who was being called on (sound familiar? just me? Bueller?)
I started passing out index cards and having the kids write responses on them to hold up for the right answer. For example, if I had written the vowels on the board, the kids would get index cards and write a vowel on each one. Then I still had a student go up and identify the sound or letter, but the rest of the students also had to hold up the correct response. What I saw was a dramatic increase in participation and engagement. This year, I knew I wanted more ideas like this.
A while back I’d pinned something on Pinterest that showed a Popsicle stick with a thumbs up on one side and a thumbs down on the other. I thought these could be great to laminate and keep in their cups on their desks to use for quick total participation responses. When I clicked on the picture however, it was only a picture and no link to the actual cards. So, I made some myself!
You can download them here for free:
I based them off of the picture I had seen. I made tons of them, went to the store to get them laminated (to which the woman working said “Somebody’s been on Pinterest!” Busted 🙂 ), and came home to get started putting them together.
Can you please tell me someone else’s house turns into a disaster zone during crafting projects too?
Not only did I have things everywhere (I was making several things in one sitting) but my lovely dogs did not seem to understand that they couldn’t walk all over these!) 😉
Anyways, here’s what I used…
…the laminated cards, Popsicle sticks, and hot glue.
I took a stick, put glue on both sides near the top, on one side glued the thumbs up…
and on the other, glued the thumbs down.
I figured I can use them for things like voting, asking if something is the right answer, yes or no questions, and opinions. I’m going to put them in the kids cups (I Velcro cups to their desk where they put pencils, erasers, and scissors for quick access) so we can use them quickly and so I remember to use them! Because they are laminated, they should last a pretty long time.
We’re leaving for vacation on Saturday (so excited!) so expect to see some “classroom under construction” pictures the first week of August. I’m pretty amped to get in there and start setting up.
What things are you already making for your classroom?
I’ve made some sticks with numbers on them to pull for random answers and my QR codes. So far that’s about it, but I have some other ideas I want to get started with too!