Saturday, August 22, 2015

Smooth Sailing With Schoology!

The 2015-2016 School Year Is Here!  
Twenty four eager and excited kids entered into class ready to learn!  

 Students embraced the challenge of learning how to use an iPad in the classroom to show what they have learned!   Having the opportunity to project my iPad onto a large overhead screen to teach students step by step how to utilize this amazing tool was imperative.  The student were completely engrossed and caught on VERY quickly!  Only eight days into school and they had a firm understanding of how the iPad was going to provide amazing learning opportunities.

My biggest challenge was seeing if I could create a work flow system that third graders could utilize and become comfortable using.
 Schoology was the perfect answer.  It was my goal this summer to create courses for my students so that everything they needed would be accessed through Schoology. My colleague +Brittany Braasch and I were both fortunate to work with Schoology last year and through our collaborative efforts and ambition, we successfully created a course in Schoology for every subject area.  Our biggest challenge was determining how best to organize the materials so that the students could access things efficiently and manage the paperless workflow.
The workload was HUGE...but
it was manageable.  We both agreed that Schoology is a  combination of iTunes U and Google Classroom mixed into one app.   We asked ourselves could third graders manage this kind of a paperless workflow progam?  Well, with patience, understanding,  and a positive mindset, we knew it was doable!
 The kids did not disappoint!

My number one suggestion to anyone planning to create a course is:
 prior to setting up your courses be sure to have a plan of how exactly you want kids to access the information and the best means for students to locate it.
Here is an example of how we set up our reading series

Notice that we made folders of each reading unit.  There are a total of six units altogether.  Then within each unit are the five stories that go with it.
We made folders for each of the stories as seen below.

This was the way we chose to organize each story.  It is important to label things clearly so that students are able to send the information back to you for grading. 


It is really easy to add links to various other resources.  Here is a list of the things you can add to your courses.  There are so many possibilities. 

What I love most about Schoology is the ability to store everything I needed for a particular unit in one place!  Adding all my PDF's has cleared out my file cabinets!!  Yeah!!

Students are able to complete all PDF's through the Notability APP!  You will need to teach them how to upload their assignment into the Notability app and then how to
send it back to Schoology.  Just be patient and allow for lots of opportunities to practice.  Third graders are completely capable.  It's an amazing paperless environment!  I love being able to grade their work and send it back.   The paid version allows you to give verbal feedback.  Our district does not have the paid version is my hope that this will change.  Having the paid version allows you to add grades right into your Pearson grade book.  So many great possibilities!!

If you are thinking about going paperless, I highly encourage you to give Schoology a HUGE consideration!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

NETA 2015! iTry iCan iLearn iSucceed

iCAN say that NETA 2015 is where iLEARNED with the most "M"-azing People!

This was my very first NETA conference ever and my first time presenting!  I can sum up my whole experience in one word..."M"-AZING!!!!!  I have to admit when I left that Friday afternoon I felt like my brain couldn't possibly retain one more piece of knowledge if I tried!  I spent the weekend looking back at my notes and reflecting upon my whole experience.  This blog is my personal reflection about the BEST professional development that I ever had the privilege to attend! 

The Keynote Speakers!

Selfie with Adam Bellow!
The first day began with Keynote speaker Adam Bellow.  From the moment he popped out of the box onto the stage, I new I was in for a treat!  The word inspiration doesn't seem to do justice to presentation he shared with us that morning.  I was mesmerized by his ability to connect with each of us in the room, much like we do with our own students.  He stressed the importance of trying new things, accepting the idea that failing gives you an opportunity to try again, and to be okay with failing for our failures teach us just as much as our success if not more.  His passion about educational technology and making personal connections permeated his presentation.  As I looked around the room at the faces of other attendees I couldn't help but think how lucky I was to share in this experience with so many passionate educators!

The second day Keynote speaker was George Couros.  Once his keynote started, I was completely engrossed in everything he had to say!  I leaned on every word.  He is a true storyteller.  One minute he has you laughing and the next you have tears rolling down your cheeks.  He reached the heart and minds of who we are as educators and the profound effect that we have with our students.  He reitterated over and over the idea of "connecting."  He shared that surrounding himself with people who were passionate about what they did was a game changer for him in education.  Twitter was his way to connect with people who shared in his passion and with whom he build a professional learning network.  I loved his quote "TEACHERS ARE ONLY ISOLATED IF THEY CHOOSE TO BE!" 

George's videos that he included in his presentation pulled on your emotions!  Either you were laughing or you were crying, and sometimes you were doing both at the same time (or at least that was my experience).  I have to include my favorite video of the conference called "BE MORE DOG!"
 His message that we as educators need to build strong connections with our students and include times to be more playful in your teaching and learning was profound.  He stressed the importance of creating an environment that promotes innovation!  Allow students to create, share, and connect with the world!  AMEN!!

The standing ovation at the end of his presentation came as no surprise!   He connected with hundreds of educators and took us on a journey of laughter and tears.  It's a journey that I won't forget!

What an "M"-azing Journey!!  Traveling With Michelle Boyce

My First NETA Presentation

Stick-Around App Creator Tony Vincent
Okay, I would be lying if I said I wasn't completely petrified when I walked into the room I would be presenting in.  My stomach felt like it had been on a Tilt-A-Whirl for days.  When it was time to present I had a great pep talk inside my head...."You can do this!"  Once the doors shut and our presentation was up, all things became surprisingly easy!  I knew once I started sharing that my passion would take over, and it did!!  As I looked at the crowd I came to the realization that those in attendance genuinely were interested in what I was saying.  The creator of the Stick-Around App, Tony Vincent was in the audience, how cool was that!!  (I was excited because we use his app all the time and within our presentation we shared with educators what a great resource it is to use in the classroom!) The laughter, oohs or ahhs, and body language of the participants fueled my brain and energized me!  I transitioned from nervous to confidence within the first five minutes!  The Keynote that I had worked on was ingrained in my brain and I knew that what I wanted to share was important and relevant to those attending.  As the Keynote came to an end I was shocked to feel that I wish I had more time to share!  WOW!! Talk about a transition! 

"M ANN M" Presenting at  NETA2015
The best part about the whole presentation for me was the preparing for it with two very dynamic colleagues, Ann Feldmann and Michelle Boyce.  
We are the three "M ANN M's" that worked diligently to share our
iTry iCan iLearn iSucceed iPad classrooms with others.
It is "M"-azing what you can do with passionate people!  

Thanks to the experiences I shared with all the inspiring people I met at NETA, I am ready to challenge myself to "BE MORE DOG!"  I can't wait for next year!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Class Dojo Is The Way To Go!!

This year I implemented the Class Dojo behavior management system in my classroom and it has been a HUGE success!   I have been able to record and track my students' behaviors daily, while providing instant feedback.

When school began I gave each student an avatar to begin with.  Upon earning 50 points students could then choose and customize their own avatar if they chose this as their reward.  Each day all students begin with zero points.  At the end of the day they are able to see the score they earned and write it into their daily planner.  These points are kept all well and then are cashed in on Friday to shop in our class store.
Students love earning their points and shopping is VERY important to them. 

You can start out by using ClassDojo to track your class progress towards behavioral goals.  It would be like a high-tech marble jar: Points can be added or taken away depending on how the class is responding to instruction.   I highly encourage to let your class set goals and work toward rewards based on how many points they've earned.

If you would rather keep track of each student you can individualize it as well!
You can also use the system to monitor students' individual progress and look for behavioral patterns.  In this sense, you could use ClassDojo as more of a high-tech behavior chart, with frequent assessments for each student.

As a third grade team of teachers, we set up "shared behaviors" to help offer consistent expectations throughout our grade level.
 These expectations were first discussed in our classrooms with students.  They helped to select both the positive and negative criteria.  Having the student perspective and input was critical to our success!

 Class Dojo created
 the mobile app (iOS and Android), which allowed us to award positive or negative points to any third grader in our building.  These points could be given at any point from anywhere in the classroom, in the hallways, in the lunchroom, on the playground, and so forth.  It has been great for modeling consistency across our grade level. The expectations are known and understood by all the third graders in our building.

The pictures you see are examples of our customized behavior list. 
These behaviors are categorized as "positive" or "needs work."  Each behavior is paired with an icon that students can easily identify; as points are awarded or taken away.  Students are able to hear sounds associated with the positive and negative points that are
being added or subtracted.  So if a group is working well they will hear a positive sound.   If someone is off task they can hear a negative sound.  I prefer to unveil the point totals at the end of the day rather than displaying publicly throughout the day.  It is my own personal preference. Depending upon your students you can decide what works best in your room.   I have found that Class Dojo helps to make behavior expectations more clear and concrete for students. They are always excited to find out who earned the most points each day! 

ClassDojo excels the most as a communication tool between the teacher, student, and parents.  The parents are able to see  a wider picture of their child's daily experiences in class.  It is more transparent for teachers, parents, and kids. Not to mention that the program also provides more specific feedback to look at student behaviors and the social skills they're learning. The reports are also very infomative for parents!

We also felt it was essential to include this daily communication with families. We as a third grade team, shared
the ClassDojo Messenger app with our families so they can monitor their child's progress and communicate with us. This has been a WONDERFUL means of communication!  We all have 100% of our parents signed up and using it!  I can easily send out a "Whole Class Broadcast" to share something quickly with all of m families at the same time, or I can individually message families as well! 

As with anything, Class Dojo's effectiveness is dependent largely upon  how you use it -- it definitely works best with continued and consistent use.  Please know that it will only be as good as the attitude you bring to its implementation and the consistency in which you as an educator are prepared to handle!!  Here are some of my students thoughts about Class Dojo...

"Class Dojo is awesome because you earn positive points and then you can use your points to buy a special privilege or something in our store." Matthew age 9

"I like Class Dojo because it helps me to make good choices!"  Malachi age 8

"Class Dojo is fun because you can make your own avatar and buy things that you earn on your own."  Sophie age 9

CLASS DOJO IS THE WAY TO GO!!! (Mrs. Klamm's Third Grade Kids!)

Friday, March 27, 2015

iCan Publish My Own iBook!


The NE iBooks Project is a partnership between schools, state agencies and non-profit organizations across Nebraska for the common purpose of providing quality instructional materials. .  

Last night student from my third grade class were invited to the NE iBook Project Showcase that was held in Bellevue, NE.  Their were four students from our class that were sharing their iBooks about Jamestown.  Students had completed this as part of a social studies assessment.  Throughout our unit students took notes from their social studies books using Notability, they completed research from various documents that were housed in iTunes U, created a Popplet to organizing their information and thinking, and they used several apps (Trading Cards, Screen Chomp, Pic Collage, to name a few) and "App-Smashed" them together. Finally all this information was pulled together and students wrote their Jamestown book using Book Creator initially and then we turned them into an iBook!

Each child visited with Kristina Peters the eLearning Specialist & School Library Liaison for the NE Department of Education and Mark Billington the Representative from Apple  about their iBook project.  They discussed how their book was created and the various apps they used in order to achieve their completed project.
 Families were there to share in this exciting and informative event along with school district representatives and our technology coaches.

As the classroom teacher I must admit that I was EXTREMELY proud of the efforts and the students abilities to share their experiences with confidence and poise.  Each book is a representation of their hard work and efforts and is authentic to their age and ability.  They are all officially PUBLISHED AUTHORS!!

Once again the iPad has forever transformed the way that I teach and measure student learning!  The opportunities, ideas, and possibilities are endless!!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

iTry iCan iLearn iSucceed

 iTry iCan iLearn iSucceed!

Our class motto is the first thing students see when they enter the classroom each day and the last thing they see before leaving.  It exemplifies the attitude about learning in our classroom.  I knew we needed  a motto that would not only be inspirational, but one that would keep us motivated while guiding us to a common goal....success in learning!!
The "iTry"  signified that we would try our best no matter the challenge.  The "iCan" was the attitude we would have towards our learning. The "iLearn" represented that we learn not only by our success but by our failures as well.  The "iSucceed" was the ultimate goal, no matter what, we can all succeed with the right attitude and belief.   As we developed our motto (with some guidance) it became part of our class iPad culture.  We became a true community of learners with common goals!

I remember the feelings of hesitation and apprehension I felt when I began teaching with this new technology.  I questioned whether I would be able to achieve the demanding rigor of the curriculum in a timely manner.  What was I going to do if the kids struggled?  What if I couldn't answer their questions?  What if I was unable to solve a problem?  How would I share this learning with families?  Would I be able to collect data to show that what I was attempting was working?  How would I explain to  building and district administration the advantage to utilizing iPads versus traditional materials?  Would I be able to keep up with the district learning objectives while trying to teach the apps that are necessary for basic iPad use?  How would I find the time to meet all the requirements for second grade?  These questions ran through my head numerous times.  I was taking a HUGE risk moving from what I knew and had spent twenty-three years of teaching doing.    Taking this "challenge" changed my teaching forever!  I embraced the idea and never looked back.  It was the best decision of my teaching career! 

The day that I handed each student their iPad, I can't help but remember the looks on my students faces and the excitement that permeated the classroom!  It was at that moment that I chose to be okay with not having all the answers.  I had to be flexible, patient, and determined.   The training that I received, the supportive coaches that I worked with, and the students excitement and enthusiasm were all the elements necessary to start this amazing learning journey.  Each day we built upon our understandings and the students abilities quickly grew. All of the questions I had initially, slowly dissipated.   I was amazed at the engagement of the students in their learning and their willingness to try anything!  

The collaboration, inspiration, problems solving, and sense of community that began to happen in my classroom was invigorating!  The students and I were learning together.  They couldn't wait to show me something they had discovered and they enjoyed showing one another what they had learned.  Each student's confidence grew and even those that were hesitant to start were reassured by their peers.  It was truly a learning community.  I found myself many times becoming the "guide on the side" and letting students take the lead in their learning.

My students looped up to third grade with me this year and I cannot tell you how much the students have grown!   Their confidence and ability to use the iPad continuously amazes me.  When learning about a new topic I can't wait to see how the students will choose to show me what they have learned.  The students love having choices in how they share their learning with me and their classmates.  They are inspired by one another!  I can't help but feel giddy when I see a student has made a connection or created something that I hadn't even thought of doing.

The joy in teaching for me is watching students become inspired and watching their faces when they have learned something new.  The pride that they show when they share their learning with their parents and siblings is priceless.
I am so glad that  "iTried" , that "iLearned", and that "iSucceeded!!" 

mottoes are inspirational in nature

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mottoes are inspirational in nature

Read more :
mottoes are inspirational in nature

Read more :
mottoes are inspirational in nature

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Merry "Grinchmas" And Happy New Year!

During the holidays I wanted to do something special for my kids at school.  In past years, on the last day before break,  I would have a "Polar Express" send off.   Well this year  I wanted something new and fun to do.  So, with the help of Pinterest, I planned:  
Merry "Grinchmas"!!  

I sent an email to all my families letting them know ahead of time about the plan for the day!  Then I invited student to wear their favorite "Grinch Attire" to school for the day!   

"Grinchmas" started of with Grinch style donuts that I have specially made at a local donut place in town.  I wanted them to be "Grinchmas" looking and this is how they turned out!  They even did the "Grinch Green" that I requested! 

I have to mention our drink for the day!  As you look at the table you will see cups with straws of red and green.  We made
"Grinch Grog" using a favorite old recipe of mine.  All you need is two scoops of green sherbert and a can of Sprite per glass.  
The kids poured in their own soda, so prep was quick! It was green and delicious! We even shared some the the "Grinch" himself! 


After much "Grinchy Jubiliation" we began our activities for the day.   Of course we started with the story
 THE GRINCH  and then proceeded to tie our learning to the story through out the day!  These are some of the activities that we did, thanks to the help of Teacher Pay Teachers!!
Figurative language, synonyms and antonyms, mulitplication and more! 

As I planned the day, I was trying to come up with a gift for the kids that would tie in with our theme for the day! 
Thanks to the help of some clever "Pinterest Pinners" I was able to create "Grinchy Gifts" for my students as well!

I had to find my "inner artist" and a steady hand to draw on their ornaments.  I created the tag and added my favorite line from the story! 

Of course I had to find some a cute "Grinch" way to decorate their gift these worked out perfectly!  

Adding a "Grinch Candy Cane" was the perfect way to complete the gift!

The students and I had a wonderful "Grinchmas" together!  It was a really fun day to plan and I can't wait until next year to build upon the excitement.  I have included my Pinterest board link if you would like to see other ideas that you can do too!!  Can't wait for next year!