Friday, November 21, 2014

Guest Blogger: Nancy Alvarez from Teaching with Nancy

Hello everyone! Tara is not here today, she's invited me to share a little something I have learned about QR codes with you. My name is Nancy Alvarez from Teaching with Nancy. I am an assistant principal on an early childhood campus in Texas. I met Tara in a teacher blogger group. I am thankful to have met Tara, she is an amazing educator and teacher leader.

I don't know what your experience is with QR codes, but I hope by the time you finish reading this post you will be excited about using them with your students. Today as per Tara's request I will focus on how you can use QR codes to help develop students' phonological awareness. I'll share some ideas, resources and then give you all the information you need to create your own QR codes.

Audio QR Codes

QR (Quick Response) codes can be scanned using a free app on any smart device. For phonological awareness activities, I create QR codes with audio. Basically, students scan the QR code with their smart device and listen to the recording. When I learned how to do this I got pretty excited. Just think about it for a moment, the possibilities are endless. You can record anything and in any language.

Try it out for yourself!

I am a visual person to a fault. If you are anything like me, you need to see it and try it out yourself to understand exactly what I am trying to describe to you. If you don't already have a QR code reader on your smart phone or table, download one. My favorite QR reader is called QR Code Reader and Scanner, it is free and works great.

Here are a few examples for you to test out.

QR Code Initial Sounds QR Code Rhyming QR Code Syllable Sort

Besides these examples you could record two words and have students determine if they begin with the same sound. Instead of initial sounds you can have students listen for the medial or ending sound. With a little brainstorming, I am sure you will discover that the possibilities are limitless.

QR Code Resources

I am going to share two places you can find free QR resources if you are not yet ready to create your own. On my blog I have a free download section where you can find a few free QR stations I've created. Another place you can find a ton of ideas for using QR codes in the classroom in general is a Pinterest board I have. Every time I come across a unique way to use QR codes I pin it there. If you follow the board you will have access to everything I find.

Follow Teaching with Nancy's board QR Code Learning Stations and Classroom Ideas on Pinterest.

Creating Your Own Audio QR Codes

I've created a website I use for times I facilitate professional development on this topic. On this site you will find everything you need to know to create your very own audio QR codes. There is a section with tutorials that includes a video I created that will show you every step. Even if you do not consider yourself to be super tech savvy, don't worry you can do this!

QR Codes in the Classroom Header Medium 3

If you have never used QR codes in this way I hope I have inspired you to at least investigate them a bit more. If you already use QR codes in your classroom, I hope I have shown you some new ideas you can begin using with your students.

Teaching with Nancy

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Looking for some Great Holiday Deals!

I don't know about you but my girls seem to grow two inches just before the holidays every year. You know that means... new clothes! On top of all the other holiday expenses, sometimes it makes things a little tight. But it never fails, I can turn to Crazy 8 every time and find deals perfect to fit any budget! Plus my my girls love the styles and the comfort!  It's a win-win!
click graphic to start finding some deals today!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Proud Missouri Educator

***Disclaimer: This post will contain my opinions on a political matter.  I have never used this platform for any political agenda but I feel the need to share this particular opinion.  You are welcome to share your opinion but I will delete any comment that is degrading, derogatory, or offensive in any way. Thanks for your time and understanding.

If you are a Missouri educator, Missouri resident, or student in the state of Missouri you will know what I mean when I say I'm proud to be an educator in Missouri where the people think about the students first. If you are not and you are wondering why I would take the time to say this; I'm going to share a little information about an amendment that was trying to be made to our Missouri State Constitution yesterday.

Ballot title

The official ballot text reads as follows:[1]
Official Ballot Title:
Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to:
  • Require teachers to be evaluated by a standards based performance evaluation system for which each local school district must receive state approval to continue receiving state and local funding;
  • Require teachers to be dismissed, retained, demoted, promoted and paid primarily using quantifiable student performance data as part of the evaluation system;
  • Require teachers to enter into contracts of three years or fewer with public school districts; and
  • Prohibit teachers from organizing or collectively bargaining regarding the design and implementation of the teacher evaluation system?
Decisions by school districts regarding provisions allowed or required by this proposal and their implementation will influence the potential costs or savings impacting each district. Significant potential costs may be incurred by the state and/or the districts if new/additional evaluation instruments must be developed to satisfy the proposal’s performance evaluation requirements.
Fair Ballot Language:
“yes” vote will amend the Missouri Constitution to require teachers to be evaluated by a standards based performance evaluation system. Each system must receive state approval in order for the local school district to continue receiving state and local funding. Teachers will be dismissed, retained, demoted, promoted and paid primarily using quantifiable student performance data as part of the evaluation system. The amendment further requires teachers to enter into contracts of three years or fewer with public school districts, with exceptions. The amendment also prohibits teachers from organizing or collectively bargaining regarding the design and implementation of the teacher evaluation system.
“no” vote will not amend the Missouri Constitution regarding teacher contracts and performance evaluation systems.
If passed, this measure will have no impact on taxes.


At first glance, if you skim,   you might be thinking... teachers should be evaluated and held accountable. And I would agree, just as I agree that everybody should be expected to do their job appropriately. 

What I don't agree with is the manner in which they wanted to hold us accountable. Not only is it ludicrous to base my ability to teach off of any assessment; that is in no way an indication of what any student is capable of, but it is unfair to put any student through all the assessments that will be required to fulfill this amendment

Not only would this change have been costly, but it would have violated our United States Constitutional right of freedom of speech.  Most importantly though, teachers' hands would have  been tied and students would be forced to learn how to take tests that the government deems necessary. Not how to think critically, creatively and to have a passion for knowledge. 

So, thank you Missouri voters who took the time to educate yourself on this harmful amendment and for supporting our children's education. Together we can continue to grow a generation of critical thinkers and doers!





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