Listen to Reading Response Using an Online Chatroom

One of my students’ favorite Daily 5 centers is Listen to Reading.  I linked two awesome FREE sites to my classroom website—Storyline Online and Read to Me.  Both sites have celebrities reading aloud children’s books.  When they are finished, I always have my students complete some type of response depending on the skill/strategy we’re learning about that week. 

One of their favorite ways to respond is using Today’s Meet, which is a private online chatroom.  All I have to do to set it up is go to and enter a name for my room.  Then I can choose how long I want the data to be saved (anywhere from two hours up to one year).  Once the room is created, it generates a web address which I link to my classroom website.  Then I post a question or discussion topic and all the students have to do to respond is type their first name and click join.  Once they type in a response, it shows up with their name, date, and time.  No email address or login info is required to set up a chatroom, which is why I love Today’s Meet. 

Here is a screen shot of my students’ responses when we were practicing summarizing a few weeks ago.

How else might you use Today’s Meet in your classroom? 

Friday Flashback and Freebie- Place Value and Scientific Method

This week we finally wrapped up our place value unit, using some of Layla’s fun place value activities for review.  I made this PowerPoint table for my students to practice putting numbers in standard, expanded, and word form. 

You can download it for free as a PowerPoint by clicking the image.  You could also just print the page and use it as a regular handout if you don’t want to use it with your students in PowerPoint.

I have started using PowerPoint more than Notebook lately because it’s very student-friendly and I figured I should get them comfortable with using it since many of our projects this year will involve PowerPoint.  I’ve mentioned this before, but I don’t like teaching tech in isolation because it takes up too much time, so I try to gradually introduce various programs throughout year by incorporating them into my academic lessons. 

We also got some practice using PowerPoint this week by making presentations about the scientific method.  Here’s one of my friends modeling how to add and edit slides.  I copied images for each of the steps onto one slide and had my students download that file from my website onto their desktops.  That made it easy for them to just copy and paste the images onto the appropriate slide.  We will get to screen shots and finding our own images from the internet later on—I just didn’t feel ready for that quite yet.  I am just happy we have gotten our feet wet with PowerPoint and have mastered the Mac commands for copy, paste, save, and undo. 

My students will officially be allowed to take their laptops home with them each night starting Monday!  That makes me excited and nervous at the same time.  I know these machines will add so much to their homework and practice/review time at home.  I’ll keep you posted on how it goes.:)

Oh, and I have to mention, we ended our day on Friday setting up our accounts and playing games on Sumdog.  If you haven't tried Sumdog yet for math practice, you should check it out!  I posted about how I used it with my firties last year here.

Be sure to link up with Amanda to share your favorite activities from this week!

Freebie Fridays

Teaching Types of Sentences Using Virtual Sticky Notes

In my fourth-grade classroom, we have been studying types of sentences, which can tend to get a little dry.  After seeing this post from Molly from Lessons with Laughter, I knew I wanted to do something similar with technology.  I then remembered reading this post by Mrs. K from The Teacher Garden about virtual sticky notes on Lino

So, I created a Lino wall with two headers—“Declarative” and “Interrogative” in two different colors.  I then posted the link to my classroom webpage so students could easily access it.  Each student wrote a sentence and chose the correct color and column to place it under.  They LOVED this activity and it was super quick and easy.  It was also really fun to look at all the different sentences we created together on our SMARTBoard.   

I would recommend having just 5-6 students post at one time so the post-its don’t get jumbled up.  However, if they do, it’s easy to move them around.  Now that I’ve experienced how easy Lino is to use, I can totally see myself using it for many other things in the classroom.  What would you use it for?

Teaching Internet Safety

Illinois state law requires school districts to teach internet safety.  Whether it’s the law or not, I’m sure all of us teach internet safety to our students in one form or another.  Last week, I had my students complete a “Rules of the Road” course on PBS Kids.  It’s a self-guided course/test (which can also be done whole group) for which students earn an official “PBS Kids Web License.” 

I compared surfing the net to driving a car and stressed to the kids that they are the ones behind the wheel.  Just like we need a driver’s licenses to drive a car to prove we know the rules of the road, they need a web license to show they know how to surf the net safely. 

If you teach younger kids, I recommend doing the course whole group, but the older ones can do it on their own.  It took my 4th graders about 10-15 minutes and once they were finished, their official web license popped up.  To save paper, I copied the license image (4 to a page) ahead of time for my students to fill out once they completed their test.  You can grab mine below by clicking the image.

Here are a couple sample questions.  If a child gets an answer incorrect, it explains why that’s not the best choice and guides them to answer it correctly.  So basically, no one can fail the test.;) 

How do YOU teach internet safety?