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Thursday, 25 June 2015

Wrapping up the year with Wordles

Today was the last day of classes in my district.  While I am very ready for the summer break, I will definitely miss my group of Grade 4s.  

As a year-end gift, I decided to create a Wordle for my partner teacher with all of our students' names.  Wordles are word clouds that you can make for free (click here).  You simply type text into the wordle box, and the program generates a word cloud that you can edit for font, colour, and configuration.  The program uses an algorithm that increases the size of words that are repeated more often. My Wordle looked like this:

I loved this so much that I decided to something similar, but more special, for the kids.  First, I gave every student a page with all their classmates names on it.  I asked them to write down three words to describe everyone else in the class.  (We brainstormed a list of about 50 or 60 positive adjectives before they began and I wrote them all on the chalkboard).

Then I took the sheets in and typed the results into the Wordle box.  It took awhile, but I was so happy with the results!  It was amazing that I was able to turn this:

Fiona Fiona Fiona Fiona Fiona Fiona Fiona Fiona Fiona Fiona flexible cheerful smart smart kind friendly funny flexible respectful funny smart flexible brainy likeable nice smart pretty funny smart beautiful silly helpful friendly kind smart brainy nice funny kind smart cool polite pretty mature silly friendly smart happy nice kind awesome athletic smart brainy cool awesome mature brainy smart smart brainy flexible hardworking hardworking hardworking lovely pretty lovely tough fun 

into this:

I printed the Wordles out and put them into inexpensive frames I found at the dollar store.  I explained to my kids that the bigger the words in the picture, the more times that adjective was written down to describe them.  As I gave them out, I listed the biggest 3 or 4 words and had the class guess who the person was.  

They had a lot of fun guessing, and they were so happy to see what their classmates had to say about them.  They had the frames on their desks all day, and a few of them even took them outside at lunch to show their friends from other classes.

A lot of the kids lit up when they read the words used to describe them.  I even had a mom email me after school to say that her daughter loved it so much that she wanted to put the frame on the mantle in the living room so that she could see it as soon as she came home every day.

I like that the words all came from their classmates, and the kids will be able to look at these frames every time they feel down to remind them of how awesome they really are.

So what do you think?  Do you do something similar?  What do you for year-end gifts for your kids?  Let me know in the comments.

Saturday, 20 June 2015

500 TpT Follower Sale and Celebration!

I'm so excited to have reached 500 followers on TpT!  To celebrate, everything in my store is 20% off until June 25!  In addition to the sale, you can get a free item!

Simply buy any product in my store between now and June 25 and receive a second item of equal or lesser value for free!  Send me an email at with your TpT username and the item you want for free, and I’ll send it to your inbox!

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Makeover Madness Has Hit One Teacher's Adventures!

I have decided to join in on the TpT Seller Challenge that is sweeping the Internet!  There will be a challenge each week for four weeks, and I am hoping to complete all four challenges.  Here are my beginning stats:

The first week's challenge was Makeover Madness!  I decided to makeover three of my French product cover pages.  Here are the results:

Partitive Articles:

Regular Verbs:

Create a Restaurant Project:

I am slowly trying to update each of my covers to the same style as a way to brand my products.  With the same font and styling, I am hoping to boost recognition and sales.

What do you think?  Would you add, change, delete anything?  Let me know in the comments below.

Friday, 5 June 2015

The Reach of Social Media: A Lesson in Internet Safety

This week, my Grade 4 class was learning about Internet Safety.  We talked about common lures predators will use online, why it is important to never give your passwords to friends, not to believe what people say online, and that it is very important to think about what is being posted.  We talked about the fact that once a photo is posted online, anyone can copy it and do with it what they will. 

I wanted to show my class how fast and how far photos can spread on social media sites like Facebook.  To illustrate the point, I wrote a message on our whiteboard.  It looked like this:

I took a photo of the message and posted it on my Facebook page on June 2 at 3:30pm PST.  I was shocked with the results!  By 7:00am the next day, it had already reached over 6700 people. 

The class began to map where the comments and likes were coming from (and I was able to sneak in a geography lesson!).  We created this map after the first day:

As more and more people commented, the map was looking pretty awful!  I decided to go online, instead, to create a map of all the places the message had reached.

The map (as of June 5 at 5:30 PST - 3 days after posting) looks like this:


I am amazed!  Here is a look at how fast the photo spread:

June 3 8:30am PST - 6,763 people reached
June 3 3:30pm PST - 9,443 people reached
June 4 4:00pm PST - 14,269 people reached
June 5 5:30pm PST - 21,838 people reached

So far (as of June 5, 5:30pm), the photo has been shared 273 times, with 817 likes and comments!

The day after I originally posted the photo, one of my students came running into the classroom and said she was at her aunt's house, and she saw our photo on her aunt's Facebook page.  She was excited and told her aunt that it was our class who was trying the experiment. 

The class definitely understood the message that their photos will be seen if they are posted on a social media site, and hopefully, they will think carefully before posting anything they don't want the world to see.