Friday, December 30, 2016

Google Classroom and New Year's Resolutions

My New Year's resolution is  to use Google Classroom a lot more!!!  So I decided to make a collaborative digital book with Google slides for my students where they can share their New Year's resolutions.    If you are interested in trying this project with your students you can click on the picture below and get it for FREE!!!!!!


I have made a YouTube tutorial on how to use this product.  You can find that {here}.


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Santa Letter Writing

Writing can be so hard to teach, at least it is for me!  I decided that this year I was going to over haul my writing instruction.  I am so tired of kids writing a list and not developing an idea with details.   I have tried several approaches to tackling this issue and none have worked for me or my kiddos to the extent I would have liked.  And then.... the idea hit me.  Boom!  STICKY NOTES!  Yes, sticky notes.  Kids go crazy for sticky notes and .... and...Santa.  All I had to do was tie in the two and angels would sing.  Okay, angels didn't sing, but it was AWESOME to watch the blending of these two elements to produce  the most perfect letters to Santa.  They were thoughtful, polite, kind and detailed.  Yes, detailed.  My teacher heart was doing a happy dance.  I plan to use this technique for future writing lessons!!!

I knew I wanted their letters to answer the question if they were naughty or nice and give Santa a reason to support their answer.  I wanted the letters to address a need and a reason why they needed that item.  Their third sentence would be an item that they want and why they want that item.  Finally, they needed to close with a compliment for Santa.  I came up with this graphic organizer:


I then passed out 4 sticky notes to each student.  Everyone took 1 sticky note and wrote down if they had been naughty or nice.  Then we all placed our sticky note in box 1.  Next, the students wrote down 1 thing they needed on another sticky note and we put that in box 2.  We then did boxes 3 and 4 in the same way.  When all the boxes were filled with sticky notes I passed out the rectangular sticky notes.  Students wrote their detail on a sticky note and transferred it to the graphic organizer.  We did this one box at a time.  Here is the result.  Box 1 is an N for either naughty or nice because that is private info for Santa only.




I just loved reading these!  It was nice to basically have each sentence on a sticky note.  They picked up the one they were copying and stuck it to the top of the Santa letter stationary.  This really helped kiddos stay on track.  I would love to show you the letters the kids wrote, but those went into super decorated mailing envelopes that went straight home so their elves could take them to Santa.  Whew! 





Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Google Classroom Collaborative Project


Google Classroom!!!!!!!!  I am beginning to really love you!  I'm usually pretty techy with these kinds of things, but Google Classroom was very daunting to me.  I just could not wrap my mind around the fact that kids could work on an assignment collaboratively and send it to me electronically with the push of a button.  I know this makes me sound 80, but its the TRUTH!  I'm always up for a challenge and I decided that I was jumping in-ALL IN.  I told my kiddos what my vision was and that I anticipated it being challenging but we would work together to figure it out.  AND WE DID!  When our classroom Christmas tree came off the printer I jumped for joy and then ran to show our tech guru.  WE DID IT!  The kids are so thrilled, I'm so thrilled, the parents will be so thrilled.  This is thrilling to say the least.  I'm not going to lie, I made some mistakes but I'm going to share my mistakes with you so that you can either laugh at me or learn from me.  Ha ha!

1.  I'm sure you are finding out that there is not a lot of Google Classroom stuff for second grade.  That was very discouraging for me.   I really wanted to try something that someone else had done so that I could hopefully get a better grasp of how these projects are supposed to work.  I finally found this amazing teacher on Tpt and her high interest projects looked doable for second grade.  I started with her Thanksgiving project.  Which was a perfect first project that I did not blog about.  The Christmas project is our second project (full disclosure).

2.  I pasted the the YouTube video that she provides in her lesson to our Google Classroom page.  I had the kids watch the video on their own device.  They thought that was pretty cool.  So far, things were going great!  Watch video-CHECK.

3.  I had the kids open their ornament page.  This was the first time they had their own slide and didn't see everyone elses at the same time.  This went well too.  CHECK-CHECK

4.  Here is where things started to take a turn, I had them decorate their ornament after watching the video.  I roamed around the classroom to help as needed.  It didn't take long before someone pointed out that they didn't have the paint can.  Heads up-- paint can appears once they make a shape.  FYI!  The kids will either want to turn shapes upside down or they will accidentally turn shapes upside down.  Either way, preteach how to flip objects.  Trust me, this will save you a ton of time.

5.  The directions tell you how to save the image.  Great, I get saving an image.  What I did not realize is that it saves to the downloads folder.  Which took me a second to figure out.  Not the best move when you have 22 little faces waiting for direction.  This is where I stopped the project so that I could get things figured out.

6.  Once I had things figured out and knew where we were going to pull our pictures from I was READY.  Well.... not so fast.  I sent out the Christmas tree for everyone to import their ornament too.  I did not make it editable for the students (Which the techie teacher clearly says to do!)  Do not forget to make it editable for students.  Tears will ensue if you don't.  Tears for you, not them.

7.  Biggest mistake of all-are you listening?  Do not have them all import their ornament at the same time.  I repeat, DO NOT HAVE THEM IMPORT THEIR ORNAMENT AT THE SAME TIME.  All the ornaments import to the same spot on the slide.  So.... 22 ornaments were rapidly appearing on their tree, one on top of the other.  Panic took over,  kids were upset that so and so had covered up their ornament!  Things were going Fight Club real fast.  So... I quickly adjusted and had the kids stop with the Christmas trees.  I then pulled them back in groups of 2 and showed them how to import, resize and move their ornament.  Groups of 2 was the key.  We easily got our class tree decorated and the kids are so proud of themselves.

Here is our final product:


We're going to use these to make Christmas cards for their families.  Super cute!