Sunday, December 21, 2014

Plickers Technology for Formative Assessment

I wrote this original post on back in November on a collaborative blog that I'm part of called The Primary Pack! If you haven't checked us out yet, you definitely should! We've got tons of great ideas for all primary teachers!
The Primary Pack
{Disclaimer: My Simply Creative in KY blog button has changed from when I originally wrote this post... sorry if it confuses you!}
One of my teammates shared with me the most AMAZING tool that I promise will change the way you give some of your formative assessments. I seriously am still on a high from using this tool. My kiddos LOVE using them, and I get so much great data INSTANTLY.

Okay, so what am I talking about here... PLICKERS!!!
I know, the name sounds ridiculous, and I have no idea where that name came from. After you finish reading this post, you need to go to the website and sign up. It's FREE!

Here are the basics: Each student has a Plicker card (it looks similar to a QR code), the teacher creates assessment questions on the website, displays them on the board, and uses the smartphone app to scan student responses.
This is my class set of Plicker cards. 
The question is displayed on the board, and students hold up their cards to show which answer they choose. I wrote in black marker the answer choices bigger so that my students didn't have to worry about reading the little writing on the cards.
This student turned his card to show that he selected answer B. 
Once every response has been scanned, you can analyze the results with your class. You can display the graph on the board while you are scanning cards so students can watch the graph grow.

Now, I know what you're thinking: I don't want to go around to every single student and scan their cards individually... that will take FOREVER. Don't worry. You don't have to! It takes about 30 seconds for me to scan every response from standing at the FRONT OF MY ROOM. Easy Peasy. No joke.
I start at one side of the front of my room and walk to other side, scanning all the cards in about 30 seconds or less! 
I can ALWAYS get at least 3 students at once... many times 5-6 students at once! 
Before showing the correct answer, we always talk about the question, what it's asking, and debate the different answer choices. Finally, you click "Show Correct" and the correct answer choice will pop up in green.

Seriously, does it get any better than that? Also, using the Plickers app on my iPhone, I can simply look at who missed the question and what answer they chose. On the left, you can see who got the questions wrong. When I'm ready for the next question, I click the back button and choose the next question on my smartphone.

Look at all that fabulous data! Percentages, names of students, dates given... it's all RIGHT THERE for you! I archive my questions so that I can go back to them as needed to review results.

So did I convince you yet? If you're ready to set up your class and start creating assessment questions, keep reading for a quick tutorial! First go to and sign up for an account. You'll also need to download the app on your smartphone so that you can scan student responses.

After you sign up, go to CLASSES, and click ADD A NEW CLASS.
Type in all of your students. In my classroom, every student has a number that they are assigned for everything (cubbies, magnets, behavior tickets, etc.), and it's always the same. This number will be printed on the Plicker card, so you'll need to know which child you've assigned to which number.
Once I handed mine out, I had students put their name on the back so we could quickly identify whose card it belonged to.
Once you've created your class you can print your Plicker cards. You'll go to the option CARDS. There are different options for cards, but I use the standard set. Click the Standard Plickers Card Set option and it will download into a PDF for you to print.

After I printed my Plicker cards, I copied them on colored card stock and laminated them for durability. Now they're ready to go!

Now it's time to create your questions! In the turquoise box, start typing your question.
Here's the question I typed as an example for you. As you type in the answer choices, check the box to choose the correct answer. If you only want to have 3 answer choices, click the X next to the D and you can delete answer D as a choice. You can also switch to True/False at the top if you want that type of question. When you're finished with the question, click Save.
Once you've saved your question, you'll want to add it to your plan. Click +Add to Plan, then choose your class.

Now that you've created questions and downloaded the app, you're ready to use them with your students! Simply pull up the Plickers website on your Smartboard (or whatever display board you have) and click LIVE VIEW. Then, using your smartphone, choose the question you want students to answer and it will immediately change the screen that your class sees. Students hold up their cards while you scan responses, and that's it!

Getting everything set up to use took me about 30 minutes after school one day. Now that I have everything ready to go, I can create questions on the website in a matter of minutes. I'd love to hear from some of you who want to try it out! Let me know if there's any questions I can answer for you!

Happy teaching (and assessing)! 

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Main Idea Mysteries

A few weeks ago we finished up our study of main idea, so I thought I'd share with you a few of our favorite activities and lessons that went on during our unit!

To introduce main idea, my students became DETECTIVES. Let me just tell you how thrilled they were. We even pulled out the magnifying glasses. Were they necessary? No. Did it result in increased student engagement? Yes.
To prep our very first lesson, I put picture clues into mystery envelopes. Each envelope contained four cards with a common theme (space, birthdays, fishing, etc). Students worked in small groups of 3-4, pulled out each clue card, and determined the "Main Idea" of each envelope.

My kiddos loved figuring out the main idea of each envelope. I encouraged them to work very quietly so that the other tables of detectives wouldn't hear them, too. They recorded their findings on a worksheet, where they wrote the four clues and what their group had decided was the main idea.

After introducing main idea, we focused on reading ONE paragraph and determining the main idea and key details. You can grab a freebie of this activity to try! To practice, we used this paragraph building activity. To prep this activity, I cut apart four sentences and mixed them up in an envelope. Each group of students had to put the sentences in order, making sure that the main idea was the first sentence and the key details came after.
This activity was fantastic for my students to practice main idea. As I was walking around, we had great conversations when I'd ask them which sentence was the main idea. Once they had gotten around to completing all of the envelopes, they were truly getting that the main idea tells you what the text is mostly about and the key details SUPPORT the main idea.
These are just a few of the hands-on activities we completed, but there are many more included in my full Main Idea Mysteries unit!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

All I Want for Black Friday!

I'm joining my wonderful blogger friends over at The Primary Pack for a fun November linky! We are celebrating Black Friday a little bit early! We are all sharing what's on our Black Friday wish list AND what's most-wishlisted in our stores! We're also hosting a HUGE Black Friday Giveaway! You don't want to miss out on all the fun!

So here's what's on MY Black Friday Wishlist...

1. December Math Journal (1st Grade) - from Missing Tooth Grins: These journals are AMAZING. They are the perfect no-prep journals for my 1st graders!

2. Place Value Pals - Easy Teaching Tools: My next unit with my 2nd graders is place value, and the activities in this look perfect for my kiddos!

3. Close Reads: Dogs - Creativity toe the Core: I love, love, love her close reads & I know my kiddos will LOVE this one that is all about different dog breeds!

4. Penguins: An Integrated Unit - Primarily Speaking Aimee Salazar: I have used the Bats and Owls integrated units by Aimee and my kiddos LOVED them!

5. Number Sense Games, Centers, and Activities - Primary Punch: This looks like a fantastic number sense pack of activities!

1. Sentence Surgery - This unit is perfect for primary students working on writing strong, complete sentences!

2. Introducing Multiplication - This unit is all about introducing multiplication with arrays, repeated addition, and equal groups! Perfect for end of 2nd and 3rd grades!

3. Addition Strategy Squad - This is one of my FAVORITE units! It includes little "strategy cheerleaders" to help you teach 2-3 digit addition!

4. Subtraction Strategy Squad - This is the subtraction version of my strategy squads! More adorable strategy cheerleaders and games & activities to teach 2 & 3 digit subtraction!

5. Monthly Reading Response Menus - I've included 9 different monthly literacy menus with activities to use with ANY book! I've also included graphic organizers for each activity! Great for homework or quick printable organizers!

Now it's time for the BIG GIVEAWAY! Take a look at all of these fabulous products!

Drumroll please.... Check out this HUGE giveaway package you can win by entering below! There is a resource from almost everyone in The Primary Pack, perfect for all primary grades!! Good luck, friends and happy shopping!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now It's Your Turn To Join The Fun! 

Just a few rules to follow and your on your way:
1. Download the images above!
2. Add your favorite sellers products in your TpT cart to the "My Black Friday Wishlist"
3. Add your own products to the "For Your Black Friday Wishlist"
4. Link up below to share your Black Friday Wishlists!
5. Don't forget to enter our fabulous giveaway above AND visit others linked up below!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Fall Favorites Blog Hop

Happy Fall!

I'm excited to share with you today one of my Fall Favorites with some other fabulous K-2 blogs!

My post is going to be short and sweet for you! I absolutely when it's time to use LOVE Thanksgiving activities activities in my classroom. One of my favorites home project that I send with my kiddos is having them disguise a turkey.
I copy the turkeys on light brownish construction paper, attach a parent note, and send them home. You wouldn't BELIEVE how creative these kids get!
My favorites that have been returned in years past have been a peacock, UK cheerleader,  Santa Claus, and an elf. I've given you two choices of turkeys that you can send home. It's always helpful to have a little brainstorming session before you send them home as well. :)

Once they turn them in, we do a little writing project to describe our turkey disguises, then we hang them in the hallway. Parents absolutely love seeing them hanging up in the hallways, and kids in other classes always want to be a part of it too!

You can do this little activity in your classroom! Just click any of my turkey disguise pictures in this post and it will take you to the download!

Now it's time for you to hop over to Dianna at Sassy Savvy Simple Teaching for more Fall Favorites!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Sunday Savings with Fact Fluency Games!

Happy Sunday, Everyone!

I'm linking up with Nicole at All Things Apple in 2nd again for her Sunday Savings Circular! This week I'm featuring my three math fact fluency products!
I created these products to get my kiddos truly FLUENT in their math facts. We introduced and played all of these activities at the beginning of the year, and I plan to pull them back out throughout the year to keep my kids working on their fluency!

My three products feature different strategies to help develop fact fluency: Making Ten, Doubles/Doubles +1, and Using Tens to Add 8 & 9. I needed quick games that could go with ANY season, ANY time of the year, AND fun for my kiddos!
Here's some of my make ten, doubles, & doubles +1 game boards!
We can't print much in color at my school, so I copied all of my games & activities on bright, colored card stock... I think I actually like it better this way!
My kids love "Using Tens Battle" - played similar to a game of War!
Snag two of these products in my TPT shop, send me an email at with your purchases, and I'll send you the third fluency pack for FREE! Click on the product pictures to link to my shop!

Happy Sunday Friends!

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Sunday Savings Linky!

I'm linking up with All Things Apple in 2nd for her brand-new linky... Sunday Savings Circular! Each week you can check out the linky for great deals!

Here's a look at what you can snag on sale in my store!
So this week I'm sharing with you my Completely Editable Brochures for Any School Occasion for 20% off! My Editable Back-To-School Brochures were a HIT when you all were starting back to school, so I thought... why not make brochures you can use for ANYTHING! Think: parent conferences, literacy nights, field trips, science fairs... the list could go on! You can check these out for 20% off!
My Not-So-Spooky October Math Centers for Grades 1 & 2 are also on sale for 20% off! Because I teach a 1st/2nd split, I've differentiated most of the centers in this set so that ALL of my students can be learning with differentiated numbers (win-win for this teacher!)

So what are you waiting for?! Hop on over to my TeachersPayTeachers store to check out these deals AND head to the linky party over at All Things Apple in 2nd to find even more deals!!

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Introducing The Primary Pack!

I am so excited and blessed to have the opportunity to work behind the scenes with the fabulous bloggers of The Primary Pack!  We are collaborating to bring you a rainbow of ideas!  Make sure you follow along to grab a bunch of colorful freebies, as well as enter our giveaway with $300 worth of prizes!
Hi! I'm Katie blogging from Simply Creative in KY. I am a Kentucky teacher who loves coffee, baking, and spending time with my family. I've taught 2nd grade for three years, and this year I am teaching a 1st & 2nd grade split. It is quite the adventure, but I'm loving it!
Right now I only have 19 kiddos, which is a HUGE blessing as I differentiate everything! I have 9 sweet firsties and 10 wonderful second graders. This is my first year teaching with first graders, and they are quite possibly the cutest little things ever.

I have been married to my incredible husband Tristan for 3 and a half years. We were actually set up on a blind date by mutual friends... turns out we were perfect for each other! He's my best friend, and I love our life together. :)

I love love LOVE teaching math. I love seeing the lightbulb's go off when my students finally "get it". With my second graders, I love seeing them develop their own math strategies when it comes to addition and subtraction. This year teaching math keeps me on my toes, as I try my best to meet the needs of my first AND second graders!

To celebrate our new collaborative adventure, The Primary Pack is hosting a giveaway with tons of fabulous prizes!

Enter the rafflecopter below for a chance to win!
a Rafflecopter giveaway AND here's my "colorful" freebie!  Just click on the image!
 Hop along to meet our other bright bloggers and to grab a rainbow of freebies!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

My Top 3 Wish Listed Items for the TPT Sale!

Can you believe it? The TPT Blast Off Back To School Sale starts TOMORROW!!! I have been looking forward to this sale for quite a while now, and I am so excited it’s finally here!Seriously, it feels like Black Friday. Except that it’s on a Monday AND Tuesday. Aaaand I can shop in my PJsAaaand they will never run out of what I want. I may shop twice…

ANYWAY, in order to help you all get ready for the sale, I wanted to share with you my top wish listed items from my store! I wanted to give you a chance to look a little closer at them and see if they are something you might need for this upcoming year!

My #1 most wish listed item… 
This product contains 9 different monthly menus of reading response activities that can go with ANY book – fiction OR non-fiction! I have included response sheets that match the menu choices, with both primary lines and regular writing lines. These are great printables for homework, too!
My #2 most wish listed item… 
I’ve created these brochures as a quick and easy way to give information to parents at open houses or meet the teacher night! You can quickly customize it to add your class information! Here’s a peek at mine: 
My #3 most wish listed item… 
I just finished this unit about a week ago, and I have to say… I’m IN LOVE with it. It’s the perfect way to get your students talking about text, either in whole groups, small groups, or independent groups (for those who are ready). 
My sweet friend Meredith at Creativity to the Core wrote a blog post on it, so you can read ALL about it! Click {Here} to take a look at her post! She used it with her summer school students, and I can’t wait to use it with my kiddos this year!

All of the products in my store will be 20% Monday and Tuesday for the sale, and if you use the code BTS14, you’ll get a total of 28% off! Say WHAT?!?! I know I’m ready to get my shopping on!