Our Purpose

Our goal is to provide a spot for tested, successful, and meaningful activities for practical teachers to utilize. Look for these regular features in addition to weekly blog posts: Tech. Tip Tuesday, Wordless Wednesday (quote or picture with no additional narrative), Doodad Day (reviews of items we use in the classroom).

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Free fonts!

Are you looking for some cute, free fonts to spruce up your weekly newsletter?  Check out this site, which is home to some great scrapbook fonts and over 500 adorable handwriting fonts! You can even submit your own handwriting for consideration.

I get the cutest scrapbooking fonts at Free Scrapbook Fonts! kevinandamanda.com/fonts     I get the cutest handwriting fonts at Fonts for Peas! kevinandamanda.com/fonts

Some of my new favorites can be found in scrapbook fonts: Clingy, smiley monster, Bosshole, My Own Topher, and the Blue Cabin!

As an added bonus, Kevin and Amanda also share some of their favorite recipes on their blog...like these Soft Batch Peanut Butter Double Fudge Brownie Cookies!

Soft Batch Peanut Butter Double Fudge Brownie Cookies. Only 6 ingredients and makes the softest, richest chocolate cookies ever!!

So, what are you waiting for?  Head on over there now! You are sure to find something you'll love.

~Ella Jane

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Dojo of Behavior

I have been waiting for the official start of school to blog about one of my FAVORITE management tools!  If you haven't heard of ClassDojo, the short story is:  FREE, EASY, and POSITIVE. This tool has my complete endorsement.

I still can't get over the fact it is free!  I have been using the program of adorable little monsters for 5 school months.  In that time, improvements have been made consistently - all free. 

ClassDojo can run on an interactive whiteboard, a computer connected to a projector, or even just a Smart Phone, tablet or iPod touch! The only thing you really need is some kind of computer device in the classroom (just one, for the teacher, is enough) and an Internet connection.

This classroom tool helps teachers improve behavior in their classrooms quickly and easily. It also captures and generates data on behavior that teachers can opt to share with parents and administrators.  ClassDojo provides instant notifications for your students (‘Well done Josh! +1 for teamwork!’). My class is very attentive to the *ding* of positive behavior witnessed.  What a pleasure to focus on the modeling of positive behavior more often than the one that needs correction!

First, I set up my class' first names, entered positive point behaviors (such as helping a classmate, encouraging others, staying on task, etc.) and negative (-1 point) consequences for behavior such as no homework, arguing, inappropriate language, etc.  Each students is rewarded for earning 10 points (for now).  My rewards are no-cost class coupons (from TpT).  Current student favorites are renting the teacher's chair for the day, lunch with the teacher, and earning 10 extra minutes of recess for the class. You can reward more than one child at a time too.  Yesterday, I gave 5 members of my class each an extra point for encouraging others - all with a few clicks. 

When a reward level is earned, you set that one student back to zero - and they start earning again! I really like that option since it is not publicly embarrassing since each student may be on a different number, some for their first attempt and others for their fourth.   

Last week, a parent asked to be informed of their child's behavior.  I gave her the Parent Letter (resource).  She logged on, set a password, and can now check on her daughter's behavior anytime from her Smart Phone. For a particular child last year, the ClassDojo report (as documentation) for his Behavior Assessment was valuable!

Bonus:  You can take daily attendance on the site too.  As students arrive in the morning, they touch their avatar, which marks them present.  If you save the attendance, the points board shows only students present and earning for the day. 

Check out all the resources available to you and/or your school at   http://www.classdojo.com/share/

I guarantee you'll love it!

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Classroom Library Organization

I was a guest blogger on the site, "A Slob Comes Clean."  From the title of that blog, you can guess that I struggle a little with organization.

This summer, I decided to work on organizing my classroom library.  I wanted something simple and manageable...nothing too elaborate.  For more information on how I got from the top picture to the bottom ones, check out the entire post at http://www.aslobcomesclean.com/2013/08/classroom-library-organization-a-guest-post/.

~Ella Jane

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Worksheet Works

Do you spend a lot of time creating graphic organizers and other worksheets?  Well, I have recently come across a website that will do a lot of the work for you! Worksheet Works (www.worksheetworks.com) is an amazing FREE site with options for creating so many different worksheets!

Go to the site and play around.  I guarantee you will find something you can use!

These are just a few of my favorite worksheets you can make:

  • Fully Customizable Graphic Organizers! (T-Chart, KWHL, Venn Diagram, Frayer Model, Cycle Diagram, Compare and Contrast Matrix, and more!!)
  • Flashcards! These are listed under vocabulary, and you can choose from Dolch Words or "Flexible Vocabulary Flashcards" to add your own words.  You can even change the font and the number of words on each sheet!
  • Coordinate Picture Graphing...19 different pictures, all with options of lines/no lines, one/four quadrants.
  • Customizable Wordsearch! You can very quickly create a wordsearch with your spelling words, students' names, holiday words, etc.  You add a title, choose a font, pick upper or lower case letters, and can even select the orientation and direction of the words!
  • Hundred Chart...fully or partially filled. You will choose what percentage you would like filled from 1 to 100, and you can even use Roman Numbers if you want!
  • For Kindergarten teachers (or Moms), you can print scissors practice pages with various levels of difficulty.
  • Graph and dot paper, with different options.
  • Calendars (annual, semiannual, single, month, multi-week) and Planners (single week or hourly).
  • Handwriting practice pages...print or cursive, trace or copy, and lots of other options!
Ok, I could go on and on, but I am going to let you go and try it out! Enjoy!!