Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hello blogging world!

Hello blogging world! I have not completely abandoned you! I have so much to share and have loved following and learning from so many amazing blogs this year. Thank you for all of the wonderful things that you've shared and I promise I will try to post more often! In summer 2013 I started my own business, actually my own business started and I had to keep up. I photographed maternity pictures for a friend and before I knew it people were emailing and calling me about photo shoots.

I spent the entire summer and fall behind my camera and MacBook (editing) leaving me little extra time for ANYTHING including blogging about school {sorry!}.

I did start a photography blog to keep track of {most} of my client's sessions. Things got a little hectic in September when I basically had two full time jobs with back to school and a full schedule of photo shoots including three weddings! I also did a few fall races and had somewhat of a social life.

I also started a personal/running blog since in 2014 I am challenging myself to a race a month including a half marathon. I know that life gets busy for us all but it is what we choose to make a priority and unfortunately this little blog fell to the bottom of my list.

As 2014 is quickly approaching and another presentation at FETC is right around the corner I would like to spend more time/effort on Sent From My iPad again :)! Happy New Year everyone!

Sunday, August 11, 2013

August Currently

Wow, is it August already? I completely skipped July and have taken a serious hiatus from all things school this sumer! As I am frantically trying to get back into school mode I have been blog hopping and realized that August Currently is a great way to ease myself back into it. So I am linking up with Farley at Oh Boy 4th Grade for her infamous monthly linky! Better late than never right?

Listening: My husband and I love watching cooking shows! Chopped, Sweet Genius, Master Chef, Hell's Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares, Bar Rescue, OK you get the point. We are a little obsessed with Food Network! My husband is also an amazing chef himself.

Loving: I am really loving every minute of summer. I took a complete hiatus from school and I haven't thought about one thing school since the end of the year. I really needed a break although I am a bit embarrassed to admit that I haven't even unpacked my school bag the end of the year! Every summer I devote to researching, reading, planning, organizing, etc. and this year I just really needed to step back and enjoy summer on different terms. Don't get me wrong I love my job and all that it entails but I just needed a minute {or summer} to feel refreshed. So this summer has been full of fun and throwing myself into another project which has been starting my photography business, Nikki Lee Photography!

I've had a blast spending time with my husband and puppies, going to the beach, tons of girls nights, going on fun play dates, hanging out with friends, sleeping in, reading lots of books not related to school and just relaxing. Roger and I celebrated our 1 year anniversary <3 and I started a photography/personal blog!!! I guess this kind of has three loves so the second is my photography business. I love being able to help people capture memories through photographs that they will treasure for years to come. I could go on and on about this but I will spare you. 

I am also in LOVE with PopSugar's Monthly Box! My friend Erica got me hooked! PopSugar Box comes each month with the latest and hottest goodies. It is a monthly present {to yourself - says my husband}. It is a fun way to try new products that you might not necessarily buy or treat yourself too for a super discounted price! Do you love presents?! Then you should sign up here and use the code REFER5 for a $5 discount! The anticipation of the box alone was well worth the $! Haha!

Thinking: Really? Is it August already? Summer has gone way too fast but has been a blast which always makes going back a little tougher! I am feeling a little overwhelmed with all that has to be done before BTS and the lack of time. {Maybe I should've gotten started a little sooner! OOPS!}

Wanting: I am drooling over two Canon lenses! I really really really want one! I also want the stress of getting my room set up and all of the back to school stuff to be over and done, set up, organized, etc. It is fun watching it all come together but I am feeling like I am so crunched for time that this year I just want it DONE! 

Needing: I really need to get into back to school mode. I am still very much in summer mode and the thought of anything school gives me a mini panic attack. I haven't thought about anything and in addition to the regular back to school business this year I am presenting at a countywide conference for new teachers. I applied back in the spring when I was asked by my supervisor to present one session. I was then asked to do two and when I just opened my school email I see that I am now presenting SIX DURING TWO DAYS! I need to get that together within the next few days but I really haven't grown professionally during the summer months so I am feeling a bit overwhelmed with the idea of creating a presentation for newbies! 

B2S Must Haves: 

1. I am obsessed with Sharpie fine point pens! I love that they write smooth and don't bleed through the paper. I LOVE the pink ones and have been scouring the BTS aisles for the double pack of pinks that I got last year! No luck yet!

2. I am super OCD and organized so I must have my calendar and agenda ready to go for BTS! I found a great printable at the end of the year so I am all set to go. {Phew, one thing off my to do list!}

3. Part of the fun of back to school is shopping for a few new outfits! I might have to use this as motivation or bribery to get myself in gear! 

Happy August blogging friends and I apologize for my summer hiatus! I will try to begin posting more consistently :)! 

Sunday, June 2, 2013


educreations is a free app for iPad that allows you to turn your iPad into a mini whiteboard that records your voice and any annotations that you make. It is super easy to use and works a lot like Show Me! I love that this app can be used with any curriculum and I have two examples to share! By creating a free account you are easily able to save lessons and they are sent straight to the internet as well as all iPads logged in under that account. educreations.com allows you to share links and embed codes with a breeze! You could use this app with ANY content area!

3rd Grade Math:


Each student had was given a word problem on a label. First they solved it on paper and then once had their answer checked and were comfortable explaining all of the steps they created their educreation.

2nd Grade Social Studies:

These 7 geographic features are part of the 2nd grade Virginia curriculum! First students worked to complete their "script" using their Social Studies book and place mat maps. They had to figure out where each feature was located and fill in the cardinal directions on their scripts. Once their scripts were complete students worked in pairs to create their educreation. 

Technology Centers

Implementing technology centers was a big goal for me this year and I couldn't be happier with the way they have worked out! Last week I created math centers to help the third graders review for their big state test coming up. It is amazing how engaged, motivated and silent students are while participating in technology centers! One of the areas of concern from the third grade teachers was solving word problems so this was the focus area. I am ALL about less paper but I am also from the school of thought that students need to have accountability for their work so here is the recording sheet they were responsible for. I will update with the recording paper since I cannot seem to put my fingers on it at the moment. I thought I had sent it to myself from my work computer but it doesn't appear that way so I guess it is saved at school :)!

Center 1- Educreations with Mrs. Jones- At this center I worked with small groups and reviewed the steps to solving a word problem. We completed one together and then I gave them their own word problem which I printed various levels on labels which they worked out on their paper. Once they had their problem checked and were comfortable explaining they used the iPad to create an educreation! If you have not downloaded this FREE iPad app you definitely should. It is MUCH like Show Me which you all know I am in love with but you are able to add more than one slide, TYPE, and change colors :)! I love how easy it is to save work and that it is sent to the web for easy viewing! Here is one example of a completed educreation!


Center 2- iPad Games- Math Quiz Game Show 1-3 was a quick grab from Apps Gone Free. It is an awesome LakeShore Learning app that plays much like jeopardy! You pick 4 categories and between 1-4 teams. I love that the questions are higher level and you can use work space on the iPad to solve the problems. It also keeps track of your score and gives feedback! 

QuickMath is a free app that makes practicing math facts fun! You can do addition, subtraction, multiplication, division or all four operations combined on three different levels! The best part is that the iPad uses handwriting recognition to record your answer not just a multiple choice or type in :)! The kids L O V E it! The intermediate level also switches the order of the equations which is also love because it makes them really think (i.e. 6 X __ = 48). It also forces them to use neat(er) handwriting because they get really frustrated when the iPad doesn't recognize their crazy looking numbers which impacts their score and time! They get super competitive trying to beat their own high score as well as others fastest times!

Center 3- Teacher Center- Students worked in small groups with their classroom teacher to review a particular objective! Each group was working on something different which really allowed for differentiation. It was a great time to remediate and extend with those who needed it.

Center 4- edcanvas- I know I have shared a little bit about edanvas before but it continues to amaze me! I learned about edcanvas at FETC this year and have been obsessed with it ever since! It is a perfect way to organize a completely independent lesson with a ton of structure. The kids LOVE it too and because it is super engaging. It has everything they need all in one block without having to click around and remember what to do next! Edcanvas has added a few new features and I know it will be a Web 2.0 tool that I use year after year! Check out the edcanvas that they worked from.

Center 5- TEI SOL Practice Items- Last year Virginia introduced TEI, technology enhanced items on the SOLs which has really increased the rigor of the test. Third grade is the first grade in our state that take standardized tests so we are trying to give them as much exposure to the type of questions that will be asked and the format of the test. We also want to get them familiar with using the tools independently. We have done lots of practice already but this was a great review! Check out the questions here.

I would love to hear what you think :)!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

June Currently

I am doing a happy dance as I say goodbye to May and hello to June! 
One of the first thoughts I had today was I need to link up with Farley, Oh Boy 4th Grade for June's Currently, priorities I know! I promise now that summer is right around the corner I will be more diligent with my blog (I hope)! Sadly, my last post was May Currently! Oh boy am I behind on some really cool tech things! 

listening: Yes, I am listening to Chopped again on the food Network. I absolutely love this show! It is one of the first shows my husband and I started watching together. He is an amazing chef and can immediately think of ways to use the mystery ingredients. I usually have to Google half of the ingredients although I do love to cook I can't figure out how to put ingredients together.

loving: Summer is so close I can taste it! We have 11 and a half days left of school. Last week I was chatting with a coworker and her teammate came in with a countdown of 13 days. I almost fell off the desk. I knew it was close but it sounds that much better in numbers!

thinking: This year has flown by! I did not feel that way around Christmas but the last few months have really flown. I think it is because I've had lots of fun between January and now with Florida in January, Vegas in March followed by the beach and tons of weekend events! 

wanting: We are heading to OBX the day after school is out and will spend MOST of the summer there ;)! 

needing: Our house is always "clean" because I am super OCD but I need to do a serious scrub and deep cleaning this summer, ya know the hands and knees nooks and crannies type of cleaning. I keep trying to convince my husband that we need to hire a maid for this type of cleaning but since he keeps laughing at me when I mention it I must do it myself this summer. We also each have an extra room in our house and my goal is to clear the clutter from mine. 

essentials: Obviously it is impossible to take just three things on vacation but since my summer vacations will include beach, beach and beach it is important that I have my bikini and flip flops! I will also need my iPad for entertainment and communication purposes :)! I cannot wait to read some good books this summer, pin,pin,pin on pinterest and play games galore! I am obsessed with Words with Friends, Bookworm, CANDY CRUSH and Fruit Mania. I don't go anywhere without my camera and I will be capturing our summer through my lenses! 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

May Currently

Happy May! I am a little late but couldn't miss a monthly Currently with Farley! 

listening - We <3 hockey. That's it AND the Caps are about to blow a two game lead. *SMH*

loving- I am really loving the warmer weather and being able to wear something other than a huge sweater or sweatshirt and boots! I have even busted out my flip flops a few times! We spent ALL of last weekend outside (at an outdoor 80s concert on Saturday and gardening on Sunday)! May really reminds me that summer IS just around the corner!

thinking- One of my best friends is having a baby and I ordered some monogrammed and personalized etsy gifts which should be arriving tomorrow (or soon) and it has been raining and by raining I mean DOWN POURING! I hope they are packaged well and not left on my NON porch.

wanting- I am still in love with my camera and my 365 project but I really want a new macro lens or tube which will allow for super close up shots. I also need a new flash. This hobby is very expensive!

needing- The FETC 2014 presentation proposal deadline is May 31st! We have lots of ideas but nothing officially on paper and the days are sneaking by! Do you have any suggestions?! If you were attending a technology conference what type of session would you like to attend?

summer bucket list- 1. Last year I had so much fun with a great friend and her three little monkeys doing local "adventures" to the lake, zoo, Washington Monument! We are planning to do it again this year :)! 2. The beach goes without saying. I think we will be spending more time in OBX than at home this summer haha or that is what I would like to happen! 3. I have to get my little self running again so I am forcing myself to sign up for at least one 5K for a little motivation. I am signed up for the Color Run in DC in September with a large team and I am really excited about it. Running has continued to go on the back burner and this week when I've been semi interested... it's been POURING. 4. On July 28 we will celebrate our 1 year anniversary and I hope to celebrate in some special way whether it be at the beach or elsewhere!

FETC 2014

FETC 2013 was so amazing that we have decided to submit a proposal to present again next year! I learned so much and had a blast presenting with two of my colleagues in sunny Florida! We have a few ideas but I want to know what YOU suggest! Please complete my PollEverywhere to help me and post a comment or suggestion!!!
Have you ever used PollEverywhere?! I love that you can vote online or by texting a "code"! Have you ever used your cell phone to vote before?! What do you think of PollEverywhere?

Friday, April 26, 2013

Tech Showcase

The Technology Showcase was a huge success and I couldn't have imagined it running more smoothly! All of the technology worked throughout the show and within 13 minutes of ending all of the technology was returned and accounted for which blew my mind (at one point I nearly had a heart attack when my "geek" running the QR Code Scavenger Hunt forgot to sign out the iPads/iPods)! This picture is taken AFTER we survived and realized we had no pictures of us!

A huge part of our success was the helping hands and support we had from the staff and my Geek Squad (a team of 13 technology smart kids in 5-8th grade)! We enticed the staff to help by providing dinner (Chik-fil-A) and also by entering everyone who helped into a drawing for a gift card.

We set the gym up like a large exhibit hall with tables along the outside edge for all of the presenters. We had a large corner sectioned off for the VEX Robotics team to demonstrate with their robot. The middle of the room had five interactive stations including Clickers, QR Code Name That App Scavenger Hunt, iPods/iPads, Today's Meet and Geek Squad!

We created and laminated color signs for each table (student names removed) with the title of their project, the app or tool they used, their grade level and name(s). We had some students present in teams while others were pairs or independent. 
Each presenter got a badge to wear and an encouraging note with smarties attached since they are all "tech smarties"!

The parents and students really got into the QR Code Scavenger Hunt running around the gym searching for the ten brightly colored iPads!

Parents and staff members LOVED seeing what is going on with technology in our building! While I post often on my website as well as monthly in the newsletter it is much different to see and feel for yourself!

We were so appreciative of our lovely helping hands that we created little thank you notes with coupons or candy attached for our 31 teachers who assisted!

I provided this app list as a resource for parents which was a big hit! If you have questions or would like copies of any of the resources I created just post a comment or send me an email :)! Happy weekend blogging friends!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Technology Showcase

Tomorrow is our first annual Technology Showcase at school! The purpose of the event is to allow parents and other community members to see all of the amazing technology created projects as well as how technology is being used in the classroom. We (the librarian and myself have planned the event together) sent out a mass evite to the entire school community which was our first try at an evite school wide and we got quite a few responses!

Teachers nominated students in grade first through eighth by using a Google Form. Then formal invitations were sent to 30 presenters! Once we had all of the presenters selected we created a map of the area (which can be found below)! We also created a little welcome on the front explaining how the showcase was set up and what to do! We want parents to admire the student projects as well as learn a little more about the technology we are using and how we are using it so there are 5 "booths" in the center for parents to visit! We also created a resource guide of FREE or ALMOST free apps that our students love with a brief description of the app!
  • Clicker Quiz- Parents can test their technology knowledge with this 10 question clicker quiz and see how the SMRT Response system works! 
  • QR Code- "Name That App" QR Code Scavenger Hunt! I created a 10 app icon identification QR Code scavenger hunt on brightly colored iPads that will be located around the room! We will also be showing the video of students using QR Codes which we presented at FETC. 
  • iPads/iPods- Parents can check out the apps we have, play an educational game or create their own project using one of our apps! 
  • TodaysMeet- Since we don't have twitter and we DO LOVE TodaysMeet we are inviting parents to "join the conversation" about the Technology Showcase and see how to use this awesome Web 2.0 tool. 
  • Geek Squad- Parents can meet the Geek Squad and see some of their finest projects including their School of Excellence video which is linked to the QR Code on our shirts this year. 

How cute are these presenter badges that I created?

I feel like there is lots more to share but I am exhausted and tomorrow is an even longer day 7:30 am technology training, a jam packed schedule of lessons followed by setup, the Technology Showcase and clean up:)! We are really excited about this event. I hope the night runs smoothly and we make it without too many "technological issues"! Follow up to come!

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Favorite App Linky Party

The Techie Teacher, Julie is hosting a Favorite App Linky Party! Since I am obsessed with downloading apps choosing just one seems IMPOSSIBLE! So here it goes...! I am sharing an old favorite that has been my go to app of the year!

Show Me is definitely my favorite free app. I have used it with students in grades first through eighth in every subject so I love the versatility. Show Me turns your iPad into a mini SMART Board and is a great app for creation. It records your screen and any marks you make as well as your voice which is great for explaining how to do something, sharing a story, solving a problem, assessing student's understanding, etc. Saving and sharing is easy which makes this app outstanding in my eyes! With just one click your Show Me is uploaded to the website and you can view it on your iPad or online! Once your Show Me is saved you can share it with a link or easily embed it into your blog or class page! Check out a few of our Show Mes. I selected a few from over 500 in my account.

1st Grade Science

 3rd Grade Social Studies

5th Grade Math

6th Grade Language Arts

Monday, April 8, 2013

Apps Gone Free

To say I am obsessed with downloading apps is an understatement. I am constantly searching the app store, checking other technology blogs and just plain stalking people's iPads. I think I am going to start a monthly Appaholics meeting (linky party) for those of you who have the same problem as me!

Apps Gone Free showcases high quality apps that have turned free making the search that much easier! Not all of the apps are educational but I am always looking for good apps whether it be for inside or out of the classroom. Apps Gone Free features 10 apps every day and there are always a few keepers! You can easily fill your iPad with $100s of dollars worth of apps in a few weeks. This is a great way to try new apps without racking up a bill and the best part is that you can delete it without guilt if it isn't what you are looking for! I hate downloading a paid app and being disappointed with it's features and upset at wasting a perfectly good 0.99 cents or worse yet a more expensive app. Most of the apps are free for a limited time so it is important to check daily or every couple of days. 

AppShopper is another great app for finding free apps BUT it was recently taken out of the app store. My headphone jack wasn't detecting my UP band so I had to have it replaced and I was SO disappointed when I couldn't find AppShopper in the app store or in my purchased apps section. I am hoping that it reappears soon! 

What is your favorite PAID app? (perhaps you got it for free)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

April Currently

I'm linking up with Farley over at Oh' Boy 4th Grade for one of the most popular linky parties, Currently! I love seeing what my other blogging buddies are up to and discovering new blogs. It is also a quick little reflection time for me which I love too. 

Listening: We have been watching Chopped Champions all day! It is one of our favorite shows and we happened to have a whole series of 5 episodes on DVR :)! To say the least we've had a VERY lazy Sunday!

Loving: It seems like we've had a very long and drawn out winter here in VA without the benefits of many snow days so I am thrilled that spring is FINALLY here and the weather is beginning to warm up! I also continue to LOVE MY LIFE but feel like I have said that on every previous Currently haha!

Thinking: I need to start running again now that the weather is warming up I have NO EXCUSES. I signed up for my first 5k Color Run in September which gives me plenty of time to procrastinate. For some reason I just cannot make myself enjoy running and I find myself thinking of the millions of other things that I could be doing with my time haha. My Jawbone UP band is also motivating me since we have a pretty big team of 15 or so at school and I don't like not being in first place so the competitiveness in me will encourage me to get my butt in gear!

Wanting: I am really looking forward to summer for SO many reasons! That is all.

Needing: We've had a really lazy weekend and I need to finish up getting ready for the week! SMART Notebook kept crashing and I got frustrated while creating a third grade edcanvas lesson because I couldn't find any resources.

Advice: This is one of my favorite pieces of advice. Life has given me LOTS of perspective so I feel like this is something that I have learned. It is so frustrating to hear people complain about EVERYTHING and I often find myself shouting (in my head), "SOMEONE ELSE HAS IT WAY WORSE THAN YOU. THIS is not worth the time to complain about." I know we all have bad days and everyone has problems so don't get me wrong but I don't like being around people who complain and are so negative about everything. Life is too short...be happy with the life that you have OR make some changes! Ok. enough of my soap box.

Happy April friends!

Saturday, April 6, 2013

iPad App Icons

Cocoppa app allows users to personalize iPad app icons. I have heard mixed reviews but until I have an issue my iPad looks adorable. It was fairly easy to use but took some time getting used to it. Have you used Cocoppa or a similar app to customize your iPad? I bet you can't guess my favorite  color haha ;)!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Stop Motion

iMotion is a FREE iPad app that let's you easily create Stop Motion videos! I downloaded this app awhile ago and shared it with our art teacher. I didn't really explore it BUT she did and has been creating integrated science Stop Motion videos with 4th graders.

I couldn't believe how easy it was to create. You simply open the app and snap, snap, snap, snap, snap as many pictures as you need while adding to a drawing or moving something, etc. and then save you product! Then plug the iPad into iTunes to export the videos or send them over email! Since they are so small you can attach them to a QR Code using QR Code Maker so she will have the finished drawing on display with the QR Code.

Scan the QR Code to watch a Plant Stop Motion video created by two students in Miss Kohler's 4th Grade art class!


thinglink is the newest Web 2.0 tool that I am in love with! thinglink combines two of my favorite things together photography (in a sense if you use your own photos which I did for my first fun thinglink) and technology! It allows users to create interactive images simply by uploading an image and attaching links. Check out my first thinglink that I created about the National Cherry Blossom. Then learn how to make your own by watching my quick video blog tutorial.

I would LOVE to hear what you think about thinglink or how you could use it in your classroom!


Edcanvas is a free Web 2.0 tool that I learned about at FETC this year that allows users to organize and share various educational resources in a visually appealing format! The "canvas" part of edcanvas is where you arrange pictures, videos, links, files, etc. You can search YouTube, Google (for images or links), Flickr, Educreations, Gooru, add website links or embed codes, upload files directly from your computer, your Dropbox account or you Google Drive account or import links from your internet Favorites! After you have the content all you have to do is drag it and drop it into the square! You can easily rearrange the content, add more rows/squares or change the layout/template of your edcanvas! 

Edcanvas is an amazing way to keep students engaged while hitting different types of learning styles. With the comment or speaking feature you could easily go paperless making grading that much easier! 

I desperately wanted to create a video blog to show you how EASY edcanvas' are to create BUT I'm having some technical trouble (yes, you should laugh since I am the TECHNOLOGY teacher)! First my Java wasn't up to date so none of my screen recoding programs would work. I've tried installing Java several times and restarting my laptop with no luck! I gave up on that and moved on to a screen recording MacBook app which only allows you to record for 5 minutes which would've worked! I got all set up started my video and edcanvas isn't loading properly in Chrome so I will share a few examples and perhaps come back to add a video blog later when things are being more cooperative with me! 

Edcanvas' are easy to share with a link or by embedding! Just click play or open in edcanvas to check out this 5th Grade Fractions edcanvas OR click any of the links below to see other examples! 

I would love to hear what you think of edcanvas! How could you use it with your students?
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