Current Professional Goals: Remembering and Practicing Google Classroom!

Happy Summer Days Everyone!  We are definitely having very hot, humid weather in Massachusetts!  I'm happy to join Hot Lunch Tray's link-up again this week!

This post is week 6 of 8 in the #8WeeksofSummer Blog Challenge for educators.

This week's prompt is: 

Share your current professional goals.

1.  Keep Making Google Slides!

I spent a lot of time making my own Google slides.  I continue to make my own digital and print versions of work that I will teach when we go back to school online or in person.  I want to keep these skills fresh and up to date so that I remember and reinforce what I learned.  In addition, I am taking an online summer class:

...Learn how to use presentation software that not only allows your students to hear your voice, but allows them to interact with the presentation itself. Have students watch, and then interact with educational videos. The video app even allows you to add your own voice throughout. Both applications allow for formative or summative assessments, in app. Next, you will be instructed on up to date materials for reading, and assessing along the way. Learn how to make gamification (learning through games) a fun part of your student’s day. Also touched upon; an online portfolio (that gets shared with families,) and ways to get your students talking to you (their teacher) and to each other. The best of all, you can then have your student’s use the same tools to create something for you!..    

2. Develop New Teaching Resources

Here is something that I am still working on:

It includes reading, language and math review. I'm really excited to create and share some new resources that are both digital and print.

3.  Familiarize Myself with Lucy Calkins' Writing Program

Next year we are using the Lucy Calkins' Writing Program.  

Back in the spring, I used parts of the opinion writing chapter to teach my students.  I even made a slide show to go along with it:


By the way, if you love that cover, check out this Luna's Yard TPT store!

I will be spending time familiarizing myself with our new writing program among other professional development!

What are you doing this summer?  I really hope we have some time to go back to school with students, but nothing is definite yet!

Thank you for visiting today!  I hope you are enjoying your summer!


Technology and Its Effectiveness in Distance Learning

Hello there!  Another week has flown by which means that I am linking up with Hot Lunch Tray!

This week's prompt is:

What technologies enhanced/reduced your effectiveness this past spring?

Google Classroom

Before at-home learning, I dabbled in Google Classroom.  Right away I realized I had A LOT to learn.  I taught myself by making many mistakes, watching a lot of tutorials (head here to check out one of my favorites for locking down backgrounds in Google slides), reading blog posts and practicing.  I wanted to make activities that were directly correlated with what I needed to teach according to the State of Massachusetts.  Here is an example of what we needed to cover for fractions:

Represent a fraction 1/b on a number line diagram by defining the interval from 0 to 1 as the whole and partitioning it into b equal parts. Recognize that each part has size 1/b and that the endpoint of the part based at 0 locates the number 1/b on the number line.

Teaching fractions on a number line which can be difficult when taught in person.  I felt that I knew my students' level of understanding so I developed a week's worth of related activities.  This slide is from the first day's slide deck, and it includes a link to a Screencastify video I made.


Screencastify = Another Useful Technology Tool!

Screencastify is a free Chrome extension which allows you to record what is on your screen.  You can only use this extension if you are using your Chrome browser.  If you look in the top right corner of your screen and see an orange and white arrow, you have Screencastify.  I loved making short videos (the videos are only free for 5 minutes or less) to help explain new material.  In addition, you can post your videos to Youtube where I now have my own channel!  I made several videos about Massachusetts in the American Revolution.

Google Meets ~ A Mixed Bag

Our meetings were always on Google Meets.  I found this option to be unreliable.  Some days it worked, and other days, it was very glitchy which made it frustrating for all of us.  The best part by far, was making that daily connection with the kids.  I would try to throw in some academics, but the kids just wanted to visit and learn cursive or play Kahoot.  

Teaching cursive was not planned, but when I noticed the kids losing interest, I asked them if they would like to learn cursive.  They all perked up so cursive it was!

In closing

Overall, at-home learning was a tremendous amount of work because I needed to create all new material that was interactive and engaging.  I spent hours at my computer figuring out the new technology and incorporating it.  I kn
ow a good chunk of kids did the work and learned some of the material.  Other students' work habits and participation were fair to poor. 

Thanks for visiting.  I hope you are enjoying your summer!


Addressing Bias at School

Hello everyone!  I am so happy to see you and hope that you are having a fantastic and patriotic weekend!

This week's prompt is:

How do/will you address implicit bias at your school?

True Story

Many years ago, I had "that" class.  Due to the variety of issues, a psychologist came regularly to observe my class to help me develop strategies to deal with all the situations.  She had just entered my classroom; we were having Morning Meeting; this is a paraphrased version of the conversation between two African American boys (I am using their first initials).  One of the boys asked me a question about a book we had just read:  More Than Anything Else by Marie Bradby.  In this amazing story, George Washington Carver finds a newspaper man who teaches him to read.  He calls the newspaper man "the brown face of hope."

M:  In the story we read yesterday, why couldn't he call the man "the black face of hope?"

R (slaps the rug):  That would be even worse!

M:  Why?  I'm black, and nothing is wrong with that.

R:  You never call anyone black, that's why!  You should know that by now!

At this point, M. runs to the front of the room and bursts into tears. 

Now the class becomes silent as I comfort M. and encourage him to return to the rug.  My main message to the students was that each of them should be safe to express opinions at school.  We need to accept differences respectfully.  At home, families have different views on everything, but in school, it is a safe place.  We might have different skin colors, however, on the inside, we have feelings that need to be honored whether we agree or not. 

Wow, I can still remember this from 10 years ago so vividly because I had no time to think, but I absolutely knew how I felt and believed, and still do.  Students learn from our example; what we say and do every day.  That's what counts, and that's what kids learn.  They see how I treat each of them equally, fairly and respectfully.  I do not tolerate anyone's feelings being hurt.

Other Ways to Prevent Bias

*Read books with characters from diverse backgrounds and cultures. 

*Add books to your classroom library to make it more diverse.  Amazon has a whole section of books to check out here.

*Discuss differences often.

As always, thank  you for popping in to read the blog today.  Every day in the classroom is an adventure; that's why we need to be in school (hopefully)!  Kids learn so much from interacting with their peers and teachers.

Currently It's Just July ~ The Summer Is Just Beginning!

Happy July!  My summer vacation started six days ago, and it's already a new month!  Plus, people will soon remind me:  "Once, it's July 4th, the summer is over."  Noooooo!  I don't believe that ~ I'm going to enjoy every day of the summer starting today by linking up with Anne in Residence for her monthly link-up:


I have been cooking on my grill ~ A LOT!  I love to make chicken, turkey burgers, steak...  Yesterday the marinated steak was $18.99 per pound.  Needless to say, tonight I am trying turkey tips!


Last weekend my husband, daughter and I drove down to New York City.  Although she is currently working from our home in Massachusetts, she will be getting a new apartment in the fall.  Consequently, we drove down so she could put all her "stuff" in the car.

New York City was relatively quiet, and we spent a lot of time just strolling.  We did pass a bakery with these amazing cookies:


Today I am sharing a link to check out summer reading books for Summer Reading Lists for preschool to grade 8 from the American Library Association.  After at-home learning, kids really need to read A LOT this summer to keep their reading skills sharp.
cover image summer reading lists Kindergarten - Grade 2 shows laptop displaying rocket image, stack of picture books, and phone with headphones


Last Friday I popped in to school to get some items from my classroom.  I told my students I would be there, and some came to say hello.  We tried and succeeded in taking a social distance picture:


I wonder if we will really go back to school in September.  Massachusetts is on track to start in-person school in September.  It seems that a lot of colleges are holding classes until Thanksgiving and then switching to at-home learning. 
What are your thoughts?
happy 4th of July Cards

In the meantime, have a happy 4th of July!

Back to Top