Archive for the ‘classroomhacks’ Category

Summer Almost Gone

July 27, 2014 1 comment

My reaction when I realized there was only one week of summer vacation left . . .



So, with the realization that I would be heading back to work (fully immersed, I should say . . . I have been going in during the summer for a few hours here and there), there are a few things I’d like share.  These aren’t really “classroom hacks” in a sense, but there are a few things I use in the classroom that’s based on technology.

1) Splashtop

I think the Splashtop App is a very useful tool, especially if you use an iPad (or even iPhone) in the classroom and if you have an Interactive Whiteboard you can sync it with.  It’s very convenient since the Splashtop App essentially streams your desktop onto your iPad, so you can manipulate your ActivBoard on your iPad.  It’s very handy during a presentation so you can walk around the classroom to monitor behaviors if necessary.

2) Padlet

This website is accessible for both iOS and Windows systems.  You can also adjust any sort of discussion or conversation topic within the site itself after you’ve set up something for the students to talk about.

3)  SMS Generator

I don’t use this often, but I do introduce it to the kiddos.  If someone from the class has a chance to work on some enrichment activities, sometimes I let them try to create a text message conversation between any of the historical or literary figures we’ve been studying.

Those are just three of the things we try to incorporate within the flow of the classroom.  The Splashtop App is probably the one I’ve used the most for this past year, especially since it allows me to roam the classroom instead of just standing in front of the class during a Prezi.

Any other teachers out there have ideas to share? 🙂

Photo a Day

Here are some of my favorites from the past week in terms of photographs.  I feel I’m getting “somewhat” better at photography, though I still have loads to learn.


Downtown Reno











Mayberry Park . . . the Sunflower is actually giving a thumbs up!


Thomas Creek Road. Still within the city limits, but looking somewhat rural in South Reno.


Classroom Hacks

August 2, 2013 Leave a comment

As I’m gearing up for the new school year, I’m always scouring the internet for things I could incorporate into the classroom.  There are a few sites out there that does this (I’m told Pinterest has bunch of these) but I also wanted to share a few things I try to do to make life easier in the classroom, especially the set-up.

First, I teach 5th Grade so working in an elementary school does influence some of the choices I use in the classroom.  I’m thinking a few these could work with any grade level though.  I also don’t go “cute” too often in the classroom, but I do think trying to brighten the room helps keep the environment lively.

Now, I don’t have a lot of “hacks,” but I can share what I always use in the classroom.  I actually might add more to this post as I’m continuing to set-up the classroom next week.

1)  Fabric for Bulletin Boards

I know a few people already do this, but if you don’t, I highly recommend it.  A few places, especially fabric stores like Jo-Ann’s, will give you a discount as a teacher.  Instead of using monotone butcher or chart paper for your walls, you can actually get different patterns or designs, or even get sport-themed fabric to hang up on your walls.  Of course, you can still get the monotone colors for fabric as well, which I also do!


Here is one example from my classroom.  This will eventually be my Language Arts/Writing Wall

2)  Different Color Whiteboards for Displays

This is something new I’m going to try this year.  I was walking by a few “back-to-school” displays and saw purple, green, orange and blue whiteboards being sold.  Now, one of my bulletin boards is for school information and short of installing some digital display that would show the students school activities, I thought I could just thumb-tack a few of these colored whiteboards to the board and use fluorescent dry erase markers to write out messages weekly.  We’ll see how well I keep going with these!


Here’s the School News Board.  They’re easy to take down and the fluorescent markers show up pretty nicely. 

3)  Student numbers for easier filing.  

I think a lot of teachers already do this, but it also makes it easier for the students to file work.

4)  Equipment Checkout list

I created this as a job for our class economy, but it definitely works out well in terms of teaching responsibility and maintaining the quality of the equipment we have in class.  The equipment checkout person is responsible for signing out the equipment to students in the class and must make sure the equipment is returned properly.  If there are any issues with the equipment, then the student will report that to the teacher.

Those are a few things for now.  I may keep posting on this subject, but there are a few places you can look for any sort of classroom or teaching hack.  In fact, I just saw this website which gives you a few other things you can do as well.

As I said, I may continue posting on this topic next week.  I also decided to try to post twice a week, with a Tuesday/Friday schedule going (in case you wanted to know ;).  Now, if there are other teachers out there who may happen on this post, are there any other “hacks” you use within your own classrooms?  Please share with a comment below! 🙂

And teachers, don’t forget to have fun, be nice and work hard!

Elan Mudrow


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