Back to School Sale at TpT and New QR Code Resource!

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Flapjack-Educational-Resources

It's the awesome time of year where almost everything at TpT is 28% off! I always hate how gunky my images look when I try to showcase what I have at FlapJack, so I worked really hard to create some Google Slides that highlight the main resources that represent what FlapJack is all about.

I do want to share just one resource specifically that I uploaded last night which is my Back to School QR Code Printables. 

Back to School QR Code Printables

Although this bundle is a part of my Year Long QR Code Printables Bundles for 4th grade, the skills in this pack are actually based on 3rd grade common core standards. That way, you can pull these activities out on day one without needing to teach prior skills (hopefully :P).

So, here are all my Google Slide Resource Displays. Just click on any picture to be taken to the TpT listing (and don't forget the promo code!). Happy shopping!













Awesome Apps for Classroom Management


Hey, ya'll! I am part of a FANTASTIC Back To School Survival Guide Blog Hop with a BUNCH of amazing blogger teachers! Be sure to check out each post that is jam-packed with super teacher tips. Each one also contains a giveaway for two $25 gift certificates to TeacherspayTeachers - YES!!!

So, my mini survival guide is all about how I use apps on my phone to manage my classroom.


There is SO much you can do now on your phone, and I only scratch the surface in this post. Nevertheless, here are some of my favorite apps and tips for using your Smartphone or iPad in the classroom (if you're not allowed to use your phone in your class, consider purchasing a used iPod generation 4 on Ebay. I did this a couple of years back when having your phone with you in class wasn't as common).


Smart Seat


The Smart Seat app ($4.99)  allows you take photos of your students and arrange them in rows and columns. This is great for creating different grouping arrangements and for assigning seats in your classroom. You can print out your seating arrangement and put it in your sub folder to help substitutes keep track of your students and where they should be sitting.

Google Slides

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/google-slides/id879478102?mt=8

Smart Class is limiting when you have special arrangements in your classroom. If you have a little bit of presentation-creating skills, you can solve that issue by working on seating arrangement in the Google Slides App. You can create squares for desks and rectangles or circles to represent students. Then, just drag them around with your finger.

At the beginning of the year, I color-code students by boy/girl to hopefully mix them up as well as possible. Throughout the year, I  change their colors based on testing scores and then rearrange them in a mixed-ability format. Every year, I can access this same file and reuse it. You can also create this initially in PowerPoint on your computer, then download it to your Google Drive to access later on your phone or iPad.



ClassDoJo

If you have followed my blog at all, you will know that I am a hands-down, no-questions-about-it ClassDoJo app user. Students have their own adorable monster avatars and receive positive or negative points based on behaviors you decide. It has worked for four years running now, so I'm not about that to mess that up!

If you're new to this awesome app/website, check out this post by Two Boys and a Dad-Teacher that will help you get started.

http://twoboysandadadteacher.blogspot.com/2015/07/how-to-rock-classdojo.html

I keep the website bookmarked on my desktop web browser, but I also use the phone app religiously. I take my phone with me in the hallways and at lunch to help monitor behavior. At the end of lunch, I will use the random chooser feature, and award five points to one random student I didn't have to call on during lunch. Sometimes I let a previous winner from the day before touch the random chooser button on my phone to pick the new winner. They love that.

Some people may argue that ClassDojo has a negative aspect with the red points, but I truly feel it's how the teacher uses the app that decides if it is negative or positive. Here is an older post of mine on how to use ClassDoJo as positively as possible.

http://allthingsupperelementary.blogspot.com/2013/09/flapjackwaystogivepositiveclassdojopoints.html



ClassDoJo

Since we're on the subject of ClassDoJo, it also has a great messaging feature to keep parents informed on how their child is doing in class.

https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0CB8QFjAAahUKEwjy75f4jvjGAhULPz4KHfWBByU&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.classdojo.com%2Fmessenger&ei=JXe0VbLJFov--AH1g56oAg&usg=AFQjCNHUw6UL8toluE8SJWiihxuXSdWo5A&bvm=bv.98717601,d.cWw


Remind

Remind App

I started using the Remind app last year, and it is a lifesaver! It's basically a texting service where you can send/schedule messages to all of your parents and it's all private. No one sees actual phone numbers. It now offers the option of one-on-one dialogue, too. You can click above to watch my YouTube video on how I use it.


Google Slides

 Google Slides Newsletter

Do your parents all have access to the Internet? Why not do your weekly newsletter in Google Slides (or Google Docs)? Then you can update it anywhere - on your computer or even on your phone. I do this all the time! I have actually embedded this newsletter in a blog I call the Smart Class Website so my parents can access it and lots of other important documents I've created in Google Slides.

Smart Class Website
The awesome thing is that when I'm in a crunch, I can update ALL of this information right from my phone! I love not having any more stressful email newsletters created in Word. Oh, and if you use the Remind app, you can schedule a newsletter message to your parents every Monday with the link Google Drive provides you. I do this every weekend as soon as my newsletter is updated and it takes a load off of my mind on Mondays! And parents only need a Smartphone if you choose to share through Remind instead of an email link.


Setting a peaceful mood in your classroom can really make a difference. I suggest using some format of music. Here are some options you can play right from your phone:

Pandora


Pandora is my favorite music radio app because it's the cheapest I can find if you want to eliminate disruptive adds ($4.99 per month). You of course can use the free version, but I really hate the adds. I love putting on the Relaxation or Yoga channel while students work. You would be amazed at how it calms down energy levels, even after recess! It's also great for playing during exams.

Spotify


Although I have not tried Spotify, it's my husband's favorite. According to him you can choose specific songs to listen to. However, to remove adds, you have to pay a hefty $12.99 per month. So, I'm still sticking with Pandora.

YouTube Playlists

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/youtube/id544007664?mt=8

Even if you use your computer to play your quiet music YouTube playlists, you can use your phone to browse and add to those existing playlists. And of course you also have the option of playing those lists right from the app on your phone.


Pick me!


There are several great student chooser apps out there (and if you know a better one, please share!), but I have used this app for several years, and it always works great. No more messy popsicle sticks taking up my desk space!

I teach two classes, so it's great to have two separate lists for randomly choosing students. But sometimes I have them all together, and sometimes I have certain students from each of the two classes. This is not a problem. You can import students from older groups to create new groups. This is also great for choosing students in small groups, too.

Smart Seat

Although I haven't yet tried it out, if you download the Smart Seat app, it allows you to group your students quickly into groups for projects, activites, etc.

So now for the fun part - entering my giveaway and visiting all the other amazing posts! The giveaway ends August 2nd, 2015 at midnight est!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Keep on hopping!  


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Happy Teacher Giveaway with Sheila Jane Teaching!


Hey, ya'll! I'm so happy to partner up with the lovely Sheila Jane of Sheila Jane Teaching. I'm sure you have already heard of her, but in case you haven't, let me just share that she is AWESOME! We first met on the Internet with our little YouTube channels (when they were especially little), and Sheila was (and is) such an encouragement to me to continue pursing my passion of sharing what I do with others through video and social media. It's no surprise to note that Sheila is a HUGE encouragement to the online teaching world as a whole through her videos and website - Sheila Jane Teaching.

Sheila Jane Teaching

I came across her Teach Happy Planner Bundle (scroll to the bottom) on her site and was blown away by how awesome it is. It comes in super-easy-to-edit PDFS where you literally just type into boxes, print, and like magic, you have a customized planner to meet exactly your needs.

https://sheilajaneteaching.com/shop/

It comes in color and black and white and this bundle also includes a bunch of adorable designed accessories such as matching spine binder covers and mini monthly calendars.

https://sheilajaneteaching.com/shop/

So, she has graciously donated one complete bundle set to this Happy Teacher Giveaway. And to make sure this is truly a Happy Teacher Giveaway, I am donating one classroom decor bundle of choice.


 It can be a class theme bundle or a color scheme kit. Click around below to find your favorite.



And lastly, we know digital products are super cool but also very EXPENSIVE to print. And we want the winner of these resources to be able to print them out and use all the beautiful color ink that they want to. So, we have also included a $50 Visa gift card that can be used to pay for the ink and paper or to use for whatever is needed to make you a Happy Teacher this year.

Dwight totally gets teachers.

If you'd like a chance to be the lucky winner of these three items to help you teach happily this year, then please enter the Rafflecopter below. The giveaway ends Thursday night at midnight EST. Good luck, teacher friends!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Shark Week Blog Hop

Hey, ya'll! To celebrate Shark Week, I'm partnering up with a team of super bloggers who have some JAW-some freebies your students are sure to love!

Slide6

 My shark-tastic freebie consists of some fun notes to give to your students at the beginning of the year and throughout.

FREE FlapJack Shark Themed Student Message Notes

Here's a fun note you can give at the beginning of the year:

FREE FlapJack Shark Themed Student Message Notes

And here's a note to use throughout the year to let your students know when they do a great job:

FREE FlapJack Shark Themed Student Message Notes

The notes are provided in an editable format so you can change the message to say whatever you want. To download my freebie, click here or on the image below.

FREE FlapJack Shark Themed Student Message Notes

I also have some FREE Editable SHARK Themed Morning Work PowerPoint Templates, too, from last year's hop. :)

Now be sure to go for a swim and visit Hilary at the Primary Planet to download another fun freebie!

Every blog in the Shark Week Blog Hop features a jaw-some freebie for you and your students- but hurry! Shark Week only lasts until Sunday, July 12  : )

Americana Class Decor Pack and Hall Passes Freebie


Happy 4th of July! I am so very thankful for this country and for the people who defend it (and if you are one of those people - THANK YOU!). Anyways, I've been asked a few times to create an American-themed class decor pack, so I decided with July 4th coming up, it was now or never (and to celebrate, it's $3 - today only!). Here are a few pictures of how the theme looks and what's inside.

Editable Americana Classroom Decor Materials Pack

Editable Americana Classroom Decor Materials Pack

Editable Americana Classroom Decor Materials Pack

FlapJack Americana Hall Passes Freebie

The fun hall pass cards above are FREE, so either click on the image or here to grab your copy.

Interested in some decorations for you classroom? Check out all my themes below.


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July 4th Bilingual Blog Hop and Spanish Freebie

Hey, ya'll!

I'm joining in a fun bilingual blog hop to celebrate the 4th of July and to also share a Spanish freebie and giveaway.


To start off with, I just want to share three things that I am so thankful for about this country:

1) Cultural Diversity - All of the political mess lately makes me sad when attacks against immigrants as a whole are made. This country is so beautiful because you can meet people from all different backgrounds and learn so much more than you would in other countries with limited immigration. Meeting Spanish people caused to me to fall in love with its language, and now I have a career and a husband because of that love (see my about section)!

2) Opportunities - When my husband and I first married, we had to make the decision of where to live. This country hands down is the best country to live in when it comes to opportunities, infrastructure, and security.

3) Military - Unfortunately I don't have a lot of connection to those who serve our country to thank them, but there are no words to truly show appreciation for those who have chosen to serve and protect our country, and most importantly for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice. I am SO thankful for the freedom I have thanks to our military. THANK YOU!

So, now I'd like to share my freebie for this hop and also a fun giveaway. I LOVE creating classroom decor packs, and I finally came up with a Spanish version with a Whimsy Birds theme.

SPANISH Whimsy Birds Classroom Decor Materials Pack

There are so many resources inside this pack to help you have a beautiful, whimsical classroom. Here are some freebie cards from the pack for you to use all throughout the year to say thank you or just let a student know how special they are.

SPANISH Teacher Notes Freebie


If you're interested in the complete pack, I am giving away a copy down below. Just enter the Rafflecopter for your chance to win! And don't forget to hop on over Maestra Escamilla's blog for another freebie and inspirational post!

http://maestraescamilla.blogspot.com/2015/07/4th-of-july-bilingual-blog-hop.html


https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/SPANISH-Whimsy-Birds-Classroom-Decor-Materials-Pack-1909780

https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/SPANISH-Whimsy-Birds-Classroom-Decor-Materials-Pack-1909780

Giveaway ends July 5th at midnight!

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Five Technology Tools for Seamless Parent Communication



Am I exaggerating a little when I say the word seamless?? Maybe just a little bit. But honestly, the following tech tools below that I'm going to share completely changed the face of my partner teacher and I's communication game with our students' parents. And not only that, once all of the tech tools were implemented, we were actually saving time and brain energy on a daily basis. Amazingly, with less effort, our parents were more informed and happier than ever. It's been magical.

So let's begin: 

1) Remind App and Website


Remind App

I've actually posted and uploaded a video on this super fantastic app and website. You've probably heard of it, but if not, it's basically a text service that allows you to send out mass messages to your parents via your phone or the website while keep everyone's numbers magically hidden. You can click on the image below to watch my video on how I use it, but here are my main key points on why you MUST use this app:
  • It's 2015. Everyone has phones. It's quick, easy, and more likely to be seen by your parents than anything else.
  • Sign-up is super simple. Once you register, you're given a text code and a sharing link that you can give to parents and they sign up. You don't have to sign up anyone. Do this at Open House and make sure everybody - grandma, auntie, cousin Ralp, anyone who takes care of the student - signs up.
  • You can set it up where parents cannot message back. For me, this is very useful because messages go out in the evenings usually, and I don't want to open that door. I just want to give my parents a quick message and call it a night.
  • You can schedule messages - my favorite! So, if their writing journals are due every Friday, you can go ahead and schedule evening reminders from now until Christmas. I love it.
Remind App

 

2) Smart Class Website


Smart Class Website

Ok, you probably haven't ever heard of this tool, and that's ok. It's actually what I call the combination of a Blogger blog and Google Slides that I developed a year ago.

http://www.smartclasswebsite.com/

http://www.smartclasswebsite.com/

Basically, I've created Google slides for daily homework, the weekly newsletter, and important information and events (and also a calendar for test dates and events), and I embedded them into a blog. That way, with one quick access of Google Drive, I and my partner teacher can make multiple changes to all of the above and it automatically updates altogether in the blog/website that my students and parents can access through their phone or computer.


If you're interested, you can check out a demo site that contains full DIY instructions or you can access the official website where I offer the service of creating one for you. Would you like to live in a world where you don't have to answer 50 bajillion evening emails about assignments that you already explained to Johnny during the day? That was my world last year thanks to this site and I'm never leaving!

Here's a pic of a teacher working on her Smart Class Website in a workshop I gave at my school.

3) ClassDoJo Classroom Management App



Now, you've probably heard and tried this delightful classroom management app, but did you know you can now communicate with parents? It seems to have a lot of similar features like Remind, but it's focused on student behavior. Parents can also sign up and they see exactly how their child is doing based on the positive (green) or negative (red) DoJo points their child is receiving.

https://www.classdojo.com/

You can also take pictures which I think for younger children would be a great motivator. For some of my students, the knowledge that with one message their parents can be made well aware of how they are doing really works. Also, if you have an issue with a certain student not coming clean at home with why they earned red points, you can clarify the matter beforehand through the communication piece of this app.

4) SeeSaw: The Learning Journal App


http://web.seesaw.me/

Just last May I fell in LOVE with the Seesaw Learning Journal app. Why did I fall in love?
  • When you sign up your class, you are given a QR code poster. With just one device, students can scan the QR code, choose their name, and upload any project they have completed - this could be a drawing, writing, audio of a reading, a video, a picture of an assignment, a project created in a different app like PicCollage, and so on (basically any and everything).
  • You have to approve the uploads and then it all goes to a class feed that you can share on your computer/projector/white board, or students can download the app to access the feed and see each other's work, too.
Why is this awesome for parent communication? Parents can sign up too! They will only see their child's work, and they can comment and cheer their child on right in the app.


When a particular student gave 100% on a project last year, I would take a picture of him/her with the project and write a nice note. It's a free way to reward a child for a job well done and let parents know all about it, too!

This also gives you excellent positive data to share with parents during conference times. I'm tremendously excited to use this app in full force next year, as it gives students freedom in their learning and lets parents in on it, too.

5) Boomerang Email Scheduler


Lastly, for any of you Gmail users, I highly suggest you download the Boomerang Google app onto your computer (click here).

We all get those evening parent emails we know will end up being a nightly dialogue if we end answer right away. With the Boomerang tool added to your Gmail account, you can schedule your email to send at any later date and time you wish. This has been so helpful when I have the words I want to write at one am in the morning, but don't particularly want it to be known that I was up at that hour forming an email. With this app, I get it all out of me into the email, but then I send it the next morning at an appropriate hour. And all is well.

And what about emails you're actually not ready to answer? Maybe you're busy or maybe your feelings are hurt and you know you need to wait awhile to think and respond. Well, with this app, you can also have the email "boomerang" back to you at a later time just like it's a brand new email.


Before this app, I would just mark the email as unread, but that really bugged me until I finally answered it. With this feature, I'm good.

Also, do you send out weekly newsletter or homework emails? Always stress about sending it out every Monday? Just prepare it on the Friday or (heaven forbid) the weekend beforehand and schedule it out with Boomerang.  Come in on Monday worry-free because one task is already done for the week.

One unfortunate note, you can only Boomerang/schedule ten times per month. You have to pay for more than that. So far, ten have been enough for me.

So, this is what I've got! I hope you can use some of these tools as we all work to perfect the complicated art of communicating with parents. It's not easy, but it can be a LOT easier with a little help from technology. :)

Happy teaching (or summering), my teacher friends!


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