Giveaway Winners & Freebie

Thank you for everyone who entered this weekend's giveaway. Congratulations to both Susan and dbednarsk for winning a $10 gift certificate to Teachers pay Teachers. I'll be sending them out to the email address you posted, please let me know if they don't come.

 I have a freebie for everyone as well. I played with adding QR codes to this multiplication practice. The packet includes two and three digit multiplication by one digit. The answers are shown both as QR Codes and just the answers. Enjoy.

Giveaway & Freebie

It's my birthday! So, I'm going to hold my very first giveaway. I'm giving away 2 $10 gift certificates to Teachers Pay Teachers. Yes TWO. This giveaway will go to Tuesday. I also have a freebie for you. It's a new fraction packet with 2 different games to help students move fluently between fractions and decimals by practicing with half, third, fourth, fifths, one-sixth, and one-eighth.

Here's how to enter:
Leave a comment for each entry:
1) Follow my Blog
2) Follow my Store at Teachers pay Teachers
3) Follow me on Pinterest
4) Blog about this Giveaway
5) Tweet or Post about this giveaway on Facebook

This giveaway ends Tuesday, January 29 at 6:00 pm MST. Please make sure that you include your email address. Good luck and have a fabulous weekend!

Talking Tom

For the last couple of weeks my sixth graders have been learning to persuade an audience. A favorite topic for all of them in the past has been the environment. Using that idea and a comment one student made about the James Cameron's dive last March. So, off we went for two weeks of reading about deep sea diving, ship wrecks, and seeing it was good or bad. The problem--how to get them to present the work without taking TONS of time. (Which I don't have in interventions.) One student in the group noticed that I had put Talking Tom on the iPads and became asking and asking and asking if they could do something with it.

Talking Tom and his Friends (which are free) are easy to use and allow them to create and apply the knowledge that they got from reading. If you area not familiar with all the silly things that Tom can do, make sure you plan extra time for students to just play before getting down to work.

Before getting out the iPads students had to create their script and make sure they had meet all the requirements on the rubric. Then I get to read through it and make sure its short and sweet. Talking Tom only gives you 30 seconds to record.

I have another group that used Talking Tom to write a script that had to contain as many VCE words as they could get in and have it make sense. This was not as challenging for them as I thought it would be for them. But we had great fun. They turned out great with more to come. Enjoy!!


Each year, my school tries to come up with way to get parents and our community in our school. Each year this gets harder--its been a challenge this because we have moved our hours back and are out at 2:30. We always hold a parents night for reading in the fall and in the spring its math. This year it's a Math-teroon. The classroom teachers are working on games that students can play a round or two at school and then take them home to play. We have a computer lab as well as the iPads. As I'm working to create parents handouts for our Math-ternoon, I wanted to share them. Here is the first. Its a collection of websites that our students and teachers like and use on a regular basis. Do you have any that your students rave about--I'd love to here about them?

Special Needs Sunday

When the going gets tough the tough get out the iPad. I have seen my students grow and latch onto concepts like faster than in the past when I find ways to bring technology in. I have one group working on probability. For this they have to collect the data and create pie charts before they can answer the questions. They loved creating the data and then getting to use the computers to create the pie charts. I created the directions, so they could do it on their own. Those are the things that move students and create learners who understand grade level material. My directions are simple but they have to create it and take responsibility to get it done. So, I can focus on the learning and not trouble shooting the technology.

Doodle Buddy has been great for students who need to draw their thinking out. I have students draw out the beginning, middle and end of stories to help them with retelling before writing it or telling me. This is something that students can do on their own with the iPads back in class.  Doodle Buddy is free.

iPads and computers don't replace my teaching, I use them to enhance lessons when it makes sense. Something as simple as using a computer changes a students motives from "really, do I have to" to "I liked doing this today."

Currently, this little project has been limited to students who are either RTI or students with IEPs in reading and math. Stay turned for other awesome ways technology can help struggling learners be more successful in the classroom. Have a great week!

Assessing Student Learning

Assessing student learning is easy for me. I give a quiz or ticket out or play 20 questions. But I want my students to tell me what they need--do they have it or don't they. I've talked in the past about using the Gradual Release strategy as how I teach each day. Gradual Release works both ways.

Before going to Christmas Break, myself and several classroom teachers, introduced a Gradual Release Student Rubric. This rubric was designed to have students know what their responsibilities are during each stage.  We have all been amazed about how students have been able to clear state where they are on the rubric and those student are the "goofballs"--they have stepped up.

I have always used a paper/pencil assessment to determine what students need the next day. With this I know before I pull small groups which students think they  need more help before they leave for the day. After my mini-lesson, I tell students that if your a 1 or 2 they need to stay with me for more help before working on their own. Sometimes I will name students who I know need more help.

I love that my students can identify where they are on this rubric at the end of each lesson. This has encouraged my students to become more independent and taking responsibility for their own learning.  They know what they need to do while I'm giving a Focus Lesson and they can tell me where they were doing

Yes, I still assess but what I've noticed is that their scores have gone up. I'm spending less time going back and reteaching material. Even my learners that are several years behind their grade level peers are getting the material in a shorter amount of time and are more able to tell me what kind of help they need. They have become more independent--taking on their own learning has helped them. This has helped me focus small groups into something that directly targets what a student needs while not waiting for an assessment; with me missing what why really need. Talk about student focused, student centered learning!!!

What do you use to help students assess themselves so they can become independent learners?

Gradual Release Student Rubric 

Apps We Love

Its been five months since I first laid my hands on an iPad. It has been a challenge (but fun) to find ways to bring them into small group interventions without them becoming a gaming station. My students love when I say, "We're going try this and hope for the best." They just grin from ear to ear and go along for the ride. I would say that my best lessons have happened after playing and after those days of "let's try this."

My plan for the coming months is to move groups to paperless. I think I've worked out the kinks and the students are done whining about having to move between apps and the web. I'm going to start with math because its a great way to create an electric journal--showing off their work. 

The apps that I have chosen depend on what I what students to do with them. The way I went about it is by Bloom's Taxonomy. I'm cheap. I have a rule: If an app doesn't have four plus stars and I have to pay for it-I don't buy it. I keep looking. My students have three favorite that were paid for--Explain Everything and MathBoard are on all the iPads, and iMovie (which is only on mine). I also stumbled  across a site that has many, many fabulous ideas on how to use free apps in a classroom. The Appy Hour Radio Show can be download from iTunes but having blog posts are very useful. This link will take you to beginning of the show.  

These are my students favorite apps. I've broken them out. This is not everything my students have but these are the ones we use on a daily basis.  One big problem, I had to work through was how students were going to share their work with me it we went paperless. I decided that we could use Evernote. We have a class account for Evernote for students to upload assignments to. 

I'm looking forward to getting back and moving towards a stronger integration using our iPads. Has anyone used Edmodo? Did you like it? Hate it? Have a wonderful start to your school year!!

About Me

Welcome to my all thing special education blog. I empower busy elementary special education teachers to use best practice strategies to achieve a data and evidence driven classroom community by sharing easy to use, engaging, unique approaches to small group reading and math. Thanks for Hopping By.

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