Tuesday, March 4, 2014

QR Math

My qr craze has intensified!! Not only did I finish the multiplication task cards but I also added division.  Big YAY!!

These are perfect for my third graders (especially the ones who struggle to stay motivated in math.) Students buzzed through the task cards to check their work with the qr scanner. I included two sets of cards in each pack. The first set of task cards has three different backgrounds that signify varying levels. I did this so teachers could give students differentiated work or use it as they introduce multiplication strategies. I then changed the background for the remaining task cards and renumbered them so there would be 24 task cards at varying levels. There is an answer sheet for students to write the problem and show their work. 

My school is lucky enough to have iPads available. I previously used the iPads by having students go on math apps the computer teacher put in the 3rd and 4th grade math folder. Now that my students have learned to multiply and divide I have added these task cards as a technology choice. 

Next on my list is adding and subtracting as well as rounding. I am always looking for ways to reinforce concepts taught earlier in the year. Throwing in a bit of technology usually entices even my least motivated learners.  Check it out here: multiplication and division!

Oh the possibilities with qr codes!!! 

Sunday, March 2, 2014

QR Craze

I have become crazed with qr codes. I am driving people (coworkers, husband, anyone that will listen) crazy! This is so exciting to me! Luckily for me my students share in the excitement. I loved teaching them how to scan the codes and they were such eager learners! One qr code project I am really excited about links students to videos of the Maine author, Lynn Plourde reading some of her books aloud. I taped them into a file folder and left had students use them as a listen to reading Daily 5 choice. Students were over the moon for this!

Lynn Plourde came to my school last week and boy did we have a blast. We dressed up for her book You're Wearing That to School?  I even made it into the paper with some of my cuties.  I love the main character and celebrating the book in this way was a great gateway to character traits.  Any time reading can be fun, count me in!!  She had breakout sessions with some classes after the whole class assembly. My partner teacher was lucky enough to be chosen and she shared the teaching with my kiddos. We have been reading and writing up a storm!

I could also use this get up to dress like Pinkalicious!

I am currently working on making brain break qr codes. Students scan the code which links to a fun music video. I only have six in my classroom right now but I am hoping to make more very soon. I would like to print them on card stock and attach them to popsicle sticks so when we pull one to scan it is always a surprise. For now the students use a piece of white paper with the codes. They are not labeled so it's always a mystery as to which song we will get (for now anyway until they memorize it).

My weekend project was making qr code multiplication task cards. My third and fourth graders will be trying them out tomorrow and if all goes well they will be posted this week.  Here is a little sneak peak.

I have become obsessed with QR codes!!! It started in November. On my Pinterest page a picture of a barn with a QR code came up. I had seen these mysterious codes before and wanted to figure out what they were all about. This primary teacher had used them for sight words with her first graders. They scanned the code and were able to hear someone read the sight word.  I spent many hours trying to figure out how this would work in my classroom. The first time I tried using it in my classroom it was a huge fail. I had asked two students to read to the class and my plan was to record them and turn their recording into a qr code I would then attach to the book. It NEVER worked. Thank goodness I am blessed with some patient buggers this year. They handled my technological blunders with a few eye rolls and were able to move on. This lead me to more hours trying to figure out these codes. I realized that my Mac had come capabilities that my school computer did not. I would figure it out at home and then have epic fails at school. Bringing in my Mac was the answer to my problems. This was just in time for Thanksgiving. I was able to record the third and fourth graders reading their Thanksgiving reader's theater. I sent the qr code home with the kids so they could share their work with their families over break. It was a hit and I knew it was just the tip of the iceberg.

Happy qr coding!

Friday, February 21, 2014


The BEST game I have ever added to my classroom has been Pop. It started with a water cycle version of pop last year.  On small cards that had a picture of one piece of popcorn I added words associated with the water cycle. Kids played the game in groups of 3 or 4 by taking turns picking one card from the popcorn container. The goal is for the student to define the word or give an example of it. If the student answers correctly he/she gets to keep the card and have another turn. The turn ends when the player answers the question incorrectly or pulls a 'pop' card or chooses to pass. When the pop card is pulled students have to put all the cards back they earned that round and pass the container to the next player.

This year the fourth grade loopers were BEGGING for us to get the game out again as a Daily 5 word work choice. It was at this point that we knew were on to something big! The next pop game added was vocabulary associated with the human body. It was quite incredible to hear the conversations this game sparked. They were using the vocabulary we had talked about in lessons. They were keeping each other honest and on task. And, so many kids wanted to play pop we had to draw names from a cup to make sure everyone had a chance.

This paved the way for spelling pop. I asked one of our school's literacy specialists for the high frequency words we expect our third graders to know and turned that list of 200 into spelling pop. At this point I used the iPad to make a popcorn graphic and added the words by using the computer so these games would be easier to recreate (before we were adding words by hand).  Spelling pop is played slightly different and requires the speller to choose a card puller. The card puller reads and sometimes defines the word for the speller. The rest of the game is played the same way.

Spelling pop sparked multiplication pop. My third graders have learned strategies for facts through 10x10. This game is a reinforcer for those facts. As I hoped, multiplication is the most sought after math choice.   What a jackpot idea!  Here is the link to get multiplication pop for your classroom. I have also added division pop now that my kiddos have some division strategies in their math tool box.

Pop is such an easy game to set up. I found the popcorn containers at the dollar store. They are $1 for two containers. I really hope your kiddos love it as much as mine have!

Friday, February 14, 2014


This year we are celebrating Valentine's Day by focusing on friendship. We had various activities planned for our day including buddy reading books on friendship, adjectives describing what we want in a friend, and a recipe for building a friendship. Our day was lacking a word work activity, hence the birth of this gem.  Students are asked to use the letters in the word *friendship* to make new words. 
They will be given the option of using magnetic letters on a cookie sheet.  You can get your free copy of the friendship worksheet here.  However, we ended up having a blizzard forecast for Valentine's day so we moved the party up one day which ended up being an early release and Valentine's day was a snow day.  We did have time for a quick party and one read aloud. The rest of the activities will wait until after vacation.

The focus on friendship comes at a perfect time as many of the kids are struggling to maintain friendly relationships with their classmates. Being in the Northeast, I blame most of the struggle on the cabin fever we are all experiencing due to the snowy and icy weather winter has brought to us. Here's to remembering what being friends is all about.

One of the parents sent in these cute yogurt parfaits. They were layered with vanilla yogurt, granola, strawberry granola and whipped cream. YUM!! She even put candy conversation hearts on the top. The kids especially loved the cups and many of them washed them out to bring them home.

Final thought- notice the elephant and pig on the worksheet. This is in direct relationship to my love for all things Piggy and Elephant!! Shout out to Mo Willems, an author I have come to adore!!