Friday, November 2, 2012

Appy Hour and More...

Happy November!

Sheesh...can hardly believe it's turkey time!

I just wanted to share a little app that a friend of mine told me about that I just LOVE!  Are you a stick picker?  I didn't used to be.  I always try to alternate when I call on my kiddos...boy, girl, boy, girl...I still do that sometimes, but I try to play it fair and pick sticks.  I have three cups of sticks scattered around the room. Of course, I can never find a cup when I need it.

This is one helpful little app..

Click the picture to check it out for yourself - it's only $2.99...not too shabby...
I like the question stems can customize them based on your students' abilities - a great way to differentiate.
Another great app that is really growing on me is the Confer app.  I've been playing around with it and really started to like it today.  It's a simple way to organize your conferring notes during workshop.  You can set up different groups so you can easily organize your notes for whatever subject areas you might want.  So far, I've been keeping notes during reader's and writer's workshop.  The app has a lot of features that I haven't had the time to play with - but it has so many capabilities.  It was 10 bucks...but honestly SOOOOO worth it.  I've tried so many different ways to keep track of my conferring notes and I really think this one is going to be "it"!

We had a slow start this year with writer's workshop. Building our writing stamina has proven to be tricky business.  They'd start off strong and then peter out after about 10 minutes.  FINALLY, it seems that we have picked up steam.  Lightbulbs are going on left and right!

Today, the day after Halloween, I was just getting started with my mini-lesson. I looked out at the crowd and they were all crashing hard from their sugar buzz's...HA!  My lesson about staying close-in when ending your story was going to go over like a fart in church.  I knew I had to think fast on my feet....

My bin of stuffed buddies caught my eye.  I grabbed the frog {he jumps} and frantically grabbed a cute pink flamingo.  They stand on one leg and stay put for long periods of time...right?  I think so. I didn't do my research beforehand, it was on a whim...remember?

Do you remember this post/book about using concrete objects to solidify concepts? I've been all about that this year and have come up with some good ones on my own.  We've used rubber bands to remind ourselves to s t r e t c h out words when we write - listening for and writing down all of those sounds we hear.  We've used magnifying glasses to help us ZOOM in on one small moment ...writing all those details we remember to help us stretch out our stories.  And today....

When I described that frog endings JUMP away from the "...and then I went home", I threw the frog to the other side of the classroom.  That woke them up!  I took the leg of the flamingo and sort of pulled it up and had him stand there, still as a statue on that one leg.  He stayed put. Just like our flamingo endings should...close-in. 

When a teacher-friend came into my classroom at the end of workshop I asked the kiddos to explain "frog endings" and "flamingo endings" to her and I tell you...I have never seen so many kids raise their hands.  It really was mighty cool.  Now to see them apply what they learned.  We'll get there...

Have a great weekend!


  1. LOVE it!! :)

    Such a great visual!

    Sweet Times in First

  2. Love when inspiration hits at times like that!
    Happy weekend!

    Teachery Tidbits

  3. Great lesson! I want and iPad so bad!!! Trying to convince the hubby that this is the best Christmas gift ever!!
    The Resource(ful) Room


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