Digital Daily Slides for Use With Google Classroom™

Hey, y'all! This school year, many of us are going digital and communication is going to be key. Make it easy on yourself and your students with daily task slides

Daily task slides give your students all the information they need to get the job done each day. I'll be using at least 4 slides each day: the main "to do" slide shown in the pictures, a daily writing prompt, a math problem of the day, and a slide with the spelling words. 

The "to do" slide lists out each of the tasks to complete for the day (or week depending on your setup). These things include responding to a reading passage or online story, spelling practice on Boom, completing a math assignment, or any number of things. 

This resource contains two sets of slides for each month of the school year--one with titles already in the banners and one that's completely editable. It's super easy to copy and paste the slides you need for each day. 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you found this useful. I'm always adding new resources so stop by my Teachers Pay Teachers store often for more classroom ideas. Have a great week and I'll talk to you soon. 

Stay sweet, 

Fact or Opinion Reading Practice

Fact or Opinion Reading Practice

Hey, y'all. Do you teach the difference between facts and opinion with your 1st, 2nd, or 3rd grade students? Sometimes my students seem to get it right away and sometimes it takes a few times to practice this skill. 

I like to make sure I give them a couple ways to practice in order to make sure the skill transfers to different settings. 

One way students can practice this is by using Boom cards. Students simply read the sentence and click on the bug that tells if it's a fact or an opinion. These cards are super easy for students to work on at school or at home, or anywhere else they have access to internet. This makes it perfect for digital or blended learning. 

Another way students can practice determining facts from opinions is with a simple color by code page. Like the Boom cards above, students read the statement and color the section accordingly. It's super easy to check students' work quickly and our class had some great conversations about the different statements. Students were eager to justify their answers. 

The more students practice, the easier it gets. And by providing multiple ways students can show their thinking, you're hitting all the standards and learning styles. 

I hope you found some new ideas for your classroom. I'm always adding new resources, so stay tuned for more great things coming your way. Have a wonderful week and thanks for stopping by. 

Stay sweet, 

Digital Reading Responses for Use with Google Classroom™

Digital Reading Responses for Use with Google Classroom™

Hey, y'all. One of my favorite ways to monitor student comprehension is with student reading response notebooks. I always check students' comprehension when we're reading in small groups, but checking their comprehension when they read independently can be a little more challenging. 

In the classroom, when we have notebooks available, I use these printable student response notebooks, or these Notice and Note responses.  

If printable resources are not an option this year, or if using Google Classroom is more manageable for reading responses (it's a huge paper-saver!), then check out these options:

The Any Book Book Study has been modified to be used online. All the same great stuff is in colorful Google Slides for your students to process what they're reading. Assign any or all of the slides to students and quickly check their understanding without using any paper at all. 

If you or your school uses these signposts and strategies in Notice and Note (fiction and nonfiction), then you'll love the digital response pages. Each recording page has notes that go with each signpost and question prompts to get students thinking about the text. 

Using Google Classroom is a great way to reduce your paper waste in the classroom. It's easier to grade, students can work on assignments anywhere, and no one will be losing their notebooks! For more Google Classroom resources, head over to my TPT store here. New resources are always being added so stop by soon to see what's new. 

Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week. 

Stay sweet, 

Integrating Subjects in the K-2 Classroom


Integrating Subjects in the K-2 Classroom

Hey, y'all. Every year it seems we talk about how to integrate subjects more easily. We have so many standards and not enough time! If you follow the education news at all, you've probably heard talk of Finland switching over to phenomenon-based teaching. Despite popular belief, Finland is not getting rid of individual subjects, but they are integrating subjects using their new PBL (phenomenon, not project) model. 

Here in the US, we talk about a lot of different teaching models designed to help us teach across multiple subject areas: thematic learning, project-based learning, phenomenon-based learning, and simple subject integration. Let's look at the different definitions first. 


Subject integration is simply addressing standards in more than one subject area in a single lesson. We do this when we have students write about their science experiment, use math skills to measure distances on a map, or ask comprehension questions when students read about a topic in science or social studies. 

Thematic Learning centers around a specific idea. In kindergarten, one of our back to school themes was apples. We learned about apples (five senses, measurement, life cycle), had math and reading centers with apples everywhere, and even painted pictures of apples (art). This is one of the easiest ways to integrate learning in the k-2 classroom. It's very simple!

In Project-Based Learning, students work on a project (organizing an event, inventing something to fix a problem, etc.) that requires skills in multiple subject areas. In the example of organizing an event, students may do math to calculate costs, use spacial awareness to set up the event, read and write when designing flyers or getting sponsors, etc. Project-Based Learning has a specific end goal and objectives it's addressing. 

Phenomenon-Based Learning was part of Finland's educational reform in 2016 and is now being integrated into our Next Generation Science Standards. Phenomenon-Based Learning is learner-centered, multi-disciplinary instruction based on student inquiry and problem solving. An overall reaching theme could be climate change, civil rights, or energy. Students investigate and solve their own questions by applying whatever subjects are needed in order to find the answers. Students who engage in Phenomenon-Based Learning tend to have greater problem-solving and analytical skills than students engaged in traditional subject-based learning. 


Integrating Subjects

In most schools (probably every one I've ever taught in), admin expects to see math at math time, reading during ELA time, and not much of anything else. That sounds great on paper, but we all know we have too many standards and not nearly enough time to compartmentalize all of them. We also know that students' understanding of each standard strengthens when they are used across academic disciplines. ("Hey! We did that during math time, too!") 

So, how do we use these different instructional approaches to integrate subjects more effectively? 

In the apple example, for thematic learning, we can easily integrate an overall topic to all of our lessons and tie them together. We can have students write about their observations of apples (adjectives, spelling, handwriting, five senses), we can have them measure them and weigh them (math and science), we can look at maps of where apples are grown or find out how they get from the farm to the table (social studies). This is the least rigorous type of integration. 

For Project-Based Learning, we could have students set up an apple stand. Students could design the stand (STEM), make flyers or posters (writing, communication, art), decide what to sell--apples, apple juice, candied apples, apple pie (entrepreneurship, decision-making, strategy), how to price their items to maximize profits (math, entrepreneurship), and where the best place in town is to have their stand (geography, entrepreneurship). This is a more rigorous type of integration as students have to apply these skills in real-life situations. 

Since Phenomenon-Based Learning is student-driven, there won't necessarily be an end objective. You may guide students in a certain direction in order to help them make specific connections, but the process should be determined by the students. For simplicity's sake, say the theme is apples (it should be a bigger topic, but since we're investigating primary school application, we'll stick with this example). Questions students may have are: How do the apples get to the store? Why do we say things like, "As American as apple pie?" What makes it "American?" Did we always have so many types of apples? What is humanities role in developing more types of apples? Are certain kinds of apples better for some things, like baking, than others? This is kind of reaching, but, hopefully, you get the idea. You know that KWL chart? This is the "W." This is the most rigorous of the three types of integration. 

If I was going to use this model in upper elementary, the topic might be something regularly cited in the news to pique students interest. This could be the BLM movement, civil rights, inequality, police/public relations, immigration, or any number of other things that students need to know about. Controversial topics like these may require parent permission, but it should be framed in a way that educates students with the facts and not opinions or editorials. And it's student-driven, so these are questions students already have and parents may not be comfortable answering. (We've all redirected our lovely children when they've asked questions we don't want to answer. Mine always asked me where babies come from while we're in the car!) 

Students could use every subject area to get their questions answered. In the case of civil rights, students would use social studies to learn about the timeline of events, people important in the movement, places important milestones were reached, and the social implications of each. They could use math to determine how far apart certain events occurred, the number of people involved or hurt, and graphs to organize their information. They could use reading and writing in their research and explanations of their learning. They could use art (appreciation) when analyzing the paintings or drawings that represent the different time periods, or to make their own art examples. They could address music standards when listening to songs about the movement. They could even use science when they analyze the research debunking the myth that there is a difference between races.  

The Bottom Line

Each of these types of subject integration is beneficial for different reasons. Each requires a different level of creativity but can easily be implemented in any classroom. The biggest thing is knowing your students. I would not start off a kindergarten class with phenomenon-based learning in the fall. I would start off with thematic learning (our apple and pumpkin units are so fun!), possibly use project-based learning to setup a class store just before the winter holidays, and integrate phenomenon-based learning in April or May with our plants, life cycles, or oceans units. It just depends on how independent your students are. And it's up to us to get them there!

I hope this answered some of your questions about integrating subjects in your classroom. It takes practice, but it is so worth it in the end. Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for more great teaching ideas coming soon. Have a great week!

Stay sweet, 

Back to School Resources for K-2

Back to School Resources for K-2

Hey, y'all. In between episodes of Schitt's Creek, I've been working on some new resources for back to school. This upcoming school year has so many unknowns that's it's important we're prepared for anything. 

First, head over to TPT or Boom Learning to grab these free ten frame Boom cards. Students click and drag the suns to make the number on the left. 

And be sure to grab these parts of speech Boom cards. Students read the word and click on the correct flower to show if it's a noun, verb, or adjective. 

For the little guys, recognizing alphabet letters and what comes next is super important. These fall bakery missing letter Boom cards will pair wonderfully with your pumpkin spice latte when the weather starts to get a little cooler. Students read the letters on the pumpkin and apple cookies, then click and drag the letter that comes next to the empty cookie. Students work on letter identification and alphabetical order. Audio directions are included on the first slide. 

My students love to play hide and seek pocket chart games. Simply put the shapes cards your kids are learning in a pocket chart and slide the alien behind one of the shapes. Students take turns naming the shapes until someone finds the alien. Oh, and it's a freebie you can find here. This freebie can be used for all elementary grades. Just use the ones your students need. 

Before school starts, I like to get the kids' things color coordinated and labeled. That's where these labels come in handy. These labels are easy to print on mailing labels and include options for every (elementary) subject for both notebooks and folders. 

If you're meeting in person, you can help your kindergarten and pre-k students practice one-to-one correspondence and counting to 10 with these free back to school ten frames. You can laminate them and have students fill up the ten frames with play dough balls, or you can use mini erasers. 

And get your kindergarteners and first graders warmed up for math time with some fun and funny math journal prompts. Includes addition and subtraction problems and some open-ended options. These are super easy to use and were a favorite of my kindergarten kiddos. These could also be sent home in students' notebooks for independent practice for homework or distance learning days. 

This school year has so many unknowns. Being prepared for both in-person and online learning or distance learning is so important. Hopefully, this post gave you some ideas for your class this year and a few freebies you love to get you started. 

I'm always adding new resources to my store, so check back soon for more new ideas. Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week. 

Stay sweet, 

Planning for Distance or Blended Learning

Planning for Distance or Blended Learning

Hey, y'all. Planning for distance or blended learning seems like a super daunting task doesn't it? There are so many things up in the air. Here are a few tips for getting organized and ready to tackle anything this year throws at us:

1. Assess the digital resources your district has available and what you'd actually use. 
Most school districts have subscriptions to at least a few online learning resources. Popular options are Brainpop and BrainpopJr., Reading A-Z and Kids A-Z, Mystery Science, Padlet, among others. Google Classroom is available to everyone. Most districts have an online math program and reading program available to students. Boom Learning and Seesaw are inexpensive tools. You get the idea. 

2. Think through what a "normal" day would look like in the classroom. 
I check in with my students first thing in the morning and we start morning meeting while we wait for the announcements to get going. We have SEL lessons (Social Emotional Learning) at least every Monday, if not more often. We have reading, writing, and math daily. We alternate between science and social studies. On Fridays, we have a little fun with art or STEM challenges. List out your subjects so that you know what you need to plan for. 

3. Start plugging apps and resources into the different subject areas.
For instance, for 2nd grade reading I may have students practice spelling on Boom Learning, then log into the reading program to read the book of the day, then head over to Google Classroom to do a written response to the story and a writing prompt. For kindergarten reading, I may have them use the reading program to listen to the daily story, head over to Boom Learning for a few reading and letter identification games, then jump onto Seesaw to snap a picture of their writing and reading response. It's up to you how you structure it, but be sure to keep your kids' age level in mind. 

We had all our apps in one Clever Portal website so the kids just logged in there and they had everything they needed. But too much jumping around causes confusion. If you're going to use multiple apps (which is not a bad idea, it will just take time getting used to), be sure they are consistent--the same apps for reading each day, the same apps for math, one central place for getting assignments, etc. 

4. Write up family letters with the expectations and login information. 
One of the toughest things about online learning is getting the kids logged in. Consistent expectations are going to be key. Families need to know exactly where to go to login for each subject area. When we started online learning in the spring, I included step-by-step directions for my families. My students knew how to login with their classroom QR codes but not with their typed in login info. Make sure each family has detailed information for each step.

And if you're starting off in the classroom but you are concerned you may move into online learning again in the future, then start off on day one teaching kids how to login to things! I wish we had had one day to do that before the state shut-down. 

5. Be consistent. 
Of course you will probably find another great resource or ten to add into the mix as you go, but when you're just getting started, stay with what you know. You can slowly add in things as kids get the hang of them, but in the beginning, go slow to go fast. 

6. Split Groups
If your district decides to use a split group model (half the kids there some days, the other half the next days), plan for it like you would plan with small groups. What I mean by that is when you teach your guided reading groups, you have some kids with you (your A group) and some kids working on independent tasks (your B group--in this case, independently at home). When you think of your split groups in this way, it makes setting up home learning a little less OMG. Introducing a project when they are at school and giving them work time on the project at home is also a great option. If you can, implement Genius Hour for "homework" or independent research projects. 

This year already looks crazy, but it could just be the push we need for some major education reform. This is our time to think outside the box and let kids be kids! Let's embrace it! 

Thanks for stopping by and I hope you gained some new ideas for the upcoming school year. If you have any questions or want to bounce ideas around, feel free to email me or leave a message in the comments. 

Have a wonderful week and stay sweet!

Math Boom Cards for Primary Grades

Math Boom Cards for Primary Grades

Hey, y'all. Have I told you lately how much I love Boom Learning? If you don't know Boom yet, it's a website in which your students can use digital task cards to enhance their learning. The cards are self-grading and provide instant feedback for your students, making them great for center work, distance learning, or whole class lessons or review. 

We tried a few decks during our Zoom meetings and students used them during distance learning. The great part is they can be used on computers, iPads, smartphones, or whatever!

Telling time Boom cards are fun because there are 24 multiple choice cards in each set, one set for telling time to the hour and half hour and one for time to five minutes. This makes it super easy to differentiate for your students. Boom makes it simple to send one deck to some students and another deck to other students. Students are getting exactly what they need without any stigma of being in the "red group" or something like that. 

My students also reviewed fractions with Boom cards. This deck has 32 cards that represent fractions as circles (pie), rectangles, and pictures. Students simply type in the fraction in the boxes to the right. It's super simple but powerful to see who "gets it" and who still needs more support. 

We also did a little review of arrays with repeated addition and multiplication. Like the fraction cards, the arrays are shown with pictures and rectangles with rows and columns. Students type in the numbers for the repeated addition sentence and then do the same for the multiplication sentence. 

These decks are setup to give students the cards in random order, but you are free to change them if you'd like. There are many more print and digital options in my store and I'm always adding new resources so check back often. 

I hope you found some fun new ideas for your classroom. Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful week.

Stay sweet,