Tried It Tuesday - ePortfolio

In my district, we are officially evaluated every three years. It's not too bad - formal evaluation, new action plan, and update the portfolio. For the portfolio, we have the option to do a physical portfolio or electronic one. Since I have my masters (I can't ever seem to remember if it's possessive or plural) in educational technology, I kind of feel that I need to do mine electronically.

So this year, I'm doing mine through Google Sites. If you have a Blogger account, you can probably figure it out. The hardest part (most time-consuming) is creating the template and entering the standards. Luckily, that part was already done for me.

So then all I had to do was to change the template to the theme that suited me and enter my data points. The data source is who created the evidence, and the data point is the piece of evidence that the standard was met.

I created an ePortfolio folder in Google Drive that contains a folder for each standard. (Still a work in progress.)

In each standard, I made a Google doc for each data point that I was going to use.

My Google doc contains a brief summary about why that piece was included, along with a screen shot of the piece.

Then I clicked share so I could use the share URL to hyperlink the text to the evidence. So the above piece is what is linked to The Gold Coin Story Map below.

It is a little time-consuming, but it will be fairly easy to update and looks impressive. To share it with an administrator, share it within Google Sites and have it send an email to the admin. You will also have to share the Google Docs folder, but you don't need to have it send the email. You can see in the second and third images in this post how I have shared it with my admin.

Don't forget to take a hike through some great upper elementary blogs. More information is {here}.


Friends on the Fives - Kelli from Tales of a Teacher

Today I am thrilled to introduce my next guest blogger, Kelli from Tales of a Teacher. She has the cutest little blog full of pin-worthy ideas. I especially love the little book display shelf that she highlights at the end of her post. Enjoy!

Hey all!! I'm so grateful for Diane to share a little of her blogging space with me! I'm Kelli, from Tales of a Teacher. I have learned so much from so many teacher bloggers, that I thought I would try to contribute too! Here's a lil' intro on what I'm all about...

Bloggy Deets: I've had this blog for about a year and a half. I didn't do a whole lot on it the first year; I was shy. However, I've been a follower on many blogs for a while and absolutely LOVE that I am apart of the amazing community now for so many reasons.

Teacher Deets: I'm in my second year of teaching. Both years, I've been in 3rd grade and it's my favorite. I have the best teammates, great kids, and an excellent support system. I teach in good ole' Minnesota where I was born and raised and am keeping my fingers crossed that I get to stay put here for a while. I also am too organized for my own good, but I'm somewhat addicted to it.

Personal Deets: I'm a newlywed (what is the cut-off even?) I married my high school sweetheart after 8 1/2 years of being together. He's a teacher also, in his first year, teaching high school and middle school physical education and health. I treasure my family and friends and enjoy spending time with them, although many of them are scattered around. This upcoming year is going to be a great one- 7 weddings already and we are taking a late honeymoon to Italy in July for 2 weeks! I've never been beyond Mexico, so it'll truly be an adventure (and a good test for us ;) ) I also like to create things- whether it's for the classroom, a gift, or just for myself! TpT is a fairly new adventure for me, but I love having another outlet to share my creations!

You'll notice I use a lot of ( ) and .... and !!! I try to be aware of it and use them minimally, but it just happens. Bare with me.

One of my constant goals as a teacher is to build a supportive classroom environment. I'm always trying to make it fun, engaging, and culturally responsive. Our building is participating in a book study this year, and I've applied a lot of new strategies to connect with my students and have seen their engagement SKY rocket. I'm all about bringing their outside world into the classroom. We do a lot of moving, collaborating, sharing, and DANCING!!

{We love using music videos and just dance videos to get our wiggles out, as well as incorporate them into our transitions and learning.}

We also practice RC at my school, or Responsive Classroom. Students create a lot of our structures (rules, expectations- of course with my guidance) and are constantly involved in creating resources for their own learning. Click on the pictures below to check out some of my posts surrounding RC practices


I'm often inspired by others or the needs of my students to improve our classroom area so that it inviting, yet functional.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read through my rambles. I hope to connect with even more bloggers or readers of blog, share ideas, collaborate, and enjoy this amazing profession with one another! If you follow my blog (just click on my button at the top), make sure you leave a comment introducing yourself! I also have links to my TpT store, Pinterest boards, and Instagram on my blog. I leave you with a FREEBIE! Just click the picture below to be taken to it! Enjoy! :)


Tried It Tuesday(ish) - Stitch Fix

After seeing a lot of Facebook friends and fellow bloggers rave about {Stitch Fix}, I decided to give it a try!

When you register online, you fill out a style profile. I wasn't aware that I had a "style," but I went through the questions anyway. I was also able to give my sizes and body shape and all of that good stuff that I'm trying to change. Part of the profile had questions on what you would like to spend on each type of item. It was pretty thorough. I went ahead and paid the $20 styling fee (which is credited to your purchase of anything you keep) for my first box and scheduled it for delivery (with free shipping). Then I waited impatiently for about three weeks.

My first box arrived today. It was like Christmas!! It comes with a great little style guide so you can see how to coordinate and accessorize each item.

Here are the five pieces I received:

Angeline Airy Knit Open Cardigan

Isaac Floral Print Tab-Sleeve Top (that appears to match my quilt)

Denna Skinny Jean (!)

Corinna Striped Dolman Top

Bixby Panel Printed 3/4 Sleeve Blouse
I will keep two and send back the other three (in a prepaid envelope). If I kept all five, they would have taken 25% off the price. However, some of the things were not my style, which is the point of this service. They send you things a little out of your comfort zone to see if you might like them. Then you go to your online account, indicate which items you are keeping and sending back, and fill out some info about if you liked the style, fit, etc. so they can do a better job next time!

Now, we're going to have a little fun. Comment with the two items that you think I kept, and I will randomly choose one person who is correct to win a prize! The prize will be either $10 to spend in my TpT store -or- I will pay your $20 styling fee for your first box if you sign up with my {referral code}. You may comment only once, and I'm cutting off the guesses at 8:00 PM CST on January 24, 2014.

Note: I wrote this review on my own. Stitch Fix did not ask me to write this nor did they give me anything, but I do get a credit for people who sign up and order their first fix through my referral link.


First Friends on the Fives - Julie from The Techie Teacher

A few days ago, I put out a call for guest bloggers. I am excited to share my first guest blogger, Julie! I have to admit... I totally fell in love with the design of her blog and it was definitely part of the inspiration for my design. She has some great ideas on integrating technology into your curriculum, and I am constantly impressed!

Hello Fifth in the Middle followers! I am Julie from The Techie Teacher and I am so excited to be a guest blogger for Diane. Fifth in the Middle has been one of my favorite blogs to follow since I started blogging :)

I have been a 2nd, 3rd and 5th grade classroom teacher and this past year I took on the roll of becoming an ITRT, Instructional Technology Resource Teacher. It seems like a totally different career since I now service 4 different schools and do a bit of moving around throughout the week. However, I get to do fun and engaging lessons using instructional technology all day everyday!

One of my favorite technology lessons that is SO simple yet SO meaningful is my Context Clues lesson. Click the image below to take you to this FREE Google Presentation that I use to get the students to realize the importance of looking for context clues when reading AND using context clues when writing.

This presentation is set up to be a guessing game. Nonsense words are used in a sentence and as the slides advance, more and more context clues are added to help the students figure out the actual word. Students use Today's Meet to submit their guesses. Today's Meet is a back channel used for digital communication in real time. Students type their guess in the blue box and wait for me to say the magic word "sparkle" before pressing Say to submit their guess. I like to have both the presentation and the Today's Meet "chat room" on my computer at the same time so I use the Google Extension, Split Screen, to run both websites in one condensed fashion:

Using the Split Screen extension has so many wonderful uses! Movie clip on one side, note taking on a Google Doc on the other side? Voice Recording website on one side, typed up Google Doc script on the other side? Our state tests are split screen so this is a great tool to get the kids use to looking at two different screens.

Side note: If you don't put a website into the split screen browser, the screen will take on the role of a notepad and you can take notes!

To add this extension to your Chrome browser, click {HERE}.

Feel free to stop by my blog, The Techie Teacher, and say hello! I would love to hear from you. Thanks for reading :)


Interested in Being a Guest Blogger?

I'm kind of dropping the ball on posting regularly, so I decided to see if any of you wanted to help me out! If you are interested in being a guest blogger, please fill out this Google form:

I would love to have those of you who are starting your blogging adventure highlight your best idea and tell us what you're all about. Or if you are an established blogger, I would love for you to share your most popular post. I'm really open to anything!


Holiday Celebrations... Finally

After having a snow day on our last day before break, we came back a day early to make it up. Since I had a few students email me over break to see if we would do the same things that I had planned for the snow day, we ended up doing that.

Students came in their pajamas today, and we had hot chocolate while we worked on graphic organizers recapping our break (that was a slight change to the plans).

I had a reading challenge that I wanted them to do over break, so I handed that out and have it due by the end of the month.

Also free
I awarded their new brag tags...

Yes, I forgot to give them the Thanksgiving one last month...

That pretty much lasted the whole first period, then I sent them off to PE.

During third period, I had a class for social studies. I had them do an easy extra credit sheet to wrap up explorers since we start colonization on Monday. That period also flew by (thank goodness).

A local pizza place catered our staff lunch, so I had plenty of yummy pizza.

After lunch, we went to the computer lab and played games from one of the first blogs I ever started following.

Then we had our No Late Work Club celebration.

My room hosted the craft, and we made these trees that I found from Pinterest. Some of my kids weren't into it since it was after the holiday, but my coworker spent so much time cutting the strips that we were going to use them, by golly!

OK, so this is a screen shot of my pin. I cannot get the pin to actually embed in this post. Has anyone had that trouble and could you figure out how to fix it?

The room next door had cookie decorating.

The third room had coloring. I didn't get a picture of that.

Following all of the was my prep. And for the final portion of the day, we had a PBIS celebration.

Shoe relay

One-handed present wrapping race

Create-a-snowman relay
For the finale, some staff members came down to do a "What Did the Reindeer Say" parody. I had to swear that I wouldn't post anything related to that ;)

Whew! What a day!

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