Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Teach With Tech 2019

If you are here, you are probably participating in the online "Teach With Tech" conference. Thanks for joining me as I talk about flipgrid today! I am excited to share some ideas with you on ways to use flipgrid in the classroom.

If you would like to follow along, here is the google slides presentation. You can also download a copy by clicking on the short link: bit.ly/FlipgridTWT2019 I would love to connect with you on twitter - I share educational technology ideas over there quite often during the school year. You can follow me @missplott

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Saying thanks to Police Officers!

I apologize in advance for the novel. If you don't want to read it, you can scroll down to the bottom to access the freebie associated with this post.

My heart is heavy this week.... here in the state of Utah, 2016 is coming to an end the same way it began: with the death of a police officer. Both deaths have touched me personally and I've been left wondering "why?" all week long.

On a cold Sunday morning in January, I awoke to an email from my mom - telling me a police officer had been shot, and she thought it was her neighbor. His wife had been at church but was pulled out and never came back - and the news channels were reporting that two cops had been shot. Minutes turned to hours while we waited for news... "critical condition" quickly changed to "he has passed"... I didn't want to believe it. Here was a man who had beat cancer TWICE, losing his life to a single bullet in the line of duty. Officer Doug Barney lived two blocks from me, and only one block from my parents... and though I never met him, I felt an immense amount of gratitude for his service to our community. Officer Barney worked in the area where one of my schools is at, so the students made cards for his family. I was able to deliver these cards to his wife and children, and I felt like I had done something. Although small, I was able to show my gratitude.

Fast forward to this Sunday - thanks to daylight savings, I was up bright and early... I saw a news report online saying a police officer from the West Valley PD had been killed overnight. I don't know why, but my mind immediately turned to an officer named Cody, who worked in my neighborhood. I had the opportunity to meet him this summer, and remembered him talking about how he preferred working nights, because that was when the "real" police work happened. Anyway, it was only 7:00, and I knew it would be a while before anything was announced on the news, so I tried to go back to sleep - unfortunately, sleep wasn't coming. I turned on my tv to watch the press conference and burst into tears as the Captain announced the name of the fallen officer - Officer Cody Brotherson. Officer Brotherson was born and raised here, and chose to serve his community.  He LOVED his job. He was so excited to become a police officer. The rest of the day is a blur. I pulled myself together and got ready for church, still not wanting to believe that this was happening.

Monday morning, the principal suggested to the teachers that the students make cards for the family and the police department. Times like this, it's hard for me -- I love my job, but I don't have a class to call my own. I still wanted to contribute - and knew how I could help. I made stationary and coloring pages for the students at my school. Having been in the classroom for 10 years, I know that I would be more inclined to do something like this if I had access to something that was already made. These pages are nothing fancy, but I hope others can use them as well. I have uploaded these as a freebie in my TPT store. All I ask is that you take some time to have your kids make a thank you card for your local police officers. Don't wait for another fallen officer - say thank you now! Let the men and women who serve and protect us know that they are appreciated.

Tonight I am headed to a candlelight vigil for Officer Brotherson. What I wouldn't give to see him and shake his hand, and thank him once more, for making our community a better place. Thank you, Cody, for your service.

Click on the picture below to access the freebie:

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Flocabulary Review & Giveaway!

 How many of you are using Flocabulary in your classroom? I’ll admit, I didn’t hear about it until last year, but once I discovered it, I was quickly hooked!  So what exactly IS Flocabulary?  I’m glad you asked! Flocabulary is a web-based learning program for all grades and subjects that uses educational hip-hop music to engage students and increase achievement. Flocabulary offers more than 750 instructional units to support instruction in math, science, social studies, ELA, vocabulary, current events and life skills, with new content every week.

I’m excited to be partnering up with Flocabulary and giving away free memberships! Read on to find out more about what the site has to offer and the chance to win a FREE year-long subscription! You also have the opportunity to earn a 45-day extended free trial that is accessible to not only you, but everyone at your school just for entering! How awesome is that?!

As a school technology specialist, Flocabulary saves me so much time -- I have to create lessons to teach across K-6, so I love being able to go onto Flocabulary, search by topic, then narrow the results by grade level.  Each video comes with a lesson plan, so once I find the perfect video, I can download the ready-made lesson plan and I’m good to go! The best part is how engaging these lessons are -- the students love singing along with the printable lyrics, and I love having things ready to go, no matter what grade I’m teaching that day.  You can check out some of their great lesson plans by following their boards on pinterest: they have one for elementary and one for middle and high school.  In addition to all the awesome things you get with a paid subscription, Flocabulary has a free section accessible from their home page.  One of my favorite free lessons is the “area and perimeter” lesson -- my students were struggling with area and perimeter until I taught this lesson.  Once we did this lesson, it wasn’t uncommon to hear them singing:

With the area, that's the space inside,
For a rectangle, its length and width are multiplied.
And perimeter, the distance around a shape,
Just add the sides together and then you'll be great.

Check it out and you’ll find yourself singing along too!

Now I know what you’re thinking - well that’s cool, but how do I try it out myself?  Well, just for signing up below, you will receive a FREE 45-DAY extended trial that’s not only for you, but for your ENTIRE SCHOOL! I mean, it can’t get much better than that! Also, you will be entered for the chance to win a FREE ONE YEAR SUBSCRIPTION! I will be giving away THREE OF THESE! Winners will be announced on or around October 18th. Even if you don’t win, remember that you will still get that 45-day extended free trial for your whole school! Everyone's a winner!  After signing up, you will receive information to access your free trial the week of October 18th. Sign up now! You’ve got nothing to lose!! Be sure to enter every field in the sign up box and your free trial information will be e-mailed to you. You must enter by OCTOBER 16 @ 11:59pm EST!

Thanks so much for stopping by today!

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

5 Donations Every Classroom Needs

It's almost time for back to school, and many teachers are already busy shopping and setting up their classrooms in preparation for greeting their new students very soon. Recently, one of my friends asked for a list of donations that teachers would appreciate receiving during back to school time, and I thought that was so thoughtful of her to want to donate supplies to her son's teacher. Did you know that most teachers spend over $500 of their OWN MONEY every year on materials for their classrooms?? Wow!! I certainly didn't realize it until I became a teacher! Anyway, with that in mind, I decided to share my “top five” list of items I always ask for, along with a few other suggestions that many teachers always appreciate receiving. Be sure to read all the way through for a little bulletin board idea at the end :)

1. Tissue
In my welcome packet, I actually say "if your child has a nose, they will need a box of tissue at school!" Kids go through tissue like candy. Sometimes I think it is just the novelty of getting out of their seat more than the need to blow their nose, but oh my gosh, we go through tissue SO FAST every single year. And I always feel a bit sad and pathetic/embarrassed when I have to tell my students to go to the bathroom to blow their nose when we have run out of tissue.

2. Bandaids
Bandaids are right up there with tissue, the slightest little paper cut needs IMMEDIATE attention in the form of a bandaid. I quickly learned to NOT supply the cute Disney bandaids, because we went through those even faster than a box of tissue! Lol!! I had students picking their scabs to get a Disney bandaid. Live and learn, then buy the plain old Bandaids!

3. Hand sanitizer / soap
This should go without saying. Kids are germy. Classrooms are germy. I made my students use hand sanitizer before using the computers, and every time they used a tissue to blow their nose. I was also fortunate enough to have a sink in my classroom, so hand soap was also used frequently. Some teachers don't have a sink in their classroom, so hand sanitizer is their only option to prevent the spreading of germs in their classroom.

4.  Pencils / erasers
Plain old yellow #2 pencils are the best - kids don't fight over colors or designs, and there's no plastic wrap on them that the kids can peel off or that can jam an electric pencil sharpener. Pink pearl erasers are also great because kids tend to go through the small eraser tips very quickly. And, if you want to earn some bonus points with your new teacher, open the box and sharpen the pencils first... I promise your teacher will immediately LOVE you for this small act of kindness.

5. Clorox wipes
Classrooms are filled with germs! I like to wash down all my desks, tables, and counters frequently, and the students love to help clean their desks! They are often amazed at how dirty the wipe gets just from cleaning their own desk (EWWW!) 

Other suggestions: crayons (16 or 24 packs are awesome!) glue sticks, paper towels, napkins, cups, straws, paper products (for class parties, etc.), copy paper (teachers always need more copy paper!), ziploc baggies (all sizes), notebooks, two-pocket folders, file folders, dry erase markers, sharpies, and gift cards -- check out this darling back to school gift card freebie from my friend Tauni at SNAP Creativity!  As a technology specialist, I would love an APP gift card :)

While working on this post, I came across the cutest bulletin board idea that I wanted to share with all of you. Michelle from Apples and ABCs made a popcorn themed "wishlist" to help parents know what items she needed in her classroom. With her permission, I have created a little freebie that you can download and use at your own back to school open house. I have included some popcorn kernels with school supplies already on them, and also included a page of blank kernels to write your own items on as well. I hope this is something you can use as you prepare for back to school.  Click on the photo below to download the bulletin board set.  Enjoy!

Monday, May 30, 2016

Welcome to Summer!

Hi Friends, school is out and the sun is shining here in Salt Lake City! I'm off to the pool to start my summer off right! I wrote a blog post over at Busy Bees, sharing my tips for avoiding teacher burnout over the summer.  I hope you'll check it out... then go soak up the sun while you can :) Happy summer, teachers!