Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Check out these amazing kids!!!

This group of teenagers are helping their community by volunteering to help fight hunger and homelessness!! They aren't your typical teens, of course they play sports, are in their high school band...and like to play video games; but they also enjoy devoting their time to helping others. In a mere 6 months, these 8 teens have volunteered over 400 hours of community service. It is astounding that these young men can have such an impact on their community. I have personally volunteered alongside these boys, and I can honestly say I have never met such a wonderful group of teenagers. Their hearts are so full of compassion, it completely blows me away. They want to continue their efforts, but they need your help and support. They have teamed up with Groupon to provide a secure and convenient way for you to support them, and rest assured 100% of your donation goes to this organization! Please consider making this a part of your New Year's Resolution. You won't be just helping a group of teens, but also giving a hand to fight hunger and homelessness. For every 10$ you donate, this group of teens is committed to volunteering 8 hours of service in your name!

Here are just a few projects they have recently worked on:

-Homeless Survival Kits: Created and distributed 53 Homeless Survival Kits through the Austin area.

-Capital Area Food Bank: Helped sort over 3,270 pounds of food to be distributed to those less fortunate

-Caritas Community Kitchen: Cooked and served for over 330 homeless individuals

-Austin Good Cookies: Raised almost $1000 by selling cookies for pediatric cancer research

Friends I ask, please help support these boys by blogging about them too! I want them to continue their amazing work and be role models for others!!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Livebinders - A great tool to stay organized!

Livebinders - have you heard of them? have you used them? I love them...I really love them. So what are they...well it's kind of like having a digital binder that can hold websites by different topics/subjects - similar to social bookmarking, but way cooler! And the best part- it's FREE!! Here are some ways I have already found myself using them.

  • Share resources (teammates) - I am constantly finding cool sites for our upcoming concepts to teach. I used to always email individual links to my team to share. Now I just create a live binder and share that with them instead. It also keeps the sites together for us to revisit in the future...no searching through old emails or my bookmarks.
  • Research Projects (students) - Live binders allows me to put a group of sites in one place that I want my students to access for research projects. This has been such a wonderful way to use this site. It allows the students to see a picture of the site without having to click on a bunch of different links. It also allows me to monitor the sites where they get their information.
  • Bookmark sites (students) - This is a great way to organize your bookmarked sites for students by topic. For example math games, reading games, etc. It also is great for younger kids - they can see a picture of the site before they click on it.
  • Organize your resources - Don't you hate having to go search through your bookmarks...having to click on each link because you can't remember what you filed it under or the keywords you used. Livebinders show you the picture of each page - its as simple as clicking through the tabs. You can also separate your links into individual binders!!
  • Find resources - This is a great way to find tons of resources on specific topics. You can use the search option and find other binders that people have put together. And the great thing...you can copy the entire binder instead of creating a new one.

...and there are tons of other ways to use them! Here is a great livebinder with tutorials and ways you can use them!

Here are some cool livebinders I've come across:
Top 10 web tools for 2011-2012
Online read alouds
3rd Grade
Common Core - Across the states
Science/Math Notebook resources

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year's! Setting Goals with Students

Happy New Year's!! Last year was definitely a challenging year with trying to work on my masters full time, while teaching and having a family. I know my posts have been few and far between, but I'm hoping to start making more time to blog! Here are my goals for the next year!

#5 Take more time for my family and myself!
#4 Finish my last few classes and complete my Masters (I graduate in May..this will definitely free up some time to blog!!)
#3 Get organized!!!!
#2 Run at least 2 times a week...I want to do a 10k in April.
#1 Loose the last stubborn 20 lbs (I've already lost almost 50lbs this past year!!)

As you can see time seems to be a reoccurring theme with my goals for 2012!!!

Even though I haven't been blogging much lately, I've still been stalking others blogs and of course pinning away! I came across an AWESOME blog: Ginger Snaps! It is definitely one of my new fav blogs! Going through her blog, I found a post about monitoring students' progress. This got me thinking about ways to have the students track their own progress. I have tried in the past to come up with a system...but nothing has really stuck! We recently took benchmarks after the Thanksgiving holiday. The students got their scores before we went on our winter holiday break. We have another benchmark in Feb., so I really wanted the students to set goals for them. This fits perfectly with New Year's resolutions! I did a search and found this great form created by Heather at Loose Shoelaces. I love this idea to have the students hold themselves accountable for reaching their goals and coming up with a plan to reach these goals. I took Heather's idea of the form and Ginger's idea of monitoring student's progress and created these forms. The first form I plan to sit down with each student to go over their benchmarks to discuss the areas they did well in and the ones they struggled with. They will set a goal for themselves and I too will set a goal for them. Then the students will come up with a plan of action to reach these goals. The second form is where the students will graph their weekly assessment scores. I allow retakes on assessment, so the students will graph their first score, as well their retake to show their progress. I think this will really help the students see their progress over time. I plan to use these forms when we return from our holiday break next week. I will update you on how well it worked or if I needed to make any adjustments to my plan. Enjoy - and please let me know if you have any success with the forms or if you have a system that allows you to help your students monitor their progress.

Happy New Years!!
Benchmark Goal Plan of Action

Test Scores Graph