Sunday, October 16, 2016

Monday, September 5, 2016

color INK is so CHEAP now!

I am not affiliated with HP.  And, I am not sponsored by HP.  Someone had told me about this program and thought it was worth sharing.  Plus, if you sign up with this link, you get a free month too! 

I HATED how much it cost to print in color.  In August, I shelled out yet another $60+ for my color ink cartridge and thought…”did I even get 100 pages out of the last cartrige?”  It sure didn’t seem like it.  As a teacher, color printing seems to be a ‘norm’ these days from posters, to banners, to welcome back newsletters.  Then after each school year begins, I always hesitate using the color printer, because it is so darn expensive. 


I found out about the HP Instant Ink Program.  I first thought it was too good to be true.  So I read and read the terms of agreement.  I thought about my needs, then with some hesitancy signed up!

This summer, I bought 2 color ink cartrige.  That was over $130…way too pricey for a teacher!  Now since I chose the $4.99 plan, I pay $55 for the whole YEAR and get 100 pages per MONTH!!!!  (1st month is free)  That is less than one HP 61 ink cartridge at Walmart!

If the savings didn’t hook me, it was the ease of use.  HP monitors my ink levels and sends more ink when my ink runs low.  I also thought it was pretty cool they sent pre-paid envelopes to send back old ink cartridges too.  IN ADDITION, I can easily monitor my use and make sure I am getting my $ worth.   This is my actual account information below since I started a few weeks ago...

I wanted to make sure this wasn't a gimmick or 'too good to be true' program before I shared it with others.  It really works and I couldn't be happier.  So, are you ready to save hundreds of $?

First, you need an eligible HP printer.  Check here to see if you have an eligible printer.    

I have the HP Envy 4520.  It prints wireless from all my devices and double sided too.  Its a nice affordable printer (less than $60 with free shipping at Walmart).  I have had this printer for over a year and love it.  Now it is even better with this easy to use INK SAVING PROGRAM.  Your first month is FREE with this refer a friend link.  You can change your plan at any time.   

I hope you have a year full of colorful saving!

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Narrative Writing Unit
No Prep!

Students will love the engaging animal themes in these Common Core assessment-type prompts.  Students read non-fiction text and watch a nonfiction video.  Then they use the information in both text and video to create a vivid and descriptive narrative.  

Are you not sure how to teach students the elements of narrative writing? Don't worry, full scripted lesson plans: perfect for new teachers, professional teacher observations, substitute, tutor or homeschool teachers.  

In addition, 4 powerpoint presentations following the lesson plans make teaching each of the following elements easy!

      • Setting
      • Character
      • Problem
      • Events

Google Classroom friendly!  Simply upload the desired prompt and video to a new assignment and students are ready to go!  

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Digital Blended Learning in K-2

How does Digital Blended Learning work with Kindergarten, 1st grade or 2nd grade? 
I am proud to share this new integrated unit 
as a freebie for one week only as a BACK TO SCHOOL special!

I integrated Reading, Writing, Listening, Speaking, Technology and of course...SCIENCE!  My favorite subject.

With just a little pre-teaching, your little ones will love the independence of Digital Blended Learning.
Try being a student and join my class here with this code: GHMU463
Right now, I like the platform for younger students better than google classroom.  Plus, students can log in with their google classroom account!  This platform allows a teacher to upload content, like a pdf and make it interactive!  I can add a video to a section of the PDF or a text box and best of all a drawing box!  Unfortunately, I have not found a platform that allows students to respond with audio...I really want this feature for my ESL students.  So, if you find a platform that integrates a students audio response let me know.  Having a young student log into, save to their google drive and post is just too challenging for most young elementary students.

All the resources are included or freely available as apps or downloads.  Included in this download is an editable 4 day lesson plan overview with center ideas.

The lessons are editable and meant to show you how to integrate the standards, where to model, practice as a group and which activities are for students to complete independently.  For my school system, this unit falls on between the 7th - 9th week of school.  As a result, this unit will take longer than 4 days as I teach procedures of working independently with these technology centers.

Ebooks are part of the unit!  I created this nonfiction Living or Nonliving eBook.

This ebook is printable, projectable, and downloadable to devices!  You will need at least one teacher read aloud with this unit and this ebook would fit that need perfectly.  Also included are other free eBooks links.  One link on the free teacher app is perfect for a center.  Students can listen and follow along in English and Spanish! Many books have a quiz too.  I love this app for my older "newbie" students from Spanish speaking countries.  It quickly shows me the students home language literacy level.  Best of all is completely free for teachers and librarians!

An important part of RLA and ESL is teaching students how to speak in complete sentences.  I created these speaking and writing prompts to fit the bill!

There are teacher models with examples of teacher answers AND a easy to use WIDA style speaking rubric to assess students speaking at the end of the unit.  In addition, I added these differentiated writing pages.

One of my favorite part of this unit are the photo card packet.  It is packed with resources to use whole group, small group and in centers.  From direct teaching to sorting to playing a game of Snakes and Ladders!

It would be hard to be an ESL teacher without pre-teaching needed vocabulary!  I love whole brain teaching and love to have visual of TPR move to reinforce the vocabulary.  So students learn a body movement to each word, see a visual of the body movement with the printed word, hear and say each word...basically it engages the whole brain!  Plus the kids love it.  They love this fast paced interactive teaching strategy.  So, here are VOCABULARY CARDS with the Whole Brain support.
For those Kindergarteners learning to identify upper and lowercase letters the first 9 weeks of school, I included direct instruction, practice and independent worksheets.  In addition, I included a Bingo game to use as whole group, small group, or even as additional center practice.
Okay, if that isn't enough, there is a culminating activity!  This adds rigor to your Digital Blending Environment.  Teach students how to APP SMASH!  This is where student use two or more apps to create a product.  Here is an example of a simple app smash:

Here is a more challenging app smash:

Imagine stringing your student videos into one big video to display during back to school night! Or simple keep these in the students google drive as a portfolio item.

Have fun and enjoy this freebie for 1 week!  Follow my blog for other limited time freebies! James and I are planning a new DBL for 3-8th grade covering our very unusual 2016 Presidential Election:  Non-Partisan Propaganda Patrol!


Saturday, July 30, 2016


Many people ask me "What do you teach a student who doesn't speak English?"  Usually, they are referring to the first few days of a student entering school with little to no English skills.  Some teachers lovingly call them "Newbies" others refer to these students as "Newcomers".

In Tennessee, we are lucky to have dedicated ESL teachers and educational assistance in many schools.  I came from California where all teachers were ESL certified and there was little to no support for a classroom teacher.  Those experiences in California didn't prepare me for the ESL world in Tennessee.  However, my classroom and fine art experience was a big bonus.  

Over the last decade, I have taught many levels of ESL students.  Undoubtably, a newbie would show up right at the most stressful of times...WIDA testing or State testing.  And yes, they have to test without knowing a stitch of English!   But, I digress.  Lets get back to.. 

What I Do With a Newcomer the First Weeks

I have a little bag of 'tricks' I call my Survival Kit.  The very first thing I do is lend a student/his teachers a device (either an iPad or an old iPhone (that is used like an iPod for internet access).  I then teach the student how to use Google Translate.  I know many of you are doesn't translate all that well.  My response is simple.  Google translate is constantly evolving and I have seen translations get better over the last few years.  Also, it is better than nothing or even trying to go 'old school' and use a hard copy translation dictionary.  If you keep to simple sentences, phrases or even words, I find I can understand the students meaning and he/she can also understand what I am trying to say.  There are also lots of funny moments when teaching using the voice recognition feature...we laugh and laugh when it gets it totally wrong.  I put together some lessons using Google Translate for my students.  These lessons are fast paced and take just a few minutes.  I or my educational assistant pull the student from class (usually RLA, Science or Social Studies) a few times a day to do these "mini-lessons".

On the first day, my ESL student can walk around school confident they can communicate their basic needs or his/her teachers can communicate to the student. It is a comfort to the student on those first few scary days and a way to show the student you care and want to get to know them.   Even if you do not know anything about Google Translate, you will by the end of these lessons.  They are step by step beginning with teaching the student how to turn on the device and find the app, to the end scanning a classroom worksheet and responding to the questions on the worksheet.  

Sometimes internet access can be 'sketchy'.  So, I also made these communication cards.  These are more heavily used by my K-1 students who would not handle a device as well.  And, not all of my students languages are available with Google Translate.  These are a freebie!  

After the first Google Translate lesson, I begin also teaching these SURVIVAL LESSONS.  

This is by far the fastest way to get students understanding and using English skills from Kindergarten to High School to Adults.  But, it also requires a teacher, aid or volunteer.  Each of these three lessons are broken up into 4 parts.  I teach them in smaller parts a few times a day.  They are fast paced and full of energy because we are using TPR or Total Physical Response.  Both the student and I are moving...and having fun.  Sometimes I can get through these lessons in a week, sometimes it takes a bit longer.  It helps if the child has some home language literacy skills, but certainly doesn't require them.  Students begin to learn not only listening and speaking, but also identifying the written words within commands, phrases and sentences.   Once you follow and understand the pacing of these lessons, you use them as a pattern to introduce other words that are crucial to the grade level/student.  Give the student options on what they would like to learn next.   

TPR is nothing new.  I use it daily in my regular lessons.  I even use Whole Brain Teaching and teach it to my classroom teachers.  But what is unique about these lessons are they are used specifically to teach language acquisition FAST!  I have a high school teacher friend who does this with High School students.  Another who teaches a foreign language this way too (TPRS).    MTSU has summer classes to learn a new language in two weeks using TPRS.  It is on my bucket list!


I also do lots of thematic vocabulary development with writing.  I find teaching students to write sentences with the vocabulary helps students form more oral and written sentences quickly.  These lessons can really be used as a template for other vocabulary lists you would like to teach.   Unit 2 teaches newcomers singular and plurals with clothing items and colors.

You and your students will love the game boards.  You can use them in a center with ANY list of vocabulary picture cards.

Friday, July 22, 2016

a Classroom or Party 
with $5

I have seen a lot of Classroom Theme Decors and it seems soon expensive!  I am thrifty at heart and love helping others save money too.  So, I created these Classroom Decor Sets that you can edit and customize to create a unique one-of-a-kind classroom theme for just a few dollars.

 These sets above are in back and white/grey scale to help save money on color printing.  You can certainly add 'pops' of color easily.  I like to layer my borders.  So with just a few sheets of construction paper and a few sheets of one of these designs, you have a unique border in minutes.

You may be asking yourself, well how do I customize these?  I have created some video tutorials to help you achieve some common looks from posters and labels to banners and artistic wall designs.  Follow me on this blog to see all the tutorials.  More to come!

If you would like a custom set, let me know!  I will do it for $20 more.  If you would like a cartoon of yourself, I can do that too.  Look and see some characters I made for a few teachers.

Would you like these team teacher's theme?  Here it is...I added lots of clip art to create unique unlimited looks.  Superhero kids, are average everyday looking kids...have fun and...start designing with this freebie!

Look at the neat gear art effects you can make of your classroom hallway, science fair, STEM event, steampunk classroom decoration, bulletin boards or party!  Gear up for a great year and don't forget to combine this freebie with the Gear theme classroom decor pack.

Have an LOL year!