About The Author

My photo
Alabama, United States
Instructional Partner, National Board Certified Teacher in Literacy, Graduate School Student, Social Media Promoter for VocabularySpellingCity, Promethean ActivInstructor and Social Media Council member, Avid Twitterer @WhiteheadsClass, 1st Vice President for ALNBCT Network Board of Directors, Certified ALEX Trainer

Saturday, December 31, 2011

The Liebster Award

A special thank you goes out to Dianne of Hopelessly Devoted to Teaching for awarding me The Liebster Award. This award is given to a newbie blogger with under 200 followers. What a great way to end the year! 



Here are the rules:
  1. Copy and paste the award to your blog.
  2. Thank the giver, and link back to them.
  3. Reveal your top 5 picks, and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
Now, to reveal the five blogs that I am going to award!




http://teachinginroom6.blogspot.com/ 

http://www.craftycommunity.com/ 

Polkadot Notebook

FABULOUS FOURTH GRADE


Congratulations to each of you! You have contributed so much to the blogging world!


~Cara
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Friday, December 30, 2011

Special Giveaway from Little Literacy Learners

My friend, Mrs. McKown at Little Literacy Learners, is holding a special New Year's giveaway. Visit her blog for details on how to enter. She is giving away 4 special prizes! Good luck! 


Little Literacy Learners


~Cara Pin It

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hobby Lobby Giveaway from The Crafty Community


As an author for The Crafty Community, I am proud to say that we have reached 100 followers! In honor of this, we will be giving away a $20 Hobby Lobby gift card to one of our followers. For details on how to enter, simply follow this link to The Crafty Community. Happy crafting!
~Cara
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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tech Tuesday-Rover

photo.PNG

Rover is a free iPad app that allows you to access flash content. The cool thing is that this app is designed with students and teachers in mind. Rover is powered by iSwifter, but this app provides content filtering to protect our students from inappropriate content. Download Rover by visiting iTunes.


I have in no way been asked or compensated to review this app. While browsing the VocabularySpellingCity forums, I found a post about an iPad workaround for the flash games on VocabularySpellingCity. I thought it was too good not to share. It is exactly the type of app I have been needing in my classroom. I was thrilled to find Rover!
~Cara
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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Websites

As an author of Teaching Blog Addict and a contributor to TBA's 25 Days of Gifts, I am excited to share with you today's special gift. My gift to you is a collection of my favorite Christmas links, and they are all FREE! I can't help it, I'm a tech nerd!


You've got to try Hangmouse!

Enjoy visiting Santa and his elves.

head
What is more fun than dancing elves with your own pictures?

Santa’s Village
Countdown to Christmas with fun games and Santa tracking.

Prince Bertie the Frog
Enjoy reading these fun Christmas stories.






Merry Christmas
~Cara
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Saturday, December 3, 2011

Teaching Blog Addict Has Its Own App

Teaching Blog Addict is now even easier to follow with its own Android and iPhone apps. Simply, scan the QR Code above, and TBA is always at your fingertips. Happy reading!


~Cara
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Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Farewell to Handwriting?

I'm afraid that penmanship is a dying art. My principal should this clip to our faculty to generate discussion. What do you think?





Do you still teach handwriting in your school? Do you feel it is important for kids to know how to write legibly in print or cursive? Many argue that technology is overtaking the necessity for penmanship. Think of the number of times you write a day: signatures on credit card purchases, checks, shopping lists, notes to your children, letters home to parents, information for your students on the board, etc. I am a tech fanatic, but I still have to write!


One resource I use is VocabularySpellingCity's Handwriting Worksheets. You can create free, printable worksheets with your spelling and vocabulary lists in print, D'Nealian print, cursive, and sign language. They are even looking to increase the number of available fonts. What font do you use with your students?


I would love to generate discussion on this topic. Feel free to state your opinion. I am very interested in what you have to say!


~Cara Pin It

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tech Tuesday-Fluxtime


Are you looking for a simple animation program for your students to use? Then, you've come to the right place! Fluxtime is an free online animation program. It is so simple that my 4th graders can easily create their animations on their own.

Fluxtime's library offers backgrounds and clipart for underwater life, space travel, and beach scenes. You can easily adapt the scenes to your curriculum. The free version of Fluxtime will only allow you to email your animation as an e-card. Click here for an example created by one of my students. There is a paid version to this site, but the prices are in pounds. I'm not sure if it is even available for US customers.

My students love Fluxtime! I'm sure your class will love it, too!

~Cara
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Monday, November 28, 2011

Make It Monday-Christmas Tree at the Wall


I can't wait to do this with my students! We spent the entire week of Veteran's Day discussing the different branches of the Armed Forces. This will be a fabulous culminating activity.

Your students can create cards or ornaments to be displayed on the Christmas Tree at the Vietnam Memorial. The ornaments are to honor our nation's veterans (past or present) and their families. The cards need to be received by Thursday, December 15, so I'm going to have my students start now.

While searching for crafty ideas of my class' ornaments, I have found searching for 4th of July decorations.  has provided better outcomes than Christmas ornaments. Some of my favorite, easy crafts can be found at http://www.dltk-kids.com/usa/.

More information about the project and the mailing address can be found on the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Fund website.

~Cara
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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I'm an Author for The Crafty Community


Recently, I was invited to be a part of The Crafty Community as an author. I look forward to seeing you as a follower. This blog will be dedicated to crafts you can create with your kids at home or in your classroom. I'm looking forward to being a part of this crafty team. 

~Cara
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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Tech Tuesday-Monthly Holiday Lists


Kids love celebrating holidays. VocabularySpellingCity helps your students celebrate while they are learning. They have taken the most important holidays and events for each month and created lists to help aid in your celebrations. They lists can be imported into your free account to let your students find them easier.  Your students can use the lists to play free, online games such as Hangmouse, Unscramble, and Match-It. You can create free handwriting printables using the words.

There are two Thanksgiving lists available through VocabularySpellingCity's Monthly Holiday Lists: Thanksgiving and Thanksgiving Feast. Have fun celebrating Thanksgiving!

~Cara
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Monday, November 21, 2011

Why I'm Thankful for My Job



Thanksgiving! I am thankful for so many things related to my career. Here is a brief list:
  1. I'm thankful for a job I love!
  2. I'm thankful for the 20 students that I teach!
  3. I'm thankful for parents who want their children to excel!
  4. I'm thankful for my family and friends that support me!
  5. I'm thankful to be in a school where we support each other as family!
  6. I'm thankful for supportive administration at the school and district level!
  7. I'm thankful that I'm a National Board Certified Teacher!
  8. I'm thankful that I'm allowed to expand my horizons and learn new things!
  9. I'm thankful that I'm involved in social media to enhance my professional learning!
  10. I'm thankful for the wonderful resources available through the Internet!
I could go on and on, but I'd love to hear why you are thankful that you are a teacher.

~Cara
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Sunday, November 20, 2011

National Board Certfied Teacher


Congratulations to all the new National Board Certified Teachers! I was certified in Literacy:Reading/Language Arts in 2009. Easily, I remember the nervousness and anticipation of the arrival of scores. I remember screaming at the top of my lungs when I read "Congratulations!" I remember the many phone calls I made and received. I remember mourning with a close friend who did not certify by only a few points. That day ranks as one of the most profound memories of my life.

Becoming an NBCT is by far the best professional development I have ever partaken. One learns to reflect on their own teaching in relation to student engagement. Throughout the year of creating my portfolio, I grew tremendously as a teacher. By going through the process, I am continuing to grow. This life-changing process is totally worth all the blood, sweat, and tears that it requires

~Cara Pin It

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

RIP, Snoopy

Roll Tide "Snoopy" Whitehead
May 21, 2002-November 14, 2011

My family and I have had a heartbreaking couple of days. Our beloved Snoopy had to be put to sleep yesterday due to complications from spinal arthritis. He was so much more than a family pet. He was a member of our family. Snoopy was loyal, loving, happy, funny, quirky, handsome, and spoiled. I could go on for days about how great he was! 

My family, friends, and most importantly, my God, has helped me cope through this time. It is harder than I ever imagined! I do not regret the decision I had to make, but I sure do miss my boy.


~Cara
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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thrifty Thursday-Giveaway of the Day

You know I'm an Edmodo lover! One of the main reasons is because I find great tips, resources, ideas, and link that are recommend by teachers. One of these that I discovered through Edmodo is Giveaway of the Day.


Giveaway of the Day

Giveaway of the Day

This site offers a free software download everyday. Many of the software downloads have to be download on the day it is offered. It is worth checking out everyday. There have been downloads software such as for screen recorders, collage creators, PDF converters, and paint programs. 

I have placed the above ticker at the left side of my blog. You can keep up with all the great deals with me.

I'm always looking for a deal! What could be better for a tech nerd than free software!

~Cara Pin It

Monday, November 7, 2011

Monday Must Have-VocabularySpellingCity Math Vocabulary

I love teaching math! I especially love finding new tools that aid in my math instruction. Even better, is finding a tool that my students love, too. This is exactly what happened when I VocabularySpellingCity introduced their new math vocabulary section. 



The word lists which have been created from Common Core and NCTM standards are arranged by grade level and content standard. If you have a free account, you can simply import them into your account. Once you have imported them, you can edit the lists to suit your students' needs. You can add or remove words and customize definitions and sentences. I tend to use them just the way they are!

Vocabulary is a very important part in understanding math. It is the basis for all math principles. Also, it is important they have a basis of math terms to use in standardized testing. Every two weeks, my students are presented a new list that I print from VocabularySpellingCity using the Flashcards button. The kids play the various games daily on our Promethean ActivBoard during math centers time. Finally, the are tested on the words using the Vocabulary Test Me feature. 

You can easily see why VocabularySpellingCity Math Vocabulary is a must have!

~Cara
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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Thursday Thoughts-Fairness, Caring, and Integrity

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-mmAVY6Sss7Y/TlLWX9G4CjI/AAAAAAAACUk/vl6tV0ovykI/s1600/childrenthinkofyouquote.jpg

As I was browsing Facebook early this morning, I saw the above picture. I couldn't get the saying out of my mind. As we met for our weekly before school prayer and devotion, the subject was much the same. We discussed how for some of our students, we may be the only Christian that they see. As my mother always says, "With God, there are no coincidences."

Do you remember your teachers from elementary school? Of course! You remember some as being positive and upbeat. You remember others as crabby and mean. Some were kind and loving. Others were there simply for the paycheck. What do you want your students to remember about you?

Hopefully, my students find my fair, caring, and full of integrity. Although, I don't force religion upon my students, I don't hide my beliefs, either. I can talk all I want, but it is how my actions are presented to my kids that make all the difference. My prayer is that I live in a way that my former students will remember me as the kind of person Christ requires me to be. 

~Cara
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Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Wednesday Wow-Alabama Leads the Nation in Reading Gains

The following article was posted on the Office of the Governor, Robert Bentley Website. I thought it was most fitting to simply copy and paste the article.

Office of the Governor

ROBERT BENTLEY
Governor
Alabama Great Seal
STATE OF ALABAMA
Press Office


November 1, 2011

Alabama Leads the Nation in Reading Gains, Meets National Average for the First Time


MONTGOMERY—Governor Robert Bentley today announced that Alabama leads the nation in reading gains and meets the national average in reading for the first time, according to data released from the National Assessment of Education Progress (NAEP). The report indicates that, since the last national assessment in 2009, Alabama is one of only four states in the nation to show significant gains in 4th grade reading scores. 
NAEP also measures math achievement in grades 4 and 8. Alabama is one of only nine states in the country to show significant improvement since 2009 in 4th grade math. Of the nine states, Alabama shows the second highest gain behind Arizona.
In Governor Bentley’s first proposed education budget to the Legislature, he protected education programs like the Alabama Reading Initiative and the Alabama Math, Science, and Technology Initiative that help students succeed in reading and math. He has also committed to prioritize these outstanding programs in the FY 2013 education budget to ensure that tremendous gains in education will continue.
“Alabama has many exceptional teachers and principals who hold the key to whether or not our children get the quality education they deserve.  We have made great strides when it comes to education in Alabama and today’s report proves that,” said Governor Robert Bentley. “We owe it to our children to give them every opportunity to succeed in education and lay the groundwork for success in life.”
Alabama’s 8th grade reading scores have shown significant improvement over time as well.  Alabama is number six in the nation in reading score increases from 2003-2011.
Larry Craven, interim State Superintendent, said this is phenomenal news and further indication that education in Alabama is on the right track. He said programs such as the in the Alabama Reading Initiative and funding for reading coaches is showing a return on its investment.
"Reading is the cornerstone to all other forms of learning; this is the premise behind our Alabama Reading Initiative. The progress shown by this national assessment illustrates the climb our students, teachers, administrators and parents are making to position ourselves to be, not only competitive, but a leader in education," Craven said. "While we are excited about the gains made in reading, it's no time to rest on our laurels. Meeting the national average is a significant milestone, but just one milestone on our way to giving our students what they deserve... the best possible education in the country. It is not going to be easy, and it is going to take time, but it can be done. It must.  We have plenty of work to do, but we are working hard, building momentum, and heading in the right direction.”
http://www.governor.alabama.gov/news/news_detail.aspx?ID=5797


~Cara Pin It

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Tech Tuesday-Voki

My 4th graders loved Voki! Voki is a speaking avatar. Their site claims that it "motivates students to participate, improves message comprehension, and introduces technology in a fun way." It is all of this and more. Voki is just fun!


To create a Voki, you simply create your avatar by editing their avatar and then give it a voice either through recording are typing text that is converted to voice. One of my students logged into Voki and an avatar of Jesus appeared. It wouldn't allow them to edit the avatar. The only explanation I could give was that Jesus is perfect, so we can't change him!


Enjoy this Voki my student created about A.J. McCarron, the quarterback of the University of Alabama. Roll Tide!



~Cara
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Monday, October 31, 2011

Must Have Monday-The Heart of a Teacher

What does it mean to have the heart of a teacher? I found this poem  and thought it answered that question perfectly. My prayer is that all my students know I love them even on those days that they are not so easy to love!

The child arrives like a mystery box…
with puzzle pieces inside
some of the pieces are broken or missing…
and others just seem to hide
But the HEART of a teacher can sort them out…
and help the child to see
the potential for greatness he has within…
a picture of what he can be
Her goal isn’t just to teach knowledge…
by filling the box with more parts
it’s putting the pieces together…
and creating a work of art
The process is painfully slow at times…
some need more help than others
each child is a work in progress…
with assorted shapes and colors
First she creates a classroom…
where the child can feel safe in school
where he never feels threatened or afraid to try…
and kindness is always the rule
She knows that a child
can achieve much more
when he feels secure inside
when he’s valued and loved…
and believes in himself
…and he has a sense of pride
She models and teaches good character…
and respect for one another
how to focus on strengths…not weaknesses
and how to encourage each other
She gives the child the freedom he needs…
to make choices on his own
so he learns to become more responsible…
and is able to stand alone
He’s taught to be strong and think for himself…
as his soul and spirit heal
and the puzzle that’s taking shape inside…
has a much more positive feel
The child discovers the joy that comes…
from learning something new…
and his vision grows as he begins
to see all the things that he can do
A picture is formed as more pieces fit…
an image of the child within
with greater strength and confidence…
and a belief that he can win!
All because a hero was there…
in the HEART of a teacher who cared
enabling the child to become much more…
than he ever imagined…or dared
A teacher with a HEART for her children…
knows what teaching is all about
she may not have all the answers…
but on this…she has no doubt
When asked which subjects she loved to teach,
she answered this way and smiled…
“It’s not the subjects that matter…
It’s all about teaching the CHILD.”
by Paula Fox

~Cara
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Sunday, October 30, 2011

Edmodo

In a previous post, I told you how much I love Edmodo! Edmodo is a super tool not only for teacher-to-student communication but teacher-to-teacher communication.


For this reason, I have started an Edmodo group called TeacherShare. This group will be a gathering place for all those great project based learning activities, lesson plans, presentations, etc. that we have found to be effective learning tools for our students. 


Please join me as a part of this group. The group code is 2lwwah.
~Cara
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Thursday Thoughts-Red Ribbon Week

In honor of Red Ribbon Week, my students have been practicing this song that I found on Youtube.They beg to sing it multiple times throughout the day. I hope they remember throughout their lives that they are "happy without them!" Special thanks to Gary Eisenberg of Vacaville, CA for this fun song!




~Cara
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Monday, October 24, 2011

Must Have Monday-Google Earth

Why did I wait until today to introduce my class to Google Earth? I got a roomful of oohs and aahs when we traveled from our school to the Baltic Sea to the Red Sea.




We were discussing the Earth's water. Our textbook said that the red sea was the saltiest water on Earth and the Baltic Sea was the least salty. What a great way for the students to understand why than to actually see these places!


Take time to WOW your students while they are learning!


~Cara
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Sunday, October 23, 2011

Sunday School-A Vision of K-12 Students Today

Today, I stayed home from church trying to recover from a horrible cold. That gave me time to look at some of the things on Facebook that I normally pass over. Teaching Resources from Shelley Gray posted the following video on her FB page. I think it is worth every teacher taking the time to view it.




~Cara
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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Saturday Sit-Down-Soccer

"You don't teach soccer on a chalkboard." This statement was recently posted on Twitter by @thetechtiger. When I read it, the wheels in my mind started turning.




Do I try to teach my students without them ever being engaged and involved in the process? Sadly, I must admit that it does happen.  I praise myself on having an active classroom. My students are a part of reading and math small groups. They work through centers that they must manage themselves. I turn the pen over to our Promethean ActivBoard. Data is assessed to determine students individual needs. My classroom is arranged in groups because engaged learning doesn't happen in rows. Then, science and social studies time arrives. 


I don't know why I choose the "read the textbook" approach in two critical areas of instruction. Maybe, I am worn out by that time. Is it that so much time and effort are put into reading and math that I have almost shoved those subjects under the doormat? I need to be refreshed! I may have the one who will cure cancer or discover unknown historical treasures in my classroom, and I am doing them a huge disservice. This is a call and challenge to myself to be a soccer coach in science and social studies. I will get my kids "on the field."


~Cara
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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Thursday Thoughts-Networking


Merriam Webster defines networking as "the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically : the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business." 


Networking with my PLN (personal learning network) is exactly what it says. This group of individuals that I have met through Twitter, Facebook, Edmodo, blogs, and forums are where I learn. Reading Tweets and posts made by fellow educators has been the best form of professional development, aside from National Board Certification, that I have ever been a part.


When have you had a question about a best teaching practice and needed the answer immediately? When have you been searching for a certain website or webtool? When have you wanted to share something your students have done well and have someone brag on them? When have you needed a bit of encouragement? Your PLN can and will offer all of this to you!


I recently had the opportunity to meet with some of my fellow Twitterers as a part of the Promethean Social Media Advisory Council. What an honor to be a part of such an elite group. It is strange to say, but we were already bound together by one simple tool, Twitter. 


I would love for you to follow me on Twitter (@WhiteheadsClass). Comment with your Twitter handle, and I will follow you. You can also find me on Edmodo and my class Facebook page. Let us continue learning together!


~Cara
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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thrifty Thursday-Paper

Just call me a paper hoarder! Maybe it is due to the fact that budget cuts were deep when I began teaching and are even deeper now. Maybe it is due to the training from two mentors. Maybe it is the fact that I am just cheap-no THRIFTY!


I have a hard time throwing out a sheet of paper. If it has an unused back, I keep it. We can use it for a word web. If it has an area that is unused, I cut it up into smaller piece for notes, bookmarks, etc. I have my students continuing today's work where they left off yesterday. Sometimes, they end up with a whole week's worth on one page. I will shrink and run worksheets where their are two copies on each side. I've been known to have 4 pages on one. Our school secretary gripes at me constantly for doing this. She refuses to let me have any scrap paper!


I would love to say I do these things to save the environment, but I don't think I honestly can. I have decided it is because I'm cheap!


~Cara

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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tech Tuesday-ToonDoo

Do you ever find a site that your students love? A site that is easy enough for them to use without a lot of instruction? A site that gets them to writing? That is what I have found in ToonDoo.



ToonDoo is a free online cartoon creator. It has a simple drag and drop interface. I created one class account so I could monitor the students' ToonDoos and interaction. 

This week, our story, Coyote School News, is about a family who works on a ranch. My students spent time online researching life on a ranch. Then, they had to blog about what it would be like to live on a ranch. Finally, they had to create a ToonDoo with a ranch them. You can tell by viewing these ToonDoos that the students had a great time being imaginative! 

We have spent a lot of time discussing main idea. The students had to use this skill so their ToonDoos wouldn't be wordy. My students loved ToonDoo, and I know yours will, too!.

(Please note that my students are still in the process of creating their ToonDoos. This is only a brief sampling. Please check back soon for more.)

~Cara
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Monday, October 10, 2011

Must Have Monday-Friends

As I was thinking of something I must have in my classroom, only one thing came to mind. That is friends who we can collaborate with, bounce ideas off of, share triumphs, and tackle problems.


I have been blessed with many great teacher friends in my career. Some are at my school. Others are at neighboring schools. Several even live in other states. There are friends in administrative positions. Even friends who teach at local universities. Each and everyone of them have somehow influenced my career as a teacher.


There is no way I can begin naming each and everyone of them. You know who you are, and I love each and everyone of you!


~Cara
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Sunday, October 9, 2011

Samuel L. Jackson


Samuel L. Jackson and education! Strange pair, huh?


While I was watching "CBS Sunday Morning" before church, there was a segment on Samuel L. Jackson. He was discussing his current Broadway play where he is playing Martin Luther King, Jr. Oh, that's how he correlates! Nope!


He went further to discuss how he got into acting and all the many movies in which he has starred. He made the comment that he loves to watch himself in his movies. Why? He said why should he expect others to pay to watch him and enjoy it if he didn't enjoy watching himself.


This got me to thinking. Would we enjoy watching ourselves in the role of teacher? Would we like what we saw? Would we love our teacher and want to be like her? Would we enjoy learning in a safe environment? Would we be made to feel successful even if it's a small step?


During my National Board Teacher Certification process, I had to video and analyze my teaching. I quickly became aware of changes I needed to make, but I also saw some great things going on in  my classroom. I encourage each of you to see your teaching from your students' points of view. You might just like what you see! 


~Cara
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Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday Freebie-VocabularySpellingCity

As teachers, we are always looking for ways to make our teaching easier. We want to find activities that engage our students while they are having fun learning. VocabularySpellingCity does this. Plus, it's free to create an account. Once you have an account, you can save spelling lists for your students to use. 




VocabularySpellingCity offers 14 free spelling games that can be completely customized to use with your students' spelling lists. You can enter your own lists or use those you find on the site. You may find your spelling series' lists under the Forums section. You may want to use one of their precreated lists that is located under the Teacher Resources section. Here, you will find lists for such things as math and science vocabulary, Dolch sight words, compound words, and multiple meaning words. If you still don't find what you need, look under the Find a List section and search by teacher or list name. Once you have imported the lists into your account, your students can play the free games to study for their spelling tests (which you can give online through the site!). The games work perfectly on your interactive whiteboard. Many of the games can be printed to create customized worksheets. The handwriting printables are great! 


There is a premium version that costs $49.95 for a year for a group of 30 students. Your premium membership will open up even more games, vocabulary practice, and record keeping.


I strongly urge you to try VocabularySpellingCity. My students and I love it!

~Cara
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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Thursday Thoughts-Homework

My favorite education quote has to be "like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework." by Lily Tomlin as Edith Ann. 


I have had others complain that I don't give enough homework. (It has never come from a parent, though!) Usually, my students have a little bit of math if they didn't complete it in class and some studying. I feel it is important for students to have a life outside of school. We, as teachers, complain when we have to take things home to work on, so why do we expect our students to do it.


I teach full force from 7:45 to 2:30. Surely, my students have worked hard enough! I want them to enjoy school, enjoy home, and enjoy being a kid. During the day, we should touch our kids with new knowledge, a good story, a kind word, an art activity, a joke. School is so much more than just reading, writing, and arithmetic. Although, that is the ultimate goal, I want my kids going home knowing that they are in a class where their teacher and classmate respect them. I want them to go home with good memories of school. 


~Cara
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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tech Tuesday-Edmodo


One of my favorite sites is Edmodo. Edmodo is a free "secure social learning network for teachers and students." I first began using Edmodo as a professional learning network. This year, I began using it with my students. My students and parents love it!


On first glance, Edmodo looks like Facebook. There is one twist. It is very, very secure. You can create a class group where only you, your students, their parents (with a special invite code), and invited guests can correspond with each other. My students love the Facebook feel. My parents and I love the security.


Edmodo is so much more than a social network platform. As a teacher, you can use it to create assignments, share links, communicate with your students about homework, etc., and offer encouraging words. As a professional, you can communicate with other teachers throughout the country. You can post a question and within minutes receive a response. 


Edmodo is a staple in our classroom. My group of 4th graders is learning digital citizenship in a hands-on matter. Have I ever had a student use the site inappropriately? No! They have known from the first day that their parents can view whatever they do and anything they post goes straight to my phone. Edmodo is a powerful tool!


~Cara
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Monday, October 3, 2011

Must Have Monday-Morning Meeting

A must have in my classroom is our Morning Meeting time. This is a special time where each child is made to feel special. It quickly sets the tone for the day. We begin each morning sitting in a circle so we can see each other easily. We go around the circle and greet each other with a good morning and a compliment. We then move into reciting our rules and Whitehead's Wisdoms. After that, the students and I read a special letter I've written to the class. The letter contains a positive note from me, information about the day, and a spin off question that leads into our sharing time.  The question ranges from something silly that happened on that day in history to what it means to respect others. Each child is given the opportunity to share what is important to them.


This is my first year to do Morning Meeting. The 10-15 minutes that we invest in this time everyday has made a dramatic impact in my classroom. Each child knows he/she is loved and respected not only by me but by each child in the class. I wonder why I never did Morning Meeting before!  


~Cara
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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday School-Turning to God

Do you ever really need help with something? Do you ever want to spend time learning something new? Once you learn that new thing, what do you do with it?


As teachers, we hope our students take the new things they learn and spend time teaching it and sharing it with others. Do we do the same?


Our Sunday School lesson today was on Heaven. We are spending time learning what Heaven is really like according to the Bible. Will we know one another? What will we spend our days doing? It was mentioned that God gives us our talents here on Earth, so we can practice them for Heaven. On a tangent, our talents can draw others to us where we can use the time spent as a witness to others.


I am a self-proclaimed tech nerd! If I don't know how to do something, I figure it out! Even today, someone asked me how to create a header for their new blog. I had forgotten, so I took time searching, redoing my own, and sharing that information with her.  


My prayer this Sunday is that I will do the same with God. If I have a question, why not turn to Him for the answer rather than searching for it myself. He is available to help me 24 hours a day. Why do I hesitate to turn to him at times?


~Cara
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