Thursday, April 16, 2015

Tech Tips Tour and Five For Friday

Happy Friday! This post is double the fun because I am linking up with my new friend Kristin at Hip Hooray in K for Tech Tips Tour (via Instagram) and including it in my Five for Friday post to avoid to two posts in one day.

I will start with the Tech Tip for today with a free resource. I love alternatives to hand-raising. Hand-raising naturally happens a lot in the classroom, and I find myself asking how can more students share their thinking at one time. Last week I shared how I used Kagan Structures to support engagement, but I also use websites where students can share their comments and participate in an on-going discussion. They love seeing their thoughts presented visually and are more thoughtful about what they share.

What do I use? Today’s Meet! 

How does it work?

You do not have to sign in, but I recommend creating a login and signing in. If you choose to do this,  it gives you a little more control over the discussion as a teacher by allowing you to delete comments or post a QR code for students to scan to go directly to the discussion.

1.     When you get to the site, you can create a name for your room (I named mine Blog Example) and how long you would like to keep the room open.
2.     Type in your name
3.     Type your comment or question

Then, you can either give the students to the URL or the QR Code to go straight to the discussion. They can also type in their name and their comments.

I project the discussion on my Smartboard. The discussion updates as the students comment so they can add on/reply to one another. 

 (This is when you enter your name)

 (This is where the messages are typed and shown on the left.)

When do I use it?

During read-alouds and reading lessons to promote discussions
During independent reading for students to share thinking (questions, predictions, etc about their personal reading books)
During other independent work times for students to reflect on what they did well
For giving compliments after a student shares work
Sending the link home in an email or posting it on your website for students to access at home and respond to a question to continue engaging in the thinking you are teaching them to do at school with their at home reading.

2- My students love science! I love doing all that I can to have their day at school feel exciting and memorable. My heart beats a little faster when I hear my students talking about our learning outside of school. Sometimes it’s the big things… I blogged about a FaceTime interview my class did a week ago. This week one of my students said she had 3 interviews scheduled at her house with friends/family to find out more information about babies. Love to see her practicing her interviewing skills at home by choice! Other times it’s the little things that make lessons more memorable and engaging. This week we were spending the whole week studying chronological text structure. We were reading an article about how M&M’s are made. To make the lesson more fun, I brought in an M&M and put it in water. It sat there while we read. After we finished reading, I asked them to see if they could figure out what the white “m” was made of. (When you let the M&M sit in water, the “m” floats at the top.) It took several guesses and a little debating when eventually a student reached a solution – OIL! We left it sit overnight, and there it was floating the next day. Many of the students tried it out on their families at home. 

(If you look just left of the m&m you will see the white "m" floating)

3- I don’t know about you, but I look for texts EVERY week! We learn specific reading strategies and skills that teach the 2nd grade CCSS. In order to formatively assess each learning target, we need a text to use with the assessment. I often use classroom magazines, but when I am searching for something very specific I use Read Works allows you to search the type of skill you are doing and click on passages. It provides you with the grade and Lexile level so you can easily determine if the text is appropriate. Read Works also provides questions and activities to go along with the texts. I used this site to find a problem-solution and a cause-effect text for next week.

4- Something I love about second grade, is the students grow up SO MUCH! In my first year or two of teaching changing the jobs each week drove me crazy, and I felt like it created a “busy-ness” in the classroom half the time because the students were trying to figure out how to do their job or even remember to do it. I changed to making a job for EVERYONE so EVERYONE can be a leader. Then, they keep their job for WEEKS. It truly has changed the function of my classroom. I don’t have to keep track of it all or make time to rotate. The students can really settle into their role and feel valued. We just changed jobs this week. By this point of the year, they are old enough to “train” one another on how to do their job. It’s sweet to watch!

5- In my small group this week, we spent time talking about resolving conflicts that come up in marriage immediately. We reviewed these verses and thought about which we needed to work on most. We all decided to challenge each other to not use or touch our phones once we are in bed for the night to promote more of a focus on talking/praying together before falling asleep and when we first wake up rather than plugging into social media/email to start and end your day. So far, so good!
Have a great weekend and link back to Doodle Bugs Teaching to find out about what other teachers were up to this week!


  1. I teach 2nd grade, too! We've been using Read Works a lot this year as well to get some informational shared reading texts!-Stephanie Applelight Moments by Stephanie

  2. I love the floating 'm' activity! So fun to link up with you today for Tech Tips!
    Always Kindergarten

  3. I can' wait to try out the Today Meet website. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Hi, Marie!
    Your M&M experiment is so cool! I'll have to try that. I've been using Read Works a lot this year, too. They have some great resources.

    Enjoy your weekend!

    Your newest follower,
    Made with Love