Monday, December 9, 2013

Crazy Weather -- St. Louis Conference

If you live in the Midwest, you understand our crazy weather. Less than a week ago, it was almost 70 degrees, and we were planting outside. Tomorrow is my THIRD snow day in a row! I thought I could make it home from the St. Louis conference before this next weather system arrived, but as you can see from the picture below, I-44 is completely covered. I am so thankful to be in a small motel right off the Interstate where I'm resting my head for the night. Hopefully the roads will be clear tomorrow afternoon, and I can make the drive home.

I can't believe I had to spend THREE nights away from home to work one day in a city close to home. You gotta love winter weather. One thing about it -- I've had a lot of time to read, update my blog, and rest.

If you attended the St. Louis conference today, thank you. I had a wonderful time. If you can't find something on my blog, be sure to let me know. :)

Project-Based Learning

Project-Based Learning K-12.01 Handout

Math Centers

  Link to Dropbox:

Link to SMART Board Lessons

Link to download SMART Notebook Lessons:

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Informational Writing PowerPoint

It's been a long time since I've uploaded a writing PowerPoint to Teachers Pay Teachers, so I thought I'd add an informative piece of writing to my store to enhance your Common Core lessons. Here's the link if you're interested: The file is $1.00.

Handout for Anchor Activities

Anchor Activities Handout

Friday, December 6, 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Website Under Construction Due to Deleting E-mail Account

I recently closed my gmail account that was linked to this blog. In doing so, I had to transfer ownership of this blog to a new email account so I wouldn't "lose" the blog. Somehow, in the transfer, all pictures and most videos were lost. Please check back as I attempt to restore the blog to the original condition.

Close to 100 or 1000

Monday, December 2, 2013

SMART Board for Power Users: Create Your Own Interactive SMART Games

With the new SMART 11 Software, you can create your own interactive games. In the example below, the even tent only accepts even numbers, and the odd tent only accepts odd numbers. 

Link to download example:

Friday, November 1, 2013

Monday, October 28, 2013

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Writing Mini-Lessson in Kindergarten

This is an excellent example of modeling writing in front of students in kindergarten. I would recommend spelling the words correctly for students unless you circle suspect words --- meaning you suspect you spelled them wrong.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Countdown for Teachers Answers

Hi Cheryl,

Thank you so much for sharing Countdown and for the feedback!  We really appreciate it.

I have addressed your questions below:

How do teachers register if they're in a private or a charter school?
If the teacher is trying to register with a private or charter school, they will have to contact us directly so that we can add the school to our database if they cannot find it.  Right now our database has support for public schools and some charter schools, but we are more than happy to add schools so that they are available in the application.

Also, do you plan to add more grade levels and science standards soon? 
We are going to be adding all grade levels (K-12) to Countdown within the next few weeks.  We are currently going to be supporting the math and ELA standards first and then we are going to focus on science once they become available.

One last question, can teachers upload some of their own objectives and use standards more than once.
Right now, objectives can be used more than once.  One the Plan page, there is a box above the objectives where the teacher can select from "checklist" or "all".  The "all" option allows teachers to use an objective more than one day.  We do not have the add objective feature available yet, but we have it on our timeline for features that we want to add next.

Let us know if you have anymore questions.  

Take Care,

Matthew Rantz
Co-Founder & CTO

Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Differentiate Partners with the Easy to Use Template

Differentiate Partners with this easy to use PowerPoint template. Pages are hyperlinked so teachers can easily instruct students to work in partners with minimal management required.
Students only see names on the screen, but the teacher has a ‘key’ as to how the partners were made [see example below].

If the teacher calls for 3 partners to work together (see key below), he automatically knows that he needs to work with the four-six early-readiness students because they will need more support.

Partners --- Teacher's Key Example
8:00: Student Selected Partner (Heterogeneous)
9:00: Peer Tutor (ER paired with R; R paired with AR)
10:00: Student Selected Partner (Heterogeneous)
11:00: Similar Abilities Paired Together (ER paired with ER, R with R, AR with AR – Homogeneous)
12:00: Student Selected Partner (Heterogeneous)
1:00: Similar Abilities Paired Together (Homogeneous)
2:00: Student Selected Partner (Heterogeneous)
3:00: Math (Homogeneous – Similar Abilities Paired)
4:00: Reading (Homogeneous – Similar Abilities Paired)
5:00: Science Peer Tutor
6:00: Similar Abilities Paired Together (Homogeneous)
7:00 Student Selected Partner (Heterogeneous)

Partners for Susie Q.
8:00: Johnny
9:00: Jennifer
10:00: Matthew
11:00: Harrison
12:00: Sandra
1:00: Kevin
2:00: Cindy
3:00: Kurt
4:00: Sean
5:00: Faith
6:00 Brad
7:00 Kate

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Monday, February 11, 2013

North Carolina Common Core

Link to dropbox files:

I have tried to upload PDFs of the Powerpoints to the dropbox file, but the Internet at the hotel is slow. It may be the weekend before I'll have time at home to upload them. They should be linked by Sunday. :)

Song:  Follow the Leader by the Soca Boys (RADIO-EDITED VERSION)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Curriculum Mapping -- Countdown for Teachers

Sarah Knight shared this tool with teachers at a PD session this morning. I can't wait to map out my units next year. This is the coolest tool ever for curriculum mapping.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Ohio 2nd and 3rd Grade Teachers

If you attended the 2nd and 3rd grade conference in Columbus, Ohio, don't forget to send me your email so I can get the lessons to you that we talked about. Thanks so much for a wonderful day! I think your administrators owe many of you a make-up snow day. It's TRUE dedication to attend a conference when you could have been at home in pjs drinking hot chocolate. :)

This link may get to the files you need:

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Critical-Thinking Games

If you're looking for critical-thinking games for your students, this site is amazing:

Close to 100 or 1000 Math Game

Capture Five Math Game

Making 10s Card Trick

My friend and colleague, Jen Mueller, taught me this card trick. She only removed one card and it worked. You have to try this with your students.

Introduction to Singapore Math

Friday, February 1, 2013

SMART Board Online Class

If you are interested in learning how to navigate through the SMART Notebook software, you might consider this online course. I'll be monitoring the Discussion Area through the end of March. :)

To the right of this page near the bottom is a search engine on my blog. If you type SMART into the search area, you'll find many downloads. :)


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Polygon Rap Found on SchoolTube

I found this on SchoolTube today. I can't wait to show my students on Monday. :)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Six Essential Comprehension Strategies

Good Readers Think - Comprehension Strategies

Good Readers Think1

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Las Vegas National DI Conference on July 16-19

Link to Las Vegas Conference:

There are so many affordable ways to fly to Las Vegas. If there is an Allegiant Airline close to you, check out their flights. I can generally get a roundtrip ticket for less than $200.

We're in the Venetian/Palazzo again. The rooms are reasonably priced and beautiful! 

I'll be presenting July 16-18, and I'd love for you to join me in some of my sessions. Summer will be here before you know it. Make plans to attend and vacation a little now. :)

Ohio 2nd and 3rd Grade Conference on February 1

If you're in the Ohio area, I'd love to have you join me in one of my sessions on February 1. Let's hope for an early spring. :)

North Carolina Common Core Conference on Feb. 11-12

If you're looking for Common Core training, and you're in the North Carolina area, I'd love for you to join me in one of my sessions. :)
Link to brochure:

Friday, January 11, 2013

Alberta DI Conference

If you're attending the DI Conference in Alberta, Canada, please check back for information about sessions on Monday. I plan to spend the weekend tweaking presentations. I'm so excited to visit your country.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Spiderscribe - Free Concept-Mapping Site

Sarah Knight shared a wonderful, FREE, concept-mapping site at eMINTS training tonight: