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Moby Max – and a Giveaway!

If you haven’t heard of Moby Max yet, you are seriously missing out.  My kids have fallen IN LOVE with Moby Max!!  The literally beg to get on and practice when they finish an assignment early, and I’ve made it one of my center rotations for both reading and math.  I mean, how many programs provide targeted practice for both reading AND math?  Love!

Here’s a screen shot of what it looks like when I or the kids log in:

Moby max

Let me take you through a few of my favorite things about Moby Max!

1.  The math is fantastic and really comprehensive.  Kids can work on skills that you select by standard, fact fluency, or they can use the really cool Numbers feature to work on number sense.  I use the Numbers icon with my students who need intervention to help fill some number sense gaps, but even my higher achieving kids love to get on and work with the abacus.

2.  State Test Prep is wonderful!  It lets the kids practice test-style questions and problems.

3.  The reading is broken down so that kids can choose exactly what area of reading they want to practice – stories, informational, or fictional.  The language icon is great for grammar practice – something I always struggle to get to – and the vocabulary icon is perfect for test prep.

4.  The writing!  Oh, the writing icon.  I can load a prompt, the kids can write and submit, and then I can assess, provide feedback, and send it back for revision – online!!  They love it, and it sure makes my paper load lighter.

5.  Ease of use.  I can manage most things straight from the Roster icon.  I did watch an introductory tutorial, but most of it is good ole common sense.  It’s easy and doesn’t take much time at all.

6.  It has everything I want!  I mean everything.  The reports are unparalleled.  It’s differentiated – kids take a placement test and then work on targeted standards from there.  Fact fluency is included.  It is seriously my one stop shop.

7.  The kids love it.  As I said before, they beg to get on Moby Max.  They love earning game time and badges, but what I’m hearing from them most often is that if they don’t understand something, there are resources for them to use to understand and practice the skill before they dive back in.  To them, it feels as if they aren’t penalized for wrong answers, but support is provided to help them master the skills.

We are definitely hooked.  I haven’t explored all of the goodies yet – like the Contests feature – but I’m planning on learning more throughout the year.

Since it’s that giving time of the year – and since Moby Max has graciously provided it – I’m giving away one free year-long license!  Just enter the Rafflecopter below, and I’ll announce one winner Sunday evening at 8:00 p.m. central.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

enVision SMARTBoard lessons

Last year, our third grade team departmentalized, and I taught reading, so I was able to really dive into our new Read Well curriculum then.  However, departmentalization didn’t work well for us, and we’re moving back to self-contained classrooms this year, and it’s amazing how rusty I feel about teaching math after just one year!

My grade level team has been great about using common planning time to really sit and do some careful math planning, and one of our teachers shared that she planned a PowerPoint for every enVision lesson last year.  She loved because it functioned as a reminder to not leave anything out of her lesson, and it was great prep just in case she had an unannounced evaluation.  I took that idea and I’m planning on creating SMARTBoard lessons for my enVision lessons this year.


Please note – I am NOT a SMARTBoard aficionado.  In fact, I probably know just enough to be dangerous.  So, there aren’t a whole lot of bells and whistles on these first few, but I’m planning on learned and hopefully making them cuter and more interactive as the year progresses.  Also, we are not teaching every lesson in enVision, because we are still treading the water between Tennessee state standards and Common Core standards.  So, we are carefully picking and choosing which lessons to teach as we go.

As of now, I have SMARTBoard lessons available for lessons 1-1 through 1-4, but I’ll continue to upload them to my store as I finish them.  I’ll also make updates to earlier versions as necessary.  So that you can get a feel for the lessons, I’m making the first one, for lesson 1-1, FREE!  Visit my store to get your copy.


A Few of my Favorite Things – gel highlighters

I have a THING for good school supplies.  One of the teachers on my third grade team introduced me to gel highlighters last year, and I was immediately hooked.  So, when we were shopping together this year and she picked up a pack of these, I knew I’d have to get some, too.


I got these at Wally World, and I love them a little better than my name brand highlighters because they’re a little skinnier.  So, it’s easier to highlight small writing on my lesson plan book.  I’m also planning to use them to color code feedback on student work – pink needs a lot of work, yellow is so-so, green is good to go, and purple is extraordinary.

I also keep them in a cup that is hands off to . . . well, everyone.  I’m not even sure my husband would be allowed to use them.

What ultimate school supply goody do you have that you just can’t live without?

Read Well – Newsletters

We use Sopris’s Read Well curriculum for grades K-3 in our county, and I am a HUGE fan.  It is, hands down, the best reading curriculum I’ve seen.  We began using it in third grade last year, and the only thing that seemed to be missing was an easy parent communication component, so that parents would know exactly what their students were learning.  With Read Well, ALL instruction is delivered in small group format, and groups are in different units at different times, so one classroom-wide newsletter wouldn’t work for everyone.

enVision cover slide

To solve the problem, I created these newsletters that accompany each Read Well unit, from A through 20.  They share the text that is being read, skills that are being learned, high-frequency and irregular words, unit length, fluency goal, and vocabulary.  It’s easy to just copy enough for your group and distribute them whenever you begin a new unit for kiddos to take home.  They’re FREE on my TpT site, so click here to get your file!

Bucket Seats

I love my bucket seats for my computer area.  They’re the perfect height for the kids, and pretty cute, too.

To make them, I went to Wally World and purchased 5 gallon buckets and covers – that was around $3.50 or so.  I then used Goo Gone and lots of elbow grease to scrape the label off of the bucket.  If I had to do this over again, I would try to find black buckets to skip this next step, which is painting.  I have tried plastic spray paint, regular spray paint, regular paint from a can, oil-based paint from a can, sealant, and even a good coat of Mod Podge, and nothing stays 100% of the time – I’m constantly doing little touch ups.  So, if you want black buckets, save yourself a ton of grief and just buy them black!  After painting and sealing, I hot glued ribbon around the top and then filled the bucket with kitty litter to keep it stabilized.  (Bonus on the kitty litter – if you’re ever, heaven forbid, in a lockdown situation for several hours, the kitty litter can double as . . . well, you know.)  For the lid, I went to Hobby Lobby and got thin plywood circle disks for around 97 cents each and chevron bandanas for $1 each.  I put a layer of batting on top of the plywood circle, stapled the bandana to it, and then hot glued the whole thing to the lid of the bucket.

By the time I got through with everything, these probably come out to around $7 or so a piece.  Again, buying the buckets in the color you want will save you time, grief, and trouble.  But, all in all, I think they’re pretty cute and functional.