Thursday, September 20, 2012

Technology in the Classroom

I found some great free websites at the end of last school year and they worked really great in my class. I decided to start them at the beginning of the school year with my new class...not being too sure if my students would be able to handle it?! Can you believe I actually thought that?  Kids now a days have IPads and IPods since pre-k!  LOL! So here are a few of the websites I use in my classroom for free.....did I mention that they are free?
  The first site is It's a site where you combine the joy of reading with the power of helping others. We Give Books is a new digital initiative that enables anyone with access to the Internet to put books in the hands of children who don't have them, simply by reading online. As a teacher you choose a campaign to support, like Todos a Leer,  read a free children's book online today and help donate new storybooks to thousands of children throughout the state of Jalisco in Mexico.

  I taught my students to select the tab All Books and age range of 4-7 of any type of book at the main selection. You can specify from 8-10 or teen and even select by author.
My students love to read these books.  I was able to check out four mini-laptops from my school to keep in my I just log them in and keep them all on that page. There's a quick sign up at the beginning but after that the access if very easy. I have all four laptops signed in at the same time with only one account. Not only are my students reading but we are helping get books into the hands of needy children.

Another website I use on a daily basis in my class is  This is a web based program that helps kids master basic math facts. This program can be used in the classroom as well as at home. Once you sign up and create your classroom a pin code is also created for the parents so that if they choose they can use it at home as well.

I get a weekly report of how my students are doing. The goal is to reach 100 addition facts mastery. Addition because that's where I started my class. You can select addition and subtraction up to division even beginning algebra. Again, the most important thing is it's free. My students love to go to the computer and beat the teacher at a timed fact exercise, they seem to forget that they are learning.

If you use technology in your classroom please post here what website you use. I would love to continue to expose my students to all the available learning opportunities that are out there.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Expository Writing

At the end of the year we changed our focus from fiction writing to expository writing. We began the unit by introducing expository texts on animals and insects to our students. We charted  features of expository texts, such as headings, captions, and photographs
                   over a period of a couple of weeks. 

After being exposed to numerous types of expository texts, we then had our students select and research one animal or insect. They read every book on their animal they could find in our classroom library, school library or local library as well as read articles or stories online. They created a diorama of their animals habitat and gave an oral presentation as well of all they had learned about their animal.
After all they learned our students culminated their project by writing their own expository articles about their animals. I was so excited to see them make their own table of contents page as well as have bold print for headings.
My favorite was seeing their author page. I especially enjoyed how my students pointed out that they needed to list all of their previous publications just like Mo Willems does at the end of his books! 
Of course at the end we displayed all their great writing proudly for all to see.