Monday, December 31, 2012

Making Photo Life Easier

Photograph by Mr. Mir at our 1st Grade field trip to the pumpkin patch!

Photograph by Mr. Mir on our wedding day. (Yes, I realize this is silly given the amount of money we paid for photographs and the fact that there were two professional photographers as well as our family members taking pictures. It was literally like the paparazzi, I digress but wanted to prove my next point!) 

Photography is another {passion} of mine. I am always snapping pictures (see above) whether it is with my phone, the iPad, my "small" digital camera or my brand new Cannon Rebel T3i. I have wanted a "big" camera for a long time but never made the big purchase. This was my big gift for Christmas this year from my amazing husband. Do you love the adorable pink strap he found?

The iPad and my phone have made uploading photos so easy. Although it is not a hassle at all to grab the connection cord and import the photos there is something about the instantness that the iPad and phone allow which have made me lazy with my digital camera UNTIL this little gem arrived in my life (Thank you again wonderful husband!).

This little memory card reader plugs right into the USB port on one side and inserts your memory card on the other, brilliant right? Ok, so maybe it isn't brilliant but it has already made picture importing "easier" so I wanted to share it with you. Here's to hoping that this little gadget makes the 365 Photo Project I am undertaking as my New Year's Resolution easier than ever! Happy New Years everyone! 

Here are a few of my favorite images taken with my new camera and another quick plug for Animoto which you can read more about here

5th Grade State Research

North American Geography is the 5th grade social studies curriculum in our county so they spend the entire year using maps and learning everything there is to know about the regions of the US including the states and capitals, historic events, landmarks, climate, geographic features, physical features, natural resources, etc.

In place of their grade level program they host a Wax Museum where each student does extensive research on a particular state. Then they develop a science board for their state, dress up like a famous figure of that state and write and memorize a speech. Last year they created podcasts (reading their speeches) and linked those to QR Codes. This year I hope to up the anit with the technology integration and have come up with a few ideas!

I just found Weebly and I love how user-friendly it is (I hope it isn't blocked at school)! I played around with a few other web design sites that were difficult to navigate and I got really frustrated so I knew they would be useless with students but Weebly is awesome! Check out the example site I created! If you are interested in a tutorial just let me know I would be happy to provide one in a future blog post!

If you haven't checked out Lino yet you can read my earlier post, it is a free Web 2.0 tool that is like a big pin board. You can post stickies, photos, links, documents and even videos. It is similar to Glogster but I find it much easier to use. I thought that it would be a different and more interactive way to show off the state!

The last thing I want to do I saw an example of on SchoolTube but cannot seem to find it at the moment is have students create a commercial for their state using iMovie or maybe PhotoBooth! We will be getting 30 MacBook Airs in the next few weeks and I thought this would be a great intro project. Although I have a MacBook Air I need to learn more and what better way than to JUMP IN and get started on a project.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

QR Codes

I know I have shared my obsession with QR Codes before! I have more posts and FREEBIES to come as I have been using them a ton this year with all grade levels. I also have lots to share about our FETC session CS8267 in January but check this out in the meantime! 

Anyways, how cool is this QR Code with my school logo embedded in it that links to our school website? I just found an awesome free site called VisuaLead that allows you to generate QR Codes with photos embedded. You can upload your own photo or use popular logos (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterst, etc.) and clipart that they have available. 

Visual QR Code qrcode design


I found another QR Code Generator that allows you to overlay the picture and thought it was worth sharing as well! Here is what it looks like!

Bouncing Balls

I wanted to share another Web 2.0 classroom management tool called Bouncy Balls. The kids get so excited when the see the balls on my screen!

So basically after you enable the microphone (built in with a laptop or external with a desktop) it detects the noise level (closest to the microphone obviously) and the balls bounce! If students whisper/talk quietly the balls lie nicely at the bottom of the screen, when students talk at a normal level the balls bounce midway up the screen but when it begins getting too loud the balls bounce wildly on the screen (you can adjust the microphone sensitivity). The first thing you MUST do is let the kids do a mini scream or tap or stomp or loud laugh or whatever they want to do otherwise they will do these things randomly just to see the balls bounce. After they got their silliness out this little gem works like a charm! One class even made it into a competition, each time the balls go wild the teachers got a point and every time we checked the screen and the balls were calm the students got a point. 

The first graders all the way up through eighth graders love the bouncy balls! Have you used this tool before or something similar? Do you have a noise chart in your room?

Saturday, December 29, 2012


Since we are getting ready to count down until the New Year I wanted to share one of my favorite quick and easy Web 2.0 classroom tools, Online-Stopwatch. At first glance the website seems cluttered and not very appealing but this is an awesome website with all different online countdown timers. It is FREE  and the kids get such a kick out of all of the different timers. It was really fun for me to see 7th, yes 7th graders excited over a timer! The bomb seems to be the most popular and I have found that when I first introduce it that it is best to set it for 1 minute so the kids can see the fuse shorten and bomb explode otherwise they spend time wondering about what is going to happen, how loud it will be, etc. which is humorous but not productive. 

I used to have a several small timers in my room (from the DRA/PALS kits) that I used for centers which I always lost misplaced. Then I upgraded to the SMART Notebook timers which are also fabulous but SMART 11 often takes FOREVER to load on my computer and this is so quick and easy and it has been very effective especially with our technology centers. I love that it provides the time as well as a visual because let's be honest when we tell kids they have 30 minutes to work especially our littlest friends they don't have a clue how long or short that time really is.

 The fuse gets closer to the bomb as time passes and then eventually it explodes!

The sand flows from the top to bottom in this good old fashioned hourglass timer.

The rocket is another popular timer choice! 

Kids are fascinated with things "blowing up" so as you would guess the dynamite is another favorite.

I just found the swimmers and runners today but I am sure the kids will enjoy these ones as well!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Technology Centers

I am absolutely LOVING technology centers which I have worked collaboratively on with MOST grade levels (1st - 8th) ! Initially it took some extra work on my part to get the "buy in" because it can be time consuming and there is a lot of preparation up front. Once I convinced them that it wasn't "something else" to do or more time away from instruction and it could be their science lesson (or whatever subject) with a ton of integration of content and technology they were in! I have worked the centers a little differently with each grade level and experimented with setup! One thing that is kind of fun about teaching the same lesson three times is that by the third class you have worked out all of the "glitches"!

The 2nd grade team has fallen in love with centers and they now come to me asking to schedule time together which is a-w-e-so-m-e! This was our first round of centers (above) to help them prepare for a unit ia (interactive achievement) test and to begin researching ecosystems.

Laptop/Clicker Center:

At the Laptop/Clicker Center students watched the Solid Shape BrainPopJr  and then took a 10 question Clicker Quiz to review the areas they were having trouble with! Our school has had "Clickers" (SMART Response LE System) for years and have been taking whole group assessments but this allows for students to work at their own pace, read the quiz on their own and refer back to the video for help. It was also a great opportunity for the teacher and myself to help anyone who was struggling. All of the data was nicely collected as usual and made an easy grade for the teacher!!! The SMART Notebook file was housed on the computer lab page which made for an easy download.

Laptop Center:

At the second laptop center students accessed PebbleGo which is a phenomenal resource where students began researching an ecosystem of their choice (looking for three living things, three nonliving things and three interesting facts). If you are not familiar with PebbleGo it is a website that has leveled nonfiction/content text and will read out loud. It is a bit pricey but the students love it and it seems to be a favorite new site for my kiddos in 1st and 2nd grade! I love that it is bright, colorful, easy to read, easy to use, has great pictures and graphics, highlights academic vocabulary words and provides definitions, etc. Check out one of the demos.

iPad Center:

The third center was the iPad center where students used an app called Ecosystem HD to continue finding out information about their chosen ecosystem. The app is paid but it is well worth the $1.99 as it will read to the students and has awesome facts, pictures and videos.

At a later session we used the ecosystem research from the app and PebbleGo to create a Prezi! Since this was 2nd graders first time with Prezi they worked in pairs. First they watched a screencast I made using Screenr (I am also in love with this tool). Then they got to work! Check out a few Prezi's that they created and aren't they so much better than a POSTER?!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

What I Love MOST About Teaching

During benchmark week I was "kicked out" of the lab and did a lot of classroom co-teaching which was great ... except Monday of that week the laptop cart I signed out wasn't working, I slammed my finger in the door, the app I wanted to use was with 1st graders that worked perfectly at home was blocked by our counties network,  Google Drive would not work on the ancient desktops and the laptops didn't have Chrome (needed to edit presentations), I spilled my tea all over myself, the butt of my pants got soaked while sitting on the carpet in the hallway near the door, etc. 

Do you see where I am going with this? Nothing was going right and everything was going wrong! 

As I was leaving a third grade class a little boy handed me these two index cards and gave me a big hug. This little note and kind gesture brought tears to my eyes and reminded me WHY I love teaching so much even when NOTHING is going right! 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

December Here and Gone

I am a little embarrassed that my last post was December 1st. I had good intentions of featuring the "12 Apps of Christmas" but obviously I didn't get myself together for that and I can't come up with another clever blog title so here you have it!

As I've claimed before I cannot live without my iPad. I have tons of new apps that I want to share with you! Teacher's Pick is an awesome teacher tool. I usually only feature FREE apps but recently I've bought some pretty cool apps and feel that this one is worth the $1.99.

Teacher's Pick allows you to randomly pick students just like the "old fashioned" popsicle stick method!

Since I teach 1st - 8th graders (650 students) I added numbers rather than names to use in the lab! Each student has a class number so this works perfectly! 

You can add as many classes as you want as you can see on the left I have Porter Mentees, Porter Staff, Porter Elementary, Porter Middle School and then Lab. By pressing the smile the iPad randomly selects  a student and highlights their name/number in purple. You can mark students as absent so it doesn't pick someone who isn't there. 

One other awesome feature is that it will randomly put students in groups! You set the number of students and give the groups a name and ta-da group work made easy!!! LOVE this feature!  

I haven't done too much with badges but you have the ability to award students badges which I know students really like receiving. 

Since Teacher's Pick is a paid app I wanted to offer a FREE alternative :)!

iLEAP Pick a Student is a good second choice. It doesn't look as pretty (Chalkdust font haha) but it does the trick and it costs nothing :)!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

December Currently

Happy December blogging friends! 
Join the par-tay and ink up with Oh' Boy 4th Grade  for December's Currently! 

listening; I will admit that some of my favorite movies are children's movies! BRAVE is awesome so far. I love that Merida isn't your typical Disney princess! She is fierce, sassy, independent and beautiful, what a great role model for young girls.

loving: Last year we bought our house on December 19th so we were still moving and unpacking and we didn't even have a Charlie Brown Christmas tree! We are so excited to have our first real Christmas tree for our first married Christmas! We bought it last night and will be decorating it tomorrow :)!

thinking: Every year I tell myself that I am going to begin Christmas shopping much earlier! I got a lot done today but still have some to go. FETC is going to be here before we know it and we STILL have so much to do!


wanting: I love taking pictures but my Droid and iPad aren't cutting it as far as quality goes! I have a great Cannon but it has a sand scratch on the lens. 

needing: We haven't been shopping since before Thanksgiving because we went to the beach. Our cupboards are full but our fridge is bare! My husband has only been home for an hour and has already attempted going into the spare room where his gifts are. I must wrap them soon! 

RAK: I truly try to do "random acts of kindess" each day! On Thursday morning there was extra coffee from our Mentor meeting that we put in the lounge for anyone to have. Since I know our secretaries love Starbucks coffee I told them about it and sat at their desk while they made themselves a cup. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Liebster Award

Dear blogging friends,
         I apologize for my recent absence as a blogger. I could make a list of excuses for not blogging but I won't because you know them all and could write a list of your own:)! 
                                      Exhausted Teacher

All jokes aside, I was nominated by two lovely ladies (The Babbling Box and This Little Piggy) for the Liebster Blog Award which gave me a perfect opportunity to blog this evening.  A Liebster Blog Award is given by bloggers to new bloggers that have less than 200 followers.  It is to show new bloggers that they are appreciated and to help spread the word about new blogs. I am honored to be recognized and love knowing that my blog is helping other teachers :)!

Here are the rules:
- You must post 11 random things about yourself.
- Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.- Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.- Choose 11 blogs you love (with less than 200 followers) and link them in your post.- No tag back (but please leave me a comment on this post with the URL to your Liebster post so I can learn more about you)!

11 Random Things About Me

1. I love "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and can recite the entire thing.
2. I am allergic to life- no seriously! I have terrible environmental, seasonal and pet allergies and I cannot have gluten or dairy. I have spent a great portion of my adult life being "sick" all attributed to allergies. 
3. I have 2 hypo-allergenic puppies named Lilly and Gremmy. Lily is my favorite flower and the name of my parents bar which they sold to move to VA to be with me and Gremmy because she came second and her name had to end in the "e" sound and she looks like a gremlin.
4. PINK is my favorite color and I prefer to only write in pink BUT beware pink ink does not fax.
5. I cannot will not parallel park my car.
6. I am a princess. Period.
7. OBX is my favorite place in the world although I have traveled to many amazing destinations.
8. I am obsessed with QR Codes. So much so, that my husband tried to propose with a "Will you marry me?" QR Code. Tried because he put it in a small bottle which got washed away while I was watching dolphins at sunrise on the beach. OOOPS! 
9. I am OCD. I think that explains itself. 
10. My husband was my knight in shining armor and I didn't even want to take his number. Luckily he was persistent.
11. I can never stay awake during movies and my favorite movie EVER is Wedding Crashers.

Questions from The Babbling Box:

1. How long have you been blogging?
My first post was July 31st, 2012 so a little under 6 months.

2. Why did you start blogging?
A new teacher at my school told me about her blog and encouraged me to start my own.

3. If you weren't teaching what would you be doing?
I would make a great stay at home wife or full time blogger. BUT seriously I would LOVE to be a stay at home mommy.

4. How long have you been teaching?

This is my 6th year teaching. 5 years as a first grade teacher and 1 year as an instructional technology resource teacher.

5. Pepsi or Coke?
I don't drink pop but I do LOVE Sugar-Free Red Bull or RockStars when I am super sleepy.

6. What is your favorite recipe or thing to cook?
I love cooking Thai food which is something that my husband introduced me to.

7. What is your dream vacation?
I would love to travel to Austrlia or Thailand BUT really if you put me on a beach I am happy.

8. What are your favorite TV Shows?

Right now Sons of Anarchy and The Voice.

9. What is your favorite holiday tradition?
I love driving around and looking at Christmas lights.

10. If you could have one superpower what would it be?
My superpower would be to ... hmmm I might be dangerous with a superpower. 

11. What is your most embarrassing moment teaching?


Questions from This Little Piggy:

1. Where is your favorite place you've ever visited? 
OBX is by far my favorite place in the world.

2. Can't live without teacher item? 

My SMART Board or iPad.

3. Favorite holiday tradition? 
Driving around to look at Christmas lights is a tradition I love.

4. Favorite book to read with your students?  
I love reading aloud ANY book to students and I have TOO many favorites. Junie B. always makes me pee my pants laughing. She is such a sassy pants.

5. Why do you blog?  
I hope to help other teachers and it is a great way to keep track of ideas and one day look back on all of my experiences. 

6. Favorite TV show.
I watch way too much TV and trashy TV at that. Bachelor/Bachelorette may be my "all time" favorites.

7. What lead you to decide you wanted to be an educator? 
I wanted to be a teacher since I was in Kindergarten. I was a kid who "did school" and I had an amazing Kindergarten teacher who fostered my love for learning and passion for teaching others. 

8. How did you come up with your blog name? 
I always see "Sent From My iPad" when I send emails and wondered, "Does anyone even notice OR care?" but thought that it would be a perfect name for a blog since I do spend so much time working from my iPad or MacBook Air. BTW I heart Apple products.

9. If you could time travel to any place or time, where would you go?

Thailand or Australia or any beach really :)! I love to travel.

10. You have the chance to appear on your favorite show, currently on air or past, what show would I see you on?

Actualllllly, I have or have never had desire to appear on Bachelor or Bachelorette I just enjoy the drama BUT my real actual life could be made into a TLC Real Life Movie LOL. No, seriously.

11. What did you want to be when you grew up?
I've always wanted to be a teacher or a mommy!

I have nominated the following blogs; 

Wishful Teaching
The First Grade Princess
Young Daze in 5th Grade
Little Miss Organized
Hippo Hooray For Second Grade
Covered in Glitter and Glue
Fun in ECSE
Teach On
The Wild Rumpus
O"FISH"ally a First Grader

Questions for the nominees;

1. How long have you been blogging?
2. Why did you start a blog?
3. How did you come up with your blog name?
4. What is your guilty pleasure?
5. What is your "can't live without" teacher item?
6. Are your a morning person or night owl?
7. What is the funniest thing a kid has ever said in class or that you've overheard?
8. If you had to pick one thing to eat for the rest of ever what would it be?
9. What is your favorite iPad app? OR website? 
10. How long have you been teaching?
11. If you weren't teaching what would you be doing?

Thanks again to The Babbling Box and This LIttle Piggy for nominating my blog :)! 

And, "I am BACK! You Know it." Old School is my second favorite movie and I thought it was a perfect way to end a LONG blog post.

Friday, November 9, 2012


The more I work with middle schoolers the more I fall in love with them. OK, maybe I'm not completely in love with them but I am loving working with them and engaging them with technology!

Last week the 7th grade math teacher came to me with a question which is how every conversation we have begins., "Jones, I have a question." He wanted to visit the lab to use an interactive virtual manipulative site. He showed me the site and we scheduled two days. The whole day I kept thinking, "This site is really valuable but  REALLY? The whole class is going to come and do this at the same time? How will you differentiate? How will you make sure everyone is understanding? Why do I have to be here for this and how is this using my expertise with technology?"

The elementary teacher in me, the collaborator in me, the modeler in me couldn't be a second adult in the room while students used virtual manipulatives to solve equations SO I went to him with a question! I asked if he would be OK with doing "centers" rather than just one activity. He was willing to give it a shot and was open to ideas and that is exactly what we did! I suggested that he work with one group at the SMART Board teaching a new concept (solving an equation with a negative variable), one group work with the virtual manipulatives to reinforce what they had been learning and one group work with me to use the app Show Me (read more here and here) to assess what they had been learning (solving an equation with a variable)!

One thing I adore about elementary students is that they light up when they see you and are just happy to be at school! 7th graders, not so much! As I explained what they were going to do which took maybe 5 minutes tops they sat quietly, yawned and stared off into space. I sat in the hallway with these twelve 7th graders thinking, "It's going to be a L-O-N-G day." I allowed them to pick partners (because I bored them with directions) which I thought would be disastrous and turned them loose.

I have seen technology do this a million times so I should have known better but they blew me away. Each pair got their iPad, stylus and equation and quickly became engrossed in creating a Show Me. When it was time to switch groups they were asking to do another problem, listening to their Show Me, listening to another group's Show Me, trying to figure out how to share their Show Me with their parents, asking if they could download the app at home and they were not moving. Kids that normally "misbehave" I didn't have to speak to once.

Today kids came with their own equations and scripts and wanted to record an extra Show Me.
Several groups asked for "harder" problems. Here are just a few examples.

This child asked to do a second one on his own today. I love his commentary and pronunciation of neg-a-tive so I had to share it.

 Here are two girls who wanted to solve an "extra hard" problem.  

 Love their Show Me Credits haha!

Thursday, November 8, 2012


Earlier this year I worked with a group of 4th graders using Google Docs and Kids Zone Create a Graph website to create bar, line and pie graphs on quiz data. I blogged about it over here if you want to read more about what we did! Anyways, on Wednesday the 4th grade team came to me and asked if there was a way for their students to create a podcast of how to make a graph since the whole class did not do this activity! They wanted the small group who originally worked with me to be the teachers for the rest of the class to be able to create their own graph from survey data that they collected! 

Screenr is an free web-based screen recorder! I stumbled on it over the summer but didn't really know how I would use it since I already have Jing for my MacBook that I use at home and SMART Recorder on my PC at school but I filed it away. Since I was looking for something quick and super easy to use screenr immediately came to mind and worked perfect! It required a 5 minute or less intro and students needed very little direction. They were able to create simple screencasts that were easy to save and embed into our website!

Here is one example! I love it!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

50 Nifty United States

Happy Election Day!!! I hope you all got out and voted today! 
We stood in line for almost 2 hours to cast our ballot.

As our home is anxiously awaiting election results I saw this comic and couldn't help but crack up! It has been tense watching the results begin to pour and I love the humor and needed a break from the seriousness of this election :)! Besides watching the news we are also stalking 270towin and Election Results (both supposedly bipartisan)! Anyways, I thought this would be a perfect time to blog about learning the 50 states in school. Below are a few of my favorite YouTube videos. 

A first grader at our school sang this at our school talent show last year and I was so impressed!

Did you learn this song when you were growing up? 

5th graders in VA learn the states and capitals and I thought this song was a good hook.

So I have told you how much I heart Chrome and Google Apps but haven't really elaborated on any so I thought tonight I could show you Simple States which is a great app for learning and quizzing the states. It isn't super colorful and it doesn't have a lot of bells and whistles but it is definitely worth checking out...

I have tons of apps on the iPad to help students learn the states. Here are just a few!

Stack the States- I adore this app and my kids LOVE it too!

iLearn United States- very interactive the kids get really into this app.

US Map Games- You cannot do much without upgrading so this app isn't the best but you can play the puzzle level 1 for free.

This website has TONS of awesome links and all different levels of learning. Here is another fun US Map Quiz.

There are tons of interactive games, apps and websites! I have only highlighted a few. 
There are literally millions! 
What do YOU use in your classroom?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...