Sunday, June 24, 2012

Link up to a Great Giveaway!

Thanks to a great suggestion from fellow bloggers, I started following Laura over at...

She is a sixth grade teacher AND is having her first giveaway for hitting 100 followers (I'm at 4 followers...whew, maybe I'll have a giveaway at 100...)! Go check it  out, you'll be very happy you did!

Also, have you 'linked' up for the Daily 5 and CAFE book study beginning July 1? Well, click on over and sign up...I'm looking forward to hearing how upper grade teachers plan on implementing 'The Sisters' strategies in their classrooms in the upcoming year!

Let's keep connecting and exploring!  Have a great Sunday!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Utilizing Your iPad in the Classroom

In addition to the many fabulous resources I gathered up at Arizona K12 Center's week long retreat (Camp Plug and Play), I was most blown away with how I AM NOT properly utilizing my iPad in my sixth-grade classroom! I was so thankful to have my 'eyes' opened to what I could do within the classroom (even if I only have the singular iPad).  First and foremost, most teachers were interested in how to 'mirror' their iPads (or other mobile devices) to their computer so that the contents could be shown through a projector, but yet kept the iPad mobile and not 'tethered' with a 'dongle'...most would say that Apple TV does this quite nicely, and it does, but there are other options out there as well!  Let me introduce you to Air Server. This download is marketed at as gaming mirroring device, but I assure you, that for the price, it is a great resource to mirror your mobile devices to a 'projectified' computer!  Try the seven-day trial and see what you think!

We started off the first day of 'camp' with introductions using 'Educreations'.  This is a recording 'whiteboard' app in which you can drop pictures, sound (your recorded voice), and written explanations onto a class website or simply view as written material completed (or better yet, have a student share how to solve a math problem to the whole class using Air Server!).  Educreations is an app for the iPad and is also available as a computer application/web site.

As we moved through our retreat week, we (the teachers) completed many activities as we were able to experiment with many 'fun' apps. (Did I mention that all the apps we used were free?  Of course many had the option to upgrade!).  Here are some apps that stood out...Just tap on the icon to get a description of the app!

Towards the end of the week, we took a QR Code 'Scan'venger Hunt and one of the tasks was to order a food item at the cafe using a foreign language...crazy right?!? Well, Google has an app to help you translate languages - that was the easy part! I then used the 'Comic Touch Lite' app and the 'Splice' app to create my mini-movie... it is!  The debut of my first foreign language film! 

Have a great day!  Keep on following my blog! I'm up to three followers (thanks Tessa!).

Monday, June 18, 2012

'Camp Plug and Play'

Last week, I had the privilege to attend a five-day retreat put on by the Arizona K12 Center down at the Westward Look Resort in Tucson, AZ.  What a great experience!  This was the second year that I attended this fantastic retreat and I look forward to attending for many more summers to come.  Last year's class was on 'Getting Smart with your SMARTboard' and this year I attended 'Mobilize Your Classroom' - which was all about utilizing iPads (or iPods) in your classroom!  I have a personal iPad, so I was interested in how to use it efficiently in the classroom without too much distraction.

Here are some resources that I would like to share that may help you in your classroom:

-Tony Vincent has a fabulous web site, Learning in Hand, that helps teachers and school districts navigate mobile learning.  He has featured many podcasts and presentations that help narrow down efficient apps. that are useful in the classroom.

- One such podcast that really 'jump-started' my learning was on QR Codes and how they can be used within the upper grade or secondary classroom.  I was so inspired by all the talk of QR Codes in the classroom that I have started the process of linking my classroom web page/virtual classroom with a QR Code and have plans for so much more! Stay Tuned!  Here is a free and easy site that allows you to link web addresses, text, and so much more to your documents and web sites: QR Stuff and here's another. Go crazy...see how you can bring technology into your classroom in fun and inventive ways!

- Here is a QR Code (get a free QR Code reader app. on your 'smart phone) that will take you to a 'You Tube' Video that I made using Google Search Stories. Have you ever done this?  It's such a great tool...I set up a class 'You Tube' account so that students can make there own, then drop them into out class 'channel' to view..of course assuming that You Tube is not blocked in your district, as it is in mine. Imagine students making 30 second videos on historic figures in world history, or to tell the story of their summer vacation - so many great opportunities! 

- Finally today...Have you used Edmodo in the classroom?  What a great (and free!) class web site!  We used this site during our retreat week to post comments and resources - I can totally see this being used next year for my students to respond to reading reflection questions, take class surveys/polls, and generate questions for each other to help them with their sixth-grade year! You can also link websites and documents (dropped into Dropbox) for student reference! Here is an example of our 'Mobilize the Classroom' site:

For my next post, I'll share with you some of the great (and free!) apps. that we used on the iPad throughout the week.  Have a great's going to be 113 degrees all week here in Arizona! Yikes!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I Made the Jump!

After being so inspired by all the dedicated teachers on Teachers Pay Teachers...I've decided to make the leap and my store is now open for business!  I have four items currently featured - two of them are free!  Come on by and check it out!  I'm learning as I go, so any feedback or advice that you would like to send my way is greatly appreciated!  Soon I'll be linking up my blog and my TPT store...but in the meantime, I'm just really excited to get started.  I'll be creating new products over the summer with main focuses on cooperative learning, reading strategies and literature groups, and SMART Board interactive lessons.

Thank you to Rachel over at Minds in Bloom for her support with my first cooperative learning activity and first freebie in TPT...'Jenga' End of Year Reflection Game.

Have a great day fellow bloggers!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

My first 'linky' party!

So what are you hoping to read this summer? My list looks a lot like other upper grade teachers...

Daily 5 and CAFE

The Daily FiveThe CAFE Book: Engaging All Students in Daily Literary Assessment and Instruction

I read both of these books over the school year, but I would like to try and get some new ideas about implementing the format in 6th grade...speaking of... I just read about a book club starting up in July over at Runde's Room  (go on over and check out her amazing blog).  There has been a blog set up which will host the book club come July 1...

In addition to reference books ( I LOVE Kagan Cooperative Structures), I'd like to catch up on some young adult literature so that I can be 'in the know' with my students come August...

The List

The List  by Siobhan Vivian (side note, I started reading this yesterday and the language would be way inappropriate for 6th graders...still a good read though)

Matchedand Divergent (Divergent Trilogy)

To help feed my Hunger Games void...

My Life as a BookMy Life as a Stuntboy

A few of my boy readers really got into this series at the end of the year...I'd like to tap into the hype!

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

I received this book as a gift from Scholastic Book Clubs, it's received many good reviews thus far!

And Finally...a book that should just be pure enjoyment and not for school pleasure...

The Story of Beautiful Girl

Fun, fun, fun...and my very first official blog entry!

Monday, May 28, 2012

So it begins...

So it begins... I love to read other blogs about education and best practices in the classroom, so I thought I would finally 'jump on board' and join the blogging world.