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Teacher Hacks for When You're Tired

Too Tired to Teach?

It happens to the best of us.

We all have those days where we stay up too late grading papers, planning fun lessons for the next day, organizing materials for science experiments (or binge watching your favorite show on Netflix). Then you pay for it the next day when you have to be "on" all day but you can barely keep your eyes open. When I'm tired like that I always end up with a headache too which makes it even harder to get up in front of a group of little people and teach.

These tips also work for when you're sick and you need to plan your day for a sub. When you're suddenly sick at 4AM there's nothing worse than trying to plan full lessons for someone else to teach. You can use a few of these ideas to throw into your sub plans.

How to Make a Digital Wonder Wall

Are you trying out some new inquiry based learning strategies? Are you experienced with inquiry but limited on wall space? Are you looking to integrate more technology into your classroom? This is the perfect way to do this...a digital inquiry wonder wall. Using the web tool called Padlet you can easily create a digital wonder wall. If you're a Google Classroom students can sign in through Google as well but this isn't necessary to use it.

Read on to find out how easy it is to use Padlet!

The Best Team and Random Student Generator App!

 Quickly Pick Student Partners or Random Students with THIS App:

I found it! The best group generator app for the classroom!

Yes I am very excited about this. I used to use ClassDojo which has a team generator app but I stopped using Dojo and I wasn't a fan of the setup for group generating. Before apps and fancy gadgets I used to use popsicle sticks in a tin can to generate my groups and to pick random students but this always took more time than I cared for. This is SO much better!

Read On:

How to use a Digital Reader's Notebook

Why I use a Reader's Notebook:

One of the core aspects of my reading program is reader's notebook activities. While I meet with small guided reading groups my other students are reading independently and responding to their text in their reader's notebooks. Reader's notebook activities promote metacognition (thinking about their thinking). Maintaining a reader's notebook allows students to demonstrate open ended critical thinking about the texts they are reading. It also gives them a productive activity to work on while I meet with guided reading groups.

Why I Switched to a Digital Reader's Notebook:

My school recently got an influx of devices and I wanted to make use of them. My district is a Google Apps for Education district which made this a no-brainer for me. I don't have 1:1 devices and since students are all working at their own pace I knew a digital reader's notebook would work well. Some students are reading while others are responding. I simply added the digital reader's notebook to our Google Classroom and students can choose which page or prompt they want to work on. Sometimes they add their own pages and responses, sometimes they use the ones I have added and sometimes I assign specific pages depending on what we are working on in class. 

One of my favorite aspects of the digital notebook is that students have virtual sticky notes. We used to go through a ton of sticky notes...like we probably kept sticky note companies in business. Then I created a page for them to record their thinking just like they would on a sticky note but instead it is a virtual one. 

The best part is that they don't need to ask for more sticky notes, they just go to the master copy and copy the page and add it to their digital reader's notebook.

If you want to see how this works in action you can check out the video below:

While I have my students do many open ended responses like writing a letter to a character or writing a letter to me about their book, I also have some specific activities for them to complete like the ones below:

These are all activities than can be done in a paper reader's notebook as well but if you're trying to go paperless or use less paper a digital reader's notebook is a great simple option that is easy to implement.

It's also nice not to have to lug those books home with me to mark! I can just login to my computer at home and check out what they're working on. I can leave quick feedback as well  throughout the school day by using the comment feature in Google Slides....so much quicker than having to leave a written response!

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