Pear Deck Perks: Getting Started

Hello there!  It's a miracle:  I am blogging again!  I am really excited to share a Google add-on with you:

I began dabbling in Pear Deck last spring when we went fully remote.  I love how Pear Deck makes lessons and activities interactive and engaging.  It took me time to realize that students can easily log on if I add the link to the lesson in the chat (My students would love to spend the whole meeting in the chat if they could!).  

In order to use Pear Deck, you need to add it to your Google Classroom.  You also need to log into the Chrome Browser.  Once you have added Pear Deck, you can take any slide deck and make it interactive.
This is a new slide deck I am working on in Google slides.  First, I create a slide deck; then I add the Pear Deck add-on to make it interactive.  I recently discovered how to add Pear Deck to the tool bar, but before that, I needed to click on Add-ons to access it:

Got Pear Deck, now what?

Open any slide deck.  Then open the Pear Deck Add-on.
Look to the right of your screen, and you will see the Template Library.

I have some free Pear Deck math activities and a "Would you rather...?" activity for you to check out.

In my next blog post, I will detail how to start an actual lesson and get your students logged on.  In the meantime, please try out Pear Deck and let me know if you have any questions.  I would love to help use this amazing resource.


Wednesday Online Schedule: The Whole Class Gets Together for our One Weekly Session!

Hello there!  I'm so happy you decided to pop into the blog today!  I want to share some new ideas I have been trying online as well as wish you a happy and healthy New Year!  Let's get started!

Remote Wednesday Schedule When All Students Are Present

We are doing a hybrid schedule.  I see Cohort A on Monday and Tuesday in person while I see Cohort B on Thursday and Friday.  We are all together on Wednesday online so it is a special day.  Here is our Wednesday schedule:

8:20 - 8:30 Check In

8:30 - 8:45 Sharing (2 or 3 students share; I tell them the week before so they are prepared to share something from home that cannot normally be brought to school).

8:45 - 9:15 Making Words.  Last year, Ms. Ross, a Content Specialist, would visit my class once a week and do a making words activity.  My students loved it so I started doing it again this year.  
Click on picture of book to read more at Amazon!

In this making word activity, I share my screen on Kami and give the kids the vowels and consonants.  Then we get to work.  I usually start with one and two letter words, and we work our way up.  

Here are the letters we used yesterday (12/23):

a    a    e        c    l    m    s    s    t

As the kids say the words, I write them down.  Yesterday, I gave each student a chance to say a word.  If they don't have a word, I give a hint:  "What word is the antonym (opposite) of first?"  We end up with quite a long list of words that we sound out, and we talk about phonics, too.  We spend any where from 20 to 30 minutes on this activity.  

9:15 - 9:45 Spelling Test (if there is one that week)/Review that day's independent work/Review new material.

9:45 - 10:15 Inclusion:  Math.  

Pear Deck + Break-Out Rooms = Just Right Math

A para. comes to my class from 9:45 - 10:15.  Plus, there is a full-time nurse due to a student with a medical issue.  Consequently, I divide the class between me and these people; then the students are "relocated" to the correct break-out room.  

During this time, we have been doing Pear Deck that center on word problems, fact families and other math-related topics.  You can click here to check out one for free on TPT!

Snack 10:15 - 10:25
After Math, it is bathroom break and snack.  While the kids eat snack, I read an ebook from my local library or the Internet Archive Library.   Last week I read Poppleton in Winter.  

I LOVE Poppleton books!  The kids LOVE the Poppleton books because they are funny, but they are also easy to use to teach theme and summary!

10:30 - 11:45  Directed Drawing/Cursive (if time)

We LOVE directed drawings!  I always try to connect the drawing to what we are learning in class.  When we were learning about the Wampanoags, I wanted to make a longhouse with the kids.  I could not find an easy how to draw on TPT so I made my own!  Click here to check it out!

10:45 Wrapping Up!

I am often online until at least 11:00 with students who want to chat and show me their finished drawings.  I enjoy this time.
11:00:  Independent Work Posted

For independent work, I post my Morning Message as the first piece of work.  My Morning Messages center on academics.  For the kids who are in class, we read the message together as part of our Morning Meeting.  I did not want the at-home kids to miss out on the messages.

Example of Morning Message at school:

vs.  Google Form Version

I always have 5 questions on these Google Forms, and they are self-correcting so that I can see what I need to review.  I do know that I absolutely need to review summarizing when we go back to school!

As always, if you have any questions or would like to know more, please let me know.  

Happy Holidays and Vacation!


Happy Delightful December!

Happy December Everyone!  Thank you for visiting the blog today as I link up with Anne in Residence for her monthly link-up:


Baking is not me.  If I do bake, it is something that is of the "bake and break" variety.  I once ordered these chocolate chip cookies as part of my Hello Fresh meals, and they were delicious! 

Organic Chocolate Chip Cookie Bake and Share Dough

By the way, I LOVE getting Hello Fresh once a month.  Click here if you'd like to get $40 off you first order!


I have been decorating my classroom with my annual Turkey Project.  I love and do this project every year in which each student writes what they are thankful for on a turkey feather.  Check it out (this is a picture from a prior year as I cannot seem to email pictures from my phone to my computer):


This year I will do most of my shopping at TJ Maxx/Marshall's.  I have gotten a few gifts so far, but I will probably tend to give gift cards.


I am hoping that we can stay in school for as long as possible!


I sent this message on my Instagram, and I'm sending it to readers of my blog, too!

As always, I appreciate your visit!  If you know how to fix the emailing of pictures from your iphone to your computer, please let me know so I can update this post!

Have a wonderful weekend!


Currently: November Arrives!

Now that it's November, it is time to link up with Anne in Residence for her monthly link-up:


I am really appreciating being able to see my students in person.  It makes such a difference to interact with the kids and make connections.  During conferences last week, one parent told me that her daughter loves when I give her a pat on the back because she knows she is doing good work.   


A week ago Friday, it snowed 5 inches; this Friday, it was 70 degrees.  It is easy to prepare for warm weather, but I need to be warm when it's really cold out.  I bought this fleece jackets with that in mind:


I am perfecting reading online books while recording myself on Screencastify.  I love reading to my students, but we have so much to do while we are in person.  Consequently, I have been reading chapter books out loud, recording myself, and posting one chapter for the kids to listen to during their independent work.  

My first read aloud was The Pumpkin Elf Mystery (part of the Ready Freddy series) by Abby Klein.    Many of my students really bought into the possibility of a Pumpkin Elf who plays tricks and brings treats.

Now I'm reading a book by one of my favorite authors:  Judy Blume.  Going, Going, Gone with the Pain and the Great One is a fun book of realistic fiction:


I often feel like all I am doing is planning for school.  Instruction needs to be concise and precise.  The kids become tired quickly due to sitting at their desks and wearing a mask...  I spend a lot of time fine tuning what I teach so that I can cover the content while getting the kids to learn.  In addition, I need to provide independent work to be done every afternoon.  Here is an example of that:


Tights!  I love wearing tights with my skirts to school.  I love wearing all the clothes in my closet that have not been worn for so long.  I really love getting dressed up and going to work.  Of course, I also enjoy wearing my sweatpants and sweatshirts at home, but wearing my "work" clothes prepares me to do my job.

Well, thank you for visiting the blog today.  I hope you are doing well!  

Happy Veterans Day!  


Writing Challenge: A 100 Word Story!

Happy Halloween Everyone!  We are back in school using a hybrid model, and it takes A LOT of time to plan and create ~ which I love; it just leaves little time for anything else.

We are currently using the Lucy Calkins' writing program.  The kids write every single day, and for some of them, this is quite a challenge.  To set a good example, I try to do these writing challenges sponsored by Susanna Leonard Hill.  I did some over the summer, and these challenges give me incentive to write creatively and for fun.

Check out my entry:

The final word count is 94 words (the title doesn't count).  My inspiration was a "Be Kind" mask that one of my students gifted me at the start of school.  I wear this mask every Friday, and at time, my students and I match ~ just like Skeleton and Creep!

In other exciting news, I turned 60.  Now I can officially go food shopping during "senior hours."

As always, thank you for visiting this old blog.  I appreciate your visit!


We are back to school!

Hello there!  It has been a whirlwind with school this year!  We have a hybrid model so there has been a lot of preparation.  The good news is that there are students in the classroom!
Miracle Flower
Last week I found this most adorable plant growing from a crack in my outdoor stairs.  Seeing this little flower gave me a healthy does of happiness and optimism.

My Classroom
 We are doing a hybrid model at school.  One group comes Monday and Tuesday; the other group comes Thursday and Friday.  We are all online on Wednesday.  The kids were over the moon to be back in school!
We still managed to do our traditional activities:  tangrams; math card games; the Probably Book; and Play-Doh:

 The Probably Book is a class book, and I save them all.  Each student has his/her own page that starts:  "I am probably the only one in 3rd grade who...."  It is so much fun to see what each student writes and look back on their pages later in the year.
The Peloton Bike
My family and I are loving the Peloton.  It came on September 4th.  I just did my 10th ride today.  The best part is that it is on sale ~ if you are interested!

 Make sure to use my code: 7tvnaq to save $100.  You do need to buy the spin shoes to use the bike, and this savings comes in handy!
Hornet's Nest
 This hornet's nest in my backyard is thriving.  It even survived a microburst even hanging from a "thread" of a branch.  It just keeps getting bigger and more fascinating!!

 Today I'm linking up for Friday Favorites!  Make sure to check out more blogs over there!

Thank you for checking in today!  I'm hoping to write more news in my blog as soon as I have some sort of routine!




Currently August As Summer Chugs Along!

Happy August!  Today I'm delighted to link up with Anne in Residence for her monthly link-up:
I am trying to NOT think about how school is going to start.  On Friday, August 14th, all schools in Massachusetts must make their back to school plans official.  Then I can start to make my plans based on the real deal.  

I am drinking a LOT of Polar seltzer.  It's been very hot ~ which I guess is the trend across most of the country as far as having above average summer temperatures.  I especially love the limited edition summer flavors.

I just LOVE going in my pool and doing my water aerobics!  When I'm done, I sit in the shade and read a book.  Right now I'm reading "A Woman Is No Man."    This debut novel by author Etaf Rum centers on the lives of Palestinian women who live in Brooklyn, NY.  If you enjoy reading about other cultures, you will enjoy this book!

I just ordered a Mexican lasagna from a chef who started her own business:

Who We Are

Doodle's Dinners was founded by the chef and her partner. Lindsey is professionally trained, and has been in the industry for years. Cooking is her passion. "Bringing happiness to people through my cooking is what I live for."

Doodle's Dinners started on a whim after tossing the idea out to family and friends, and then eventually the public and getting some serious positive feedback and interest. We are so excited for the future of this.  

What We Offer:  The idea behind Doodle's Dinners is to make life easier for everyone else. We offer fully prepared, restaurant quality, ready to reheat meals, and we'll deliver them right to your door.  Heating instructions are included and dinner will be ready in minutes. 



 I'm remembering how much I love the sky in the summer.  It's so blue and beautiful.  The clouds seems whiter and brighter.  I need to remember how precious and short the summer is so that I can enjoy every minute.  Now that it is August, I need to relish every minute of summer!

I hope you are well and enjoying your summer!  Thank you for visiting the blog today! 



Changes Are Coming and Evolving!

The Prompt:

How is your school/district operating differently this year?

Hybrid Model Right Now

The latest news includes a Hybrid Model:

    Cohort A:  Monday, Tuesday

    Cohort B:  Thursday, Friday

    Whole Class:  Wednesday online

We will all wear masks; eat lunch in our classroom; practice social distancing.  In school, our teaching will focus on Reading, Language and Math.  Content specialists will take over teaching Science and Social Studies online.
All Distance Learning

Our union just released survey results for teachers.  More than 60 percent of teachers did not feel comfortable going back.  Many teachers would choose to not return at all if the hybrid model was the district's choice.  In addition, there are so many unanswered questions.
After reading the union survey results and the Boston Globe's headline about more and more districts choosing remote learning, I feel that the writing is on the wall:  we will probably be doing distance learning.   I really wanted to try the hybrid model for a few weeks in order to make connections with my students.  I'm starting to accept the possibility of distance learning for the upcoming school year.  
What about you?  Do you know how you will be
going back to school?  I would love to hear what you think!

Online Learning: With vs. Without a Teacher

Hello everyone!  Thank you for popping in for this week's blog challenge topic.  Today I'm linking with Hot Lunch Tray!

This post is week 7 of 8 in the #8WeekBlog Challenge for educators.

Here is this week's prompt:

Describe your mix of synchronous (online in real time with a teacher) and asynchronous (online done independently by student)  learning activities from last spring/will provide this fall?

Synchronous (online with teacher) Learning Activities

When my students and I were online together last spring, we spent most of our time connecting by sharing.  Students were much more interested in visiting vs. actually learning while online with the class.  At first, the emphasis was on "making connections."  Eventually, learning standards were added to the mix, and teaching online became necessary.  To accomplish teaching, I used these strategies:

*Share a slideshow to preview/introduce/review material. 

For example, I taught fractions on a number line.  I would share my screen during our meeting time and talk about the concept.  I would review what was on the slides.  In addition, I made a video for the kids to watch later when they would be doing the activity on their own.

I felt that repetition and review were extremely important ~ especially when teaching a topic that we had not covered in class.

Here is another example for comparative adjectives.  I always spent time reviewing that day's slides with the goal of helping the kids understand the concepts so that they could complete the activities independently.

Here is the Drag and Drop independent activity:

Bottom Line:  I will definitely continue to create slide decks that are colorful and easy to understand.  During meeting time, I will preview and review the information as well as answer student questions.  One improvement I definitely want to make is meeting regularly with small groups of students.  I only met with the whole class except during my office hour.  I really missed getting to interact with the students as a way to assess understanding and make connections.

Asynchronous Learning (Done by Student Independently)

My Google Classroom assignments were always scheduled to be posted at 8:00 a.m.  When they were not there due to some sort of technical difficulty, several students would sent me messages asking where their work was.  I kept the assignments consistent every day:

I enjoyed creating these slide decks for the students.  It was a tremendous amount of work to create the work in digital form, but once I had my system, it came together.  During our Morning Meeting, I always reviewed the work for the day ~ especially something new like the Declaration of Independence.

Right now I am taking a class from Salem State.  I am learning and practicing Flipgrid (free) and Nearpod (free and paid versions available).  I'm really enjoying both of these "new to me" programs.  Nearpod has an add-on in Google classroom and has added lots of new templates (which I loved in Pear Deck). 

I am going to improve distance learning by adding more videos that the kids can watch.  I think it is so important to hear and see new learning concepts.  What online platforms do you prefer?  I would love to hear about them!

Thank you for visiting the blog today!  Happy August!

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