Feb 15, 2016

PD in your PJ's

Have you heard of Periscope? Well,  if you haven't you owe it to yourself to check it out! It is a fun and easy way to get some great PD from anywhere. You can view live broadcasts from some of your favorite bloggers and teachers on any number of subjects.  I am excited to be linking up with some other fantastic bloggers to share why I love it and some suggestions of who you might want to follow.

So are you intrigued?...Let's get going...You can get started in just a few simple steps.
(1) Download the Periscope app. 

(2) Make an account.  Here is mine, luvmykinders, come give me a follow.

(3) Search for accounts to follow. Just click in the search box, see the red box on my pic, and start typing who you are looking for.

Ashley Schroeder and Angie Olson did a fantastic blog post with 25 tips to getting started on Periscope, be sure to check it out. Be sure to follow them on Periscope too, just so many fantastic ideas from the two of them.

Why do I love Periscope? It is easy to find quality content to improve my teaching craft at my convenience, while I'm getting ready in the morning, lounging with my coffee on a Saturday morning anytime or anywhere. You can connect with other teachers from all over the United States and Beyond.  Lastly, it's just plain fun!

Once you are signed up the app will notify you when someone you are following is broadcasting live. You can jump on if it is a good time for you, and the topic sounds interesting. The great thing about joining the live broadcasts are that you can comment and ask questions. But, if you can't join live, no worries. You can go back and watch the replays for 24 hours. In addition, most Periscopers have an account on where you can view past videos so that you don't miss a thing. One of the advantages of the replays is that I can watch them when I'm getting ready in the morning, or I have a few minutes while I'm waiting to pick up my boys, you name it. You can even fast forward and rewind in the replays which is really great if you are trying to take notes. Others even post them on youtube.

I am still new to posting my own videos. I will be honest I was a total nervous wreck the first time. The second time was a bit better, I know the more I do them the better they will get. Here is my latest Periscope on how we use flexible seating in our classroom. (Just click on the picture to view)

You can find me on under luvmykinders or just click HERE. This is where you will be able to view all the replays of my current and future scopes.

There are so many fantastic "scopers" to follow. Here are just a few of my favorites. For a huge variety of PD I love iteachtvnetwork. This is one channel that is facilitated by Shelia Jane, she has a personal channel that is great too, where there are a number of teachers and trainers who have specific times that they scope on a variety of topics each week.

If you want some great Literacy ideas for primary grades, I suggest Brooke Brown. She also has a ton of great STEM ideas. Brooke is just so sweet and totally gives practical ideas and tips.

For reading strategies, I love Jen Jones of Hello Literacy. She is a national trainer and has so many fantastic ideas.

I have 1/1 iPads in my room and am always on the look out for great new apps and ways to integrate them whenever I can. If you are interested in tech you must follow Kami Butterfield of Teaching with App-itude. She is a wealth of knowledge and she is funny too!

I am always looking for ways to up my game and make things as exciting as possible for my students. I am sure you have already heard of Hope King, she is one I also follow. Well,  Kinderbrations has taken inspiration from her and are doing some fantastic room flips. They are really stepping up their game and I love seeing how they are adapting things to their kinder classroom. Way to go girls!

There are so many more that I follow, I could go on and on. Head back over to the link up to get some more fantastic teachers to follow and jump on the Periscope train. It is the up and coming way to get PD that you are interested in, even when you are wearing your pajamas.

Feb 13, 2016

ESGI Assessment made Easy and a Giveaway!

February is the month for Love, and one thing I really do love is using ESGI in my classroom. What is ESGI you ask? It is a system for assessment and data collection developed specifically for use in the Pre-K, K and 1st grade classroom. You can test students right from your laptop or iPad. ESGI understands the need for individual assessment and has a system that is quick, easy, paperless and saves you a ton of time!

One feature of ESGI that I love are the pre loaded assessments. They have tests for many skills ready to go in their program. You just add the test you need into your list and you are set. They even have tests developed by many bloggers that you may follow. 

I use the weekly assessments from Deanna Jump and Deedee Wills Guiding Readers program. Another friend of ESGI is Marsha McGuire from A Differentiated Kindergarten. I use her Ball Words program for teaching sight words and her assessments are preloaded as well. You can read how I use them here

If you need to assess letters, numbers, shapes, rhyming, phonological awareness, and so many more areas they have you covered. This saves me so much time. It allows me to do a quick assessments, even on a weekly basis, without causing stress and taking up a bunch of my precious time.  

Besides not having papers all over the place the other main advantage is having the data that you have collected available immediately. I try to be super organized, but the amount of paperwork used in assessing students can get out of control real quick. I used to feel buried in papers. 

To top it off, you have to sort through all those papers and aggregate that data to see where your students are at and where they may need help. But with ESGI, As soon as I have finished the assessment I can pull up the data and formulate where I need to go next. You can create a bar graph or pie graph and quickly view your class, individual students or even a group of students to see their strengths and weaknesses. Want to re-test a student on a specific skill. You can choose to do the entire test over or just the questions they missed last time and it saves the test history for you so it is easy to track the progress that they are making.

You can choose how you view that data, by most correct, incorrect, question order, you name it. It fits your needs. It lets me see who has it down, where I need to reteach, or who might need RTI. It makes it especially helpful with my guided reading groups. My groups are fluid and I change them around often to best meet the needs of my students. 

It makes it a breeze at report card time to look at the data and not have to sort through stacks of paper or binders full of scores. I usually have my report card on my laptop, my ESGI data on my iPad and within no time I am done, stress free.

Another feature I love is the ability to print parent letters, reports, flashcards and more. The best way to keep parents involved in their child's education is to keep them informed. ESGI takes care of that. I can print letters to parents, in English or Spanish (especially important for me), to let them know how their students are doing on any assessment that I have given. This allows them to work with their student at home on those important foundational skills we are working on in the classroom.

You can edit any of the letters as well, so you can make it fit your individual needs. In addition, you can print flashcards for students to work on their sight words. The cards print out with the student's name on the corner, so if you print multiple students at a time, or they misplace their cards you know exactly who they belong to.

You can even print name writing practice sheets, which especially come in hand for the beginning of the year.

You may be saying this all sounds good, but what if need to do an assessment and there isn't a premade test for that. Well, no worries, you can create your own assessments as well. I have created all of my benchmarks and end of the year assessments, and they were super easy to do. If I can do it, you can too.  

You just create the question, you can even tie each question to a specific standard, choose the font, add a picture, you name it the possibilities are endless. You can even change the order of the questions, in case you change your mind. 

Besides assessments, you can use ESGI to help with classroom management. I use it to track homework. It just takes a quick click and I am done. I also use it to keep track of who has returned permission slips or other important papers. The possibilities are endless as you can see from the many options on the side bar.

Are you ready to give it a try? You can try ESGI for 60 days absolutely free, just click here or visit and put in code:  B7284 Just by giving it a try you will be automatically entered to win a year subscription to ESGI for FREE (a $199) value. The winner will be chosen Friday, February 19th at 6pm.  UPDATE- Conrats to the winner Lindsey Lane! Even if you don't win you can still get $40 off by using the code above when your subscribe. What have you got to lose!

I just love ESGI and cannot imagine not having it to use in my classroom. It lets me spend less time assessing, while still having immediate access to meaningful data, so that I can spend more doing what I really love to do...teaching my students.