Friday, February 27, 2015

AR Teacher Competition

Another thing I have been extremely proud of this year? My AR points! I have far exceeded the number of books I have read during the school year, and that's even with months to spare! What is the cause? The AR Teacher Competition I designed & implemented in our middle school!

Our district uses Google Apps, so it was incredibly easy to create & share a collaborative Google Sheets. I put in all the instructions directly on the spreadsheet & shared it with all participants! I then designed a separate sheet for each participant to keep track of their quizzes. Unfortunately, it is not currently possible on AR for teachers to take & keep track of their AR quizzes, so this is why I designed the spreadsheet to record said information for all participants.

I also used a couple formulas on the sheets so that each participant's total would be automatically updated every time a new quiz was added to the spreadsheet! (If you are interested in how to do any of this, please just email me your questions!) Feel free to use this spreadsheet if you are looking to start a teacher competition in your school!

I got 6 teachers to participate in our school, but I certainly wish it would be more! Recently, I decided on opening it to other schools. If your school is interested in joining the competition, or just you, please email me & I would love to add other teachers to the mix. It really is a fun thing to do, it gives me more reasons to keep on reading!

Classcraft (great management tool)

Biggest thing I have been excited about this year? Classcraft! If you haven't heard of it, it is definitely something you need to check out.

Classcraft is the best classroom management tool I have ever seen & it has really made a difference in some of my students with bigger behavior issues! It is kind of a mixture of ClassDojo (publicly rewarding positive behaviors in the classroom) & World of Warcraft. Students are divided into teams & given responsibilities that reflect the type of learner they are. For instance, a student who is responsible would be assigned as a healer.

Students are rewarded XP points for doing positive things in & outside of class. The goal in the game is to earn enough XP points to level up. Each time a student levels up, they are rewarded GP (gold points), which allows them to purchase things to customize their avatar.

Powers (AP)
Positive Behaviors (XP)
In addition, as they level up, they gain more access to different powers. These powers may be things like listening to music while working or getting a drink during class. Students have to make effective decisions on when to use their powers & not, since they are not easily refilled.

Negative Behaviors (HP)
Students lose HP points when doing negative things in & outside of class. Should students lose all HP, they will fall in the game, which results in a consequence in the classroom, such as a detention. The cool thing about this is that students negative behaviors can affect their teammates in the game. The students who choose to fall in battle will receive grief from their teammates, who's HP will take a toll every time a teammate falls in battle.

Lastly, when you create an account, Classcraft gives you a demo class, so you can play around with it before you create your own! So check it out! It is well worth trying out.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Connect Four Game (Figurative Language)

A new tool I tried out in my classroom last week was this tool from (if you have never checked out that site you definitely should, it's got some quick & easy tools that can be used in the classroom!)

Anyway, this tool allows you to modify the popular game Connect Four with content relevant to your curriculum. I have been using it for a review of the different figurative language we have been studying. I tell them, find four examples of metaphors & they come up to the white board & attempt!

Here's a link to mine
Here's the link to the original that you can edit: 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015


So, in exploring online I found out about the app Ingress from this post! (11 Google apps you probably didn't know existed) & I want to play it; so bad! Here is a picture from the post, thank you Venture Beat for mentioning it!

I am hoping I can start playing around with it in the next couple days. I can see this being used in my classroom, no doubt. Having classroom competitions, using Google Maps with it, etc. Check it out for me & enjoy the game, since I can't in lil 'le SouthEast Iowa :(

Must Follow Blogs/Communities

I have recently gotten extremely involved in PD across the internet having to do with all things Tech Integration in the classroom. There have been numerous posts that I find highly relevant on the internet. People should definitely check some of them out!

Google Gooru is an awesome blog that I have subscribed of an expert in Google. He posts constantly with all things related to Google! Love it!!

Google Plus Educational Communities: If you haven't checked out Google Plus yet & have been a little wary of it up until now, I was in the same boat, I thought it was the same old, same old, as Facebook, & Pinterest, & Teacher Pay Teacher, etc. It's like that, only more! It is set up like a forum, of people interested in certain things posting & communicating on it.

Ones you should definitely check out:  (the 1st 3 in particular I really love!)
Google Apps in Education
Google Apps Educators
GEG Iowa (if you are another state, there should be a GEG for it!)
Google Apps & the Common Core! 
Technology Loving Teachers

Twitter Educational Weekly Chats: Ok, this is pretty awesome too. There on plenty of educational chats going on weekly on Twitter on different topics! Check them out, if you are new to Twitter or do not have one, there's a chat about that as well!

New Blog

Recently, I have become extremely involved in online PD in all things Tech. Integration. I have subscribed to multiple blogs and Google Plus communities on the subject & am constantly exploring the newest things in the field. I often find myself wanting to post a lot of the information from my research online but apparently, it's more annoying when I constantly send those emails in my district! To combat this, I've decided I should start a new blog to collect & share out all the tech integration I am using in my classroom plus the interesting PD I am finding about it online!!!