Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Kahoot is a Hoot!!!

If you teach a tested grade (is there any grade that is not tested these days?), then you are probably like me and are just burnt out with testing review.  I am really trying not to make our review books the focus of our day, even though we spend a great deal of time working in them (that is, when I am not administering TRC's).  I am still trying to keep some routine and sense of "normalcy" in my classroom, but I decided not to do spelling this week (as a former spelling bee champ, I am a fan spelling).

Instead, this week we are going to focus on vocabulary for geometry.  Doesn't it MAKE YOU INSANE that students don't get geometry in third grade?  I feel like I can't get through to my students that what we are doing in geometry is so much more than, "Which shape is a square?"  "Which shape is a trapezoid?"  UGH!  I may be a phenomenal speller (I didn't even have to look up how to spell phenomenal), but geometry in high school almost killed me.  I blame a lot of that on my math teacher, who was the type that always had his back to the class as he wrote on the board.  This particular teacher almost ruined my love for math.  Geometry was hard for me, and I know that I am not the only one who experienced the stress of high school geometry.

So what is the key to teaching geometry so that students can be successful later on?  I have no idea.  In my case I blame it on good instruction (as a teacher I know that I shouldn't blame a teacher for a student's problem, but I also know that I did well in every other math course).  What I do know is that geometry involves an incredible amount of VOCABULARY.  I try hard to make my students use the appropriate vocabulary when describing shapes in geometry.  Am I perfect?  Ugh, no, but I try.  In fact, I try to be a stickler in using math words when we are doing math (None is not a number!).

To review our geometry vocabulary, I created a quiz on Kahoot!  This was on a list of review suggestions from our curriculum director.  I made a 10-question review and did it with my students today, and they LOVED it!  As soon as we finished, they asked about doing it again!  Here's what it involves:

First, you sign up for a FREE account and make a multiple choice quiz (there are other choices of things that you can create, but I only tried the quiz).  Go to  Creating a quiz literally took me minutes since I was not adding any pictures, links, or videos.  The quiz is saved in your account, but you can email a link to yourself or others.

Kahoot can be used with laptops, tablets, or smartphones.  Our third graders have laptops, so they opened Safari and went to

 I have the screen above displayed on my SmartBoard, and students enter the pin when they get to the sign-in screen.
As students log in and enter a name, it will appear on your screen. It also shows the number of students that are taking the quiz.

When you start the quiz, the question appears on your SmartBoard.  The answer choices are labeled with a color and symbol.  Students then click on the matching color/symbol on their device.  Students earn more Kahoot points if they answer quickly.

Once everyone has submitted answers, the program will show the correct answer and a graph of how many students chose each one. 

The students are given immediate feedback for their answer.  

The top 5 students are then displayed on your SmartBoard.

There are many other features on Kahoot that I have not explored yet, but I know that you can download your students' scores.  There is also a link to public Kahoots that other teachers have created.

My students and I are enjoying this new program.  Have fun Kahooting!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Happy Mother's Day!

My third post in a month!  Are you impressed?  If not, you should be.  I have had another CRAZY school year, again mostly due to family things.  I did not even have grad school this year, and it has been difficult to keep up with things in the blogosphere.  I should see what else is out there so that I can link up with others, but I'm just going to keep this a linky-free post.  :-)

So...tomorrow is Mother's Day!  I love being a mom.  I waited forever to get pregnant out of fear of the incredible responsibility, and now I wish that I could have more kids.  Words cannot express how much I love my little one.  My heart breaks for those women who struggle with fertility, those whose hearts long to have their own baby.   Being a mom is definitely the world's toughest job.  This video that one of my sisters shared with me pretty much sums up the expectations:

My students made cards and bookmarks for their moms.  I started teaching cursive early this year (I am a REBEL who teaches cursive), so they wrote everything in cursive.  Although these items are not very elaborate, my hope is that Moms appreciate this next step in what their children can do.  Unfortunately, I didn't take a picture of the finished products.  Sorry.  However, you can check out what my little one did for me.

She got my age right!  And How I Met Your Mother is definitely one of my favorite shows.  Both of these keepsakes are so sweet!

My big Mommy job today...helping my little one perform at her first feis!  She started Irish step dancing back in September, and today was her first real performance/competition.   She was always a very bouncy girl, and this has been a good fit for her.  I never get tired of watching her dance (although the accordion music gets on my nerves at times).  I am impressed with myself for being able to do her hair.
This was not a full-on wig, but just a bun cover.  It made my day so much easier than trying to figure out what to do with her hair.  It doesn't hold a curl easily, so this little hair thing was priceless (even better that I only paid $5.00)

I hope that all of you have a wonderful Mother's Day tomorrow.  If you are not a mom, then I hope that you are able to spend time with your mom.  If you are only able to talk to her on the phone, then I hope that she doesn't hang up on you the way that my mom did to me today (long sad, are only allowed to ask if you have kept reading until this point). 

Have a great weekend!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

May Currently

It's May!  I'm taking some time on this beautiful Saturday morning to link up with Farley's Currently.

My daughter spent the night with my in-laws, so I get to watch whatever I want!  Wait, Fox News is what my husband wants...I'm going to look for Saved By the Bell! 

I am LOVING this gorgeous spring weather (except for that pesky pollen).  Our windows are open at night, and every morning I wake up listening to the birds in our backyard.  Love it!  Soon it will heat up and the air conditioning will be on (and it won't be off until October...grrr...).

My little one does a lot of dancing.  She has been in a tap/jazz/ballet combo class since she was three, and this year she took up Irish step dancing at a different studio.  I am not sure how long she will be able to do both, but for now she loves every minute of it.  Next Saturday is her first feis (Irish dance competition), and the following weekend is her regular recital.  I have been listening to "Call Me Maybe" and Irish accordion music for weeks.  I can recognize a reel, but I don't understand the difference between all of those jigs. 

We have no beach vacation planned this summer because we are saving for a trip to Disney this fall.  I really need a beach trip after the spring that I've had.  Hopefully we will be able to do a weekend getaway at some point this summer!

I need to get a move on this day, so let me wrap this up...


I love Alison's blog.  She has awesome teaching ideas, and she generously shares her math games for free! 

Have a great week, everyone!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Spring Fever!

I don't know about you, but I am ready for spring break!  Some districts have theirs starting today, but we still have four more days before our break begins.  As much as I don't like having such a late Easter, I've enjoyed having the time to do more Easter/spring activities. 

We've been working on adjectives, which was difficult for many students.  I saw this craftivity on Pinterest and we created our own adjective rainbows.  I was very pleased with how they turned out!
I used pink instead of indigo so that the words would show up better.  
Also, for Easter I read Rechenka's Eggs by Patricia Polacco.   My husband's family is part Ukranian, and some family members like to decorate simple pysanky.  I shared an elaborate egg that I purchased many years ago, and then let students try to do some designs and patterns on their own.  I was very pleased with their results!

I am not usually so artsy in my teaching, but my students have really enjoyed this contrast to all of our reading portfolio passages.  Now bring on Easter and Spring Break!!!