Tuesday, December 20, 2011

More Christmas in the classroom

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Holiday Classroom Ideas- free and cheap crafts!

Here is a post in pictures about what we have been up to lately!

Snowman Family Handprint Ornaments
How to create a snowman family handprint ornament:
  1. Get solid color balls
  2. Paint the student's hand white
  3. Help them wrap their hand around the bottom of the ball
  4. Allow time for paint to dry
  5. Go back with sharpies/paint pens and add snowman details

Reindeer Thumbprint Ornaments
Next is the reindeer thumbprint ornaments.  Don't judge my reindeer.  He's a trial run.  ;)
Materials needed: Mason Jar Lids, Ribbon, Paint, Hot Glue, Red Glitter

Walmart has these amazing Better Homes and Gardens Mason Jar Lids that are white with the gingham red pattern.  Love it!!!!  That's the backside of the ornament.

Disney Family Fun has a Reindeer Card that shows a better way to add the reindeer details.  Photo Credit

Picture Frame Ornament
Oriental trading has these pre-made.... but I don't have a ton of money.  I do, however, have time, paint, and lots of popsicle sticks.  I took pictures of each kid with a santa hat on and these will be the frames.

Christmas Placemats
Placemats for Santa's Cookies and Milk.  Not sure where this one came from.  You could make your own with any Christmas clipart.

Not sure why this one is upside down... or why it is a gingerbread mermaid.  ;)   I <3 firsties.

Peppermint Ornament
Oriental trading craft

Stained Glass Window Decorations
My personal favorite :)
This idea came from the monthly Teacher's Idea Book: December
Basically you just cut a hole in construction paper, laminate it, and put it over a Christmas picture.  Trace and color with a sharpie and voila!  Note: Sharpies are used in small group setting with close adult supervision :)

We really enjoyed comparing Gingerbread stories with DeAnna Jump's great unit!

This is something new: Bloom's Taxonomy Chart.  On each level, I have post-it notes with question stems.  You could have a blank chart and add questions during the lesson.

Our tiny igloo

From the back side

The gingerbread baby ran away again!  He left us some maps of the school with riddles.  We tracked him down and he left us Gingerbread treats (Little Debbie- $1.50 a box, 8 in a box)

Then we graphed which part we bit off first (from DeAnna Jump's unit)

We made stained glass decorations

Wrote letters to Santa

Sorry I've been MIA this school year.  I've been busy using all of ya'lls amazing ideas!  :)  I'll try to post more this upcoming year.

What are your favorite Christmas ideas?  Link up!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Reflections from Tennessee Education Technology Conference

Today I presented and attended TETC 2011.  I wanted to share what I learned today!

The best session that I attended (by far!) was a session on Educational Apps.  You can visit the fantastic Live Binder resource that the presenters put together for the session.  It was also great because there was an atmosphere of collaboration in the room.  Here are some new apps that I learned about today (in addition to the live binder!):
  • Prezi Viewer App
  • AudioNote- Documents time and records audio while you are taking notes (great for administrators!)
  • Forms
  • Sample Lessons
  • Toontastic
  • Comic Strip
  • TouchMouse- Free wireless controls
  • Printopia- software, for $20 you can print from all mobile devices
  • Beyond Planet Earth Augmented Reality
  • Bluster
  • TagDisk HD (free)
  • (free)
  • Idea Flight (free)
  • Karaoke HD (free)
  • Picture Link (free)
  • Map Projector ($1.99)
  • Note to self: I need a VGA cable to connect my iPad to the computer

If you are new to my blog, check out some of my past technology posts:
Ipad Apps for the Classroom
An Educator's Guide to Augmented Reality
QR codes for Education
Tweet Tweet!  Why you need Twitter

I wish I would have spent more time on Twitter.  The hashtag is #TETC11 if you want to check out what everyone is discovering this week.  

I presented a session on MovieMaking.  It wasn't nearly as good as the one I did the summer using Jaycut (RIP) but it was a much shorter session.  However, I tried to showcase more technology in the process.  You can see a link here which I will probably convert to a LiveBinder soon.  Overall I think it went pretty well, and I received lots of positive feedback.  *If you attended my session and you are reading this, I would love to hear from you!

Image Source: Iwantthisinmyclass

So.... I may have sat through like 3 sales pitches trying to win a Mobi Interwrite.  Those things are sooo cool.  Doug Eaton was the sales rep, and he really did a great job explaining all the features.  They gave away 7 Mobis and a class set of Clickers today.  I know I can use the iPad to write on the board, but it's not a fine point of the pen like the Mobi has.  I LOVE how the Mobi view shows the clicker responses on the pad!  The Mobi is $450 and the clickers are $2,500.  Back to grant writing for me!

Free Swag
I did come out of the convention with a nifty set of fuzzy dice (courtesy of Proven Learning) that I can't wait to put in my math centers!  They had a really fun Plunk-o game to get a prize.
I also got a shirt (thanks Education Networks of America), visor (PCS), bags, charger...

You know my favorite station?  Learn360 had a set up where you could talk to a rep for a few minutes and get a ticket.  You could redeem your ticket at their Cafe!  It was such a neat idea, and I really enjoyed my Mocha Nut Latte!  :)  Thanks Learn360!

Other not so great things...
The first session I went to let out 30 minutes early and I didn't pick up a single new thing.  I don't mean to sound like negative Nancy here, but I had really built this up in my mind.  I went to a session put on by Kathleen Richardson this summer, and I literally came out with a list of probably 200 new technology things that I had never heard of!  I want that again.  :)  

Last Session- The lady probably had 100 slides on an ancient looking Powerpoint presentation.... And none of it was about technology at all!  I felt like I was in a college methods class.  She had a handout with some websites and that was about the extent of the technology.  The focus of the class was completely different than the program.  We watched several video clips, including 10 minutes from Freedom Writers that had nothing to do with technology in the classroom.
Final thing- No meeting Mobi the robot at the BrainPop Booth.  :(  I really wanted a picture with him to show my kiddos.

Today really made me want to present/attend a national tech conference (hellooooo ISTE!).  I also really want to work at developing my PLN via Twitter, because I was flying solo today.  I learned a lot that I can do to make my future presentations better.  I look forward following the remainder of the conference on Twitter  because I will be back at work tomorrow!
Overall great time and I will definitely be back (the full time) next year!  :)

TETC Wiki 

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Links for TETC Movie Making Session

Video Creation Glog
Click here to try out Jing screen capture program

The Kindergarten Tree Video

Mix 'Em Up Fractions Show

Visualizing Movie

Click here to download the sample bluescreen movie

<!-- -->
<TransitionsAndEffects Version="1.0">
<TransitionDLL guid="{C5B19592-145E-11D3-9F04-006008039E37}" >
<Transition name="Greenscreen" iconid="12" comment="Makes first clip show through blue areas of second clip">
<Param name="KeyType" value="1"/>
<Param name="Similarity" value="100"/>
<Param name="Progress" value="0.0"/>

Copy it, and paste it into notepad. Click File>Save As, and navigate to C:\Program Files\Movie Maker\Shared\AddOnTFX. (If you don't already have an AddOnTFX folder, right click then New>Folder.) In the drop-down "File type" box, select "All types". Save the file as "greenscreen.xml"

Prezi Presentation


  • Post it on your class website
  • Post it on TeacherTube.
  • Post it on iTuneU.
  • Post it through Jing (a screen capture program).

Resource Sites:
Pinnacle Tutorials and Resources
Free Music, Photos and Clips
Rubrics for Video Production
Stop Motion Animation

Podcasting Tutorial 2
Step by step: Greenscreen in Movie Maker
FreeTech4Teacher's Making Videos Guide
Beth Newingham Moving Making/Teacher Guru
Ways to make movies without a camera
All Scholastic Movie Making Blog Posts

Other Resources (Source: Angela Buyni)

·       Recording Desktop Activity
o   CamStudio        
·       Recording Audio Only
o   Audacity        
·       Editing Video
o   Windows Movie Maker                          
·       Creating RSS feed for uploading to iTunes
o   ListGarden Feed Generator        
·       Converting from wmv to mp4
·       Listening to Podcast
o   iTunes        
·       Converting files for iPod
o   QuickTime Pro ($29.99)        

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Best news ever!

So want to hear my crazy exciting news?!
Our school is setting up a P.O. with Teachers Pay Teachers!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Ahhh!  I'm so happy!  I'm pretty much going to dedicate my entire school budget to this, minus the cost of a few ink cartridges  :)

What is your favorite thing from TPT?  Do you have a store?  Leave some love and who knows, I may come buy your entire store!  :)  Right in time for the holidays!  Woohoo!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Turkey art activity & Dolch Rainbow Rings

Ok, a few pics for ya'll:

Everyday we sing this in a circle with our arms linked.  <3 Dr. Jean!

"Watercolor" turkeys... give each kiddo a coffee filter and let them color it with washable markers.  Dip in a glass of water and set out to dry.  Ta-da!  I think you may want to leave the full coffee filter.... mine came out slightly peacock-ish.  NBC, anyone? :)

Also, I'm starting "Rainbow Rings" with the Dolch site words.  You can find primer, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade dolch lists in flashcard format here.  Run each page off on a different color.  When a student masters that set, they get to add the entire color to their ring (shower curtain ring- the large ones!).  It becomes a status symbol when they can add to their rainbow.  :)  Pics to come.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween Addition Doubles Book/Movie Activity

PhotobucketLast year there was a great post by What The Teacher Wants.  They posted a doubles rhyming book that is amazing!  I used it with my class this year and had a great time.  We used gestures (Whole Brain Teaching) to create a movie about each doubles fact.

Awesome doubles rhyming book for Halloween

Orginal post by Rachelle over at What The Teacher Wants with the link in it

Check out our Double 4 clip:

Want to learn more about Movie Making in your classroom?  Check out some of my older posts here and here on green screen/Chroma Key.

You can also hear me present live at the upcoming Tennessee Educational Technology Conference in Nashville November 30 - December 2, 2011.

Sorry I've been MIA from the blogosphere for so long.  Our new evaluation system has me working overtime (to the benefit of my classroom and students) and I'm still trying to work out my schedule.  I haven't implemented writer's workshop yet and my word work/literacy activities need a serious upgrade. All of that coupled with the passing of my step-mother has left me playing catch-up.  I'll try to be on here more in November.  :)

Thursday, October 13, 2011


My stepmother Barbara passed away this week.  She was a wonderful Christian woman and she will be dearly missed.  Please pray for my father (it's his birthday too) and family this week.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Owl & Bat Nocturnal Animals Ceiling Decoration

Handprint wings :)

Haha my favorite!  I think it is supposed to be a scary bat, but I think it kinda looks like a lady bat... too cute.

Ok, now here's the bad news... I don't have a pattern.  I got it from one of the veteran teachers and I have no idea where they got it from.  But, I have a plan!  To make your own, find a clipart image of an owl.  Print and cut out the large sections onto a manilla file folder to make a pattern- then cut out the individual pieces for your kiddos.  It takes a little while to cut out, but I think the results are so worth it!  Also, use colored hole punch protectors to add some colors to the eyes.  And googly eyes are a must.  :)

 Also, the bat pattern is very simple- just the body!  The students trace their hands (twice) on 1/2 a sheet of black paper for the wings.  The moon is just a 10" circle from the die cut.  Owl on one side, bat on the other.  Looks great from the ceiling!

What do you do for fall decorations?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Science Websites & Videos

BrainPop Jr.- hands down the best animation for EVERYTHING!  If you don't have a subscription yet, you need one.  So do I actually... mine is out :(

Scholastic Study Jams- Scholastic's free version.  They have really cool karaoke vidoes

Science NetLinks- Free hands-on science lessons & activities

History of Laundry- Ok, I know you are "thinking what in the world?!" but this is a really neat site with videos from Proctor and Gamble.  It really does a great job of tracing history (hello social studies standards- long ago vs. modern times!)  Great inventions highlighted as well.

Science Week

Science Books

Science Week

Science Books:
Actual Size by Steve Jenkins
This book is so interesting!  It has illustrations of animals at their... actual size!  We used this book in math as well.  We took paperclips, pipecleaners, counters, etc and measured the hand on the gorilla page.
And look what adorable idea I got from Pinterest and had to recreate:

This is the actual size of a gorilla hand compared to one of my little sweeties!

Snowflake Bentley is a really unique book that tells all about snowflakes and is also a great view into the life of a scientist.  
Snowflake Bentley [Book]

Fun Science Apps:
  • Bobo Explores Light
  • Starwalk
  • Magic School Bus: Oceans
  • Ansel and Claire's Africa Adventure
  • Pocket Penguins
  • Zoo Borns
  • exZOOberance
  • Geo Walk

Monday, September 26, 2011

Educational Apps for the Classroom

So what do students do on the ipad/ipod in the classroom?

Here are a few of the student favorites:

Toy Story (Disney Digital Books)

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

The Monster At The End Of This Book (Sesame Street)

The Tale of Peter Rabbit Pop-Out Book

The Magic School Bus: Oceans

Bobo explores light


Ansel's Africa

I've told parents about the technology we use and encourage them to send in cheap itunes giftcards.  This has been a great success in my classroom!

Want to pick out which app we get next?  Click here to see our wishlist!

Looking for free educational apps to use at home?  Check out this post for my full list.

What apps do you use?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Giveaway Winner

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Teaching Blog Expo Question and Answer

Post about this giveaway on your own blog & leave a comment for an extra entry!

Hello friends! 
Today is the big day- the Teaching Blog Expo is here!

Welcome to the question and answer post from my presentation: Blogging Parties and Prizes!!!

After viewing the presentation, please list any questions that you have.

In the meantime, how about a giveaway?  :)
These wonderful ladies have donated products for one grand prize winner!

 Johnny Appleseed/Apple Mini-Unit. The unit contains math, science, and reading activities with a Johnny Appleseed/Apple theme. Included are graphs, games, a glyph, an original poem and song, and more!

Letter-Sound Awareness Pack

The Moffatt Girls
 Color by Number Bundle (pre-primer-1st Grade)

Playdough Word Work Pack

Memory Book

First Grade Blue Skies
Pattern Block Site Word Pack

To enter, just leave a comment and make sure your blog or email is listed! 
*Anyone can enter :)

What topics do you think would make a great linky party?
What's your favorite linky tool?
 I would love to hear any questions you have about link parties or giveaways.
The giveaway will close on Friday, September 23rd at 5:00 p.m. Central Time.