Thursday, November 19, 2015

Loving Padlet for Student Engagement

Hi All!  Since my passion is integrating technology into my instruction, I decided to take the plunge and join Tech with Jen's VIP Membership.
Tech with Jen
This has been the best thing I have done so far this school year! This is a community of learners who are eager to learn more about implementing technology within their daily instruction.  Each month Jen provides weekly challenges.  For the month of November its all about student engagement and how to use technology to help!  

To complete week one's challenge I decided to use Padlet to engage my students. We are just beginning to study food chains and I wanted to see how much my students actually knew. Padlet was a great tool to use to assess their understanding. Creating my Padlet board was quick and easy.  I literally created this board in just a few seconds!  I just typed in my question and shared the Padlet board with my students.  All they had to do was double click on the board and begin typing!

After we discussed food chains (on day two), I then created another Padlet that allowed students to watch a video and then create a food chain from one of the 5 ecosystems we have studied in class.  This allowed for some great classroom discussion on food chains as some of the food chains students created were incorrect.  My students were able to successfully apply the meaning of omnivores, carnivores, and herbivores during their discussion!! After they created their food chain, students then researched the web for more information on food chains.  Their challenge was to find an image that was close to their food chain and add it to their post on Padlet. I was very impressed with what they produced!  The most important thing was that I had 100% of my students engaged throughout this entire lesson with the help of technology!

What might be some ways you can use Padlet to engage your students? Or how have you used Padlet in your classroom?  I would love to hear your thoughts!  Thanks Jen for the challenge!  I am ready for week two!

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

TpT Seller Challenge Week Two: Dare to Dream

I am a week behind in my TpT Seller's Challenge, but I am determined to get caught up!  This past week has been busy with getting my son back and forth to dance practice in order to prepare for his trip to Las Vegas for the National Dance Awards Competition and preparing for our trip.  Now that we are in Vegas and my son is in his dance class, I can spend some time getting caught up on my TpT Seller's Challenge!

Week two of the challenge is Dare to Dream.  I have so many goals for my TpT store, but I am going to only share my top two goals.

Goal #1: Pay dance tuition!


This year my son made the company dance team!  Whoop Whoop!  I was super excited for him because dancing is his passion!  Little did I know the cost is very expensive.  There is monthly tuition and membership fees, costumes which have to be purchased, travel and hotel expenses (like this Las Vegas trip to the Dance Awards National Convention), and the cost of the three dance conventions we attend each year.  Oh, did I mention that there is a cost for each dance piece my son dances in at each convention. Oh yeah, there is also the cost of his weekly private lessons! No, private lessons are not included in the monthly tuition fee!  So as you can see dance is quite expensive. TpT has helped me cover a great deal of my son's dance! I thank God for giving me the ability to create great resources to help supplement my income for my son's dream! 

Goal #2: Help teachers to be successful!

I love helping teachers!  My goal is that TpT will help me to a develop a PLC that will allow me to share various professional development opportunities that will help teachers be successful in the classroom.  For example, I am very big on flipping the classroom.  I would love to create an entire online workshop on flipping the classroom and share it with other teachers.  I want to develop creative resources for teachers to use to help them get started with flipping their classroom as well as resources for students to use within the flipped classroom. This is just one example of the many ideas I have for teacher professional development.

These are just two of my goals for TpT.  My second goal is going to take some time, but just sitting her blogging about it has my mind working overtime!  Off I go to put some things on paper to begin developing the PLC that will help teachers be successful!  Do you have any ideas that would help me get started?  I would love to hear from you!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

TpT Sellers Challenge: Week #1 Makeover Madness

I have taken on the TpT Seller's Challenge hosted by these four amazing bloggers -
This challenge came at the perfect time!  One of my goals this summer is to spend more time on my Teachers Pay Teacher store.  The challenge began this week and I have been busy, busy, busy trying to complete the first challenge - Makeover Madness.  The first product that needed a serious makeover is my 13 Formative Assessments to Use With Any Subject.  I have wanted to update this product for the longest!  As a matter of fact my intern was looking through my store and said about this product, "This must have been one of your first products because you would never create anything like this now!" I knew then I had to do a huge makeover! I was going to just update the cover, but then thought to myself - Go for the gusto and update the entire product!

As you can see the cover is more pleasing to the eye!  The different fonts make the cover page pop and the graphics add a nice touch.  I have also added the grades which this product is appropriate for and my copyright has also been added to the product.
I have also changed the borders and the graphics on each assessment page, making them a bit bolder. I wanted to give the product a more clean look and feel!  The fonts have also been changed making it much easier to read. Finally, my copyright has been added to each assessment which was not anywhere on the first product!  So, if you already own this product and like the makeover, be sure to head over to 
and download the updated version!

If you like this new look and would like to have it for your class next year, you are in luck! It is currently on sale!  Click here to head over to my store to grab it!  Check out the video for a quick preview of some of the assessments I have included in this product for you and their new makeover!  

Be sure to check back for more product makeovers!

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Teensy Tabs: End of School Year Memory Booklet

It is so hard to believe that the end of the school year is here!  We have 14 more days of school left, but whose counting?! :) How many do you have?!  I have many activities planned to help keep my students engaged these last few days of school.  One activity is my Teensy Tabs: End of School Year Memory Booklet.  My students loved completing this end of year activity. This booklet allowed them to share their favorite experiences from this school year.  It also gave them the opportunity to share some of the things they liked about me as their teacher.  I always love this part of any end of the school year memory book!  Once students completed their books they were allowed to share them with their classmates and sign the autograph page at the end of the booklet.

Teensy Tabs is a new concept that I have used this year with my students.  If you like Teensy Tabs: End of School Year Memory Booklet, be sure to check out my World War I and What is Matter Teensy Tab booklets!

Teensy Tab booklets can be used as a study tool and as a way to assess student leanring of a particular concept or skill.  I often use them in the place of a quiz! Students especially love this!  Students can also staple their Teensy Tab booklet in their interactive journals so that they will always have them right there at their fingertips!  I absolutely love Teensy Tabs and will be working on more this summer!  What would you like to see in a Teensy Tab booklet?  

Monday, January 26, 2015

Using VoiceThread for Quizzes

For the past two weeks we have been studying the features of the ocean floor. I wanted a creative way to assess students' understanding, so I thought...why not use VoiceTread!  VoiceThread is an interactive collaboration and sharing tool that enables users to add images, documents, and videos, and to which other users can add voice, text, audio file, or video comments.

First, students were given a grading rubric for this assessment.  I wanted them to know exactly how this assessment would be graded.  This rubric was given several days in advance, as I wanted them to have it as they studied.  

Part #1 of the quiz required students to illustrate the ocean floor.  As they created their illustration, the rubric pointed out which features needed to be included.  After they created their illustrations, I then took a picture of each ocean floor and uploaded them all to VoiceThread.  Part #2 of the quiz required students to go into VoiceThread, find their illustration and record themselves using the drawing tools to identify and describe the features of the ocean floor. Just as they can upload and record, I, too, can do the same. As you can see on the first illlustration I have provided feedback.  I can provide either a video, text, or voice feedback.  Not only can I go in to provide feedback, the students can also go in and provide feedback for their peers.  Take a few minutes to click on the arrows to check out some of my students' work!

The students enjoyed this assessment.  It was different from paper pencil and it gave them the opportunity to be creative and to use their speaking skills.  Now, off to grade this assignment I go! If you would like to learn how to use VoiceThread I will be more than happy to create a post on it!  What are some ways you might be able to use VoiceThread in your classroom?

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Blended Learning in Math

I am always looking for new and innovative ways to engage my students and ensure that they are learning at their instructional level.  This year I decided to try blended learning. Blended learning is where  a portion of the traditional face-to-face instruction is replaced by web-based online learning. Here is a great video that does an awesome job explaining blended learning.

I started my blended learning journey by taking a professional development class offered through my school district.  After several sessions, the instructor decided he wanted to come visit my class to see how I was coming along.  Needless to say, I was very hesitate having him come to observe.  I had just started the learning process and felt like I wasn't ready for anyone to come see what I was doing! Based on his feedback he was very impressed with what he saw, to my amazement! At the beginning of this week he sent me an email asking if he could send several teachers from my district, who are interested in blended learning, come see it in action.  My response was, "See who? Me!?"

So on yesterday, I was put on display...Ready or not!  Lol!!  I have been implementing blended learning into my math instruction, so this is what the teachers observed.  To being my lesson, I wanted students to assess their own understanding of division.  I used a Google Form to gather this information. Using the information, I created several activities to help review division. The activities included watching a teacher created review video, coaching sessions with task cards, working with a small group of students, and creating a lesson teaching other 5th graders how to divide.

I created my video review lesson using Educreations, which is an ipad app (this is the web-based online learning part of blended learning). Those students who felt they needed another lesson before the test watched the video.  While they were watching the lesson they were to complete a handout I created.  Having students complete the handout required them to be accountable for their learning.  I also added a QR code to the corner of the handout so that students will be able to access the video at home, if needed.

 I also worked with a small group of students who felt they needed more instruction and practice with me.  While these students were working on problems I assigned, I would walk around the class to assist any other students who needed additional help and to check on their progress.  This was also a great time for me to answer any questions they may have had.

Other students had coaching sessions with their peers using division task cards from Math Mojo.  Students enjoy coaching sessions as it gives them the opportunity to explain their thinking and to learn different strategies from their classmates.

Finally, students who felt like they were experts on division were given the task of creating a video teaching a group of 5th graders how to divide.

At the end of the lesson, we came back together as a group and had a class discuss.  There are many ways to use blended learning in the classroom.  If you are using blended learning, I would love to hear how you use it!  

Blog Header Update

I am not sure if you have noticed or not, but my blog header has been updated!  Thank you to Christi Fultz from Designs by Christi for the update.  I absolutely love it!  I really like having my social media buttons located at the top of my blog. My Twitter account has now been added, so if you are on Twitter be sure to follow Diary of a 5th Grade Teacher by clicking the Twitter button at the top of the page! 

Once again, thank you Christi for your amazing work!  
How do you like the new look?

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Sunday Scoop - January 11, 2015

Happy Sunday!  It's time for the Sunday Scoop!

Be sure to head over to Teaching Trio to check out what other bloggers are doing today.  Here is what Diary of a 5th Grade Teacher has on her agenda for this wonderful day.  Enjoy!

My students are working on writing a five paragraph expository paper on their  goals for the New Year.  I found this cute craftivity that I am going to use to display their writing.  I had to run out to Michael's to pick up some cute ribbon to use for this craftivity. Check back later this week as I plan to blog about this craftivity! :)

I use blended learning in my math class and I have to create my videos using Educreations for the lessons.  We are finishing up dividing with decimals so I have about three more lessons to complete.  I also need to create the handout the students complete as they watch their videos. Here is an example of one of the handouts students use.

One of my goals for the New Year is to be better prepared each day.  Ironing my clothes for the week helps me with this!  I don't have to worry about what I am going to wear each morning.  If my clothes are already ironed I can just  go in the closet and pick out the first thing that is on the hanger!

I am currently working on a fractions product for my TpT store since this is the next unit we will be studying in math.  I am hoping to finish it up today.  If not, maybe tomorrow!

Relax, relax, relax!!  Everyone loves it when they can relax!

Finally, I am happy to chat with my olderest son.  He leaves in Charlotte, North Carolina and doesn't come home as often as I like. So anytime that we get a change to chat is always great!  I miss him to pieces!  

I hope you are having an awesome Sunday!

Saturday, January 10, 2015

First Day From Winter Break

We had a blast our first day back from winter break.  I was a little worried that the students would be a bit tired and lack focus, but this was not the case!  They were eager to share their holiday experiences with classmates.  We did this by playing Find Somebody Who...  The students had to mill around the room to find students who did certain activities listed on a handout.  This got them up and moving and sharing all the fun and exciting things that went on over the break!  I love Find Somebody Who.. and was able to grab this freebie from Fourth and Ten.

I also wanted my students to focus on what they would need to do to make the rest of the school year a success for them.  This included letting me know, as their teacher, what would they need from me. So we reviewed writing SMART goals (Specific, Measureable, Acceptable, Reasonable, and Timely).  We also had a huge discussion on some things that they wanted me to consider changing. For example, I don't give very many study guides. Instead I provide other engaging tasks that take the place of study guides (that's another blog post!).  This, of course, was one of the things students want me to change.  So, I have decided to give out study guides; however, they will not be the kind that just gives them the answers.  They will require the students to think and to put in some work!  I can't wait to see their reactions when they get their first science study guide that I am currently working on!  So totally not what they are expecting!! :)

Anyway, students had to answer the following 4 questions:  
1.  Our classroom should be ________ everyday.
2.  What is one SMART goal you have the 2015?
3.  In order to be successful in 2015 I will _______.
4.  What do you need from Ms. Scriven in order to be successful for the remaining of the school year?

Students had a great time with this activity and I enjoyed the discussions that came along with it! Now it's time for us to hit the ground running so students can begin working on some of their SMART goals!  What did you do the first day back from winter break? I would love to hear from you!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Sunday Scoop - First One of the Year

 Happy New Year!  I have been away from the blogging scene for a minute, but one of my goals for the new year is to blog more in 2015.  What a great way to start the New Year by linking up with Teaching Trio for the first Sunday Scoop of the year!  So here we go...

Like the rest of you, I have to complete, or should I say begin, working on lesson plans for the upcoming week.  I know what we will be working on, I just need to complete the plans.  In math we will  be finishing up our unit on division, we will begin reading Lyddie by Kathering Paterson in reading.  This novel will tie in with out unit of study of the Industrial Revolution in social studies.  Students will also be introduced to the ocean floor in science.  

I am such a techie person and I LOVE finding and using new forms of technology to enhance my instruction and to engage my students.  Over the break I have been playing around with VoiceThread and absolutely love it!  I will be using this to introduce the novel, Lyddie.  I also flip my classroom and I am always looking for tools to use to create my videos so that I can easily share them with my students.  While I was up at 2:00 a.m. this morning I ran across Office Mix.  Office Mix is an add on to Power Point which allows you to transforms them as videos!  You can embed quizzes, polls, other videos, and websites.  I can't wait to play with this!  Oh, and I will be blogging about it! Check out this intro video. 

I am always happy to spend time with my 10 year old son!  To finish up his winter break we will be reading together while sipping on a cup of hot chocolate under the electric blanket!  We will be reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul.

Be sure to head over to Teaching Trio to link up with the Sunday Scoop Linky and to see what others are doing on the first Sunday of the New Year!

What will you be doing today (besides lesson plans) :)?