Saturday, May 23, 2015

May Bright Ideas

It's time for the Bright Ideas linky for May!

This month, I'd like to share how I used Bright Spots to provide student feedback.

Sometimes the temptation is to tell kids only what they've done wrong. I felt like that is all I did when I gave feedback on students' writing. 

But when I read their pieces, I'd think, "Wow! Look at that! That's really good!" I decided I needed to find a way to share that with the kids, but without killing myself to do it. So I came up with the idea of Bright Spots. 

When I'm reading student writing, I keep a yellow highlighter handy. When I come across a great example of word choice, figurative language, a vivid verb, or some other outstanding work, I simply swipe the highlighter across it. Instant Bright Spot.

Once I explained what the highlighting was for, it was the first thing the kids looked for when I returned papers. They were so excited to see what they had done well.

I started keeping the yellow highlighter with me as I conferred with students so I could add a Bright Spot while they were looking. I used it when I walked around monitoring independent work. And then my students asked if they could use it when they conferred with peers. You bet I let them - I just had them use another color than yellow, so I could tell when the Bright Spot came from me.

I hope this is an idea you think you could try. It could work for any subject - a problem worked correctly in math, a great use of vocabulary in science or social studies. Let's celebrate what our students do well!

If you enjoyed this Bright Idea, please consider visiting my Teachers Pay Teachers store and joining me on Facebook where I share more great ideas.

For more bright ideas from different bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. Thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Teachers Pay Teachers is Having a Sale!

My store and many others will be 20% off. Use the code thankyou when you check out for a total of 28% off your purchases.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Currently May

Can you believe it is May? I think that May is one of the longest months of the school year. Summer is so close, yet so far away. I hope it goes quickly for you!

The beginning of the month means it's time for Farley's Currently! I love participating in this linky. It ensures I blog at least once every month LOL!

  • I am listening to Chopped. I love this show. It's fun to speculate what I might do with the basket ingredients and it exposes me to new foods I've never encountered before.
  • I am still loving this beautiful weather. It has turned sunny but not too hot - predicted to be only in the mid 80s this weekend. I wish we had weather like this year round.
  • I'm thinking about softball. This weekend we have our last home games of the season. Our UTSA Lady Roadrunners are playing very well. We are excited that one of the girls was selected in the National Pro Fastpitch draft. 
  • I am wanting to finish a new product for my TpT store. I hope to get it done very soon. I'm slow when it comes to creating. LOL
  • I am needing to replace the doorbell. I guess it's a good thing we don't have many visitors since we probably wouldn't know they were at the door. Oops. 
  • Summer: I am going to the TpT conference in Vegas, fo sho! I hope to make a road trip to Tulsa to see our San Antonio Stars play, and I wish I could take a trip on the Trans-Canadian railroad. Wouldn't that be fun?
Now go visit Farley's blog and check out the other posts this month! Don't forget the Rule of Three.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Siwi is a Piece of Cwap*

So I just experimented with the voice control on my iPhone 5s (not eligible to upgrade until October dagnabbit!!) I was trying to see if I could get Siri to open a new Note for me instead of having to tap the Notes app and then tap new note.

Here are the results.

Me: Siri open Notes app
Siri: Calling Mary T.....

Me: Open new note
Siri: Facetiming Alice A.....

Me: Take dictation
Siri: Playing songs by Jay Sean

Me: Record note
Siri: Playing songs by Bloodkin

Me: I give up

*Bawwy Kwipke fwom The Big Bang Theowy

Saturday, April 18, 2015

April Bright Ideas

Gosh, I can't believe it's already April. Are you feeling the months fly by, too?

The Bright Ideas Link Up is back with some more great ideas that might just make your life easier!

This month, I want to tell you about something I liked to do when I was having my students work on projects, like craftivities. I found my kids worked best when they had a sample to look at. If I created the sample, it was sometimes intimidating to my students- even though I am in no way an artist. In fact, I always said I needed a ruler to draw a stick figure.

I used to ask students to donate their work after it is assessed and returned. However, I found most kids wanted to keep their projects because they were proud of their hard work. 

So I liked to ask my kids who were fast finishers - accurate fast finishers - to "make one for me." I always gave them the option to say no and instead complete one of the other allowed choices for those who finished, but there was usually at least one student who would be happy to make another.

I saved this extra project for my sample for the next year. 

If you enjoyed this Bright Idea, please consider visiting my Teachers Pay Teachers store and joining me on Facebook where I share more great ideas.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Currently April

I can't believe it's already April! Time for another Currently linky with Farley!

  • I am listening to Big Bang Theory. I love this show. It's probably my favorite in the whole history of television. That's probably because I'm a big old nerd and these guys remind me of my high school nerd friends.
  • I am loving this beautiful weather. I'm sorry for those of you who are still having winter. You can laugh at me when it's over 100 degrees here this summer.
  • I'm thinking about what to do when my sister who lives in Alabama comes to visit next week. Eating lots of Mexican food is on the agenda, for sure. Maybe we will take a drive to see all the wildflowers, too. This is bluebonnet time in Texas and they are gorgeous this year!
  • I am wanting to go get a pedicure. Now that the weather is warmer, it's time to get the sandals out, and nobody wants to see my feet in their current condition.
  • I am still needing to clean out my closet. I never got around to it after posting about it in the last Currently. Oops.
  • My Blog Name: I think teachers live in Krazy Town, what with all the kray kray things that roll down from the top. So that's what I named my blog!
Now go visit Farley's blog and check out the other posts this month! Don't forget the Rule of Three.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

March Bright Ideas

Welcome to the March Bright Ideas Linkup!

I am the first to admit that I am not a morning person.

It takes me a good while to be alert enough to function well and interact with other people in a socially acceptable manner. That made it tough to be an organized teacher.

I tried my best to make sure I was prepared each day. I made lists. I organized materials I needed to take to school the night before. I set alarms on my phone. But sometimes, despite all that, I left things at home that were needed at school that day.

I finally developed a method that worked for me when I was reading aloud Ramona Quimby, Age 8 to my third grade class. This is a great book for third graders because most third graders are eight years old. The day before we read the chapter about Ramona's problem at school with the hard boiled egg, I prepared 2 dozen hard boiled eggs to give my kids as a snack. They had to stay in the fridge until I left for school in the morning. This was a set-up for failure for me. I really worried that I'd forget to grab them before leaving.

So before I went to bed, I simply wrote myself a reminder on a sticky note and put it at eye level on the front door so I would see it when I left. Simple, easy, and it worked!

This method also works to help you remember to take things home from school or to complete a task in the office - I just put the reminder on my classroom door. You know, because my brain is fried after a long day with the kids working my teacher magic.

If you enjoyed this Bright Idea, please consider visiting my Teachers Pay Teachers store and joining me on Facebook where I share more great ideas.