Saturday, May 17, 2014

Bright Ideas Blog Hop- Awesome End of the Year Gift

I am so excited to be joining the Bright Ideas Blog Hop once again! I absolute love the hundreds of fun, easy and amazing ideas that all the contributing bloggers write about each month! 

We are gearing up for the end of the year and I always love giving my students a little gift from me. Usually I like giving them books to read over the summer but this year my team and I went another way....

I am sure that some of you have heard of a Wordle. It is a very cool website that allows you to create a word cloud about any topic that you would like! It's a great instructional tool for students to develop main idea, summary, descriptive writing and so much more! 

This year, I am using Wordle to create a personalized gift for each of my students! Each Wordle can be printed in color or even as a photo and will create  a gift that will be treasured forever!

In class, the students wrote their name on a piece of notebook paper. Nothing to fancy....but just you wait! 

The kiddos went around the room and used adjectives to describe each of their friends in class. It really helps for the students to have a list of character traits. It gave my kiddos lots of ideas and made the variety of words used made for great wordles! 

Now that you have a list of words for each student, the fun really begins! 

All you have to do is go to and select  "create a wordle".

The text box will appear and you can begin typing there. The more often you write/repeat a word, the bigger the word will appear on the word cloud. Because this is going to be a gift for my sweet kiddos, I typed there name several times so that they appear larger.

Next click "go" right below the text box.

This will create a word cloud! Now you can definitely play with it and continue to click to get different versions of your word cloud until you find one that you want. 

Using a screen shot of the Wordle allowed me to print in color and also to use my local drug store to print as a picture!

Here is one last tip for using Wordle:

*Copy and paste your text for each student into a word document. This way you have the text, just in case you have to create a new Wordle for that student. The information you type is not saved so this could really be a life saver! 

*Don't forget to add the grade level, school names and even your name to remind students of their awesome school year! 

*I do not share my Worldes on the site. Many of the Wordles I have created for this project have private information, so I chose to not share.

Hope you enjoy making these sweet and unique gifts for your kiddos! Thanks for visiting the Bright Ideas Blog Hop! 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Booking Across the USA...Texas!

Howdy from the Great State of Texas! 

I am so excited to be participating for a second year with  Books Across the USA! It is so much fun to learn about the 50 states and I LOVED the amount of amazing activities that I was able to use with my students!

This year, I was able to read a great little book that would follows the travels of Charlie all through our region of the United States. It was full of awesome facts about each of the states and vivid, colorful  pictures that truly engaged the students. The best a former primary teacher, the information was written well for the little ones! Not only is it informative for the little ones, but it as additional facts that really helped my older students learn interesting facts about each state! It is a wonderfully written book and I can't wait to finish purchasing the rest of the series!

As a fourth grade teacher in Texas, my entire year in social studies is dedicated to Texas history. Texas is an extremely unique state that has a very rich and detailed story and it has lead to some amazing discussions and debates in my classroom. I started the year by creating a graphic organizer for the state of Texas so the students could draw on their prior knowledge.

The kiddos take these graphics and write anything and everything that they might know about Texas! The best part is that as you go through the lessons, student's can add to their graphic organizer! It's a simple yet very effect tool in my classroom and a great way to introduce the state of Texas for your kiddos! 

Looking for another Texas activity? Check out my Books Across the USA post from last year! 
You will love it!