How I use Code.org In My Classroom

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Do you use coding in your classroom? If not, you have to try Code.org.  Coding is such an important part of technology. And, as we know, jobs that our students will be doing in the future most of them will heavily rely on technology.  I always thought coding was just a bunch of numbers and gibberish and never quite understood it. However, after using Code.org myself (I made myself a student account) I've learned right along with my students.


Set-Up:
Set-up is super easy and free.  Go to Code.org, click sign-in, and click on create a free account. It is free which is amazing because the lessons are valuable and there are many levels.  Once you create a teacher account you are able to create a class account and then student accounts. It is simple to do and once it's done you are ready to go!  

How I Use It:
The first time my students worked on coding I modeled step by step how to log in.  Once they were logged in, they were good to go on their own.  Code.org starts students in Course 1 and moves them through at their own pace.  I teach second grade so Course 1 was a good starting point for my students and myself.  Code.org provides videos to explain what to do and has fun activities for practice. For example, some of the activities require them to set-up code to move the characters around from Angry Birds.  Each lesson builds and gets more complicated as it goes.  

Students loved it and wanted to code during free time, which I was fine with. Some even chose to work on coding during Fun Friday.  I did have a dedicated block of time each week for coding.  During Morning Meeting, on Tuesdays, I called it "Tech Tuesday" and kids would code for the activity.  Students can also work on it at home. There is a little slip you can print that has the log-in information for home use.


Certificates:
Once a student finishes a course level there is a certificate you can print out. The kids love being recognized for their hard work!

Do you use Code.org? If so, what is your favorite part? Write me in the comments below...

Friday Favorites - Math Activities

Every Friday this summer I am sharing some of my favorite things with you! The month of July is focused on technology and academic areas.

Check out past Friday Favorites...
PD Books
Read Alouds
Kids' Favorite Series
Book Studies

I love teaching math so it was hard to pick just a few of my favorite math activities to share with you, but I was able to do it! The activities I'm sharing below are mostly geared towards second grade, but could apply to high first graders or low third graders. You'll also notice there are a few activities with food. I find that anytime you can add food to a lesson - the lesson becomes more engaging!  I also try to incorporate as many hands-on lessons and math games as I can to help keep students engaged.

Check out a few of my favorite math activities...

Counting to 1,000 Book - One of the second grade standards is that students are able to count and write their numbers to 1,000.  So for an activity (we started whole group and then students would work on it when they finished work early) I had students write their numbers from 1-1,000. They would do one paper at a time and then I would check it. This allowed for quick feedback and made sure students didn't get too carried away with incorrect numbers.  When they were finished, it was put together in a book that they could take home.  They loved the fact that they got to decorate the front cover.


Making 2D Shapes - As I mentioned, I like to incorporate food into lessons when I can. I saw this online and can't remember the exact source, but it worked perfectly. We had been studying 2D shapes and their attributes. As a way to practice, students created shapes using pretzels and marshmallows. This lesson was a hit and the kids loved trying to create the harder shapes with more sides.


Arrays with Skittles - Another great food lesson. I like to break out the Skittles when we start working on arrays.  Students like below can make the array that fits the equation. For example, 3 x 7 - they make 3 rows with 7 Skittles in each row and then count to find the product.   They also enjoy the Skittles when we are finished!



Race to Zero - This is a fun, competitive game that focuses on subtraction and strategy.  Students can play in teams, partners, individually, etc. The goal is to be the first person to zero. Each team gets 3 dice and starts at the number 999. They decide how many dice to roll and then once they've rolled, they decide what order to put the numbers in. Then, they subtract. This continues until one team reaches zero. The interesting thing about this game is that it focuses on being strategic and using the right number of dice at the right time and really thinking about the best order to put the numbers in to maximize your turn.  I love having the kids play this for an activity during Morning Meeting.


Lucky Charms Graphing - Back to the food again! I again do not know where I got the worksheets I used, but there are many different Lucky Charms graphing packets out there.  The kids have fun picking out the marshmallows and graphing the totals that they have.  It also gives you a chance to ask some data analysis questions which focuses on number sense, addition, and subtraction.

Create Your Own Graphing Project - This is a fun project that my students always enjoy working on. Once we've learned about the different types of graphs, students work with a group on a project where they create their own graph. The group comes up with their survey question, surveys students, creates the graph, analyzes the data, and presents their findings to the class. It's a great project to use to wrap up the graphing unit. You can find this in my TPT store... Create Your Own Graph Project.



Thanks for stopping by! Next week I'll share some of my favorite reading lessons and activities!

How I Use Kahoot in My Classroom

Today I'm excited to share one of my favorite apps with you that I mentioned in my Friday Favorites - Favorite Tech Apps - Kahoot! Kahoot is an app that is new to me this year and the kids and I both fell in love with it! They would request that we used it and they'd be disappointed on days when we didn't.

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I used Kahoot as a way to review content that I had already taught in the classroom.  It's a great way to do review without the kids having to do 20 problems on a worksheet.  Our school is 1-to-1 with iPads, which helps, but Kahoot can be done as a whole class, partnerships, teams, or independently.  I have used the multiple choice type questions, but I know they have other options too.

I like Kahoot because you can create your own quizzes.  They do have a bank where you can search for already made Kahoots, but I often prefer to create my own.  Creating your own is nice because you can tailor it to the specific way you've taught, specific vocabulary you've used, and your school's specific standards.

Below is an example of one of the Kahoots I created for my class.  I would create a new one each week that went along with our Journey's story.  We would do the Kahoot on Thursday to help review for the test on Friday. I would include vocabulary questions, grammar questions, and phonics questions.  


Below you'll see all of the Kahoots I've created. The wonderful thing is these are saved for next year.  So once you've created it, you'll have it to use year after year and won't have to recreate things.  


Here is an example of what the questions and answer options look like.  When you are creating the Kahoot, you have an option to have 2-4 answer choices.  You can also have more than one correct answer.


Below is an example of one of the searches I did on Kahoot. We do a unit on 3D shapes and I thought it would be fun to review the shape names and attributes using Kahoot.  It did work well, but I suggest you look closely at the Kahoot before the kids complete it.  Since these are created by other people, there are sometimes mistakes and often they don't teach the exact content you teach so you want to make sure it fits your class.


I know this was a quick post, but I want to leave you with a few of the reasons why I love using Kahoot in my classroom...
  • The kids love it and they are engaged.
  • It provides instant feedback. Once the answers are in or the time is up, the correct answer is shown.
  • All students can play and participate. Sometimes too it's fun to break it up into teams and partners. They get quite competitive with the points!
  • Great review of content and it's not a worksheet. I'm not a fan of worksheets. While I know paper is necessary for some tasks, I don't think kids need to be doing worksheets all day long. I love that Kahoot reviews the content, but in a different format then a worksheet.
  • Quick and easy to make!

New Place Value Products

I'm so excited to share some new Place Value products that I have been working on this summer. These are perfect for Fall as most of us start our math units teaching or reviewing place value.  Both of these are geared towards second grade.

In Read It, students are practicing reading numbers out loud. One of our standards (we use ERB) is for students to be able to correctly read up to 5-digit numbers.  Read It is differentiated and includes practice with 2-digit up to 6-digit numbers.  This is a partner or independent activity. Students can take turns reading the numbers to each other and then pick a new card.



In Write It, students are practicing reading and writing numbers. First, students read the number on the card, which is written in word form. Then, they write the number in standard form on their recording sheet.  Write It includes 3-digit and 4-digit numbers. This activity is best used as Around the Room.


Both activities offer a color version and a black and white version.  Check them out in my TPT store by clicking on the pictures below.  

                             

Friday Favorites - Tech Apps

Every Friday this summer I am sharing some of my favorite things with you! The month of July is focused on technology and academic areas.

Check out past Friday Favorites...
PD Books
Read Alouds
Kids' Favorite Series
Book Studies


Today I'm sharing some of my favorite apps to use in the classroom. We are very lucky because each teacher has their own iPad to use in the classroom and we are 1 to 1 for students too.  A few of these apps are for students and a few are more for teachers. Stay tuned for some additional blog posts coming soon about these awesome tech apps!

Kahoot - My students and I both love Kahoot! I started using it this year and primarily used it to review content.  It's kind of like a quiz, but also like a game show. Students can play as a class, in teams, partnerships, and individually.  On Tuesday, I'm sharing a blog post where I go more in depth with how I used Kahoot in my classroom.
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Xtra Math - Xtra Math is another great student app.  This is a good way for kids to practice fact fluency. It starts them off with an assessment to see where they are at and then provides them practice on areas where they struggled.  It has little "games" like Race the Teacher and is constantly monitoring their progress.  On the teacher sign-in, it's very easy to keep up with the kids, see whose been practicing, and see where they are at. I really like how it's quick practice.  It has them do about 5 minutes and then they are done for the day. Quick, easy, and to the point!
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Code.Org - I love, love, love coding and so do the kids.  With the importance of technology, the number of jobs in technology that exist now, and the number of technology jobs that will exist when our students graduate - technology is a skill that they need! Coding is also a skill they need.  Code.org provides practice at their pace. I've even tried it out and it's quite fun. I wish they had this around when we were kids! Stay tuned...I have an additional blog post coming on this one too!
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MobyMax - MobyMax is a great all-around educational review. It provides options to practice math, reading, language, vocabulary, writing, and more.  I like that it starts with an assessment and then gives the students lessons based on their needs.  They also work through lessons at their own pace. This app/website is great for differentiation!
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Class Dojo - This is more of a teacher app, but still a good one.  We use Class Dojo to monitor and give grades for our non-academic standards - conduct, effort, and personal habits. I love that you can personalize Class Dojo for the behaviors that you are looking for. There is also a component where you can invite parents to see their progress (we don't use this part at my school).
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iPevo - iPevo is another teacher app. As I mentioned, we are lucky to have a teacher iPad that can connect to a projector through Apple TV. We do not have document cameras at my school, but the app, iPevo, allows your iPad to turn into a document camera. It can project writing samples, work, etc on the board and there is also an option to use it like a white board. Stay tuned for a blog post on this...
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Thanks for stopping by! Next week I'll share some of my favorite math lessons and activities!

Friday Favorites - Book Studies

Every Friday this summer I am sharing some of my favorite things with you! The month of June is focused on books!

Check out past Friday Favorites...
PD Books
Read Alouds
Kids' Favorite Series


This week I'm wrapping up talking about books for the month of June and sharing with you some of my favorite books to use for book studies.... I teach second grade and have used all of the books below with my second graders. Some books are great for whole group and some books are better for a small challenge group.

Chocolate Touch by Patricia Skeane Catling - This book is funny and entertaining. We always read this book every year as a class and the kids love it.  Every kid can relate to wanting candy and the situations John finds himself in throughout the story are humorous!
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Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl - A classic book to read with your class. I also use this book whole group.  We read this one towards the end of the school year and of course we watch the movie when we finish.  This is a book that really captures the classes' attention. We read a few chapters a day and every time I stop I always hear groans and please keep reading!
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Charlotte's Web by EB White - Another classic! We read this book towards the first part of the year and it's our first whole class book study. We also do a reader's theater version of the book for grandparents on Grandparent's Day.  This is such a sweet story and has many great life lessons in it!
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Surprises According to Humphrey by Betty Birney - My students have really started to get into the Humphrey series the last year or two. Since this is more of a fourth grade level book, I use it in small group for kids who are ready for a challenge.
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I Survived the Great Chicago Fire by Lauren Tarshis - I've also had students take a big interest in the I Survived Series. I've used the Great Chicago Fire book with a few small groups.  It is definitely a heavier content then say a Humphrey book, but for kids who enjoy history - they love it!
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Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows - Ivy and Bean are great characters that again students can relate to.  I've used Ivy and Bean a few times also with small groups.  The characters have real-life situations and have some interesting personalities which keep the kids entertained.
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Thank you for stopping by to check out some of my favorite book studies! I do have book study packets available in my TPT store (Jordan Johnson) for many of the books above and more. If you are interested, check it out here....

Next week I'll share some of my favorite technology apps and websites!

Friday Favorites - Kid's Favorite Series

Every Friday this summer I am sharing some of my favorite things with you! The month of June is focused on books!

Check out past Friday Favorites...
PD Books
Read Alouds

This week I'm sharing some of my students' favorite book series with you.  My group this year liked many different types of books so I wanted to share some of their favorites.  I definitely have stocked my library up with these series for next year...

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinsey - My students for the last few years have all loved the Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series.  They find them funny and I have many kids that once they start they then want to read the whole series.
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My Weird School by Dan Gutman - This series became a huge favorite this year! Again these are relatable because they are about school and they are also humorous. Some of my more reluctant readers have really enjoyed these and it's helped them catch the reading bug.
My Weird School #1: Miss Daisy Is Crazy! (My Weird School series) by [Gutman, Dan]

Who Was, What Was Series by Various Authors - My only non-fiction series in this post - but these are amazing! These are definitely higher level books, but for some of my kiddos this was a great challenge. These books are awesome because they provide so much information. There are many written on different people, places, and events in history!
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Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew by Carolyn Keene - I loved reading Nancy Drew as a kid, but that was many, many years ago (I won't tell how you how many).  Here is a newer Nancy Drew series with the same characters, but the stories are more relevant and modern.
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I Survived Series by Lauren Tarshis - I love this series as do many of my students. If you have students who love non-fiction, this would be a great fiction series for them. It takes real events in history and provides information through a fictional story.
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Judy Moody and Stink by Megan McDonald - Students also find Judy Moody and Stink funny. Judy and Stink are brother and sister so often kids will read both series.  Great for kids to relate to because most having siblings and can relate to the squabbles and funny stories.

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Clementine by Sara Pennypacker - I mentioned Clementine last week.  It is great for a read aloud, but also a fun series for students to read independently.  Most kids love funny stories and Clementine definitely does some funny, crazy things.
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Big Nate by Lincoln Peirce - This is a newer series that my kids have enjoyed this year. The comic book/chapter book is definitely very popular right now. This series appealed to some of my reluctant readers because of it being comics.
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Next week I'll share some of my favorite books to use for class and small group book studies!



Friday Favorites - Read Alouds

Every Friday this summer I am sharing some of my favorite things with you! The month of June is focused on books!

Check out past Friday Favorites...
PD Books




So, this week I'm focusing on read alouds! I love taking time each day to read to my kids. Over my ten years of teaching, we have found many great stories - picture books and chapter books that the kids and I both loved!

Here are some of our favorites...

The Day the Crayons Quit - This story and the sequel below are so funny! The pictures are amazing and the story is quite clever. The kids and I both enjoy reading this one every year.
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The Day the Crayons Came Home - The sequel to the book above is just as good as the first. I got this book at our Book Fair this past year and it is equally as funny as the first!
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Chester - This book is hilarious! It's all about how Chester tries to take over this book that the author is writing about a mouse.  Very funny and the kids always love the ending!
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The Pout-Pout Fish - This is a great rhyming book and has a great rhythm to it!  Another cute story that the kids always love.
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Seriously, Cinderella is So Annoying! - This book is Cinderella, but told from the stepmother's point of view.  A great story to explain point of view, great voice, and creativity too.  There are many more out there - Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks, etc.  Perfect if point of view is in your reading standards.
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Junie B. Jones- Now, I know many teachers are not a fan of Junie B because of her poor grammar and sometimes poor choices - but I find her funny. I would read most of the series to my class when I taught first grade. Now, I agree Junie B doesn't always speak correctly, however, it does bring up a good teaching moment where you can discuss what the proper way would have been.  She's funny and the kids relate to her. I even enjoy it! I'm a little sad that there isn't a second grade part of the series...
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Jake Drake Series - This is a newer series for me. I tried out Jake Drake, Teacher's Pet last year and my class and I both enjoyed it. There are a few books in the series and you can never go wrong with an Andrew Clement's book.  He is another character who has many situations at school that kids are familiar with.  I actually just recently bought the whole set on Amazon so I can read all four books to my students next year.
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Clementine - So, as I mentioned, there is no 2nd grade version of Junie B, however Clementine comes close.  Clementine reminds me of Junie B, but is in 3rd or 4th grade.  She is a bit of a goofball, but again a crazy character that the kids find funny.  I've read a few in this series to my class and each year a few kids get interested and finish the series on their own.
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Frindle - As I mentioned above, who doesn't love Andrew Clement's books? Frindle is creative and funny. This is definitely a book I read out loud towards the end of the year as it is higher than 2nd grade level, but the kids love it. It's all about how this class led a movement to start calling pens Frindles and started an all-out war of sorts with one of the teachers at the school.
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So, those are a few of my favorite read aloud books. What are some of your favorites?? Write me in the comments below...

Check back next Friday for another edition of Friday Favorites. Next Friday, I'll be sharing some of my students' favorite series.