Peek at my Week: April 1st-5th

Happy Easter everyone!! I'm stopping by to share a glimpse into some of the activities going on in my 5th grade class this week.

I have admired Deedee's weekly plans for a long time now. I just love seeing what she is doing in her class...it's almost like getting to sit in the back of her room and see everything happen! That would be an awesome experience for sure :)

And, ever since Deedee began the Peek at my Week Linky, I have been dying to join in. So I decided to finally take the leap this week and try it out myself!

This isn't my full schedule (since some of the lessons I use come out of our curriculum books) but it is an overview of the major lessons and activities my class will covering this week...complete with links to all of the activities/units (from some incredible teachers out there!).

So, here's a peek at my week:
Image Map

The Word Analysis is something I've been working on and using all year with my class. It should be ready (hopefully) in a couple of weeks and I am very excited to share more about it.

What are you working on in class this week? Thanks for visiting! :)
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Gradebook App Love! (iDoceo)

Well, I must confess that I am very cheap when it comes to apps...as in I never really buy them if they cost. I know they're not exactly expensive, but a girl's got to curb the spending somewhere, right? (fonts and clipart don't count!)

But when I went on a search for a great gradebook app and read about iDoceo, I decided to make the leap and bought my first app!

And I'm so glad I did.

This little app is EXACTLY what I was looking for and then some! Naturally, I couldn't wait to share what I've learned with my good friends--all of you!

(I wasn't asked to review this, just wanted to share about it on my own because it is excellent!)

I'm still new to this app and there are tons of features I need to try out...so I'm nowhere near an expert on it. But I did want to share an overview of some incredible features iDoceo offers.

Quick Setup
To get your planbook going, all you need to do is:
  1. Create a class name (mine is "sample class" here, with names of my friends and family).
  2. Add your student names.
  3. Create tabs for each subject (the class list remains throughout once entered initially).
You can color code the subject tabs and move them with ease. The whole setup only took me a few minutes.

Color Coding Galore
You can color code anything and everything you'd like! All columns could have a specific color, test columns could be highlighted...there are tons of possibilities.
Variety of Grading Choices
 
iDoceo is set up to allow you to grade however you would like. You can enter numerical grades (as shown above), letter grades, and there are tons of icons as well...
(I like to have a tab just to check off completed homework first thing in the morning).

You can also use a mix of grades and icons, if you would like to use a combination...
I use this feature to star any students who still need to take a test.
You can even just use color codes, without a grade or icon if you would like...
to provide a quick, at-a-glance overview of students who still need to work on certain concepts...
Easy Averaging
Ok, this next part made me hug my iPad. Literally. You can average any and all grades, weighted in any fashion you would like. !!!

A HUGE time-saver!

All you have to do is create a new column and designate it as a Calculation.
Choose how you would like it to be graded (I use generic numeric grades to tally my assessments).
Click on all the columns you would like to be averaged...
And you have instant averages!
This also works for another grading scale my district uses (1 to 4)...
Annotations and Record Keeping
As with the other features, there are tons of choices to keep track of individual students' progress. You can select assignments and assessments to put on each students' profile (as shown above).

You can type up notes on a particular assignment...
You can also attach work samples, audio, photographs, and more...
So, as I mentioned above, there are many other incredible features that come with this app and I am still learning about them.

And I will say there is a bit of a learning curve to this and it did take me some time to figure out a few parts. However, iDoceo offers customer support and tutorials on their website iDoceo.net and this is a huge help.

Have you used this app before? Do you keep your grades digitally? I must say, I'm so excited to be done with pencil and paper record-keeping. :)
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Character Traits Graphic Organizer

So. Despite my best efforts, I'm sorry to say I remain a weekend-blogger. I don't want to be, but it just seems inevitable this year! I really do bring my camera to school and daydream of ideas to blog about...but I never seem to get to the actual blogging part!

BUT the sunshine is feeling warmer, the birds are singing, the snow is starting to melt...and I know that means more blog-energy coming my way soon!!

Today (a day in which I continually look at the clock and have a little freak-out at the later-than-expected time) I wanted to share a little file we'll be using in class tomorrow. 

Even though my students are reading several different texts in Reader's Workshop, I like to use similar graphic organizers and reader's response questions whenever possible...it's really ideal for the sharing session we have at the closing of the workshop.

This graphic organizer is one my students will be keeping in their binders as they encounter key characters in their new texts.

Would you like to download a copy for your class? If so, please click on the image below for an instant download...
What are you working on during your Reader's Workshop?
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Maximizing Technology with Headphone Splitters

Hey everyone! I am so, so excited about a new tech tool I just bought! (Ok I actually bought three, but you'll see why in a moment). I just know it's going to make a HUGE difference in my class...so naturally I had to share my find with you!

To backtrack a bit...

It all started with this wonderful blog post I read on Laura Candler's Corkboard Connections: The Power of Audiobooks. Laura describes all of the benefits of audiobooks, even for older students in 5th grade (you have to read this post, she has a ton of fascinating and helpful information on this topic). I was excited to read this because I really feel the same about the important of audiobooks for fluency and comprehension...not just for my newcomer EL 5th graders, but for my mainstream students as well.

In this article, Laura also mentions how she hooks up multiple headphones using adapters, so several of her students may enjoy the audiobook via one source.

Adapters?!?

Did such a thing exist?? (I mean, beyond those big, boxy old-school devices that don't plug into iPods and computers)?

I flew to Amazon and, sure enough, there it was. A Belkin Rockstar Multi Headphone Splitter!!

My head was spinning...this would change everything! We could take those little bits and pieces of technology we have and really maximize them...to give all of my students access to the tools more often.

Which means more of my 5th graders can use these together, instead of waiting for their one turn during the week...
AND they can use my iPad as well...
(we tried this out last week before our winter break...you can fit about three 5th grade students comfortably around the iPad).

I'm smiling now as I write this, at the thought of all that technology being utilized to its fullest potential!! 

I have a bunch of ideas for these little tools and I promise to come back and share all about them very soon (we head back from winter break this week and I'm looking forward to getting them all set up).

Have you used headphone splitters like this? Do you have another tool you like to use, to help maximize the tech in your class?
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