Monday, March 19, 2018


Let's talk about the awesomeness that is Flipgrid.

Flipgrid is a website that teachers can use to ask students questions and students respond by recording up to a 90 second video using a mobile device with a camera.  Teachers can make the grids they create be private by using a password for access and can turn the grid off and on as well.  Video answers can also be set to be approved by the teacher before they appear in the grid.  Flipgrid can also be used for projects, like Andy Plemmons' Barrow Peace Prize projectFlipgrid gives students a voice, and that's what I love about it.

I started using Flipgrid four years ago, but really didn't use it much after the first year until this year. Now that our students are 1:1 Chromebooks in 3rd grade and up, it is much easier to find a way to incorporate Flipgrid into media lessons.   You can read about my first experience with Flipgrid HERE.

Recently I used Flipgrid as a way to assess fourth and fifth graders understanding of genres and as a way for them to recommend their favorite reads to classmates at the same time.  I did not require students to participate in the Flipgrid, but left the link along with the password to access the grid on our Media Center Google Classroom.  Over the last few months, students have been sharing their favorite genres and books and I have seen the books mentioned in the Flipgrids have a rise in circulation.

Recently I had a brainstorm idea while I was getting dressed for work.  Why not use Flipgrid for messages of good luck for our state testing?  I ran this idea by our counselor who is usually in charge of "cheerleading" our classes during testing. She liked the idea so we are going to try it out soon. We will pair up each class who is testing with a lower grade level class who is not testing.  Students who are not testing will record, either as a class or as individuals, messages wishing their adopted class good luck on their testing. We are also going to open it up to parents to send messages to their child's class.  We will need to set some guidelines of course, but I am excited about the positive energy this can create.

In the summer of 2017, Flipgrid began offering badges for teachers to get Flipgrid Certified.  I knew this was something I wanted to do and could easily do as I had been using Flipgrid for awhile.  But actually finding the time to go through the steps took awhile.

Last month, I finally found the time and became a Flipgrid Certified Educator! My next step will be to become a Flipgrid Certified Educator Level 2.  I hope to have that accomplished by the end of the school year.

If you've used Flipgrid, what are some of your favorite ways to use it?

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Book Care Review

If your students are anything like mine, they need frequent reminders about book care.  So I make sure that I review book care several times a year.

Last week it was book care review time with my firsties.  We read the story Penelope Popper, Book Doctor by Toni Buzzeo.

After reading the book, I brought out some of my book hospital supplies and demonstrated how they are used.

I also showed them some examples of books that had not been taken care of.   

There may have been a few gasps when I showed them the book covered in mold.

After discussing the proper way to take care of library books, they went to their tables to work on this review sheet while waiting their turn to go to the shelves.  You can download this freebie HERE in my TpT store.  I'd love to know what you think of it, so please leave some feedback if you download it.

Do you do anything special to address book care?

*I'm an affiliate for things I've bought or used personally.  If you click through any referral links (if included), at no cost to you, I will earn a commission if you make a purchase.  Thank you for your support in this way.

Monday, March 12, 2018

New Candy Themed Items

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I am thinking of doing a candy theme next year.  So, I've been working on some new candy themed items.

I've created some free bookmarks (2 colored and 2 black and white bookmarks for your students to color) that you can download HERE...

...and a bigger pack of 16 bookmarks, which includes 8 colored bookmarks and 8 color and black and white bookmarks.  You can purchase them HERE.

I've also created a free candy themed calendar that you can download HERE...

...and group and table signs that you can purchase HERE.

As I get more time, I will be working on more candy themed products, including a Library/Media Center decor pack.  Hopefully I will be able to get it finished within the next couple of weeks, so stay tuned.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

New Scope and Sequences Added

It has only taken me all year to get it done, but I've finally posted this year's scope and sequence on my freebies page.  You can download it HERE or by clicking on the picture above.  Click on the down arrow at the top right hand corner of the page to download and save a copy.

I also FINALLY got around to posted last year's scope and sequence.  I really am trying to catch up on my to do list.  =)  My schedule changed quite a bit last year and I was adjusting my lessons week by week so my scope and sequence was constantly changing.  But since last year is over, there are no more changes to it.  LOL You can download it HERE or by clicking on the picture above.

You might also be interested in the Policies and Procedures Handbook I created a few years ago.  I need to update it a bit, but you can take a look at what I made by clicking HERE.  Remember to click on the down arrow at the top right hand corner of the page to save a copy.

Hope you find something you can use.  =)

Thursday, March 1, 2018

St. Patrick's Day Resources

St. Patrick's Day is just around the corner, so I thought I would share some St. Patrick's Day resources that I have either created or come across over the years.

I created these signs for book displays.  I like to put out books with the word "LUCKY" in the title or books with green covers.  You can get them HERE in my TpT store.

I have also created some fun centers with a St. Patrick's Day theme.  This is the call number sorting center which is a fun way to review call numbers.  Click HERE to purchase it in my TpT store.

This is the shelf order center.  It is a great way to review shelf order.  I also use this as a "Minute to Win It" type game where students have to sort the cards within one minute.  They love it!  Click HERE to purchase it in my TpT store.

I also have some freebies available in my TpT store, like THIS leprechaun story starter-perfect to use after reading....

The Night Before St. Patrick's Day by Natasha Wing is one of my favorite stories to read for St. Patrick's Day.  I have made some auras with HP Reveal (formerly Aurasma) to go with this book to make the pages come alive.  If you'd like to use the auras I've created, just follow the HP Reveal channel I used to create the auras.  To do that, after downloading the HP Reveal app on your mobile device, click on or type in this link in a browser on your DEVICE and you will be able to follow the channel: 

As a follow up activity, we use this story element freebie, which you can download HERE.  Once you have opened the Google doc, click on the white download arrow in the right hand corner to save and download the file.

And of course, I have St. Patrick's Day bookmark freebies. 
You can click HERE to download them now.

I also have a full pack of St. Patrick's Day bookmarks that I recently updated.  It now contains 32 bookmarks.  You can purchase HERE in my TpT store.

For even more fun, check out this fun leprechaun cam in Ireland. It is a live webcam feed in a field in Ireland.  I usually keep this website up on our ActivBoard the entire St. Patrick's Day so that students can keep watch for leprechauns.Click HERE to access this site now.

And you can check out some St. Patrick's Day games and activities I have bookmarked using the bookmarking site Swqorl.  Just click HERE to access this Sqworl.

Are you planning anything special for St. Patrick's Day?

*I'm an affiliate for things I've bought or used personally.  If you click through any referral links (if included), at no cost to you, I will earn a commission if you make a purchase.  Thank you for your support in this way.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Awesome Tech Deal

A few days ago, my friend and tech guru Leslie Fisher posted an amazing deal on a cool new tech toy called Merge Cube.  I actually had seen the Merge Cube in December and thought about buying one because they were on sale at Wal-mart for $4, but I left the store without buying one and had since forgotten about it.

I am so glad I didn't purchase any at the time because I picked up a bunch over the weekend at my local Walmart for only $1 each!  Yes, $1!  I filled up my cart and quickly messaged all my local media specialists friends that there were still a bunch left if they wanted to snag some themselves.  I couldn't wait to get home and try one out.

You may be wondering what these Merge Cubes do and why I would want to purchase so many.  These little foam cubes are actually an augmented reality trigger image that work with free and paid apps from Merge Labs, Inc.   You use your smartphone or tablet and download the apps to use with the cube.  Merge Cube apps are available on the App Store or Google Play.

The cube then becomes a hologram in your hand.  

My eight year old and I had so much fun playing around with the cube this weekend.

I envision using these in our MakerSpace.

And the wonderful Leslie Fisher also pointed out that Merge Cube is an open SDK, which means that others can develop apps for the Merge Cube, not just Merge Labs so even students could develop apps.  How cool would that be?

Here is a video I made demonstrating some of the free apps that work with Merge Cube.  

We had so much fun with Merge Cube that I knew I had to get a bunch for the students at my school, so I went back for a second buggy full.  I plan to raffle them off at the end of the year to students who have all of their materials turned in.

You can find out even more about Merge Cube from Michael Fricano II of the Janus Group on THIS blog post. He goes more into what apps are available and how to set up an account, although an account is not necessary to use the Merge Cubes.

And THIS EdSurge post gives you an idea of what apps would be best to use in the classroom.

Also checkout the MERGE Educators Facebook group.  MERGE often posts app updates as well as sneak peeks on new apps there and members are encourage to post and share how they are using Merge Cubes.  Click HERE to request to join the group.

So what are you waiting for?  Go to your nearest Walmart and see if you can grab a great deal on these little guys!  Your students are gonna love them!

*I'm an affiliate for things I've bought or used personally.  If you click through any referral links (if included), at no cost to you, I will earn a commission if you make a purchase.  Thank you for your support in this way.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

Read Across America 2018

It's almost Read Across America time so I want to share some of the decorations and centers I will be using this year.

Our doors always get a makeover for Read Across America. You can find the Cat in the Hat bulletin board set HERE.

At this center, students can read about the life of Dr. Seuss and answer questions.  I will collect their answer sheets. The students who have the most correct answers in each grade level will win a prize.  I will announce the winners on Friday.  I got the questions from this Theodor Seuss Geisel Author Study product on TpT from Staying Cool in the Library.   I laminated the fact sheet about Seuss' life so that I can reuse it every year.

I also included some biographies about Dr. Seuss in case they want to read more.  Here are the biographies at this center:

Students can choose between two different word searches.  You can find some similar word search HERE on TpT from Kendell Walker.

At this center, students color in numbers on a 100s chart to reveal a mystery Seuss character.  I got this free HERE on TpT from Jennifer Brink. 

I found these Seuss floor puzzles a few years ago at TJ Maxx. They have been a hit every year, even with the older grades.

A few years ago I created a resource list on Destiny for all the Caldecot and Newbery award winning books we had in our Media Center.  I also added books that had won the Geisel Award.  I use the resource list to pull books and place them on a special Award Winning Books display.  As the books get checked out, I put more on the display.

I also make a display of all our Seuss books (including those by Theo LeSieg) and Seuss characters that I got from Kohl's over the years.

Students can sign the reading pledge to read a little each day. The reading pledge was written by Debra Angstead of the Missouri NEA.  


You can get a free copyright friendly copy of this pledge by clicking HERE.

 I did a quick search and found a bunch of other Seussy themed items available on TpT. You can find those items HERE.  You can even narrow down the list to free items.

We also have a tradition of voting for which book we think should win the Geisel Award and the winning book gets a special sticker that claims it the winner of our Mock Geisel Award.  I use a Google form for voting so it makes it easy to track the results.  You can click HERE to see a copy of our Google form. This is not the link to our official from.

Although I am not putting them out this year,  these red and white shelf order and call number sorting centers would go perfectly with Read Across America.

This center will help your students practice shelf order by putting the call number cards in order.  Cards are included for the Easy (aka Everybody or Everyone), Fiction, and Nonfiction sections.  You can purchase this center HERE in my TpT store.

This center will help your students identify Easy (aka Everybody or Everyone), Fiction and Nonfiction call numbers.  You can purchase this center HERE in my TpT store.

Do you have anything exciting planned for Read Across America this year?   Let me know in the comments below.

*I'm an affiliate for things I've bought or used personally.  If you click through any referral links (if included), at no cost to you, I will earn a commission if you make a purchase.  Thank you for your support in this way.