Sunday, July 19, 2015

Instagram Help...please

Well I finally opened an Instagram account for Dandelions and Dragonflies. It wasn't because I'm against it or dislike it...I just have SO many social media accounts!

I'm not kidding....
Dandelions and Dragonflies: Facebook, Gmail, Blogger, Pinterest, and now Instagram
Quite a Pear: Facebook, Pinterest, and Yahoo
Work: Gmail, and I help manage the Facebook account
Personal: Gmail, Instagram, and Pinterest

So here is something I have ran into, on my phone I can log out of my personal Instagram account and in to Dandelions and Dragonflies account...not too difficult. The problem occurs when I want to post my D and D Instagram picture to my D and D Facebook page (are you following this?). It won't let me because I'm logged into my personal account through the FB app.

I tried to edit my D and D Instagram profile on my computer and simply add my D and D FB page to the app, but it won't let me. It says I have not selected any, but when I'm in the app and try to select it....well it goes to my personal FB page.

Am I making this more complicated then it has to be??? Should I just not link them??

Friday, July 17, 2015

A New Book

Pretty excited...just released...

This is now the third book in the series. I blogged before about the first book Because of Mr. Terupt you can catch up about the lessons and book here.

I can not stress enough about how great these book are. If you are about the start school next month I would highly recommend reading Because of Mr. Terupt to your class (5th grade is the perfect grade level).

My former students still rave about this book and I'm sure will be as excited as I am that there is a third book.

I think this poster for the book sums up the main idea of all three books...

In  all three books the chapters are broken into months, giving a little background some times during the summer, and then continue through the school year. Within each chapter you get to "hear" the story from all seven different perspectives with the seven characters telling the story in their own words and voice.

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

My Agenda

Thank you all for the great advice and comments about blogging in the classroom and QR codes!

I will absolutely share all the "goodies" that I plan on using for the PD.

To answer a few questions:
-Our district is rolling out a 1:1 iPad initiative. This is district wide, now I do teach in a small rural district with four elementary schools, three middle schools, and one high school.
-All grade levels K-12 will be 1:1. Now not all students will be able to take the iPads home.
-I was on the 1:1 committee, but there were still a lot of things that were being decided when it came to the roll out of I guess we will see when school starts :)

I am really working on trying to get back into the swing of blogging, crafting, and of course work. I figure if I am going to teach PD on blogging I should...well, actually blog!

This week I'm focusing on the crafting...filling a few orders for label/ribbon sets, and starting to craft some things for the model classroom I will be setting up for professional development...I think I FINALLY settled on a theme!! Wouldn't you like to know!

Next on the agenda is to gear up for AVID training in Denver, CO.

AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination. It is a global nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the achievement gap by preparing all students for college and other post secondary opportunities.

Two people in our district wrote the grant and so now we get to head to Denver for some training with NIKE: "AVID trains educators to use proven practices in order to prepare students for success in high school, college, and a career, especially students traditionally underrepresented in higher education."

I'm pretty excited to see what this program holds for our district. Due to the rural area we have a large population of students that do not move on to college or those other post secondary opportunities.

I will keep you all posted.

Finally as soon as I get back from Denver I will be teaching summer school for rising 6th graders.

Whew! I guess I can't say I won't have anything to blog about.

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Teaching Professional Development

During pre-planning week I will be teaching two different professional development classes: Using QR Codes in Your Classroom, and Blogging in the Classroom.

Next year our district is going 1 to 1. Every student will have an iPad, therefore our professional development will revolve around technology.

I am very prepared for teaching the QR code class.

When it comes to blogging in the classroom I am still doing a lot of research. I am very familiar with blogging as a teacher, but know and understand it is different when your students are doing the blogging.

Do any of you have your students blog?

What are your suggestions/ideas for blogging in the classroom?

to_blog_or_not_to_blog.jpg (490×348)

Friday, July 3, 2015


My first year as an instructional coach came and went so quickly. I obviously stayed extremely busy and the learning curve was HUGE...moving from a classroom teacher to instructional coach as well as from the elementary school to the middle school made that curve even larger.

Two things I am most proud of at the end of this year:
1. The connections I made and relationships I was able to build with my teachers.
2. Surviving the new SBAC testing (part of my job is building test coordinator).

The great thing about having my first year under my belt is being able to plan what to improve and change next year. It's also nice to have the first year...what is that? how do I do that? you want that when?'s under my belt (well some of them, as we know in education things are always changing).

My number one goal for next year is to get into the classrooms more! Managing my schedule is something that got away from me this year. I'm on a lot of teams/committees and am in tons of meetings! So, I really need to plan being in classrooms, put it on my schedule, and keep to my schedule! One way of going about this is to keep a rotating schedule of visiting specific grade levels on certain days, then hopefully I won't feel like a ping pong ball. The difficult part of this is being available during teachers preps to talk with them as needed. I found this year my teachers were more likely to "pop" in and talk with me during that time of their day.

Which brings me to number two goal, make my visits meaningful. I plan on using some of the tools I have been reading about in a book titled: 17,000 Classroom Visits Can't Be Wrong. I want my visits to be data driven and be able to hand that data over to my teachers for them to use and if they want make a plan to possibly improve areas they feel are weak.

Finally, I am going to be able to have a model classroom! I get to decorate a classroom again!!! Whooohooo! I will be teaching summer school this year and I will use some of that time to begin setting it up. During the school year we will use the classroom for staff development, professional development, our district PLCs, and finally I will invite teachers in to co-teach or model lessons for them.

In closing, a shout out to my Secondary Coaching Team (middle school and high school), we were named Outstanding Teaching Team of the Year.

Finally my cutie is now a 1st grader, and made the newspaper!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

First Weeks As Instructional Coach

It's been a crazy, exciting, and busy first few weeks as an Instructional Coach.

A few things that I have learned are:

1. Google calendar is my friend. If I didn't keep it open on my desktop then I'm pretty sure I would miss a few meetings!

2. Google docs and I have a love/hate relationship. I love being able to share items with my teachers, being able to access documents from anywhere. I dislike that when multiple people are using the same document at the same time, it "jumps" around as changes are made. I also dislike that I can't undo what others have done, I can only revert to old versions. I learned to keep my original and make copies for others to view/edit.

3. I LOVE my aides that help with data input, spreadsheets, and benchmark testing. I don't know when I would get it all done if not for them.

4. Technology is good, when everything is finally updated and student/teacher user names/logins are imputed as well as correct. I spent a lot of time on the phone and emailing district and company personnel getting things in order.

5. Getting into classrooms is hard!

6. Learned I need to run PLCs like a classroom, but also treat them like professionals and experts at what they do...not sure why I didn't think of the classroom perspective prior to teaching my first PLC, but I'm learning! (have a learning target, get them up and moving, etc.)

7. Build trust and relationships!

8. Keep logs! I love technology but I have found good 'ole journals, notebooks, and binders are my preferred method of logging. I keep a simple composition notebook of entries as to when I go into a classroom, what I observed (facts only), when I meet with teachers (things I may need to find out for them, etc.), mostly so I can remember to follow up if needed or find answers for them. I keep a hand written phone log for parent conversations (I'm already on page four). I also keep a spiral for handwritten notes in meetings (already over half way through that notebook).

How were your first weeks of school?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Notice and Note (part two)

If you didn't catch part one of my Notice and Note "series" you can find it here and catch up!

Last post I discussed how I begin modeling what I call Notice and Note...thinking while reading.

After modeling my thinking aloud a few times I begin modeling how to note. I usually start with any grade level by using sticky notes.

Again there are many variations for this process, but I start simple.

For grades 3 and up I use my document camera to project the book. As I am reading it aloud I will stop occasionally and write my thoughts on my sticky note and place it on the page I was reading. I still make these notices aloud as before, but this time I write them down. Like the previous post it may be something I notice about the picture, the text, the way an author foreshadowed, etc. I try to simply write what I notice, but not discuss it in depth.

The students usually get pretty excited about this and want to share what they notice as well. It is up to you if you want to start involving them at this point or in the next read aloud.

After modeling my noting on the stickies I return to them once the book is done or I am at a stopping point I return to them and explain why I wrote what I did on the sticky notes (this will lead into how to have great discussions about books/articles in small groups later).

A few tips for some of your younger students:

For the "littles" that can write but yet have shorter attention spans you may want to have the sticky notes already placed through out the book, and model actually writing one or two at the end of the book.

For the "littles" that can't read or write yet you may want them to leave a sticky note (limited them to maybe three), draw a simple picture to represent a feeling, question, idea, etc. Example: A smiley face, because this made me feel happy or I like that the character did that. Or have them leave blank sticky notes (possibly cut the sticky notes in half), and leave them on a page. Then have discussions with them as to why they placed that sticky on that page.

At this point you can have them give it a try!

Here are some great examples of using sticky notes when reading, they differ a little from how I use them, but are great ideas and you may find them helpful! (click the picture to link to the blog post)

I choose not to use symbols on the sticky notes because I want them to write and explain.

Stay tuned for part three...What do we do with all these sticky notes!?!

On another note (get it..okay it's been a long day) we had our first day of pre-planning. I feel like it went pretty smoothly. It's different being on the presenting information side, but I'm adjusting!

Here are a few goodies I made to help welcome the teachers back!

My principal chose the theme "Can't wait to see you SHINE" because we have a lot of shiny new teachers, shiny new curriculum, and shiny new technology! Cute huh?!

And I decided to give the teachers these little goodies, with my extension for a quick reference.