Celebrating Valentine’s Day!

I’m a bit late posting this, but here are some of the heart maps & heart poems my students created. I had the students cut out hearts using the painted paper they made. One one side they put a heart map, where they map out all the things in their “heart”. Then, I had them choose one thing from their heart map to write a poem about. The poem went on the other side. After, I laminated their hearts and punched  a hole at the top. I hung the hearts up in my classroom.

Also, I made chocolate for my students and put them in little plastic baggies with other bought chocolate. It’s super easy to make the chocolate. You buy the chocolate morsels for melting and then put them in the plastic molds. After, you put the plastic molds in the fridge and it hardens in a few hours. 🙂

Simple Valentine’s Day Paper & Cards

I learned how to make painted paper from my a great co-teacher last year! So I had the kids paint red & pink painted paper and this is what we can came up with.

First, get blank paper, paint & a thick brush

Next, paint horizontal streaks across the paper.

For fun, you can have students paint dots or designs on top!

Now with all this paper, we cut out hearts where students made heart maps and put their poems on. We will be hanging them up in our room. I will try to posts some photos on Monday! Then, we also used the painted paper to make Valentine’s day cards and crafts.

Simple Valentine’s Day Craft

For Valentine’s Day this year, I had them decorate paper bags with painted paper and buttons. My kids LOVED decorating with buttons. They will put valentines they get from classmates in the baggies. I am always so impressed by my fifth graders’ creativity!!! Take a look at some of their bags.

Upcoming posts: More valentine’s day ideas!

What Makes a Great Teacher?

Photo by Martin Greffe released under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Today in science class, I had students answer this question: What makes a great teacher? We are working on a project where they will be teaching other students about volcanoes. Since they will be taken on the role of a “teacher” I wanted them to really think about the characteristics of good teachers.

Here are their responses:

  • Explains things first, then lets you try
  • Asks questions
  • Has celebrations
  • Strict
  • Lets you experience new things
  • Creative
  • Speaks loud and clearly
  • Smart
  • Allows you to make things or experience things
  • Cares a lot
  • Open to your questions and opinions
  • Are happy
  • Gives examples
  • Uses games and prizes
  • Makes me understand

What is a good list of things to strive for as a teacher! What other things would you add?

Revolutionize Your Grading

I recently read about an online program called quizstar that is free for teachers. I mean who doesn’t love free stuff?! A few minutes later, I signed up and created an account as an instructor. I decided to create a multiple choice science quiz for my students. You can also include T/F questions and short response questions. However with short response questions you have to grade.

The next day, I had my students create their own user name & password. You can do this yourself, but I felt my 5th grade students could handle this on their own.

Once they created an account, you can add their user name to your class roster. I had students take the quiz on laptops in class. It was cool because students can see their results right after. Also, you get an online report of how each student did. They make neat graphs and charts and tell you which ones they get right and wrong. So here are the benefits I have found in using this online quiz program:

  • You save paper!! No more standing in line for the copy machine and having to deal with annoying paper jams.
  • You save time because you don’t have to grade! The computer does it for you.
  • Immediate feedback for students on their score. None of that nagging you whether you’ve graded their quizzes or not.
  • Immediate feedback for you as the teacher. You can see which questions students got wrong and right, and use that to plan your instruction.

Here are some snapshots of what the report you get for each quiz looks like:

Are there any other online quiz making programs people have used and recommend?

Final Challenge: 5 Important Lessons on Blogging

I’m a bit sad that the edublogs teacher challenge is ending. This past month I’ve really learned a lot about blogging and it has really helped me become a better blogger! Thank you to all the educators out there participating in this challenge. I learned so much from all of your posts.

5 important lessons I learned about blogging this past month from the edublog teacher challenge.

1) Connect to other bloggers–  In order to build readership of your blog you need to comment and subscribe to other blogs.  When you make an effort to connect to other bloggers, you will find more people interested in your blog as well.

2) Blog frequently– This is probably the thing I have the hardest time with. A lot of times I have blog ideas, but I just don’t have the time or energy to write the post. The challenge has helped me blog more frequently. I will try to blog at least 2 or more times a week!

3) Create a Twitter Account–  I just kept reading post after post about twitter through this challenge. I created an account a few days ago after much hesitation and now I’m so glad I did it. It is a cozy community and a way to communicate with other educators. It is very different from a blog. Also, I know that twitter will help increase readership of my blog. Follow me @jeeyoung_kim

4) Explicitly Teach Your Students how to Blog– I got some great ideas from the challenge about important aspects about blogging that I need to teach my students as they create their own blogs. For example- Copyrights to images online, how to write good comments & creating avatars.

5) Building Readership Takes Time There’s definitely no shortcut to creating a big readership for your blog. It takes a lot of time and effort on your part. I know that this past month, I have gotten more readership due to the challenge, but each post took time! Also, it took a lot of time to read through other blogs and leave thoughtful comments.

Some questions I have for my readers…

How do you plan on staying connected with other participants from the challenge?

Do you have a twitter account? Have you found it helpful in connecting with other educators? Do you use twitter in your classroom?

*Upcoming post on how to revolutionize your grading!

Must Attend Summer Workshops!

Yes, it is time for teachers to start planning out their summer vacations! I wanted to highly recommend the summer workshops for teachers of reading and writing at Teacher’s College at Columbia University in NYC. It is fantastic and life changing professional development for the ELA teacher. After going my first year, it really changed for the better how to teach writing. I was not only excited about teaching writing to my students, but my students fell in love with writing as well!

My second year that I went was even better as an educator.  I got to really strengthen a lot of the skills I learned and had better insight on how to run the writing workshop in my classroom. I can not wait to go back this year. Hopefully I will be able to attend both July Writing & Reading institute if time and MONEY permits. It is a bit expensive, costing $675 for one week. Hopefully, I can get professional development money to cover the costs from my school! Fingers are crossed….

At the KORKOS conference (March 11th) for international schools here in Korea, my colleague & good friend Elaine and I will be presenting on using the Writing Workshop model! Feel free to stop by if you are interested in learning more about it!

Here’s the information on the summer dates. Please pencil in the dates! I hope you can make it to at least one of them:

July Writing Institute: 06/27/2011 – 07/01/2011

July Reading Institute: 07/05/2011 – 07/09/2011

August Writing Institute: 08/15/2011 – 08/19/2011

August Reading Institute: 08/08/2011 – 08/12/2011

Which institutes do you plan on attending?

What other summer professional development workshops/trainings do you recommend for others?

I participated in a workshop with James Howe at last year's writing institute!

Challenge #7: Cleaning Up My Sidebar

For challenge #7, we need to clean up and add widgets to our sidebar.

A great website I stumbled upon a while ago is shabbyblogs, they have buttons and blinkies that you can use for free. All you need to do is copy the html code and add the text widget to your sidebar for wordpress blogs. It takes only a few minutes and gives your blog a great new look!

I made a few small changes to my widgets. I changed the buttons I had and added the chair, cupcake and comment buttons to my blog. I changed the order of my widgets and put after my search bar, the RSS feed link with recent posts, to make it easier for readers to navigate my blog. I also added the blog stats widget button.

Here are some of the buttons/blinkies from shabby blogs!

Does anyone know any other good websites with free buttons/blinkies that you can use??

Challenge #6: Time to Breathe

For challenge #6, I am going to embed different types of media into my post!

As a teacher, there are a million and one things that I need to get done everyday, and the list never really seems to get shorter. There is always SOMETHING to do as a teacher. Even during vacations, my to do list is always so long for school.

So my question for other teachers are:

You can create your own crappy graph here.