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Inspirational Quote Project

This is always a favorite project to do with students (both for teachers and students!) because it lends itself perfectly to creativity and there are lots of different ways you could go with it. The possibilities for writing, evaluating, forming an opinion, and learning more about your students are truly endless with this project. And administrators- this would even be a fun project to completed with your staff! Check it out!

Projects like these allow our students to be creative. It gives them choice in their learning (in the quote they choose, and the actual creation of their project) and students feel a sense of pride in their work. No projects will turn out exactly alike, even if students choose the same quote.

The critical thinking component is apparent when we ask students to evaluate the quote they've chosen and to dig a little deeper into it's meaning. We can also ask students to make connections to the quote, and write a narrative about how the quote impacts them and why they chose it. The possibilities with this project are truly endless.

Scan the QR codes to explore inspirational quotes. Find one that really stands out to you and speaks to you. Write your quote down. Make sure to cite where the quote came from, and take note of who said the quote. (Teachers- this is a great lesson on citation!)

Take a selfie or have a friend take a picture for you.

Make sure to pay attention to the background (plain, solid backgrounds work the best for this project) and leave some space, somewhere for your quote. (You don't want your quote to be covering your face!)

Launch an app that allows you to layer Photos and Text. Pic Collage, Seesaw, Google Slides, or Phonto are some on my favorites.

Add your quote to your photo. Have fun stylizing and editing. Just make sure your quote is easy to read for others (you can always go back and make a fancy hard-to-read one if you want later)!

Don't forget to save your quote project to your device.

Here's a quick video on how to do this with PicCollage EDU. (Teachers- the difference between PicCollage and PicCollage EDU is that EDU has no social sharing options, there are no ads, and no accounts are required. Read more here.)

Feel free to share this video with your students as well- it's a step by step video.


Now that students have created these beautiful inspirational quote projects, the big question to ask is- What will you do with them now? Print them out? Hang them on your wall? It surely would make a nice bulletin board! Turn them in to Google Classroom? But then what? 

But how do we take it one step further?

How are we sharing student work with the world to inspire others?

Twitter? A class blog? Class Instagram account? Seesaw?

Print them out to hang around the school and inspire other students? 

I challenge you to make sure you aren't missing this last step, because it oftentimes gets overlooked, and it may possibly be the most important and motivating step for our students. Giving students an audience for their work is essential.  

Happy creating!

Getting Started with Seesaw

Have you heard about Seesaw? Are you wondering how to get started? I'm here to help you and your students!

Learn how to get your students started with Seesaw! Lots of helpful tips, tricks, and activities!

Seesaw is a Digital Learning Portfolio for students. I feel funny typing that, because it's truly SO much more, and has the ability to help you flip your classroom, to create a student centered classroom, to break down the walls of your classroom to connect with other classes around the world, to allow your students to connect with each other and their families which gives them an audience, to turn your students into bloggers, and SO. Much. More!

First, you'll want to decide on the Settings for your class in Seesaw. Check out this video to get started.

If you're ready to get started, first you'll download the Getting Started Challenges for your students here. These Challenges are designed to get you and your students familiar with the upload tools in Seesaw. This is how the students upload their awesome work to their learning journal! Once you're familiar with these, the possibilities for you and your students are truly endless!

Learn how to get your students started with Seesaw! Lots of helpful tips, tricks, and activities!

Next, watch these videos. There's one video for each challenge, and the video will walk you through each challenge in Seesaw. I would suggest running through each Challenge on your own before you show your students, and complete the Challenges yourself. You can even do this along with the videos! This way, when you introduce the challenge to your students, you'll have some background knowledge and a better understanding of how Seesaw works! (Don't worry- these videos are all super short and under five minutes!) 

Challenge #1

Challenge #2

Challenge #3

Challenge #4

Challenge #5

Challenge #6 (This is if you and your students are using G-Suite apps in your classroom).

You might also be interested in learning how to create Folders in Seesaw to keep the Challenges organized! 

Now you're ready to introduce the Challenges to your students.

You can introduce the Challenges one at a time with your students. I've found this works well for younger students- I model, then they try it out. Then I introduce another challenge, model it, they do, etc. until they've gotten through all of them.

For older students, they don't tend to need as much scaffolding, so

Make sure to check out the other Seesaw Challenges available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store!

I also post Instagram stories on Seesaw often (that's where all of those videos came from!) so make sure to stop by and say hi there!

You can also stop by my YouTube page where I upload the Seesaw videos as well!

Do you have questions? Ideas? Please leave a comment! I'd love to hear how you are using Seesaw in your classroom! And if you're not, I'd love to help you get started! Just let me know how!

FlipGrid Family Book Clubs

We all know that research is unclear on the benefits of homework. Does it really help kids? Does it create even more of a divide between socioeconimical classes? Is it really worth it? Are you giving meaningful feedback on all homework you assign? Are students actually learning anything from doing it?

Learn how to get books clubs up and running with FlipGrid!

I just started reading Ditch that Homework by Matt Miller and Alice Keeler and I cannot agree more with their points about getting rid of homework. They bring up points about equity for all students (since not all of our students have the same resources and help available at home), stress and family fighting (because homework can be a huge cause of this- have you experienced it with your own kids???), academic benefits being minimal, cheating (have you ever had a student turn in a homework assignment completed in a parent's handwriting...???), homework being difficult to truly differentiate, and finally how it can reduce the love of learning.

The idea behind the FlipGrid Family Book Club is to STOP assigning pointless homework (I'm guilty of this too if we're being totally honest!) and to get students and families (near and far!) READING together!

How wonderful would it to be actually have students reading awesome books, involve families (even if they live hundreds of miles away) in the reading, and have an authentic conversation about the text!?!?

FlipGrid makes this possible!

Have you used FlipGrid before!?!?! It's a website that allows teachers to create "grids" of short discussion-style questions that students respond to through recorded videos. Each grid is basically a message board where teachers can pose a question and students can post video responses that appear in a tiled grid display like this:

Learn how to get books clubs up and running with FlipGrid!

(Click to see this first grade class' responses! They used ChatterPix to share the author's purpose after reading I'll Wait, Mr. Panda.)

Here's how to set this project up!

Choose a book and make sure all of your students have access to the book. It can be any book. Chapter books will work best, but for younger students it could be picture books. You could even do an author study throughout the month. For example, "In April our author study will be in Peter Reynolds. Week 1 we'll be reading The Dot. Week 2 we'll be reading Ish. Etc."

Break the book up into sections and decide which chapters (or books) you will read each week. I've found it's easier and more manageable to do "chunks" per week. For example, Week 1 read Chapters 1-5. Week 2 read Chapters 6-11. etc. vs. Read Chapter 1 on Monday, Read Chapter 2 on Tuesday, etc. This allows for more flexibility on the family and student's parts.

Create a FlipGrid Grid.

Create one Topic on your Grid per "chunk"  of the book.

You're going to repeat this last step step for each "chunk" of the book. I have broken the book into five chunks, so I'll be creating five topics for the grid! 

Create a calendar. Include the chapters to read, and your Grid/Topic codes from FlipGrid.

Learn how to get books clubs up and running with FlipGrid!

(Click to download the editable calendar.)

Send the calendar and Family Info sheet home with families and students. Encourage families to invite out-of-town family members, siblings, and anyone else! The more the merrier!c

Learn how to get books clubs up and running with FlipGrid!
(Click to download Family Directions) 

Here's what will  happen when students and families begin responding. 

Assign this as student homework, make it an optional activity, or it can even be more flexible if you'd like. It can be a class read aloud, and students can respond to the FlipGrid at a center or as an early finisher activity. The key is to get families involved, to get students excited about reading, and to get families talking about the reading WITH students!!! It would even be fun to invite administration, principals, board members, the student's previous teachers from past years, and anyone else you can think of! Why not even open it up to the entire school?

Then read and respond!!!

If you're interested in reading and responding to the Wild Robot, we'd love to have you and your class contribute to the Wild Robot Grid! Feel free to use these codes with your students to add their responses!

Learn how to get books clubs up and running with FlipGrid!
(Click to download this calendar to participate in this Wild Robot discussion with your students.)

***Please note! This is a PUBLIC grid. Please make sure to check your district's acceptable use policy in order to ensure students have permission to participate and post. DO NOT allow students to post their name with their video response on this grid. I suggest using the teacher's name, or responding as a class. This is to ensure student privacy and safety. Any posts with student names will be deleted.***  

Do you use FlipGrid in your classroom?! I'd love to hear about it!

Ozobots in the Classroom | Connecting Coding to Curriculum

We are so incredibly lucky to have sets of Ozobots to take out to classrooms to work with students with. Ozobots are small, one inch robots that students can program using block code or markers. The Ozobots can move in different directions, light up different colors, and do fun moves like zig zag, spin, and skate.

Of course, the Ozobots are fun and all and students are completely engaged anytime we pull them out... However, how are we tying this "fun" to the curriculum to make sure students are learning and that the coding is tied to the curriculum?

Regardless of which type of robot you're using, this question always sticks with me as I work with teachers to plan lessons and units.

1,000 Selifes Aren't Necessary

As the new school year rolls around, let's talk Digital Citizenship! Way back in the day ;) I did a blog post on Acceptable Use Policies for students. That was right when iPads were becoming a thing in classrooms, and no one (myself included) really knew what they were doing. I learned this the hard way, and I'll never forget my huge mistake of assuming my 2nd graders would magically treat their shiny new iPads with respect and care. (LOL!)

Learn how to introduce devices to students in the classroom and how to keep kids ACCOUNTABLE for the device rules you come up with.

Three + years later, our district is now 1:1 with iPads in 2nd-8th grade, and our 4th-8th graders take home their district iPads. Being a part of the rollout of this massive undertaking was enlightening. We found out early on that if we didn't set clear expectations and rules regarding the iPads, well, it wasn't pretty (especially with older kids!). They had a tendency to think that the devices were "theirs" and could do what they wanted on them. Over the past few years, and working with so many amazing teachers, our iPad rules have evolved and changed and I think we've finally found a set of rules that works for us.

What's a Digital Resource & How Do I Share Them With my Students???

Have you heard of digital resources? So are you wondering what a digital resource is? Want to know what you need to do in order to use them? And how to share them with your students? I'm here to help!

If you’re wondering what a digital resource is, or how to get started using them with your students, I’ve got you covered in this massive blog post. There are video tutorials to walk you through, step by step, what you need to do to get started, how to use and share digital resources with your students, and why they can be a game changer! Freebie included to get you started!

Organizing Your Classroom Library Check-Out System Using Google Forms & Sheets {A Video Tutorial}

Tired of losing books from your classroom library? Have a checkout system for students that's just not working? Wish you had a quick and easy way to figure out who checked out which book and when?


Here's a great way to think about your classroom library check-out system for the upcoming school year!

Use Google Forms and Sheets to create a classroom library checkout system that works! A step by step video tutorial to get you organized for the upcoming school year!