Today I'm going to share with you a website that has added so much fun to my students' learning. Kahoot is a game-based classroom response system that can be used for review, practice and formative and summative assessment. It can give a quick snapshot of students' learning or need for additional teaching. It has added a new element of excitement to my classroom. In fact, students even ask to play it for fun! I recently began having my students make their own Kahoots to show what they have learned. These have been perfect as final projects for our Genius Research Projects. Students could also work in groups to create Kahoots. What a great way to get students motivated to show all they have learned! 

I created the Kahoot below for extra math practice. It took me about ten minutes to make a ten problem Kahoot. What you see on my device is a Kahoot game projected onto my overhead screen. The students have a certain amount of time to answer each question I had already typed out. Fun game show themed music plays and a running clock with a tick-tock sound is heard during play.
This is what the students' devices look like during play. They choose the color for the correct answer. Messages appear throughout the game letting the students know how they are doing compared to others. 
Below is a Kahoot a student was in the process of making for his Genius Project. He chose to research the Oakland A's baseball team for his project. He created questions from his research to make his Kahoot. After students have completed their Kahoots, I have them self-edit and revise, then have a peer edit and help them fix any mistakes in their Kahoot. Their final projects will also be graded on spelling, punctuation, and grammar. 
After reading this student's Kahoot, I encouraged him to add four answer choices to make his Kahoot more challenging, instead of making it a simple yes/no answer choice like he did in the picture above. By having your students create their own Kahoots, you can easily assess their learning based on the questions and answers they include. 

Below is what the student's Kahoot looks like in preview mode. Students are able to preview and play their Kahoots, then go back and edit them if necessary.
My entire district received 1:1 devices this year, but I know not every classroom has enough devices for every student. If you have a few iPads, iPods, or other devices available to your students, you could have them work in teams and play Kahoots you give them or have them create their own Kahoots. Students can even bring their own devices from home and link up with you over wi-fi. If all you have is your computer and you are able to project from it, you could use the free printable tablets I created below. Students can point to the color or shape and you could still use Kahoot to quickly assess their learning that way. (You wouldn't be able to print out their individual assessment data, and you would have to choose the correct answer from your device for each question.) This would still be a great way to review. There are a few choices of sizes and color and black and white.
Making a Kahoot is just the beginning! You can download each students' score and use it as an assessment. If you decide to do that, I would make sure the students use their name and maybe a number as their username so you can easily see which score belongs to which student. You can also search for already made Kahoots and use them as is or edit them to make them work for your class. 

Below I've included step-by-step directions if you would like to make your own Kahoot. Creating an account and making my first Kahoot was very easy. The most challenging part of the whole process was when I was ready to play a Kahoot with the class. You have to keep the game projected on, but your students have to go to to type in the pin number and log onto your game. 

You can click on the graphic below to get your own copy of step-by-step directions to make your own Kahoot. I've included pictures along with the step-by-step directions.
Click on the graphic below to visit Kahoot.
I hope Kahoot becomes a useful tool in your classroom.  What other websites are must-haves in your teacher technology toolkit? I would love to hear what you use in your classroom! 
Image Map

Before I began making files to use in my classroom a few years ago, I had never worked in PowerPoint. I always thought of it as presentation software, not something you would use to produce a file to print out. I never purchased anything on TpT that required me to edit in PowerPoint because I didn't feel comfortable using it. After using PowerPoint, I quickly realized that it's easy to use and create editable items. I have had several questions from followers about how to use these editable files, so today I wanted to share a few things I have learned along the way. (If you are already a pro at this, you can skip down to the bottom and grab a fun freebie!)

***Disclaimer: I'm a Mac girl. There are some differences between the Mac and PC versions of PowerPoint. Older versions of PC PowerPoint don't have the Color Picker/eyedropper tool I mention in the tutorial, but the new version does. There are color picker tools you can download if you are interested in looking into that. Years ago I used one with Photoshop Elements that worked really well. 

One of the most important things I want to share is that in order to use a font that's in an editable PowerPoint file, you have to have the font installed on your computer. There has been confusion about this, but you can't use a font that isn't installed on your computer. Many times TpT sellers include a list of fonts they used in their editable PowerPoint files so you can get a similar look for your edits. On my Macbook Pro, it's easy- I just download the font and click "Install". I have to restart PowerPoint in order for the font to be useable, but once I do that, it's there for me to use. If you need help with installing fonts, check here.

Another important thing to remember is to save your edited file as a different name. I usually add "revised" or "edited" to the end of the original file name, but you can name it whatever you like. That way you can keep your original file and your edited file. (Although the good thing about TpT is they always have the original files you purchased, so you can always re-download if you accidentally edit and save the original instead of renaming it.) 

Below I will go through the steps I use to change my font style, color, and size on a poster in my Classroom Decor pack.

 You might want to add text boxes to a page. The slides below explain how to do that.

Sometimes I want to make duplicates of a page such as my desk name tags. Once I choose my text style, size, and color, the text box is already formatted, so it's really easy to just duplicate the slide I want to use to create my entire class's desk tags. The slides below explain this. 

Here's a freebie for you. Included are two sets in both editable and premade versions so you can customize them for the supplies you have. They have helped me to keep my desk organized and I can easily see what supplies I have before I go out and spend more money on things I don't need. These also make great gifts for new teachers and colleagues. Click on any of the pictures to download a copy.
Thank you for stopping by! 

(This is an archived post from the iTeach Third Blog.)

End of the Year Freebies
I wanted to share some end of the year ideas and freebies that might help make your end of the year run more smoothly!
Every year I recruit parent volunteers. I usually have them work with students on reading comprehension, fluency, spelling, and basic facts. Sometimes they file papers and cut the endless piles of laminated items I have. I depend on them so much to help give my students the extra one on one they need. And at the end of the year, I love to spoil them! Last year I created a freebie parent volunteer thank you pack. I've included a paper bag album, thank you cards, and gift labels. You can click on the image below to download.
Parent Volunteer Freebies
I have my students write and illustrate one page as a thank you for the parent volunteers, then I glue them inside a paper bag scrapbook. The parent volunteers love to get this keepsake from the students.  
Parent Volunteer Freebie Thank You

I've done this strawberry theme for a few years now. Last year (see picture below) I wasn't fast enough to get all of the strawberry products from Bath and Body Works, so I had to supplement with other items. This year I found soap, lotion, and hand sanitizer at B&B Works. 

Parent Volunteer Gift Ideas and Free Printables

I usually make them cupcakes too. These strawberry cupcakes are one of the best things I've ever tasted! Then frosting tastes like strawberry fudge. The recipe is below. 

Parent Volunteer Gift Ideas and Free Printables

Strawberry Cake Recipe

These cards are great to give to colleagues or your children's teachers. Just add a coffee gift card, print, and you are all set! Cute, quick, and so easy! Click on the images to download the cards. 

Thanks a Latte Teacher Cards

Thanks a Latte Teacher Cards
This is a fun freebie I always do the last week of school. I have the students write a letter to next year's students, since they are now the pros! You can read more about it here, or click on the image to grab your freebie. 
FREEBIE Letter From My Desk
Here's a template for my end of the year parent letter from last year. Parents always ask what their children can work on over the summer, so it's nice to send a note home on the last day. This year I'm changing it and adding Xtra Math, Prodigy, and Myon, since we have been working on those websites this year. You can grab your copy here and edit it to suit your needs.  
End of the Year Parent Letter
And here's a last day of school poster just for fun. 
Freebie Last Day of School Poster
Hopefully you can grab something that will help you get through your last week. Enjoy those last, precious moments with your class!  

Hello! Things have been so hectic at home and school, and I've been a really bad blogger! I wanted to pop in quickly and share a few freebies today. These gift card holders are perfect for a quick gift for a colleague, friend, or family member. Just print and add a gift card and you have the perfect, easy gift. They will be free throughout today, so be sure to click on the picture above and grab them now if you want them.

I wanted to share another freebie that I hope to blog more about soon. We have been learning about measurement, and this hopping bunnies activity is perfect this time of year. The students measure their bunnies, then they "hop" them, and measure how far they hopped. There are a few different sheets available in this set, including inches and centimeters. I found these bunnies at Oriental Trading Company here, but you can use the frogs that are sold at the dollar store too. Since this isn't really an Easter activity, you could do it any time of year. You can click on the picture below to download this pack. Be sure to check back, because I will have another measurement freebie with the same idea coming soon!
I hope you are able to use these freebies! Have a wonderful rest of the week and Easter! :)

All About Penguins
Today I'm teaming up with my Reading Crew friends to bring you our favorite mentor text lessons for winter and a giveaway!  
All About Penguins
For the past few years, nonfiction text has taken center stage in our classrooms. It's no surprise, since the majority of what we read in our daily lives is nonfiction. It becomes important for us to give our students the tools they need to navigate through this complex text. Today I'm sharing some ideas and tools for teaching text features using one of my students' favorite nonfiction books.
All About Penguins
My students are obsessed with the National Geographic Kids series. I purchase sets of six with my Scholastic Book Order points, and they are always the first choice during our independent reading time. Penguins have been a favorite of my students this time of year.

To teach nonfiction text features, I start off by introducing each text feature using my Scholastic Introduction to Nonfiction Text Features Write On/Wipe Off Flip Chart. (I purchased my flip chart with Scholastic points a few years ago, but it is available on Amazon.) This giant book is excellent for teaching each text feature, whole class or small group. We discuss the text features included, such as photographs, captions, maps, and side bar.  Students share examples of text features they've seen in their books, we discuss how each text feature helps us to better understand what we are reading, and I clarify any confusion. These posters from Scholastic's website are a free download and helpful to teach nonfiction text features if you don't have the Scholastic Introduction to Nonfiction Text Features Flip Chart. I have also used these free text features posters on my wall to teach with and have students to refer to throughout the year. They make a great display, and my students actually refer to them! 
After our text features discussion, I have students work in groups to find examples of text features using a copy of National Geographic Kids Penguins and the Nonfiction Text Features Investigation sheets. Students find examples of each text feature and write the page numbers where they found them. We come back together as a class and each group shares their findings. We discuss how not every nonfiction text has all of the text features we learned about. Students share how particular text features helped them to better understand what they read. We also discuss how we could take information we learned about in the book and create our own text features for the information.
Once students have a solid understanding of text features, they dig into the text deeper with their Penguin Research Booklets. Using the Penguins Reader, they find information such as vocabulary meanings, what penguins eat, their enemies, fun facts, and adaptations. I also have them create their own text features using the information from their Penguins Reader, but I tell them it has to be a text feature that isn't already included in the book. 

This time of year I have my students choose a polar animal to research. Since there are only a few National Geographic Kids Readers for polar animals, I collect other nonfiction books about polar animals from our school and local libraries. My students have their own tablets, so they are able to research online to gather more information about their animals. After they complete their Research Booklets, I plan to have my students create their own nonfiction books with the information they learn about their animals. Students can also create posters and habitat dioramas for their animals. This will be a great culminating project for our nonfiction study!
You can click on the picture above to download a copy of Penguins Nonfiction Text Features Investigation. Inside you will find  Penguins Text Features Investigation pages, a Penguins Research Booklet, and links to student-friendly research websites. 
If you are looking for more opportunities for your students to research a variety of polar animals, you can see the complete Polar Animals Research Booklets Here. Included in this pack is a Text Features Investigation that can be used with any nonfiction text and sixteen different Polar Animal Research Booklets.

 Pin for Later
All About Penguins
Be sure to check out the other mentor text lessons from The Reading Crew!

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