Tech Talk

This is my first blog post on technology. This year, my students use Chrome books and my favorite site so far is learning  I subscribe to two of their components and Headsprout. Raz-kids is differentiated for each child in my room, and offers e-books at their reading level. Headsprout is an additional component the which focuses on reading comprehension, which is awesome.  Headsprout is also differentiated based on each child's current reading level. There is a simple assessment I gave each child at the beginning of the year, that helped me determine where to begin each student. I then entered where each student was, and voila the computer program took care of the rest.  Once a quarter, I make minor adjustments for some students based on their individual reading progress.  The computer adjusts accurately, for most of my students growth.

The site is super child friendly, and my students love it. Typically I give each child about 30 minutes twice a week on the site. It helps all of my students, but it is especially good for my lower readers. It not only helps them with their reading skills, but it engages them and helps make reading fun. Check it out.  If you decide to join, use promo code NB634 and get $5 off for each component you decide to buy.

For other great technology ideas for the classroom, visit the rest of our tech talk blog hop.

#gmtatechtalk #teachersfollowteachers #hashtagthehype

Five Tips For Keeping Students Calm during the Holidays

1.     Maintain your routine as much as possible - This time of year there will be assemblies, holiday parties, and things outside of your control that will break your routines.  When it comes to time inside of the class, however, try and follow the routine that students are familiar with. 

2.     Turn the lights off - When you feel your students becoming a bit too hyper, keep the lights off and use natural light from your windows.  This is a simple trick, that works every time.  There is something about cutting out the fluorescent light that calms students down quickly.  Students still have enough light to work with, and it suddenly is a peaceful room.  I even find myself speaking more calmly with the lights off.

3.     Engage students with calming activities - There is something about coloring that is calming at any age.  Word searches are great too.  One activity I'm engaging my students with this year is my Polar Express lesson and Pop Up book.  It allows students lots of independent time to color and cut out their favorite scenes from a favorite book.
4.     Plan ahead - This is always the case, but this time of year it's even more important.  As teachers, our lives outside of school are more busy than usual this time of year too.  By having my lessons planned, copied and ready to go, I am more relaxed during the day and better able to handle students who are overstimulated.  I usually have a few "just in case" activities ready to go if a prep is cancelled at the last minute too.

5.     You are the role model - Remember, ultimately students will model your mood.  If you can remain calm and focused during this season, your students will at least try to do the same.

Do you have any other great strategies for keeping your students calm this time of year?  I'd love to hear them.  Please add them as comments below.

Have fun with your students over the next few weeks, and Happy Holidays!


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