Sunday, August 31, 2014

2nd Day of 2nd Grade

This summer I had a great time planning with one of our second grade teachers. She wanted to create a fun experience for her 2nd graders on the 2nd day of school!  We built in activities to promote a community of learners and setting expectations for a the classroom.
Of course, one must have a cute t-shirt for the special day!
(Thanks, Stephanie for letting me take your pic!)

The first day of school, Stephanie sent home the template below so students were ready to record their voice and create a QR Code to go with their own unique crayon.

Stephanie started the day by reading, The Crayon Box that Talked. This is a great book. It is a story about crayons that don't get along, but when a little girl buys them and makes a picture using them, they see how they are each unique and bring something to the whole picture.

After reading and discussing the book, Stephanie sent her kiddos over to us. As students worked on decorating their own unique crayon, the ITS's on my team and I helped record each student (Croakit!) and their unique characteristics. It was very helpful that they had them written prior to coming to us. Then, each student created a QR code (QR Stuff) of their voice recording.

Here are a few hanging in the hall. Ready for open house next week!
The cute sign is from Me and My Gang!

Word Work
Students used the letters from Second Grade is Fun! to create as many words they could using the letters. Click {here} for a copy of the letters.
They made a class poster of all the words they had found. Then, they posted it in the hallway for others to add to it . . . interactive activity for the grade level.

Math: Graphing Our Friends (data collection)

Stephanie took a picture of each student on the first day and added them to the document for gathering data. The 2nd day, she did a mini lesson on types of questions to write and a quick review on tally marks.  
Students created a question with just 2 choices. As students walked around they could check off the picture of the person they had just asked. This made it easy for students to learn the name of each classmate. The pictures are going to be cut off and the tally sheets posted on some fun papers for a background. Now she has some fun data to discuss and a great way for everyone to get to know each other.

Two Bad Ants - great for inferencing and descriptive language.
We have an amazing outdoor learning environment. Students watched the expectation video and then ventured out to the space.
Each student was given a Nature Walk booklet for writing down 2 facts while out in the environment. This is a great time to talk about NEVER tasting anything unless the teacher has given you permission. Click {here} for a copy of the nature walk booklet.
The booklet was then glued in their science notebook.

It was a great day full of collaboration, connecting and building a classroom community!

(We even had some teachers celebrate the 3rd day of 3rd grade.)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Back to School - Happy New Year 2014!

Monday, was the first day of school (no students) and my birthday! Check out the party the district threw for me! Ok, really it was convocation . . . the entire district together to kick off the new school year!
The theme . . .  Happy New Year!

Yummy breakfast treats and coffee!

Some dancing to Happy!

Inspirational speech by the Teacher of the Year and our superintendant.
Ended with a countdown and the dropping of the AH logo. Confetti, balloons and horns!

Great way to kick off the 2014 -2015 school year!

Back on campus, we did the usual first day back stuff. One of the activities was to take a stick figure and add characteristics about each person on the team to the one figure. It was meant to represent how we each have a different perspective, strength and expertise on a team . . . coming together as one to do what is best for students.

Then, on to the campus handbook.
I promise, I was paying attention, but I needed to Google something.
I always say, "Google, is my best friend." Boy, was I surprised when I went to Google and saw this cute graphic. Then, I hovered over it . . . Happy Birthday Charlotte! popped up!!!
I have to be honest. I kinda freaked out! How did Google know it was my birthday?!!!!          

Upon further investigation . . . the special doodle will appear on if you add your birthday to your Google Profile and are signed in to the service on the special day.
This next part I didn't do (probably cuz I was freaked out) . . . You can then click on the birthday logo to see your Google Profile, which will be decked out with virtual streamers, a cupcake and a "Happy Birthday" message from Google.
I knew we were friends!!!!!

With my position, I have been in and out of classrooms helping teachers get up and running with their tech stuff. I have been snapping pictures left and right! Can't wait to share some creative classroom themes, bulletin boards, and organizational ideas that I have seen.

TGIF . . . almost!

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!