My students are in the process of completing student-led conferences.  We had our first round last week, and our second round is scheduled for this Thursday.  I loved doing student-led conferences when I taught fourth and fifth grade.  However, I have to admit that I was quite nervous to try this with my second graders.  So far, they are going very well.  I am extremely proud of how my students have grown to know themselves as learners.

One of our recent focuses has been reading fluency.  I wanted my students to have a way to share what they have learned with their parents.

Free fluency self-evaluation form

I had students select a favorite "just right" book that they wanted to practice for a fluency reading.  They selected a passage from the book (or in some cases the entire book).  Students were given time in class for two days to practice their reading independently and with a partner.  The job of the partner was to give the reader one compliment and one suggestion.  Students had a different partner each day.

After having some practice, I recorded the students using the Smart Recorder app on the iPad.

Using the iPad to self-evaluate fluency

This is a paid app with lots of cool features that I plan on exploring.  However, if you are looking for a free app to record and save students' reading, I recommend Voice Recorder.  You can easily save, organize and share recordings on this app.

After the students listened to their recordings (1-3 minutes), they evaluated their reading based on criteria we discussed in class.  Here is the form they completed.

Free fluency self-evaluation form

During the conference, I played a portion of the reading, and students shared their strengths and goals with parents.  Students were able to explain why they selected their goals.

If you'd like to download this form, you can grab it here.

I hope your conferences are going/went well!

Thank you, and have a great week!


I love YouTube!  I use it all the time for my classroom and when I am trying to learn a new skill.  What I don't love about it is the advertisements, other clutter, and the fact that the next video starts playing automatically.  I have found four extensions that take care of all of these issues.

(Not sure what a Chrome extension is?  Read about them here.)


One solution to these problems is to use SafeShare.  I used this site for years.  You just copy and paste the link and then submit it.  This site allows you to watch the video distraction free.


What I don't like about SafeShare is the extra step.  I know it only takes about a minute, but sometimes I need things on the fly.  Also, if I'm watching a video for myself, I don't want to have to copy and paste the link.

I am going to share four of my favorite Chrome extensions.  If you take a minute to install these extensions now, you will not have to worry about copying and pasting links ever again for school, and you won't have to look at any annoying ads when viewing YouTube for personal use.

(Click on the image to go to the Chrome store and download the extension by clicking on "Add to Chrome".)

AdBlock gets rid of YouTube advertisements.

Distraction Free Extension clears up the clutter on YouTube.

Hide Comment keeps YouTube comments out of view.

NextVid Stopper prevents the next YouTube video from starting automatically.

Once these extensions are installed, you no longer have to worry about your students seeing unintended material on the videos.  All this and no copying and pasting required.

What is your favorite Google extension?

I have just finished updating all of my writing prompts.  Each set has 30 prompts, two different styles, and a wide variety of genres.

30 Fun Writing Prompts for March
  
Updating these prompts took a while, so I feel the need to celebrate!  All ten sets are on sale for 20% off until this Thursday, February 23, 2017.  (June prompts are available & on sale although they are not shown.)  Just click on the image below to view.

30 Prompts, two styles, and huge variety of genres in each set.

Thank you, and have a great week!

I hope everyone had a fabulous weekend!  I have recently tried using Padlet in my classroom, and I love it! Today I'd like to share how I use Padlet as a formative assessment.  I am going to talk about character traits with my second graders, but you can use it for virtually any topic at any grade level.

This post explains how Padlet can be used as a formative assessment.

During our read aloud of Charlotte's Web, we were immersed in a character study as our literary focus. At the end of the book, I wanted a way to check in on students' understanding of character traits. In the past, I would have used the chart below.  Students could write a trait and evidence on a Post-it note and place it in the square with their number.

Free sign for Post-it Note "Parking Lot"
(Sign available here.)

I liked this system for the most part, and I still use it when I need something fast.  However, Post-it notes don't always stay posted, they get lost easy, and there's no easy way to store them in a data notebook.  I wanted more concrete lasting evidence.

So.... I set up my first Padlet.


To get started, just go to padlet.com, create an account (super fast), and click on "Make a Padlet".  After that, you will see a screen that looks something like the picture below.  To name the Padlet, simply type in the title box.  I type in directions where it says "description".   This is also when you choose your layout.  I have found that the grid format works best, especially when multiple people are typing at once.

This post explains how Padlet can be used as a formative assessment.

Next, you get to choose the background.  There are lots of fun ones to choose from.  However, for this activity, I download a picture of my own.

This post explains how Padlet can be used as a formative assessment.

I searched "Charlotte's Web" on Google and downloaded this pic.

This post explains how Padlet can be used as a formative assessment.

Now, you are ready to go.  I just copy the link and send it to my students through Google Classroom.  Once the students have the Padlet opened, they can double click anywhere and they will
see a box where they can type in their responses.

They type in their name at the top and at least one character trait with evidence in the bottom part of the box.  Here is a sample.

This post explains how Padlet can be used as a formative assessment.

When the whole class was finished, I was able to see who had a strong understanding of character traits and who still needed a little more work on this skill.  I also had a permanent record of this formative assessment.  I just saved the link to my drive.  (Most of my data notebook is digital.)

I do not have a set of Chromebooks in my classroom.  However, there is an iPad cart in our building that we are allowed to check out.  The iPads worked fine for this activity.  (There is a free app that you can download, but it still works without it just using the link.)

When it came time for a more formal assessment of character traits, I made a graphic organizer for the students to use.

Free graphic organizer for character traits!

You can click here to download this organizer.

Since this activity, I have used Padlet in a variety of ways.  I hope to share more with you in the future. There are options to add pictures, videos, and attachments.  There's even a microphone.  I haven't used any of  these features yet, but I would love to hear your experience if you have given them a try.  Right now, I use the free version of Padlet, and it gives me what I need.  There is also an upgraded paid version that I may look into in the future.
I wanted to let everyone know that I will be participating in the TPT BeMine Sale coming up on February 
7 & 8, 2017.  My entire store will be marked 20% off.  You can get an additional 10% off by using the code LOVETpT at checkout.  I love TPT sales, and I am certainly planning to take advantage of this one!



Thank you, and have a great week!

Back to Top