How to Use Quotes to Empower Students in Your Classroom

How to use inspirational quotes to empower students in your classroom

If you follow me on Instagram then you know how much I love a good quote. Whether it’s inspirational or funny, I can identify with so many. I enjoy sharing them out and finding ones that represent where I am currently as an educator and as a person. 

Over the summer I came across the book 365 days of Wonder: Mr. Brown’s Precepts. Having read the novel, Wonder, I had to have this book. A precept is a rule or thought that will guide someone’s behavior. This book has 365 precepts, one for each day of the year. Each day I write the precept on the board and we talk about it as a class. In the future, I am going to extend upon this activity but for right now, I enjoy spending a few minutes each day asking my students what they think about it.

Check out the book here using my Amazon affiliate link. 

This year I decided to add a quote to my desk. I felt it should reflect how my upper elementary students feel about themselves. It took me a few weeks to find the perfect one but it finally came to me.

 “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken,” 
Oscar Wilde

was the one that I felt could accurately depict how a middle schooler is feeling at any given moment. My students loved the new quote and we spoke about how and why it is important to be yourself and not try to fit into a mold that someone else wants you to be.

To further this philosophy, I am giving away my desk letters for FREE! When printing out, I chose to print them four to a page. I also included a box around each letter which made cutting so much easier. To do this, click the option that says, “print a page border”.
motivational quotes to use in the classroom

Looking for more ideas for helping students become more responsible for themselves and accountable for their learning? My upper elementary friends have joined together to share more ideas on this topic! Check these out and grab the freebies along the way!

How to Increase Accountability with Student Led Conferences // The Learning Effect

Teaching responsibility in the grade 4 5 6 upper elementary classroom includes free ideas to use today
 If you are loving quotes in your classroom, you may also be interested in the following resources that I have in my store

Scientist and Inventors historic sayings   Women in History Meaningful words

Presidents of the United States Famous Sayings   Inspirational quotes for your classroom

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How to Use Kami in your Home School and Distance Learning Classroom

How to use kami in a pinch

Kami is an extension found in the Chrome Web Store that allows students to write directly on PDFs. This extension can make your home school, and remote or distance learning classroom run much smoother without having to reinvent the wheel and learn how to use digital technology. 

If your upper elementary and middle school classes are like mine, you have students that have 1:1 assistive tech devices that must be used in the classroom. While I do love technology, I do not use it ALL the time so this posed a problem for the times when I was using a worksheet or printables with my students. 

Then came Kami

To use Kami, simply upload the document that you are using your Google Drive.
  1.        Click the blue rectangular “NEW” button to the left.
  2.            Click on “File Upload”.
  3.       Search for the File on your PC.
  4.       Upload it as a PDF.

Upon doing this, you can then share it with your students. How you share it will depend on your learning management system. In Google Classroom, you will create a new assignment and share it that way.

Once students open the assignment they will be given an option of how to open in the top middle of their screen. They should choose to open with Kami.

Once in the program, they have so many possibilities. Students can:
  • ·       Write on the document
  • ·       Annotate text
  • ·       Draw
  • ·       Insert images or shapes
  • ·       Highlight
  • ·       Voice annotation
Turn PDFs into digital documents with KAMI

They can save the document and share it with others. This program is absolutely perfect for special needs students or any student that likes to use technology in the classroom. 

Check out this screencast (under 5 minutes) to learn how to use the FREE features of Kami. 

Other digital tips you might be interested in

Like this tech tip? Have more questions? Let me know in the comments. 

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    Five Reasons You Need to Start Using Nearpod in Your Classroom

    Using Nearpod in Your Blended Learning Digital Classroom

    Have you jumped on the Nearpod bandwagon yet? If not, you will after reading about all the things it can do. I started using Nearpod only after the principal of my school emailed asking who would like a free account. Knowing nothing about it, I wanted it because it was free so I signed up. Sometimes the stars align and you know that it is fate. 😊

    Nearpod is an interactive presentation that can be displayed on the Smartboard or personal digital devices. Each presentation is given a unique code that students use to access which means no need to have to remember usernames or passwords. The presentation can be a mixture of different slides consisting of textual information, polls, quizzes, videos, drawing activities, short answer, fill in the blanks, multiple choice, websites, etc. It allows you to vary your normal method of teaching for your students. 
    Using Nearpod to engage students in blended learning

    I started playing around with it. I loved so many features right away. I began by using presentations that other people created. Even though others created it, I was still able to edit their presentations to meet the needs of my students.  It took time for me to become comfortable developing my own but after a while, I ventured out and did so thus being able to have something crafted exactly to the needs of my students. My classes love Nearpod days and there are so many things I love about them too. I have figured out my top 5 that I will share with you today. 

    #1: Live Lesson vs. Student Paced: There are two modes that you can display the presentations, as a live lesson or student paced. Using a live lesson allows the teacher to control everything. You control the movement of the slides so students cannot go ahead and complete activities without hearing the information first. This allows you to set the pace of the classroom so that you can stop and chat about the subject matter. I really like this mode for the introduction of a topic.  

            Student-paced allows students to work independently on the presentation. They can go at their own pace. This is great as a review of information or to differentiate learning for students that need extra help on a topic. One pitfall to this version is that students may need headphones if you have videos embedded in the presentation or you will hear multiple videos at different points at once.  

    Student paced or live lesson are two options you have using nearpod

    #2 Varied activities: As mentioned earlier, presentations can have different activities within it. This keeps engagement up as students don’t know what to expect. It allows you to continually assess student progress of the topic. Different activities include 
    • polls
    • science simulations
    • quizzes (multiple-choice, true/false questions), 
    • short answer responses, 
    • collaborative boards, 
    • draw it, 
    • videos, and 
    • websites. 
    These different activities allow you to hit all different learning styles in your classroom and is why students get so excited for Nearpod. 

    #3 Editing: You can edit presentations which allows you to personalize lessons to your classroom needs and abilities. The Nearpod library consists of free and paid presentations. Depending on your account, will give you access to certain or all presentations. No matter which type of presentation you choose, you can edit it by deleting slides or adding slides. This can help you to include more information to really break down a topic or you can eliminate information that you know is repetitive to your students. Add activities to the presentation to allow for more ways to assess them. 

    #4 Assessment data: Speaking of assessments, one awesome tool is that you have access to all the data from the different activities that your students complete. You can choose to count these assessments as grades. You can leave a Nearpod as sub plans and then be able to access exactly what was completed to hold students accountable. 
    The data is super simple to access. 
    1. Just click on the three dots on the presentation thumbnail. There you will be given options. 
    2. Choose “reports” and click on the session you would like to view. You will be given the option to download or share through email.

    #5 Ability to see engagement: One of the features that drive me mad about 1:1 digital devices is not being able to see what students are doing. (I also have an additional option that I will discuss in a later blog post). Nearpod has an answer for that! At the bottom of the teacher screen, you will be able to see how many students are logged into your presentation. This should be highlighted in green. If it is not, if it is red, then you know there is a student who is not watching the presentation. I love this feature. It allows me to easily see who is following along. 

    Apps and strategies for your digital classroom

    Teacher Tip: One other teacher tip that I have for you is for use when teaching a whole class lesson. If using the Smartboard, make sure to log in as a student using the code you provide them. If you log in as a teacher, then students can see who is answering questions. You do have the ability to hide names but I find students spend time trying to figure out who is who. I am lucky enough to have a Chromebook cart so I log in on my Chromebook as a teacher and sign-in on the Smartboard as a student. This also gives me the ability to see EXACTLY what my students are seeing. Some of the slide views on the activities differ from student to teacher. I found this tip to be helpful and I hope you do too.

    Want a FREE SILVER Nearpod Membership? Click here

    Looking to get started with Nearpod or want to play around with a presentation? Join my newsletter below to access this FREE Nearpod that I used to introduce literary terms to my students. You will see how I mix vocabulary and new concepts with video and activities. I am able to continually assess my students throughout the lesson allowing me to know when I can move on or what I will have to continue reviewing. Remember, you can edit this presentation (without disrupting my original) to meet the needs of your own classroom

    Want to try out Nearpod? 

    Subscribe to my newsletter to check out my free Literary Terms Nearpod! 
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      Want to learn more? Check out this Facebook Live that I did on Danielle Knight from Study All Knight's Facebook page. Comment below with any questions! 

      Want to learn more about Nearpod? Check out other blog posts on this topic below: 

      Questions? Ask them in the comment section below!  


      Easy, FREE Science Activities for Your Classroom

      Free, easy science experiments for your classroom

      Student engagement on the first day of school is more important than you think. Upper elementary and middle school students need to be hooked into loving being back to school o instill curiosity and an interest in science. Including hands-on activities does not have to be costly or time-consuming. Providing fun learning experiences is most certainly a great way to keep them motivated and learning so I try to incorporate these types of engaging activities as much as possible. 

      I found this activity on Steve Spangler Science. He has a lot of great ideas. I like to use this activity as a way to highlight scientific thinking and analysis skills as well as to develop a strategy for scientific writing. It is super simple to set up and budget-friendly. Some of the items you may already have in your classroom.

      My students are given the Claim: The M on an M&M can be removed from the candy.

      They come up with a hypothesis to answer this question and also give a reason for their thinking.

      Materials include:

      • Package of M&Ms
      • Bowls
      • Warm water

      That's it! Warm-up some water, I am lucky enough to have a microwave in my room. I warmed the water up for about 45 seconds.

      Allow groups of students to choose their M&M color. Students can choose any color except brown. Give each group three of the color. Place the M&Ms in the bowl of warm water with the "M" facing up. Allow a few minutes to pass. Students should be observing what is happening. 
      Engaging and motivating science students on a budget

      During this time, you can discuss what is happening to the candy shell of the M&M. Why and how is it dissolving? 

      Soon, the candy shell will completely disappear from the M&M, and on the top of the water, students will see the floating M. It is really cool to see. This can lead to discussions of what the M is made of that it doesn't dissolve. 

      From here, you can also have a discussion on colors. After we are done with the activity, we talk about what will happen if different colors are mixed together. We then mix them to see if we are correct. 

      Students will now complete their CER evaluation (click to use the graphic organizers my students use to show their thinking). They will write down their evidence and reasoning. For the reasoning aspect, students will want to relate the information they learned about the materials that the M is made of. 

      Using candy in science experiments

      Other great sites for FREE science content

      Other ways to engage your students in your science classroom

      Need More Science Ideas?

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