Sunday, February 7, 2016

The Hall of Presidents

Every February teachers have so much to choose from to teach their students about. From Groundhog's day to Valentine's Day to Dental Health there are so many interesting concepts happening in February.

My personal favorite concept to teach in February is Presidents Day. The activity I have been doing with my class for NINE years now is a hallway hit at my school. The other teachers in the school stop by my classroom at the end of January to see if the President Project has started. The numerous compliments I receive year after year is just one of the reasons it's my favorite social studies project of the school year.

Here is how we start:

First the students select a president they would like to research. After the presidents are selected I send the list of presidents down to our fabulous media specialist and she pulls the books for my class.

Next, the students begin their research using the question papers. During their research we find out so many interesting and intriguing facts about every president. The research brings our classroom together as we find out about father and son presidents, presidents who beat out other presidents in races, or presidents who made a historic impact on our country.

Research papers used by the students are broken into four papers to then create four paragraphs.

Once the students are done their research they then begin their rough drafts in their writer's notebooks. After they are done we have a teacher-student writing conference before they begin putting their president together.

Now, comes another part of why this is a favorite project of mine. The students will create a president body to write their final copy in. After they write their final copy they color and design the president's suit. They trace their hands on manila paper and cut them out to glue to their president. They also create shoes for their president and lastly make something that symbolizes their president for their president to hold.

In Step 11 and 12, you see the presidents John Adams and Richard Nixon. The student who researched John Adams decided to put the White House in his hands because he was the first president to live in it and Richard Nixon is holding the Earth because he was the first president to travel to all 50 states and to Russia!

When it's time for the students to make something that symbolizes their president it truly shows how much they have learned during their research. This also has given me a crazy amount of president trivia facts that one would only know if you were an avid president researcher.

Like did you that William Taft got himself stuck in a bath tub and six of his workers had to get him out? or that a reporter sat on John Quincy Adams' clothes until they got an interview with him or that Richard Nixon shaved 2-3 times a day because his beard grew that quickly. How about Gerald Ford's favorite snack of cottage cheese and ketchup!

These are just a few of the interesting facts that my students have found out while researching.

I hope that if you are having a hard time to decided what to teach in February that you give the Presidents a try. It's a great activity that teaches students about researching a topic, writing an informational text, connecting with each other and having some interesting conversations from cool research facts!

Monday, July 27, 2015

Lions, Tigers and TPT! Oh, My!

Well we did it! We both took the journey down the yellow brick road to Teachers Pay Teachers. We both have been making different things for our classrooms for years but never really got into the whole selling on TPT. With the help of a lot of wonderful and extremely helpful periscopes from some amazing teachers we both have posted some products on TPT. 

I am so proud and happy for both of us. I know that it's been something that I've wanted to do now for a long time. And I'm sure Katie feels the same way as I do. Can you tell how excited I am? Yay for TPT!!!

Here are two of the items that I posted:

The first one is the jobs that I use in my Hollywood themed classroom. I love using them and the kids get a kick out of how the jobs are actual names of jobs in Hollywood!

Hollywood Classroom Jobs

The second one is my school reminder notes. I use these to send home to parents for a quick reminder. My students love giving them to their parents and it even helps the students remember themselves about bringing in their school library book or to give papers for their parents to sign and return to school. 

We decided to each make a store. You can find us at 

Thank you again to all of the wonderful teachers who have helped us feel confident about our new journey on TPT! 

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

How to create a Kahoot! game.

Hi everyone! Today, I want to show you how to create a FUN quiz using Kahoot! If you haven't had a chance to read my previous post, you can check it out {HERE}. It shows how to play Kahoot! with your class. This post will focus on creating the game.

To get started, you need to create you FREE account at Below is a snapshot of their homepage. Click on the large purple box at the bottom to sign up.

Once you have your account, log in. Your screen will look as it does in the photo below. There are 3 types of Kahoots you can make. You can make a quiz, discussion, or survey. I'll focus on the quiz for today. Under where it says "Create new Kahoot!", click Quiz.

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Next, name your quiz and click Go!

Time to start with the questions! In the box next to "Question 1", type in your question. You may choose to add an image in the large gray box in the middle by clicking "choose image" and adding one from your computer. 

You can also adjust how much time the students have to answer the questions by clicking the time dropdown menu next to the question. You can select anywhere from 20 to 120 seconds. 

(Click on the image to make it larger!)

You can also choose to have each question worth points, or no points. This can be done in the dropdown menu under the question box. (See picture below) I typically choose no points. I am not 100% certain what the formula is to get the point total for each student, but I know it has something to do with how quickly they answer the questions. In most of my quizzes, how fast they do the question isn't important to me. 

(Click on the image to make it larger!)

Now, you can enter answer choices. You can have up to 4 choices per question. Once you enter all 4 choices, make sure you click on the answer that is correct! You'll know you have done this by seeing a green "Correct" box under the answer. It will not allow you to move on without selecting a correct answer.

When you're ready to do the next question, simply click "Add Question" and start the same process again. 

(Click on the image to make it larger!)

When you are done with all of your questions, click "Save & Continue".You'll be asked a few questions about your quiz. Here, you can write a brief description of your quiz and what topics it covers. You can also add tags. Tags are keywords that others may type in to find a quiz on the same topic. Keep it public so that your students may join the game. When you're finished, click "Save & Continue".

(Click on the image to make it larger!)

The final step is to add an image to your quiz. It's not necessary, but you have the option.

(Click on the image to make it larger!)

Now you're ready to play! To learn how to play the game with your class, go back and read my first post about Kahoot {HERE}.

Oh, and want to know something even more awesome? You can share your quiz with your colleagues! You could each take a chapter and make a quiz and share! Cuts down on the work and adds to the fun!

To share a Kahoot! - Go to "My Kahoots" to see all of your games. Find the game you want to share and simply click "Share". Type in your colleague's name and it will be shared. Pretty cool!

(Click on the image to make it larger!)

That's all you need to do to create a quiz! This was a long post, but I promise it only takes a few minutes to actually make your game! Please feel free to ask questions. I'd be happy to answer what I can. If you'd like more information, you can go to the Official Kahoot Blog.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Kahoot! - A student (and teacher) favorite!

Are you looking for a fun way to review with your class? Tired of the same old routine? Ready to add some more excitement into the classroom? If you answered "YES" to all of these questions, it is time to try Kahoot! 

Kahoot! is a FREE game that can be played with any device with internet access. I've played in the computer lab with my class so that everyone has their own computer to play on. You can also opt to have the children play in groups with an iPad as their device. If you have an Android device, you can download the FREE Kahoot! app from the Play Store. Apple does not have an app yet, but fear not! Any device will work by simply typing "" in the browser. Pretty cool, huh?

Here's how to get started and how to play the game. First create a FREE account at Below is a snapshot of the homepage. 

Once you are logged in, you can go to "Public Kahoots!" to search the public games that have been made by other teachers. If you've already made your own, you can go to "My Kahoots!".  For my sample, I'm going to show what it looks like if you select your own game.  Select your game by clicking PLAY. 

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Then, click Launch.

**It's important to note that the students will not be able to see the questions on their devices. They will only see answer choices. It is important that the computer that you are signed into is able to be viewed by all students or able to be projected so all can see!

Once your game is launched, it will show the Game Pin. This is the number that will be typed into the students' devices in order to join your game. 
Note: The game pin will change every time you play, so no need to write it down or try to memorize it!

After entering the game pin, they will be prompted to type in a nickname.  It's a good idea to have them use their real name or a way for you to recognize who it is, because after the game you can download the results and data! (More about that later!)

Once you're ready and everyone is signed in, it's time to start! This is an example of how the question will look to your class when projected on the screen.

This is what they will see on their device. As you can see, they will not be able to see the questions. 

After each question, it will show how many students chose each answer. For this particular example, there was only 1 person playing. It does not show the names of the people who got it right or wrong. You, and only you, get to see all of that at the end.

Once the game is complete, the students will be prompted to rate the quiz. Once they do that, you can click the purple box (top right) where it says "Final Results".

From here, you can click "Download results". An excel spreadsheet will download with all the information from the quiz.

This is the overview page. It shows all of the students, all of the questions and answer choices, and which questions each student got correct or incorrect. 
**Click the image to make it larger**

At the bottom of the excel sheet, you can click on the tab that corresponds with each question. Q1, Q2, etc. This will show the question, the answer choices, and what everyone answered. It even shows how long the student took to answer the question!

(Click on the image to make it larger!)

What if I don't have time to download my results? Don't worry! Whenever you sign into your Kahoot! account, you are able to go back to ALL of the results from every game played. So don't stress. Take a break, stretch your legs, come back later and know that the data will be there when you get back. 

Well, I hope this post got you excited to try something new in your classroom! My class LOVES playing this game, and I hope yours does, too! 

Excited? Want to create your own game? Go {HERE} to read my post about creating your own Kahoot!

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Our 1st Blog Post!

Hi everyone!! We are so thrilled to start our blogging adventure together! We are Jillian and Katie and we teach 3rd grade in New Jersey. We became addicted to Periscope this summer, which turned into us starting a blog and hopefully a TPT store, soon! How many of you are using Periscope? If you are not, GET THE APP NOW! There are so many wonderful and inspiring teachers on there with so much information to offer. If you want to check it out, you can follow us!

Katie - @ktcalv
Jillian - @swigkidsmom

We also have an instagram that you can follow! 

We will have lots to blog about when we get closer to our school year. For now, we just wanted to say "HI!" and introduce ourselves! Enjoy your summer and we will be blogging soon!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

My 1st Periscope: Target Dollar Spot Finds

Hey! I wanted to reflect on my first periscope about my AWESOME Target dollar spot finds. I love Target and the dollar spot. Everyone has been finding some amazing teacher finds at Target and it's been great seeing what everyone's scoring for their classrooms. 

Ok! I was so super nervous when I went live for my first periscope but like so many periscope teachers were saying, you just got to do it! I think I only had one person watch... no hearts, no comments. It was hard but I kept going. It was really fun and I enjoyed it a lot. Don't be afraid, don't give up. Since then I have done two more. My next two were better and hopefully they will continue to get better. I have to stay positive because I want to help and inspire teachers. Don't you? 

Here are some of my finds from my Target trip. 

Dr. Seuss Posters and Erasers 

Erasers and White Board Erasers 

Dry Erase Labels, Basket, Alphabet Stickers and Bulletin Board Accents 


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