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Sunday, May 7, 2017

The Biggest myths about Google Classroom and young learners

Let's talk about Google Classroom. Going digital in kindergarten and first grade can be a powerful tool for differentiatng your kid's learning.  
Big myth buster- you don't need to be a 1:1 school to do it.


Most teachers in the upper grades have been using Google classroom for ages, but it's not as popular in the lower grades. Not many of us have taken the leap to digital. I've actually heard people say you can't use Google in kindergarten (Gasp!) They couldn't be more wrong! 
Myth buster #2 Kindergarten students CAN use Google Classroom.

So how do you get started?
A little background. Just recently Google changed it's policy. You used to have to be part of a school district that adopted GAFE (Google Apps for Education). Guess What??? Not any more, you just need to have a gmail account and so do your students, that's bascially it. This opens the doors wide open for homeschoolers. It honestly could not be any easier. 
 All the kids in a GAFE district will have an "email" and password. I put email in quotes because it's not always an actual email. My kids can't send or recieve messages. It only works on the school platform.  ( this is not always the case so check with your district). The older kids usually know their account and password, but you'll have to get your kids' info for them. Grab my free Driver's License here to keep those logins organized.


  I work in a large district and I can access my kids info through our district attendance site. Other possible ways include getting the information from a tech teacher, or IT department.  Usually it's the kids name and the school domain. example dlarsen@myschoolK12.org. The password is usually something associated with the student, like their birthday. Your tech person can get you that info. Don't be surprised when they doubt that your young kids can use it. Convincing people that young learners can use Google Classroom is the hardest part. See myth buster #2!


Once you have this information you can get started.

Setting up a classroom. 
Myth buster #3 Setting up a class is too technical.
It's easy, you can do it.  Please watch this video I created on getting started with Google. If you're like me, it's A LOT easier to watch someone do it, rather than read about how they do it. So go ahead and check my video here.

See didn't I tell you it's so easy??? Go ahead and get started with your class, and please let me know how you like it.


Sunday, March 26, 2017

The best hack for using glue in the classroom

Glue sticks. Those 2 simple words bring me both joy and aggravation. I have a love hate relationship with glue sticks. On the one hand I love the ease of glue stick, no more puddles of glue, no clogged tops. It seemed like the perfect answer. But they let me down. Lost caps, dried out sticks, sticks that get turned so much the glue pops off the stick never to be fully insertd again. Nothing can ruin a perfectly good day quicker than lost glue caps. They must be hiding somewhere with all the missing socks. 
Glue sponges, cut and paste made easy


I keep my relationship with glue sticks going because I just couldn't face the alternative- clogged liquid glue. I can't tell you how many hours of my life have been spent trying to soak those little orange tops. I ruined many perfectly good paper clips trying to excavate though dried out glue. 

Well my problem is solved. I can't believe I haven't tried this before. Glue sponges. I've seen these little buggers on pinterest for years, but I never actually tried to make them. I was a fool!!!!! Seriously, glue sponges are my newest favorite hack. They are simple to make, and they actually work! 

     Follow these simple steps and your life will be so much happier!






It's so easy I could just cry! I thought the kids would get glue all over themselves, but they don't a couple kids might need to wash their hands, but those are the same kids who needed to wash their hands after using a glue stick. I have learned that you might need to spray the sponges with just a little water now and again.  I add glue every couple of weeks, but that's about it. I suggest you use anitbaterial sponges. If you don't they might start to smell a little. But don't worry, you can always add a couple drops of mouthwash to the sponge and that works to kill any bacteria.

Now are you ready to have some fun? 
Grab these fun cut and paste activities......


                                             


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Using Flipped Lessons in Kindergarten

Are you using an intervention block? Do you need to increase reading fluency? Have you heard about flipped lesson? I've been reading about flipping your classroom for a while, but I just didn't see how it could work in kindergarten. It seemed to be an upper grade level tool.  In case you're new to the party, flipped lessons are basically a way to use video on their IPad or digital device to teach a lesson at home. Then the kids come back to school already having watched and they are ready for enrichment. It "flips" the traditional approach of direct instruction in class and then using homework for enrichment.
DIBLES-reading fluency-kindergarten-struggling readers-



But what about kindergarten? How can we use the technology to increase student engagement?
Well, I've been playing around with flipped lessons and I think I may be on to something! But of course we need to modify for kindergarten.  Flipping has been a game changer for me and my kids. 
http://bit.ly/2m1nyVO


So, how do you do it? Like most things there's an app for that. I take a skill that my kids need more instruction with, and I create a video lesson on my IPad using the app Explain Everything. The lesson is basically what I would teach and how I would teach it, in a small group, with my kids.  Each lesson has some kind of printable. I put a QR code on the paper and the kids simply scan the code, and watch the video and complete the activity. You can try out my Spring Math FREEBIE here.
math center-flipped lessons-addition


It. Is. Awesome. My boss' jaw literally dropped when I showed her. You can use chrome books, IPads, you can even use a phone. Any device that has a screen and Wi-Fi will work. Can you see the possibilities? You can send the paper with the QR code home and the kids get additional practice at home. How many times have you said I wish I could model for my parents how I want them to help with homework? Guess what?  You can! This not only helps the kids, but it's like the parents are sitting in your class. Watching how you teach.
phoneme segmentation-ipads-reading


Have you ever wanted to clone yourself? You just can't get to all the things you need to get to in a day. Well now you can. I need my lowest reading group to have daily practice with phoneme segmentation. But it takes time, and that is something I don't always have. Now I can make sure all my kids are getting the extra practice every day, and as you can imagine their skill level is increasing. I have never been as effective at getting my kids to reach their benchmarks as I have been since I started flipping.
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Phonemen-Segmentation-Flipped-Lessons-3036143


I use the flipped lessons for individuals or small groups, but I also use them with my whole class. I project the video on the big screen and the kids are viewing a math lesson and I can have a minute to walk around and assess - or can you imagine, have a minute to clean my desk!

I'd love to hear about your experience with how you use flipped lessons. Let's increase reading fluency, and number sense, bu embracing technology in a new way. Please comment with any ideas or tricks you might have. I will be adding more flipped lessons to Della Larsen's Class on TPT so check back and see what's new.
RTI-guided reading

math centers-diret instruction-RTI

spring math-freebie-addition

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Well winter is in full swing and my kids are starting to get ready for Valentine's Day.  Do you need a few extra worksheets to help keep your kids engaged while you have reading groups? I love using these for morning work, homework, and I always throw a few in my sub folder .... just in case.


This month we are working on addition and subtraction.

                             

Counting and Making Sets.


                                     


Comparing and Ordering Numbers

                                                                        
                                     

Reading Nonsence Words, and Word Families


                                      



Rhyming, Spelling and Vowels


                                        

Reading, Writing, and CVC words


                     


Great for homework, practice, or sub folders.


             

Download your freebie here

or grab the full resource here

Monday, January 23, 2017

Fun STEM Ideas for 100 Days of School

Let's Celebrate 100 Days!! It's that time of year when schools are starting to celebrate 100 days. My kids get really excited as we get closer to the big day. We've been counting the days since we started and by the time we get to about 92 days, they are so ready. Here are a few great ideas to get you excited. I found this terrfic idea from rubberboots and elf shoe. She hides 100 pennies around the room and the kids have to go hunt for them. They come back and place them on the 100 chart. What a great way to get them up and moving around the classroom.
This year we are celebrating with STEM Challenges and using an engineering design notebook to document our process. We'll be building a desk that holds 100 papers.

A bridge that holds 100 pennies.

And a tent that uses "poles" made of 100 Cheerios

Here's another great find. It's a cute and very catchy video counting to 100. Click the image to watch.
Still need more ideas? Here's a link to a FREEBIE
You can grab my 100 day STEM resource here
Whatever you do to celebrate have fun!