March is Reading Month

March is here! Well, almost :) How do you celebrate March is Reading Month? Our school gets SO into it and I love it. Each day, we celebrate reading in a different way and it's a fun way to show the kids how much we (the teachers and admin) love to read. To kick off the special month (and celebrate Dr. Seuss' birthday), each student gets assigned a number and their face put in the body of a "Thing." We then decorate their lockers with the "Things." Our amazing reading team puts it all together (shout out to Rita and Maggie). You're going to need to reference the picture below to understand that one... 

Super cute right?! I have another awesome March is Reading Month activity for you all but first...time for the  -->

Tech Tip of the Week

This past Friday, we tried two new tech activities. The first was Dance Mat Typing. This is an exciting and interactive way to learn how to "touch type." Touch typing is the fastest way to express your thoughts through writing--even faster than with a pen and paper. The program teaches you to type without looking at the keyboard. I LOVE letting my kids use this program because just about any job they will have one day will require them to use a computer (added bonus: letter recognition). They love it, too. I can remember back when I was in 3rd grade we had keyboards that had different levels that taught us to type. It was my favorite part of the day--and by the end of the year, my mom was convinced I would have a career in closed captioning! Haha! 


We also tried a f r e e app called Cargo-bot. Let me start by saying this program is pretty difficult...and I'm not just saying that because it took me 20 minutes to pass level 4 the night before I introduced it :) This is when having high expectations for your students comes in handy because two of my students finished level 4 in five my defense they were working together and I was figuring it out all on my own.... :) HA! On a more serious note, this app is great for unleashing the desire to program and code. You have to teach the crane robot how to move the cargo boxes for up to 36 levels! There is a lot problem solving and critical thinking required to solve these puzzles--and (as always) my favorite part is watching my kids work together and then celebrate their successes! 

Another really cool/fun fact about this app: it was the first app ever programmed entirely on an iPad. 

March is Reading Month

Looking to spice up Reading Month? Download the app Aurasma and let's get started. 

Step 1: Have your students pick one of their favorite books.

Step 2: Give your students ample time to draw and color the cover of their book on paper (try using this). 

Helpful Hint: Make this a big deal! I demonstrated drawing the cover of my favorite book and pointed out the different features to pay attention to--colors, sizes of words, sizes of pictures, etc.). 

Take a look at what my FIRST GRADERS did for this step...I mean maybe I am biased but this looks like upper elementary work to me. They worked SO hard...I am so proud #teartear . It is amazing what students will do when it relates to something in their life! Passion Project! 


I can't stop bragging about their's just SO good!

Step 3: Record student videos. Use an iPad, iPhone, laptop, camera or any recording device for students to share their projects. My students said something along the lines of, "Hi my name is Miss Stasiak and my favorite book is _________. I chose this as my favorite book because _________. Someone else might enjoy this book because _____________." 

Step 4: Link videos to book covers using Aurasma. Using this app, you can turn your students book cover into a trigger (kind of like a QR code) so that when you scan the book cover with the app, their video will pop up! Other students in the school can watch the videos and learn about new books. This time of year is also great to do this project for parents to view during Parent Teacher Conferences. Aurasma is (simply put) SO COOL--if you have never checked it out, please take some time to do so! I'll try to post soon about other ways I incorporate it in my classroom (vocab lessons). 

Want to learn more about how to use Aurasma? This step-by-step youtube video is great.

Step 5: Post the books on lockers for all to see! You will want to let people know that the pictures on your lockers so something awesome, so here are two freebies for ya! 

Let me know how you use Aurasma in your classroom--or if you decide to celebrate March is Reading Month with this activity. I would love to hear about it! Spring and spring break are around the corner...fingers crossed for warmer weather :) Keep doing what you're doing and inspiring kids everywhere!

Happy, happy teaching! 


Yesterday I participated in a Breakout EDU hosted by our absolutely incredible tech team at Godfrey Lee. Have you ever heard of the Great Escape Room? Well, it is just like that but with an academic twist and a sneaky way of incorporating your many, many standards :) Your students (or staff) have to collaborate as a team, problem solve, trouble shoot and use critical thinking to solve their challenge. Those are some real LIFE skills we use each and everyday. I don't know about you guys, but I will jump at any opportunity to have my students exposed to something like this--because my job is not only to have students reach their full potential academically, but to also make sure they one day be able to function on their own in the real world (aka be problems solvers!!!). 

A group of seven of us teachers were put in a classroom and had to find a way to open a box that had 4 different types of locks keeping it shut (in under 45 minutes...I was #stressin). There were clues/resources scattered throughout the room that we had to find, interpret and then use to help us figure out how to open the locks. Our fearless tech team leaders were there to act as facilitators and provide 2 hints at any time throughout the breakout if we felt we needed them. 

The Breakout EDU website does a great job breaking it down, here

Sooo how did it end? We did it! And with five minutes to spare :o) *Fun fact--we completed it about 4 minutes faster than admin* hehe. We took time after to debrief and take our victory picture.

Here were some of our take aways:
  • Time FLEW by. Before we knew it we were given our 10 minute warning and then 5 minutes later we were done! Don't judge me for being cliche when I say..time flies when you're having fun! Working together and being able to celebrate our accomplishment was fun. 
  • Everyone had a different role. In any type of group activity you are going to have leaders, worker bees, thinkers, soft-spoken members, outspoken members, etc. An activity like this allows you as a teacher to see who your students are. To be able to sit back and watch them work can be very telling!
  • This is what the real world is like. Think about your day-to-day life. How often are you problem solving? In my opinion, we are problem solving 24/7 (and a huge chunk of our 24/7 is when we are at our jobs). This activity gives students the opportunity practice and learn how to be problem solvers in real life situation. Lacking direction? Be a leader. Need help? Ask for it. Have an idea? Speak up. Overwhelmed? Take a break.
A very big thank you to Sarah Wood, Kelly McGee, and Daniel Townsend for setting up and facilitating my very first Breakout EDU! Our tech team is THE best :o) Sarah has actually created a lower elem Breakout EDU that I am very excited to try in my classroom! I'll be sure to share that experience with you guys.  Check out Sarah's take on Breakout EDU, here.

Sarah also shared a couple of links with us in case you are feeling inspired and want to try Breakout EDU in your classroom!

Breakout EDU Facebook Community

Breakout EDU Educator Created Games

On a final note--

Please consider donating to Godfrey Lee Public Schools Donors Choose project that will allow us to have more Breakout EDU kits and opportunities for our students! 

Have a wonderful weekend everybody!
Happy teaching!

100 days of Awesome

Does February FLY by for you guys?! Holy seems like each week there is a new holiday or activity happening...I also have 4 birthday' a week #cupcakesoncupcakes . I choose to embrace the chaos though and have fun with it! I would not want my classroom any other way. Busy = good! Plus, it gives me lots to blog about ;) 

Before I get started--is anyone going to MACUL in March? It is in Grand Rapids (wahoo) so I will have a 5 minute drive there. Meet me there or follow my days at the conference on Twitter

Tech Tip of the Week

We celebrated 100 Days of School this week! Wahoo. This is one of my favorite celebrations. After 100 days, my kiddos have blossomed into almost second graders! That's one of the reasons I love teaching first grade--so much growth in one short year! 

My favorite way to celebrate this celebration is by using the app Aging Booth. The kids manage the app themselves and turn themselves into old geezers! Then, we write about what we think life will be like when we are 100--by far, my favorite writing to read all year. I get the most hilarious responses. I'll never forget last year one of my students wrote, "I will walk reel slow. I will be scinny. I will break up with my boyfrend and he will be jelis of me. This is my feychur." Too cute. Anyway, check out some of our projects below.

Oh and here's me 75 years from now.


I have to comment real quick on the device that is holding my iPad. I got the idea from one of my favorite bloggers, Keeping Up with Mrs. Harris. It is an iPad holder that clips onto a desk/countertop. It has changed my classroom life! It is great for my to always have it in one spot and it makes it easy to access at any time (perfect if you like to project timers). It was also great for this particular activity because I did not have to worry about the kids dropping my precious iPad! :) So far, it has held the weight of my iPad just fine--we will see how it holds up over time! You can find the clip mount or others like it, here

100th Day Continued

We continued our 100th Day celebration with some K and 1st grade friends across the hall. We made fruit loop necklaces, licked lollipops, flipped coins, finger painted and exercised! Check out our party below!


Want our exercises? Click here.

They flipped a coin 100 times and kept track of how many heads and tails using tallies.


100 finger prints!


100 fruit loops on a necklace


100 lollipop licks! I found this lollipop freebie, here.

Roll & Color                                Color Page

We also starting our morning with these adorable coloring freebies!

Peek at my Week Pick-Me-Up (s)

1.) Roll up the Rim is back at Tim Horton's...yay!! As if coffee isn't good enough, now I have hope of winning a car as I drink.

2.) 3-day is a picture of the delicious breakfast my co-worker and I had after we slept in on Monday :) Omelette's, pancakes and favorite.

3.) Being silly with my little guys at our Valentine's party #mustacheclique


Hoping everyone has a fab-u-lous weekend! Happy teaching!!

L is for the way I LOVE my job

February is such a short, quick month--cannot believe we are half way through it! The prep for March is Reading Month has begun! I have some fun things planned for my kiddos so stay tuned to find out what they are! Gotta get through February first :) 

Tech Talk Tip of the Week

Most recently, we tested out and fell in love with Color Alive! Simply download the Crayola Color Alive app, color your picture, and scan to watch your picture come to life! (Explicit directions can be found, here). There is a free coloring page if you would like to test it out! You can buy various coloring books online or at your local Target, Meijier, Walmart, etc. REALLY cool even if you just want to have some fun with your kids at home.

But..why do this at school? Well for starters...I've never seen my kids do such AMAZING coloring :) hehe. They were so focused and proud of their work. Secondly, I absolutely love watching my kiddos collaborate. When they use apps like this, they work together to discover new things and solve problems. How did you do that? ... Whoa!! Look at this...Can you help me?...Oh, I know how to do that let me show you! These are all the things I get to hear when we do these activities. Most recently, we used this as our fun Friday activity. We spent about 45 minutes coloring and playing with our pictures. If you want to use this app and incorporate one of your many standards, use it for writing! I find that these are a great way to motivate kids to write. Have them write a narrative about their their work in the hallway and let the other kids in the school freak out over their 3D pictures! 


Look at them working together! Too cute! 

Another app similar to this one (that has more f.r.e.e. coloring pages, check out Quiver).

Hearts on Hearts on Hearts

I loooove the week of Valentine's. The kids love making cards and making everyone feel too :) We made cupcakes for our lockers and wrote about why first grade is SWEET :) Almost everybody said P.E. was their favorite (shout out to the amazing Julie Swanson). Lots of talk about PLAY and recess and loving school. All I need to hear :) 


For our amazing Moms and Dads, we told them we love them to pieces.


Last but not least, here are some of my favorite Valentine's Day Books. 


 Target Purchase of the Week

I left Target on Sunday spending only $10 #worldrecord 

Check out these mini mailboxes from the $1 section. We used them to sort blends this week! Perfect for the week of our Valentine's party :) It was a nice way to spice up our centers and RTI time. 

Do you all have a mid-winter break? We have Monday off but will be back teaching the little guys on Tuesday! Have a wonderful long weekend/break! Eat lots of deserve it ;)

Happy teaching!