Why the Properties of Addition ARE Useful

Why are the properties of Addition Useful?

My oldest son who is in seventh grade recently had trouble with a problem in his 7th-grade math book.  I couldn't believe he didn't know the answer!   It was a very straightforward problem with integers and all it asked was how you could solve the problem using the Commutative Property of Addition.  He couldn't remember what that property was!  And this is 7th grade.

Common Core Standards for Math

Way back before the Common Core, I did teach the Properties of Addition as a third-grade teacher.  But even back then I wondered why and for what purpose?  I did the lessons but did not worry too much if they didn't master them.  But as you can see with my son, the Properties of Addition do not go away.  Students will continue to add all through school, but they may be adding fractions and integers.  It doesn't matter!  They do need to know that the Properties of Addition are important and that they are used continuously and ARE very useful.

I made these posters and have them hanging on my math wall all year long so the students can reference them.  There's also a matching bookmark.

Why are the properties of Addition Useful?

Those of you who teach the Common Core State Standards already know that the Properties of Addition are taught in grades 1, 2 and 3.  These are the specific standards which mention Properties of Operations:

Apply properties of operations as strategies to add and subtract.2 Examples: If 8 + 3 = 11 is known, then 3 + 8 = 11 is also known. (Commutative property of addition.) To add 2 + 6 + 4, the second two numbers can be added to make a ten, so 2 + 6 + 4 = 2 + 10 = 12. (Associative property of addition.)

Fluently add and subtract within 100 using strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction.

Fluently add and subtract within 1000 using strategies and algorithms based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction.

Teaching the Properties of Addition

So how does one go about teaching these properties and for how long?  Let me answer the second part first.  In my district, we are required to have an English Language Arts RtI block for English Language Arts which lasts for about 40 minutes, 4 times a week.  This RtI block doesn't start until a month after school has begun.  So essentially, I have an extra 40 minutes to fill each day for about a month.  So I use a week (or more) of this block to specifically teach the Properties of Addition as an extra math block.  That use of time has been one of the most valuable uses of time I've used all year long!

Why are the properties of Addition Useful?

When I first began teaching the properties, I created a PowerPoint that was interactive.  By interactive, I mean there are slides in the PowerPoint in which the students interact with the content on the slide (and it includes lots of animation). They interact by answering questions, discussing with a partner or writing in a math journal (or any piece of paper).  I use both a math journal and the printables.  The printables I created to go along with the PowerPoint so that students would be even more engaged and begin practicing the Properties of Addition immediately.

You can see a preview of this PowerPoint on my YouTube channel: YouTube Video.
or watch a version here:


The PowerPoint has gone through some revisions, but the format has remained the same.  Three properties (Commutative, Zero or Identity, and Associative) are all addressed as separate lessons so it is easy to pause the PowerPoint after each lesson and continue the next day.  The PowerPoint also comes with Presenter's Notes in which I give teaching suggestions and explain when to advance the animation or slide.  There are also three printables included.  You can find the Properties of Addition PowerPoint Lesson HERE.

Practicing with the Properties of Addition

In addition to the PowerPoint, I created a hands-on center which I actually use whole class though it can be used in small group or for intervention.  This center has a work mat and number tiles but you would need to add unfix cubes or some other type of manipulative.  It also has task cards which give the student a problem to work out on the work mat.  In whole class grouping, I read aloud the card and project on the screen.  Then I walk around as the students use their unifix cubes to build an equation.

Why are the properties of Addition Useful?

Here's a video showing one of my students building with unifix cubes.  The center has task cards for all three properties, but in this video, we were working on the Commutative Property of Addition.  


Once the student has created a unifix train for the equation, they use the number tiles to build the matching equation.   From there, they build another unfix train but they switch the addends around (commute the addends), and again use the number tiles to build the new equation.  We then discuss what they notice.  Here's the same student continuing the work:


 This is a great opportunity to build and expand that math vocabulary:  addends, addition symbol, equal sign, commute,  sum, etc.  It is so important for students to learn and use that math vocabulary when discussing mathematical concepts (or else how are they every going to understand word problems!! i.e., see my son above).

Why are the properties of Addition Useful?

The second part of this center involves a Commutative Property Match-Up.  I took a video of my youngest son (who's also in third grade) to see if he could explain how use the Commutative Property of Addition.  It was interesting to note his use of vocabulary (he said that 3 + 4 is the OPPOSITE of 4 + 3).  But he was able to show his understanding of this property.  Check out the video:


Why is the Commutative Property Useful?

The Commutative Property is a great strategy to use when adding multidigit numbers.  When I taught first grade, I taught counting up as an addition and subtraction strategy.  But if students know that they can switch the order of the addends and start adding with the greater number FIRST, it makes counting up easier.  Also, back when I did teach first grade, I was using Math Their Way and so the students were constantly using manipulatives to build the concept of addition and they would internalize this property.  They never saw 3 + 4 as just 3 + 4, but also as 4 + 3.  They knew that they could switch the addends because they had done that with the manipulatives.  By learning this property, in addition, it will help immensely when we start learning the Commutative Property of Multiplication!

Why are the properties of Addition Useful?

What about the Zero Property of Identity Property?

Don't forget to teach this one!  Most students know that when you add zero, the sum is the same addend or addends.  Why would this be important to know?  In third grade, students learn to round (3.NBT.A1).  When you round numbers, you end up 2 and 3 digit numbers with zeroes in the ones and tens place.  Those numbers can easily be added using mental math.  We want students to be able to mentally round, add and give an estimate to check the reasonableness of an answer.  If they know that zero doesn't affect a sum, then all they need to do mentally is concentrate on adding the tens or hundreds digits to get an estimate.  But read on.  The Zero Property is also useful when combined with the Associative Property.

Why is the Associative Property Useful?

Do your students need to learn column addition?  Do they just go about adding a column of numbers in order?  STOP!  Teach them to use the Associative Property of Addition!  With this property, I teach students to find addends that make 10.  Ten is a great number because it has a zero!  And when you have zeroes in an addend, you can mentally add those numbers faster which makes addition more efficient and reliable.  I have a vivid memory of my high school teacher (this is back in the 70s before math instruction was more than just arithmetic), telling us to use this shortcut:  when you add find pairs of numbers that add up to 10 and cross them off as you add.  Can you imagine that I didn't now this until HIGH SCHOOL!  If the students have a good understanding of these properties, and you demonstrate how to use them in addition, I promise you they will become better, faster and more accurate with addition.

Why are the properties of Addition Useful?

Continuing Throughout the Year

Don't forget to continue to teach and practice these properties throughout the year.  We want the students to enter 4th grade with an absolute understanding of these properties because they will be increasing their knowledge of place value into the hundreds of thousands.   I have an additional center which I use once the students have a good understanding of the Properties of Addition.  It has task cards and it requires them to think critically about the Properties of Addition.  You can see an example below:

Why are the properties of Addition Useful?

If you want more information about each of these resources, click HERE to see them all.  Start your teaching with a FREEBIE:  Properties of Addition Practice Cards.

Why are the properties of Addition Useful?

Finally, be sure to follow me on Pinterest.  Click to see my board devoted just to the Properties of Addition!

Why are the properties of Addition Useful?

How are you teaching the Properties of Addition to your students?  I'd love to hear your ideas!

Where in the World is Geography in an Elementary Classroom?

Teaching geography to elementary students is essential.

Does anyone teach Geography anymore?  Why can't students look at a map and recognize the state they live in?  The country they live in?  The continent they live on?  Do they at least recognize the Planet Earth?  Ok, I'm being sarcastic, but geographical knowledge among elementary students is lacking.  But why is geographical knowledge important?  History!  How can you teach or learn about historical events if you don't have some basic geographical knowledge.  Even my seventh-grade son had to review some basic geography on a world map for his History class!

Teaching geography to elementary students is essential.

So where do you start?  In third grade it is the first unit I teach.  I integrate Language Arts with Social Studies by using the Social Studies text as our reading material as well as other passages about landforms and maps.  The Social Studies text covers basic landforms found in California (I am in California).  I take pictures of the pages from our Social Studies text (Reflections) on my iPad and use the PDFexpert app to project them for shared reading.  I also use various read-alouds which are very useful for developing the vocabulary.

Teaching geography to elementary students is essential.

Though California has just adopted a new Social Studies/History Framework, the third-grade section it continues to state that third graders should study landforms and how these landforms have shaped the history of California.

So how do I teach these landforms, bodies of water and basic map skills?
  • My read-alouds have been carefully chosen to introduce the vocabulary and general knowledge
    • My shared reading focuses on the definitions of each landform and body of water
    • I use a PowerPoint I created to introduce the landforms and bodies of water and give them basic definitions of each landform and body of water
    • I have the students make a Mini-Book of the landforms and bodies of water
    • I have the students create a 3D landform using salt and flour dough
    • I integrate videos and other technology such as QR codes
    • I have the students practice labeling maps
    • I have the students make a Me on the Map flap book to learn their locations on the map

    Last year I created a PowerPoint with the basic landforms and bodies of water.  I used it with my class and I felt it was lacking, so this year I added animation, sound, and music! I also created a printable and a mini-book.  Those activities took the place of similar activities I had done before but now it was fully integrated with the PowerPoint. 

    Teaching geography to elementary students is essential.

    The PowerPoint covers 20 basic landforms and bodies of water.  The order in the PowerPoint is alphabetical, but the printable is not!  So each time we came to a new landform or body of water, the student had to find the corresponding illustration.  That was on purpose because I really wanted them to pay attention to the details of the landform or body of water.  Under each illustration, we also listed 3 - 4 keywords that would describe the landform.  These words would then be used later to fill in a Mini-Book on the landforms and bodies of water.

    Here's a video showing how the PowerPoint works:


    As part of this resource, I also made a poster for each landform and body of water.  I used these to quiz the students during in between moments of the day.  Then I hung them up in my room to be used as a resource for the rest of the year.  You can find all these resources HERE in my Landforms and Bodies of Water Teaching Kit.

    Teaching geography to elementary students is essential.

    Every year I also have the students pair up to create 3D versions of the landforms.  I use a basic salt and flour recipe to create a play-dough like dough to have the students create a specific landform or body of water on top of a shoebox top (or a shoebox that's been cut down...though any piece of cardboard will do).  You have to make sure the students press the dough down firmly to initially get the dough to stick to the cardboard.  From there they sculpt it into the landform or body of water and make it 3D.  They don't have to cover all of it since we would also be painting it. It takes a day to dry, then I have the students paint it.  Once the paint is dry, I put very strong book tape on the back of each shoebox top and tape them to the wall near the posters of the landforms.  They actually do stay up all year and never fall apart!

    Teaching geography to elementary students is essential.

    Teaching geography to elementary students is essential.

    Another area of focus is just understanding one's location and where to find yourself on a map!  We make a Me on the Map flap book in which they list and draw the following:

    • Home Address
    • City
    • State
    • Country
    • Continent
    • Planet
    I also want them to be able to look at a map and recognize basic map shapes:  California, United States, and North America.  I want them to know which states are California's neighbors as well as some of the big states like Texas, Florida, New York and others.  I want them to be able to identify the general location of important cities in California, including their own.

    Teaching geography to elementary students is essential.

    Usually, I would just give each student blank maps of the World, USA, and California.  Then I would project each map and I would help them fill it out.  This year, I tried something different.  I found links to a world map, USA map and California map online.  Then I turned these links into QR codes (which are like barcodes).  I made a special sheet with the barcodes and instructions on what to do.  The students used the built-in webcam on the Chrome Books to scan the QR codes and then use the filled in online maps to fill in their blank maps.  I felt this was more beneficial because the students actually had to pay attention to map shapes and details.  Some even wanted to fill in all 50 states!

    Here's a video of one of my students using the QR codes


    I've created a FREEBIE that contains the 3 QR codes (world, USA, and California) and an editable PDF version so you can add your own state if you're not in California.

    Teaching geography to elementary students is essential.

    The only requirement to use it is to open the PDF file in Adobe Acrobat Reader 11.0 or above.  To use the California version, just print out the QR codes sheet and make copies for the student.  Then provide them with blank maps of the world, the USA, and California.  

    Here are links to blank maps.

    If you are not in California, just use the 2nd QR Code sheet.  You will first need to find a link to a map of your state.  Copy the link and go to qrstuff.com  It will generate a QR code image for you to insert into the field on the second QR Code sheet.  Detailed instructions are provided in the FREEBIE.

    Teaching geography to elementary students is essential.

    The culmination of this unit is a homework project.  I have the students create a photo album from a template in which they have to select 6 landforms or bodies of water to illustrate (no printing from the internet, though actual personal photographs are allowed) and then write a description or definition on the back of each photo.  Then I also give them a camera template that they cut out and glue onto an empty butter box.  They can decorate the camera any way they want.  Another requirement is to write a story about visiting a landform (one they've actually visited or a made up story).  They also have to include a souvenir (actual) or make one.  When the project is turned in, they get to share with classmates.

    So there you have it.  This unit lasts about 4 weeks.  Now the students are ready to study history!

    Improve Vocabulary and Grammar with Google Sildes

    Use Google Slides to teach vocabulary and grammar.

    Do you find teaching vocabulary and grammar as something you have to do rather than something you want to do?  There is a definite need to teach both grammar and vocabulary to elementary students, especially those with large English Language Learner populations.  But it doesn't mean it has to be dull, boring, dry, repetitive, exasperating and frustrating.  I started to use Google Slides for the students to take ownership of their learning new vocabulary or grammar.

    Last year, when I started teaching Latin and Greek roots, I used PowerPoints, games and online websites to initially teach those affixes.  But I wanted the students to own them.  So I created a slide like the one shown below to have the students take a root and find a picture that would represent that root.  I also had the students define the root, give example words and use it in a sentence.  I admit at the time it was very basic, but it was very motivating to the students!  They really enjoyed challenging each other to find the most appropriate picture to represent the root.

    Teach vocabulary and grammar with Google Slides

    This year, I will do something similar, but I will add one more element.  For one month, I am going to have them keep a list of words with roots that they find while reading (at home, in class, wherever!) in their language arts journal.  Then, as a time filler activity or for homework, I will have them add these words to their slide.  I will also have them explain why they think the author chose that word with that root (craft and structure).  I think this extra step will also give them more awareness and purpose for learning these roots.  I will be doing the same when we start learning about prefixes and suffixes.

    Teach vocabulary and grammar with Google Slides.

    Currently, I am reviewing the basic parts of speech with my third graders (nouns, verbs, adjectives and adverbs).  They knew nouns and verbs well enough so I just let them practice online with some noun and verb games (saves paper by not having to duplicate worksheets!).  However, I really wanted to do more with adjectives because they have an added pay off of improving student writing.  We quickly reviewed what an adjective was and I gave them some links to watch a video about adjectives and a quick online game.  My purpose was to make sure they already had a bank of adjectives that we could then expand later when I taught shades of meaning.

    I designed a Google Slides template in which the students would search for an animal picture (we did the first one together using a dog as shown above).  Then we brainstormed 4 words that would describe that particular dog in the picture.  I designed the slide with a black background on purpose. If you put a white text box on a black background and try to make it fit an irregular shape (the speech bubbles), they would not fit well and it would not look good.  So I introduced the term (and adjective) TRANSPARENT.  Now the text box would not block or look out of place.   I also wanted to show them that using a black colored font on a black background would not show up either.  So I showed them how to change font colors.

    Teaching vocabulary and grammar with Google Slides

    They already had learned how to create a text box and how to center and make the font larger.  But then I also showed them how to center the text in the MIDDLE.  These formatting techniques will be important as we progress through the year.  Finally, the last technology part to teach them was to learn the DUPLICATE command.

    I asked:  are you getting tired of creating the same text boxes and formatting them every single time? Then learn how to use the duplicate command and keyboard shortcut!  They were very happy to learn this shortcut.  I also showed them how to use it to duplicate slides.  Each student duplicated the blank template slide 2 more times for a total of 5 slides.  Now they continued adding a picture to the slide (they got to choose any animal) and adding the adjectives.

    Teaching vocabulary and grammar with Google Slides

    The next step is to transfer this to writing.  I will have them choose one of their slides and they will use the picture and the 4 adjectives to write a description of the animal such as:  The tame dog sat next to its owner.  The hungry dog then begged for food.  The happy dog wagged its tail when it was fed.  Then the tired dog took a nap.  The sentences will have to be related and tell a mini-story.

    Next week we begin the study of adverbs.  Adverbs can be difficult for third graders so I will be introducing adverbs with read alouds and a poem that we can share-read together.  We'll probably make an anchor chart interactively and then the practice will be on Google Slides using a template.  In the template, the student will be given a picture.  The student will think of a VERB that describes what's happening in the picture.  The next step is to think of 3 ADVERBS that describe the verb.  I gave them a hint of adding -ly to an adjective to scaffold the activity.  Eventually we'll move on to other types of adverbs that tell WHEN and WHERE and HOW MUCH.  For now we'll start with adjectives that tell HOW.  Here's the example of the template below.  By the way, I really like adding bold colors against a black background.  First, the color blocking make is easier to read text on screen.  Color always generates an emotional response...and it just looks fun!

    Teaching vocabulary and grammar with Google Slides

    Using Google Slides in conjunction with other teaching strategies can take dry and boring vocabulary and grammar skills and make them more interesting and more meaningful.

    A big shout out to RebeccaB Designs for the backgrounds and labels for the templates.
    A big shout out to Illumismart for the teacher and kids clip art.
    You can find both clip artists on Teachers Pay Teachers.

    How I Present Back to School Night With Google Classroom

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    Back to School Night is fast approaching.  This year, I've decided to take a new approach to it.  Since I am in a 1:1 classroom with Chrome Books, I wanted to use the Chrome Books as part of my Back to School Night Presentation to the parents.  So I set up a separate Google Classroom just for parents!  In this Google Classroom, parents will have access to my Back to School Night presentation and other resources.  It will stay there the entire year so parents can access resources and information.  It will also give them a heads up to see how their own children use Google Classroom.

    First things first!

    I will start out Back to School Night with introducing myself and giving the parents my contact information (email and school phone number).  I will also have parents sign up for texting announcements through the remind app.  This is a wonderful app that I use all year long to inform parents about:
    • picture day
    • upcoming tests
    • information I've sent home in the Parent Communication Folder
    • upcoming school events
    • field trips
    • and anything else I think important to let parents know about

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    I've blogged before about using remind and you can read about it here.  It's a very straightforward process to get parents to sign up.  All they have to do is take out their phone and text a code to a special number and they're signed up!  

    I will also make sure that the few parents who have not signed up with an account to ClassDojo have also signed up.  In the Parent Google Classroom I will let the parents know I have put some resources there for them to read at their leisure about ClassDojo and how it works, FAQ, etc.  That way I don't use up valuable time explaining what many already know.

    Signing in on the Chrome Book

    Each student in my district is set up with a Google account.  I give each of my students their username and password on a laminated card.  I have made duplicates of these cards for the parents to take home at Back to School Night.  With the same username and password, the students and parents can access Google Classroom from home.  I will have the parents log in with their child's account information and then show them how to get to Google Classroom via the district website.

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    Once they've logged onto the Parent Google Classroom I've set up for them, there will be a link to the Back to School Night Google Slides presentation I have created.  Normally, at Back to School Night I play this as a PowerPoint while I go over each slide.  Why do that when they can just sit at the Chrome Book and go over the slides in Google Slides at their own pace.  I will also have Spanish versions of the presentation as well for the non-English speaking parents who speak Spanish.

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    While they are going over the presentation, I will point out to them that their own children do the same at school!  They access information using their Chrome Books instead of a book.  I will explain how I create assignments and post them in Google Classroom for all subject areas.  Google Classroom has a new feature that lets guardians sign up to receive emails about their child's assignments and what has been turned in (or not!).  

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    Using Google Forms

    I am also letting parents know that I will periodically have Google Forms set up to collect information.  At Back to School Night, I have created a link to a Google Form they will fill out that collects basic information that I need in order to contact them during the school year.  I already have this information, but it's good to get an updated contact phone number and email just in case that information has changed since the child started school.

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    Finally, the last slide in presentation reminds parents to go ahead and sign up early for a parent teacher conference which will be held the following month.

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    Parents will leave with a Back to School Flap book that contains information they need (class schedules, no school days, school supplies, etc) for their child to have a successful year and for the parents to stay informed.  


    A 'How To' Project to Get Rocking with Google Slides

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    Are your students ready to start creating and learning with Google Slides?  Are they expert keyboarders and know all the ins and outs of Google Slides menus?  If you're like me, I just completed my first full week with my new class of third graders....and no they were not ready!  You kind of forget just how much there is to learn in Google Slides so that your students can work independently on that platform.

    But I was prepared to get them up to speed! My team and I decided that we needed a short project that could be completed in about a week that would teach the students the basics of using Google Slides (Here's a link to add the project to YOUR Google Drive).   But wait, they also have to learn to log on...then log on to Google Classroom and then open their assignment!  So there's more than just  learning how to type here.

    Being Cyber Savvy

    We also decided that the first week would also be a good week to teach the Cyber Savvy curriculum that we are required to teach in California (AB 307 states that teachers and students receive instruction on internet safety and ethical uses).  My district was lent some very good resources by the Santa Ana Unified School District on this important topic.  The curriculum teaches students to ask adults for permission to go on the internet, not talk to strangers on the internet, about copyright and plagiarism, and many other important safety lessons.  We taught the Cyber Savvy curriculum lessons every day right before launching into the Chrome Books and our project.

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    After that, my first task was to teach the students to log on to their district provided accounts.  Then I showed the students how to join my Google Classroom.  I have separate classes set up for each subject area. I've blog about this valuable tip here.  It just makes it easier for you and the students to find assignments.  We also practiced logging off the computer and also understanding that if you just close the lid of the Chrome Book, you will also be logged off.  I also taught them that when I'm teaching them something about using the Chrome Book or Google Slides, their Chrome Books should either be completely closed or at a 45 degree angle so that they are focused on my instruction.

    Beginning the Project

    Now it was time to begin learning some important skills for using Google Slides.  Google Slides has a lot of menus and features.  More than any student could learn in a week or more.  But it's not necessary.  Just focus on the power skills or features.  These will be needed throughout the year.

    What are they?

    1. inserting and typing text
    2. enlarging or decreasing text size
    3. centering text
    4. changing font style
    5. inserting an image
    6. searching for an image
    7. resizing images
    8. repositioning images

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    These are skills that must be mastered and are used continuously.  All of these skills can be taught with this Google Slides Starter Project.  As projects go, it is straightforward and timely for the beginning of the school year.  Students will be filling information about themselves which they can then share with the class or a classmate (through Google Slides presentation mode or by emailing it to another student).  There are a total of 6 slides:

    1. Cover Page
    2. Favorite Food
    3. When I Grow Up
    4. One Thing I Dislike
    5. Something Special
    6. Blank Page

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    I use the first 2 slides to directly teach these skills.  The first slide involves using the built in webcam of the Chrome Book to take a selfie snapshot that can the be inserted as the image.  The other slides require the student to search using Google (which is a built in feature of Google Slides).  This is an excellent opportunity to talk about copyright and what is allowed to be used.  Google allows image searches to be filtered by personal use and commercial use.  Image resizing and repositioning is an important skill as well because most images inserted are usually too large to fit on the slide.  Knowing the difference between the resizing cursor and the repositioning cursor is vital.

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    Learning to choose appropriate images is important.

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    Teaching students about copyright.

    Students Do Make Mistakes

    At this point, let me tell you that I had at least 5 students delete slides by accident.  How does this happen?  It's because they have the slide selected, and not the text selected.  Then they start hitting the backspace key.  They see that nothing is happening, so they keep hitting it.  Before you know it, most of their slides are deleted.    Don't panic!  This is another teachable moment!  Teach your students how to use the undo keys and if necessary, how to restore previous versions.  Again, I've blogged about this important issue HERE.

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    If necessary, I would continue instruction with the next slide if I see my students are having difficulty mastering these skills.  If not, I let them independently continue with the slides and fill in the necessary information for each slide.  For those very proficient students, I always include a blank slide that has the same theme template.  I tell them to design their own slide by continuing the "book" about themselves.  I want them on their own to discover some of the drawing and shape tools (those will be later lessons, but it always helps if some students already know how to use some of these tools).

    If you would like to try out the project with your own students, go to this link.  It will force copy it to your Google Drive.  Once on your Google Drive, you can add it as an assignment in Google Classroom or email the file to the students.  I'd like to give a big shout out to Graphics from the Pond on TpT for the great template border!

    Parent Connection

    At Back to School Night, I plan on having parents log on to their child's account and see this assignment.  It will be my segue into internet safety (just like I taught my students) and how I plan on transitioning some of the paper and pencil homework tasks to Google Slides and other Google Apps. I also will be letting parents know that many forms that they will need to fill out will now be done through Google Forms.  They will also have a chance to sign up for the remind app, which I use for messages and announcements.  It's a very techy world and they need to join it!

    If you're looking for more ideas, tips and resources for using Google in your classroom, check out my Pinterest Boards.  Also check out my TpT Store for Interactive Digital Notebooks on Google Slides for social studies and science.  I've also created math practice for fractions, area and perimeter using Google Slides.

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    How to Get Students to Know Each Other with iPortraits

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    It's the beginning of school.  How do you get students to learn about each other?  I use iPortraits!  This activity uses character traits to build a portrait (selfie included!) of each student.  Instead of just learning about their favorite ice cream flavor or food, have the students identify 3 character traits that would describe them.  Then use the traits to write a description of himself for herself for the class.  In this way, students get to know each other deeper and not just on a superficial level.

    The Dreaded Classroom Set Up Turns out Fantastic!

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    This school year I began by dreading going back to set up my classroom.  Why? First off,  I needed to change the orientation of my room.  Currently, the "side" of the room was the front of the room. I have 2 white boards, one of which was covered to be a bulletin board and the other used for teaching and was the front of the room.  Essentially, I wanted to switch those boards which meant I had to move all the permanent bulletin boards at the current front of the room (mostly resources we use all year long, such as, a timeline, spelling cards, comprehension strategies, etc.) to the other whiteboard to set that up as the new front of the room.  All those resources had to be taken down carefully, staples removed and stapled back to the other side of the class.

    Best Back to School Tips Blog Hop and Giveaway!

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    Can you smell the dry erase markers yet?  Are you hearing phantom bells ringing?  Are you practicing getting up early again?  Yep, it's that time of year again when teachers are preparing to go back to school!  If you need some back to school tips to get you re-energized and ready, then read on. We're a group of teachers, TpT-ers and bloggers who've created this blog hop and giveaway to get you ready!

    Read more by clicking below...

    The Best Way to Integrate Interactive Digital Notebooks: Part 3

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    My previous posts in this series (Part 1 and Part 2) explained the reasons why I have made the switch to Digital Notebooks because they are colorful, paperless and media rich.  I also gave examples of how Digital Notebooks should have added value for student learning while being connected to content and standards.

    In Part 3, I want to give a concrete example of how to incorporate a Digital Notebook into your instruction.....

    Interactive Digital Notebooks: Paperless, Colorful and Media Rich Part 2

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    Why make the switch to DIGITAL?  I wrote earlier that some major advantages of a DIGITAL notebook are that it can be COLORFUL (color photographs, color illustrations, color diagrams, color anything!), PAPERLESS (it's all in the cloud), and MEDIA-RICH (hyperlinks to videos, audio, animations and much more!).  Those are very good reasons to make the switch to DIGITAL notebooks! In Part 2, I explain how I use an Interactive DIGITAL Notebook.  Also I am offering a SAMPLER of the newest Interactive Digital Notebook!(see below!)

    Interactive Digital Notebooks: Paperless, Colorful, and Media Rich

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    What exactly is an Interactive Digital Notebook? Is it similar to regular Interactive Notebooks? How are they used in the classroom?  What are the advantages over traditional interactive notebooks?  I hope to answer these questions in PART 1 of my 3 part post on Interactive Digital Notebooks.

    What Are They?

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    Interactive Digital Notebooks are very similar to traditional Interactive Notebooks.   They can cover the same content, same skills but the difference is that in a traditional Interactive Notebook, a student would be cutting and glueing parts into a notebook.