I Spy With My Techy Eye

Okay, first: yes, it has been WAYY too long since I posted. I have been very busy but I’ll save that for my next Five For Friday post that has been in draft form for about, oh, two weeks.

Because this post is really about techy things that have caught my eye. Having started my last master’s class (yea!) combined with reading tech blogs and articles as a way to distress (I know – I’m weird) and discovering educational apps on my phone, there have been a lot of different tech items percolating in my mind and I want to share two of them.

1) QR Codes.
I remember when QR Codes first came out: I would flip through magazines, see them and go Huh those are weird. Since I didn't have a smartphone, I really had no idea what they were. Over time my understanding of them  expanded and since I now actually own an iPhone, I now have the QR Reader app (it came in quite handy when a student lost their glasses on Bizarro at Six Flags a couple weeks ago).

Then I came across a post describing how a teacher used it in stations, having students go from QR Code to QR Code with their devices opening up different media as they learned about a specific topic. I then read an article about using QR codes in libraries, the two most fascinating uses being to update outdated information in books and as a means for parent outreach on back to school night.

In my search to find the original posts that sparked my interest, I found these good reads:
The first is by Monica Burns on Edutopia about using QR codes in the classroom to differentiate.
And the second contains a plethora of QR resources including links to generators.

And honestly, if you want to learn more, just Google “Use of QR Codes in Classroom” and a variety of resources comes up.

2) I am obsessed with Padlet!You start with a blank screen which you can add essentially comments that contains your name and a sentence or two. You can also add other media such as pictures and videos. It then posts to the wall as a bubble and others can post their content, building on your post, or as original content. Typically, the first post on the wall contains a guiding question for students to reflect on and respond to. It's a website and not an app, but it could easily be opened on a SMARTBoard or in the browsing window of a device and used that way. You can use it without an account, but you can also create an account so you can save your work.

The potential fascinates me! It can be used in the beginning of class as an initiation, having the teacher or a student post a question and having students post an answer. It could also be used as part of the morning routine, having students post what they did over the weekend or responding to a question connecting home to content (I.e. What parts of nature did you experience this weekend?). Then during Morning Meeting, all the students responses are on the board to share. It could also be used during a lesson, as a place to share their wonders or their ideas. It could also be used at the end of the lesson for students to share one thing they learned. The possibilities are endless and I am totally obsessed with it.

Do you hear that? Oh, right, that's my classwork and other items I need to do are calling to get my attention!

Happy Reading,


Five for Friday: Appreciative for Blog Make-Overs and Birthdays and...

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week! I have A LOT to appreciate this week!

I'll be linking up these week (again) to both Five for Friday and Freebie Friday (see Number 4).

My blog make-over is officially complete thanks to the AWESOME Barb over at Ruby Slipper Blog Designs! See my The BIG Reveal! post about the super easy experience or head over to Barb's site!

Wednesday was my boss’s birthday (he’s the math coordinator) so I bought him this mathematical mug, a Starbucks gift card and a card in which I tried to record another math teacher's voice singing (it unfortunately didn't work which, yes, meant I ended up giving my boss a card with a singing monkey in it.)

I must say I was pretty proud of the final wrapping job! (Let’s not mention the baby shower wrapping snafu of earlier this year – do you know how hard it is to wrap a multi-piece  towel set?).

The fabulous PTO hosted a Staff Luncheon on Tuesday with so much delicious food there were gads of yummy leftovers to last us through the rest of the week! This is just a third of the table of leftovers, not to mention all the food in the fridges!

Wayyy back when (okay technically it was back in January ), I blogged about my Book Quotes Wall:

Here’s a slightly lopsided picture.

This past weekend I had the brilliant idea to convert my Word document into a Publisher Document, create a pretty cover page, save it as a PDF and then post it on TPT as a FREEBIE for others to use.

There are a total of 55 quotes in the freebie – I admit not ALL are from books. About 5 or so are taken from poems, speeches, and magazine articles. And there might be a lot from Sarah Dessen and Megan Shull’s books. There are also some children’s books quotes mixed in with the mainly young adult novels. They’re all black and white –I find printing them on colored paper makes a fun display!

I definitely see myself adding to this as I find more and more great quotes, so watch for an updated version!

If you have any feedback about the set-up of the quotes or see any typos, pleassse let me know.

Last week I mentioned that I bought a new phone. And literally in the nick of time.

Thursday my phone was being funky (as in the button to unlock it on the top didn’t work too well and I had to press it, oh, about ten times before it decided to unlock).

By Friday, this button went from not too well to not at all.

I ended up dong minor surgery to make the button work and let’s just say it went from under-responsive to over-responsive!

Every time I used my phone Friday, if my finger as much as grazed the top of the unlock/power button a message would pop up asking if I wanted to continue powering down (The unlock button on my old phone also happens to be the power button.).

Um, no thank you. I’m actually in the middle of using you!

I think my favorite part of my new phone is the Nike+ App I got. It talks to me as I run! Seriously there is nothing like hearing your mile pace is 10:04 to motivate you to run faster so you can get it under10:00.

Watching my miles run increase after each run is also really cool (and motivating – hey just 1.2 miles till I get to 20 miles this week! Out the door I go).

AND they have prerecorded elite runners cheer you on! Hearing “This is Kara Goucher! You met your goal. Great job running!” was awesome! Now I’m off to my delusional world where I can pretend that her message was personally meant just for me.

Enjoy your Friday!


The BIG Reveal!

Ta Dahh!!!!

was going to wait until this Friday to do the BIG REVEAL with my new blog design but I couldn't wait! 

You might (just maybe) have noticed how much more awesome my blog looks. A couple weeks ago I won a blog design contest (yea!!) by Ruby Slippers Blog Designs.

I was BEYOND excited and I am so happy with the results!

I was a little apprehension at first handing my blog over to someone else (she's my baby!) but Barb was truly awesome. 

She kept me in the loop every step of the way with frequent emails and made sure she had the okay for the smallest details (for example adding a white chevron stripe to my background, which made it look even more awesome).

She was also extremely patient! 

Last week was a crazy week for me but she very patient with my email snafus (switching over to Google Chrome from Explorer, answering emails on my old phone, figuring out how to answer emails on my new phone...) and my slow response times (I would *cringe* often read an email, think awesome! then get caught up in my day and ... never remember to respond until three hours later).

Long story short, I was definitely NOT the best customer, but she was the most amazing blog designer!

I highly recommend Barb if you are thinking of your own blog redesigning. I won the Emerald Package from Barb, but opted to pay an extra $10 to get the Ruby Package ($10 for a whole blog redesign? A total steal!). The process was so easy and painless on my side (all I had to was give my opinion...easssy! ;) ). Barb also was great about feedback, letting me let my OCD out with the little changes I wanted to make. 

Check her out at Ruby Slipper Blog Designs!

I'm still working on adding more of my favorite bloggers to my Favorite Blogger page and adding Links to my Freebie page so keep your eyes peeled!


Five For Friday...

Five for Fridayyyy!!!

 Five for Friday!

 Freebie Friday

Linking up to Five for Friday and Freebie Friday (see Number 2)!

I finally cleaned the top of my math desk! Woohoo!

Now I just need to tackle the drawers inside….dun dun dun.

 Get my TPT Freebie here!

I finally finished my Variables packet! It’s available here at my TPT store as a freebie and includes 8 worksheets that correlate to 6th CCSS Standard 6.EE.1-8. It also includes answer keys for each worksheet. Honestly, the answer keys were the reason it took so long to make!

I used all of these worksheets with my sixth graders so they are student tested and I already made adjustments to them based on student feedback and experiences. If you buy this product and see any errors please let me know!

Good News: I had a demo lesson yesterday! I taught a lesson on alliteration to a second grade class.
It was interesting to say in the least! I really enjoyed it (a lot) and can I just say that there are a lot of commonalities between 8th graders and 2nd graders? I swear it’s true!(they get the same look on their face when you either pronounce their name wrong or call them the wrong name; they also sometimes don’t know when a joke is played out). It’s like I could see the student’s future selves when talking to them! Crazzzy!  But on the other side of the coin I also realized they’re not like middle schoolers in a lot of ways too (more sensitive, a little bit sweeter, more excited, easier to get them to participate). Not to  say I don’t love my middle schoolers because I do! I love their sense of humor, how they totally get adult sarcasm and jokes, their maturity and that wonder when you can see how life is opening up in front of their eyes and they go from ‘me, my family, my friends’ view to an awareness of a  larger community and world.

I bought an iPhone! Eep! I have been thinking about getting one for a while (read: I’ve been researching it for about 2 years now!) and I finally just took the plunge and bought one! It should be coming on Saturday. Excited but also kind of nervous….I like my fuddy duddy touch phone that kids say “Wow that’s really small!”or “Wow. Your phone is old!”about.

From this:

To this:

It’s a sad but exciting moment. 

And only 2 more weeks and 6 more days (not including today) of SBAC testing! Then I am back to my normal schedule and no longer be proctoring in the computer lab each week. I am soooo excited that this number is getting smaller...and smaller…and smaller! I do still get to work with my students here and there, but it’s not the same and there isn't the same continuity as with my normal schedule. 

Happy Friday!

P.S. Bonus update on my blog redesigning: Barb has shown me some of the preliminary designs and I am sooo excited! I also have to give a shout-out to her patience! Between the demo lesson, testing and Internet Explorer not working with my email, I haven't exactly (err...) been super fast replying but she has been so patient and supportive! Check her out at Ruby Slippers Blog Design!


Currently May!

Linking up to Farley's Currently!

Listening: I love the open window with the nice cool breeze coming in! Fresh air is one of the truly awesome things about spring and summer. I hate the closed in air of winter!

Loving: It has been rainy and cloudy and rainy and rainy for too long (okay like a week) but the sun finally came out mid-day today! Yeaaa:)

Thinking: My week has been busy!!! Between demo lessons, sub plans and testing I am ready to relax in my backyard in the sun!

Wanting: Totally self explanatory! Right? :)

Needing: This week has reminded me so much of college when I stayed up until 11 or 12 and woke up at 6 each morning trying to cram in as much work as I could into a day (can I just say that I'm glad I'm done with college??). There were multiple days this week where I stayed up late and woke up early. After a while it gets to you! My mood went down (I was sarcastic with a student this week. I am almost never sarcastic with students. Well at least not in a mean way! I felt so bad afterward and guilty!) and I haven't been running as much. I was on a great streak for a month and a half running 20-30 mile weeks. This week I think I ran, maybe, 7 miles? Like I said: Horrid. Sleep is a must!!

Surprise!! About two weeks ago I came across Pinkadots Elementary’s Linky Calendar. Do you ever reallly wish you knew WHEN linkys happened so you could plan for them and stop reading other peoples post after the fact? I do! This Calendar is seriously awesome and just adds to the awesome-ness of these two collaborating teachers blog. 


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