Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Pinterest Top 10 For Next School Year Linky Party

I am so excited to join the Linky party started by Upper Grades Are Awesome. I have spent a lot of time sorting through pins this summer and looking over all of the ideas and trying to decide what works best for my classroom and for my students. I am a little nervous about doing this because I wasn't sure about connecting the pin symbol to the images! HA! I am still a little rough on the technology part but I have been able to catch on pretty quick now. :)

Without further ado, here are my Top 10 for Next School Year:


I am really pumped (I do teach middle schoolers) about using QR codes in the classroom this year! I went to a great technology conference that our school district does at the end of the school year and learned tons of ways to implement this into my classroom! Have it link to your classroom blog, post vocabulary definitions (who really learns from looking up words in a dictionary anyway?), link it to a video and have the kids watch the video, have audio recorded on it so that the students have to listen to something (great for foreign language classes!), etc.

 If I could, I would also use a QR code for my library checkout like this:

I think this is pretty awesome! When the students scan the QR code it takes them to a template on the iPad and they fill in the template with the book title, author, etc. then it is checked out to them! I would do this BUT 1. I do not have an iPad for my classroom and 2. I don't even have a Smartphone (I'm still old school...no, really it's a long story because I used to have one and had to get rid of it).


My second favorite pin has to be anything and everything about Interactive Student Notebooks (ISN). I feel like I'm a little late in this awesomeness but I am really and truly in love with this idea! I have been pinning like crazy and have tons of ideas for incorporating it into my classroom.

Ps. If you have not seen my Pinterest boards you need to check them out! I am totally anal and have subdivided all of my boards into categories to quickly search for things. OCD anyone?


I have always had classroom helpers, however with the ISN I'm going to take a cue from Everybody Is A Genius and make the students more accountable for picking up, organizing, and running the stations. I love this iHelp poster from Sixth Grade Tales! In the past I have just tried to rotate helpers every week. I know some people have them "apply" for the job, etc.

I haven't decided how I will pick the helpers but I know I will need several to help out. I am also going to have a student help me with attendance every day. One person from each class will be my attendance clerk and let me know who is absent so that I can put it in the computer. They will also fill out this card that I made in my Vistaprint post:


Speaking of attendance, my next favorite has to be the absent crate + filing system! I will staple or paper clip the missing work together with the postcard and put it in the crate alphabetically by last name and voila! The responsibility is back on the student to pick up their work. :)


My fifth favorite pin is called the "Stop It & Drop It" station, however I intend to use it a little differently than how it sounds. I want an area like this when you first walk in the door with the hand sanitizer, Kleenex, pencil sharpener, etc. BUT I want to add crates for the ISN notebooks.

 I also NEVER let my kids put their homework in a bin. I guess I'm too anal and I still haven't let go of picking it up from each kid. There is something about them having to look you in the face and tell you why they don't have their homework. I want them to take the ownership. I then hand them a homework card that asks them why they did not turn in their homework (I make these on the FREE Vistaprint business cards). I file these away for parent/teacher conferences. The parents usually want to look at what their excuse was and with over 115 students I can't remember the homework excuse answers off the top of my head. It is an easy way for me to have evidence. If they refuse to fill it out (only 1 student has done this so far) I wrote on it "REFUSED TO FILL OUT" and filed it.

I also started using Edmodo last year and that ended a lot of the paper flow and made grading life so much easier! It was great to have so many students doing their homework (even if they did do it on their phone while in another class...HAHA). It was also easier for them to redo assignments and for me to grade them this way. (I always let kids redo a homework assignment--it is really about whether they know the content or not anyway, right?)


I love this tool for a "digital" classroom library! This past year I just kept a word document on my teacher computer and typed out the name of the student and the book title. However, this next school year I am going to have a librarian for each class help with checking my classroom books in and out.

I have to admit, I did not realize the power of having my own classroom library when I started teaching. I just thought the library would be enough to satisfy their reading hunger. Boy was I wrong! I have kids that prefer to check-out from me over the library. They can sit in the reading area and read and find a book they really like. It just seems like they are more likely to lounge and look through books when they can see them all the time and they are right at their fingertips.

 I also try to do some book talks about some of the newest additions to try to get them interested in them. My reluctant readers LOVE the manga books. I really don't care what they read so long as they are reading! I have magazines, newspapers, etc. Can't wait to keep track of them this way!


I SO intend to make this before school starts! I always have papers on my desk and try to keep them separated by making alternating stacks of classes (I have 5 different classes). In the past I have also kept a copy of grading and filing over on the far right side of my desk. This makes everything so much easier and neater! <-- OCD coming out again


I am sure you recognize what this is already....the sub binder! I have already been working on mine and will print it all out after a week or two of school (once I make sure room numbers, phone numbers, etc. are all correct). I also intend to add pictures to help explain where things are for the sub. I am in love with this binder!


I am just now getting in to The Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller. *gasp* I know, I know. If I had realized how obsessed ya'll were with this book I would have read it a lot sooner. It seems like it has some amazing ideas on how to teach reading and I am already loving some of the things I have heard. I will keep you tuned in on what I intend to incorporate to my classroom and how I do it.


Last, but not least, I am really liking this Idiom of the Week idea! I think the kids would really enjoy reading these idioms and it is just a great reminder of what idioms are throughout the whole school year. In the past I have worked with the ELL collaborative teacher and I think my ELL kids would have loved this!

Those are my top 10 of this year, however I really have like a top 50! So many amazing ideas that you all have been sharing and I just keep adding them to my boards.

Can't wait to see what you pin as your top 10!

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  1. Thanks for linking up Amy! I enjoyed all of your pins, many are also in my top 50 too!

    Upper Grades Are Awesome

  2. I love love love #6, I too intend to incorporate into my classroom library. I have lost so many book over my practicum time in various classrooms, I am finally hoping this will help alleviate me losing books left and right.


  3. Hi Amy! Welcome to BlogWorld. I am your newest follower on Bloglovin. I love finding new upper grade bloggers to follow. :) Have a great day! :) Thanks for visiting my blog earlier. Just in case you are unaware, your account is set as a no-reply blogger, meaning that people can't respond when you post on their blogs. It's okay, but I wasn't sure if that was your intention. I can't wait to read more from you. :)
    Creating Lifelong Learners

  4. Melissa, let me know what you think of the program once your kids are using it. I am excited to give it a try but the real test is how well the kids will do with it. :)

    Brandee, thank you so much for letting me know about the no-reply issue! I have hopefully fixed this. I had no idea! :) It is so nice to find other middle school bloggers to share ideas with. I'll be tuning in! :)


  5. So many great pins! Thanks for mentioning my iHelp board, I hope it works as great for you.

    Sixth Grade Tales

  6. I nominated you for the Liebster award. To learn about accepting the award, please visit http://sixthgradetales.blogspot.com/2013/07/get-to-know-me-withan-award.html.

    Love your blog!


  7. Thank you so much Jamie! :)

  8. Amy,
    I like your thoughts on homework and having them look you in the eye. I also like that you make them fill out a slip right away and you file it. I am curious though, we have very little parent turn out on conference day. WOuld you send the packet of excuses to parents if they do not show up?

    Lessons With Coffee


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