Friday, August 15, 2014

Five for Friday {Aug. 15}

Linking up with Doodle Bugs Teaching for the . . .

On Monday, my school hosted a Meet & Greet for our new teachers. It was held at my house . . . forced me to finally clean!  Super fun setting up the Back 2 School tablescape!

On the menu . . .  mini corn dogs, Twinkies, fruit, veggies, spinach artichoke dip, mini quiche, cheese, crackers and a yummy cream cheese carmel dip - brought my fabulous friend Barbara! This is the best ever! So easy and is great when you need a quick dip to take to a party! We change the Heath Bits ‘O Brickle Toffee Bits to crushed up Heath Bars. Last year, I made these to send to my daughter's teachers. They loved them!

Anyway . . . the pencil boxes made great containers for crackers, Twinkies and the ketchup and mustard.

Thursday, my team and I met with the new teachers to our district. We walked them through our email system, setting up their class website, and using Google Drive. To break up the "nuts and bolts" of required items, we threw in a fun quiz using Kahoot!
The night before, I made 60+ little treats to welcome the newbies to the district.

 Saw these at SAMs Club! Too fun! Didn't buy one, but would love the popcorn machine. How fun would these be in a game room?

I was so excited to get a my zoodle maker!!! I even picked up some yummy zucchini on my way home only to find a part was missing from the box! Big bummer! Haven't had a chance to return it . . . 

Got my first Stitch Fix box today! I just stared at the box thinking . . . What had my stylist put together for me?!!! Would the items fit?!!! Would they look good on me?!!! How much would the total box cost?!!!

2 shirts, 1 dress (way tooooo short, but can wear with leggings), 1 Chevron long skirt (super soft) and a necklace. Pretty cute. Just might keep them all. 
 A few new outfits for back to school.

Tomorrow, I'm off with Suzanne from Krazy Town and Meghan from Oh, Boy Fourth Grade to the Austin Blogger Meet Up! Gonna be fun!

Head over to  Doodle Bugs Teaching to see the other five for Friday posts!

Happy Friday! 
Have a great weekend!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Rubik's Cube: A question, waiting to be answered

Here is an inspiring video that encourages one to step back and reflect on the importance of questioning. Erno, the creator of the Rubik's cube, suggests that questions are far more important than the answers.

Encouraging our students to be curious and ask questions will help foster a new group of  “scientist, engineer, artist, designer, inventor, or something no one’s ever been before… but you can bet we’re going to need.”

As we encourage students to ask questions, this leads to the 4 C's . . .
Critical Thinking ~ Communication ~ Collaboration and Creativity!

I guess my questions would be . . .  How do we encourage our students to ask questions that lead to more questions? How do we foster this type of culture in the classroom?
Does it all start with a 5th C?   Curiosity.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

App Snack Attack

Yesterday, I attended a tech conference. As part of the conference, an "App Snack Attack" was held for the participants! As conference participants enter the main area, there was a sweet treat on each chair. Participants selected a seat and a treat while they listened to the directions.

5 of us shared 3 apps in 3 minutes!  We were asked to share 1 for students, 1 for teachers and 1 just for fun! Participants started with the person associated with their candy, so I was Peppermint Patties . . . just happens to be my favorite! So . . .  anyone that had a Peppermint Pattie started with me. After 3 minutes, the group rotated to the next person that was sharing their 3 apps.

Oh, boy was it stressful! Do you know how hard it is to talk about 3 apps in 3 minutes 5 times in a row?!!!

Here are the 15 apps that were shared in 15 minutes.
There are a few I'm not familiar with, so I'm looking forward to checking them out.

Haiku Deck - Easy and good looking presentation tool. Limits words per slide! FREE

Google Drive - Easy way to get files off iPad and to your Drive. FREE

Vivino  - Snap pics of your favorite wine and see ratings. (Obviously, not teaching related!) FREE

ChatterKids - take a picture and make it talk! FREE

Stick Pick - iPad app for randomly calling on students. It has Bloom's related question stems for asking students questions. ($2.99) 

Numbler  - Scrabble meets numbers! The object of this game is to make math equations using numbers and symbols.  Lite version.

Story Creator - Storybook maker for kids. FREE

Plickers - Student response system that uses the teacher's iPad in conjunction with QR codes. FREE

Toontastic - Draw, animate and add music to create your own cartoon. FREE

Yakit Kids-Make quick and fun animated videos with multiple scenes. FREE

Group Maker - Organize your classes into groups. Includes a timer, random name picker and noise level meter! FREE

Flipagram - Create beautiful short video stories set to music. Pull images from your device and add text to help tell your story. FREE

  - Create to-do lists. You can even speak in your phone to create the list. These lists can be shared. I'm definitely going to look into this one. FREE.

Twitch - Students can watch pros play their favorite video games live. FREE

Evernote  - Good for notetaking and organizing and my favorite - making checklists! FREE.

So, grab your favorite candy bar and check out these great apps!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Canva, Google Classroom and a Crime Scene

I was fortunate to be able to attend Tech-a-Palooza II hosted by a Fort Sam Houston ISD. Dr. Rios, Director of Technology, asked if I would be their keynote. I gladly excepted also knowing that I would walk away from the conference with some great new techie resources to share with the teachers in my district.

It was such a fun day of learning!

That's me on the stage!

 Swag bag!

My first session was with Jeannine. She did a great job sharing Canva! Where have I been?!!! Canva is a free graphic design tool that is super fun! Tons of templates, backgrounds, and graphics.
Drag and drop! Voila!

A few ways to use Canva . . . 
  • Infographics
  • Create a graphic and turn it into a Thinglink
  • Anchor charts
  • Persuasive posters
  • Highlight an event at your school or in your classroom 
Collaborate with others on a graphic!
Add hyperlinks

This site requires setting up an account that must be verified by email.

Session 2: Google Classroom is launching soon! Those of you with Google Apps for Educators at your school . . . wait until you see this! This is the ultimate in managing workflow.

Features of Google Classroom . . .

  • Create and manage classroom assignments using Google Drive, Docs and Gmail. The best part about Classroom is that it helps you to keep a watch on who all have completed the assignments and offer the students, some effective feedback!
  • Stay updated and well organised on assignments, particularly if you are a student in due of an assignment page. The tool help teachers to create separate Drive folders for each assignment for each of the student.
  • Develop proper communication in the class, encourage comments and questions from students in real time.

Session 3/4: CSI . . . Tech-a-Palooza
This was amazing! We used 3 apps, Google Docs and Remind to solve a crime . . .
Unfortunately, I am not going to give this session justice. There were so many facets to this experience, that I got wrapped up in it and didn't take pictures.

I will tell you . . . there was problem solving, critical thinking, drawing conclusions, inferring, there was frustration, and persevering through challenging moments!

Probably my favorite part . . . one of our group members told us that if we had to interview a witness, he has going to play the "bad cop" part because he had watched many episodes of CSI!

Aurasma was used to create videos of key characters in the drama. After watching the video, we would pick a course of action (decision - as seen in the pic) that would send us off to another clue.

Eventually, we made it to the crime scene. It's hard to tell, but there were QR codes all over the scene with clues, a Google Doc that had an encrypted message, and directions to see the judge (Jared - who was in total character!) to get a subpoena for email and phone records!

We used iCipher ($0.99) to figure out the encrypted message.

It was the most spectacular experience utilizing various tech tools!
(Just sayin' . . . my team finished first!)

Tomorrow, I share App Snack Attack!

Monday, August 4, 2014

Desktop Organization

Brilliant, I tell you! Brilliant!
I have to be honest, I stumbled upon the Science Teaching Junkie's blog. Must have been one of those rabbit holes!

Nevertheless, I am thankful that I did. It was exactly the push I needed to organize my desktop. You see, my desktop was (notice the word was) a hot mess! Folder within folder within folder of files and images. There were times throughout the school year when I had to present to teachers so I would create a file labeled "Stuff" and drag and drop everything on my desktop into it! (Can't be embarrassed by all the stuff on my desktop!) I think I had Stuff 1, Stuff 2, Stuff 3 . . . maybe a few more . . . at least that's all I'm admitting to at this point.

So, when I came across the Science Teaching Junkie's  post about Organize Your Desktop, I froze!
Super cute! Chevron! Adorable frames! Say-what?!!!

The clouds parted . . . the angels began to sing . . . the post was speaking to me!
Ok, maybe that's a tad bit dramatic . . .

Today, I worked for hours purging and organizing.

The final product!

I had to play with the sizing to fit my screen. Shayna does a great job of explaining how to create the background for your desktop. Head over to her blog to check it out! Plus, read about her other great teaching ideas.

(The new and improved and organized ITS!)

Connect and Collaborate - Save the Dates!

As you begin to plan for the school year, there are several collaborative projects for 2014. These projects are engaging, authentic and a great way to take your class beyond the 4 walls.

This is by no means an extensive list, but it's several of my favorites. If you know of others or have a collaborative project you would like to share, please add it to the comments! I'll add it to the Google Doc - see below.

Join 1 or join all!

International Dot Day
September 15th
A global celebration of creativity, courage and collaboration
Click {here} to see my blog post from last year. We combined it with some Augmented Reality - ColAR mix!

O.R.E.O 2014  - September 15 - October 17th (registration now open)
Projects by Jen is hosting an Oreo Challenge

Jen has numerous ways to integrate all subjects. My favorite - MYSTERY SKYPE
Connect (via our participant listing) with another classroom and try to guess locations -- or better yet.....share your stacking moments, have a friendly stacking competition, etc.

Global Read Aloud - October 6th (registration open)
Connecting students through books!

Adventure 14 (registration opens in September)
Adventure '14 aims to bring thousands of learners from across the world closer together, to get to know and understand each other, to break down barriers, and to help prepare them for the evolution of the global neighbo(u)rhood.

Hour of Code  - December 8-14th
An opportunity for every student to try computer science for one hour.
Click {here} for a blog post from last year. Coding with Kinders!

I created a Google doc with the information about these projects. Feel free to grab it!  I'll be adding new projects as I find or hear about them.

Happy collaborating and connecting globally!

Sunday, August 3, 2014

From Lake to Beach...days of fun!

Every summer, my niece stays with us for a week and vice versa.  My daughter and niece are the best of friends! The week started off with meeting my sister-in-law, brother-in-law, nephew and niece at the lake.

Brought the puppies ~ Cliff jumping ~ Haywire flying ~ Just chill'n

My new favorite . . . grilled bacon wrapped cabbage! My sister-in-law shared the recipe! 
Seriously, fantastic! 
Frozen tortilla throwing! Who knew deer loved frozen tortillas?!

From lake to beach! 
Cousin besties on the beach!
Waves crashing, seagulls soaring, and a whole lot of nothing! Wednesday, I sat the entire day and did nothing - when I say nothing, I mean no checking social media or thinking about school!

I was introduced to the "Circle of Death!" 
Crab hunting at night! Flashlights in tow, we were off to the beach after dark. Shine the flashlights in the sand and find the crawling night life! My niece was the expert at scooping up the crabs. What is the "Circle of Death?" 
Once, you have enough crabs (deemed by the group) everyone stands in a tight circle. Then, the crabs are released in the center! I'm no fool! I wanted nothing to do with this, so the crabs were actually released in a deep hole the girls found.  It's hard to see and most dug down in the sand, but we had about 25 crabs!
(Disclaimer: at no time were any of the crabs harmed!)

There is nothing better than creating lasting memories!