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I know I always like to use fun, engaging websites during center time in my classroom. I always love finding out about new websites to use. I have a couple that I use or plan to use next year.
The first one up is Starfall. I am sure everyone already knows about this wonderful site. My kindergarteners LOVE this site. They always look forward to computer time. What I love about Starfall is that there are games on the site that have to do with the seasons. My kiddos always love to complete the snowman activity. I think that is the closest they get to actually putting a real snowman together since we live in Florida. LOL. I feel that Starfall has so many activities that the kiddos never get sick of doing them. If you haven't checked out Starfall, you need to. Wait till after you finish this blog and then go. :)
The next one I am considering for next year is ABCMouse.com. I have heard the commercials and how they say how wonderful it is. I have been very skeptical of it so I decided I would download the app for my son and try the 30 day trail. I hate that you have to pay for it but I thought if it was so awesome like they say it is that it would be valuable for my son to do. I downloaded it about 2 weeks ago. So far I am impressed. It has tons (I mean tons) of activities. My son seems to be enjoying all the activities. He actually just figured out that you can exchange your tickets and buy things for your room (the room on the app, not your actual room). It is a great incentive for children to keep playing so they can add more to their room. He is loving the activities. There is a great variety so it keeps him interested. The one thing I would like to see fixed is some of the activities don't work so well on the iPad. I wrote them and they said they are working on it. The only other downfall that I think there is, is that it has been difficult to figure out where to start my son. I think they maybe need a pre-test so you know your child is being pushed and on the best level for them. I have my son on level 5 right now. I started him on an easier level but it was way too easy. I think level 5 may be too easy too but he is only 6% through it so I hope it becomes harder for him. Overall, I do think it is a great website. Will I purchase it when the trial is up? I am not for sure yet. If my child stays interested like he has been in it, then yes I will. I do think it is a good website overall. I need to look into it further because I heard it is free for schools. If I can get it for my classroom, I will definitely do that. I will have to do more research on it.
Next, I would like to show you a new app that I was asked to check out. It is called Counting Together.
This app teaches kids "subitizing" and addition. Both concepts are part of the Common Core Standards!!! This app has multiple levels and allows multiple players. What?? Yes, multiple players can play at the same time. Great for centers!! Each student (up to 4) would have a side of the iPad. The students race each other and the clock to count and match the number. The number could go up to 10. (Free version)
Since it is summer break I couldn't try it out with my class, so instead I had my 4 year old son play with me. He loved the graphics at the beginning of the app. He got a little frustrated when each round got faster and faster, however he was doing great for never learning this concept before. He was able to do the lower numbers very well. I think the timer would just help him be able to get the concept faster the more we played the game.
I think this app would be an asset to a kindergarten or even first grade classroom. This app is going to help the students know their addition facts fluently (Common Core). I do think this concept is difficult so having a fun way to help teach it is wonderful! I will definitely be using it next year.
Have you used any of these sites? What do you think about them? What is on your list for classroom websites?
I'm linking up with Cara from The First Grade Parade for a fun weekly link: revisiting old blog posts. Check out the link here:
I decided to share my Character Pumpkin Book Reports that we did this year. I bought this idea from TPT and I do want to complete it again next year!! It was one of my kiddos favorite things to do for the year.
Every month I try to send home a Family
Project for each of my students to complete. For example, one month I
send home a paper and have the students make a map of their bedroom when
we are learning about maps. A different month I send home a turkey and
have them decorate the turkey as a family. Usually during October I
send a pumpkin home and have the families decorate the pumpkin. Well,
this year I found an awesome idea and I just had to try it. It is
creative and it helps the students review some of the standards they
have been working on. I found the idea I think on Pinterest and then I
had to go to TPT and purchase it. Here is what I purchased; Trick or Treat Pumpkin Book Reports by Hope King. I loved this idea. I thought it would be so much fun and I thought my classroom families would enjoy it too.
I sent home the treat bag for the
students to complete as their Family Project for October. I thought it
was perfect. Learning and being creative at the same time! The
students had to draw their cover on the front of their treat bag.
Inside the bag the students filled out the candy pieces with title,
setting, characters, beginning, middle, end, and their favorite part.
Once the due date came, the students shared their stories with the
class. My students were so excited to share their bags with their
classmates. They had so much pride with them. It seemed liked they
really enjoyed the activity and so did their parents. After everyone
shared, we discussed their characters. Each student had to bring in a
pumpkin. They had to make their pumpkin into their character from the
book they did their report on. I had our Reading Buddies (who are 3rd
graders) come to our room and help us with our characters. The buddies
worked out so well. The students LOVED making their pumpkin into their
character. I can't believe how great they turned out!! Check them out!
I am definitely going to do this
activity again. I am so amazed at how well the students did with their
reports and their pumpkins.
Hey ya'll!! I hope your summer is going great!! I am loving mine! I love staying up late and sleeping in!!
I am sure you have heard the news of Google Friend Connect is probably going away with the Google Reader in July 1st. If you still want to read my blog posts (I hope you still do), please make sure you click my Bloglovin button on the right side. You will be able to get my blog feed through there. I hope you see you link up.
Now, on to other news. I am linking up with Classroom Confections for the most wishlisted items.
I wanted something to go with the present we got for my husband. I wanted just a little more than the present. Something that would make him smile!! Something that I couldn't buy!! Something that would be meanful.
After thinking about it, I decided to make him a question set that his son could answer. I always LOVE hearing what the child thinks. This is what I came up with...
I have put a copy of this at my TPT store (Click HERE). It is FREE!! Wahoo!!! Go grab it and make for your Father!
Last night I am lying in bed and thinking. I usually do this during the school year with new ideas to try in my classroom, but last night I am lying awake thinking about my salary and it is summer. Why am I lying here awake during the summer?
Well, a couple days ago I went into my school to sign my contract for next year. I signed my contract with no raise, not even a step increase. :( It amazes me that the price for everything goes up but my salary either stays the same or gets lower. It isn't fair!!
Yes, I know. I am a teacher! I have always wanted to be a teacher. When I was little I remember lining up my stuffed animals and teaching them. They were great listeners.(hehe) I have never imagined doing anything else with my life but teaching. I taught classes at the YMCA throughout high school and just always knew my passion was to be a teacher. I was so excited the day I got my first job and I still continue to get excited for the beginning of the school year. This coming year will be my 12th year teaching. I just never imagined that my dream job would pay so poorly.
Why oh why do teachers get paid so poorly?Without teachers no one else would have a job. I think teachers should be one of the highest professions out there. I know my opinion really doesn't matter but still. In order to be a doctor, you have to be taught by a teacher how to be a doctor. It just isn't fair!
Luckily, I am married to a wonderful husband who has a good job. If I was single, I don't think I could survive. Especially with two kids. I think that is just horrible. I have a very important job but the pay stinks! Teachers should be the people that don't have to live paycheck to paycheck. I love watching the Housewives shows. They are always very entertaining to watch. I looked up what some of the housewives get and I just can't believe it. Someone that is on a show is making more than a teacher?!Actually way more than a teacher. It would take me years to make what they make. I find that ridiculous. I think our country has the wrong thinking. Maybe our education system would be better if they paid the teachers what they are worth!
Then next year they want to base teachers salaries off test scores. I am all for keeping the good teachers and getting rid of the bad, however I think basing salaries off of test scores is the wrong approach. I have always had good scores, but it is super scary when my salary is going to depend on that. They don't know the make up of my students and their lives. I have no control what happens at my students homes but now my salary is going to depend on them. It is super scary. I know I was never a good test taker. To think I could have hurt my teachers paycheck if I scored badly. I would have felt horrible the rest of my life. I think doing this is going to cause some of the best teachers to quit because it is too stressful.
Again, I don't want to be all negative but I do think the education system needs help. I have always wanted to be a teacher but with the stress I have thought about doing something else. I don't know what that would be, but it has been on my mind. I love teaching! I love helping kids succeed. I love watching my class grow. I do think we as teachers should ban together to get our education system better.