Monday, October 26, 2015

New Title: Movie Producer

For as long as I can remember I have wanted to make my own movie. In my mind I would be sitting in a director's chair yelling out, "Cut!" and rewriting scenes as we went. I recently got the chance to make my own movie, and let me tell you, it was an incredible experience. Okay, it wasn't quite the movie producing dream that I have had my sights set on, but it was a fun experience and one that will be a great skill to have and use in my classroom.

My movie was based on my family. I have a husband and four children, and my husband was deployed for two of the four pregnancies. To say my life has been blessed is an understatement. I loved going back in time to those moments that I realized I was pregnant, and to those sacred moments after my babies were born.

The movie was created in Movie Maker. This program allowed me to 100% customize my film, from the photos, music, font, colors, to the transitions and speed of each slide. The final copy blew my mind, and I'm not going to lie, it made me tear up.

All in all, this was a great project to use and there are many ways that I can incorporate this into my future classrooms.

Monday, October 19, 2015

Concept Maps: What a Concept!

Concept maps; we have all heard about them, but how do we use one in the classroom? I created one for language arts in the 2nd grade. If you haven't noticed by now, I am a book nerd. I have one laying in the chair next to me in class, just in case I get done early and have a little time to sneak in a page or two or three.

My love of literature is what I am known for in my family. My parents, my siblings, my husband, and my children are aware of my obsession with reading. I took this obsession and turned it into a project to use for my future students.

My main idea of the map was 'Books for Second Graders'. I then made branches off of that main topic for my subtopics. My subtopics were: 'Girl Main Characters', 'Boy Main Characters', 'Fantasy', 'Animal Characters', and 'Mysteries'. From each subtopic I gave two book ideas for each one of the categories. Some of my book choices were more recent, while others were classics that I grew up with.

Teachers can use concept maps for any subject. offers a great app as well as a free trial for teachers to try it out before they purchase it. Once there, the realm of possibilities is endless. After the map is created there is an opportunity to write notes on a separate screen. This would be great for a teacher to jot down key main points that he or she would like to discuss with her students.

Taking the Guesswork Out of a Rubric

By a show of hands, how many of you have painstakingly created a rubric by scratch? No templates, no websites, you straight up made yourself a rubric and loved it? I did, too, until I was introduced to RubiStar.

This website is a must for all teachers, whether you are an old pro, or you are a student learning about teaching. You simply visit and then get started. On the homepage there is a list of different subjects into which you want to create a rubric for. I chose Reading for my subject. From there it will list different subareas for your subject.

RubiStar offered already created rubrics, create your own rubrics, as well as an option to add onto an already created rubric. Below is a picture of my created rubric that I chose. I love how it turned out! One of the hardest things with grading is figuring out how you will grade, how to deduct points, what makes a project worth a perfect score, etc. RubiStar took out a lot of the guess work for me.