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Next School Year is Right Around the Corner! What I'm Keeping, Losing, and Trying!

Hello there!  It is so nice to see you again!  Welcome to this week's prompt:  What will you keep/lose/try this coming school year?





Next year....

     I am already thinking about what next year will be like.  In Massachusetts, I have heard that the desks only need to be 3 feet apart vs. last year's 6 feet.  I am anticipating wearing masks again as the amount of cases here is on the rise.  Plus, my students are too young to be vaccinated.  

What I'll keep...

     My students LOVED directed drawings last year so I'll definitely keep up with this activity.  Last year I reinforced  what we learned in class with a comparable directed drawing.  I have the kids draw and label the drawings.  In addition, I have them include important information.


 Here is an example of a Wampanoag long house.  You can even find the directions here for free!

     Morning Meetings are a must-have that I will always keep.  Kids need practice learning how to greet others and have conversations.  Listening is another super important skill that I model and emphasize to my students.  Most kids claim that their parents are "always on their phones" or "too busy to listen."  Morning Meeting time becomes even more important and necessary!

What I'll lose...

     I want my students to spend less time on the computer.  Before the pandemic, we used the Chromebooks twice a week in school for one hour each time.  I want to return to less dependence on technology for learning.  

     Last year most of my students had never used a dictionary or heard of encyclopedias.  I know they can look everything up online, but it's also helpful to learn of the "old-fashioned" way for finding information.  There is a comfort in holding a book and turning the pages.

What I'll try...

     Next year I am very excited to dive into our own new reading program:  
     

     



If you are currently using this program, I would love to hear any advice/tips.  I am so excited to offer a new reading program to my students!

     New year we are also starting Fundations in third grade.  We have had one training in June, but I still need to adjust and learn how to use something new.

     Please let me know if you have any insights into any of these activities.  I would love to hear from you.  Thank you for visiting the blog today!





Communication: All Are Welcome!


Hello friends!  Thanks again for visiting the blog for this weekly link-up sponsored by Hot Lunch Tray!




All Class Virtual Day on Wednesdays!

Every Wednesday, I always signed on to Google Classroom at 8:15.  Class did not start until 8:30.  This way students and/or parents could pop in for a quick check-in or question. It was actually a very nice, casual atmosphere, and we would just chat about whatever the kids wanted.  Plus, parents and other family members were quite curious about online learning and enjoyed listening in.

In addition, I offered a snack story time during our online day on Wednesday.  I even invited siblings if they wanted to join us and listen to the the story.  I would borrow ebooks like Scaredy Squirrely by Melanie Watt and other fun titles:


The younger siblings especially loved being included.  I was happy to oblige because I love reading, and if these kids are happy for 10 minutes, this time makes a difference!  

Remind

This year we used Remind to contact parents.  Remind sends messages directly to the parents' cell phones.  Rather than sending home newsletters (although I did do a few), I sent quick and relevant messages to the parents.

I read many articles last year about how parents felt overwhelmed with the technology and online learning.  I tried not to add to their burden.


Online Conferences

I know that I LOVED having this option.  The parents seemed to like having a scheduled Google Meet set up just for them.  Of course, teachers had to go to school to do conferences due to the contract, but I was happy for the parents to stay in the comfort of their own homes.  


In closing

 A while ago, a student's father remarked how "at this age, you pretty much live with us."  Visiting online gave me the opportunity to have a glimpse into my students' lives and families.  Of course, I would prefer to communicate with my students face to face, but I think we all made the best of a difficult situation and became more resilient in the process!  






Terrific Technology To Try!: Week 4: Summer Blog Challenge

Hello there!  Welcome to another weekly installment of this Summer Blog Challenge!  Thank you for visiting today!







Screencastify!

While we were fulltime remote and later in hybrid learning (from September until the end of March), I read a chapter from a book every day as part of "At Home Work."   I borrowed ebooks from my local library.  I would then read a chapter and record as I read on Screenscastify.  To ensure the kids had listened and understood, I made quizzes.  I would screenshot (I bet I have broken a lot of copyright laws) a passage and ask a question on a Google Form.

     Here is an example from a Poppleton book.  I love and cannot live without the snipping tool which allows me to make these screenshots.  I still use the snipping tool and highly recommend checking it out if you have not used it!

       Thanks to all my videos, I got recognized in my district by Screencastify.  This is the first time I am telling anyone about this because I don't think my family would even understand (even though they hear me reading and acting out the voices).



Next up is:  More About Google Forms

     A lot of my At Home Work I assigned was made on Google Forms.  It is self-correcting, and I know right away who still needs to finish work.

     During hybrid learning, I wanted to make sure that all my students read the Morning Message, so I turned that into a reading assignment:


This way all students got to read the message and answer the questions.  I always had 5 questions, and one of them was the answer to the Fact of the Day.  My Morning Message also reviews something we learned the day before.  When we have time, I like to ask questions that relate to what we read in the message.  Reading the Morning Message is the last part of our Morning Meeting.

     You can read more about Morning Meetings here.


More About Pear Deck

     I am a HUGE fan of Pear Deck.  I spent so much time teaching myself how to use this add-on and how to use it in breakout rooms.  Here is a link  to a blog post I wrote about Draggable activities.  

      In addition, you can even earn badges!  Badges must be the new thing because I have created a folder for them!

     As always, I appreciate your visit and comments!  





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