Tuesday, October 30, 2012


For those of you who have been affected by Hurricane Sandy, please know you are in my thoughts! While northern Virginia appeared to be right in the path of the storm my area did not get hit nearly as hard as meteorologists were anticipating although we were beyond prepared. School was closed Monday and Tuesday and we resume as usual tomorrow morning.

Are you ever amazed at what even the tiniest kids can do? I never underestimate the little ones as I've worked with first graders for years but it still blows me away when they are able to produce awesome products while using technology. I think sometimes people think that they are just too little to handle technology but that is NOT true at all!

I have been working with third graders on their animal research. They created QR Codes linked to a cool fact and a picture during our last two lessons. This past week I introduced them to Prezi and the app Scribble Press which I blogged about over here. The third grade teachers were not familiar with either so I had to come up with a way to make this lesson work while being in two places at once. I have been reading a lot on the flipped classroom and I decided to create a video tutorial for the students doing Prezi. This couldn't have worked more P E R F E C T L Y! I was able to get both groups started and then circulate and help everyone. This is three tech tips in one.

1. I used SMART Recorded which is a SMART Technology resource that I adore but didn't even know about until I found it on accident. If you have SMART Notebook you likely have it! It is a great screen recorder.
2. YouTube can be such a powerful "tool." Don't discount it :)!
3. "How to" videos can be extremely beneficial for students! Everyone was able to watch at their own pace. I gave little instruction on the "how" part of video watching. Some students watched the whole thing through and got right to work, others watched a part, paused and completed the step then went back to the video watched a part, paused and completed the step, so on and so forth and some watched in entirety and then used the video to troubleshoot when they couldn't remember what to do or if something went wrong.

I was so impressed with how well that this lesson went and the amount of work that was completed during a short time period! I am VERY interested in learning more about "The Flipped Classroom."

Friday, October 26, 2012

Google Search Stories

Have you seen the Google Search Story commercials? I was in love with them from the first second I saw them.

Did you know you could create your own Google Search Story with a few simple clicks? Check out my Google Search Story.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Happy Wednesday!

Tomorrow I am hosting an optional QR Code work session. I wish I would have had teachers RSVP so I could better prepare for my audience. I plan to go over the basics of creating QR Codes, offer suggestions and ideas for classroom implementation and allow for work time with support! 

While putting together with a few practical applications I found twtpoll which allows you to easily create polls and since I haven't posted yet this week I thought I would share this super quick tech tip. So here is my poll which I easily embedded into my blog.

And here is what the results look like....

Monday, October 22, 2012

Show Me

Last week the 6th and 7th grade social studies teacher asked if I could  be one of his centers today. He wanted students to create a podcast of a letter they wrote about the three ancient African Empires. He wanted me to use VoiceThread which is an app I have had downloaded on my iPads but haven't really explored. I did some research, created an account and was excited to use it today...

Not so fast, do you ever have a lesson that goes GREAT in your head but as soon as you begin to execute it crumbles...

First, the iPods were not connecting to our wireless network. As soon as they would agree to the acceptable use policy they were booted. Then, I finally got 4 kids logged in and started and VoiceThread informed me that I needed to upgrade to add more comments.

Since these two things were out of my control I had to quickly come up with a back up plan because sometimes things just don't go how we planned. AND sometimes Plan B ends up working out even better than you could have imagined Plan A going (actually that happens in real life too;)).

While quickly flipping through pages of apps I realized that Show Me would be a good substitute! I grabbed the iPads and we got to work! We ran into a few snags BUT they were able to take a picture of their letter, add photos and record their voice. One problem we had was with the photos, we couldn't figure out how to easily edit and move the photos once you had got out of the add screen. Another problem we had was the inability to "start over" with the recording. The third problem was that we didn't have enough iPads with cameras available so students had to work in pairs. We worked through all of these issues and figured out simple solutions.

Here are a few examples....

Virtual FETC and DEN VirtConLive

Happy Monday! I feel a little behind in the blogging world but last week I attended my first virtual conference (FETC)! There were some really great sessions. Adam Bellow founder of EduTecher had an awesome presentation called Wonders of the Web: Great Tools for Schools. He made such good points that I have to often remind myself of and I wanted to share with you all.

1. 42 million websites have cropped up in the last year. It is HARD to keep up.
2. Use your PLN to stay connected with educators and learn from each other (TED Talks, Fcebook, Twitter, blogs, etc.).
3. Don't do too much too quickly. Find one new thing to introduce.
4. Educational technology is about what you can do with the technology NOT what the technology can do for you.
5. Technology is not about the "stuff."

In addition to these tidbits of advice he also shared several great Web tools which can be found here. A few of the tools I have blogged about or used before but I also got a few new ones which I am excited to try.

Virtual FETC got me really excited for the real deal in Orlando which is less than 100 days away and I didn't even get to listen to all of the sessions. One great thing about the virtual aspect is that all of the sessions were recorded and can be accessed for the next three months. While attending Virtual FETC I made some awesome connections with educators across the country. I spent a lot of time chatting in the lounge and building my PLN (personal learning network). @PGeorge is one of the newest Twitter handles that I follow (look I am learning Twitter vocabulary).

On to my next point, Saturday morning while spending valuable time on my PLN I noticed that @PGeorge had tweeted about VirtConLive so I followed her link and was sucked into another virtual conference which was hosted by Discovery Education. Since I had plans for the day (Fall Festival at my school and a 1st Birthday Party) I was so bummed that I was going to miss out on the wealth of information (Yes, I know, I am a nerd with a capital N.). BUT just like Virtual FETC DENVirtCon was also recorded and can be viewed just like TiVo. I haven't had time to go back to either yet BUT I am certainly planning to soon. Without meeting Peggy at Virtual FETC I would have never know about DEN VirtConLive. I am so excited what expanding your PLN can do.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Blog Giveaways

WOW! Congrats Caitlyn at fourth grade lemonade on 100 followers! Celebrating 100 followers in the blog world is kind of equal to the 100th Day of School! Caitlyn is having a HUGE 100 follower giveaway with tons of prizes. Go check out her blog and become her newest follower :)! Enter to win the Rafflecopter (50 possible entries)! 

Who doesn't love giveaways? The Hive is having a 200 follower giveaway with lots of fun prizes from TPT stores! Go check out her blog and enter the giveaway.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

I've Been Boo'd

You know how much I love linky parties and since Halloween is one of my FAVORITE holidays  I am super excited about this one :)! Molly at Shining and Sparking in First Grade Boo'd me and I can't wait to link up with the Second Grade Pad for the party.

So I've actually never been Boo'd or Boo'd anyone which makes this even MORE exciting :)! I've seen all kinds of BOO ideas on Pinterest but don't know any of my neighbors to boo so I can't wait to participate in the virtual BOOing! 

You've probably all played the popular game BOO at school where you leave a ghost on someone's desk or mailbox along with a treat. Let's do the same by sharing some love from our stores... 

Here's how to play. Choose a fellow blogger that has MORE followers, another that has about the SAME number of followers, and last, someone that has LESS followers.

Highlight their blogs with links to encourage others to check them out. Don't forget to let your fellow bloggers know that you shared about them. 

Lastly, leave them some love by offering them a goody from your store as their "treat." (I also don't actually have a TPT store so I hope I can still play by offering the BOO and some blog love :)!)

Here are the blogs that I have chosen...

1. My first boo is for Alex over at The School Potato who has disappeared from the blog world! She is a first year 2nd grade teacher at my school. I have the privilege of being a colleague, mentor and friend :)! Go check out her blog!

2.  My second boo is for Second Grade Freebies! I picked the third blog on my "Reading List"! Yes, I am that OCD (everything in 3s)! Anyways, go check out her blog! 

Second Grade Math Maniac

3. Boo #3 goes to Mindy at iintegratetechnology because she was the third email blog feed that I received today :)!  


Happy blogging and booing friends :)!

Virtual FETC

I am counting down the days until FETC and the big Florida trip in January! I blogged about it over here if you want to read more! I will be presenting with 2 colleagues on QR Codes in the elementary classroom. Our proposal was one of 200ish selected out of 1,150 which we are really excited about.

While stalking FETC checking for sessions and workshops to be posted I found Virtual FETC which is a free online event on October 18th from 10:30 - 6:30. There will be interactive sessions, the latest tech tools and even keynote speakers. I am looking forward to learning and collaborating with educators across the country in this online conference. The platform looks like it will be a lot of fun (yes I know, I am such a nerd)!

Sign up to attend the virtual event and I will see you there!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Solar System QRs, Google Drive, Clickers and Graphs

I know more about our solar system today than I did a week ago thanks to VA SOL 4.7 and 4.8. I've had so much fun working with the fourth graders on these objectives! During our first whole class lesson they used QRStuff and QR Code Maker to create their QR Codes. They used QRStuff to link to a cool fact about the planet they had researched in the library and QR Coder Maker to link to a picture of their planet. During the second lesson I had a small group (10 students) use Google Drive to create quiz questions from the curriculum and the class study guide. On their third lesson they learned how to copy and paste from Google Drive into SMART Response software (SMART Notebook) and set up a Clicker Quiz. On the fourth visit the whole class came again and took the Clicker quiz as a review before their big unit test. They did A-W-E-S-O-M-E and cheered upon walking in and being told they were taking a Clicker quiz haha! Today I worked with the same small group and Google Drive again to create graphs from their quiz scores and find the range, mean, median and mode of their scores (2 math objectives which I don't know of the top of my head). They did such a great job! I was beyond impressed and absolutely L<3VE using Google Drive with students! Check out their Google Drive Graphing Activity over here.  

I printed the Clicker quiz and their Google Drive document to hang in the hallway and I put a little blurb in our STAR Points about what 4th grade had been up to with me! I mentioned that if anyone had a similar SOL objective or if they wanted their kids to have practice scanning QR Codes that the 4th grade hallway was the place to be. I suggested students visit the hallway as a center with their iPod and a clipboard to record facts and didn't think much of it! This afternoon the 6th grade science teacher flagged down the fourth grade teachers and asked if it was ok for her kids to come scan the posters, had them send their clicker quizes for her to give to her 6th graders as review AND asked me to help her create a QR Code scavenger hunt slash space timeline activity for her 6th graders for next week! I showed her how to link text and pictures to QR Codes and got her started on the lesson! She was so excited about the activity and couldn't believe how easy it was to make! Needless to say I was SOOO happy leaving school today :)!

PS I was stalking the 4th grade unit test scores this afternoon since we use an online software and I have access! All three classes did very well on their test and ONE even earned a denim pass for next Friday! (Since we are a traditional school and we wear uniforms jeans are very special at our school. You can get a denim pass by earning a class average on a test of 95 or higher).

Wednesday, October 10, 2012


Check it out friends!!! 
50 followers! Woooo hoooo! 

Google Chrome Apps

Let me just start by saying I am in l<3ve with Google Chrome! 

I have blogged about Google Drive, Google Forms and other Google things I love! But tonight I am going to tell you about the web store. The Google Chrome Web Store allows you to download Apps for your laptop, yup you read that right. You can basically turn your laptop into a big iThing :) . The store works just like iTunes or Google Play on your phone and download is very simple. MOST of the apps I have seen are free and there are TONS!

Check out all of the apps I have downloaded...

And then there were more....

 And someone got app happy and downloaded a TON of apps :)!

So here is my visual Google Chrome App list :)! I will be doing some up close video tutorials of a few of my {favorites} so be on the look out of video blogs coming soon!

Happy Wednesday, yes that's right I'm posting on a week night and BTW this is not a scheduled post!!!

Monday, October 8, 2012


Happy Tuesday friends! So, I have seen Farley's linky parties since the beginning of my blog stalking days but this is the first one that I am participating in which is very exciting. Head over to Oh' Boy 4th Grade to get in on the fun!

Actually, my husband is a channel hopper so there is no telling what I will be listening to by the end of this blog but currently it is FOX News! I will be so happy when November comes and goes! 

Loving- So this font is smiley monster by Kevin and Amanda which I am loving. Initially, I had a lot of doubts about this position BUT I am falling more and more in love with it each day. There are still things that I really miss about 1st grade but I am really beginning to l <3 this position which I wasn't really sure I would ever be able to say! Now that I am actually working with classes and not trouble shooting adult computer problems I am having a lot more fun. My schedule is very flexible and I am collaborating with first through eighth grade educators. I am loving the impact that I have on teachers and seeing kids get so motivated, engaged and excited about what they are learning about through the integration of technology! I currently have 4th graders OBSESSED with making QR Codes on cool facts about our solar system. One of the 4th grade teachers is taking their excitement and using it for her next unit to have students create QR Codes to map a region of the United States. 

I am so in love with my life. I have an amazing husband, two adorable puppies, wonderful friends and family, a great career, a home I love, I'm feeling MUCH better being gluten/dairy free, etc. etc. etc. I am one lucky lady and feeling very blessed! 
Thinking- Yes, yes I know. I am obsessed with QR Codes! I am an addict. Period. End of story. This QR Code links to an awesome Live Binder on QR Code ideas! 

Wanting- I absolutely love ice cream and one of our local dairy bars has PUMPKIN ice cream around this time of year, however this is my first year COMPLETELY dairy free. Edy's makes it and a few other name brands which I purchased for my husband (pure torture)! Some of my favorite things about fall are all of the goodies and drinks! I was really sad at the beginning of fall when I knew I couldn't have MOST of the things that I love during fall. BUT I have found some great fall treat recipes that are gluten/dairy free thanks to Pinterest, oh what did I do before Pinterest!!!

Needing- To-do lists keep me sane! I love Color Notes on my Droid which is an easy check list! I am working on feeling more at ease at picking up my to-do list the next morning and not working until all hours of the night trying to accomplish every last task on the list. As a Type A, OCD freak this is difficult :)! Today post blog came up and here I am, last item on my list!

Book- OK, so as I was re-reading the "rules" I realized that I didn't put a fall book, OOPS! Teachers are so bad at reading directions! I love me some Junie B. Jones: Boo and I Mean It! She is such a sassy pants but I pee my pants laughing every time I read this one. Anyways, as a grown up I love to read BUT it is so hard during the school year! I never feel like I have time to sit and enjoy a book. I like to read books cover to cover so it is hard for me to squeeze in a few pages here and there. By the time I actually have time to read I usually am falling asleep. One of my good friends recommended The Happiness Project and I just downloaded it on my iPad. 

I am on a roll here with consecutive blog posts, too bad this is scheduled ;)! I do love that little cheat! Anyways, I am obsessed with downloading cute fonts!!! I know this isn't super "techie" but it is so easy and fun! Most of the fonts I <3 come from dafont. If you haven't downloaded fonts before it is as simple as a few clicks (on a MacBook) press download on the website, open the file and press install font! Easy peasy! What is YOUR favorite font?

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Hey guys, yes this is the fourth post in a week which is pretty good all things considered :)! I was introduced to Animoto last year but didn't really explore it too much at the time. The account is free for 30 second videos with a limited song selection BUT it is super easy to use and rearrange your images. You can add headings or captions to your photos and it automatically does transitions for you. I created a quick Animoto with some of my favorite wedding photos! There are over 500 to pick from that are all amazing so it was really tough narrowing it down!!!

Create a wedding slideshow video at Animoto

Have you used Animoto with kids? What did you have them create?

Google Docs and Clickers

Last week I had a blast working with the fourth graders! They are currently learning about our solar system! They conducted research in the library about the 8 planets. When they came to the lab as a class they made two QR Codes (one linked to a cool fact about their planet and one linked to a picture of their planet)! I wasn't sure how they would do BUT they did amazing even with the few glitches that we ran into! I am learning that teaching something THREE times (we have 3 teachers per grade level) allows for you to reflect and make any changes and really perfect a lesson! They were so excited about the QR Codes that they continue to bring me ones they made at home daily! I have a huge pile on my desk.

Then I took a small group for extension and they used Google Docs while working in teams of 2-3 to create test questions for a clicker quiz that they will be giving to their classmates this week! First I had them "marry their laptops" so they were side by side which they thought was the funniest and grossest thing EVER! One person opened the planning document and the other had the curriculum. They LOVED logging into gmail.com and thought it was beyond cool that they could see what the other teams were writing. They used their research as well as the 4th grade curriculum (Science SOL 4.7 & 4.8) to create questions. I asked the teachers to give me a few things that they wanted me to make sure was on the test but there was no need for my guidance. They rocked it and came up with awesome questions. I was VERY impressed. They begged to stay and finish on the first day so I told them they could work from home and over half of them accessed it from home! On the second day I taught them CTRL. C and CTRL. V which they thought was magic and they copied and pasted their questions and answers into SMART Notebook SMART Response.

I was worried that by taking this position (ITRT) I would miss all those funny things that kids say in the classroom but I am not missing out one bit! On the 2nd day the class was working on editing the questions for proper spelling, capitalization, punctuation and marking the correct answer with an * to make the copy/paste process go faster and to stay occupied while their classmates added questions. I sure wish SMART Notebook could be in Google Docs! Anyways, while working with a student at my desk on adding her question to the notebook I heard another girl say, "Who put "your mama" as a choice for "What's the hottest planet?" It took everything in me not to crack up laughing but when I got it together I told them that they were being inappropriate. If you're wondering... Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Favorite Apps

Happy weekend friends!!! I am going to share my TOP 10 Apps for iThings in no particular order:)!

10. QRafter- Great app for scanning QR Codes! Easy to use and always reliable. You can even change appearance of the QR Codes! Guess what color mine scan?! PINK!!!

9. Class Dojo- This is a great "teacher tool" and all of the teachers who are using it at my school <3 it! Students respond well to the positive reinforcement and it is an amazing data collection tool for both positive and negative behavior! Having it on the iPad makes it easy to use!

8. Scribble Press- If you've been following my blog you know that I love this app! It is a free book making app! It is super user friendly and intuitive. There are tons of templates or you can make your own book from scratch. The books can be downloaded to iBooks and uploaded to the internet! I love all of the markers, you can import your own pictures for the book or add any clipart that is saved to your camera roll. 

7. Puppet Pals- Director's Pass- Puppet Pals is free but it has limited access to characters! Director's Pass which is $2.99 allows you to download several character sets and even use your own photos which you are then able to puppetize! You can also add custom backdrops! Move the puppets around and record voice! This app is awesome for story retelling or creating your own story! I can't wait to do my first project with this app :)! This app is deserving of a tutorial which may be a video blog soon!

6. Show Me, Screen Chomp and Educreations- I put these three apps together because they are all very similar. Basically they all turn your iPad into a recordable whiteboard where you can explain anything :)! Create animated lessons, label diagrams, add to photos, etc. All three are easy to use and have a little something different to offer! 

5. Spell Board- This app is not free but it is worth every penny! You can custom enter the word lists, record your voice saying the words and students complete activities and quizzes. You can download pre-made quizzes with dolch sight words too.

4. Space Math- This free app is great for practicing math fact fluency. It has easy, medium and hard for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division and three different activities (flash cards, math sliders and math defense). The kids love it and the aliens are adorable :)! You can add a student profile and their picture so their progress is always saved. 

3. Linoit- I LOVE sticky notes and this is an awesome collaboration tool! You can post stickies, videos, pictures, links, etc. Set up a lesson, use this for brainstorming, check for understanding by having kids create a multi-media board on a book they read, etc.

2. Google Drive- I am obsessed with Chrome and all of the Google Apps out there for computers and iThings! I absolutely LOVE Google Drive. Makes uploading pictures, videos and other documents super easy. I have been using Google Drive with 4th and 8th graders this year and I am in love!

1. Google Earth- Literally hold the world in the palm of your hand with Google Earth! Amazing app for any landmark or geography lesson. Navigate around the world with a swipe of your finger, how cool is this?

What I love best about most of these apps is that they are not content specific and allow a lot of freedom for creativity! You can stretch them across most content areas and they are great for higher level thinking skills.

What is YOUR favorite app?

Friday, October 5, 2012

Teacher Technology Personal Best Board

One tradition at our school is a personal best board in each classroom! Students earn their way on the best board not only by getting "good grades" but also by showing improvement or putting forth their personal best effort! The students LOVE seeing their work on display, who doesn't like getting kudos?!

During the first week of school I decided to designate half of my hallway bulletin board to the Staff Technology Personal Best Board when a teacher who is terrified of technology came to me for help making QR Codes! I got her started on it and she went to town. I knew I wanted to recognize her in some way but wasn't sure how, that's when the personal best board idea sparked! Each week I look for 1-2 people who have stuck out in technology either by taking initiative, asking for help, attending pd, introducing me or a colleague to something new, trying something new on their own, creating a great technology lesson, for stepping out of their comfort level to integrate technology, etc.!

Their work and picture are displayed on my hallway board which the whole school walks by! Their name and a little summary is put into the STAR Points which is our staff newsletter that comes out every Friday!

This is great motivation and a fun way for teachers to "show off" what they are doing! I overheard one teacher commenting that she wanted to do something with QR Codes to make it to the best board! I thought it was super cute because we sometimes forget that teachers are just big kids too and love to be recognized for a job well done just as much as a six year old!

To encourage sharing and showing off I have started a new tradition at our monthly technology meetings for each grade level to take turns sharing SOMETHING with technology. I think this is really important because there is SOOO much technology out there and everyone has different strengths and experiences to share! I'm really looking forward to this new tradition and seeing people who might not be the first to step up and volunteer to have a chance to come forward and shine!

Monday, October 1, 2012

50 follower giveaway (minus 5 followers)

Happy October friends! It is really starting to feel like fall around here in northenrn Virginia! I am happy announce that we have a winner for the 50 follower giveaway (Kate from EduKate and Inspire) but I am a little sad that I didn't reach my goal of actually getting 50 followers! I am only five away!!! The next giveaway will  be for 100 followers and it will be AFTER the milestones! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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