Sunday, March 30, 2014

More About Using Bitstrips for Schools

In an earlier post I talked about my Digital Story Telling class.  One of the tools we were using for that class was Bitstrips for Schools.  You may already be familiar with Bitstrips through Facebook or by using  For my students, I use Bitstrips for School.  There is a charge for this website, but it is worth it to me to be able to monitor what they are doing.  Bitstrips for Schools lets you make assignments.  As students create their avatars, they are added to a class picture, which I think is hilarious.  There are lots of instructional ideas on the website that you can use for assignments. There is also a 30 day free trial, if you want to check it out before making a financial commitment.   

Here is a little more information about Bitstrips for Schools.

Since that time I have introduced the rest of my class to this website.  During the month of February we used it to create an avatar and an introductory comic strip introducing ourselves.  Now we are using it in connection with health.  We have been learning about the digestive system and good nutrition.  Students were to create a comic strip about healthy eating.  I am pretty impressed with what they have come up with.

You can check out our class gallery and see my students Bitstrips by clicking here.  

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Math Cootie Catchers

I have always hated Cootie Catchers, but my students love them.  A Cootie Catcher is a folded paper toy, which originally was intended to be a fortune teller, but we use them to practice math. They make a great interactive tool that we use to practice place value, rounding, basic facts, and most recently fractions.

I found this great book, Math Cootie Catchers, 20 Standards Based Cootie Catchers,  published by Creative Teaching Press.  It includes step by step directions on how to fold them.  It has Cootie Catchers to practice number and operations, fractions and decimals, algebraic concepts, geometry, time, money, and measurement.

You don't have to have a book to make Cootie Catchers.  Here is a great link that I found on Pinterest for making your own. It's on the I (Heart) Teaching blog.

If you need a refresher course on how to fold them, check out this video.

Creative Teaching has cootie catchers for other subjects and grade levels. You can check them out here on the Creative Teaching Website.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

A Free Resource for Printable Paper

I use a lot of technology with my students, but I believe in pencil and paper work as well.  In fact sometimes I am very old school.  I still teach spelling and I still teach cursive handwriting.  I do not want this generation of students to leave my classroom knowing less than those that have come before them.

I ran onto this great resource on Pinterest.  Whether it's paper for penmanship, graph paper, or a form to plan your budget, you can find it on Free Printable Paper at Check it out!


The Information Highway!  Our school is celebrating our centennial this year. Everyone in the school has created a tile that will be part of a centennial mosaic.  This is mine.  I was inspired by a graphic on my Printshop Deluxe program. 
During the month of January, I was doing so well with my blogging.  Then I hit February with parent/teacher conferences, report cards, and more and more testing, and I lost my momentum.  I said in an earlier post that it might take me two months to do the 20 Day Blogging Challenge, and it turns out it's more like three months, but I'm not giving up.  Here goes day 20!

20 Day Blogging Challenge, Day 20:  What is a website that you can't live without?

What looks like Facebook, but is safe for kids to use, and is actually a great educational tool?  Edmodo!  That's what!

I have used Edmodo occasionally for about three years now, but I have been very inconsistant with it, and I have barely tapped the possibilities.  Last summer I participated in an on-line conference to learn more about it called Edmodocon.  I wrote about it here.

I am working to increase my use of Edmodo for reading discussion.  Earlier this month I created an on-line quiz.  We had a few snags, but it will go easier the next time.  I’m also trying to learn how to create assignments.

In the past we have used Edmodo for research.  I decided to try more of a flipped classroom approach, with students viewing videos, and reading information involving the weather unit we are working on for Science.  For homework, students were to spend 20 to 30 minutes visiting the websites that I posted links for.  They were to comment about at least three things they learned.

When I checked around nine o'clock that night, I could see that 20 of my 29 students had spent time reading and commenting.  Five more students got on Edmodo during my before school computer lab time.

When we started science class, we could launch right into the next step of our learning, so I felt that it was a great success.

Edmodo is also a great collaboration tool for both teachers and students..  Earlier this school year my class participated in the Global Read Aloud. I joined a teacher group and got some great instructional ideas.  My students joined a group where they could discuss the book Out of My Mind with other students from around the world, and all from the comfort of our own classroom.

If you are unfamiliar with Edmodo, check out this video by Klista Rader.  It gives a good overview of how to set it up and some of the possibilities.