Monday, November 21, 2016

Happy Jolly Merry FREE Downloadable Holiday Tags - Print and Share

We are SUPER lucky to have Thanksgiving week off in my district. What better time to get all of my Holiday gifts together? This week Yankee Candle had small jars for 5.00 each, so it's time to start putting together some gift bags!

Click on the picture above for FREE tag download and a Jolly Happy Merry Everything to YOU!!

3 Best Apps for Classroom Creation in less than 20 Minutes

Felt Board 2.99 App Store, Software Smoothie

Felt Board is a staple with our Primary kids throughout the building! This app gets used in any subject and can be used to communicate all learning. FB is one of the first apps I teach in Kindergarten and we go strong through early 2nd.

One of the most fun Library features about Felt Board is the Fairy Tale character selection and general story characters. After learning Library iPad norms we may start with reading a story together and using Felt Board to share Main Character. Another day we may show setting AND characters. We can use this app to show Plot as well. Felt Board works well with partners. One of my favorite activities was when groups of three Kinders "pre-read" a book then showed the Main and Supporting Characters.

*My Principal happened through the Library through this lesson and was AMAZED by all the standards we hit. Our District just moved to Evidence Based Grading and I think she was most thrilled by all of the EVIDENCE we collected in minutes.

See the camera on the right side of the screen? This is a Teacher's Best Friend! This camera allows quick screen shots of the FB work. This work can be sent to parents, displayed, collected for Evidence (Showbie, Schoology) or saved to model for students. It also very easily retains the work to become a page in Book Creator.

I LOVE, LOVE pulling out FB with older 2nd graders and 3rd graders when we introduce/ use graphs, charts and systems. The kids are so familiar with FB that we can focus on the new concepts. Felt Board provides a strong selection of Chart and Graph Templates.

Book Creator App Store, FREE

Like Felt Board, Book Creator is one of the very first apps we teach. The best thing about this app is that the student drives the car. Think of it literally as on online book - your students fill the pages with their learning!


This book was used in Science - but this Teacher can use Stevie's title to show Evidence. Stevie clearly knows that "certain groups of letters have their own sounds". 


This student is using one of the most popular and versatile features of Book Creator - Comic Book Pages. Here BC was used for sequencing but the Comic Book pages open the interest level and application to K-5 and above.

The latest version of Book Creator can be read to the student by Siri which is a cool change, We love having the kids narrate their own work and work on presentation skills.

Image result for chatterpix logo
ChatterPix, App Store, FREE by Duck Duck Moose

Kids LOVE ChatterPix so that means I LOVE CHatterPix!! It is so much fun to pull out and I love that  kids can share learning in less than 30 minutes. Mostly I have kids collaborate and ideate before we pull out devices.

Users can take pictures, screen shots, draw, use the templates or add any images to animate. I have seen pictures of work, characters, famous people, and concepts animated.

Image result for chatterpix

Image result for unicorn thinks he's pretty great

One of my FAVORITE pieces of work ever was when a student used Chatter Pix and Unicorn from Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great to explain the impact of Bullying to his classmates. 

Please share how you use these apps and let me know which ones I am missing!! Happy Apping!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

BEST eReader/ Tablet Deals on Black Friday - IN ONE PLACE

I can NOT believe how much the prices on eReaders/ Tablets are coming down I LOVE this technology for kids. These tablets let kids access OverDrive, the web, and their favorite games at affordable prices. For the times without WiFi, OverDrive books are a perfect solution - once downloaded the Titles can be read anywhere. As a mom and human I love the simplicity of grabbing ONE device and having multiple books and magazines.

So here we go - I have scoured the Black Friday Ads and gathered the best Tablet deals. If you click on the picture you will be directed toward the store website and can see all of the Black Friday details.

If you have a kid at our school you hopefully have heard how crazy I am about nagging the kids to bring their devices - let's get them set up!!

*The selections are in NO CERTAIN ORDER OF PREFERENCE. I included products from Walmart, Target and Best Buy

This is certainly the best price I have seen advertised. The RCA Tablet is a great choice for a younger student or a student who will have limited apps loaded. The only problem I have come across when loading OverDrive is that the tablet is out of room from the other games and apps loaded.

I like these Samsung Tablets. The speed seems to be quick and I have not hit a wall downloading an App yet. This price is pretty great considering it is listed on Amazon for 117.00.

This Lenovo is a good choice for families who share Tablets among kids. There is more space on these and the price is still pretty fabulous. We can always show the kids how to access their own OverDrive Accounts or they can read together.

I personally have not seen an iPad mini lower than 199.00. If this is on someone's big gift list, here you go! I love iPads for the older students. NOTHING captures and grows learning better than an iPad. This device offers all of the tools to enhance and grow minds. An iPad is the whole package.

This little Polaroid Tablet brings a keyboard to the table for less than 100.00. This is a good feature for older students (4th, 5th grade) who are proficient typists and use Google Classroom to complete, share work. The same touch screen workability combined with the keyboard makes for a great gift. This is an 8GB so that limits the download capability - let's get OverDrive on before those other games!

Saving 50.00 on this Galaxy is a great way to stretch your Holiday budget. Again, keep an eye on the 8GB and which student is receiving this. A younger student will use this much easier than an older student or a child interested in multiple games.

The whole Kindle Family! After a hiatus, Target is offering Kindle and Amazon products again and they are offering some impressive prices. Of the three offered above I would recommend the Amazon Fire and the Kid's Edition Tablet. The PaperWhite can be a little cumbersome for a child to navigate while the other two have kids reading in moments.

Best Buy is showing up with some noticeable Door Busters. Here you see that you can pick up a 16GB Kindle Fire for 59.99 and the 8GB for 33.33. Those prices really can not be beat. Having owned a Kindle Fire and an iPad I enjoyed both but can say the Kindle does lag in which apps you can install. Fortunately for us, OverDrive works great on both!

Here is a solid offering from Best Buy, a 90.00 Samsung. If you are ok with the 8GB you can't go wrong with this choice. But keep in mind this same Tablet is offered at Walmart for 69.00.

OK, while I said these posts are in no preferred order I may have fibbed. I just may be ending with the best offer I have seen. I have not actually used an iPad Pro yet but I am VERY interested in doing so. It offers that great combination of Laptop ability with Tablet flexibility. This is another DoorBuster Deal and I don't have too much hope in scoring one but if you get a chance this is a GREAT DEAL!

Doodle4Google Contest - Open for all Students K-12!

We LOVE GOOGLE!!! We were super excited to take part in the Doodle4Google Contest. Who isn't fascinated by the daily Google Doodles? Inspiring and beautiful, the Doodles elevate search to discussion topics. 

As a STEM school we loved the theme. We applied the Design Thinking Process in 3-5 and had a two week blast! My envelope is almost ready to go as soon as the Recess Pile is empty. (The Deadline is not until December 2).

Other than seeing what students imagined, my favorite part by far was seeing the Inspirational Videos. These were works of arts in themselves. Click on the links below to front load the competition. You can access the rules, deadlines and entry forms HERE. There are activities for every grade level too, this activity is truly plug and play.




Monday, November 14, 2016

Thank You Tags - FREE Download

Our District hosts Read Aloud Day each fall. Community Volunteers share their time in classrooms reading to kids. Thankfully we have a district coordinator who does all of the heavy lifting. My only responsibilities are to have a little Thank You gift and offer book selections for those who don't have a favorite with them.

This year my Thank You gift are the cutest little 2" square boxes filled with chocolate and a tag attached. These were done in less than five minutes start to finish!

"New!" Book Tags - Free Download!

I found myself in a great situation last: So many NEW books and not enough NEW Book Tags. Again with, so so easy!! I love the Book Tags, they really get the kids' attention and drives checkouts for our new titles.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

BEST Teacher Nail Polish EVER - on SALE this week!!

Quick NOTICE: This is for the week of November 13 - 19, 2016. Offer good online and in stores.

When you are touching as many things as Teachers ALL DAY EVERY DAY you need a nail polish that stands up with you. I am a nail polish junkie and I have tried them all: OPI, Sally, Gel, Orly, Salon, you name them.

My favorite is the new Essie Gel Couture which usually sells for 11.50 each - you need the color and the top Gel Coat. (Click here to see the complete list of my 10 Best Gifts for Techy Teachers).

This week at ULTA the Holiday Combo set is 18.50. THEN apply the 3.50 coupon for purchases over 15.00 and you have purchased the best nail polish combo for 15.00. That is almost like getting one bottle for free.

If you have ANY teachers or nail polish lovers on your list I GUARANTEE that this is a winner and your budget goes a lot further with this deal. Happy Gifting!!

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

10 Best Gifts for the Techy Teacher in Your Life

Skip the planning and shopping - check out this Holiday List for the Tech Loving Teachers in your life. Affordable, tech gifts that are on their way in one click. 

iRig lets students share their learning and hit standards in the busiest of classrooms. This new model that connects directly to iDevices is mobile and powerful. Background noise is a thing of the past with iRig and this model frees up both hands for using the device (their hands are only so big lol).

This app changed our school! I LOVE LOVE LOVE this! A dongle is 43.00 for the iPad Minis and the Reflector is 14.99 per license. Reflector actually is installed on the laptop in the space. WIreless devices then connect to the app and you are a WIRELESS and MOBILE class. Students can share work, demonstration of procedures just got WAY easier and it's incredibly affordable. This gift would be used in any Tech Friendly classroom.

Techie Teachers touch a LOT of devices. A LOT of keyboards. There is a LOT of fiddling and unscrewing (talking to you, stuck headphone jacks). Teaching in general calls for a strong manicure and Essie showed up. This two step combo SAVES time and DRIES so fast I am constantly tap touching to make sure it's really dry (it is). The Gel Top Coat has the best applicator I have used and I LOVE the 11.50 per bottle price. Essie has outlasted Sally Hansen and OPI time and time again. The formula is creamy and has the perfect amount of Holiday sheen,

So when you touch ALLL of those fabulous devices you touch ALLL of those strong germs! Sharing tech space with people means being close - and whether that's face close, hand close or I just got sneezed on close germs jump ship! Eden's Garden provides effective, potent essential oils at very affordable prices. Have a teacher you want to keep healthy? A Fighting Five and Lemon combo is a very thoughtful gift.

You don't even have to be a Teacher to see how awesome this is!! Time, Resources and and FUNDING are at a premium and this fits all targets. One iPod/ iPhone and up to 5 headphones. 

They always come: those days where every last resource falls through and TPT comes calling. Pinterest is great but TPT is the complete package.

This one may seem weird but trust me. When you touch about 2,000 keyboards a day and wash your hands even more times this lotion is AH-Mazing!!! Don't be put off by the "Man" title - the smell is fresh but not overpowering. Fighting for first place features of this lotion are the major hydrating power and the QUICK COMPLETE "soak in" ability. This a huge plus when dealing with tech daily. When you touch screens, boards, hands it is GROSS when your hands are slimy. It also attracts more germs and then you end up washing twice as many times which leads to that cracked skin by September 15.

There are so many Tech Gadgets out there and Makey Makey is not new. I like it because it is affordable and the possibilities are endless. I also like that Makey Makey is not tech reliant (like Cubelets, etc). Kids LOVE Makey Makey and it is great for Centers (if necessary), independent work or PBLs. This is an awesome product for front loading The Hour of Code and Critical Thinking.

Each District has very different App policies. App Funding policies vary widely also. A classroom with multiple devices may actually be Teacher owned, in which case that means it is Teacher Funded. At this point Apple owns the EdTech world, especially after GOOGLE shuttered GOOGLE Education Apps. An iTune Gift Card will never gather dust and will be appreciated for sure.

Like an iTune Gift Card, this gift will come in handy for almost any tech class situation. For the 1:1 rooms this tool is an essential. Headphones break off a few times a year in devices. Likewise, in a room with limited devices this tool is valuable because it allows you to get back to using your tech. I LOVE that this product came to market via KickStarter. We have saved HUNDREDS of dollars using this simple tool in our building. We currently keep one in service and have a backup at all times.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Duck for President Voting Ballot - GOOGLE Forms - Free, Easy Voting for all Ages!

Click on the Ballot Above to reach a FUN, EASY Voting activity for all ages!

Disclaimer: This is just like a large voting ballot that we are all sharing. I have not figured out how everyone can access this Form while clearing previous results (without owning it). This is perfect for a fun Voting Exercise but obviously the results are skewed (we've heard that before, right?)

If you want to learn how to make your OWN Voting Sheet with Google Forms CHECK OUT MY EASY TUTORIAL HERE.

Friday, November 4, 2016

GOOGLE FORMS Tutorial - STUCO Elections

Love, love, LOVE all things GOOGLE. I have spent the first part of this year getting our Teachers onboard and set up with Classroom. I STRONGLY believe that this is technology that improves Teachers' lives.

This week we are using GOOGLE Forms to host the STUCO Elections. My STUCO Rep (and 4th grade teachers) was nervous to make the change but I pushed the issue and I am SO glad I did.

Here is a picture of the ballot she had created prior to my GOOGLE push. She created this in Word and I think my timing irritated her a little because it took about 40 minutes to create this. The model using the paper ballot was that each student returned to class after the assembly and voted with paper and pencil. The ballots were then returned to the office where they were counted later in the day. Elections results were typically announced at the end of the day.

GOOGLE forms is so, so easy!! It took my 11 minutes to use the teacher's computer (pulled pics from the recycle bin) to have a working ballot with NO HEADACHES. 

First, find FORMS from your GOOGLE Grid. I have included the second picture to show how you may have to search beyond "More".

 Choose the Purple FORMS button. You will then Choose Start a New Form

For our purposes you want to make sure the Multiple Choice option is chosen.

This is where you will fill in the Title and turn the first Question into your first voting option (in this case President). When Option 1 is highlighted you will click on the photo option from the column on the right side of the question. You will then be prompted to choose and image. *My recommendation at this point is to use images from your Drive, it speeds up the process. Uploading from your computer is not long either.

After you have inserted the image this is what your first "choice" will look like. To ADD ANOTHER CANDIDATE, CLICK ON "ADD OPTION". You will then be able to add a new photo (candidate).

Once you have added all of the Candidates for President it is time for a New Question (new position). You create this by clicking on the + sign to the right of the question.

At this point you repeat the process of adding the Candidates and labeling them. When all Candidates have been added you can easily preview your ballot. Click on the eyeball logo in the upper right hand corner of the form.

This is what your Ballot looks like at this point:

Once you are happy with the Form you share easily. I prefer the link option as an easy way to share with all of my Teachers. I also like the one click access this gives Teachers. Click on the Send button (right next to the Settings/ Preview buttons).

After I click on the Link option. I make sure the Shorten URL box.

The Final Ballot is intuitive one touch Form. Once the selections are made they need to click on the Blue Submit.

Once the response is submitted the Voter needs to click the "Submit another response". This will reset the form for another response.

When you are ready to view the results it is one touch away. Click on the Pencil in the upper right hand corner. This will return you to the Editing Ability.

This is where you can see your Responses. This MAY BE my favorite feature of the Forms - RESULTS!!

As you can see, the Results are numeric and visual. I know our STUCO reps are THRILLED to not be counting votes next week. I also appreciate the integrity of these results. 

The possibilities are unlimited with GOOGLE Forms and I LOVE how easy it is to CREATE a Form and how easy it is to USE a Form and how easy it is to GET RESULTS from a Form.

Let me know if I forgot any steps and also PLEASE show me your favorite Forms. My teachers are new to this and any examples I can share with them is helpful!!!