Many of my teaching goals this year revolve around math instruction.  One of the items on my list was finding a more effective way to communicate math strategies to parents.  I've given them print outs with examples, but I wanted to be able to show them our problem solving strategies in action.

Enter the awesome Chrome extension: Screencastify.

How to use Screencastify to share math strategies with parents

Screencastify is a Chrome extension that allows you to record your computer screen.  Because everything I do on my SMART Board shows up on my computer screen, I am able to work out problems on the SMART Board and easily record them for parents.  I did purchase a rather fancy microphone that was recommended by our tech guy at school.  I plan on using the microphone for a few other projects, so I splurged.  However, you can get some good deals on microphones here.

The first thing you need to do is go to the Chrome store and download the free extension.  You can do that by clicking here, and then click "Add to Chrome".  Once you do that, you will see the Screencastify extension icon appear at the top of your extension bar (upper left of your screen).

How to use Screencastify to share math strategies with parents

Now you are ready to start recording.  Just click on the icon.  You will be prompted to grant access to your camera and microphone.  A folder, labeled Screencastify, will automatically be set up in your Google Drive.  All of your recordings will automatically be saved there.  Then, just click on the icon again, and click on "Record Desktop".  

How to use Screencastify to share math strategies with parents

As you can see from the picture above, I selected to show the preview window.  If you look two pictures down on this post, you can see the preview window show up.  If you do not want this to show as you are recording, deselect this box.

A pop up box will show up shortly after you click on "Record Desktop".  Once you click on "Share", you will hear a three second timer.  After that, you can start recording.


When you are done recording, click Stop Sharing.  Screencastify will automatically show you the recording.  If you don't like it, click on the trash icon.  Otherwise, it will automatically be saved to your drive in the Screencastify folder.

How to use Screencastify to share math strategies with parents

If you'd like to see an example, here is the video I recorded for my parents on how to solve words problems with an unknown start.


I am very excited about the possibilities with this extension.  I plan on sharing a few videos with parents in every math unit.  Beyond that, I'd like to create videos for future tech ideas that I share here on this blog.

How to use Screencastify to share math strategies with parents

Do you have a favorite Chrome extension?  I'd love to know what it is!

Thank you!

My Facebook page is full of great mentor texts, anchor charts, freebies, technology links, and other ideas for your classroom.  I'd love to have you follow me there!


Fact Family Triangles

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    I hope everyone had a restful and fun holiday season!  If you're like me, it was a little rough getting back into the working routine.  Thankfully, I have 26 second graders who were happy to share their energy!

    I am excited to start our poetry unit, as this is one of my favorites!  Although we use primarily free verse lessons from Lucy Calkins, I like to expose the students to several other types of poems.  To do that, I use a variety of mentor texts and personal examples. Today, I'd like to share two great mentor texts and a freebie for Haiku poems that you can use in our own poetry unit.

    Writing Haiku: Two great mentor texts & a freebie

    The first mentor text I'd like to share is Dogku.  This is a picture book written completely in Haiku.  It tells the story of a stray dog finding a home.

    Dogku is the perfect mentor text for teaching Haiku.

    Here's an example of one of my favorite poems as this stray puppy is "adjusting" to his new home.

    Dogku is the perfect mentor text for teaching Haiku.

    I love how Andrew Clements compares Haiku to a small vase for words in his Author's Note.  He explains how using just a few words helped him pick the perfect words.  I have to agree with him, as his words perfectly describe how this family found a stray dog and made him their own.

    Dogku is the perfect mentor text for teaching Haiku.

    Haiku is traditionally a three-line poem written in 17 syllables (5/7/5).  However, modern poets are now taking liberty with some of these rules.  The second mentor text I would like to share is Hi, Koo!  This book explains their definition of Haiku in the Author's Note.

    Hi, Koo! is a great mentor text for teaching modern Haiku.

    Hi, Koo! is a great mentor text for teaching modern Haiku.

    I am loving this option, and thinking about having my students give it a try.  In the past, some of my students got stuck on the syllables and gave up on some good ideas.  I'm thinking that a little more freedom may alleviate that.

    Hi Koo! takes students through the four seasons while providing excellent imagery and emotions.  Each poem still has three lines, but the syllable rules are broken.  Here is one of my favorite winter poems.  I just love the figurative language.

    Hi, Koo! is a great mentor text for teaching modern Haiku.


    If you're interested in trying one of these Haiku styles in your classroom, I have a great freebie for you.  I made two versions, one is for writing traditional Haiku, and the other is for the more modern version. If you'd like to use these forms in Google Classroom, simply delete the lines and keep the text box for your students to type. To download the forms, click here or on the pictures below.  (You will be prompted to make a copy.)

    Freebie: Traditional Haiku

     Freebie: Modern Haiku

    I hope your students enjoy poetry as much as mine do!  Please share your favorite mentor text for poetry.  I would love some new titles to add to my collection.

    Mentor Texts and Freebies for Traditional and Modern Haiku

    Thank you!

    My Facebook page is full of great mentor texts, anchor charts, freebies, technology links, and other ideas for your classroom.  I'd love to have you follow me there!


    Contractions: I have, Who has?

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