Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Writing Wednesday Link-Up-Using a Flee Map

Hi everyone!  I'm linking up with Lit With Lyns for Writing Wednesday Link-Up!  This month I want to focus on historical research projects!

It's beyond important that we incorporate writing across the curriculum and within all content areas.  It's always amusing to me when my middle schoolers assume we aren't going to do reading and writing in history...EVERYTHING we do is centered around reading and writing!  It's important to incorporate and enforce those same concepts that are being presented to them in their ELA classes so there is continuity  in their writing from one class to another.  I like to ensure that the terminology that I use is consistent with what they are hearing in Language Arts, so it's important to collaborate with your team to make sure you are all on the same page.

When I'm ready to start a writing research project with my class, I like to emphasize a part of the writing process that they are currently working on within their Language Arts class.  At the beginning of the year, this is usually the hook and developing a good thesis.  Towards the end of the year, it usually is developing good body paragraphs and ensuring you have a solid bibliography.  

To help me enforce all of the important steps of the writing process, I like to use a Flee Map tailored to the particular topic that my students will be researching.  Click the image below to download a FREE copy of the Flee Map that I use with my students!

I start with their Topic at the top, and then get started on the Hook.  The second page of the Flee Map has a step by step process that takes students through developing their hook.  Depending on what we are researching, I may say "No quotes" or "No questions".  I have found that this step by step planner REALLY helps to develop some well thought out and well developed hooks!

Next, we get started on the Body paragraphs.  Again, depending on what you are researching, you may want each body to focus on a particular part of their research.  The T at the top of each box is for a transition to start that paragraph.  I try to have to have them move beyond just 'First, Second, Third, etc".  

Finally, the Conclusion!  I emphasize this is the place where we restate our thesis and add other details that conclude our research.  Again, depending on what your students are researching, you may want to provide different types of support here.

Once they've finished this, they are ready to write out a Rough Draft!  I have them do this to do a final check for spelling, grammar and overall continuity.  Then, they complete a Final Draft!  I typically have them do this electronically through Google Docs and submit through a crated assignment in Google Classroom.

One of my FAVORITE research projects I do with my students is on the pharaohs of Ancient Egypt!  Click on the image below to see this product in my TpT store!  

{Great for those that teach Ancient Egypt AND for those that read the novel The Egypt Game!}

Thanks for stopping by!  Please click on the linkup buttons below to follow along to some more FABULOUS blog posts of writing tips and tricks for your class!  ENJOY!

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Basics of Using Google Classroom!

Have you been wondering about Google Classroom?  Wondering where to start??  I've got you COVERED!  I'm going to take you through the basics of Google Classroom, and help you get started with setting up your own class TODAY!

Let's take a look at ALL of the basic functions of Classroom!  We're going to start with how to create a class...

Next, let's take a look at what happens when you create your class in Google Classroom...

When you create your initial class in Classroom, you will automatically have a folder of your class created for you in Google Classroom.  Classroom does all the work for you!

Once you are on the "homepage" of your Google Class, you will have 3 options at the top...Stream, Students and About.


Once you are ready to see the assignments you've created, all you need to do is click WORK in the top let corner, and you'll get a pull down menu that shows ALL of your assignments and those that HAVE and HAVE NOT turned it in!


Now, LET'S GET TO WORK!  When you click the + sign in the bottom right corner, you will ALWAYS have the option to attach something!


When you click the + in the bottom left corner, the first option you're going to see is creating an Announcement!  I typically use this option to send out reminders, share interesting articles or videos, or comment on other assignments!

Now, for the GOOD stuff!  Are you trying to go PAPERLESS in your class!  When you create Assignments in Classroom, that's exactly what you can do!  Here is how you add an Assignment:

There are ALL KINDS of assignments that you can add!  I typically have my students work in Google Slides and Google Drawing.  When adding Assignments, it can be something you have CREATED or it can be something the students CREATE and add to your assignment!  The possibilities are ENDLESS!!  
*TIP--->When creating Assignments, I HIGHLY recommend numbering your assignments!  Here is an example of what mine look like:

When you are creating Assignments, and you are ready to share out with your class, you are going to be given THREE options as to what you'd like to have your students do...


In my Classroom, I use the "Make a Copy for Each Student" option about 99.5% of the time.  The other options, I very rarely use.  I made the mistake of using the "Students Can Edit" file once, before I knew the magnitude of how much they could edit....This option makes it so that EVERY students you share an Assignment with (from Google Drive) has the ability to edit!  I made the mistake once....And my assignment that I had created started to slowly "disappear" from students clicking and deleting things.....Never again! :)  I have used this function in small group settings where I assign it to 3-4 students, and ALWAYS create a template first!  

The next option when clicking the + is to create a Question.  This is GREAT when wanting to start a Discussion Board where you want your whole class participating.

When I create a Question, I ALWAYS set parameters by letting students know that they MUST make it a COMPLETE sentence/sentences (no texting language) and that they must reply to at least on other classmate!

IF you make a mistake when posting, no worries!  Google Classroom has a FANTASTIC feature, Re-Use Post, that allows you to do just that!


Now, the BEST part of using Classroom, is the EASE of grading!  No more heavy bags and rolling carts full of papers and notebooks to take home to grade...Everything is in your Google Drive and ready to grade!


Once you have graded the Assignment, you can come back into Classroom and provide feedback!


That's it!  You're now READY to create your Google Classroom and get STARTED!  I'd love to hear from you!  Please comment below with question you may have, or how you are going to start using Classroom with your own class!

Want to see some of what I do with Google Classroom Assignments in my class??  Come visit my TpT store <Click the link below>, and check out ALL of my Google Drive compatible products...15% off for Digital Learning Day February 17th!!!


Now, join the rest of the "Digital Pioneers" below and see how they are going DIGITAL!!!

Digital Learning Day 2016--Why Should You Try Something New? Because Your Students Will Thank You.

My students thank me all the time for the new “stuff” we are doing this year. Go ahead--take the plunge! Believe me, if you have access to any sort of technology (even one device), then do it. That one tablet or laptop can open up a window to a universe of instructional opportunities. Your students will want to get to that tech center. 

Digital Learning Day, February 17, 2016, is ultimately about bringing equal opportunity to our classrooms, regardless of location or socioeconomic status. It is about the importance of having access to Wi-Fi and up-to-date technology in our schools. Many schools have technology that is not working or that is out-of-date. State and local governments are now focusing on getting it all fixed so that our school children can succeed in the 21st century.

Here's the challenge--On February 17, 2016, try a new lesson that focuses on discovery, analysis, and exploration. Give your students the gift of a new opportunity by using Google Classroom, MS OneDrive, or an App. And don’t forget to share what you are doing in your classroom on social media to celebrate Digital Learning Day with #futureready. To help you get started, we’ve teamed up to share an amazing selection of blog posts and classroom activities that are designed to propel you and your students into your digital learning adventure.