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New Year's STEM Sale


Start off 2016 right by engaging your students with STEM, and do it with these discounts on December 31, 2015 and January 1, 2016. Click on the graphic below to go directly to all of the resources discounted:
2016 STEM New Year's STEM Sale

I have been so blessed to work with some amazing STEM Resource creators. They make such engaging, fun stuff for elementary students. I don't consider myself a STEM resource creator. Rather, I provide the building blocks to be able to complete STEM activities successfully. For this very special sale, I am discounting 2 resources that will help any beginner STEM enthusiast learn the terminology and skills they will need for STEM challenges.
2016 STEM Primary Technology Task Cards
These "task cards" are really like entire lessons, just without a script and a perfect answer ending. They are meant to teach higher order thinking skills while using 21st century tools. The best part is that even if you do not have access to the recommended devices, you can still have students complete these lessons with the supplemental worksheets. These are wonderful for when you have an older "buddy class" work with students. I recommend previewing each activity whole group before expecting students to complete them independently. Since they are open ended your students will love being creative and using their 21st century skills.

2016 STEM Technology Vocabulary Worksheets
This set of technology vocabulary worksheets is for everyone! They are differentiated for grades K-2 and ELL students with pictures, graphics, and multiple ways to learn the same terms. There is spiral review with scaffolding to become more independent learners. You and your students will love learning technology vocabulary with cut and paste activities, foldables, fill in the blanks, search, find, and label, conversation cards, flash cards with QR codes, and more.

If this is the first time you've come across my blog and store, welcome! I aim to create teaching resources that are engaging for the students and time saving for the teacher. My years of experience as a technology teacher grades pre-k through 5th have instilled a passion in me for 21st century learning. Check out some of my blog posts for ideas for technology lessons that anyone can complete. You may even learn a thing or two!

Hop on to the next blog and thanks again for checking out my resources.
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Brittany Washburn
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Treadmill Desk


Hi friends! I am writing to you today from my new treadmill desk! It is something I asked my husband to look into for me. We already have a treadmill at home so I have been researching ways to easily transition between using it for work (walking very slowly) and for exercise (my preference is HIIT). For now, I simply laid a heavy board across the arms. My husband promises to put it on braces and add about 6 inches so that my arms can be bent at about 90 degrees while working.

So far I've been walking at 1.4 mph for about 42 minutes and find it to be invigorating. I made purchases, did some product creation, and am listening to the new Adele CD 25 , which is phenomenal and motivating all on its own.
Treadmill desk DIY
This is the first prototype. We had leftover board from cutting a butcher block piece for our foyer. I took this picture before realizing there is plenty of space for my mouse, so I ran and got that from my sitting desk. I look forward to the next version because my wrists are starting to feel the strain.  What do you think? Would you use a treadmill desk?

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Brittany Washburn
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Gift Yourself


What teacher wants to spend the time between Thanksgiving and Christmas break lesson planning meaningful, engaging activities? We want to sit back and just make it to break without going gray.

This year, I want to help with that goal. These are my favorite low-prep technology-integrated activities that will impress your administrators without causing you one bit of stress.
This complete unit is great for upper elementary students. Each concept has an instructional video and foldable activity for an interactive notebook. The best part is that by the time your students have had all 14 lessons, they will be able to create the most incredible PowerPoint presentations without any of your help. Imagine how impressed their classroom teachers will be if you send them back with the ability to make a professional presentation without asking for help along the way!

Every student needs research skills. This 7 lesson unit provides them with all of the steps for responsible and effective online research and all of the work is done for you (the teacher). Simply load the Microsoft Word files to a password-protected page on your class website and then step back and watch the learning unfold. With right-there questions from the linked learning modules, your students can complete all 7 lessons independently. End the 7 weeks of lessons with a research project and I guarantee it will be the easiest 2 months of classes ever! (This assumes you see your students once a week like me- timeline may vary)
For your youngest students, teach them Microsoft Word skills with these instructional videos and Word templates. It will require your students to be readers so that they can follow simple text directions. I do these lessons with late first grade or beginning 2nd graders (sometimes both, depending on the group of students and their skill retention). Also note that I have similar units for PowerPoint and Excel. 

I don't know about how it is at your school, but this time of year when the technology breaks (projectors, laptops, iPads, etc.) teachers freak out. That is why I developed units that require very little of my input. I am always being pulled out of my classroom to go fix something. When a TA or a teacher has to trade places with me, I can walk away confidently because I know my students won't need much help. These also make great substitute plans. Last school year I had to be out for a week unexpectedly, and it was so stress-free because I just used a unit like these for each grade level. 

How do you stay sane this time of year? Are you organized in your planning? Do you have the required I Can Statements for your classes? Join my stress-free teaching lifestyle. You can thank me later ;-)



p.s. Since I want this to be the best holiday season ever, I'm giving you an opportunity to win some money! Enter the giveaway below. a Rafflecopter giveaway
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Classroom Management Ideas for Specials Teachers


Classroom management can be so tricky, especially for a new teacher. I know I struggle with wanting my classroom environment to be "special" while also keeping students serious and focused enough to cover some intense topics. I am fortunate to have supportive team mates, but 4 out of the 5 of us have been doing this less than 6 years. We had to put our heads together to come up with a plan that would work for all of us, and it is still evolving.

Classroom Management Ideas for Specials Teachers

Classroom Management System

We really needed a way to communicate with the homeroom teachers. The time we have between classes is so limited, so we had to come up with something quick and meaningful. We decided to do a scoring system. On the board, each class starts with 5 points (we use the letters ROCKS, because our mascot is a "Rocker Man"- imagine a teenager with a guitar).

Classroom Management Ideas for Specials Teachers

The only time a letter (and point) is taken away is for voice level infractions. Each specialist has a chart similar to this one hung in his/her classroom.
Classroom Management Ideas for Specials Teachers

Establishing Classroom Expectations

We work so hard at the beginning of each school year to make sure all students understand the expectations. We practice the different voice levels. Model what each sounds like, and practice some more. Since we only see each class once per week, it is important to go over the expectations again at the beginning of each class. In my room, I expect them to come in without talking. If there are more than 5ish students talking when they come in and sit down, I take a letter away. This is a whole class consequence, so if it is just one student then I address it with that one student.
Get your whole Specials Team on board with using the same classroom management system. This kit includes a customizable Google Sheet workbook that tracks the data digitally plus all of the printable forms you need to make it a comprehensive program.

Whenever I have to take away a letter I stop the entire class and talk about why they are losing a letter. I usually ask the class why they think they are losing a letter. I call on 2-3 students to answer. I always try to call on someone who was talking too loudly and someone who was doing the right thing. Many times I can get an apology out of a student who was not following expectations! Then I send them back to work understanding that if the talking continues then I will have no choice but to take another letter.

At the end of class, we look at how many letters we still have left. Each specialist has a cute little slip of paper with our symbol on it where we write the score.

Classroom Teacher Buy-in

I wait until the teacher has arrived to write the score. I make them line up following all expectations and leave the sheet blank until we can talk about what the score is and why they are getting it. I love it when we can do this with the teacher standing in the doorway. It helps her/him understand how class went without us having a separate conversation.

Get your whole Specials Team on board with using the same classroom management system. This kit includes a customizable Google Sheet workbook that tracks the data digitally plus all of the printable forms you need to make it a comprehensive program.

When I walk around the school, I see our score sheets hung on the classroom door (but only if its a 5). Many times when a teacher drops a class off, she/he will remind them that a 5 is expected ("Class, show me on your hand what score you are aiming for today," and all the students hold up their hand showing a 5). If the teacher doesn't do this at drop-off, I will ask them before they walk into my classroom. I like to remind them each week.
Get your whole Specials Team on board with using the same classroom management system. This kit includes a customizable Google Sheet workbook that tracks the data digitally plus all of the printable forms you need to make it a comprehensive program.

Individual Students Not Following Expectations

So what do we do if an individual student is causing the problem, or if the infraction has nothing to do with voice level? We have a "Think Sheet."
Sometimes it is necessary to send a student out of the classroom (he or she is being disruptive, showing anger and needing a break, or came into class with something going on and just can't get it together to focus on the lesson).

We are so lucky to have the other specials classes in the same area of the school. I can send 3 students out at a time if needed, but I've never had to send more than 2. The Art, Music, and PE teachers are all on board with this method. We take a minute to grab a Think Sheet and fill out the top (name of student, what student needs to do while out, how long I expect it to take). Depending on the student, sometimes I send them with a responsible buddy. Or, I send the student out and send another student over with the Think Sheet a minute later because sometimes the disruption just needs to go!
Get your whole Specials Team on board with using the same classroom management system. This kit includes a customizable Google Sheet workbook that tracks the data digitally plus all of the printable forms you need to make it a comprehensive program.

Get your whole Specials Team on board with using the same classroom management system. This kit includes a customizable Google Sheet workbook that tracks the data digitally plus all of the printable forms you need to make it a comprehensive program.

Get your whole Specials Team on board with using the same classroom management system. This kit includes a customizable Google Sheet workbook that tracks the data digitally plus all of the printable forms you need to make it a comprehensive program.


The bottom half of the sheet is to be filled out by the student. It starts with a simple checklist of what he/she did. Then some short-answer questions asking the student to reflect on his/her behavior. I expect the student to sign it. When the student finishes the Think Sheet, he/she can come back to class. Usually by the time the student comes back, the rest of the class is working and I can take a minute to talk with the student. I always let him/her know that their teacher and parents will be signing this form as well. Most students aren't happy to hear this, but they need to take responsibility- especially when they interrupted the learning of their classmates.

Most teachers are happy to receive the Think Sheet and send it home to the parents, because they are seeing the same type of behaviors throughout the day. Having feedback from someone else is reassuring. I try to snap a photo of the Think Sheet before it leaves my classroom because they rarely make it back to me. I want to have the documentation.

Only once this school year did I have a student come back acting worse than when he left. I called the office for someone to come get him and I was able to use the Think Sheet to show that I tried on my own, but was unsuccessful.

Student Buy-in

Finally, I think it is so important to be open with students about what is expected of them academically each class. Since I teach Science and Technology, my "I Can Statements" display is packed. There is always at least one technology standard and one science standard addressed for each grade level.
Classroom Management Ideas for Specials Teachers

I start class with a warm up question and then tell them the standards we are working on that day. I can then use that I Can Statement as a guiding question during the lesson. In my experience, students are more engaged when they can see and understand what they are working toward.

Most of the time during the last 5 minutes of class, I bring the students back together and let them share at their tables a specific question, or what they learned that day. I love to tell them to also choose one student who will be responsible for sharing what his/her table learned. Even if I don't get around to letting every table share, by having them think they will have to share out (and usually I have time for 1 or 2 tables to share) they will take the conversation more seriously.
Get your whole Specials Team on board with using the same classroom management system. This kit includes a customizable Google Sheet workbook that tracks the data digitally plus all of the printable forms you need to make it a comprehensive program.

Hopefully this post will help you with some ideas for your own classroom. The main advice I can give is to have the same schedule every day (warm up questions, directions, independent work, group reflections, wrap up, etc.). I also keep them very busy. It is rare that everyone finishes the entire assignment. These 2 things have been the key to my successful Science and Technology program.

Do you want all of the tools in a kit ready to prep and go for your classroom? Click on the picture to go to the resource on TpT.
Get your whole Specials Team on board with using the same classroom management system. This kit includes a customizable Google Sheet workbook that tracks the data digitally plus all of the printable forms you need to make it a comprehensive program.

Are you looking to connect with other technology teachers? Join my Technology Teacher Tribe Facebook Group.

Classroom Management Ideas for Specials Teachers
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Brittany Washburn
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Technology Vocabulary Activity Your Students Will Love



Hi my loyal readers! Today I want to tell you about a teaching unit I do with my upper elementary students. Everyone loves QR codes, right? Well here is a way for your students to take ownership of their learning, combine 21st century skills, and have a product to show for it. Check out the video for details of this fun activity.


The website I refer to in the video is http://technologylessonsexample.weebly.com/ and you are free to link to it from your own class website. The grades 3-5 are more developed than K-2 but it is a great place to get resources. I am always looking for new ideas to try with my classes so if you want to leave a comment requesting a teaching unit or two, please know that I am open to suggestions.

Thanks for reading!
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Brittany Washburn
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What Happened to PowerPoint Skills for Students?


I want to share with you a foolproof method to getting your students comfortable (and even independent) in using Microsoft PowerPoint.


Hey awesome readers! Hope your school year is off to a good start. I'm about 6 weeks in and finally starting to feel like I can breathe. Anyway, I want to share with you a foolproof method to getting your students comfortable (and even independent) in using Microsoft PowerPoint. 

This is ideal for 2nd or 3rd grade students who are capable of reading (to find the right places to click) and enjoy learning by video. It starts with an instructional video and PPT template for adding slides and changing slide layouts. 
 So the students watch the video and then practice each skill in a pre-created PPT template. They go through the exact steps in the video until they have completed all of the tasks. Basic. Simple. Done.
The next lesson has them learn to change the font, color, size, etc. for each prompt. There is an adorable little graphic to help them choose the type of font and the color scheme. This could also be a good time to talk about design (what colors look good together). Again, instructional video, PPT template, voila!
The third and final lesson shows them how to add pictures. Depending on the version of PPT you're using, the instructional video may not apply, but the template will work with any version. I provide 4 slides with prompts and students follow the directions from the video to complete the tasks (and they even get to be creative). So there you have it, a 3-step system to help your students learn the tools in PPT so that they can create a presentation independently. If you're interested in having them complete more advanced tasks in PPT, I have a unit for that with 14 lessons and it even includes related paper activities! I know, I thought of everything :-)

So how do you get your hands on these? Click here for the 3-lesson beginners unit. If you want it all, click here for the 14 lesson unit. I also have the same thing for Google Slides here.

Thank you so much for reading, friends. What projects do you like to do in PowerPoint? Let me know!


I want to share with you a foolproof method to getting your students comfortable (and even independent) in using Microsoft PowerPoint.

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3 Tips to Make Word Clouds the Favorite Activity of the Year



Today I have 3 tips for you to use when planning and implementing using word clouds as a lesson with your students.

Have you wondered about using word clouds with your students? It is one of my favorite activities to do with my young and older students because it pulls in higher order thinking skills as well as technical know-how. Today I have 3 tips for you to use when planning and implementing using word clouds as a lesson with your students. 
Have you wondered about using word clouds with your students? It is one of my favorite activities to do with my young and older students because it pulls in higher order thinking skills as well as technical know-how.
1. You have to start with the right word cloud creator for the age group. For my youngest students I use http://www.abcya.com/word_clouds.htm because it is colorful, easy to use, and the students are already familiar with using this website. For older students, I like to use http://www.wordle.net/. It gives them more choice over their final outcome and requires a bit more tech-saavy.
2. The topic really should be something they have mastered. With my 2nd graders last year I used a word cloud as an assessment piece after they completed a unit on the Life Cycle of a Butterfly. 
3. Turn it into a higher order thinking task. Give students choice about which words to include and which words need to be put in more than once (to make them bigger than the rest). To support all learners I always include a word bank with definitions so that they spell everything correctly. For general or lower learners, they can copy and paste the word back and definitions into the word cloud creator. From there they can see how it looks and make decisions about which words to enter multiple times. 
Have you wondered about using word clouds with your students? It is one of my favorite activities to do with my young and older students because it pulls in higher order thinking skills as well as technical know-how.

BONUS: To really knock this out of the park, let them print the finished word cloud in color. If that isn't an option, let them save it as their desktop wallpaper. I know in my computer lab, the wallpaper goes with the login account, so anywhere they log in at school will have their super awesome word cloud. This will guarantee that they remember this assignment and take it seriously. 

Have you done word clouds before? Any advice or tips on making it a great learning experience? Leave your thoughts in the comments. Thanks for reading!
Today I have 3 tips for you to use when planning and implementing using word clouds as a lesson with your students.



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How to Plan an Engaging Internet Safety Research Project for Students


For the past 3 school years I have done a unit with my 5th grade students that assesses their knowledge of Internet Safety while also incorporating standards for research, presentation, and working together.


Hey there, loyal readers! I am thrilled to share a really great teaching unit with you. For the past 3 school years I have done a unit with my 5th grade students that assesses their knowledge of Internet Safety while also incorporating standards for research, presentation, and working together. I created a video clip that walks you through the unit so you can see first-hand how I have it already set up for you to link to and use with your students- tomorrow!



The website I'm mentioning in the video is https://www.k5technologycurriculum.com/internet-safety-project-6-weeks/. If you're interested in learning more about the curriculum that is offered on this site, click on the home page and look for the button that says learn more.

Anyway, thanks for reading/watching!

For the past 3 school years I have done a unit with my 5th grade students that assesses their knowledge of Internet Safety while also incorporating standards for research, presentation, and working together.


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Brittany Washburn
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LaborLESS Blog Hop and Giveaway


ARE YOU REAAADDDY!!!?

Main Graphic Laborless

It is Finally here!


Today I am linking with Laura from Where the Magic Happens, Krista from Teaching Momster, and Lisa from PAWsitively Teaching! I have joined forces once again with my bloggy friends to bring you the best, most amazing giveaway on this Labor Day weekend!
All of us have been thinking about  good ways in which to treat our readers and followers.   We thought hard, and I mean it! Really, really hard… and decided that  we can treat you to our best ideas to work smarter rather than harder… at school and home!
I know what it takes to be a great teacher, the stress, the time, the energy… I could go on and on! I also know that we crave time to ourselves and our families.

So here I go!

Slide1
In my classroom I'm one of those teachers who puts in ALL of the work ahead of time so that during the school day I am more of a "facilitator" than a teacher. I've been able to remove nearly all of the stress from my teaching life this way! So, how do I do it? With a semi-flipped classroom.

I'm at the elementary level so I do not expect all students to be able to watch videos at home as homework. Instead, I make my daily directions into a video or screencast and post them on my class website. Students access them at school before they get started with their assignments. Perhaps I should clarify that I am a Technology Teacher, so I see 6 classes each day for 45 minutes each. This is an example of a screencast I made for a Typing assignment in 3rd grade.

The benefit of making the directions into a video like this and doing it ahead of time is that students can watch the video multiple times, and if anyone was absent, I can send them right to the video so they don't even need me! Are you starting to see how the Facilitator role works for me?

Having a class website is hugely beneficial, too. I teach students how to get to my website right away and we bookmark it in our web browser. This eliminates the need to type in websites every day, and if they accidentally close the browser window, they know how to get back to their lesson. This is how I LaborLess at school.
Slide2
Teaching can be incredibly draining. It is important to take time out of your busy day that is just for you. I'm not asking you to have a balanced life, (in my opinion, trying to have the perfect balance spreads a person too thin) just make time for the things that help you unwind. For me, it is Reading.

Right now I'm reading this really cool book called The One Thing. It is all about setting one priority in life so that you can be successful beyond your wildest dreams. Here it is on Amazon if you want to check it out.

Reading gives me time to unwind and give my mind a break from thinking about school. I usually have 2 books going at once. A work or life book and a fun book. I'm trying to work my way through the Game of Thrones series of books as my fun books.
Slide3
Since we are all here to try to make our lives easier, I want to recommend a resource for Technology Teachers, or any teacher required to teach the International Society for Technology in Education Standards.
This resource provides the K-5 technology teacher with everything you need to organize your school year. Curriculum mapping, planning pages, data and assessment recording, and student tracking pages for your older students to be self-reflective of their learning. 

Here is a recent review of the resource from my TpT store: "I cannot put into words how much this tool has helped measure my technology teaching and thoroughness of instruction. ISTE NETS-S standards can be rather vague, but the I Can statements along with this easy to use planner have completely revitalized how I assess student technology skills.

Thank you so much!!"

Hopefully I've given you some ideas for ways to rest and recuperate even during the hectic school year. Be sure to enter to win these amazing prizes! Thanks for reading and connecting with me. Teachers who work together are most successful. 
Top all these great tips and ideas  with these top-notch prizes!

A $100 gift card to Amazon


A $50 gift card to TpT

Slide2

2 $25 gift cards to TpT
Slide1

1 $10 gift card to TpT
Slide3

Thank you for reading! And now don't be silly and get your hands all over this awesome giveaway!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

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