Thursday, February 19, 2015

How to post to your Blogspot Blog using e-mail



Thanks to Kristen for the Tech Thursday link up. 

In our 4th grade team, we make communication with parents a priority.  Each day we communicate with parents by sending a daily e-mail update with homework, upcoming events, and other newsletter type items.  
An example of our Daily Update e-mail



 Parents really appreciate this.  We also have a class blog where we post pictures and other newsletter type items as well.  Posting to both the blog and the e-mail udates can be time consuming. 

Example of our Team Mindcrafters blog


If there's one thing that computers should be good at, it should be reducing redundancy.   Wouldn't it be great if you could post to the blog and e-mail parents both at once?  Well, you can and its pretty simple.  Follow the steps below to learn how.


 First log in to your blogger account and click Design.



From there click Settings then Mobile and e-mail.
Under Post using e-mail, change secret words to words or a phrase you word like to use as your secret blog posting e-mail address.  For security purposes, avoid using something someone would guess.

Enter word or phrase in the "secret words" space above

 In your e-mail, all you need to do is include this newly created e-mail in the "To:" and it will post your e-mail directly to your blog.  CAUTION:  if you are e-mailing a group of parents that includes this address, always keep it in the BCC: (Blind Carbon Copy) so it is hidden from the recipients.  By the way, this is a good practice anyway to keep parent e-mails private from one another.  (I'm always amazed by how many people don't know to do this).  But, this is crucial if your are sending your blog post e-mail address because anyone who sees this "secret" address could post to your blog!

Tip: Don't use "secret words" as your secret words!

Some other uses and notes:

Posting this way can be a quick and easy way to make a blog post update without logging into Blogger.  The only limiting factor is that it works best for text.  Attachments to the e-mail don't show up on the blog post.  So if you wanted to post .pdf of homework assignments or something like that was attached to the e-mail, it wouldn't show up on your blog, too.  Pictures embedded in the e-mail itself usually do show up, however.  

Hope this tip gives you a way both improve communication with your parents and save you time.

Have a great day!






Monday, February 9, 2015

MMI - Four 4th Grade Algebra Freebies!

Thanks to Tara at Fourth Grade Frolics for the Monday Made it Link Up.  

On the heels of last week's unofficial often ignored American holiday Groundhog's Day,  I am reminded of the classic Bill Murray movie, by the same name. In it, Murray's character Phil relives the same day over and over until he finally "gets it right."  Repeating the same events day after day becomes a form of torture for Murray's likable but disreputable character. 

 

We all know that repetition can lead to boredom.  And as someone who has taught fourth grade for over 20 years, it's something I must be careful of. I've said before that one of my greatest fears is boredom.  Someone once told me, "If you're bored, you're boring."  I don't ever want to be considered boring.
Fortunately, I can honestly say that I have never become bored of of teaching 4th graders.   Each crop of new students (and their parents) brings new challenges and experiences.  And while the curriculum I teach seems to change very little from year to year, I am constantly reinventing my methods for teaching them.  I also teach with a team great professionals that helps keep me happy and energized and excited about do what I do.

"Don't drive angry!"
Something that has energized my teaching a bit this year is reading all of the great ideas shared via teacher blogs and Twitter posts.  In fact, these great teachers inspired to start blogging myself.  They also motivated me to share some of the things I have created for my classroom on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Over the past month, I've been very busy posting some new classroom resources.  I'm happy to share some of the things I have created with you for free for limited time!  Please take advantage and share with your teacher friends.




My 4th graders are currently studying algebra expressions.  This is largely a new concept for them.  They soon discover that it not so hard after they realize that a variable is just a missing number in an equation, which they have done before.

These I Have… Who has… cards I made are a fun, and effective way to quickly review this concept with your class.  They also encourage teamwork and active listening skills. 

You can do this as a whole class activity or make several sets and do them in smaller groups. I love to give each group a timer so they can “race” each other to get the fastest time.  I record the fastest times on the board.  It’s amazing how motivating this simple thing can be!








 The hardest part of teaching algebra concepts is getting 4th graders to relate an expression or equation to a word problem.  I created this set of task cards to practice this very skill.  It also gives them great practice with relating words and phrases like total, sum difference, less than, increase, decrease, etc... to the operation that is needed to solve a problem.





My students love when I make the coded,
joke answer documents like this one

 



If you've downloaded my other TpT stuff you know that I like coded answers.  Why?  Because kids love them, first of all.  Secondly, they are super simple to for students to self-check which frees me up to help students who need it.  This code is unique in that it creates a 4 by 4 crossword.




Finally, I made a set of task cards which requires students to write an equation to match the word problem and then solve for the missing variable. 






Spring is right around the corner (we hope).  Thanks for reading!  Have a great month!








Sunday, February 1, 2015

Currently - w/ February Freebie

Thanks to Farley at Oh Boy, 4th Grade for the Link Up today.

 

Listening to Come Up Man by G. Love and Special Sauce.  You might have heard this song from some commercial.  G. Love used to be one of my favorite bands - you know, the kind you buy the album before you even listen to one song?  But for some reason, for their last few albums, I just lost interest.  Their new album has brought back the bluesy, gritty sound that I used to love in their early music.  I'm a fan again!

   

Loving Game of Thrones.  My wife and I just started season 4.  The second to last episode of season 3 had a true OMG moment.  I won't give out any spoilers, it has a scene where you'll yell, "Nooooo!" at your television.  


Thinking of a fun iPad project for my tech club.  Well, our tech club has gotten off to a great start.  Our next meeting we'll need to use the iPads because the laptops will be all set aside to use for with online testing for about the next two months.  (Shakes fist at state Department of Education).  The kids were so excited to be quoted in an article published in a local paper about the club she e-mailed me excitedly, "We're famous!"
4th Grade Whitehouse Tech Club
photo credit: Karen Gehardinger from The Mirror

I'm thinking about doing some coding activities from Code.org or possibly making music with Garageband or a movie in iMovie.  I'd do a Minecraft project except that I am not allowed to install any new apps on the devices until summer.  :/  Got other ideas?  Please post in the comments.

Wanting to watch the Superbowl with friends.  This probably won't happen because of...


Need to fire up the snow blower again.  Seriously?  We have already canceled 6 or 7 days of school (I've honestly lost count), and we're expecting a major snowstorm again tonight - 10-14 inches expected. Likelihood of having school tomorrow is almost nil.  This also means we'll probably home-bound for a couple days, too so no watching the Superbowl with our friends.

Pageant title.  Okay, I'll be honest.  I feel a little awkward answering this one because unlike most of the bloggers here and like Jake from State Farm, I am guy.


Thank you!
Hey, you made it to the end!  Thanks for reading!  Here's a treat for you...

My 4th graders are currently studying algebra expressions.  This is largely a new concept for them.  They soon discover that it not so hard after they realize that a variable is just a missing number in an equation, which they have done before.

These I Have… Who has… cards I made are a fun, and effective way to quickly review this concept with your class.  They also encourage teamwork and active listening skills. 

You can do this as a whole class activity or make several sets and do them in smaller groups. 

I love to give each group a timer so they can “race” each other to get the fastest time.  I record the fastest times on the board.  It’s amazing how motivating this simple thing can be!


 
If you play detective you can search my store you can find lots of other new free products posted.  Take advantage of discounted or free products by following me on TpT.

Have a great day everyone!