Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A Technology Blog Hop

Spring into Technology with Classroom Freebies!
Several phenomenal teachers, Technology Tailgate Coaches and bloggers are joining forces for an amazing classroom technology blog hop!  As you hop from blog to blog, you will visit some of your favorite blogs and discover a few new blogs too!  Each with a fabulous freebie just for you!

Thank you for hopping over!

My students love these Anagrams, I hope your students will enjoy them too! 


Check out my previous blog post on using Anagrams and creating your own using Smart Notebook  {here}

Click on each set below to download the Anagrams for Fry's first 100 words  

Thank you so much for stopping by and visiting!  If you are new to my blog and liked what you see, don't forget to follow me!  The next stop on the path is Shana at Enchanted with Technology

Enchanted with Technology

In case you didn't start from the beginning, here is an ordered list of all participating blogs!

Kristin from iTeach 1:1
Heidi from Rakis Rad Resources
Leah from Learn With Leah
Amanda and Aylin from Learning to the Core
Kristen at Teacher Playground
Jen at Tech with Jen
Kay at A Little Tech
Melanie at I Luv Twek
Carrie and Caitlin at Table Talk with C & C
Lauren at iWonder

A special thank you to Jen at Tech with Jen for designing the blog hop button!
Interested in joining our next blog hop?  Join here

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Sunday, March 10, 2013

Interactive Sight Word Practice

I love incorporating the SMARTBoard into centers and activities.  Here is another free SMARTBoard activity to help your students practice their sight words.  This one uses Fry's Words 101-150. 

You may download it from 
Google Docs {here}. 

Check out my {Freebie Files} for more activities. 

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Dr. King ABC Order Word Sort {Freebie}

We officially ended our second quarter yesterday, this year has been flying by!  Today I have bouncing back and forth between report cards and prepping for this upcoming week's lessons.

This year I have been piloting a brand new C.C.S.S. reading program - it's a pilot for both the publisher and my district.  Although it requires extra time, prep and providing feedback, I highly suggest taking part in a pilot if you ever get a chance.  It's kinda fun and a bit of an adventure!    

We studied Dr. King a couple months ago when studying leaders in communities and making a difference. So, I wasn't planning on doing too much more as I'm trying to stick with the program as much as possible.  However, this week we our essential question is studying how life was long ago, so it has turned out to be the perfect opportunity to revisit and learn more about Dr. King! 

I created this ABC Order Word Sort for literacy centers. 

You can download it {here}

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Sunday, January 6, 2013

SMARTBoard Anagrams {and a Freebie}

Howdy All!   
Two wonderful, yet busy weeks have come to an end...tomorrow will be my first day back.  I will be missing break, however I'm super excited to see all those cute faces again! 
I wanted to share my kiddos favorite center with you... Anagrams on the SMARTBoard. My kids LOVE these! Anagrams are basically word scrambles.  Each ball has a letter on it, the kids have to unscramble each word by moving the balls around to receive points.  There is a clue button if the word is tricky for them.  I use it as a spelling or word work center.  

The Anagram template can be found by doing a search in the gallery.  You can then plug in words of your choice (FYI each word must contain 3 letters or more).  Anagrams can be used for sight words, spelling words, vocabulary words, etc.  Each slide 5 words, once the children have solved the five words on each slide they advance to the next slide.    
In SMART Notebook- search for "anagram" in the gallery section

I have created two files containing Fry's first 50 words for you and words 51-100. You will need SMART Notebook software to use these files.  

Download Fry's First 50 Words from 
Google Docs {here} or TpT {here}

Download Fry's Words 51-100 from
Google Docs {here

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Friday, January 4, 2013

Technology as a Tool

Hi Everyone!

Forewarning- a bit of a lengthy post ahead and filled with technology passion... 

One of the areas I am MOST passionate about as an educator is integrating technology into everyday learning. By integration I truly mean INTEGRATION. I decided to take te time to write a post about my philosophy hoping you, my reader's will better understand the heart from where my technology posts are coming from.  

I believe technology should be used as a tool in  learning just as pencils and books are, it's a seamless integration we don't even think about.  It just is... it's natural and expected.  We don't have "pencil time," nor should we have "computer time." While I know many of us have scheduling issues, sharing labs, etc and it just has to be "computer time," I want to challenge you (if you are not already doing so) to think of this time rather than "computer time" as Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, etc taking place in the computer lab or with your iPads, etc.  

I made this shift in my thinking and teaching over the last few years and it has been such an amazing and rejuvenating transformation.  This shift in thinking has created an amazing environment for research and hands-on learning. An environment where children truly love learning. I am looking forward to sharing many of the ways my students are using technology as a tool to enhance their learning.  

My students are utilizing technology throughout the day, everyday.  However,  only a small portion of our time is ever spent using skill building games.  Skill building games and apps are fantastic when used to reinforce and build specific skills. Technology has so much more potential and so many great uses beyond skill practice and that's where the shift in thinking comes in.  

 I try to look at the real world and how technology is used and carrry that right into my classroom.  Technology is all around us in our world, it's hard to escape it. There are few jobs now days that function without technology, future jobs for our students will only requrie more technology skills.  I want you to take a moment and consider how bankers, cashiers, CEO's, accountants, rockstars, secretaries, mechanics, doctors all use technology.  How can you take that and apply it to your classroom? How can you empower your students with the skills they need for our digital world?
This iPad commercial does a fantastic job at showcasing the true potential of an iPad. However this could be applied to so many pieces of technology. 

 I challenge you to begin implementing the use of technology as a tool to complete classroom projects, to create and innovate. Think outside the box, think real world application. 

At this point in the school year, my students are creating iMovies, digital plays, books and being rockstars using Garage Band... we start small and grow. Just as when children are learning to read, they are first taught the basics- alphabet, sounds, phoemic awereness, word by word, using pictures as clues- we don't just dive into chapter books and expect great things. 
 Start with the basics and they will lead you to the fun big projects! 

Since it is mid- school year I am going to jump right in and start sharing some of our recent activities, beginning with iPads and the basics.

I do want to share that a brief intro to my deployment of iPads at the beginning of the year. (My school has 30 iPads for checkout). My first week or so of school is without technology with  the exception of the SMARTBoard, we are focusing on routines, community, etc. After a week or so, I begin introducing technology beyond the SMARTBoard- my goals are simply to build awareness, expectation and management skills.  With the iPads, I introduce my students to usually two great educational skill building games- provide time to play (maybe 15-20 min) and then about 10 minutes of free choice (using any app on the iPad- they are all educational apps).  I repeat this everyday for an entire week... why?  The children learn the majority of the iPad awareness skills they now need to complete most tasks on the iPad and my expectations- they know how to care for their iPad, help each other, adjust volume, silence, the right "touch" to use, how to move in and out of apps, they get all, well many of their curiosities and explorations out of the way. 
Building iPad awareness skills.

We are now ready to use iPads as tools to be learners, creators and thinkers! 

So now that I have put my philosophy out there, I'll share with you a quick activity/ center you can use as you head back to school and have your students create January calendars.  
The week before break, we were studying various ways to tell time- including calendars. One of the centers I set up for students was to use the iCal app (standard app on all iDevices) to create either a calendar for the month of December or for their birthday month.  I gave them a brief intro to the app, where to check for the correct year and how to move from month to month.  They could then decorate their calendar and label any holidays, birthdays, or special days accordingly.

The kids loved this center (it was a favorite) and it was everything a great center should be- fun, meaningful, learning, using technology as a tool, common core aligned, etc.

Real life application- absolutely! We all rely on calendars daily. As a teacher, when I go to set up my pocket chart classroom  calendar for the month, guess what I use- my iPhone calendar as a tool to confirm the number of days in the month and that the calendar dates were placed correctly.  In the past I would just have my kiddos create their calendars using my pocket chart calendar- however , I realized I was wasn't providing them with the opportunity to find information outside of our classroom walls.  

I have created a very basic calendar template that can be used for any month. 
You can download in 
Microsoft PowerPoint {here}- feel free to tweak or in 
PDF {here

Don't have iPads?  Starfall.com has a calendar maker (good for Primary), you could also do a Google Search as a class or students on their own for a January calendar.  Be creative- I know there's a ton of other great great ideas out there and I would LOVE to here them!! How are you using technology to teach calendars? Where are you at in implementing technology into your classroom? 

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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Currently and a Resolution

Happy New Year Everyone!  
What a great break I've had!  I spent some great time out in L.A. with my wonderful cousins, aunts and uncles.  I also did some great shopping while I was there. We hit up some cute little boutiques and the promenade in Santa Monica.  It's a good thing I had flown Southwest- because two bags fly free!  Well I'm trying to settle back into my regular groove of blogging and procrasinating working on school stuff.  

Head on over to Farley's and link up with Currently
It's amazing how fast these breaks go!  I always have so much planned to do and often get sidetracked... which brings me to my resolution.  
I've decided to link up with the New Year's Resolution Linky at Teaching Maddeness.
Teaching Maddeness
Typically I'm not a resolution person as I believe there's no time like the present and that each morning  God presents us with a great opportunity to start anew. However, today I had a moment while shopping, which has turned in to a New Year's Resolution...

One of the things I've been trying to work on is prioritizing and balancing my time along with  working smarter, not harder. 

I was in Target today with my gift cards (thank you family and students) in hand and this little treasure was calling my name- it didn't hurt that it was pink, cute and only $7.99.

I've been using iCalendar for all my personal scheduling and LOVE it! The alerts having everything synched with my Mac, iPad, and iPhone, it's simply amazing! However, as techie as I can be, it just isn't doing the trick for helping me plan and get things done on a daily basis professionally. I think I need to write things down, plan and cross things off- have a daily/weekly to do list. (In a place where I can't also check email, blogger, twitter, Pinterest and Facebook... did I mention how easily I get easily sidetracked) 
Is this you too?? 

When I saw this planner I immediatly thought back to a special event I had, which required me to plan out my time so carefully in order to pull off everything.  I had printed out monthly calendars for the two months leading up to the week long event and start scheduling EVERYTHING  that I was to do for the event along with my typical daily/weekly to-do's.  I would schedule time to prep for meetings, time to make copies, days to work on parts of report cards, time to get my nails done or pick up dry cleaning. I kept such a great schedule which included things I would typically only do as they came up.  It ended up being the smoothest, calmest week ever and also an incredibly enjoyable time!  I've always said I needed to continue  that method of just taking the time to plan and think ahead, even for the little routine things. 

So, this is my New Year's Resolution- going back to a paper planner for my daily/weekly "to-do's" and tasks, so I can be better organized with my time. 
What are your tricks to balancing it all? How do you stay organized and productive with your time?

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