Saturday, December 6, 2014

iPad apps for the differentiated elementary classroom

Hello again Friends.

Sorry I have been MIA for awhile. I am enjoying my new position as an instructional technology consultant. In the past few months I have told myself I need to blog about this, and about that (I even have a few in draft, this was one the first one I choose to publish out of my To Do list). Finding time to publish hasn't been a priority of mine. I had a conversation last week about "not having enough time". NEWSFLASH, we all have the same amount of time, it is just how we choose to use our 24 hours each day. Some people get up early, NOT ME. Some people stay up late, THAT'S ME. But in the end, we prioritize what is important. As a mom, teacher, wife, and instructional technology consultant, I have to be able to prioritize how I am going to be the best in all these areas. Some days I feel like the best mom, but the jobs suffer. Life is about choices and decisions, how are you going to spend the rest of YOUR day!

*** Thanks for taking a few minutes to read my blog. Here is something for you.

Speaking of time, many teachers don't have time, or have set a priority, to search the iTunes store, blogs, Pinterest, to find the "best iPad apps".  We all have different versions of "best iPad app", my idea of the "best iPad app" is where students are doing the heavy cognitive lifting. I want my students to be creators not just consumers. In an elementary classroom,  using technology to consume is the easiest, having them be creators takes a bit more time and skill. (I know I have been there.) It is important to find a balance that works for you and your students. I am not saying this is the best of the best apps out there, but these are the ones I found most effective in my classroom with my students. They are also very versatile, they can be used across content area and grade levels.

If you use an app that isn't on my list, please let me know. I will continue to improve this list as I learn about new ones or new ways to use the ones listed.

Thank you!

Dahl's Dugout iPad Apps Link

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What I wish I knew my 1st year as an Instructional Coach

DISCLAIMER: This may be my deepest post I have written, readers be nice {Please}. As a reflective practitioner, I know it is important to reflect and what better way then to archive it here on my blog. I write this in hopes it will help others going into new roles as teacher leaders.

Last year I took a job as an instructional literacy coach. I wasn't sure exactly what I was going to do as a coach day in and day out, but I knew I wanted to work with teachers and students to improve achievement through improved instruction. Here is a list of things I wish I knew before I started.

1. During the busiest times for teachers, coaches may have some down time, i.e. Beginning of the school year, conference time, state testing time, before school breaks, and end of the year. 

2. During down time it is okay (at least it was for me) to read to learn. I choose to read books focused on RTI (Response to Intervention), i.e. Simplifying Response to InterventionPyramid Response to Intervention, How to Respond When Kids Don't Learnand

Differentiating Reading Instruction for Success With RTI. I also read many books on instructional coaching, most of those by Jim Knight. 

3. You are not the expert, even if people think you are because of the role you are in, you must let them know you are there to partner with them as a team. 

4. The importance of building relationships. I came straight out of the classroom from a district where I started my teaching career 7 years ago. Over those seven years I grew not only as an educator, but as a person. This year I stepped into a new district and I didn't' realize the importance of building those relationships and having to establish who I was. It wasn't easy, and it took some learning on my part. I came up with this quote as I learned how to accept this. 

5. Everyone is in a different place in their learning. You have to meet them where they are and take them on the journey. Also, it is a journey, not much can happen over night. I am also on my own journey, continuing to grow as an educator. This reminds me of a quote an administrator of mine shared with me after sharing this new learning of mine. 

6. Teachers may not understand what you do, word spreads fast though, so keep doing what is right for kids and they will quickly learn they want to work with you. 

7. It is NOT about how many people you work with or how busy you are, it is about student achievement and the quality of conversations you are having with teachers, not the quantity. 

8. "Work with the willing." This was a quote that came from the same administered who shared the picture/quote above. You may not work with every teacher, remember #5. This year I got the opportunity to work with a related arts teacher, our work wasn't focused on literacy, but she came to me wanting to improve, so we partnered together. She was one of the most appreciative teachers I had worked with. 

9. Listen.....

10.  Listen more, shut your mouth, and LISTEN! This is something I continue to work on, and probably will for the rest of my life. I can't find the quote that I read awhile back that it had a lasting effect on me, it was about how God gave us one mouth that you can close, and two ears that are always open for a reason. 

That is my constant battle with myself. 

This is only a small list of the things I learn, I could go on and on, but I didn't just become a better coach, I became a better person. I am a lifelong learner, join me. 

This year I am excited to change roles. I accepted my dream job as an instructional technology consultant. {More about this in an upcoming post}. I am prepared to take what I learned from last year to be a better coach this year in my new role. I am excited to keep learning, and the challenges ahead of me. 

Would you add anything to this list? Please comment below!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

FREEBIE: Two Stars and a Wish - Mid-Term Report or Progress Report

We know that students perform better when they know the target. Using this template, the student, teacher, and parent specifies two goals, and one wish. We used this at mid-term to continue the home-school communication. This is also translated in Spanish. Download Here for FREE!

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Do you online shop? Love!

So I may be behind the times but do you online shop? Well I found the AMAZING website that offers deals on cute clothes and accessories. I am on the look out for cute tunics, tops to wear with leggings. (Since baby x2, they fit best) You have to be quick though, because the cute stuff sells out fast! I just followed them in Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest so I hope I don't miss any more good deals on cute clothes! I bought two long crew neck T's last week, $6, love them, and great quality. I missed the lace shorts deal though, super bummed!

As a former teacher, who stills work in schools, I seem to have two wardrobes, a work wardrobes, and a weekend wardrobe. However, lately I have found items that can work with both, that is why I like this website!

I want to go beyond the typical stores you see in every mall, I don't want to wear things everyone is wearing. What are your favorite online shops?

(I was not paid for this post, this is my honest review).

Check out

Blog Design Update - Thanks Honey Bunch Design!

Thank you Honey Bunch Blog Design for a wonderful blog update! She was wonderful to work with and got it done quickly. I would recommend her if you are looking for a blog face lift!

Do you like the update? Your feedback is appreciated!

Monday, March 24, 2014

Learning Goals Progress Report FREEBIE

For most of us report cards can be overwhelming to parents. My teaching partner and I created these progress reports to send home throughout the semester/trimester to keep parents up-to-date on where their child is and what the goal is. There are three different templates that can be used through out the year, from beginning of the year to the end of the year. The goals are aligned Common Core.

Let me know if you want additional goals added. Don't forget to follow me on TPT so you can be notified when I add new projects and sales. 

Enjoy :)

Friday, March 21, 2014

Writer's Workshop Writing Paper

I have used this writing paper all year with kindergarten students. As they learn to write more I increased the amount of lines on the paper. 

I pride myself on creating original projects that I have used in my classroom and have found helpful and productive. I do not like to over crowd my projects with distractions (clip art), I want my student's work to shine.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

FREEBIE - Letters I Know Data Notebook Artifact

Two posts in one day, look out! I added more data notebook artifacts to my TPT site. Here is a FREEBIE. We used these artifacts to track, record, and showcase students' learning. My teacher partner and I found the successful when sharing real data with parents, instead of just the report card. Parents appreciated it too. Using these artifacts students were able to lead the student-led conference on their own. In the comments below, let me know how you use data notebook and what other artifacts you would like.

This set includes capital letters graph, lowercase letters graph, reading benchmark graph, goal sheet, number recognition, counting to 100, and number writing. All of these are aligned with the common core.

Enjoy :)

And...I'm back! Updated Calendar Math

I can't believe it has been over a year since I have post, (a year and two days). 2013 brought on many changes, a new baby, a new job, and graduated with my masters. Phew, that was a lot. So I am back now updated somethings and adding new.

I updated my Calendar Math file. I took out 2013, and added a couple new ones. If you already downloaded it, you should be able to download it again for free. For those of you who haven't, you get the updated one that doesn't have the year so you can use it year after year.

More to come this week, stay tuned! If you have downloaded this file already please let me know how you used it and what you would like added. 

Enjoy :)