Freebie Friday!

Yesterday was the BUSIEST day of my week, so I literally left the apartment at 8:15 AM and did not get back to it until 11:30 PM! It was so crazy, but I made some money babysitting, got some work done in my room, and helped pull off another successful performance of my church’s summer drama program ūüôā Of course, in the midst of the business, I had no time to sit down and write my Friday blog entry for the last day of Teacher Week!

Anyways, yesterday was Freebie Friday; sorry you’re just getting the post today!

 

I have about 20 items up on Teachers Pay Teachers, two of which are completely FREE!

The first one is a popular download – Figurative Language bookmarks.

 

This is only the front – the back includes hyperbole, idioms, assonance, and onomatopoeia. I use these to go along with my Figurative Language PowerPoint. After the kids fill them out, I laminate them so that they can refer back to them throughout the year!

My second freebie is a PowerPoint relating to the Revolutionary War. Each November, we study this era of American History, looking at what led to the war, all of the important people involved, the many battles of the war, and so on. To teach this unit, I created PowerPoints for each major lesson. The “freebie” is my PowerPoint¬†about the colonists reaction to the tax enacted by the King of England, dealing with No Taxation without Representation, an important phrase during the Revolution!

Can’t wait to check out all of your freebies – thanks for stopping by!!

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Technology Tip Tuesday!

Welcome back to Fantastic Fifth Grade for Technology Tip Tuesday, hosted by Blog Hoppin’!

I absolutely LOVE using technology in my classroom!! Unfortunately, our school does not have the funds for the latest and greatest technology available to schools, but what we do have, I use ALL the time. Each classroom has a laptop for the teacher, a projector that we can hook up to our laptops, and a few computers for students (between 2 and 5). I also purchased an iPad for my classroom last year using money I had raised during our Race for Education fundraiser, so my 5th graders have this as well.

Here are a few of my technology tips:

–If you create PowerPoints to use during lessons, make them interactive! Rather than simply listing facts and pictures, add some questions, thought-provoking statements to discuss, maybe even a mini quiz in the middle. I use PowerPoints for almost all of my unit lessons, especially during our Revolutionary War unit in November and our Middle Ages unit in April. They keep the students so much more interested than if we were simply reading out of a textbook or watching a who.knows.how.old VHS on the topic. But I definitely find that those where I keep the kiddos involved throughout are so much more beneficial! Below is a great article on the basics of using PP in the classroom:

–If you only have access to one iPad like I do, don’t stress! I was really worried in the beginning that it would cause major issues between my students, but everything went so smoothly with it last year. I have downloaded lots more apps since my original post about it, including some really fun ones (that still require strategy!) such as “Where’s My Water?” and “Cut the Rope”, two of their favorites.

We had a rotation in our classroom, so each day one student was allowed to use the iPad each day. When we got to the end of the rotation, it repeated. That student was allowed to use the iPad after finishing morning work, during snack time, during literature centers, during silent reading (to read on the iBooks app Рthere are tons of free books for kids!), and, if they had it on a Friday, during KICKBACK time. One of their favorite things to do during snack time was take pictures of each other using the Photo Booth that comes on the iPad РI now have almost 700 crazy pictures of my students!!

I kept the iPad on my desk during the day, but if it was a time when they knew they could use it, they would simply come ask me for it. I liked to use it for review games with the “ClassQuiz” app, for giving a spelling test if a student was absent (I typed the words in and the app repeated them out loud to the student whenever they took the quiz!) using the “Spelling Free” app, and for an interactive whiteboard sort of idea, using the “Whiteboard” app.

I’d love to hear any apps that you and/or your upper elementary students love to use!!

–My last technology tip is a fun one. I was typing up some notes and wanted to make them a little more creative, so I decided that I wanted the words to be in a spiral shape! However, I had no idea how to do this without a fancy program like Photoshop. Thank goodness for this website:¬†http://www.festisite.com/text-layout/¬†!! You simply copy and paste the chunk of text you’d like to be transformed, choose the shape you’d like (spiral, heart, waves, etc.), and it will generate a PDF of that text in the shape you chose! The only downside is that it is a PDF, so you can’t really copy and paste the shaped-text anywhere else unless you do a screen capture, but I ¬†love having this fun feature available! You can also insert the screen capture into Paint, select only the area you want, save it as a JPEG, and insert as a picture into your document – that’s how I did this:

So those are a few of my favorite technology tips! Someday I would love to get my masters in technology education, as teaching teachers how to use technology in the classroom is one of my passions! I’m still looking for possible programs, either online or in Pittsburgh, but haven’t found much yet – any suggestions?!

I can’t wait to read everyone’s tips for today! See you back here tomorrow for Where I Teach Wednesday!

Number the Stars

One of my all-time favorite books to read with my class is Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.

I love the drama, the foreshadowing, the cliff hangers, the character development, the chapter titles, the plot, the ending, and so much ¬†more. It is always one of my students’ favorites when we discuss the best books at the end of the year.

My only issue with teaching it was the lack of background information I was giving my students on what was happening in the world at the time of this novel.

It is SO incredibly important for the students to understand who the Nazis were and why there were controlling the Jews. This is not developed in the book, except for random facts here and there, so I knew I needed to do something to help my students get a grasp on the events that were happening in the world at the time.

So of course, I went to trusty PowerPoint ūüôā After doing a bit of research on my own, I created a PowerPoint presentation on World War II, Adolf Hitler, the Nazis, and the Holocaust. I think that it does a good job of presenting the information in a “kid-friendly” way, with photographs and important details.

Last week, I went through the presentation with my kiddos, and I swear they have never been so quiet, interested, and attentive! I’m not sure if it was because they were¬†interested¬†in the material or were horrified at what actually happened in our world not that long ago, but whatever it was, they now understand what was happening to the Jews in the 1940s. We talked about how we can learn from the past and pray that something so terrible is never repeated. We thanked God for His grace and mercy to us!

If you are interested in using this in your classroom, check it out on my TpT store: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Introduction-to-Number-the-Stars-by-Lois-Lowry

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this wonderful novel. What kinds of activities do you do with your class to enrich the story??