Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tech Tool Tuesday: Wix

I'm baaack!  It's only been a week, but it feels like it has been forever since I did a post.  First of all, I never announced the winner to my giveaway.  Congratulations to Kelly from An Apple for the Teacher.  Thank you to everyone who entered!  Now I know a little more about Rafflecopter and can't wait to use it again!

I wasn't able to give a lot of time to my giveaway because I wanted to finish it before I went out of town with my husband and daughter.  We spent several days in Halifax, Nova Scotia for a family wedding.  We had an incredible time seeing everyone, and my daughter was excited to have her first trip on an airplane!
Nova Scotia is a beautiful province, and the city of Halifax is a lot of fun.  Halifax Harbor has a lot of shopping and restaurants.  However one of my favorite things about Nova Scotia is fresh lobster!  We had a lobster dinner our last night there.  Delicious doesn't even begin to describe it.  My daughter, who likes most seafood, did not like her first taste of lobster.  Oh well, more for me!
 My inner Snoopy is doing a happy dance-not because of the lobster, but because my summer grad class is over!  Woo-hoo!  This gives me a few weeks to focus on back-to-school things (and blogging!).

Okay, on to Tech Tool Tuesday.  There are so many awesome tools out there that I was having trouble deciding on one!  I decided on Wix, one of my favorites!  This is a free website-building site, but I have used it many times for presentations.  It is not something that you would necessarily have your students use, but it can be used to create projects and presentations for the students.  Here is an example of a short project that I created for my class last year.  Isn't it pretty?  In case you aren't in the mood to go to the link, here is a picture of the home page.
You really need to go to the page to get the full effect of the clouds going across the screen.  Wix has a lot of little animations that can be added-the floating clouds was just one of the background choices!  I created a total of 5 pages with project options on each page.  Wix just lends itself to be used for presentations, and I have used it many times for project presentations in my class.  You can't download it, but you do get a URL that can easily be accessed.  To me, it is a fun alternative to a Glogster (a program that NEVER works for me).  Again I don't think that you would have your students creating their own Wix (our students are not given e-mail addresses), but the results of Wix creations are impressive.  Make one for your next staff presentation and listen to the oohs and aahs!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Tech Tool Tuesday: ZooBurst

 Today's tech tool is ZooBurst, which is an online site where students can make virtual pop-up books.
The basic ZooBurst site is free, but you can pay for an upgraded version or a school license.  The free account includes up to 10 created books, so students would have to collaborate if you were using the free version in your classroom.

It can be used as a presentation tool for young students.  There is a library of pictures to choose from, or you can upload your own.  Clicking on the arrow turns the "page" and then the pictures pop up.  The little speech bubbles can be clicked on in order to share more information.

I like ZooBurst because it can get young students using Web 2.0 tools.  They can easily write stories and add pictures.  If you have a SmartBoard, students can share their books with the class.  The stories could even be a part of a reading center at the Smart Board!

Here is my favorite part about ZooBurst...the upgraded versions have the capability of using Augmented Reality (this used to be free-I was disappointed that it isn't anymore).
How cool is this?  A student holds the QR code in front of the webcam, and then it looks like the student is holding the book!  Obviously we had some difficulty with holding the code still, but you get the idea.  I just think this site would motivate students to want to write and share stories.

The upgraded versions also allow students to record themselves reading the story.  This would be great for fluency practice!

What other ways would you use this site?

Don't forget to enter my giveaway!  It ends tonight!


Monday, July 23, 2012

Another Award and My First Giveaway

Thanks to Monica from Classroom Capers for the Liebster Award!  So what is a "Liebster?"....

This award is named for the German word "Liebster," which translates to "beloved" or "favorite," and it is given to "new, up and coming bloggers."  Yay, me!  I now have the beginning bloggers trifecta!

The rules:
1.  Link back to the person who gave it to you.
2.  Post the award to your blog.
3.  Give the award to at least 5 bloggers with less than 200 followers.
4.  Leave a comment on the 5 blogs to let them know that they have been offered this award

 I am giving the award to...(imagine a drumroll)...

Destination: Knowledge

 You Might Be a First Grader

Mrs. Poutney's Ponderings

Our Future is Bright

Adventures in Third Grade

These are all very cool blogs-be sure to stop by and check them out!!!

Now presenting...MY FIRST GIVEAWAY!!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

I have been feeling guilty that I have been getting so many followers without giving much in return.   I haven't even had time to do a post with real content in almost a week!  Anyway, I am giving away a $5.00 gift card to Target.  It's not much, but I know that some lucky teacher will enjoy using it in the Dollar Spot-have you seen all of their adorable stuff?  I spent a fortune today on pencils alone!  So this giveaway is a thank you, and also a chance for me to see how Rafflecopter works.  As always, thanks for stopping by!!!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

I'm Feeling the Love!

A big thanks to Pam at PJ Jots for The Versatile Blogger award!  Two awards in  (about) two weeks-awesome!

Here are the rules for the Versatile Blogger Award:
1. Thank the blogger who nominated you
2. Include a link to their blog
3. Include the award image in your post
4. Give 7 random facts about yourself
5. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award
6. When nominating, include a link to their blog
7. Let other bloggers know they've been nominated

So here are 7 random facts about me.
1.  I am addicted to Chapstick and almost always have one in my right pocket.
2.  My favorite color is plaid (yes, I know it's not really a color-just go with it).
3.  My daughter's due date was 7/7/07-how cool is that?  She was born a week later on the 14th.
4.  I love watching tennis.
5.  I have no tattoos or unusual piercings (just my ears).
6.  I cannot stand little paper clips.
7.  I detest running, but I am thinking of training to do the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston (10k).  We'll see if I can do it!

 So here are my list of nominees:

Destination: Knowledge

Diving into Learning

From My Mixed Up Files

Fancy Free in Fourth

Teaching Special Kids

Okay, I don't have 15 nominees.  I have procrastinated my final leadership article reviews long enough and need to get back to work.

Be sure to check out some of these awesome blogs!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Newbie Bloggers Blog Hop

Janis at Grade Three is the Place for Me!  is having a newbie blogger blog hop.  As a relatively new blogger (and someone that loves third grade), I had to join in.  I hope that you will check out some of the other newbie bloggers!  For any other newbies, link up and tell everyone:

    1.  what state you are in

    2.  your current teaching position
    3.  your teaching experience
    4.  when you started blogging
    5.  share a blogging tip / blogging resource

Here is my list

1. I am originally from Buffalo, New York, but I now live in North Carolina.
2. I currently teach third grade.  To me, it is the perfect age to teach!
3. I taught second grade for two years, and have been teaching third grade for 15 years.
4. I started my blog in May, so I am definitely a newbie!
5.  My tip for new bloggers:  get out there and post!  I know that I still have a small following, but I have found that I gain more followers by being more active.  This includes leaving comments on other blogs.  You get out what you put in!

Courtney at 2nd Grade Snapshots is having a giveaway.  She is also a relatively new blogger, and she has some awesome stuff on Teachers Pay Teachers.  Be sure to stop by and check out her site!

I am up to 40 followers.  Can I make it to 50 by next week?????

Favorite Math Books Blog Hop

Another day, another blog hop! Donna at Math Coach's Corner is hosting "The Best Math Book I've Ever Read" linky. Some of my favorites are already on here. Be sure to add your favorites too!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Favorite Picture Books Linky

The Teacher Wife

I am crashing the party-the Must Have Picture Book Linky Party, hosted by The Teacher Wife. Here are a few of my favorites:

Rechenka's Eggs: I love everything Patricia Polacco, but this is one of my favorites. I read this every year at Easter and teach my students about Pysanky and their symbolism. I have a decorated egg that I share with my kids after reading the book. It is a sweet story, and the pictures are beautiful.

"You put your head in, you put your head out. You do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself around...that's all we could do."

This book Cracks.Me.Up. I read this during our soil unit. Love it!

With a name like Pinkney, it has to be good! I love The Talking Eggs. Jerry Pinkney's gorgeous illustrations steal the show in this Creole version of a Cinderella story.

Another Doreen Cronin book-it's an election year, and I know that I will be reading this aloud to my third graders. I love all of the little jokes that are dispersed throughout the book-Duck even plays saxophone on late night TV during his campaign-funny!

My kids always LOVE when we are learning figurative language, especially idioms! I always share A Chocolate Moose for Dinner and The King Who Rained. Even though I have to explain some of the sayings, it is still a lot of fun.

I can't wait to look over other lists and get some new read aloud ideas!

Tech Tool Tuesday: Mentor Mob

I love the idea of having "theme days" on these blogs. If nothing else, it will help keep me on a schedule. Since I really do want to focus on technology, I am deciding to do a Tech Tool Tuesday. I love following Technology Tuesday on A Turn to Learn, so I will try to write about different topics.

My first tool to share is one that I recently started playing with: Mentor Mob. This free site is a way to organize websites, videos, and even quizzes by topic. It reminds me of Symbaloo, where you bookmark sites in one convenient location. What I like about Mentor Mob is that it can be set up to go in a certain order, whereas on Symbaloo users click anywhere they want. This would be an awesome tool to use for students to gather information on a topic and then take a quiz at the end.

I started by creating a playlist for fractions. Check it out here and let me know what you think! Be sure to check out some of the other playlists that have been created on Mentor Mob-this really can save us a lot of work!

I have had over 1,000 page views! How cool!

Monday, July 16, 2012

21st Century Weddings

My sister got married this weekend, woo-hoo! Her new husband is awesome, and we are all so happy for her! In all of the help with her wedding preparations (I was the matron of honor), I began to think about how much easier certain things were for her than when I got married 15 years ago (it really feels like yesterday). Here are some of the ways that technology makes weddings easier today.

1. Gift Registries: When Craig and I registered at Kaufman's and HomePlace, we thought it was so cool when we were given the scanning gun to use throughout the store. Today you don't even have to go to the store to create a registry. Don't even get me started on how easy it is to actually shop for a gift.

2. Google Maps/Navigational systems: Every wedding has out-of-town guests. I remember having to draw a map to show the locations of the church, reception, and local hotels. Today you can just assume that anyone with the address can find their way to any location.

3. Wedding websites: My sister had a wedding website set up on The Knot. It had information about all of the wedding events, including maps of all of the events. There was even a cute story about how they met and got engaged!

4. Google Docs: For family members that were more involved in the wedding festivities, we set up a Google Doc where everyone could add their information. We were able to add everyone's flight information, who was picking them up, where they were staying, etc. We have a big family, so this was a convenient way to keep up with everyone.

5. Skype: Unfortunately, one sister was unable to attend the wedding. With the help of the church, we were able to set up a camera and Skype the ceremony to her. Even the priest acknowledged Mary during the mass. It really was great to be able to have her there with us!

Pinterest was also a great help as we looked for wedding hair ideas, shower crafts, and wedding ceremony decorations Another thing that I tried to do was a Twitter feed for people to leave comments during the week leading up to the wedding. That didn't catch on as much, but I'm still amazed with how technology has changed so many things.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Wonderful Wednesday!

Happy anniversary to Mrs. Mc over at Buzz!Buzz! Buzz! She is having a HUGE giveaway with a ton of chances to enter. Be sure to stop by and check it out!

Thanks to my friend Andrea for sending me this link to sign a petition for Staples to change back to their former Extreme Deals policy.
I still have not sent my letter.

I am now up to 30 followers-hooray! Thanks, everyone!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Happy Monday!

Hello! It has been an exciting (but busy) week. I am now up to 29 followers-woo hoo! I wish that I had some sort of cool giveaway, but that will have to wait. I've been running around like crazy getting ready for the week's events, and I have come up with all of these great topics for blog posts! Unfortunately my project for my graduate class has become very time-consuming. I am at the point where all of the research is just running together and sounding like, "Blah, blah, blah," inside my head. I'll get there, but I may not get to do much posting in the next week.

Has anyone been to Staples yet? Lynn at Inside this Book was correct when she said that Staples had changed things with their penny sales. I went there yesterday and was so disappointed to hear that teachers can purchase 25 of the penny items, but they will pay regular price and then get the difference back in a Staples Rewards certificate. I was so upset that came home and wrote a huge letter to Staples (but I am sure that I won't have the nerve to actually mail it). This program does nothing to help save teachers money. I don't know about you, but I'm seeing where more and more families just aren't able to get basic school supplies for their kids. I am still going to Staples to buy their penny deals (just the limited number), but I am not trusting the Staples Rewards deal. I am a regular shopper there, but I never seem to be able to earn anything outside of my ink recycling rewards.

Check this out!
My school district won the Sylvia Charp Award for District Innovation in Technology at ISTE. I am so proud to be a part of the Mooresville Graded School District!

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

My First Blog Award!

Wow, I am feeling the love today! I was nominated not once, but TWICE for the One Lovely Blog Award! Thank you to Lisa from Super Pig and Tyrant and and Shana from Enchanted With Technology, both of which are pretty lovely blogs too! :-)

There are only 3 rules to follow once you've received this award :)
1. Follow the person who gave you the award
2. Link back to the person that gave you the award
3. Pass the award on to 15 new bloggers.

I am passing on the award to the following 15 blogs:
1. 24/7 Teacher
2. CE Kindergarten Kids Rock
3. Life and Times of a Third Grade Teacher
4. Maestra Bilingue
5. Lessons in Learning
6. Adventures in Teaching
7. The Bender Bunch
8. Teachers Don't Steal, They Share
9. When I Grow Up
10. Fun Games 4 Learning
11. A Work of Heart
12. Miss Red & Her Rambling First Graders
13. The Dalton Gang
14. Buzz Around in 2nd Grade
15. A Turn to Learn (be sure to check out Technology Tuesday)

Whew! That was a lot of work, but I enjoyed having the chance to check out even more blogs!

Has anyone started their back to school shopping? I was at Staples a few days ago (no, there big sales have not started yet), and they have a new BTS shopping pass this year. The pass costs $10, but you will save 15% on school supplies once per day, from June 10 until September 15. I will be at Staples a lot over the next few months, so I know that this will more than pay for itself (my little girl is starting kindergarten, so I will be getting supplies for her too!). I'll be sure to post when they start their mega sales, where my motto is, "Who cares if I need it? It costs a penny! And I will buy 25 of them because that is what Staples allows with my teacher ID!"

Have an awesome day!!!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Another Sunday Accomplishment

Okay, this is not teaching related, but here is a picture of one thing that I accomplished on Sunday. One of my sisters is getting married next weekend, and my uber-crafty sister (same ones who made the Transit of Venus cookies) made this towel cake. Isn't it adorable? The wedding colors are champagne, brown, and pink, so we matched those with towels off the registry. The towels were wrapped up and initially held with large rubberbands. Then we used large pins (with the pearly heads) to keep the towels in place so that we could remove the rubberbands. Then we added stripes of ribbon, which were also held in place with the pins. Finally we added the roses and pearls. We also have some cake boards and loose pink rose petals to complete the gift. What do you think???

I am up to nine followers! Woo-hoo! Plus I am excited to have come across many new blogs and to have figured out how to do a linky (I know that I didn't do it completely right, but I think that it worked out okay). I really got sucked into the blogosphere today, which meant that I did not spend as much time on my School Improvement Project. I'll get back to that tomorrow (after I go to see Brave with my daughter).

Thanks for stopping by!

July Currently-My First Linky!

Okay, I hope that I am doing this correctly...I have joined Farley's July Linky! Of course I jumped the gun by adding my site to the list and then trying to hurry and do my Currently. So here it is! I have to run to get that new haircut that I need, so I will probably do another post later. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

"Hoping to Accomplish Something" Sunday

Well, I accomplished close to nothing yesterday. Everyone needs days like that, right? Unfortunately it was not a "planned" do-nothing day. My daughter ended up with a slight stomach bug, which meant my day was focused on her. This meant a shortened playdate at the splash pad (it is over 100 degrees here), no need to make those cute 4th of July fruit kabobs that I saw on Pinterest, no viewing fireworks from a friend's house...sigh. The good news is that my daughter is doing much better today, and I am going to be PRODUCTIVE!

It is not even 10:00, and I have already written and submitted a leadership article review for my class (plus started a second one), added a Pinterest link on my blog, and added a Shelfari widget. Check it out and add your own! For the past few years, I have been keeping a list of the books that I have read. Shelfari seems like a cool digital way to keep up with my books. I love that I can make a list of books that I want to read, something that I always forget when I am actually at the library looking for something to read.

The best news of all-I have two new followers! Yay, me! Soon it will be time to REALLY celebrate!