Have you ever wondered what the other teachers are up to in their classrooms? Have you wanted to visit another teacher’s classroom but couldn’t work it out in your schedule or theirs? Are you working with “secret geniuses?” Learn & share promos are the way to go!
There are ssssssoooooo many times as a teacher that I would walk into one of my colleague’s rooms at the end of the day to find something AMAZING that they did with their class. I would think to myself, “why didn’t I think of that and how come they didn’t share this awesomeness with me?” Now that I am an instructional coach I get to see the AWESOME things that teachers do on a daily basis. The other instructional coach and I came up with the idea to give other teachers a glimpse into their colleague’s classrooms and share their “secret genius” ideas by creating learn and share promos. Gone are the days of keeping to ourselves! Our goal is to create our very own teaching channel created solely of learn and share promos from our teachers aka “secret geniuses”! We really want to change the culture of our school to a culture of collaboration and sharing and learn & share promos are just one strategy we are using.
What Is A Learn & Share Promo?
Learn & share promos are designed as commercials, short (15 minutes or less) infomercials about topics teachers are willing to share. Something that they choose, that they have worked hard on and are proud to share. A new idea that was learned through a class/conference/webinar or through research. A practice they feel other teachers would benefit from or something they wish they would have had before starting something new, or making a change. As teachers, our passion is to teach. We need to expand our mindsets to not only teaching our students, but teaching each other.
High School Math- Growth Mindset Learn & Share Promo
After studying the behavior of thousands of children, Dr. Dweck coined the terms fixed mindset andgrowth mindset to describe the underlying beliefs people have about learning and intelligence. When students believe they can get smarter, they understand that effort makes them stronger. Therefore they put in extra time and effort, and that leads to higher achievement.
Each learn & share promo video that we created follows the 4 questions of a PLC conducted through a student-centered coaching cycle with an instructional coach. Starting with the foundation of who are our students as learners? Question #1: What do we want our students to know (standards)? Question #2 How will we know if our students have mastered the content (assessment)? Question #3 How will we respond when a student experiences difficulties (differentiation)? Question #4 How will we respond to the students who already know the content (differentiation).
Math Centers In 1st & 2nd Grade Classrooms- Learn & Share
The goal of reorganizing a classroom into math centers is to allow the teacher to provide the highest quality instruction to a small group of students, while other students work productively, independently, and cooperatively in a variety of interconnected tasks at other activity centers. At scheduled times, students shift to a different center so that eventually all students have the opportunity to complete the tasks at every center, as well as to work with the teacher in a small group!
As teachers we are often times, at no fault to ourselves, are segregated to our classrooms. It’s how schools have been run for years. We get busy with the day to day hustle and bustle and have everything scheduled down to the minute. We don’t give ourselves credit for the creative things we do. We feel that if we share our ideas we will be seen as boastful, a know it all or a bragger. Well……….. it’s time to make a change. The culture of teaching is changing. Teachers roles are changing. We are now not just lecturers. We don’t just read from basals as students read from their books. We don’t shut our doors and “hide” in our classrooms. We are facilitators and collaborators with open doors, open minds and are creating a culture within the classroom of learning from each other. As teachers, we are also joining a culture of learning more from each other. Practice what you preach right…..
A classroom economy is a classroom behavior management system designed to mimic a real-world economic system. It’s time we invest in our students and bank on good behavior, rather waiting for bad behavior to occur. While economics is considered part of math and social studies curriculum, textbooks and other programs often neglect to incorporate economic instruction. The classroom economy can fill this void while serving as a fun way for students to act as both consumers and economists in a real world setting. The classroom economy is used as a form of positive behavior management, but it’s real purpose is to help students learn necessary principles of economics throughout the entire school year. Positive behavioral interventions and support (PBIS) is defined as a framework for enhancing the adoption and implementation of a continuum of evidence-based interventions to achieve academically and behaviorally important outcomes for all students (Sugai et al., 2000).
How It Works:
Every month students earn paychecks and bonus money for completing a classroom job and bonus activities such as turning in homework. They also pay fines, electricity bills, and rent for their desks, and they have the opportunity to purchase prizes at auctions (or a school store)—all with classroom economy currency (mock money). They will have the opportunity to save their money and purchase their desks forgoing paying the monthly rent. Students will be in charge of setting a short and long term goal and keep track of their own finances. They have the option of keeping “classroom cash” or depositing their money into the classroom bank where they will earn a monthly dividend for keeping their money. Much like the “real world”, lost cash is lost cash. Students will not receive more cash to replace their lost cash. They are responsible for keeping their own money in a safe place. Students are also responsible for keeping track of their balance to ensure they have earned enough money by the end of the month to pay their bills.
Everything we do in our classrooms should be purposeful. I believe that everything we teach in our classrooms should focus on meeting our state standards. I focus the 21st Century Skills (financial literacy) for my state. Here is an example of the 3rd-5th-grade and 6th-8th-grade financial literacy skills in the state of Iowa (my home state) that connect with the classroom economy. This is on a Google Doc that includes standards for both elementary and middle school. If you would like an editable copy to use to adapt to your needs click on the link below.
To get started on your classroom economy, check out this video by Thom Gibson.
The classroom economy program is an effective and enjoyable way to teach your students fundamental financial literacy components without altering your curriculum.
Implementing the program is an easy three-step process:
Before the school year starts, you spend a few hours gathering materials and planning how to customize the program for your school and your own classroom (or ask your instructional coach for a classroom economy coaching cycle:).
During the first month of school, you spend some classroom time introducing the program and training the students to complete their tasks (procedures). I like to have my students help come up with the list of bonuses and fines.
Throughout the year, you monitor the students’ progress and provide support and guidance when necessary.
As they perform their tasks, the students will help you manage the classroom and, in the process, learn valuable skills—such as responsibility, the value of saving, and delayed gratification—that they will carry with them throughout life.
The beauty of the program is that you don’t need to teach too many lessons; rather, your students will experience them and learn for themselves. I have found it beneficial to directly teach a needs vs. wants lesson right before the classroom auction/class store. There’s a thrill in seeing “the light bulb go on” when a student realizes he or she should have saved money for the next month’s rent instead of overpaying for an item at the auction. It’s also amazing to witness the students experience “buyer’s remorse” at the auction.
Every student will apply for a classroom job (a different job per quarter). Or, students could keep the same job all year if you choose. Make it your own and set it to what works best for your classroom needs. The students will list their top 3 choices. It is not unusual for many students to want the same job. Your application is your chance to persuade me why you are the best person for the job that you want. If you do not get your first choice job don’t worry, you have a total of 1 more application throughout the school year. If you fail to turn in your job application by the due date, a job will be assigned to you. Every job is different; therefore, the paycheck prices are also different. Students will be paid (“classroom cash”) at the end of each month for completing their job. Jobs range from $500-$850 per month. You will keep the same job for 9 weeks at a time (each quarter). Students can be fired for not completing their job. If you would like an editable copy of the classroom jobs, click on the link below. This is on a Google Document. You will just need to make a copy of the document to make it your own. This document includes job examples for elementary students (I used with my own 3rd graders) and middle school job examples (I used in an 8th-grade math coaching cycle).
In addition to the salaries that you earn from your jobs, you can earn bonus money by performing well academically and participating in extra activities. You will need to earn bonuses to make rent and save up for the auction as your paychecks are not enough to pay rent. In addition, bonuses can be useful incentives for your own class goals.
In the classroom economy, the role of fines is to help you understand costs and consequences—it is not to punish you. Click on the link below for your free editable copy of the classroom bonus/fine Google Document. To adapt this to your needs please make a copy of the original document and edit away! I created these with the students, which is very important for student buy-in and ownership.
Introducing The Classroom Economy To Your Students:
I print a copy of the student/parent info packet out for each middle school student and share the parent packet at elementary open house. Make sure you start with a broad overview. Don’t share all of the information at once, it could be very overwhelming to students. For younger students, I usually just explain what it is on the first day, then pick one section to go over one day at a time until everything has been communicated. Older students can usually handle more information at once, so I usually share more with them the first day. I usually don’t explain payday or the auction until right before we do them. There will be TONS of questions and LOADS of excitement. After explaining the system to your students and having them help come up with the bonus/fine list.
Hiring Students For Classroom Jobs:
Use your best judgment. I always start with the jobs that only one student has applied for. It is important to keep track of which jobs each student has applied for so that if they don’t get their first choice, they will have future opportunities to get them (if your students will be changing jobs throughout the year). I use a job application which requires students to list their top 3 choices and requires them to sell themselves on why they are the best student for the job. This is designed to mimic a real-world job application. I also hold interviews if there are multiple students applying for the same job. Use the link below to grab your own editable copy of the job application. Please just make a copy in order to make it your own. I have this on a Google Doc that I share with the older students. I print a copy and have younger students fill out by hand.
I have used both Kidsbank and Bankaroo. I prefer Bankaroo because it has an app option where students can access their bank account information using a cell phone or iPad as well as online using a computer. Both options allow teachers to choose one or two students (the bankers) to have full access to add funds, while all other students can just view their funds.
Putting Your Student On A Budget:
I used the envelope budgeting system to put my students on a budget. They were responsible for creating their own goals and creating their own digital envelopes within their Bankaroo accounts. This is another reason why I prefer Bankaroo over Kidsbank.
Classroom auctions are held at the end of each month, after payday has occurred. I have student auctioneers with the older students and I am the auctioneer with younger students. Once all of the students have been paid for their jobs and bonuses and fines and rent have been deducted and money has been budgeted, it’s time for the fun to begin. My students don’t use auction paddles or have numbers, I just have them raise their hands to bid. My student auctioneer runs my auction. This student sets the starting bid for each item. The auctioneer works with the bankers and the secretary during the auction. The secretary keeps track of everything purchased at the auction and the bankers collect the payments. I collect items from local businesses such as free 6″ sub coupons from Subway, donated items and have gone on some corporate gas station websites and have been lucky enough to get some gift cards. In addition, I have created teacher freebies that I auction off. You can find a link to my free auction tags below.
Students learn that if they save their money and purchase their desks, they won’t need to pay rent again and will get to keep most of their paychecks. They will still need to pay the bills (electricity, taxes…), but in the long run, will make better financial decisions and will get to keep most of their hard earned money.
Learn how even the youngest of students (Kindergarteners) can hit multiple standards by creating digital stories with the Story Buddy 2 app. Check out this Story Buddy App tutorial to get started on creating your own Story Buddies!
This past week, I have had the opportunity to help some Kindergarteners create digital stories about their friends. It is one of my FAVORITE jobs as an instructional coach! I LOVE to use technology with students to enhance learning. It’s AMAZING what even the youngest students are capable of. It was really exciting to see them in action using the technology tool Story Buddy 2. There are tons of digital story making apps out there, but I find the Story Buddy 2 app is the most user-friendly, even for the youngest of students! This project meets multiple standards including writing, technology, speaking and listening and employability skills (see below). Thank you for inviting me into your classroom for this project Mrs. Bratten:)
Step 1: Interview And Take Notes
Mrs. Bratten’s Kindergarteners interviewed a friend to find out their friend’s favorites including favorite color, food and activity. Mrs. Bratten gave her student’s the job of taking notes about their friend’s favorites using a graphic organizer. This was a great activity to practice their speaking and listening skills along with learning about another friend in their class.
Step 2: Write Sentences
The Kindergarteners then used their notes to write sentences based on their friend’s answer. Each sentence will be used on a page of their digital book. The students were focusing on starting each sentence with a capital letter, writing complete sentences using proper punctuation and finger spacing.
Step 3: Take Pictures/Find Images
Our first task in starting to create our digital story was to get a good picture of their friend. This ALWAYS takes a LOT longer than I think it is going to, but we always manage to get it done right. The kindergarteners learned how to use the camera app on their iPads. We worked on keeping our fingers from getting in the way of the camera, holding the iPads steady, waiting for the focus option to stabilize before taking the picture and checking to make sure we had at least one quality (non-blurry) picture with our friend looking at us. Our next step was to find a picture on the internet that represented the food the students will use in their digital story. We used Google images to find these pictures. This lead to a great opportunity to teach some digital safety skills. Once the student found the picture that they wanted they learned how to save the image to their iPad.
Step 4: Create Digital Stories
Now it was time to put all of the hard work together to create a digital story. We used the Story Buddy 2 app on the iPads. Students first created a new story and saved it with their names.
Name, Save & Edit: My first goals were to have each student name their creations so that they would it was theirs when we went back in to work on them. I also wanted to show the students how to save properly and re-enter to edit their digital story.
Type 1st Sentence: The students then entered back into their story to put it all together. We had the students start out with typing their first sentence using the typing tool and the keyboard. Students learned how to capitalize letters (beginning of their sentence and names) using the shift key on their iPad keyboards. They also learned how to use the spacebar to create finger spaces between each word in their sentence (to match their handwritten sentences) and how to use the prediction tool built within the iPad to help with spelling.
Upload Pictures: Once their sentence was written for their first page, the students learned how to use the camera button to add the picture (from their iPad’s camera roll) they took of their friend. They also learned how to rotate, move and resize their picture. The pictures were centered directly under their sentences to mimic the pages of a real book. We created the first page together.
Create Multiple Pages: Once the first page was finished it was time to add multiple pages using the same process on their own. Each student created one page for each sentence they wrote. They each wrote 3 sentences and created 3 pages.
Last steps: The last step was to create a cover page for their books. We added another page for our title page. The students typed a title and entered a background color for their cover page. We created these together. Their next job was to add a background color to all of the pages that they created. They did this on their own. The students then were shown how to move their title page to the beginning of their story by dragging and dropping it into the correct order. Once these steps were completed, it was time to save. Once saved, I was able to save the completed projects to my Google Drive where I shared them with the teacher and sent them to the print shop to be printed in color. In addition, I posted them on our district Facebook page to share with the world. The teacher sent the completed stories home with parents at conferences and created a bound classroom book.
Kindergarten Standards Met:
Speaking and Listening Standards
SL.K.1: Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about kindergarten topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups.
Follow agreed–upon rules for discussions (e.g., listening to others and taking turns speaking about the topics and texts under discussion).
Continue a conversation through multiple exchanges.
W.K.6: With guidance and support from adults, explore a variety of digital tools to produce and publish writing, including in collaboration with peers.
21.K–2.TL.2 Essential Concept and/or Skill: Use a variety of technology tools and media–rich resources to work collaboratively with others.
In a collaborative group, use a variety of technologies to produce a digital presentation or product in a curriculum area.
Use technology resources for communicating and sharing ideas with others.
Participate in learning activities with or about learners from other countries and/or cultures.
21.K–2.TL.5 Essential Concept and/or Skill: Understand and practice appropriate and safe uses of technology.
21.K–2.TL.6 Essential Concept and/or Skill: Understand basic technology hardware and software and their application.
21.K–2.ES.1 Essential Concept and/or Skill: Communicate and work appropriately with others to complete tasks. Work appropriately and productively with others.
21.K–2.ES.5 Essential Concept and/or Skill: Work productively and are accountable for their actions. Deliver quality job performance on time.
Recognize quality work.
Demonstrate a sense of timeliness.
Stay on task until work is completed.
Understand concept of ethical behavior in producing work.
Demonstrate accountability for individual performance.
A must-read for incorporating digital literacy into your classroom!
Equip your students with essential 21st-century media literacy skills, as they read, write, speak, and create art within the context of digital storytelling, and reach deeper understandings in all areas of the curriculum! In this second edition, both novice and technologically adept K-12 educators will find:
Practical techniques to combine storytelling with curriculum content
Tips for exploring effective storytelling principles through emerging digital media as well as via traditional literacy skills in reading, writing, speaking, and art
Visual aids and video clips that illustrate best practices in media composition
Breakout of your box with Breakout EDU! Do you feel that you need to breakout of your box? Do you have an unruly or just busy class? Do your students need to work on team building and social skills? Well, break out of your box with Breakout EDU! Breakout EDU creates ultra-engaging learning games for people of all ages. Games (Breakouts) teach teamwork, problem solving, critical thinking, and troubleshooting by presenting participants with challenges that ignite their natural drive to problem-solve. To “break out” of the box students need to work together to solve a series of puzzles in order to open each lock. Breakout EDU brings the Escape Room to the classroom. Escape rooms have been popping up all over the country. Escape rooms are where people are willingly locked into a room. They are given an hour to break out using a series of hidden clues where they run into red herrings and need to work together to break out of the room. Rather than breaking out of a room, students are asked to breakout of a box.
Social Skills & Employability Skills:
These are GREAT to use with Employability Skills and to build social skills for students of all ages. There are games appropriate for students K-12 and beyond. I have used Breakout EDU with Kindergarteners, 9th graders and adults. The Gingerbread Man Is Loose In Our School that goes along with the book with the same title was great before the holidays with Kindergarteners. The Kindergartener’s job was to work together to break the gingerbread man out of the box. Before Christmas break I used Reindeer Games with a 5th grade class that needed to work on social skills. Their goal was to work together to break the reindeer out of the box by solving reindeer games. I have also used Unlocking Shakespeare with a 9th grade English class as a way to assess Employability Skills to end the Shakespeare unit. There are literally hundreds of breakout both with the tangible box and locks and online breakouts. To get started with your Breakout use this link. Breakout EDU boxes are $89 and come with all locks you will need. They will also come with a password to access all breakout games. Extra materials can be purchased here.
Introduce New Concepts:
Breakout EDU’s can be used to introduce a new lesson or concept or reinforce or strengthen learning. It is also great to use at the end of a unit to bring closure or to reinforce skills.
Skills Used With Breakout EDU:
All Breakout EDU games teach critical thinking, teamwork, complex problem solving, and can be used in all content areas. The breakout box immediately sparks curiosity and forces students and teachers alike to think outside of the box. Talk about motivation!!!! Breakouts are great to use to teach and assess communication skills along with speaking and listening standards (especially with little ones). As mentioned above, they also work great with teaching and assessing Employability skills. Breakout EDU’s provide opportunities for students to grow as leaders. Often it is the least likely student in class that will show their natural leadership skills. An interracial part of conducting Breakouts in your classroom is the debriefing process. Students need the opportunity to reflect on the process and evaluate their own thinking. They need the chance to break out of their own box to expand their learning.