Saturday, August 23, 2014

QR Classroom Tour


One thing that continuously runs through my mind at the beginning of the school year is... HOW ON EARTH AM I GOING TO TEACH ALL OF THOSE CLASSROOM ROUTINES AND PROCEDURES?! While the word endurance comes to mind, I also think of my poor kiddos sitting in their seats listening to me drone on about how everything in our room works.


At the end of last year (with my dream class mind you) I thought I would try a little something different. It was weird for me to be so prepared in thinking about the Fall and the beginning of June, but with this particular group of kids and I  - risk taking was a staple in our room. Collaboration is so huge in my classroom, and I am SO not a direct instruction type of gal. I figured who are the experts on everything Room 225... MY STUDENTS. Duh.

END OF SCHOOL YEAR:
1. Pick out the things I was NOT going to change up too much for next year (which was really hard, I change a lot every year.) I really had to look at my procedures and routines that work really well day in and day out. List them.
2. Pair students up. I chose high/low so the quality of videos made would be pretty streamline.
3. Assign each pair one thing in the classroom to cover.
4. Have students make a video explaining the procedure. We used the Explain Everything App on the iPads. You could also have them use an app like Videolicious or Animoto. They could also just video themselves!
5. I had them upload the videos to a Classroom Tour file on our class Dropbox. Some of the videos are one minute, some are four. Whatever they thought needed to be included in the video, I let them include.

Here is one of the shorter ones :)
video


We had an absolute BLAST making these videos, they thought of more tips and tricks than I could have every thought of!

BACK TO SCHOOL:

1. Re-watch videos and tear up on how you miss your class from last year already. 
2. Create a QR code for each video and place it at that spot in the room.
3. Create a worksheet with questions that coincide with the videos for newbies to answer. 
4. Send them off with their device and headphones!



My scavenger hunt includes 7 videos and 20 questions. QR codes were made at www.qrstuff.com 

Happy teacher, happy students!






Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Reading for Badges

There has been a lot of buzz around learning through gaming lately in the education community. It makes 100% sense. What do kids all talk about? Video games. What do they all play on their phones? Video games. What do they ask for for birthday gifts? Video games. What do their teachers play when they can't stand thinking anymore? Candy crush. Wait... !


So what is it that is so addicting about games? When you fail, you re-spawn, automatically start back over. It isn't scary. You are also working towards a goal - and you are earning something (anything!) I recently attended a PD workshop and came to the conclusion that I would love to teach through games, but there was no way to develop them myself (coding = scary). So how could I utilize this appeal in my classroom to motivate students?

We use Donalyn Miller's 40 Book Challenge on my team. I have mixed emotions about it because Accelerated Reader scarred me as a child because I was a VERY slow reader. One aspect I love about the challenge though, is the push to explore different genres. I was that kiddo who only read Roald Dahl (whoops). LOVE MATILDA!
 



Behold, genre badges were born. 




In the 40 Book Challenge students are required to read a certain amount of books in each genre. This CHALLENGE part with a numeric goal, gets the students all sorts of revved up. My serial genre readers last year were forced to explore other worlds, it was awesome. Once a student completes the required number of books for that genre, they earn the badge. They level up. They win. Just like they would in any video game.



I figure the badges will be two-fold in my classroom. On Edmodo you can award students badges, I am hoping this same concept will apply with my students blogs this year. Instead of a brag tag to wear around school, for a 6th grader they would have the "brag tag" mentality as their personal blog sports their genre badges. (After a couple years of trial and error with blogs - I find KidBlog is my go-to).

Visual reminders of success and pride are also very important. I have not quite decided where their  badges will be sported yet, but it will either be on their desktop or perhaps the front of their locker for all to see. After all, multiple books in a new genre is a HUGE success.

The beautiful thing about the 40 Book Challenge and the genre badges is the differentiation can happen in a snap. Create a list for each student that is attainable for them. They will be master readers in no time :) Or at least a little more motivated... take what you can get right?




Let the games begin!

Stay chip free and standards based!




ALSO! Interested in the badges - leave a comment with your email and I will send them on over :)



Monday, August 11, 2014

Meet the Teacher (Linky Party!)

So as I fall more and more into this blogging thing, I am LOVING creeping on anyone and everyone. Now as much as I know people by their blogs - it is important to remember they are real people too (right Pinocchio?) So LINKY PARTY, bring it on - thanks Falling into First for providing this fab get together :)


THAT'S ME! Jessica Spethmann, 6th grade teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. Oh, and this is me in 6th grade. 


My students crack up at this picture, they think I have not changed one bit! It's one of my favorites to break out for sheer entertainment. 

I am the only girl in my family, 3 bro-has. 

They rock. Our family is a bit Disney obsessed. My mother will make it there every single year with some combination of kids - this spring break it was Eric and I. We are going again next week!


I live with my FANTABULOUS boyfriend Jordan and our pupster Dakota. 
He had some big shoes to fill when I was lookin' for a man. I promised myself that they must make me laugh just as much as my dad and brothers. I cry laughing on the weekly with this hunk. It's fantastic. 




 THESE ARE A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS...
Target. I mean who doesn't love Target? I tend to roam the halls of Target when I'm feeling down, does that qualify me for Shopaholics Anonymous? Coffee. Coffee, coffee, coffee. The love affair started during student teaching and we've been going strong since. I also love art and beauty. I love doing makeup - I feel like its face art (that might be weird.)

 IF YOU WEREN'T A TEACHER, WHAT WOULD YOU WANT TO BE?
I knew I wanted to be a teacher since... forever. I did go through a stint in Jr. High where it was teacher/news anchor. I was Barbara Walters for a bio project... quite a hoot. 

THREE LITTLE WORDS THAT DESCRIBE YOU.
Outgoing, passionate, crafty.

FINISH THE SENTENCE, "________,  SAID NO TEACHER EVER!!"
 "I love standardized testing." HA!

Q: IT'S YOUR BIRTHDAY AND YOU CAN INVITE ANYONE {DEAD OR ALIVE} TO THE PARTY. WHO ARE YOU INVITING?
Kenny Chesney (country lover over here) These questions make me nervous because I wouldn't know what to do with my hands if I ever met a celebrity!


Q: IF SOMEONE WROTE A BOOK ABOUT YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD BE THE TITLE?
Probably my blog name - Lacquer, Teach, Repeat. Ask anyone, I can talk about education and nail polish FOR DAYS.

 Q:YOU GET TO PICK ONE SUPERPOWER. WHAT IS IT?
Mind reading. Although, I feel like it may get me into trouble. I am already an over-thinker!

Q: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE OR SAYING?
He was always my favorite author, and this will forever be my favorite quote. 


Q: IF YOU HAD TO SING ONE SONG ON AMERICAN IDOL, WHAT WOULD IT BE? 
Oh my, I can't sing. Zero musical inclination over here. I would plead the 5th.

 Q: ARE YOU A MORNING PERSON OR A NIGHT OWL?
Eh, both. My dad used to get me up and we'd work out together every morning when I lived at home. I was SO morning person. This summer I've been a late night crafting machine, therefore, night owl.

Q: WHAT'S YOUR FAVORITE RESOURCE THAT YOU'VE CREATED IN YOUR TPT SHOP?
EEK! I think my CCSS vocabulary definition cards. I could not WAIT to get these up in my classroom. 


Q: SHARE SOMETHING WE MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT YOU!
I was a figure skater for 12 years of my life. I used to skate before school, after school, and during lunch/recess. I met some of the most amazing people through skating. One of my best friends, who was also in my sorority in college, and I am now on a teaching team with her mom! I quit in high school because I told my parents I wanted more of a social life (my mom was secretly heartbroken). I sometimes get upset with myself for quitting. All of my friends who continued to skate got to travel the world in high school and college. But it played a huge part in my perseverance and discipline that make up who I am today. And I saved up and went to Europe after college, so I can sort of forgive myself :)

Loved this linky party!  Click on over to Falling in First to check out some other amazing friends!



Stay chip free and standards based!





#MondayMadeIt

I feel like all days of the week are "made-its" during the summer for me. Mostly Sunday nights as my honey watches baseball, I post up at the dining room table and make a muck! Trying this whole linky business for the first time too :)

Here is what happened after I slept off my red-eye flight home from Seattle yesterday...

#1 - I love painting, and inspirational quotes are my fave. I couldn't pass this quote up. You can see some of my previous work under, that Miss Perfectionist over here couldn't bear to look at - so RE-DO! 





 #2 - We are not allowed to have curtains in our room (curse you fire code) - but does a ribbon curtain count? We will find out soon enough when this cutie gets hung in my small window by the door. It was SO easy too! A $.59 dowel rod and some ribbon - thank YOU Michaels.

-Paint dowel black
-Cut 5 strips of each color (7 colors)
-Fold and snip
-Wrap around dowel and pull ribbon through!

  
#3 - I have seen all of these super cute welcome gifts for students - and could simply not resist. So if I can find a deal on rock candy, rock candy it is - and if I can't then HELLO pop rocks!


Stay chip free and standards based y'all!