Teacher Tested Technology Link Up: Student Friendly Search Engines

Super excited to be linking up with Bonita at Learning Whole Heartedly for a Teacher Tested Technology Link Up! 

Technology, Search Engines

I want to share with you some technology search engine tools that students use when doing research and that make me worry less about little second graders stumbling upon inappropriate things.

Last year, I used to be able to fine tune the search setting when students used Google Images on iPads so it was automatically protected and age appropriate. This year, that setting seems to be changed! 

Currently my students are searching for images to use with their iMovies about their Real World Problem research. I looked though many different search engines and picture sites and these are my two favorites. 

My first tried and trusted search engine is Pics 4 Learning. This is a great site for nature pictures - animals, extreme weather - that sort of thing. 
However, if a student is looking for more current pictures or pictures with people in them (like poverty or hunger) my go to website is Safe Search Kids. This is an extension of Google Images, except with the peace of mind that they won't find inappropriate things - even if they try!

Since the students are accessing these websites on the iPads, you may be wondering how I prevent them from just going into Safari or Chrome and typing their search in the URL. Easy. I tell the students the way to get to the image websites is through the QR code reader. 
I have the QR code put on the "dock" or home bar on the bottom of the iPad home screen. 

Then I show them how to take a picture of either QR code and then open the site in Safari (using the share or options button ... you know the box with the arrow popping out as my kids say). Once they open it in Safari they can search for images on the site and save them to the iPad to use in their iMovie. 

For some reason, having them go through the QR readers prevents them from searching directly from the browser, even though they totally do search directly from the browser when on the computer!

Speaking of searching directly from the browser, did you know on Google Chrome you can change the default search engine? This is a miracle magic changer for me. If you go into setting and under Search Engines, you can add a kid friendly search engine like Safe Search Kids or Kidz Search. Then when students search something from the browser, they get sent right to the kid friendly search engine. 

Using these student friendly search engines has made students more independent and made me more confident in them using the search engines independently! Win win!

Grab these QR codes in my Movie Making Kit on TPT!

Thanks for hosting Bonita!


Five for Friday 3-25-16

Oh hello Five for Friday! 
It's been a while! 

March has been super busy and here's why: 

I was knee deep in Regional PD Planning! It went awesome (okay fine, total honesty I almost flooded a room). I was super focused on that last week and after I just wanted to chillax! Besides co-planning the day, I also ran the maker space providing two challenges: create a penny barge, or make your own Rube Goldberg machine. 
People were hesitant at first but then as they opened up, I loved seeing how excited and competitive people got! They were competing over having the best Machine and over whose barge held the most pennies.  
STEAM, STEM, Maker Space, Activities

Grab those STEM Maker Space challenges (plus some extra bonus ones!) here on TPT!

I am tapering for my marathon! It's crazy to think that I actually completed all the training and long runs through the winter. Whatttt! 
And even though I'm "tapering" I still have some heavy workouts including a track session this week that ended up being..TEN MILES. 
Honestly I'm exhausted. It takes a lot of energy. But now it's just TWO weeks away! Then I get to rest until my next race....which is THREE weeks after that! Wait, what??

I bought these tabbed sticky notes to use in my Erin Condren notebook to further divide the notebook (for example, I have a PLC section and I can use the sticky notes to divide the section into the different PLCs I attend. You can find these gems here on Amazon

I also bought a pack of multi colored Flair pens. LOVE.

My second grade students are knee deep in their real world problem research. Because the students complete the different parts of the project at different paces, a lot of my classes are kind of (okay, NOT kind of) - ARE REALLY all over the place. Some are finishing research. Others are beginning their storyboards. Some are beginning to find their images for their iMovies. And some are beginning to create their iMovie. And that's one second grade class. And I teach EIGHT of these babies! 
I'll be blogging in more detail soon about how I keep everything organized!

My spring break isn't for another THREE weeks! Anyone have a late spring break??


Words for the week ahead...

This weekend my sister and I were running. About 12 miles into the run (let's just say that the run included FOURTEEN miles of speed work - I'll leave it up to you to guess the entire length of the run), I mentioned how getting up early (we had gotten up at 4:30) after a busy (and stressful!) work week and running long WITH speed work in it had gotten easier. 

And my sister replied with complete accuracy "It doesn't get easier. You just get better."

Like hot and cold, easy and hard are relative. What was hard before was now easy. Except what we were doing hadn't changed. We were doing the same exact 22 mile (opps..spilled the beans) speed work out that we had done in the fall. The work out itself hadn't gotten any easier. In fact since our goal marathon pace has decreased, you could argue that it had actually gotten harder.

But the reality is, the work out itself hadn't changed. It was me who had changed. I had gotten better: at speed work, at running long, at fueling before and during. 

And isn't this so true in life? 

I mean we all remember writing that first 10+ page paper (for me, it was junior year of high school) and completely freaking out about it all year. Then suddenly you're writing 10 page papers every other week in college. Did the writing get easier? Of course not! You just get better and more efficient. 

And isn't that true for teaching? I remember how writing one lesson plan during student teaching was laborious taking tons of time and creating a final product that was a solid ten pages when finished (speaking of ten page papers..). 

Now I write and revise several lesson plans each weekend and most don't read longer than one page. It really didn't get easier. It's just with time and practice, I've gotten better: I know the essentials to include, I know what will engage the students, I know what will fit into a 40 minute lesson and what won't.

If you feel overwhelmed right now, stay calm. Stick with it. Keep pushing. You will become stronger and you will gain skills to make you better. 

And if you are already better at things? Take a moment to reflect: Your life really hasn't gotten easier (sorry to burst that bubble), you have just gotten better. You are pretty darn amazing. 


Need some inspiration for the week ahead?

This is my THIRD week of sharing inspirational quotes for the week ahead...I am a quote fanatic!

Read my earlier posts here and here.

My quotes for this week come from a conversation I had yesterday with my mom and sister. My mom is hands down the smartest, most intuitive person I know. And whenever she shares gems, I immediately write them down. 
Quote, Inspiration, Barack Obama
The first quote is based on a speech Barack Obama made during Super Tuesday in 2008. 

The second quote is something my mom said later on in the conversation.
Quote, hope, Inspiration
These quotes speak to the quiet hopes we hold in our hearts. To the quietness of success and progress. Success and progress are often not as we imagine them: there is not great fanfare and celebration during it, there is not acclaim and recognition as we toil. 

I run a lot and with running it is the little whispers inside that I need to listen to and encourage. When I listen to them and give them an opportunity, they grow into something bigger than I could ever have imagined.

And when things don't automatically happen as planned? Or they take detours? That's okay! You never know what is in the works and what is headed your way. 

Don't give up because it is not automatic or it takes time or it takes hard work. 

One day, it will be a roar from a whisper you're glad you nurtured.  


Five For Friday 3-4-16

Happy Read Across America Week!
I wore my Dr. Seuss shirts....
AND on Wednesday it was Dress as Your Favorite Book Character Day. So I of course choose....Pippi Longstocking!! Check out my costume! I definitely put more thought into this costume then I've put into any Halloween costume in a long time!

We had author Grace Lin come and speak today!
During my classes, students completed pre-search on Grace and brainstormed a question they wanted to ask her.  I've always wanted to touch on interviews with the students as a means of research either though a Skype or with a local expert. Having an author come was an amazing opportunity to do this!
Then I created booklets of their questions to put in our library.

I got an ERIN CONDREN notebook!!!! I really wanted a life planner but they only come for the regular year and not the academic year PLUS there is the reality I already have a planner for this year! ;) 
So I decided to test the waters with a notebook because I'm always taking notes in behavior team, tech team, and PBIS in a notebook that is almost filled.

Since the notebook came with awesome dividers,  I created sections for each meeting.

It has a monthly calendar in the front that I can use so I don't have t lug my notebook and my planner to every meeting.

PLUS it is chock full of inspirational quotes and inspirational quotes are my jam!

I have been on a cleaning, organizing and redoing decorations streak!
I cleaned up behind my easel because it became VERY messy. Then literally the afternoon I cleaned, my vice principal came in looking for an easel she could borrow for a night event. I knew I cleaned the back off for a reason! Saved myself some embarrassment! Phew! 
You can read about how I used new containers to organize my desk and my classroom in my Currently post. 

This Periscope gives you a better glimpse of how I organized using them (plus I walk you though my EC Notebook!).

I replaced my inquiry sign - it seemed so drab and dark - I wanted something brighter and more cheerful!

I think I must have been bite by the spring cleaning bug!

My sister and I (on the left!) looking absolutely ECSTATIC after crushing our PRs. 
I ran a half marathon on Saturday! 
My C goal was break two hours, my B goal was break 1:55 and my A 'Pie in the Sky' goal was 1:45. I decided beforehand I would go largely by feel checking in on my pace every once in a while but not obsessing over it. 
I ended up running 1:52:52 and it was AWESOME! Read my race recap here (just be prepared for runner TMI!). 

Happy Friday!


March Currently

Sheila Jane on Periscope. Thank you replay!

It's March! But at the same time my brain is confused...what happened to the school year!? We've only had TWO snow days so far this year which I'm also loving. It means my last day is June 10th!!! What!! Fingers crossed for NO MORE SNOW DAYS because for the first time since I started working in this district we are getting out before the 20s of June. 

Only 5.5 more weeks until my third marathon! People, training for a marathon DURING the school year is PURE CRAZY!! Training in the summer is going to be a breeze compared to this! 

And I haven't told anyone at work that I'm training for it (long story short: it's a challenge between my sister and I to not tell anyone. Kinda inspired by this spoof video!). So people at work don't quite understand why I'm EXHAUSTED all the time or why I'm limping around sometimes. But I'm super proud to not have spilled the beans! Well except to you all. ;) 


 My ERIN CONDREN notebook to come!!! I have been literally stalking my planner via UPS tracking as it goes across the U.S. It started in California...literally as far as possible in the continental U.S. from little ole' me in CT! #LittleObsessed. Can. Not. Wait. Ekk!!!! 

To get organized!! I think of myself as a very organized person but the reality is I am organized CHAOS!
I found these containers on Amazon (you know how much I LOVE Amazon, right??). I am using them to:
Organize my binders so I can more easily pull them out without disrupting the rest of them (the picture on the left is them in transition - they used to all lay sideways). I put the top on top of the container and I put papers I need to sort in the binders and student work for the week on top.

I also decided to use one container for storing picture books. I was using a little basket previously and it was OVERFLOWING. Now I use that little basket to store just the books I am using this week in my lessons.

I used a third container for my shoes (Hmm...I think I'm the only one who has multiple EXTRA pairs of shoes at school lol).
And I used the fourth container to store student break materials and prizes (coloring books, sticker books, and special pencils).

I also FINALLY created my Teacher Tool Box Labels and added my Toolbox to my classroom. I'm not 100% satisfied with my labels and definitely NOT happy with the color but I won't be able to spray paint it until spring break which isn't until the end of April. 

I STILL have areas in my classroom and storage that are just a MESS (um I don't even know what is going on in that container!) and they drive me bonkers. So I ignore those spaces. See how I'm horrible at organization??

My elections all thankfully happen at the town hall and we haven't had our primary elections yet!



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