Learn To Earn Guest Post on Tales of Teaching with Tech

8:00 AM Sarah Koves 1 Comments

Here is my guest post from last week that was on Tales of Teaching with Tech.

Good day to you!  I am Sarah from Kovescence of the Mind.  

I feel so honored to be a guest blogger on Tales of Teaching with Tech. Sarah and I were  paired up as SLANT partners  a few months back.   Being paired up again allowed us to bypass the introductory part of being a SLANT partner and gave us the chance to dive into something new.  With that being said, we decided to collaborate on a giveaway and guest post for each other's readers.

I am one of the assistant tech directors in my district in addition to teaching high school full time.  I currently teach AP Psychology, AP Literature and Composition, English 11, and Civics.  It keeps me pretty busy, which is why I am always looking for easy and free things to do with my students.

Do you know about Whooo's Reading?

This is a free website for teachers to manage student reading.  Now you can pay for a subscription, but it has LOTS of basic features in the free version.  Also, if you want to pay and use it as a fundraiser, you, your PTO, or your school can do that to.  I am just going to talk about the the teacher side of things.

The first thing you have to do is create an account.  They give you a demo class, so you can play with the features before putting your own students into the program.  When you input students, you can put parent emails in as well, so they can check on their students.  It also creates a student log in and password, which is what your students use to log in and update their information.  Parents can get a weekly update in their email or log in to check the status of their student's reading.

Once student have their accounts, they can log in, search for the book they are reading, and log their minutes.  This is all done right on the computer with no paper for the teacher to handle.

After a student submits his or her minutes of reading, the program asks them to answer a reading question about the text that they have read.  There is a bank of questions, so students have different option every time.  They can also choose the category, which is a great differentiation technique.

Students earn coins for submitting minutes and answers...who doesn't adore virtual money???

Responses are published to the class, so others can join in the conversation and like what each other has written on the book they are currently reading.  I am infatuated with anything that builds a community of readers.

I, as the teacher, get to see the student responses in my news feed and grade them on the 1-2-3-4 Rubric.  With the paid version, or by referring other teachers and organizations, you can customize and add your own prompts to the response bank.

One of my favorite parts about this site is that it gives me reading data on my class as whole and on student individually.  Now I can talk with the students and parents about the reading the students are doing.

What are you waiting for?  Go create an account NOW at Whooo's Reading.

Also, in honor of our double SLANT box match, Sarah and I are doing a great giveaway, so be sure to enter today.  Also, swing by my blog Kovescence of the Mind to see Sarah's post.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

SLANT Box Partners and Giveaway

6:52 PM Sarah Koves 3 Comments

The SLANT Box Exchange

Last summer I discovered this fun little online thing called SLANT Box.  Jameson does an amazing job every month of matching up teachers across the country, so they can get to know each other and send a box of goodies.

My first partner was:

Mrs. D's Corner

She sent me some amazing goodies including a pair of earnings from her online jewelry store.  I can honestly say I use every item: the pens are all in the bag, which lives in my school bag now.  The hand sanitizer hangs on my lunch bag.  I use the notebook for TPT ideas.

I read the book...AMAZING!  I then wrote inside the cover and passed it on to a future SLANT partner.

I got to send to:

She is a librarian and has amazing book recommendations.

The next ROUND I got a box from another country.

Learning to be Awesome

Sent me some fun goodies from below the equator.  Now I have a friend to visit in New Zealand.

Many of my students got to try out the yummy snacks.  The marker set is a favorite of my Teacher's Aid for correcting papers.  I also LOVED the task card set she made for me.

December and the 12 Days of Teaching theme was a blast!  I got to know another Sarah from

Tales of Teaching with Tech

I think this box might have been the best Christmas gift this past year.  I haven't had a chance to open the jam...yet

I also got to know:
A LoveLi Class

and send her 12 days of teaching: 

In February I was paired with Ashley Bowers from

The box she sent me was filled with all the things that I LOVE!

I think she liked her box too.

For March I was paired again with Sarah from

Tales of Teaching with Tech

AGAIN!  We were both so excited that we decided to throw a giveaway. Be sure that you visit her blog for my post.  Don't forget to enter below.

Sunday Scoop 3/29 and Giveaway

10:03 AM Sarah Koves 2 Comments

Another week in the books, and time for another Sunday Scoop.  Four more mornings until spring break starts for me.  I hope to get some serious work done on products and posts over vacation, but until the I will survive.


1) Our 3rd quarter ended last Friday and grades are due Wednesday.  This means I have a massive amount to get into the grade book.  I need to go to the school and grade a couple of stacks of projects too.

2) I have a couple of things to add to Sarah's SLANT box before it can go out tomorrow, so I really want to get that finished.  I have been so blessed to be paired with her again.  Be sure to enter our giveaway below.

3) Our water heater went out last week...well, half out.  We now have the issue identified and replaced one element.  Once the new thermostat is in, we will have a full tank up and running.  You don't realize how much hot water you use until your supply is gone or very limited.


1) My students are in the midst of their unit on Mark Twain, and I have a couple of great posts drafted to go showcase what we are working on.  I hope to be able to find time this week to get them finished.

2) Here I sit watching The Steve Jobs movie with four baskets of laundry in front of the television...I probably should get it folded.  I seem to always have a basket of clean stuff, which is always better than dirty, but still.  Will I ever win this battle?


1) While I am married to a chef, I still enjoy cooking.  I haven't actually made a nice meal for the family in I don't know how long.  I didn't cook Saturday, Friday was frozen pizza, and Thursday was Jimmy Johns.  Time to fire up the grill in this 31 degree weather!

My March SLANT partner, Sarah from Tales of Teaching with Tech, and I are holding a giveaway in honor of being second time matches.

Check out more:

Nonfiction Product Review: Brynn, The Literary Maven.

8:00 AM Sarah Koves 2 Comments

Yesterday I was a guest on The Literary Maven talking about her Nonfiction Close Reading sets a few months ago.  See my post below.

Today I used her St. Patrick's Day & The Dark History of Green text and questions.

I think this is one of my favorites because the text was the transcript of an NPR broadcast.  Most of my students have never come across a text like this before.  They really got into the Valentine's Day one too.

Before class I printed off both the transcript and the questions for each student.    I print enough for every student, much to the dismay of the man watching printer counts, because I want them to mark up the text.  I always give my students the article first without the questions because otherwise they don't even want to read.  These texts are short (about four pages), so the students don't get too squirrley.

The first thing I ask them to do is always the same: read an annotate.  I ask the students to make two comments or questions on each page.

Clearly this student was all about BACON. 

Not only does the annotation help them focus and me know they read, it is just good reading strategy.

As they finish reading, even though I ask for quiet, they begin to talk....about the reading!!! I love the conversations they have over these texts.  It warms my heart that the students get into the reading enough to want to share with others.

The sharing of their thoughts with their table groups is what I do after the reading.

See how engaged they are in the conversation...TEACHER LOVE!!!

This one was getting so excited about the topic that he almost hit me with his papers as I was walking the room checking in on everyone.

Only after the conversation do I hand out the questions that go with the text.  We go over them one-by-one before I turn them loose.  Some of these questions ask for textual evidence, and I want to be sure that my students know exactly which ones they need quotes as parts of their answers.

That is one of my favorite things about these products: they require text-based answers.  The students have to use the text in their responses.

I have been using these for awhile now, so the students are getting really good at figuring out the types of questions that go along with the Common Core Nonfiction standards.  This is another great thing about these products: they cover all of the Common Core Standards for Nonfiction text.

Check those right off my list!!!

Another point about these Close Readings is that I just finished the first part of our state testing, and while it is NOT my favorite time of year, these texts made it tolerable because they are such high interest yet allow students to work with texts that similar to those nonfiction texts that they encounter on tests.

One last thing to consider is that these Close Readings are so user-friendly (the answer key is included) that they make a perfect sub folder addition.  These can easily be printed off and left for a substitute to teach.  In fact, The Presidents' Day set was used for just that last month.  

I was gone for the day, and I left that set for my substitute to use in not only my English classes but also my civics classes.

Here is the set I used in these pictures:

Here is The Literary Maven's freebie set:

And here is a freebie from me using the same idea:

Here is The Literary Maven's newest spring set:

Please be sure to stop by our blogs for more wonderful ideas.

Guest Post from Sarah at Tales of Teaching with Tech

6:23 PM Sarah Koves 0 Comments

I feel so honored to be a guest blogger on Kovescence of the Mind. Sarah and I were 

paired up as SLANT partners  a few months back. 

Being paired up again allowed us to bypass the introductory part of being a SLANT 

partner and gave us the chance to dive into something new.  

We decided to do guest blog posts and have a fun giveaway. 

Currently, I teach third grade, but last year I grew as an educator and taught tenth  grade.  (Yes, you heard that right….high school!) So I came up with a list of things I  was going to blog about.  And the one idea that topped my list was CNN Student  News

CNN Student News creates a 10-minute  current events video designed for middle school and high school students. And  guess what…. It is 100% FREE! (Which you know we, teachers, secretly do a happy  dance when we hear that four-letter word!)  

So let me tell you how/why I used CNN Student News in my World History class last  year. I taught at a very low socioeconomic school and my students had ZERO  interest in learning World History. For the first month of school, I tried everything  for my students to feel connected to the world and to history. History is one of  favorite subjects to teach and I was completely drained.  I felt that my students were 
  disconnected to the world they lived in. 

So I stumbled upon CNN Student  News late one night and was instantly reenergized to teach.  I made a simple  worksheet for my students to record three items/ideas for each  day. I used it as apart of their participation grade.  The first day, I implemented watching the video and explaining the expectations of  the worksheet, there were a ton of groans and complaints.  But by the end of the  week, my students were asking if we were going to watch Carl (the host) today.   Other teachers asked me often in my district, “If I thought it was a waste of time  because it took 10 vital minutes from instructional time.” My answer was always NO  and I gave this example.  

I had this student that came up to me and said, “I bet I  know what’s going to be CNN Student News today!” Of course I asked how he knew  what was going to be on.  He mentioned that he started watching the news at home,  so he could compare what was going on CNN Student News.  I was completely  shocked and if you only knew this kid… it was a huge accomplishment that he was  making connections. (A totally teacher moment for me!) 

There were countless times a major issue was covered on CNN Student News and it  would perfectly tie in what we were covering as the main lesson.  I usually would  show it at the beginning of class, which in turn led to minimal wasted time.  The  expectation for my students was they had to be in their seat right when the bell rang  and were ready to watch what was going on in the world.  

It also led to great  conversations and extension activities/projects.  Oh… and they have this thing called ROLL CALL! Everyday they do a shout out to  three schools from around the world.  After six months of diligently entering in the  daily roll call, we were mentioned! My students FREAKED out! 

So long story short…. I cannot rave about CNN Student News… go check it out! 

Oh and enter our amazing giveaway below!

Sunday Scoop 3/22: March Madness Giveaway

10:27 AM Sarah Koves 3 Comments

I am becoming quite the regular at Sunday Scoop.  Most of my housework is done, so I don't have any of that on my list for the first time in a LOONNGGG while.  However, this is the first time with my new design.


1) I have several massive piles of papers on my desk at work.  I also want to get all the plans done for this week and next because then I will be on Spring Break!!!  I did manage to get my boards changed out during conferences last week.

2) Our 3rd quarter ends this Friday and all the missing and late assignments were due last week.  This means I have a massive amount to get into the grade book.  It also doesn't help that last Thursday was parent teacher conferences, so I had parents asking what students can do this last week to pass...how do you handle this?

3) Make sure to follow me on Teachers Pay Teachers, so you know when I get this posted.


1) I have so many draft posts as I have a bad habit of using it as the dumping ground for my ideas.  I need to go through them and clean it up.  I noticed this weekend that I had drafts for posts that I already finished.  No idea what I was thinking.

2) Our taxes have been partially done for a month.  I do believe it is time to sit down and finish them up.  It just is NOT a fun task, so I need to motivate myself with a reward for getting them done.


1) Shmurtz got a new bike for Christmas as the one she had originally belonged to her now 18-year-old sister.  I want to get it and mine out of the shed, so we can start riding.

On another note: Butler lost last night to Notre Dame, so I am out of the March Blogger Match-Up.  This means I am giving away my Parts of Speech Bundle.

Check out my new bundle and enter below to win a free copy:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Check out more:

March Madness Bracket #2

1:11 PM Sarah Koves 4 Comments

Round #2 of March Madness Blogger Match-Up is under way 
Many thanks to 

The Creative Classroom

for setting this up.

Today I am paired up with

who will be cheering on Notre Dame tonight.  The winner has to send the looser her TPT product.

I am giving away my Parts of Speech Bundle if Butler looses, but you have a chance to win a copy right here, right now.

Enter my giveaway too

Be sure to follow me and the other bloggers to get all the freebies during March Madness:
Learning with Mrs. Langley cheering on Belmont
Second Grade Stories cheering on Indiana
The Neat and Tidy Classroom cheering on UC Irvine
Live, Laugh, I LOVE Kindergarten cheering on Coastal Car.
Miss Johnston's Journey cheering on Maryland
The Creative Classroom cheering on San Diego State
Fifth in the Middle cheering on Wichita State
Lessons with Coffee cheering on Arkansas
The Kinder Garden cheering on Notre Dame
Exploring Elementary cheering on NC State
Inspired Owl's Corner cheering on Oregon
Frampton's Fundamentals cheering on New Mexico State
Learning in the Little Apple cheering on Michigan State
NC Teacher Chick cheering on Utah State
A Tall Drink of Water cheering on Baylor
Sara J Creations cheering on Oklahoma
ELA Everyday cheering on Duke
The Blessed Teacher cheering on Lafayette
Mrs. 3rd Grade cheering on VCU
Rock & Teach cheering on Albany
Create Teach Share cheering on North Dakota State
One Happy Teacher cheering on Gonzaga
Fern Smith's Classroom Ideas! cheering on Iowa State
First Grade Roars! cheering on SF Austin
The Learning Chambers cheering on Hampton
Teaching is Sweet cheering on Eastern Washington
Sounds Like Fun cheering on Louisville
Confessions of a Teaching Junkie cheering on Cincinnati
Year2tastic cheering on Kansas
Sparkling in Second cheering on Wyoming
Making Meaning with Melissa cheering on Purdue
One Sassy Teacher cheering on Villanova
Brittany Kiser cheering on Texas
Coach and Teach 24/7 cheering on St. John's
Hardcore Teacher Resources cheering on LSU
The Whole Wheat Class cheering on Oklahoma
Mixing It Up In The Middle! cheering on Mississippi
Teaching Maddeness cheering on UAB
Its Elementary My Dear cheering on Ohio State
Live Love Serve Teach cheering on Providence
 Education Kingdom cheering on North Carolina
A Dab of Glue Will Do cheering on Dayton
Learning to be Awesome cheering on Kentucky
Technology Timeout cheering on Harvard
Kovescence on the Mind cheering on Butler
Blossoms of Blue in 2 cheering on North Eastern
Mrs. D's Corner cheering on Robert Morris
Where the Wild Things Learn cheering on Buffalo
Bright Concepts 4 Teachers cheering on North Iowa (UNI)
A Trendy Teacher cheering on Valparasio
Lucky to Be In First cheering on Wisconsin
O-H So Blessed! cheering on Virginia
Tales of Teaching with Tech cheering on Woffard
Very Perry Classroom cheering on Arizona
A Kindergarten Life for Me cheering on Georgia
First Grade Buddies cheering on Iowa
Miss Case's Classroom cheering on Georgetown
A Grace-Filled Classroom cheering on West Virginia
Third Grade Cupcakes cheering on SMU
The Class Couple cheering on Xavier
More Time 2 Teach cheering on Georgia State
Owl-ways Learning cheering on UCLA

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