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  • differentways2teach 10:31 am on March 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    Documenting with Google Forms to Track Intervention Data 

    Teachers are guilty of writing information down in notebooks and keeping documentation for years to come. I recently came across this old notebook that I used 11 years ago for documentation.

    It’s laughable now, but not far from the truth in today’s classroom. Maybe now our documentation is in the form of  an email folder in our Outlook. list email Let this post serve as a reminder that Google formsgoogle forms is the best way to track your intervention #RTI @RTIatWork with your students. This is what it looks like when you do the prep work up front. There are minimal notes AND lots of checkboxes to make documentation easier!


    Here’s some notes about the paperless classroom in North Canton City Schools:


    Have you tried this yet? If not, what are you waiting for? Please share your success and failures.



  • differentways2teach 1:29 pm on January 12, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    DKG Keeping Up with Technology 


    Gee-Mail? I still prefer snail mail! gmailHow to set up a gmail acccount…

    Website: Just get me there, I can figure it out myself… (I copied a link that you can click directly to the page)

    or I need step by step instructions… Show me how:

    (I used an embed code to show the actual picture of the site you will visit.)

    Many folks ask, how I can put a flyer directly onto my blog or website. Here’s a short screencast that shows how:




    I’ve got this technology stuff down pat… Show me how to use this in my classroom so I can engage and impress my students:



    OK, let’s do this… technical know how:


    USING QR CODES in a BYOD school (internet accessibility required): QR super dude





    This is my store:

    This is my top selling item: (I invested 2-3 hours two years ago and I have earned over $200 on this one item. It’s not a million dollars, but this investment of my time has paid for itself and will continue to earn money.)

    HOW TO: Always use your original work only and never sell something when you are on the clock at your full-time gig.

    RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH–Find your niche and fill it! Use your years of experience to market everything your brain holds on to…

    • Love books?! Come up with creative visual ways to present story boards. There is a niche for newly published books.
    • Can you draw? Provide multiple ways to visually support to non-fiction materials.  You can sell your artwork with nothing else to support teachers who cannot draw. Do you have a great activity to support books you use on a regular basis? Create a start to finish game or extension activity to help those teachers looking for creative supplements.
    • Do you love math? Create visual support, such as physical or pictoral models to supplement everyday skills.

    Provide a FREE SAMPLE of your work:

    Create a catchy original image for your item: westing house image

    I created this image in PPT, then saved it as a PDF file. There are also images out there available for purchase.



    Create a free preview:

    (I used a combination of sources including PPT, photographs, and an ipad app called Diptic. )diptic

    Set your price according to your investment. Do your research! Provide a variety of free materials over time.

    Retired? Commit to creating just one to two items per week. Still in the classroom? Work on your TPT account while on summer vacation and holiday break!

  • differentways2teach 1:56 pm on June 12, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: BHG, BHG magazine, BHG May 2013, diptic, photo collage   

    Diptic App Uses in the Classroom 

    I just came across the greatest photo application to implement in my classroom, my blogs, and on Facebook! There are so many ready made shapes to choose from!



    In the first 20 minutes of using them, I have come up with so many thematic ideas for the classroom. You can put photographs of pictures and photos of your writing samples as well. Or you can just make a photo collage and have fun!



    My brain is firing as I am on vacation, but quickly I get to work on a creative writing piece. Then, I asked my seven year old son to illustrate a space alien for the next example.

    Do you see how thematic units can be features using Diptic?! Try it out for yourself and let me know how it works out for you. Oh, by the way, the app is featured in the May 2013 edition of Better Homes and Gardens magazine and it’s currently on sale in the iTunes Store for only 99 cents (1/2 off).

  • differentways2teach 10:20 pm on January 30, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: adding decimals with regrouping, combine decimals, decimal modeling, Explain Everything, physical model decimals   

    Screencasting with Explain Everything 

    I’m so excited! Do you love to screencast your lessons? Have you tried The Explain Everything application?
    It’s free and allows you to create your own slides, then record your video all on your iPad device! I have been preparing for my future absence from work by recording my lessons on Explain Everything, then exporting them to You Tube. Instead of written substitute plans, I’ll just have the sub show the video, then assign accompanied work! I literally created these four slides during a fire drill today. Next, once I got home this evening, I recorded the voice over the lesson in about 10-15 minutes. Finally, I compressed and exported the lesson. The biggest kink in the application for me was having to put down my iPad with the files compressed and exported. Unfortunately, you cannot run any other apps while they are compressing and exporting. This process took about 20 minutes. But, this was hands off time that allowed me to do other things.

    Check out the screencast below Nd let me know what you think. Won’t you try it out today and let me know what you think. Better yet, leave a comment and give me your link to you Explain Everything video screencast!

    Link to YouTube movie:add decimals with models
    Movie title: How to add decimals with models
    Movie description: decimal tiles addition using model method
    Movie category: Education
    The movie is public

  • differentways2teach 1:38 am on January 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Catholic special needs students, individual education plan, school program expansion, Special needs program   

    Preparing to Expand SPICE 

    I’m back in the saddle this semester with the growth of the SPICE (Special People in Catholic Education) program here at St. Laurence.
    Learn more about SPICE…Special People in Catholic Education

    As far as we know, our Catholic school is the first in the state of Texas to entertain private and small group education programs for students who struggle in the classroom. Our year started out with only two students. Then we grew to three at the beginning of January. Now, brace yourself… We now have a fourth student who will begin next week!

    The first three students were currently being served in our school with two periods a day of pull out instruction. This fourth student will be served on a full time basis in SPICE with an inclusion concentration in the areas of social skills at recess, lunch, electives, and religious activities. We never anticipated the growth of our program to expand so fast.

    We are also planning a luncheon to announce the SPICE program in all its glory to our local community. Our goals include informing the parish and community and soliciting donations from those corporations and families who find it in their hearts to give back to an educational program they feel so passionate about.

    Pioneering such a plan can be very lonely when there’s nobody to ask for advice. In times like these, we have to pray and ask God to give us the insight we need in order to serve his mission and serve his children.

    I’d love to hear from you. Have you found any Catholic or religious schools that serve special needs students to such specific capacity? Is your private school looking to serve students with moderate to severe academic needs? Let’s share and learn from each other.

    A student during a private math lesson on decimal modeling at the Smart Board.

  • differentways2teach 9:05 pm on January 11, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: differentiation, education, effective teaching, facilitator   

    Eyes on Me…Highly Effective Teaching 

    Debate facilitators and creativity engineers are the most highly effective teachers. You cannot fake it, they are the ones with markers/paint/(insert tool here) on their pants at lunchtime. When you peek into their classroom, you might not spot them instantly. They are not found at the front of the classroom providing a lecture for the student. Likely, they are at a student’s desk interacting, challenging, and listening to what the students have to say. Expectations are high and all students and teams have a role in the process. These teachers often don’t even check their email until you remind them. Why? Well, they are working with the kids.

    Principals do not receive many referrals from these teachers, often never. The students are pawing at the door to get in and do not want to miss class. They might miss something fun and interesting (important-none the less). Kids are excited to be there and are always a captive audience in the arms of a highly-effective teacher.  The students know what to expect and can find a comfortable routine of classroom management in the classroom. The learning is student-led, teacher-directed. The technology is found in an arsenal of tools to support the learning platform. It doesn’t hinder the lessons and is transparent as the students utilize the Smart boards and the Internet.

    What makes you a highly effective teacher?

  • differentways2teach 6:03 am on January 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: New ideas   

    Refreshed and Rejuvenated 

    Oh, it has been way too long! As I analyze my goals for the new year, I definitely want to blog more regularly. The more I read about blogging, the more I learn that everything does not have to be perfect. In fact, many bloggers merely have an idea when they start to write.

    The point is, you just have to write…regularly. Of course, you want it to be interesting, this is one of the reasons why I haven’t done it in the fall semester. But, the main reason that I haven’t blogged is because I have been swamped in my new role as the SPICE (Special People in Catholic Education) Director/Coordinator this past fall. We have customized a 2 hour per day program for two current students to aid them in the areas where they struggle the most. Additionally, in the spring (just 2 days away), we’ll be adding a third student who is currently served in our school. Yeah!

    I have a part time paraprofessional who helps me to implement the plans with the students. But, I am responsible for the oversight of the program and further development. Interest in the program has increased anticipated enrollment up to 6-8 students for next school year. We will expand the part time program to full time for younger students who are just beginning their Catholic education journey.

    This will allow us to hire another special education teacher and another paraprofessional. I will be able to provide oversight, write grant proposals to find donations and funding, and continue to support all of my teachers as a whole. Every school continues to have students who struggle in the classroom and we are no exception. With a label or not, a struggling student is a struggling student.

    Besides, that is one of the best parts of my job… I get to be a special guest visitor to the classrooms to work with some or all of the students. I’m especially partial to math, but have spent the majority of my time with language arts students. This outreach really expands my horizons and visibility as well.

    I am refreshed and really for the challenges that 2013 has in store for me. What about you? Are you ready to get going again?

  • differentways2teach 6:21 pm on May 11, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Experiential Teaching…Is it in you? 

    After reading an article today in the ASCD SmartBrief and seeing a video about a history teacher who has his 7th grade students participate in a reenactment of a battle in the Revolutionary War, I was inspired to challenge others to teach outside the box. Although I am not a teacher of Social Studies, I am a former military officer who has a true appreciation of people who make the sacrifice of service for their nation. It’s not just about keeping history from repeating itself, but more about how people of a particular era went about their daily lives: cooking, eating, sewing, communicating, and the list goes on.

    Today’s students are inconvenienced when they can’t access technology in a 24-hour time period or if they can’t hop in the car and head to the nearest store to buy anything they can imagine. How else can a student participate, appreciate, and remember a topic or event more thoroughly than through experiential learning? I can guarantee those students will not soon forget the time they studied the American Revolution!

    It takes planning, volunteers, and maybe even many attempts to make a large production of the topic. Nevertheless, can you challenge yourself to bring more experiential lessons into your classroom to increase student engagement and to inspire future historians, soldiers, leaders, or teachers? How can you incorporate memorable lessons like this into your plans for next school year? Will it be a solo effort or do you have a cross-curricular plan in mind? Share it with us on this blog. Better yet, share it with your team and start your plans this summer. As an educator, if you are like me, you are always looking for ways to incorporate “lessons learned” in all that you do. Go ahead, be that teacher your students will never forgot!

    See what all the buzz is about:

  • differentways2teach 7:35 pm on March 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Cross Curricular Instruction 

    In this fast and furious world called “LIFE,” I’m finding myself moving so quickly everyday. But, I haven’t been able to keep up with my blog as my job takes on more and more responsibilities. That will just NOT do! This platform is the blood of my beliefs and the time is now for me to donate!

    A big plan for the future of differentiation training is to help my teachers create cross-curricular relevant instruction. I don’t want some fluff for the sake of covering the same topics in every class. There are legitimate and viable options for teachers today that include fun and interesting tasks, activities and subjects to keep any student on their toes! I always liked to keep my kids guessing and leave an element of surprise in their day so they could be both enlightened and engaged.

    No, I didn’t let the routines of the classroom and my standards to flander; but I did invite inquiring minds to find out just WHAT we were going to do in Math today! It set a frenzy in the hallways buzzing among middle schoolers when they found out we were going to do a marble experiment with functions. I had total strangers (kids not in my class) show up in my seats between classes in anticipation of the next topic. They wanted to be in my class because Miss So and So was so boring! That was a compliment from a 7th grader.

    What my students didn’t realize was they were actually L-E-A-R-N-I-N-G in my classroom. Don’t say it outloud, they might overhear you. If you keep it fun and interesting, but still educational, you’ll find out just how far the students are willing to go. You may have to be a little more creative (or collectively borrow from a patriot teacher who’s “been there, done that” and has already got the equipment to loan from their storage closet. Or, you may need to mold your mind with another colleague who may be “stuck in a worksheet rut” and plan a great adventure! When it’s all said and done, you can look back with delight and say, “Now why didn’t I do this sooner?”

    These are some great ideas to get you started:

    • Prepare to embark on a journey on the RMS Titatic (100th anniversary) by routing the journey on a map (Social Studies), addressing the tragic accident (Literature &/or Science), then address the discovery and recovery (Science).
    • Plan a unit on the  Olympic games. Study the history, create a new Olympic sport, practice the sport in P.E. Learn about the prominent athletic figures of the U.S.A. Create a timeline for the life of an Olympic athlete.
    • When assigning a lab report for math or science, invite the ELA teacher to take a grade for grammar and punctuation while you grade for content and format.
    • Assign each child a different zoo animal prior to a field trip to research (Science), then have the child orally present the animal and their information posing as the “zookeeper” while at the zoo (oral presentation).
    • Students’ publish a grade level or classroom newsletter writing about the events of their school week, service project, or special events and share with the community.
    • Combine a health lesson on any topic, survey the population, then plot the data in the form of charts and graphs in math class.
    • Use student-created art work or music to complete a creative writing sample, such as a short story or poem. Then publish their work either digitally or in a portfolio.
    • Start a community or school garden. It allows for mathematics in the planning portion, science in the planting and growing portion,  writing and art in the observation portion, and so on. The opportunities are limitless.

    These are just a few ideas I’ve been bouncing around lately. I hope that you will share your personal ideas as well. Also, if you like what you are reading,  please tell 2 friends about this blog so we can all learn from each other.

  • differentways2teach 9:09 pm on January 20, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Read All Your Favorite Blogs in One Place 

    This is a fantastic way for educators to exchange ideas in one place! I love it…

    The Blog

    If you feel like it’s a chore to keep up with all your favorite blogs, you can now read posts from all the blogs you follow (even the ones that aren’t on!) in one convenient place on the home page:

    Your reader displays all the posts across all the blogs you follow in the order they were published, with the most recent content appearing at the top. You’ll see an excerpt of the introduction to each post, the first image in the post, and thumbnails of any other images that the post contains.

    You can even like and reblog content directly from the reader (we’re working on bringing reblogs back to the toolbar!) using the icons in the top right corner of each post:

    Whether you’re at the computer or using the WordPress app on an Android or iOS mobile device, having all the posts from the…

    View original post 313 more words

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