Newspaper Art: Celebrating Earth Day

Hi there!

This week has been really busy in our classroom. We are celebrating Earth Day, getting ready for the Day of the Child, and also getting ready for our ABC countdown fun!

As part of our Earth Day celebration we did a super cute activity inspired by Proud to be Primary. We recycled old newspapers and did a self portrait.

I loved this activity. It gave my students the opportunity to work on several days on a project while doing their part conserving the environment.

After collecting old newspapers, we used permanent markers to draw the outline 
of the bodies and all the body parts.

The following day we colored all of the inside of their pictures.

These are some of our creations!

This beautiful environmental-friendly bulletin board is proudly display in the classroom!

Happy Earth Day!


Conference Checklist FREEBIE

Hello PKP fans!

Today I will be sharing with you some tips I consider very important to have a successful parent teacher conference - either as a teacher or as a parent.

Having two daughters myself, one of them in high school, I have attended quite a few conferences. My 12 years of experience as a teacher also has given me mental notes on do's and don'ts.

My #1 tip is the most important for me: BE POSITIVE!
Assure parents your ultimate goal for the student is to succeed and develop a love for learning. During the conference, highlight all the wonderful qualities and efforts of the student. Of course you will be addressing areas of improvement, but focus on the positive!

Students have different areas of strengths and areas of improvement, we all know that! So, when addressing an area of improvement such as {the student struggles in writing because the small-motor skills need more development} you can also add {.....and this is what I'm doing in the classroom to help him}. At the same time encourage parents to do the same at home.

I just can't stress this enough! Preparation is key for a successful conference. Being prepared will allow you to use your conference time productively.  Have all of your documentation, work samples, folders, journals, forms to be signed, progress reports, resources to be sent home, and even pens and sticky notes at arms reach! It will save you time, will reduce the stress levels (for parents and teachers), as well you will have time to share everything on your checklist.

Talking about checklists... for several years now I have been creating a checklist to use as a guide when meeting with parents. This checklist is only for my eyes, I do not share this with parents. It guides my conference as I divide my conference time wisely and don't forget any important  topics to discuss.

These are my actual fall and spring checklists I use during my conferences. Both checklists are pretty similar, only changing key discussion topics based on the time of year.

The parent teacher conference is part of my 100+ pages of my Editable and Bilingual Conference Packet. Click on the picture below for more information.

Grab the EDITABLE conference checklist by clicking on the picture!

Keep learning!



Electronic Preschool Portfolio

Hello there!

I've been teaching preschool-age children for 11 years. I have tried over a dozen of data collection systems to save my students work samples for assessments. I have tried file cabinets, individual portfolios in binders, pocket folders, envelopes, storage boxes, plastic crates, and many others. At the time these systems seemed to be working for me, until it was time to update the information - from one assessment period to the next. My boxes/folder/envelopes/crates became heavier and heavier, papers would get torn and sometimes ripped, papers would fall out of got the picture. Then I started researching for electronic versions for data collection. The few systems I found did not really meet my needs because those were not specific for my state and the type of assessment I use.....and I found myself back to square one :(

A year ago a teacher-friend introduced me to Learning Genie and I can honestly say it has revolutionized the way I store my students data, the way I score, the way I communicate with parents, and the amount of time and money I spend.
Learning Genie is an evidence-based electronic portfolio and assessment tool that makes teachers' lives easier. This tool meets the needs of teachers, parents and caregivers, program directors, as well as children - making the scoring process accurate and objective. I truly appreciate the best practices recommendations from teachers and professionals offered to parents.

The best part is that I can work from my iPhone, iPad or my computer. Android users can also access the website an app. I personally prefer to use my iPad because is where I store all of my photos and work samples.

This is how Learning Genie works:

Once you create your teacher's account, you can input your students or retrieve them from a third-source, in my case DRDPTech. In California we use the Desired Results Developmental Profile that ranges from early infancy, preschool to school-age students. The website also allows you to select your state and the frameworks you use.

Each child will have a folder to start collecting data according to specific areas of assessment. Photos and videos can be collected as well!

Once data has been collected it's time to score it. A window pops up showing all of the possible developmental levels for that specific area of assessment.

The interactive sharing tool definitely closes the gap between school and home. The picture above shows an example of media sharing. Type the book title o songs you'd like to share, write a note for parents, and this learning experience will continue at home! I think this feature will put an end to the infamous "I didn't do anything at school" answer parents get at the end of the day :)

This is my personal favorite! Creating reports is done in just a couple of clicks! I will definitely will be using these reports during my parent teacher conferences. It shows all of the areas of assessments, the developmental levels, and the work sample and observation notes used for scoring. These also can go in the students' files when they move up to the next age-group class or kindergarten.

Like me, several of the teachers in my school district are thankful 
for this tool and this is what they have to say:

Mrs. O. "I really like the feature that tells you the progress. The portfolio status tells you what measures are observed, rated, and the ones to be completed".

Mrs. R. "I like to be able to see all of the evidence in one place during scoring. It saves me time and everything is organized in one place".

Mrs. M. "I like the ability to quickly go to a specific student for a specific area to refer to. I can downloaded into my computer and print if I need to".

Keep learning!

Blog post sponsored by Learning Genie.