Saturday, April 12, 2014

My April Bright Idea (sort of): Text your kiddos with Remind 101!

Parent emails are sooo 2009.

Enter: Remind101.

Have you heard of it? It's a totally free and safe website that allows teachers to send text messages to their students (or parents, primary teachers!).  This is a great solution for those quick reminders that we need to get to our students or parents fast, like...

"Don't forget to bring your sneakers for the field trip tomorrow!"

or

"Don't forget to bring me something chocolate on Friday if you want an 'A' on that math test!"
 
Okay, before I go on, full disclosure since this is the 'Bright Ideas Link Up':


This is not really my idea. If it was, I would be neither blogging nor teaching.  I would be spending my days on the beaches of some remote island sipping pina somthing-or-others and counting my twenty dollar bills and diamonds because I'd be website-creating genius.

Since that's not me, I'll simply share another's actual idea and stake claim on the idea that my idea is to tell about the idea someone else had.  You with me? (It's okay if you're not. Keep reading anyway.)

I recently did discover Remind101 and it's absolutely awesome.

Here's one thing I've learned about sixth graders and how they're not completely like second graders. They love, love to text.  So, why not capitalize on that?

I can send protected group texts to my class like this one:

The message goes to my whole class - and the kids can't text back because it doesn't come from my phone; it comes through Remind101's system.  So they can't text back questions or responses. They just get the text.

 I was able to oh-so quickly set up a free account.  Here's what you do:

1. Go to Remind101 and sign up for free! (Booyah!)
2. You'll be assigned a fake number and a class sign up code.


3. Students text your code to the fake number and follow the prompts.
4. Visit your dashboard to send messages and see who is signed up.


Now your students are signed up to receive your messages.  How cool is that?  So, totally *ohmygosh* cool. That's why next year I'm going to have all my parents sign up at Back to School Night and my sixth graders, too.

I think this Bright Idea is a great one for building great communication!  Hope you get to try it out!

If you enjoyed this idea, I'd love to have you as a fan on Facebook, Pinterest, or Bloglovin! Be sure to visit my buttons at the top of this site and connect with me!

For more bright ideas from 150 different bloggers, please browse through the link-up below and choose a topic/grade level that interests you. 

Thanks for visiting my blog and our link-up!




Friday, April 11, 2014

6th Graders -- They're just like us! (And also like 2nd graders.)

Well, my fine friends. It's been just over one month since I made the transition... 1. Back to work after having my bebe and 2. To become 6th grade teacher extraordinaire.

I am now officially a working mom.  I am also now re-officially a sixth grade teacher.

But I wanted to blog about this change, since a lot of people have had the same reaction when I tell them I've moved to sixth grade.

Most of the things they say involve a grimaced face and *sometimes* a little bit of vomit.

But the truth is, people, that sixth graders are just. like. second. graders. 

Wha wha?? They use BASKETS?!?
Sure they're bigger, physically.  And yes, they do tend to use a significantly increased amount of upspeak and of course, they tower over me like Godzilla.  But over the last several weeks I've come to the conclusion that overall, sixth graders and second graders are almost exactly the same.

1. They both cry.  Did you know that it's not uncool to cry in sixth grade? It is not. Sixth graders are completely in touch with their emotions.  They get upset when they don't ace a test, or if you push them to revise that writing assignment 'one more time'.  They get frustrated when you tell them 'no you can't bring in your pet lizard, I'm sorry it will get cold outside.'  Those situations end in tears just like in second grade, except sixth graders are way better about explaining their feelings in a way that makes you feel equally informed and guilty.  Win-win!

2. They don't use capitals.  Or periods.  There are, still are, students in sixth grade who have no problem just breezing on through an entire counterclaim paragraph without so much as a period or capital letter.  some experts argue that editing is total crap and shouldn't be use ever if you agree keep reading this paragraph it will tell you about how i don't care about using periods

Red light/green light editing strategy, here we come! Take out those crayons, 11 year olds, we're going to the Crayola editing factory!

3. They get up to get 'water'. Ah yes, that trick that students have been using since, oh I don't know, 1483?! Friggin' Columbus did this, kiddos. If you're working on something at your desk, the drinking fountain does not help you get it done.  Oh, and that social visit you made with Joey over there isn't either.  Sixth graders, this work-avoidance strategy is not new.  Second graders do it.  Albeit, less subtlety, but they do.

4. They love to color. Pull out a Social Studies project and tell them they can use markers and glitter and you'll be the best teacher alive.  They'll work with intent and focus.  They'll color, cut, and glue like no one's business.  You will be amazed!

5. They steal your heart.  No they don't hug you, but when the girls ask if they can clean your whiteboard or tell you they like your pants  - that's pretty much the same thing.  When the boys jump to move a heavy something-or-other or completely rearrange your new computer speakers so that there isn't any feedback, they might as well be patting you on the back.   And they totally get your snarky jokes which makes you feel not only hugged but validated in an 'I'm just like Jerry Seinfeld' kind of way.

Plus the academic content is awesome and so fun to teach.

So far, I'm loving sixth grade.  I plan on staying for a long time.

And when I start to miss second grade, I'll just be sure to carefully edit somebody's paper sending them into tears and then hand out a coloring page to the class.

Have you made a recent grade level change? Are you about to? What do you think about it?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

March Mystery Box - Are you gonna get lucky?


March is roaring in like a lion for sure!

Especially cuz the Mystery Box is baaaack!!!

Hopefully you'll win the GRAND PRIZE worth over $200 or even one of the fabulous Runner Up Prizes. 

Now wouldn't that sure make March go out like a lamb!
Mystery box 2014 BOX

We Mystery Box Babes aim to please and we think you will Luh Uh Uhv this month's box, too!!!

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What's inside this box is SURE to put a smile on your face! It's just happiness...boxed up!

WAAAAY more!!


How familiar are you with...



or


or


Are you squealing yet?

We are!

Here's our BIG deal-i-o giveaway this month!

We're beyond thrilled to have teamed up with Learning A-Z for March.

Guess what...



Yes...you read that correctly!!!

As a Grand Prize Winner...

You'll get to choose a one year subscription to either Raz-Kids OR Reading A-Z!

A subscription to Reading A-Z includes THOUSANDS of downloadable, printable, projectable teacher materials on a huge variety of topics and skills.

A subscription to Raz-Kids includes loads of ebooks for your child to read and progress through. There are comprehension questions, points and contests. It is very motivating to readers and beneficial, too!!



ANNNNND, you'll also receive a one year subscription to 

Vocabulary A-Z!!!

It's designed to support vocabulary instruction and has words GA. LORE!



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Click any certificate below to visit their TpT Store.
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And cuz we love to have more winners...
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Hope you're loving this March Mystery Box as much as we are!!!

In case you're wondering...
Last month's box


It was a real joy to put together this Mystery Box. I went in search of earthy, colorful, and girly things to put a smile on our winners lips. Last month's sweet winner got a chevron box on her doorstep, a note from me, and these sweet little gifts...




 




Are you ready for a chance to win in three easy steps?
                            US residents only please.
                                  1. Follow
                                  2. Comment
                                  3. Rafflecopter

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Feel free to copy and paste your answer to the question above in the comment section on each blog. 

There is no need to retype every time. 

Please follow each blog while you are hopping through. 


2        4      3
5    6   1

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a Rafflecopter giveaway
Mystery%2520box%25202014%2520BOX%255B10%255D.png (image)
lh3.ggpht.com







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