Saturday, September 17, 2016

Flocabulary: GIVEAWAY!!!

Engagement. It’s a word that’s constantly swimming around in the back of my mind. How can I make this content more engaging? Are my students engaged? If not, why? It’s a struggle to keeps kids engaged in this highly technological world of ours.

A couple of years ago, a colleague introduced me to a little website called Flocabulary. I blogged about it last year, which you can read HERE. However, I wanted to take the time to tell you all about it again, but this time I have some very special offers for you!

I’m excited to be partnering up with Flocabulary and giving away free memberships! Read on to find out more about what the site has to offer and the chance to win a FREE year-long subscription! You also have the opportunity to earn a 45-day extended free trial that is accessible to not only you, but everyone at your school just for entering! How awesome is that!

Before I go any further, let me assure you that I would NOT be wasting my precious time (remember I'm on maternity leave!) to write about a website unless I truly believe in it. I have been using Flocabulary for two years and because of it, my students LOVE learning new vocabulary words and they have been more- can you guess what I'm going to say?!- engaged! So please trust me when I say that Flocabulary is a quality resource and I am so proud to be partnered up with them!

Now, let’s dig in to see what this site has to offer!

What in the world is it?
Flocabulary is an educational website that provides engaging - there’s that word again! – hip hop style videos that help teachers teach content in all subject areas across a range of grade levels. No matter what you teach, you are sure to find a video to suit you and your students.  The videos are visually engaging (there it is again!) and the kiddos love them!

In the past, I have only truly utilized the Vocabulary section of the site on a regular basis, which I describe in detail HERE, but today I want to highlight how useful this site is for any subject and show you what they have to offer.

How It’s Set Up
Every lesson is centered around a video. The authors write lyrics that are fun but that also help teach the content. Additional resources are provided as well.

Let's Explore! 
I’m going to walk you through what I would see when planning to teach a unit on the three states of matter in science in my third grade classroom. Keep in mind that for any subject and topic the layout and resources would be similar.

First, I have the option to select my content area. Notice the options below. 'Vocabulary' is a separate section that is further divided into grade levels. This is the area of the site that I have the most experience with and have LOVED. Also, the site offers a 'Week in Rap' video every week that captures the world's current events in a kid-friendly way. It's an excellent way to keep the kiddos in the loop on what's going on in the world! 

After choosing my content, I then choose my grade level range:

Then, I have tons of videos to choose from within the topic of “Elementary Science.” I find the one that fits my needs for my upcoming unit.

For each lesson, the video is the core, but you have several resources to utilize besides the video itself. Regardless of the content area, the resources available to you include the following:

Let’s take a look at some of the resources available for an elementary science lesson on the three states of matter:

As you can see from the picture, I have the opportunity to print the lyrics for my students so they can follow along. I print lyrics so that after my students watch the video a few times, we simply listen and read along. Having the ability to watch and listen is great.

After listening and discussing the video, I have the option of using fill-in-the-blank lyrics that leave out key terms. This is useful because the kids can simply listen to the song instead of watching it and pay attention to the vocabulary.

After watching the video, reading through the lyrics, and discussing what we’ve learned, the Quick Review is great. The open-ended questions allow for discussion and clarification. I love the way the questions are worded and the connections made. I would have never thought to describe gas atoms as kids running around at recess! 

Next we have the option to use a printable activity. The activities vary depending on the grade level and topic, but regardless of what video you are using, the printable activity will give students the opportunity to process what they have learned and practice. Obviously, because videos are designed to appeal to a range of grade levels, the printable activity may or may not be exactly what you need, but having an option is fantastic! 

As an added bonus, a new feature just introduced this year called the “Lyric Lab” gives students the opportunity to develop their own rhymes or rap using the key vocabulary words and their choice of  music! As words are typed in the box, a box of rhyming words automatically pops up to provide students options for their rap. So cool! I personally haven’t had a chance to use this feature yet, but I look forward to using it when I get back! It would even be a great whole-class activity to sum up the learning!

Now, if you aren’t convinced to give Flocabulary a try after seeing all of that, let me entice you a little bit more! Just for signing up below, you will receive a FREE 45-DAY extended trial that’s not only for you, but for your ENTIRE SCHOOL! I mean, it can’t get much better than that! Also, you will be entered for the chance to win a FREE ONE YEAR SUBSCRIPTION! I will be giving away THREE OF THESE! Winners will be announced on October 18th. Even if you don’t win, remember that you will still get that 45-day extended free trial for your whole school! Everyone is a winner!  After signing up, you will receive information to access your free trial the week of October 18th. Sign up now! You’ve got nothing to lose!! Be sure to enter every field in the sign up box and your free trial information will be e-mailed to you. You must enter by OCTOBER 16 @ 11:59pm EST!

For now, Flocabulary has several free videos and resources that you can access without needing any kind of code. I encourage you to check them out!

Believe me when I tell you that I wouldn’t waste my precious time writing about a resource I don’t believe in. My colleagues and I have used Flocabulary and know the impact it can have on learning. Engagement is the key, and Flocabulary provides you with tools to ramp up that engagement! 

If you use Flocabulary already, I would love to hear your thoughts!

Happy teaching!!

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Saturday, August 27, 2016

I'm Back! Plus Place Value FREEBIES!

Happy Back-to-School!!

Wow, have I missed this little ol' blog of mine! It's crazy that it's been so long since my last post. If anyone is still reading this, here's what's been going on in my world!


I know, I still can't believe it. My little guy, Connor, is 6 weeks old and has just turned our world upside down- for the better! He was born on July 12 and our hearts have been so full ever since. I mean, isn't he just the cutest little thing you have ever seen?????!!!


This is even more crazy to me than having a baby, LOL! I'm sitting here, in my pajamas (and yes, it's 1:30 in the afternoon- don't judge) writing this post while my long term sub is holding down the fort at school. I'm not going to lie, I'm missing school. But, holding my sweet Connor and looking into his blue little eyes is the best thing in the world. Of course I had to go to Meet the Teacher Night and meet my new kiddos and help my sub get things set up, but other than that, I've really tried to keep my mind off of the day-to-day happenings at school. The control freak in me is chained up tightly, but she's a fighter and has to be constantly talked down. LOL. Each day gets easier and I'm learning to let go... slowly.

So, I thought now that I have some time on my hands- you know, those short little naps Connor takes during the day- I could get back into blogging! Maybe. We shall see.


Again, CRAZY! I never would have thought that I would not teach reading, but I had a tough year last year and needed a change. I LOVE teaching math and I love that it is much more concrete and visual than reading. Because I am focusing more on math, I'm really digging in and trying to learn more about how to develop number sense and teach more conceptually. I'm very excited!

Right now I'm reading the book Number Sense Routines by Jessica F. Shumway. It's full of awesome routines that are quick and powerful and I'm excited to try these when I return to the classroom in October.

I also found this awesome cursive math alphabet from Life in Room 406 that I love! It has great words for the letters and great visuals. I didn't have a chance to get it up in my room before the year started, but it will be up soon!

I obviously have been away from the blog scene for quite some time, so I don't have much new to offer. However, because place value is a concept commonly taught at the beginning of the year, I thought I would share some resources with you! Hopefully you can find something to benefit your students!

Place Value Quiz-Quiz-Trade- These cards cover naming the value of digits, naming places digits are in, and converting from expanded to standard form. They can be used as self-checking task cards as well! Pick up yours HERE! This will be on sale until I remember to change it! LOL!

Place Value Relationship Pack- This small resource has a recording sheet for students to use to record a number they are given and fill in the relationship statement, a lame little chant I made up :), and a set of 6 task cards. Get your FREE copy HERE!

Place Value Roll-Its These games use dice and playing cards. Students roll the die and follow the directions to practice a variety of skills. Two different versions of the game cover writing numbers in words, expanded form, and expanded notation, rounding to the nearest ten and hundred, comparing numbers, and decomposing numbers in different way. Get your FREE copy by clicking HERE!

Hopefully I will be able to post again soon!

Happy Beginning of a New Year!!

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Saturday, February 6, 2016

Dr. Jean's Amazing Resources!

I realize I have been a little MIA from the blog scene lately. School has been pretty overwhelming this year and blogging has been the last thing on my mind. However, last weekend, I attended the Early Childhood Winter Conference put on by our local county Department of Education and two great things happened. One, I presented my first professional development sessions with a teammate of mine, and I saw THE Dr. Jean in person!

If you teach elementary grades, you may not have heard of Dr. Jean Feldman. She is an amazing woman who has worked in education her entire life. She primarily works with early childhood students, pre-K and kinder, but her resources are great inspirations for all grades. I want to share just a few ideas with you.

First of all, the most important thing to her is that teachers smile. It's such a simple concept, but one that can easily be forgotten. With the stress of more rigorous standards and testing, the pressure can sometimes bring out the worst in me. Regardless of what I'm feeling, my kids deserve to see a happy, smiling adult each and every day. So even on my worst day, I have to try to leave the drama in the car and put on a happy face for my students. Of course this is much easier said than done, but important nonetheless. One little trick to add a little happiness to your classroom is to sprinkle in some cheers!

In college, my classroom management professor gave each of us our own set of cheers and I have had them ever since. These little babies are just quick little ways to say "Good job" in a variety of cute and fun ways. Check out these four below:

She offers all 50 of her cheers on TpT for FREE! Yes, FREE! Click HERE to get a copy for yourself!

Dr. Jean also has a website that she uses to share tons of free resources. Check it out HERE. 

Another thing she is well known for are her songs, both silly and academic. I mentioned that she works primarily with early childhood, so most all of her stuff is for the little ones, but her songs incorporate motion and cross the midline, which is great for the brain and brain breaks. Although she has tons of academic songs for little ones on her website, I want to share one of her silly songs that I heard for the first time last weekend and loved! It's called "Tooty-Ta!"

Y'all. You have to do this video with your kids. You just have to! We did it as adults at the conference and I just about died laughing. It is silly, gets your body moving, and makes you laugh! My third graders and I have done this song at least five times this week and they still get a kick out of it! It's a great brain break, and helps my struggling readers listen, follow directions, and work on oral language. And I promise, if you are feeling stressed, this song will help you relax- at least for a little while! ;)

Dr. Jean has made it her mission to share everything she has to offer with fellow educators and I absolutely love her for it. You can purchase her materials from her TpT store but also get tons of free ideas, videos, and lessons from her website. If you teach pre-k, kinder, or first, be sure to check it out.

The second part of the conference I co-presented two sessions on increasing oral language in the classroom with a teammate of mine. Increasing oral language has been on my mind a lot in the last few years, especially since attending an amazing training called Talk, Read, Talk, Write two summers ago. We shared some simple ways to increase the amount of academic talk in the classroom.

Of course, in true first-time presenter style, we forgot to bring all of our posters and activities with examples on them. LOL. But, we managed to make it through and had some great educators collaborate and share. Despite our mistakes, I think everyone was able to walk out with at least one idea to take back to their classrooms.

I'll do another post soon (LOL, I know! Soon may be a month from now!) and share the ideas we presented about. For now, go check out Dr. Jean and print those cheers for yourself! You'll be glad you did!

Have a great weekend!

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