Sunday, March 17, 2019

Change Continues - New Blog

Hello blogging world!  

I have moved on in my blogging adventure.  After I taught 1st grade for 9 years, and 3rd grade for one glorious year, I become the Media Resource Specialist (21st century techy librarian), for my home school.  My focus changed a bit, but my passions and interests in regards to education were only further encouraged with my new job.
My current blog can be found via this link: Current site avatar

Another former blog of mine might be interesting to any fellow edtech nerds:
On this blog, I shared technology integration ideas that were primarily intended to benefit the teachers at my school and within our district, however, good ideas are just good ideas... anywhere! 

Blogging has been a lot of fun for me over the years.  It's like journalling but with the added bonus of sharing and connecting with other people with shared interests.  I encourage everyone to set up a free Blogger or Wordpress account and give it a try!  It's not that I think I have anything important enough to say to the world, but rather that I like to share ideas, so I'll take the risk of putting my thoughts out into the digital world in the hopes that a positive idea is sparked for someone else and maybe a connection is made.  Ultimately, I want to make a positive impact on students, and I can best do that by inspiring teachers. 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Change is a Constant

George Couros told me this summer, well, not just me personally, there were a few hundred people in the room, but I still took it to heart...  The only constant we can count on is change.  True that!

I am not gone from blogging, I've just moved my attention to my whole campus.  I'm now the media resource specialist/librarian for my elementary school!  Woo hoo!  Talk about a dream job for me!

I'm very active on Twitter, so follow me @MrsAColwell.  Hopefully I'll blog more again when this whole master's degree thing is done.  ;)

Carry on education friends!

Monday, April 13, 2015

Texas Teacher Salaries in Trouble

Someone very smart sent this to me today...
Please read and help, my fellow Texans!!!!

Teachers are worth more than $27,540 a year. The STAAR test is not a measure of a good teacher. The growth, and indexes of testing accountability are also not comparing apples to apples in every classroom. Unfortunately, even after many letters, phone calls, and social media campaigns the Senate Education Committee passed SB 893. This Bill will allow School Districts to use standardized test scores as a major evaluation tool.

Teachers are some of the hardest working, caring individuals in the world. They pay for their jobs! They buy many supplies for the classroom and their students. They work before 8 a.m. and hours after 4 p.m. The Texas State Senate has embarrassingly DISRESPECTED EVERY TEACHER in the STATE of TEXAS by voting to reduce salaries without steps! They have also disregarded the lack of Teacher retention in the State.

It is now up to the House of Representatives that WE THE PEOPLE have voted and put into office to hear our voices and vote in favor of TEACHERS!!!

PLEASE TAKE 2 MINUTES TO VOICE FOR TEACHERS! This is going to make a difference in so many different lives. Not only teachers but their families and students. You can continue to vote against. Its counts as tallys. So vote your hearts out!

One teacher commented on the site given and makes a good point...
"If this bill passes, teachers like me, who spend their own money to supplement their budget, won’t be able to. Teachers like me, who spend their own money to attend professional development in their field, won’t be able to.Teachers like me, who spend their extra time, teaching in extracurricular programs to benefit low income students, won’t be able to, as we will be looking for outside employment to pay our bills. This bill discourages people like me, who pride themselves in learning new things, buying new things and keeping current in their field of study in order to teach, from doing so. This bill discourages people like me, who believe in making a difference, and encourages them to seek employment simply making a living." This bill discourages people like me, who pride themselves in learning new things, buying new things and keeping current in their field of study in order to teach, from doing so. This bill discourages people like me, who believe in making a difference, and encourages them to seek employment simply making a living."

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Something Needs to Change

I recently came across this blog post via Facebook and I guess it struck a nerve.  Take a look and see if it also resonates with you.

Seriously.  This is so accurate and it really is a problem. It makes our days stressful to live this way. Less stressed out teachers can focus better on what they're teaching and therefore students will, in general, learn better!  In other professions outside of teaching, you get an hour usually right?  And you can go out to eat?  Even on the company dime, right!?  Something needs to be changed to allow teachers some basic freedoms like bathroom breaks, a true lunch hour, and real team planning time. And don't get me started on all of the work we have to do that won't fit within the contract hours and then subtracts from our family time.  I'll make the claim that for every 30 min. of teaching, there's 30 min of work to be done outside of the work day. From planning to emails to newsletters and meetings. Progress monitoring, parent conferences, grading and analyzing assessment data. Gathering materials and putting away. Copies. Sorting and filing. Trainings. Now, the time spent with our kids is clouded with the stress of the other things we have to do. It's really not fair to the students or teachers. 

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Economics Fair

We had a blast with our economics fair! Students were placed into groups and told about the fair we would have in two weeks. We spent those two weeks learning about economics terms such as profit, supply, and demand. Students had to create a plan to create a product, price it, and then sell it together as a team. We even learned about Henry Ford's assembly line and how to use a budget. Since the students had a direct connection to the learning through their culminating project, I feel like they were more engaged and better attached to the material. Check out these images of the fair! Economics Fair 2014 on PhotoPeach

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Fact Fluency Symbaloo

Phew!  I have been completely wrapped up in learning 3rd grade!  I LOVE LOVE LOVE it!  I can't believe I was so afraid to leave the comfort of 1st grade!  Third graders are so much easier to manage all day long, haha.
I made this symbaloo to help some students improve on addition and subtraction fact fluency, and to allow other students to move on with multiplication and division.  Please feel free to USE it and SHARE it! 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Hello Third Grade!

After 9 amazing years of teaching first grade, I'm moving to third grade! I am so excited to take on a new set of challenges. ;)
My long-term goal is to get my masters degree and my admin. certification, so I need to experience other grades, and certainly tackle some standardized testing... ugh, the STAAR test. :/

Any advice or resource tips for third grade are appreciated!!! I look forward to sharing what I learn and what my third graders accomplish this coming year!

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Integrating QR Codes Across Subjects've discovered what a valuable tool QR codes can be in the classroom, especially for ease of use for young learners. We have iPads and iPods in our school, so this facilitates our use of QR codes. Using QR codes for specific research projects, or content area stations can take a lot of prep work upfront. However, once the work has been done, students can quickly and easily access various resources on the internet in a safe and specific way. Below are examples of how I've integrated QR codes into different subjects and units.
 My students had a blast doing research about U.S. and Texas symbols! I printed the Texas symbols QR codes that you can find here and the U.S symbols packet that you can find here. I posted them in a student accessible location. ;) Then, my students used the free app, Scan, to scan the codes. They were so engaged! They worked in small groups to share the five iPads we have. They were able to watch videos, read facts, and identify our state and country symbols. They were also told to take notes about what they learned.

Integrating QR codes into Science and Social Studies for research went so well, that I wanted to branch out and find a use for this to benefit other subject areas. Our Kinder-2nd grade classes often do author studies, so I decided to make QR codes that lead to video read alouds of children's picture books by famous authors or on specific content topics. During our Literacy Block, if students chose "Listen to Reading" as their Daily 5 activity, they could use the iPads to scan the code, and then listen to the story read aloud to them. They could then do a follow-up response or simply journal in their reading response notebook about the story they listened to. This was a huge hit in my room and with my co-workers! Here are some of the read aloud QR codes packets I have created for this purpose.  Click on the images below to visit my store where you can find these packets, and MANY more!
 One last Science integration example for QR Codes and research... To learn more about QR code integration, please visit my blog post:  QR Code Binge! Happy integrating!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Changing Education Paradigms

I stumbled upon this video while working on another QR code packet… very interesting.  I love the "big picture" thinking.  It's hard to fit kids in the mold required by specific standards and especially standardized testing AND excite them and engage them at a high level.  That's the balance we walk as educators.  I'd be curious to hear what you think about this video and this speaker's opinions...

There are many more interesting videos about education by Sir Ken Robinson available on You Tube.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week!


Phew!  Busy, busy, busy!  The light is bright at the end of the tunnel though.  ;)  
For teacher appreciation week, I have many freebies I want to share with you!

Click on the image of each below, or click HERE to visit my store and see all of my products!  Feedback and requests are always welcome and appreciated.  I enjoy making new products and improving my skills.  ;)

Please check out my store for other products and freebies!

300 × 250

Friday, March 7, 2014

Mo Willems Read Aloud QR Codes

The kindergarten team at my school is starting a Mo Willems author study the week after Spring Break.  I am working on a QR code read aloud packet for them.  In my search for good quality read aloud videos, I found the most adorable read aloud yet!  The child reading the book does a fantastic job.  Their voice paired with this clever text is just hilarious!  I was laughing out loud in my class watching this video!

Check out the Mo Willems read aloud QR code at my TpT store 
or my Teacher's Notebook shop.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Christmas Celebrations in Mrs. Colwell's Class!

I think we are fortunate in our school district, because we still have the freedom to say, "Merry Christmas!" and decorate our rooms and school with Santas, trees, and candy canes, etc!  We study the reasons behind all holidays and celebrations, but it's nice to not be censored in that way.  So, our Christmas party was a blast!  The week before the party, we wrote letters to Santa.  Of course, this was optional, but all of my students chose to do so.  We "mailed" the letters, and some high school volunteer "elves" wrote the kids back!!!  One of my teammates dressed up as Santa and went from room to room posing for a picture of him delivering the letters.  ;)  When the kids returned from P.E., I showed them the picture of Santa in our classroom and they FLIPPED!!!!  It was awesome!  Then, I gave them their personalized letter.  :)
Check out what this looked like...

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Personalize your own digital slideshow

Our party was a blast!  We decorated gingerbread men cookies and ate them, we decorated snowflake ornaments, and played a snowman decorating contest.  Check out the fun...

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Free photo slideshow made with Smilebox

I hope you have had a wonderful Christmas or holiday season.  The holiday time at school is so magical, and I cannot believe it is already behind us.