It's April WHAT?!

Are we really half way through April already?! Ay yi yi!!!  I hope everyone had a wonderful and relaxing spring break! I was able to go to Vegas for a few days with some of my college girlfriends and then spend the rest of the time with family. It was...perfect :) I spent ten days away from my classroom and did zero work...we need these breaks and so do our kids. I believe I am a better teacher when I fully commit to a break from school--I come back feeling so refreshed and ready to have some fun with my class. It's all about the relationships and those relationships cannot thrive with a clouded mind. Take a few extra hours to prep before the break and enjoy yourself :)

Tech Tip of the Week

To add to my list of favorite apps and activities for word work--I introduce to you, Popplet! Popplet is  a graphic organizer accessible via the web and the app store (free and paid versions). My students are pros using this app on the iPad. I set aside roughly 20 minutes at the beginning of the year to walk them through how to use it and my expectations. We use the free version (the free version does not allow you to save anything) so I have trained them to add their name to the Popplet and then screen shot it when they are done (accountability and check for understanding!). 

This app can be used in SO many ways--but I want to share how I use it during my literacy block and RTI time because it's an easy, practically paperless way to get kids moving while they learn! 

I lay out (or hang on the walls/their lockers) words/sentences/pictures depending on the activity. The students move around, read the words/sentences/pictures, and then sort them on the screen. They can type, write or take a picture of what they are sorting (so cool!). We sort real vs. nonsense words, word families, spelling patterns, questions vs. statements, adjectives vs. nouns vs. verbs. The possibilities are endless! You could find a use for this app in any subject area (I projected it on the screen the other day as we sorted needs and wants during social studies!). Check out the f.u.n. below!

Popplet in ACTION!


Weeks like these make me thankful for the seating options available to my students. I do not believe in asking a first grader to sit still all day long. Yes, I do have moments in my day where students are required to sit relatively still, but any other time in our day I allow them to choose how they work. We are back at school this week after a 10 day spring break, and my kids are...well...7 year olds! They are wiggly, fidgety and full of energy--as they should be :) In addition to some extra play time this week, students also have the option to work in the way that helps them be successful.

A few months ago, my Donors Choose request was fully funded (to my surprise!!). My students and I received 7 Hokki Stools and 2 exercise balls for alternative seating. It was SO exciting for my students and I. The new stools and medicine balls allow my students to wiggle while they learn and keep their brains on. All of my kids sit on the stools differently but they all have a similar focused look on their faces :) I am looking into buying a Hokki Stool for myself soon!

Students also have the option to stand at a heightened table! I tell my kids I do not care how they sit or stand, as long as they are trying their best and getting their best work done. My students generally prefer the stools over other seating arrangements, so we rotate through them in alphabetical order (this means kids are sitting on them every third day). 


And of COURSE cannot forget the life saving Go Noodle brain breaks :) Our new favorite is Oh, a milkshake by the Koo Koo Kangaroo gang. So hilarious!

Here are two freebies before I go!

1.) Spring Break Homework (my kids loved this...I don't send home homework in general--but I couldn't resist this!).

2.) Instagram Writing Prompt (this was so looks so awesome on our lockers!)

Have a wonderful weekend everybody! I am headed to the wonderful city of Chicago this weekend for my cousins wedding. It will be so nice to see family from all over!

Happy Teaching!

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