Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Monthly Goals - Back To School Linky

It's back to school for me next week.  Well at least for a few days.  We are "lucky" that school does not start until August 27th so I really do have quite a few days left.  I need to get a jump on things this year because we got new SMARTBOARDS and I need to be ready to trouble shoot any problems.  (Did I mention I am also Technology Co-Chair) so I need to have my room set up before all that could go wrong "might"
So I decided to link up with Jess at I Heart Recess.  I hope by putting my words out to the public, then I will actually get myself busy!  So here goes.

Personal: In my attempt to drop the 25 lbs that I have put on since November, I am swearing off Fast Food.  Yes, I said it out loud.  I must have the will power to come home and .... hold on.... I'm going to say it.... COOK!  I have begun to cook more this summer and would really like to continue.  
Organization:  I can do it, I know I can.  I love to save things on the desktop of my computer.  For me, it's easier to find things because I can never remember which folder I have placed things into.  So not only do I save my things on my desktop but into folders there as well.  Oh yeah & I save them into MY DOCUMENTS also.  The madness has to stop.  I promise to keep my desktop clean. (I'm sure my neighbor teachers would be laughing if they read this)
Planning:  I am a planner, I love to plan ahead and love to be on time.  Here is my problem with that.  I can do my plans on Monday for the following week, then Tuesday I will look at them again and decide to change them again.  Wednesday, look and add or change again.. You get it... I usually end up changing my 1st set of plans 2 times before the week is over.  Don't get me wrong, my Monday plans are usually good but for some reason, I will always find another way to change them.  More & More work for me.  No more... My plans are going to be great the first time. No changes.
Professional: Our school got new wall Smartboards this year and I am excited to put it to use.  Now, I have had a pretend smartboard for years. I would use my iPad and Splashtop as my Smartboard.  I tried! But this year, I am going to jump in an embrace my new board. I would love to use it all day in every way I can.  I am very familiar with notebook lessons but if you have any new and inventive ways to use my new toy, please let me know
Students: Last year, we had 27 kiddos in our class.  24 cubbies, 27 kiddos made for some baskets around the room and a very crowded room.  Numbers are looking the same for next year and since our grade did well on STAAR, it isn't looking like they are going to try to lower those numbers, so I just need to accept it.  No more excuses, bringing back centers, and small groups, going back to normal... just with more kids.
Motto:  So I am sure you have never heard this motto before (I made it up) but I am pretty sure many of you can relate.  I am a helper by heart.  I love for people to be happy and hate when people have problems.  SO, when I hear a co-worker has a problem or an issue, some how I tend to take on that problem and "try" to help them.  Yeah it's not a bad trait but it can be when I begin to own that issue and then realize that my co-worker has forgotten about it, so I am the lone solver of the problem.  Did I mention that I don't like to leave things unsolved.  So my goal is to take off my "problem solving cape" and put it into retirement.  I figure if it doesn't effect me, then it's ok for me to take the back seat.  GOOD LUCK TO ME :)

Well I have covered them all, maybe we should do a Check Up Linky in October to see how are goals are going! 
 photo Natalie.png

Monday, July 29, 2013

Backgrounds Wallpapers for iPads

I just love TechChef4U, not only is she a former teacher in my district but she is absolutely AMAZING!  She always finds the best ideas.  I guess that is why she was hired elsewhere and had to leave us :(  It happens to the best of them.  So anyways, I posted last week about using wallpapers on my iPads and Lisa must have read my mind because look what I can across today.  I just can't let anyone miss out on this one.
Tony Vincent of Learning in Hand   posted these wonderful wallpapers and if you visit his page, he has a great article with other bits of information freebies for you.  Did I mention they are FREE!!!
Don't miss out on such a great FREEBIE!

 photo Natalie.png

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tune into Technology Thursday Linky - Management & Organization

Another Linky for the books.  Thanks to Learning To The Core and I Teach 1:1  for hosting this linky.

I have 10 iPads in my room and share another 10 with a fellow 3rd grade teacher.  We were lucky enough to receive a grant last year and were determined to find an easy way to keep them organized, stored and also find an easy way to transport them to each others rooms.
After brainstorming many ideas (did I mention we didn't have a lot of $ for purchasing storage) we came up with this great idea.  It works perfect, holds 10 iPads easily and travels well to other classrooms.
It cost $8.00 for each tub and $3.00 for each surge protector. So our total cost was $32.00
I know it's not the cutest thing ever (ok it's down right ugly) but it works and at the end of the day, it gets locked away in my closet.  Now if you consider that a storage container for ipads can run anywhere from $100.00 - $1,000  - I think we did pretty well.
This is what holds our iPads.  (durable but not fancy)
 Our Container

This is what it looks like empty.   I used the cardboard that we got when the iPads were shipped.  We numbered each slot.
Numbered Slots
This is what it looks like with the iPads inside.
ipads inside
 Now to be sure that each iPad is returned and to avoid the hearing "we are missing an iPad, who has an iPad", I found these backgrounds and put them into the wallpaper of each.  Our kids are assigned a number to use each time, so we know who has the missing one.  I found it easy to assign one child as the iPad guru. That student's job is to make sure the iPads are charged, back in order correctly and put away each day.  Boy did that save me hours of time.
Background Wallpaper of iPads
I hope this was helpful! Having our iPads have been so much fun! I only wish each child had one.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Tried It Tuesday Linky - A Healthy Happy Teacher Coming Right Up

Tuesday is here and I am ready to share.  Yeah For Tried It Tuesday brought to you by  Fourth Grade Flipper.
 As a teacher you know how difficult it is to eat healthy during the school year and how boring the same "old turkey sandwich" can be.  This year I have decided to be a healthier (and therefore happier teacher). No more school lunches for this gal. I am saying good bye to my chicken tenders and mashed potatoes days! I am hoping that I can maintain this idea throughout the first month at least ( I need to set small goals). I hate every night when I am thinking "what will I eat for lunch tomorrow?".  Planning out your school lunch can be a pain and  pre-making it can be even worse.  I have been on the look out for new ideas that are easy to put together and yummy to eat. Well I have found one!  It's pre-made with everything included, comes in many flavors and is yummy!
I love CHOPPED SALAD!  If you have never had it, you must try it out!  I am not a big salad eater but there is something about chopped salad with its crunchy crunch crunch that I just love.  So I came across this at HEB the other day.

OMG!! It is so good. Asian Chopped Salad is so full of yumminess!  It has cabbage, carrots, celery, green onions cilantro, wonton noodles, almonds and a ginger dressing,  Now anyone who knows me can tell you I am NOT a big vegetable fan and I would never choose those for a "regular" salad.  There is just something about having it all chopped up that doesn't scare me :)  My family finished off the entire bag that night!  That is a great deal for my household and they requested more.  So as I headed home tonight, I stopped off at HEB again, but to my disappointment there was NO ASIAN!  So I decided to take a chance and try out this one.
Ok, so BBQ chopped salad is a very scary name but I was ready to give it a try. I was feeling adventurous. WOW! it was great, who would know that adding ranch and bbq to a salad could taste so good. I'm telling you it is so worth trying out.  So I am now officially in love with this one and of course they have several other flavors that I need to try out now.  Check them out.

Of course, I am pretty sure I will get bored if I eat them everyday but it is a start and I figure that any vegetable I can get will make for my goal of the Healthier, Happier Teacher! 
  photo Natalie.png

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Pinterest top 10 for next school year Linky Party

My second linky party and of course it is Pinterest related!  I absolutely love Pinterest!  Last year, our color printers at school got a serious workout because of Pinterest.  I swear it was redo your room year for everyone and I LOVED IT!  I am attempting to give our printers a break this year (let's face it, my room is already too cute) and I am concentrating more on technology and curriculum when I am pinning.  I can hear a sigh of relief from our color printer right now. Well here are my  Top 10 Pinterest Ideas for next year....

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tune Into Technology Linky - My First Linky!

I am so excited to participate in my very first linky from Learning To The Core and  iTeach 1:1 .  My first of many I hope.  I am a "tech nerd", so this was perfect.
I love my classroom website! I have worked on it for many years.  I began with our district assigned website but it was very basic, so this year I converted it to a blog/website as I wanted to make it more interactive. Here is the link to my classroom website.  

1 All About You: Future students and parents love to learn about their new teacher before they meet them. 
2. Classroom Information:   Your Schedule, Newsletter, Upcoming Events , Expectations and Helpful Links for Students and Parents
3. Students Creations: One way to get parents involved and aware of the “happening” in your class room is by posting their child’s work for them to see.  (plus the kids love to see each others work also)
4. Student Interactions: This year, I began a weekly student blogger.  Their job was to write a post about our week and add it to the blog.  They loved it.  I plan to add a Guest Tweeter next year!
5. Blogging/Website Etiquette: This is important to have if you are planning to make your website interactive.  

Well, I think that is enough for tonight.  Please leave me a comment as I am very nervous to put my first linky out for the world to see!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Must Have Free App - Pic Collage

I simply love Pic Collage.  It is one of the best apps that I have come across during my iPad adventures. It's uses are endless and the kids catch on so quickly, there is not a lot of time wasted trouble shooting and explaining how to use it.
 At the end of the year, we usually do a memory book with our 5th graders.  This year, I decided to do save a few trees and go totally digital. We created 6 pages total using pic collage and then imported them into Flip Snack. I was so impressed with their growth and techno skills, I am never going back to paper.  Here is one example.

My next Pic Collage adventure did not turn out how I planned, it turned out BETTER!
When we were studying adaptations and animal behaviors, we did an activity where we created unique animals on paper first.  My idea originally was to create a collage with their animal and describe how each of their adaptations effected their animal.  Their project had to include food, defense,shelter and create a name for it.  I had pictured this all in blocks with labels evenly spaced out (that's the organized person in me).  Due to lack of time, I did not show them how I wanted it done, but just gave them they basic directions and requirements.  WOW, I was amazed with what they created.  My initial thought was "OH no, that is not what I was thinking " but they had actually created their own idea and that was really my goal! Have I mentioned how much I love my iPads! Here are a few examples.

My students loved Pic Collage just as much as I did.  They even used it during their free time.  I love how they were able to express themselves.  Go Pic Collage!


Free Math Software Download From Lakeshore Learning

I love FREE!  I have mentioned it before and I think I am starting to see a theme for my new blog.  FREE!  That is a great Lesson Learned and certainly a Lesson Loved for me.  So I was on Lakeshore Learning today and discovered that if you sign up for their emails, you can get a free Math Digital Download Game.

Click on the picture above or here to signup for your free download. Once you fill out the form, they will email you the download.  You can't beat that.

Creating How To's Using Snap Guide

I found this brilliant app called SnapGuide at the iTunes store and it's free.  I love FREE~ Snap Guide is an excellent step-by-step how to guide creator.  It can be used on an iPad by downloading their app or by visiting their website.  You can create step-by-step guides for cooking, sewing, diy, fashion and much much more.  As I stated in my post last week, I love anything that is easy to use and Snap Guide is just that.  It's simple to use: upload a pictures, add a caption, then move to the next page.  It also has cool features like ingredients or supplies needed.  They can also be shared on Facebook! At the end of the year, my students created step by step guides for future 5th graders. I have these posted on my school blog for future 5th graders to see.   Check out How to Have a Spectacular 5th Grade by Bulverde Fifth on Snapguide. Check out How to Survive 5th Grade by Bulverde Fifth on Snapguide. Want to see more? Click here

Monday, July 8, 2013

Have You Tried Smore?

 I love it when I find a website that is easy to use and will produce a fabulous project.  So many times, I will find a site and it will take hours to try to figure out how to use it (I have spent many frustrating hours tinkering and then quitting). That is why when I find a great website like Smore, I have to write about it.   Smore is a website where you can create flyers that can be shared, embedded or even printed out.  It is absolutely amazing.  My class was researching famous inventors and the students used Smore to present our information that they learned during their research.  Smore is very user friendly, you can upload pictures, videos, forms and links.  I also used it to create a flyer for a summer technology class that I will be teaching this summer.  Here are a few of the AMAZING flyers that were created by my students.  

Want to see more? Click on the links below:
Eryn & Emily Mariam & Maddie Harrison & Jorden Valerie & Mia