Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Grab Your Toolbox! Part II

Do you still have your toolbox because I have some MORE great tools for you?! Okay, well, maybe just a notepad, snipping tool, or your laptop to save these!

So for Part II I am sharing some websites you can use to level your library.

As mentioned yesterday, let me preface this all by saying no tool is exhaustive in its capabilities. Some books simply aren't found by any of them. However, having some leveled is far better than none! Also, websites have differing abilities, too.

  1. Scholastic Book Wizard [complementary to app mentioned yesterday]
  2. AR Book Find [we use this in my classroom A LOT to find AR quiz #s, too]
  3. Level Books Database
  4. PALS Equivalencies
  5. Barnes & Noble Lexile Search
  6. Lexile Text Measure
  7. Lexile to Grade Correspondence
  8. Readability [provides text statistics and leveling information]
  9. Readability Calculators
  10. AtoZTeacherstuff Leveled Book Database
  11. Reading Level Conversion Guide
Now this site would be great to share with parents: Find Your Child's Reading Level.

I hope these help you as you head back into your classroom and set up your library. You may have leveled some, but I know I start to accumulate new books and want to level those as quickly as possible. How do you level yours? I use a white dot to write the AR quiz # and colored dots that match the dots on my book baskets by RL. It works, but it isn't perfect. :)

Monday, July 28, 2014

Grab Your Toolbox! Part I

Grab your toolbox because I have some great tools for you! Okay, well, maybe just a notepad, snipping tool, or your iPhone!

But first, what do you use for your book leveling needs? There are so many resources out there and it can get a bit frustrating when you don't know which to use. So, using my tech teacher background, (ha ha, really?) okay, using my I've-tried-every-freakin'-app/site-known-to-man background, I am sharing here! I want to save your sanity! Yep, you can thank me later! ;)

So for Part I (Part II will be tomorrow) I will start with the apps because they are great for leveling quickly when you're running around your classroom trying to set up and organize your library relaxing and organizing your class library.

Oh but wait, let me preface this all by saying no tool is exhaustive in its capabilities. Some books simply aren't found by any of them. However, having some leveled is far better than none!

Some iOS apps:

Book Leveler: This is a FREE app. It found SOME books, but you had to add your own book level. I didn't care for this aspect, but they say this is for you to level based "on your own classroom experience". My thinking is, if I can level them on my own, why would I need the app? Again, this is my opinion. BUT, you can see a summary, the author, and other pertinent information that you may find useful.

Scholastic Book Wizard Mobile: This is a great app! It had about 80% of the books I scanned in there. It provided 4 different types of book levels, and you can create lists (think: keeping track of books in your library you already have). It gives you the title, cover image, author, interest level, and then the reading levels by GLE, GRL, Lexile, and DRA. Did I mention this app is FREE?

Level It Books: This is another great app! It had most of my books I scanned. Just like the Scholastic app, it provides the GLE, GRL, Lexile, and DRA level of the books. Additionally, you can make wish lists or keep track of your library. A  book of the day is featured which  may pique your interest in new literature. This app is $3.99.

Book Retriever: This is an app that's more affordable than the last (it's only $0.99) and provides more leveling information (think: GRE, GRL, Lexile, DRA, Reading Recovery, Accelerated Reader) and allows for you to have students check in/check out books. But a pitfall is that bulk upload doesn't show the title  names and you would have to hunt for it and editing once it is in your library list is minimum. However, there's more information, most books scanned, and the check out feature is helpful!

Literacy Leveler: This app is another pricey one ($3.99) and provides only GRL, DRA, and Lexile which can be limited to others using other levels. This leveler, however, had information on every book I scanned (I tested 40 different ones for this post, not my entire library) and even books the other apps didn't get were in this one. That is definitely a bonus and makes this price tag more worth it. Please note that their database focuses on K-8. This was specifically stated so I wanted to mention it. :)

Now this isn't truly for leveling, but it is worth mentioning.

Classroom Organizer: This is another Free app. A feature I have used from it for a while is that the library of books you scan can be exported as an Excel spreadsheet. *angels singing* This helps when you want to keep a more comprehensive list on your computer for quick searching, adding of details, etc. You can also scan the books for check out and check in when students borrow them, too.

Grab your phone and explore!

What do you use to level your books? How do you organize them in your library?

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Posh Primary is out of the dark ages...

I am finally out of the dark ages! What do I mean? I am now on FACEBOOK! Okay, so I have had my personal one for years, but I didn't have a Facebook page for this blog. I mean, I am still trying to move everything from the old blog to here and well, as you can see, very time consuming or you'd see 5 years' worth of posts in the archive! Since my old blog wasn't on blogger, it isn't as simple as I had hoped. So anyway, back to my "no longer in the dark ages" post. Ha!

So, I found that I spend so much time connecting on FB that I may as well be over there with my blog offering freebies, planning having giveaways, and connecting. I mean, I try the Instagram thing (follow me @anarmywife4life) which after the Blog Hoppin' Scavenger Hunt I will definitely be revising the username, but I digress. I try Instagram, but since I am a talker, sometimes I simply need to talk, with words, and not take a picture. Not to mention, I am, as my son says, "jelly" of all these cute pictures. Every picture I take, no matter the app, looks, well, like a picture. Then I see these teachers so fun, and social, and every picture looks cutesy. I mean, can't there be an app for cutesy-ing my pics? Ugh. So, the written word, like FB allows, will be for me!

Maybe my age is showing? But 33 isn't too old yet, is it?

Clipart, Clip Art, We all {LOVE} cute!

I really want to let you know about an awesome teacher and graphics artist, Susanna, at Whimsy Workshop. She makes the most adorable clip art, offers it at 50% for the first 24 hours, and makes some wonderful primary resources! Seriously, she made my first year back in 1st grade so much easier (is it ever really easy??). I've personally purchased her Secret Sight Words, Secret Sentences, Phonics Code Bundle, both Sight Word Zoo Writing Bundles (they're now bundled together HERE), Phonics Poetry Read and Write,...and more. I can attest to her thoroughness, the quality, and the sky high engagement from her activities. So what are you waiting for? Be sure to check out her store: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Whimsy-Workshop-Teaching

No, this isn't an affiliate link, she didn't ask me to post this, nor is it for anything other than to highlight a true friend and her amazing abilities. If I ever go to Canada to meet my extended family, there will be a stop to see Susanna in BC!

Oh, and I didn't even mention the clip art I have purchased (and won on her FB page!). I just bought the most adorable Community Helpers set from her and made my first TPT mini unit. I have made tons of units for my classes over the years, but her graphics make these so much better and the first of TPT standards for me to post. So while you're checking out Susanna, be sure to stop by my store, too, and see some of her clip art in action!

Have a sensational Saturday!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Free Bright Smiles, Bright Futures Kit (K-1st)

Smile! Say Cheese!

Ain't nobody got time for that! ;) {I know you're singing that line right now!}

We all love pearly whites, don't we? Well, our students deserve the very best, too! That's why I had to be sure and share this program. I have never heard of it before, but so glad I did!

Visit the Colgate site, and if you're a kindergarten or first grade teacher, you can request a FREE Bright Smiles, Bright Futures Kit for your classroom. The registration form is short and sweet. You'll be pleasantly surprised in February 2015 when you will then receive a video, posters, storybooks, curriculum, parent take-homes, and Colgate Kid’s toothbrush and toothpaste samples for each student!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Signs You're A Teacher on Summer Break

I have probably seen this post a few GAZILLION times now on Facebook. LOL Notice, I'm having to get my first grade words back in to use. :) Anyway, I smiled through this entire thing because of how true it is! If you need to smile, and you're still on summer break [you know you might not want to read this if you're back to work for the new school year], AND you haven't already read it/seen it, then click the picture below.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Have you heard? Designer Looks Giveaway!

I know we all enjoy a great giveaway. Add Creative Teaching Press in there and a giveaway titled "Designer Looks" and you know you've got a giveaway you HAVE to check out!

Do you see that? 10 people will win $200 worth of Creative Teaching Press items! Ooohhhh....let the dreams begin! Let's see, if I could spend $200 I would definitely get any of this for my black, white, and red motif to accent my pirate/chevron/polka dot theme:


Got to have adorable letters!!!

Teaching military children who are highly mobile means we don't have a particular culture characteristic of the area, but rather a wide array of cultural representations. It is vital that I embrace that and these characters would help me put that honor on display!

I turn my kiddos into scientists from head to toe - goggles, gloves, lab coats, clipboards, etc. and this would help spruce up our science area and the importance of science in the real world!!
Then to really help them decorate their interactive notebooks I would have to get them these science stickers...24 sets of them at that!

I love using speech bubbles to emphasize reading concepts, strategies, or even things I repeatedly say. The best way? Using the kids' quotes!
I make a HUGE deal out of birthdays, too. Oftentimes, my students are celebrating while a parent is deployed, at training, or on TDY (temporary duty assignment away from the home) so I do what I can to make it extra special for them. I know these things would be just perfect!

To display:
And to treat them....

...and to help us start our first unit of math off right for the year which is a data unit, I'd have to get these awesome books!

Be sure to check out the Designer Looks Giveaway HERE.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

State Sales Tax Holiday Dates Are Here!

It's that time of year again! I really get excited when I see the Back-to-School supply aisles, ads, commercials, and more. I know, I know. It is early July, but I love fresh school supplies. I always have since I was a little girl. Dorky?! So be it!

With the Back to School shopping season here you know that means sales tax holidays, too. Here's a list of 2014 Sales Tax Holiday shopping dates by state in the USA! You can visit the Federation of Tax Administrators Tax Admin Site to find out exactly what’s on your state’s tax free list and what all it includes.
ALABAMA  - August 1-3
ARKANSAS - August 2-3
CONNECTICUT – August 17-23
 – August 1-3
GEORGIA - August 1-2
IOWA - August 1-2
MARYLAND - August 10-16
MISSISSIPPI - July 25-26
MISSOURI - August 1-3
NEW MEXICO - August 1-3
OKLAHOMA - August 1-3
TENNESSEE - August 1-3
TEXAS - August 8-10
VIRGINIA - August 1-3