Category Archives: Education

Master’s Update and Math Apps!

I have been working really hard this year to try to differentiate a bit more effectively for my students. Last year I looked into Guided Math, and although I loved the way it sounded, I know that I fell short of actually following through with my well-intended plan. As part of a Master’s assignment this year, I actively started incorporating more small group time for guided practice into my classroom. Honestly, I can already feel the shift. The things that I thought would happen (a bunch of hands up in the air as I try to help those in the group) haven’t really been an issue, yet. Those who need help are with me and those who do not are able to move along and complete their work. It’s actually kind of simple. I also established some anchor activities for students to choose from when they do complete their work. I haven’t worked out all of the kinks, but knowing that I’m going to get to more students more quickly makes me feel as though I am teaching more authentically! If you don’t do much “guided practice” after your initial lesson, try it! For a week or two, try to build in more time to work with students in a small group. And keep it simple! Right now, I have it established that after my mini-lesson anyone who feels that they would like to work through a few more examples can join me at the back table. The students CHOOSE to come. What I love MOST is when the students who choose to join are the ones whom I was worried would be acting up and making it difficult for me to teach. They are CHOOSING to come back and work through examples with me. I still have a few students that I’d like to see join me at the back, however, I will give them time to decide if they need my help or not. If they should be going through more examples with me, I will ask them to join the group as well. I’m playing this part by ear, so far. What I’m also really happy about, is that my small group time has been with many different students. Initially I was scared that there may be a negative stigma attached to coming to the small group for more guided practice. However, this has not been the case. This small change to my teaching practice this year has been amazing and I’m looking forward to really harnessing the power of small group instruction.

As a part of this week’s assignment for my course I found a great blog post on Math Puzzle Apps and another on Incorporating Games into the Classroom . Math games and puzzles are simple options to use as anchor activities for students when they have finished the assigned work for the day. They keep the kids engaged while you can continue to work with those students who need your help.

I haven’t checked out all of the Math Apps in the article yet, but it’s on my to-do list for later this week!

Do you have any great Math Apps for middle school that don’t require internet? Please share if you do! I’m always on the lookout!

 

 

Back to School Giveaway

As I gaze out at this beautiful August afternoon, I can’t help but wonder what kind of a year I will have. I feel like I’m standing in the line-up to ride a really scary roller coaster. I want to ride, even though it’s scary because I know that it’s also going to be exhilarating and I know I’ll love it. I’m sick of waiting and I just want it to be my turn already! 

I’m always excited to begin a new school year, and this year is no different in that way, but very different in many other ways. I am in our new/renovated K-12 school – a huge change what with a new build and combined staffs. And, I’ll be starting my Master’s in just days. I know it’s going to be a year of changes, flexibility and stress, but also one of learning and growth. We go back on Tuesday and the kids come on Thursday, and I’m going to enjoy this last weekend, but I’m very much looking forward to my turn on the roller coaster!

That being said….

I need to start this year on the right foot – with a Back to School Giveaway, of course!  And this is going to be a great one! I have ONE “grand prize” that will be given out to one lucky teacher and it could be you!

Back to School Giveaway

 In total, the prizes are valued at approximately $200, depending on your choices from my TPT Store and your choice of wall decal.

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

A little more about the prizes…

 

5 TPT Items

Get browsing! I have lots of resources in my TPT store  and the winner will get to choose any FIVE of them. I’ll simply email them the files that they choose!

 

31 Gifts

Lunch Thermal – the perfect lunch bag! You’ll be eating in style this year, for sure! (No monogramming on your lunch bag)

Wall Decal From Wise Decor

You have your choice of 3 wall decals! (I can’t wait to get mine up in my new classroom, and I’ll be sure to post a picture when I do.) You can choose your size and colors to totally personalize your wall decal. And, they go on looking like paint – no see-through film like some of the cheaper versions of wall decals. Your three choices are: a Student Encouragement Wall Decal, Classroom Rules Modern Wall Decal or a Whimsical Classroom Rules Wall Decal. They are pictured below – but keep in mind that you can personalize your colors to match your room!

Student Encouragement – this is the one I went with for this year!

Classroom Rules Modern

Classroom Rules Whimsical

 

The Red SunA great read for your classroom this year

 

the red sun

 

The Red Sun is the first book in The Legends of Orkney, the spellbinding series of adventure fantasy novels by Alane Adams. It follows Sam to the realm of Orkney where witches, wraiths, and other menacing creatures cause serious peril to the unsuspecting Sam. Now, it’s up to him to save his friends and all of Orkney from a cursed red sun. Can a young witch girl named Mavery help him?”

The fantasy genre is so hot right now – the kids love it! What grabbed my attention about this book right off the bat was its accessibility to my boys, especially. Within just the first 2 pages, we learn that the main character Sam is a self-professed “non-hero”. He’s not perfect, his family is not perfect, he’s disconnected from his father, he has a temper and sometimes gets into fights. I know that certain students in particular will relate to his imperfections and the fact that he’s “real” just like them. The action starts within the first chapter really, and definitely is underway by chapter two. I feel that this element is super beneficial to my more reluctant readers who find it difficult to “hang in there” and continue to read to get to the “good part” of some texts. There’s conflict essentially from the beginning and that paired with a mysterious new teacher with an attitude, and a dwarf in his garage, you can’t help but be hooked into learning more about Sam and what’s really going on in his life. This would be a great first read, for students new to the fantasy genre! 

I think your students will truly enjoy “The Red Sun” and it’ll be a wonderful addition to your classroom library.

 

I wish you all a wonderful school year with your students! Thanks for entering my Back to School Giveaway, good luck to you all! Feel free to share my post with your teacher friends!

jamberry nails giveaway

 

Life-Saving Labour Day Blog Hop

So happy to be a part of this “life-saving” Labour Day link-up! This link-up is filled with no prep and low prep ideas for you to grab at the last moment before the busy school year begins! You’re welcome!

The item that I am highlighting for this “life-saving link-up” is my This is Who I Am collage project for grades 7-9. It can be used any time, but it’s great for Back-to-School time! It contains 50+ pages, including everything you need to get high quality collages from your students, by clearly communicating the expectations for them. It’s low prep and basically ready to go! Through this engaging project, you’ll get to know your students better and they’ll get to know themselves better, as well! The completed collages also make an awesome display!

 

this is who i am


Basically, students are required to use photos, drawings and text to create a visually appealing collage, representing who they are.

I’ve included:
-Assignment sheet for students
-A checklist for students to make sure that they include everything
-3 choices of graphic organizer to plan the collage
-A rubric (in case you decide to formally assess their work)
-A PowerPoint with 3 activities to walk students through how to use symbols on their collages to raise the level of their work (printables included for these as well)
-A PowerPoint to help students come up with their personality characteristics
-A printable list of characteristics as reference (by no means a complete list of every personality trait – but it’s a start)
-A printable to help students find an appropriate quote, poem or song lyrics to add to their collage (again – raises the level of their work)
-Step by step instructions for the teacher for how they may want to conduct the project 

 

You can choose to do parts of this project, or the whole thing. There are lots of options for you and since I have included the PowerPoints and any printables required – you should be good to go!

 

If you want a great project that will engage students right off the bat, encourage creativity and enable you to get to know them better – check out my “This Is Who I Am” resource in my TPT Store

 photo SecondaryTopTeachersBTSpromo-CAN.png

 

And thanks to Tammy Aiello at Teaching FSL for organizing this awesome blog hop and link-up!

jamberry nails giveaway

 

 

A New Chapter…Master’s of Education

I’ve been thinking about it off and on for the last 4 or 5 years and the timing was just never right. Well, I have jumped in and am very proud to announce that I’ll be beginning my Master’s of Education on September 2nd. That also happens to be my first day back at school. Gulp. And to complicate things further, it happens to be our first year in a new/renovated K-12 building. I haven’t been in the school yet this summer (usually my classroom would be half set up by now) because the school (including my classroom) is not yet finished! Double gulp? I know what you’re saying, and THIS is good timing? No, not really. But, what I have decided is that there will never be a perfect time. That, I know for sure.

I have no idea what all of this means for my blogging life – I’m hoping that it’s not over, but I know that my full time job as a grade 7 and 8 teacher and my course work commitments are going to pretty intense. Only time will tell, I guess!

So, a little bit about my program, it’s completely online through Walden University. It’s an accelerated program and I’ll complete it in 16 months! Yay! I’ll be done next Christmas – that’s pretty amazing to me! Finally, it’s a Master’s of Science Education in Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment (K-12). The courses sound awesome, practical and like I’ll actually be able to use my course work to enhance the achievement of my students “in real time” not just in theory or down the road. There are courses on designing curriculum for learning, differentiating instruction, assessment, teaching students with learning disabilities, and motivating students -among other things. I truly am excited to be starting this journey! So, if I happen to drop off the face of the blogging planet – you’ll know where I am, and I will be back. Wish me luck!

A New Chapter...Starting my Master's Of Education

Anyone who’s been thinking about a Master’s program – just apply. Don’t wait for a perfect time – it’ll never happen. Just take the plunge. You’ll never finish if you don’t first begin! So take the steps to begin! If you want any information on the program or school that I have chosen, just comment below and we can have a chat. They have made the process so easy for me and I can’t wait to get going on my journey. I’m really glad that I’ve taken this first step.

 

jamberry nails giveaway

5 Top Educational Apps For Middle School Teachers

We all know how important it is to integrate technology into our classrooms when we can. That’s why I’m so happy to have George Campbell, a freelance writer specializing in various topics including education, to supply me with a helpful blog post on 5 TOP apps for middle school teachers! Please be sure to add your own favourites by commenting on this post!

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1- Science Glossary (Free)

Science Glossary is an app which offers students a comprehensive glossary of scientific terms, as well as a collection of succinct biographies of famous scientists. Simply enter a scientific term and the app provides an easy to understand definition as well as additional scientific terms related to the topic which was searched. Teachers and students can also use the app to connect with the educational website; Vision Learning. The website promotes itself as a “free digital resource for teaching and learning science”, so all you need to get started is an Internet connection! This combination of the Science Glossary app and the Vision Learning website enables both teachers and students to access detailed science learning modules in order to further supplement studies and stimulate scientific curiosity!

  top educational apps for middle school teachers                     

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2- GoSkyWatch Planetarium – the astronomy star guide ($3.99)

With the GoSkyWatch app students can explore the universe from the palm of their hand! This app presents over 200 high resolution images of planets and deep sky objects in day, sidereal and time lapse animation. Students can immerse themselves within images of constellations, boundaries and star patterns as well as comprehensive information on the various planets, stars, comets, constellations, galaxies and DSO ephemeris data. This app also informs students of the current moon phase calendar as well as sunrise and sunset times, enabling them to extensively expand their knowledge of the universe.

 

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3-Mental Maths (Free)

Mental Maths is an app is created by educational agency Maths Doctor. They provide a series of educational resources which are centered around the principle that; “every leaner is an individual with their own needs, abilities, strengths and weaknesses”. Subsequently, both their website and app endeavour to offer children multiple methods through which they can enjoy expanding their mathematical knowledge. To use the Mental Maths app, students simply select a maths topic and are presented with a related question. There is no time limit whilst they work out the solution in their head, then swipe the screen to reveal the answer. If students get the answer wrong, they are able to try again as many times as they wish until they confidently understand the mathematical principle. What’s more, the app hosts a built-in percentage tracker so that teachers can monitor their students’ progress and challenge their newly developed knowledge with an end of topic test. As a result, this simple yet creative app offers a fun and interactive medium through which your students can overcome any mathematical obstacles!

 top educational apps for middle school teachers

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4-History: Maps of the World (Free)

History: Maps of the World provides a great resource for developing your students’ historical and geographical knowledge. Using the app, you can gain exclusive access to 178 historical maps from across the world, all of which display the source of each map as well as highlighting any geopolitical and geographical shifts which have occurred over time. Within the app, maps are grouped by category or era, or alternatively can be located via a keyword search. Each map is accompanied by a wealth of information which details its rich historical significance. This facilitates an innovatively visual method through which you can educate your students about major historical, social and regional changes.