Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Stop and Go

As I am adjusting to my new position I have found that I am being bombarded by people with questions and problems who are expecting an instant fix or answer. They don't realize I have a to-do list one mile long and that they are #583. This became particularly frustrating today as I was attempting to create a staff Google Doc for an activity tomorrow. Every time I sat down to work or began typing my phone would ring, someone would walk in or my email would ping. While I love being able to help it took me triple the time to do something because of the stop and go.

Tonight as I was reflecting on my day and how I would handle this in my classroom! I realized that I never set the expectation for how teachers are supposed to communicate issues with me and I have instantly dropped what I was doing and helped them immediately. THIS is not a reality when school starts and students are the priority SO tonight I came up with a few solutions that I am going to present tomorrow!

If you are not familiar with Google Docs/Drive, you need to check them out. I am going to dedicate a separate post or several posts to Google Docs/Drive. My solution was to create a Tech Help Hotline! I made a Google Form that teachers can access by scanning a QR Code or the link on our staff technology page. The Google Form is easy to fill out on a computer or on an iThing (pod or pad). Google Form then puts all of the information into a spreadsheet which I can check daily and touch base with anyone who had a question, problem or idea! To provide choice (just like I would do in my classroom) I did a second option using Speakpipe. Speakpipe is an online voicemail service where anyone can record a message which is then sent to your email. Brilliant? I think it is brilliant and I am super excited about this. I added a speakpipe here in case you want to leave me a voicemail! I would LOVE it! The only problem with speak pipe is that it does not work with the iPod/iPad because of the lack of Adobe Reader (BOOO!) so I provided the link on the poster as well as on the staff technology page. Of course option 3 is good old trusty email which is always safe!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Overload + Ms. Jones 100 Follower Giveaway

I spent the day at a technology professional development which was presented by three lovely ladies from ISTE. From start to finish they modeled a true digital classroom through the use of a wikispace, Google Docs, collaborative learning and interactive/engaging teaching! It was amazing to see how engaged tech leaders were in the day. My brain is going in a million different directions and I am having a hard time pinpointing one idea to talk about and there were so many things that resonated with me.

One of the things that stuck with me most is the idea of personal learning networks (plns) and seeking/creating our own professional development in the digital age.  My new buddy Alex, over at The School Potato encouraged me to start this blog and I initially did it for "fun"! When I first started to post, began stalking following several blogs, getting RSS Feed in Google Reader, "liking" Facebook pages, following pages on Pinterest, etc. my pln was growing and growing but I hadn't really thought of in that way! Today they helped me to construct that thinking! Here is the video that they shared with us.

I have so many more reflections and ah*has from the day but I won't bore you with all that! I promised an awesome Web 2.0 tool last night and I won't let you down! Signupgenius is an amazing little timesaver. Have you ever had parents sign up to donate something to the class or for a conference at the beginning of the year and then you have to send a reminder or they forget to come or you have to copy the schedule for everyone. What about snacks for a party? What about classroom volunteers? How about those that didn't sign up and you try to send options and end up with duplicates? What types of things do you have parents "sign-up" for? Our school has TONS of things so this little bugger is going to be great! Signupgenius is a FREE site but it does require you to sign up for an account. The website is very easy to navigate and offers a little tutorial on the side. It is a simple click through and my friend Alex at The School Potato has already set up her account and a sign up on her own after I merely mentioned the site. I created two sign ups and already have people signed up (it's that easy)!!! For mentor meetings we would like our "old" teachers to present something they feel that would be beneficial to new teachers or that they are experts at so I created a sign-up for that! We have monthly mentor meetings and food makes any meeting better so I created a sign up for everyone to chip in throughout the year by bringing a snack or drink! Here is a screen shot (I cut it off as not to share their last names)! The best part of signupgenius... it sends you an email when someone signs up AND sends them a reminder two days before the event! 

I know this post is getting LONG and I still have so much to say but I am going to wrap up with a 100 Follower Giveaway over at Ms. Jones Junction (maybe the name had something to do it haha)! She is new to blogging and has already reached OVER 100 followers...CONGRATS!!! She has TONS of awesome giveaways including your choice of a $25 Silhouette Cameo Gift Card, or a $25 Silhouette Cameo Download Store Card, or a $25 Teachers Notebook Gift Certificate or a $25 Teacher's Pay Teacher's Gift Certificate, or a Scotch Laminator! Just click her button below to check out her bloc and enter the giveaway!!!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Day 1 but really 2

Today was day 1 back as a whole staff but actually my 2nd day officially back (I was back with new teachers on Friday and you can read about that over here.).

Yesterday we snuck into the school (the AP, two secretaries, book keeper and myself) to fill our principal's office with red and blue BALLOONS. Her birthday was July 28th and she claims that everyone forgot her birthday so this was happy birthday +30 days. She just brought her son to college so the balloons were also to distract her today from thinking about her young man away at school. Since today was our first day back the balloons were also a welcome back and 2012-2013 kick off surprise! We blew up over 150 balloons and attached coupons, QR codes with messages, pictures, voice and video, Clorex wipes and Cool Ranch Doriotos. Here are a few pictures of Operation Helium. We had a lot of fun sneaking in and being silly on a Sunday night.
For lunch we were each asked to bring a food that describes ourselves! This was a repeat activity from last year because we had SO much fun with it and learned a lot about each other.  I did not say all of this but this was my thought behind it. I highlighted the most important parts to make my speech short for the staff! You can see that I created a beach which is my favorite place to be and where I was married this summer but something you cannot see about my dessert is that it represents my collaboration skills. My AP had suggested I do a sherbet beach dessert to represent a beach which I thought was a great idea. As usual I consulted Google and Pinterest and put my own creative twist on the original idea. The two teddy grahams are me and my husband, the two Sweedish Fish in the jello are Lilly and Gremmy (my puppies), the bright colorful umbrellas are my fun, sunny, positive personality, the fruit roll up towel is fruity and a bit crazy which I can be. The beach welcomes everyone, is always open and can be very therapeutic which is how I feel my classroom is to both students and colleagues. There are always kids playing at the beach which represents my passion for teaching. I spent lots of time vacationing on beaches with my family growing up so this reminds me of them and they are very important to me. Like a beach I can be calm, patient and relaxing but mostly not, I have a strong personality like the waves and I am loud and full of excitement. The QR code links to my wedding pictures which was the best day of my life. It also represents that I am a nerd and will try to integrate technology in any way possible and my desire to help others see how technology fits even when it might not be obvious like on a dessert. The pictures also represent my love for photography and  the relationships that I've built with my students and parents (a former parent who is also a photographer traveled all the way to OBX from VA to shoot our wedding photos).  The whole dessert represents my "overachieverness" and my perfectionist side. I like to be crafty and do things that are hands on. In a nutshell that is ME!
Meghan who is my PIC (partner in crime), co-lead mentor, support system and one of my nearest and dearest friends had the brilliant idea of changing our outfit all throughout the day! Over the years we have accumulated TONS of school logo attire and our closets literally have a section of red, white, blue and black! We found OVER 20 different shirts that we could change into throughout the day in addition to gym shorts, sweat pants and hats! This morning we found 9 twin outfits and began our silly experiment! We really wanted to show off or STAR QUALITY of sense of humor to show everyone just how fun we are, how much we love working at Porter and really to just add something funny to the day. It was so funny watching people make faces, question our switch and crack up laughing. Here are just a few of our changes!!!

I know there wasn't a tech tip today but I have something SUPER cool to show you tomorrow...cliff hanger I know... you might not sleeping wondering!!!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Happy Sunday friends! I wanted to show you an awesome new animation site that I found called PowToon. I have never worked with animation before and I wasn't sure where to start butI knew I wanted to explore this FREE Web 2.0 tool so of course I hit up Google and Youtube! To be quite honest with you I consult Google and Youtube for JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING (no seriously)! I found this intro which helped me a lot! I created my first PowToon for our new teachers using one of the basic templates. I had so much fun and it was extremely easy to use after I figured out the buttons. There were lots of graphics (people, props, image holders and makers). Once I finished my movie I figured it would be hard to share or save the video clip but I was pleasantly surprise and it was as easy as a click of a button! You can upload to YouTube, share on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, blogger, by email or get the embed code!!!

I've already watched 3 other tutorials on YouTube to figure out what ELSE I can do! Now I am excited to add voice or music and see if I can make my people move or actually be animated (i.e. stand up from sitting down, walk, etc.)! I know my kids will figure out about one million ways to use this and will also become more proficient than me in .02 seconds!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

School Based Orientation

Yesterday was our first day with the new teachers! I think I've mentioned that I wear many hats at my school and one of them is Lead Mentor. My morning got off to a rocky start after reading this blog post titled Why I Hated Meredith's First Grade Teacher: An Open Letter to America's Teachers!

If you don't know much about me yet or have just stopped by it would be helpful to know that I have taught first grade for five years and I have L-O-V-E-D every second of it and this year I will be taking on a new position! I am beyond thrilled with the new opportunity but yesterday as I read this my eyes welled with tears and I had my first real melt down over not teaching first grade this year! I will not get to be someone's Ms. Miner this year and that made my heart ache! I have been THAT teacher for some very special little people and I know the feeling it gives! In an effort to pull myself together for the new teachers I texted two of my closet friends (mind you this was at 7:00am on their LAST free day before we are back to school) and they both offered their words of comfort and wisdom!

I was able to get it together and could not have had a better first day with the newbies! This year is unique in the fact that we have 12 new teachers (we are a pretty small school - 3 teachers per grade level 1-8 and all specialists). At times this has made me beyond nervous because I will be in a new position myself and Meghan and I have only mentored 1 to 4 people at a time so this group is rather large for us. We had a jam packed day and we were really worried about overwhelming or scaring off our new teachers with the list of expectations. We tried to make the day as interactive and fun as possible while also being informative and clear of what we needed from them! We started our day using Today's Meet to follow up from their county wide orientation the previous two days! I blogged about it awhile back if you want to check it out over here. It was a big hit and Meghan and I have all of their comments from the day right here which is a great take away for us to be able to reflect on the day and follow up on anything they mentioned throughout the day! I was so happy with the amount of teachers who were excited to take back QR Codes and implement them in their classroom! We plan to use Today's Meet at other faculty meetings and definitely tech trainings. Next we did an ice breaker with candy (for each piece of candy you took you had to tell about yourself) which was a great way to get to know everyone. It is so fun hearing what people have to say about themselves, we have one lady who described herself as Martha Stewart but in brown and she just cracked us all up. We have a funny, articulate and very talented group! After that we got down and dirty with expectations which is where we saw the panic begin! We tried to cruise through this and then hit the lab for some tech things. They had 2 hours for lunch and time in their classroom. Our AP treated us all to lunch with a panini bar and her as the chef in the lounge. It was a great time for everyone to relax and chat. After lunch the AP talked to everyone about evaluations and a few other admin things. For the best part of the day we sent the mentees on a QR Code scavenger hunt around the building to find key people and places! They were SO into it and some were even running from place to place with excitement. We closed up the day chatting about our meetings, brainstorming first week ideas and reflecting on the day again with Today's Meet! So many of the teachers thanked us for a great day and were very appreciative which made us feel really good.

We have such a range of newbies  and I am so thrilled to welcome each and every one of them to our family. They all have great personalities, are filled with enthusiasm, have open minds and are willing to learn. They come from many different backgrounds and levels of experiences. I had such a great day and before I knew it it was 4:00. I was sitting in my room decompressing from being "on" all day and then I realized that these 12 teachers are my new babies... and that the teacher's of my school are my babies. I think I will be ok with being THEIR Ms. Miner! I know it won't be the same but it will be a different kind of awesome and I will be learning just as much from them as I hope that they can learn from me!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Therapeutic Thursday

So today is Therapeutic Thursday on the week long blog hop. Would someone PUHHH-LEASE tell me the difference between a blog hop and a linky party? I suppose I could Google it, I Google everything I am not sure of! 

There is nothing more therapeutic to me than shopping! When I am stressed out or have had a bad day I can always make it better with a new sweater, purse or pair of shoes! 

This morning I woke up anxious that summer is officially over (tomorrow I am back as Lead Mentor with all my newbies which I am excited about but the thought of summer ending is sad)! Just when I've perfected staying up late and sleeping in, not taking a shower for days, watching way too much trashy reality TV, blog hopping and pinning for hours, grabbing lunch or playing with great friends and of course enjoying my puppies and husband it's time to go back to work...! Logically, I went school shopping! My husband can't understand why on earth I would need to go shopping since I have two closets OVERFLOWING with clothes and two dressers crammed full but there is just something about new school clothes. Am I right here? Knowing he would see the bank statement I restrained myself but I got three pairs of shoes and 7 new tops. Tomorrow I am going to hit up the outlet mall on my way home to see if I can find a new pair of Coach flats! I got these today but I am not sure how crazy I am about them...! They are HOT pink (my favorite) and so, so, so comfortable!
Therapy is also....

knowing I will have the support, love and encouragement of my best friend
snuggling with my two princess puppies
spending time at the beach
watching trashy reality TV
a good cry or vent session and when all else fails a nice glass of vino!

Here's to hoping for a smooth year that doesn't require much therapy!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Happy Wednesday Friends! I am hooking up with two linky parties today since I just couldn't choose between the two! The first is Back to School Jitters hosted by A Turn to Learn! 

It is pretty much explains itself but I must admit that I am OBSESSED with downloading new fonts! Dafont has some really cute ones and I just realized how easy it is on my Mac (I just recently got my Mac and I've spent all summer learning and exploring)! Then I found another amazing program that was recommended through Tech Tip Tuesday called Gimp! I just started playing with it and have learned VERY basic usage but it is what I used to create my new banner, what do you think? Pretty jazzy?

My second linky party or blog hop (still not sure the difference) is with Blog Hoppin'. I had such a blast reading all of the Technology Tips on Tuesday that I wanted to finish out the week participating. 
Today is Where I Teach Wednesday! Since I've already shared so many of my pictures herehere and here I thought I would tell you a little bit about my school since it is a unique place! I teach a traditional school which can also be called a school of choice. There are two of them in our county and students must apply to attend. You might be saying, "Oh it's a private school." Nope, it is public, anyone in our county can attend. You might be saying, "Oh, sounds like a charter school." Nope, wrong again. It is definitely a public school. Completed applications earn a ticket in the lottery system which fairly pulls the new students. We have larger classes (26-27) and your best bet at getting in to our school is in first grade. If you have a sibling that already attends Porter upon entering 1st grade your name is automatically pulled.

We wear uniforms (red, white, blue, black collared shirts and khaki, black or navy bottoms). While we are not traditional AT ALL in our teaching we have many traditions that are consistent from first grade through eighth grade. Yup, you read that right we don't have a Kindergarten either . Some of our traditions include Star Qualities (10 character traits), the use of Thinking Maps, Give Me 5 (attention getting strategy), uniforms with tucked in shirts, greeters in every class that welcome an adult and explain what is going on in the classroom, etc. Parents must complete 10 volunteers per child enrolled in our school and students must also complete 10 hours of service. We are VERY lucky to have *mostly* involved parents who care about education. We are also very fortunate to work for a fearless leader who believes in what is best for kids and leading the way in 21st century education. We have more technology in our building than most know what to do with (SMART Boards in every classroom, 5-8 computers per room, SMART Clickers per grade level, document cameras, Flip Cameras, iPads (at least one per class), iPod cart  of 30 per grade level, two iPod carts for additional check out and 3 stationary computer labs and several carts)! Now you might see why I am a little nervous about not knowing what to do with all this fun stuff! 

There is so much more to share about where I teach but one of the best things is that it really feels like my second home and a second family. I work with some of the most dedicated, hard-working, creative, intelligent, caring and amazing individuals I have ever met. I am so lucky to work alongside of these educators everyday!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Technology Tip Tuesday

Hey blogging friends! I have been learning so much about the ins and outs of blogging in the past few weeks! While I was stalking reading blogs I stumbled across my first Blog Hop! I'm still not actually sure what the difference between a Linky Party and a Blog Hop is but here we go...I missed out on Monday Must-Haves but will be posting today for Tuesday Technology Tip!

So my Tech Tip is actually an application recommendation. I am using the app Reflection and Screen Capture Tool-Lite to create my 2nd video blog! 

The app is called ShowMe and it is a free download for the iPad or iPods. I won't spend much time writing about it as you can see it in action below! I think it is an amazing app and has some huge potential. How do you think it could be used?  

Thanks for stopping by! I would love your feedback or ideas for how you are going to use this app!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Happy Monday Made It Blogging Friends! Although summer is coming to an end I am happy to be taking part in my second Monday Made It.
Doesn't my room look jazzy (word stolen from one of my favorite colleagues)? I am so excited with the way my iPad looks hanging in the middle of the lab (off center on purpose)! I posted about it on Friday but just got it up today. It looks AWESOME! 
I found a pack of yellow, orange and hot pink poms from Target which were the three colors I needed. These add the finishing touch my room needed. 
I was inspired by a pin months and months and months ago and now I cannot find a live link but I tweaked it to make it my own! I thought this was a great way to start every lab session and what a positive message to both students AND teachers! 
I love PicMonkey and will be making this my "Technology in Action" board! I love taking pictures and think this is a great way to showcase all the amazing things my little techies will be doing! I have two hilarious comics about technology too!

My buddy Alex, over at The School Potato showed me something in her room (hmmm, cannot remember now?) that she had added fancy duct tape to. I thought it was brilliant and as I was perusing through Walmart I found this white board that I added black and white polka dot ribbon to! 

How much cuter does this white board look with the ribbon around it? Also, pink magnetic eraser, how cool is that?

Friday, August 17, 2012

My room

Happy Friday friends! I spent most of the week in professional development but snuck into school Thursday and Friday to finish up my room! I have a few more touches to put on the lab and then I can begin the "real" work of planning and getting everything synced and updated! 

My allergies were going crazy in the elementary lab so I asked if I could switch the two labs, meaning I would spend much less time in the smaller lab which is the old book room! I moved my center signs over and continued making myself at home! I love how the poms look hanging from the ceiling and I found pink, orange and yellow ones to add which I am excited about! The polka dots look so cute and really help tie everything together! The hot colors look awesome with the black and white! The picture frame was a gift from a former parent who is an amazing photographer and reminds me of my first graders!

I love buckets and baskets! Dollar Store always has adorable ones and I was so excited when I found these pink ones this summer! I wasn't sure what I would do with them but I knew I wanted them and could find a use! As I began organizing my desk drawer I thought they would be perfect! They fit nicely in my drawers! Don't you love all the pink? Yup, that's a pink stapler and a pink calculator!
 This is our school mascot that I painted and laminated for the bulletin board!  I was going to make iPads for them but my PIC shared these adorable neon colored iPods that look awesome. I thought it would be great to have an "App of the Week" bulletin board in the hallway to showcase the best apps. I plan to have my 7th and 8th graders keep up this bulletin board! I'm not sure where I got the letters but they are so colorful and fun!
The lab looks VERY different than it has for the past 6 years. It is bright, colorful and inviting. Our former art teacher who is amazing was in the building yesterday and stopped to check out my new pad! She loved all the colors and what I've done but decided that I needed a "focal point." I'm not sure her technical art talk but I think that's what she said! So I brainstormed with her and the AP and came up with the idea to make a LARGE iPad to hang in the middle of the room! 

I wasn't sure how to undertake this project so of course I hit up Pinterest. For the first time Pinterest had nothing to offer! Today I found a box of chart paper and dumped it out.  I stopped at Walmart and got some black and silver spray paint. I hot glued the box closed, spray painted the front black and the sides and back silver and then used a small roller to paint the white. The apps were found on Google and I played around with the best size. I copied, pasted, cut and hot glued each app on the iPad. A piece of black ribbon is glued across the top and I painted the word iPad, the wifi icon, time (dismissal) and battery power.

For the back I printed the Apple and painted the word iPad with black tempera paint. I cannot wait to get this hung in my room! I am not quite sure how that is going to work but I have ONE idea! 
If you are interested in making a GIANT iPad I would be happy to share the Word Document with the apps and Apple! Happy weekend!!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


I am was the teacher with 13 flash drives! I started with one but I quickly filled it and then the next and the next and the next! I even got fancy by organizing all of my documents then color coding and labeling them. I never thought about what would happen if I lost one. I am famous for putting something down and not always being able to locate it, especially keys, my work badge and flash drives. After some searching and a little panic I am usually able to put my fingers on whatever I am looking for but one crisp fall day I LOST three flash drives (social studies, science and math). Each flash drive had SMART Board lessons, PowerPoints, warm-up activities, centers, worksheets, etc. Most of the documents had been emailed to my teammates at one point or another or saved on my desktop or in a folder but locating them was NOT easy!

My AP recommended I look into Dropbox and it was the BEST idea to date! ALL of my files are saved in the "cloud" essentially and can be accessed from anywhere! Dropbox works on my hP laptop, my MacBook Air and my iPads!

You can download Dropbox for free and it works just like any other folder on your computer. It is e*a*s*y to use and a real life saver. Now all of my documents are safe if I should lose my flash drives. When I took the ITRT position my teammate was panicked because I had all of the first grade files! She is not tech-savvy but I assured her that Dropbox would be our solution! I am able to share all of my folders with her and she can sleep easy haha! She has installed it and started using it on her own! I gave her a quick tutorial the other day and she is up and running!

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Do you believe in me?

I spent the day at a middle school leadership conference and the rest of the evening working on our new teacher school based orientation! In the past two weeks I have felt excited about getting the 2012-2013 year started but also overwhelmed, stressed and exhausted (school hasn't even started)! I know this isn't exactly technology but stick with me!

While preparing for the newbies we are trying to overwhelm them as little as possible and offer inspiration! As I was surfing, an amazing technology tool I found these some awesome videos that remind me WHY I am a teacher, WHY I love teaching and WHY I support new educators despite the never ending to-do list, the lack of pay and respect, the stress, the sleepless nights, etc. etc. etc. . This was one of my favorites but I also love What Teachers Make and The Story of Starfish.

So, YouTube isn't the most tech-savvy tool that I can show you today tonight (yawn) BUT I think it has a lot of value if used properly! How have YOU used YouTube in your classroom? I think this is also a reminder that technology doesn't always have to have bells and whistles or be extremely difficult to use.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday Made It

Happy Monday Friends! My head is spinning in so many different directions that I don't even know where to begin! I went to an ITRT professional development on Thursday, a mentor training today so I haven't been in my room and I feel like my to-do list is never ending! In between checking off boxes on my to-do list I wanted to be sure to post for my first Monday Made It Linky Party with Tara over at 4th Grade Frolics!

So if you have been blog stalking you know that I am moving positions this year from 1st grade classroom teacher to ITRT (instructional technology resource teacher)! While being an "internet zombie" which is what my husband now calls me I found an awesome pin that linked to a keyboard inspire monogram! With my last name changing I thought this was a perfect opportunity to put it on display AND how cute is it? My new last name is Jones and it is going to be a big change for the teachers and students.
I found a broken keyboard to take apart and bought a shadow box from Michael's!  Did you know that Michael's has an app you can download and get coupons right on your phone? They also offer an educator discount when you present your school badge! Just a side note!
First, I pried the keys off with a small pair of scissors. I thought it would be cute to spell out my name and some how incorporate my wedding date in the "J" so I quickly started to find letters. I also added RM. 129 and the ctrl key above it! At first glance you may not notice these small touches but I know they are there! It took me awhile playing around with the size and shape of the J but I finally got it perfect.

I incorporated my black and white theme by adding a strip of ribbon across the bottom! I am using yellow as my main accent color but pink is really my favorite so I used a hot pink piece of card stock as the background (left over from wedding crafts). One of the hardest parts was deciding on a font for "Mrs. Jones." I recently became obsessed with downloading fonts! I would say that I have become a font hoarder and can add it to the list of my additions!

Once I got all the pieces in place which took a lot of patience (they were like Dominoes) I started the hot glue process! I have a love hate relationship with the hot glue gun because it has the potential to be so amazing BUT once you put your piece in place you better hope it's where you want it! It looks awesome hanging outside of my new room!

One of the many *hats* I wear at school is being a lead mentor! This is something that I love doing. I am very passionate about supporting new educators! I found tons of "Survival Kits" for new teachers that I tweaked from Pinterest so make this one my own! (Alex, pretend to be surprised because I know you will be reading this)! I picked 15 different things that I found at the Dollar Store, Walmart or Target and added a little positive note or representation for each! I put all the items in a red, white and blue party bag and can't wait to give them to our newbies on our first day together! I have the Word document if you are interested in it, just leave a comment and I am happy to share.

Happy Monday Made It Friends! Thanks for checking out my blog and I hope you will become my newest follower if you are looking for technology tips throughout the year! If there is something specific you have a question about or are looking for just let me know!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Scribble Press

Hey guys! This is my first video blog so please be patient with me and excuse my hair! I got so excited to actually do the video blog that I didn't even pay attention to how I looked! Then I had so much trouble figuring out how to get audio that at this point I was just DONE :)!  

I used an app called Reflection which I downloaded on my MacBook Air and it allows me to mirror the iPad 2 screen onto the Mac (a-w-e-s-o-m-e). What an awesome way to review apps and show you what I am up to on the iPad! Then I used a fee screen recorder to pick up the audio. Since I used the free version of the screen recorder it only allowed for a 3 minute video. I figured 3 minutes would be plenty of time but apparently I talk too much so I didn't get as far as I had hoped going through the features of Scribble Press but it is very user friendly! My first graders picked it up after modeling it once so I am sure you will be able to play around with it. The app is free and can be downloaded at from iTunes here! You can also check out the site here!

Basically it is a book creating app. You type your text and then either illustrate your book OR import pictures! You an import clipart or actual photos. My students fell in love with this app and loved all the different maker colors and stamps that you could use! Once you finish your book you can add your own picture to the back and a small bio or about the book. The book can then be sent to iBooks and uploaded to the internet! It takes about 24 hours to process each book to make sure they are appropriate and then you can access them ONLINE! Parents LOVED checking out our books at home and students also read them at the computer center! What a great way to promote writing, reading and a core curriculum area (math, science or social studies)! Check out these Scribble Press books made by 1st graders.

I am in LOVE with this app and I know you will be too as soon as you check it out! I cannot wait to use it in the computer lab!

Friday, August 10, 2012


Happy weekend blogging friends! I wanted to post a few updated pics of my rooms coming together. I am obsessed with Pic Monkey which is a photo editing site and a collage maker! You can edit a single photo and add all kinds of effects, text, boarder, etc. OR make a collage of several pictures and do the same! I have used it several times to post a summer adventure day on Facebook to limit all my picture uploads :)! It is super user-friendly and easy to use.

While cleaning out my "dump" room that has accumulated everything for the past year I found this awesome collage frame but I don't have anywhere for it in my house sooo I made it into an All About Me collage for my room! There are three actual photos, one of my husband and I on our wedding day, one of us with our family and one of the girls; Lilly and Gremmy! I used Photo Collage Maker for one of the frames and put several of my favorite pictures into a little collage. One of the frames is a wordle that describes myself and the other is my school logo! The last slot is a QR code that links to a little biography about me!
I had intended on putting my centers on one large ribbon but found these five frames when I found the other one and decided put them to use for my computer lab centers. This year I plan to run centers in the computer lab which is something new. I think it will work brilliantly and really allow me and the co-teacher to work with small groups, differentiate instruction and student choice. I will have 4 technology centers; computers obviously, iPads, iPods and the SMART Board. I used clothespins and the numbers 1-30 for easy center assignment. Each student receives a class number at the beginning of the year which they will use when they come to the computer lab. I haven't totally figured out the logistics but I hope to run them for a month, switching each week but focused around ONE huge unit per grade level with curriculum integrations.

The Mrs. Jones sign was made out of an old keyboard! I cannot find the pin I had saved for this project but I am so happy with the way it came out! It looks great hanging outside of my door. Lilly and Gremmy were up late that night in the office working with me to get this done! They were NOT happy to be laying on the floor and not in their bed which is why they are sitting by the door pouting.

The sign on the door that you cannot see very well spells out COMPUTER LAB which is an acrostic poem showcasing lab expectations. I am happy to send the file if anyone is interested, just leave a comment. It begins with C- come with clean hands, O- operate equiptment responsibly, M- make sure you are listening for directions, P-push in your chair before you leave, U- use your STAR QUALITIES, T-try your best, etc. etc. etc. It also matches my polka dot theme!

My mom came to help me on Wednesday! She is amazing, always supportive and one of my best friends. We always have a blast together anc crack up laughing. She had a great time hanging boarder and cutting out QR codes for the boarder. I couldn't find any cute technololgy boarder so of course I made my own! I made QR codes that link to all of the school technology sites as well as the schools main page. I printed them on colorful cardstock, laminated them and my mom and some other worker bees cut them out. I used the blue sticky tack to stick them on the white boarder (which is actually boarder that is backwards)!
The bottom picture you can see the poms hanging from the ceiling. They were $1.27 in the Walmart party aisle! I thought they added a nice pop of color to help brighten the room up since there are no windows. I am also trying to use really bright colors in addition to the yellow which looks great with black. In the far background of the bottom picture you can see my Technology Academic Vocabulary or ABC wall. I created my own Tech ABCs inspired from Tech Teachers and plan to have the students add all of the different things that we do and words that we use in the lab to this board. What an awesome resource to quickly look at and see ALL the technology tools they can use. I am happy to share this file as well if you are interested!!!

The bulletin board in the middle is in the front of my room! I am going to call it Technology in Action and have pictures of students USING technology throughout the building. I absoutely LOVE taking pictures and have had a Shutterfly site every year for my class. Since I won't have just one class this year I thought it would be fun to have pictures up in the room and also have a Shutterfly site posted to the computer lab page for parents and students to view :)! I used PicMonkey again to put these photo collages together. One has a great quote on it, "If we teach today as we taught yesterday we rob our children of tomorrow." The other two have different technology words and applications that are being used.

That's all for now friends!
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