Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Jumpstart January

Well, that break was nice, wasn't it? Now we get the fine privilege of wrangling our students after two weeks of sleeping in and staying up late. The first few days back after break can be defining moments for our class, so let's make the best of it! 

This hop is all about jump-starting the learning after a long winter holiday. The sooner we get these young minds engaged and instep with the program, the happier they will be (and the happier we will be also).

So, how do you do it? How do you take your students from this:

 To this: 

For me the answer is simple, it's what is the hands of the group of students who are happy and excited. Interactive Student Notebooks, we've come to call them ISNs or INBs. This note taking strategy is effective for many reasons. 

First: When given the opportunity to get creative with the display of the content, kids think about the material. They make it their own. This creates inroads to their stored memory and makes it easier to retrieve the content later.

Second: It is SO much more fun than boring old Cornell Notes! Don't get me wrong, there is a definite advantage to the basic Cornell Notes, however, adding interactive elements brings those boring T Charts to a whole new level.

Finally, and certainly not the least significant: Interactive notebooks are easily differentiated to meet the needs of all at least most of our students. A simple template with blank lines to fill in helps our struggling students make sense of the content. Most creators include another version of the same template with more room for the student to write out their own responses. To add difficulty for our advanced learners, simply provide them with the paper, scissors, and markers, and they can get creative making their own flips and flaps. 

If you are new to notebooking, or you've been at it for a while but want some new ideas, I have a page for that! Click on the tab "INB Hacks". I'll be adding new items to this page regularly. You will find videos, links to free templates, shortcuts, and more. If you have a great resource you'd like to share on the page, post a link in the comments below, I'd be happy to put it up for you. 

Would you like the opportunity to win $10 worth of resources from my Teacherspayteachers store? 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
This post is one of many included in the Jumpstart January Blog Hop, so click on that sled below and take a peek at another teacher's tips to help you jumpstart your January! Make it all the way to the end, and land on our collaborative blog The Lesson Deli for an opportunity to win a $50 Target gift card. 

Happy Hopping!

Interactive Learning Hop: and a Grand Re-Opening Celebration

Welcome to the new design!

I am so excited to start this new adventure. Over the past decade, I've dipped my toes into the interactive side of learning. These last few years, however, it has grabbed a hold of me and taken me to new places I never thought I'd go.

It has always been a goal of mine to insight a love of learning in my students. To me, the best way to do that is make the learning fun, engaging, and memorable. How do you make your teaching stick?

Let's get interactive!

Below you will find three fabulous giveaways with the interactive learning spirit at heart. First up is $25 gift card to The winner will be able to spend that on whatever resources are needed right now. Next is a Resource bundle for grades 3-5. 9 teachers have contributed resources for math, reading, writing, and more. Then you'll find a second resource bundle for the older students, also chalked full of math and reading/writing resources.

a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Top 10 Posts From 2014

I'm trying to start this new blogging journey with a lot of activity, so here's another linky to get me going. It was easy to find my top 10 posts from this past year, since I only have 29 of them published ;) Let's hope I have at least twice thrice as many for 2015!

#10 Strategies For Teaching Visual Learners

#9 10 Things I want to do This Summer

#8 Fourth Grade Common Core...A Math Club!

#7 Think Bright Tutor Conference


#6 Teaching With Patterns

#5 March is Interactive Math Month

#4 Blasting Back to School Giveaway and Creating a Learning Team

#3 New Book Review: Ziggie Tales

#2 It's a Classroom Giveaway 

#1 Assessing Your Students Learning Styles

I decided the world needed an info graphic to describe Howard Gardner's multiple intelligence theory. If you are an educator and would like a printed version for the class room, you can email me on I am happy to arrange a laminated print out on A3 size paper for $17 [AUD] + postage. Or if you want the digital file I am happy to supply a high resolution A3 size PDF for $10 [AUD].

If want to read some more recaps from 2014, click the image at the top of this post. This was a fun little walk down memory lane, especially as this blog and my creating energy are at a turning point! It will be very interesting to read this post at the end of 2015!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sunday Scoop

This looked like a fun way to pass the time before my blog re-design party starts this week!

That wasn't so hard :)  Happy Sunday all!

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