Sunday, February 15, 2015


This week my third graders have improved their comprehension during read aloud and reading mini lessons by using TodaysMeet!

This website has many uses, but I have been using it for a backchannel while reading aloud.  The backchannel is the conversation that goes on alongside the primary activity, presentation, or discussion.  This allows for students to show their thinking while I am reading, and it does not interrupt the flow of the reading or the lesson!

This is a snapshot of one of our conversations this week while reading "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe."
We were practicing using "Think Marks" to enhance our reading comprehension.  For example, the question mark means that student is confused.  A star means that student thinks that part is important.  The conversation that arose online while I was reading was amazing!  They really had to listen and comprehend in order to respond online.

To set up a room, go to
 Pick a name for  your room, and decide how long you want to keep the room open.  I choose one month for my reading room.  Then Open your room!
Once your room is Open, if you look at the website, your room has a unique website so that you and your students can access the room.  I created a room named Blog, and this is the website for that room.  I add the websites for my rooms on our classroom page!  This way the students can get to the room quickly.
Finally, each student goes to the website on their Ipad and types in a name to join!  I have my students use their first names only.

I am planning on using TodaysMeet for other lessons, but for the past month it has been an amazing tool to increase reading comprehension.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Annotating in Skitch

This week we read a fable and annotated it in one of our favorite apps, Skitch!  We have been working on close reading and using think marks to annotate.  This of course is possible with paper, but using Skitch has made annotating a really fun process!
In Skitch, you can write and type over pictures!  It is perfect for annotating on the ipad, as well as other activities.  To annotate pdf files it costs extra, but to write on a jpg or png picture file, it is free!

To do this, I first scanned the pages I wanted and downloaded them to my own ipad.  Then I took a screen shot of each page.  This created a picture file that I could write on in Skitch!

I downloaded these pictures to the classroom Dropbox account so that all of my students could see the pictures.  Each page is separate, but since my students are working on close reading, they only really need one page at a time!  To open a page in Skitch from Dropbox to annotate, click the blue box on the right at the top of the picture.  Then click "Open in."
Next click on the Skitch icon for "Open in Skitch."
Then the document is open in Skitch so that your students can write on it!
The pen on the right allows students to choose whether they want to write or type.  The color on the left allows students to choose color as well as thickness of line.  While there is not as much room to write answers to questions, there is plenty of room for annotating!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Ipads Are Awesome, but So Are Paper Spelling Games!

 Last week my students learned how to use Spelling City to practice their spelling words!  To create an account it is free!  I type in their spelling lists each week.  I have three levels, and three lists.  Then in their app they can search for my name to find their list.  Once they search for my name once, it saves on their ipad, and they can play games to practice their words any time.  The free app works best on the ipad since there is no flash player for the regular website.

They also love paper spelling games!  Here is our spelling game for the: or, ore, our, oar, ar vowel variant pattern.  Just click on the image to download for FREE!