June 27, 2016

Using Seesaw in a Kindergarten Classroom

Beginning of the Year

Click here to read how I am kicking off the year with Seesaw.

Update

Seesaw 4.0 is here!!! Update your app on your iPhone and iPad! Also, be sure to scroll to the bottom of this page to get a free month of Seesaw Plus!


Have you started using this awesome FREE app in your classroom yet?! I have to say, I am just obsessed. So let's talk about it! **Please note - I am NOT a 1:1 classroom. I utilized my personal iPad and old cellphone in my classroom. The phone "belonged" to my students. I set expectations and never had an issue.

What is Seesaw?

Seesaw is an online portfolio for your students. Throughout the year students will take pictures and upload them for their parents to view. (Yes, my kinders can do this!)  

If you allow parents to view they can only see their own child's work. (Unless you choose to share something to all of the accounts i.e. pictures or class announcements). Parents LOVED this app. They enjoyed getting an update during the day and comment on their child's work.


Why use Seesaw?

Seesaw says it best on their website. This app is empowering to our students! My students were so excited to share their work. (We also used Periscope in my room so they are loving that they connect with others on a global scale).

How much do I upload?

Completely up to you! As I was just beginning I was in charge of uploads. I would bring the students to me, it was quick until they were able to take full control. Later I moved into allowing my reporter of the week to be in charge of the class device and choosing what they upload. Mostly my students would ask to upload their journals. I would take a picture of the entry, upload, and then they would record themselves reading it. LOVE!

Let's Watch!


Here is my video for the steps to setting up your account:

Here is Emily from @Seesaw also showing you how to get started!

How do I get started?

As with anything, starting something new can be daunting. So I am sharing some tips on getting started. I hope you get to explore over your break and begin the next school year with a bang!

1. First head over to http://web.seesaw.me/  and sign up for free!
 2. Upload your class list.
 3. Invite parents - you may choose to wait until you have an item uploaded for each student.
 4. Again, it is optional.

 5. When you give access you can send an email or print directions. Parent's get step by step instructions and a specific QR code for their child. I LOVE that parents do not need a smartphone or device to access - they can use a computer!

 6. Now the fun! Start uploading! There are so many different options - play around!

 7. Motivate your students. Here you can see this work as an image and then a voice recording that the parents can play. I can see that the parent viewed it and "Liked" it as well. They can also leave comments to their child.

Other Uses

I loved being able to communicate and update parents with class happenings. 

During centers I could record a specific skill that I am helping a student with. I can send that video right to the parents to show them how we practice!

 Quick and easy assessments! I leave notes to parents and show them what to review! LOVE IT!


I am a huge fan of this app! It has truly transformed my classroom. I can not wait to see what I can do with even more training.

I am now a Seesaw Ambassador! I am so excited to continue to share the love of Seesaw with others! There are only 3 of us in PA and I would be happy to offer any training to your school if I am in your area.

Seesaw Plus

While Seesaw is free there is now a new feature and I want you to try it for FREE! Scan the QR code below or click to go to the link. I would suggest waiting until school has started and your are familiar with Seesaw to really check out the free perks.

So what's the difference?

Since it is a paid subscription there are so pretty cool features. Now as the teacher you will be able to have your own private folder, comment on student work (so only you see it) and create skills and track if your students are meeting them. How cool is that?! So many cool features - time to jump in and play!

June 9, 2016

End of the Year Gifts for Kindergarten



End of the year gifts seem to be somewhat of a hot topic. What do I give them? Why do I need to give them anything? These are questions that I have heard recently. So I thought I would break down for you what I did this year - and how much I $pent!

Here's my two-cents 

No, we do not NEED to give our students anything. But I WANT to. We have just spend 180 days together. Learning and growing from one another. I do not give them a a gift because it is expected, I give it to them as a reminder of the time we had together. I also do not expect parents to give me an end the year gift either. But the ones who do see it as a thank you. That's a way to look at my gifts as well. A thank you for working so hard during the school. And a well wish for the upcoming year.



What I Gave

Here's a look into my gifts for the end of the year. Disclaimer - it looks like I spent a lot, but I will break it down for you at the end!
I just have to give a shout out to Target for a second! They hooked me up in March! All of the Dr. Seuss items I snagged in the Dollar Section of Target. I saw those bags and knew it's what I would use for my goodie. 

What's Inside

I do a "oh the places you'll go" theme to encourage my students to dream big. So I was sure to stop at multiple stores to get what I needed!

1 - Pencils - Target - $1 for a pack of 6
2 - Bookmarks - Target - $1 for a pack of 8 (I think)
3 - Mini Hard Cover Notbooks - this was my splurge at $1 a piece
4 - Glow stick - Dollar Store $1 for 8 (Tag free - see below for TPT link)
5 - Book - Scholastic Book Club - $1 or use your bonus points (I got the same book for all my kids, because it went with my classroom theme - but you could spend the year getting a few at a time)
6 - Hand print pillow case - priceless - okay really there was a cost - I had to buy the labels which were $12 for 10 sheets (about) and then the parents sent in the pillow cases.

What I Spent

Altogether I spent $51, which comes to a little over $3 per kid. To me, it is worth it as I want to have my impact on them last as long as possible. 

If you are not looking to spend that much -turn to TPT! There are so many adorable tags to go with items such as glow sticks, pencils, bubbles, gold fish, play dough and more! How adorable is this tag I snagged as a FREEBIE from Creatively Teaching First.



Glow Stick Summer Gift Tags



I understand that each teacher is different, but to me this was a small thing to do for a year of hard work and learning!

Do you give gifts? I'd love to hear your ideas!




June 2, 2016

Last Week of School, Let's Go Camping!



I always think how interesting it is that I never seem to do the same thing each year. As educators we are constantly evolving and revamping our activities and procedures. Sometimes we can get more accomplished than other years. All of these are directly related to the classes that we have each year.

This year I was beyond blessed with an amazing group. They were bright, fun and hard working. We had an extraordinary year! Due to them working so hard I was able to take risks with my teaching, not always a easy thing to decide to do. However, I felt that the rewards were much greater than the risks. And I was right! Taking the risk to go above and beyond enhanced my student's learning and so many different levels. Isn't that the reason we teach?! 

As you saw throughout my posts I have had a BLAST transforming my classroom. Even more so it got my students ENGAGED and EXCITED! From Wizard of Oz to Cinderella to Camping - I challenged myself as a teacher.Transformations are certainly hard work and there can be an expense, but it is worth it. (You need to follow Hope King and Wade King on Instagram to see awesome and inspiring transformations).

Camp Read S'more

So now onto the final transformation in my Kindergarten classroom. Now, if you are anything like me - you also love pinterest. :) Click below to go to my camping themed board and see where I got some of my ideas.

I based my theme all around the centers we would be doing. Normally I create 4 math and 4 ELA centers, however - we have 3 days left so I put together 4 centers totally. I went all out for my kids (because they deserve it) and centers are their favorite part of the day.

I spent about $50 through oriental trading and the rest I brought from home (we grew up camping). To help me with my centers I turned to TPT and The First Grade Parade (Yes - TPTers buy too!)


Camping Capers {Math, Literacy, & Science Activities}

My favorite part about this product is that I can use it for grades K-2! Such a win!

Stargazing


This is such a fun and simple center! I wrote sight words on the stars and hung them in my room. My students will use the flashlights to find the sight words and record.

ABC Order




An oldie but a goodie! They will be putting 6 camping themed words in order. They will then write and illustrate a sentence! The best part is that they are doing this in the "woods". Love it!

Fishing


Oh yes, they are throwing on their life vests and going fishing.....for facts! They will be solving addition and subtraction problems and sorting them.

Campfire/Smores


This is my FAVORITE center. They will be working to build smores while they are building words. We have been working on long vowels so this is perfect! Of course we are doing this by the campfire. I can't wait to surprise my students with these s'more oreos! Spoiler - they are delicious! 



And with that my friends, year five is in the books. I am not sure what next year will bring, be it subbing or finding a new school to call home. All I know is that it will be a year filled with learning!


What I $pent

The signs were $6.50. They were HUGE! I love them.
The trees were $8.50 a piece, and I purchased two. They were pretty flimsy and not the best quality. But they worked and I was able to store them for next year. 
The fire was $9.99 and really worth it because of what it added to my room setting. Be prepared - every single segment needs to be blown up individually. Annoying when you go to deflate it,



June 1, 2016

Taking Time For Yourself


The end of the year is here. The craziness of wrapping everything up and packing up the classroom is upon me. During this time is never fails that I am exhausted and forget to take care of ME. Anyone else feel that way? Yeah, I do it WAY to often. The beginning of the year I am coming off the summer of eating right and working out. Therefore, I feel awesome. then the craziness its.

Well my partner and I were just having this conversation, he's in the science field and could work until 9pm every night. We both throw ourselves into our work and are successful at what we do as a result. But that is how relationships suffer, both with ourselves and those around us. This year I have worked to leave work at work. NOT easy as a [Kindergarten] teacher!

So on Friday I get a call of let's go away for the three day weekend. YES please! I was thinking maybe wine country or somewhere in NY. He was thinking Canada! What a surprise when he shared that with me when I got to his place. I was so excited. It was so spontaneous and that is something I was forgetting to do - live in the moment.

So after a shower and a stop at my house for my passport we were off!

Now I am not saying you need to leave the country to get some perspective, but I am saying you need to occasionally adopt the motto of "it can wait". Did I have a lot to do? Absolutely! Did the world end because I didn't do it? NO! Don't forget that.

So - since my blog name rings true - I LOVE to travel so this trip seemed so natural. Minus the fact we were so NOT prepared - forgot to call our card companies, didn't have cash, gps didn't include Canada and cell phones didn't work. But ya know what - it was the best time I had in a long time. :)

CN Tower - Toronto

Ripley's Aquarium - Toronto


Toronto Zoo


Niagara Falls

To go with taking time for myself, I have gotten back into my hobby of photography. I have to \credit that to Teachers Pay Teachers! Feels good to do what you enjoy. 

Now, go do something for yourself.