Monday, December 7, 2015

New & Improved KaBoom (aka Zap; Bazinga...)

KaBoom!  Zap!  Bazinga!  are all synonyms for an awesome review game that kids ask to play again and again.  Like most games, students earn a reward for correct answers.   Rewards may be whatever a teacher is willing to give: points, tickets, classroom rewards or bragging rights.  

However, these games have an extra feature that makes game play and scoring unpredictable and exciting.  Mixed in with rewards are negative consequences such as,  “Give 10 points to opposing team” or “Trade scores with opposing team”, or even more extreme, “Lose all points”.  

While browsing in the App store, I came across an app called, “Decide Now!”  It’s an editable (color schemes, answer choices) spinner that can be used to retrieve a random choice.  I set up the following spinner for my KaBoom game:

Now, I can change my rewards and/or consequences in a jiffy and mirror  the spinner on my interactive white board.  AND, I can create additional spinners for other tasks like choosing partners or choosing the order of morning work, or topics, or games, or activities….

If you think it’s an app you might like, check it out in the App store!  It cost a lot less than colored printer ink, card stock and laminating and everyone can watch and cheer as the arrow  goes around and around!  

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Growth vs Fixed Mindset: What it is...What it isn't.

"...a growth mindset, while it may appear a truism on its face, can become a powerful motivator. Teaching children that the brain works like a muscle that gets stronger with practice reinforces persistence. Encouraging students to visualize brain synapses firing when they overcome challenges is not merely a metaphor: Brain studies that Dweck and other speakers cited showed surges in brain activity when students respond to mistakes."

The excerpt above is from an article titled, "There's more to a 'growth mindset' than assuming you have it,"  written by John Fensterwald.  

In this November  23, 2015 article in  EdSource magazine,  Stanford University psychology professor Carol Dweck who coined the phrase “growth mindset”  discusses her concerns about the oversimplification of the idea.  To clarify, she talks about what "growth mindset" is and what it isn't.  Click on the photo to access the article.    

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Teachers Pay Teachers Annual Cyber Monday and Bonus Tuesday Sales

  We've been waiting all year and now the time has come!    
  Teachers Pay Teachers is having their annual Cyber
  Monday and Bonus Tuesday sale!  Fill up your carts then 
  pay on Monday or Tuesday!  

  Don't forget to enter Promo Code SMILE at checkout!

Encouraging Children you Love!

Everywhere you look in Pinterest, Twitter, Blogger, (you name it), you'll see posts on Growth vs. Fixed Mindset.  Clicking through these posts I was intrigued.  (Not "explore it before I take another breath" intriguing.  More like "this looks interesting.  I may look into it over Christmas or Summer" intriguing.  

Then, a friend (Julie R.) sent me this video and it changed everything. 

It's only 4:52.  Watch for yourself and see if it doesn't change your mind about not only how to encourage your students, but how to encourage the children in your family!

Thursday, August 27, 2015

I love Zite!

I love reading magazines.  I like short, thought-provoking articles about different subjects with relevant
illustrations, graphs, diagrams or photos.  For me, magazine articles are perfect bite-sized pieces of information that either satisfy my curiosity or inspire me to further research a topic.  I depend
on magazine articles to report the latest trends in all areas of education, especially education technology.

I’m pretty happy if I flip through a magazine and up to 50% is relevant and interesting to me.  In a perfect world, I would be able to create my own magazine containing  100% of articles in
subjects in which I have an interest.

Enter an app called, “Zite”, an intelligent e-zine that you create by choosing the subjects in which you are interested.  Zite presents articles in those areas in your own customized e-zine.  For each
article, you have the opportunity to choose a “thumbs-up” icon to show you want to see similar articles or a “thumbs-down” icon to show you do not want to see similar articles.

Zite uses that information to customize your the articles it presents to match your interests even more precisely.  

Unfortunately, Zite won’t be around forever.  It has been acquired by Flipboard.

Though the two apps are similar, they are not interchangeable.  Flipboard is part news and magazine app and part social media app.  It’s content comes from social networks, news publications and blogs.  The ultimate plan is for Flipboard and Zite to be merged into an app that captures the best features from both apps.  Until then (maybe 6 months out) I’ll be reading Zite.

Which app do you prefer?  Zite?  Flipboard?  Or, another app?  

Saturday, May 30, 2015

iPad Apps for Math Intervention by Matt Coaty (reposted)

I'm always looking for technology resources for math intervention.  That's how I happened upon this article about the best iPad apps for Math Intervention by Matt Coaty.  To access the article written by Matt Coaty, click:

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Stop the Summer Slide! Math = Fun!

Over 35 free desktop math games to practice concepts like decimals, division, fractions, multiplication and place value.  Stop the Summer Slide!  Math = Fun.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Learned Helplessness - an article from Edutopia

This is definitely an area where I struggle.  We want our kids to have success and sometimes they are hesitant to trust their instincts because they've been wrong in the past.  Using questioning to stimulate and guide students to discover their own answers is the best gift we can give our struggling (and non-struggling) learners.  Here is an awesome article from Eduptopia that describes "learned helplessness".

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Explain Everything!!!

One of the most versatile apps I have discovered this year is Explain Everything.  This app can be anything from an interactive whiteboard to a screencasting tool and it's easy to learn for teacher as well as student!  I have made an Explain Everything screencast to introduce you to the Explain Everything app.  (It's posted at ).  Included on the web page are additional resources and examples of student-created work.  Hope you enjoy exploring Explain Everything!!!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Puppet Pals

Here is an awesome article called, "Using Puppet Pals as a Stage for Learning" by Sam Patterson, first published in Teacher Cast.