Welcome to my Media Center!

Here you'll find all things reading and all things tech-y! Hope you find something you can use!

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Tech Tuesdays: iPads in the Classroom

Tuesday, I had the opportunity to present for my faculty in my first session of "Tech Tuesdays."  You know, it's funny, because I used to HATE presenting and speaking in front of people.  But, now...I actually enjoy it!  I feel like I have found a little niche for myself.  I have always known I wanted to work with curriculum, and presenting on different topics seems to be something that I really like!  Anyway, I promised everyone that I would put the resources I shared here...so here they are!  ;)  

My idea was to USE various presentation apps to share a variety of content area apps that we can all use in our classrooms.

I began the session with this video I made of the 21st Century Classrooms at our school.  I'm so proud to be a part of this!  ;)

Here are the handouts that I gave to the participants:
(When I converted the Word files to a Google Doc, the format went funny...if you want the originals, just email me or comment, and I will be glad to send them to you!)

This is link for the Prezi I created for the training...I, of course, used the Prezi Viewer app to show the presentation.  :)  

For the slide titled "A Whole Class Set," I used the Nearpod Teacher app and asked my participants to download the Nearpod Student app on their iPads.  Love this app--check it out if you are not familiar with it! 

The next portion of the training was "30 apps in 30 minutes..."  Here is a link to some of the apps I shared, organized by content:
Maps (Built-in)
SmartOffice 2
Khan Academy
Stick Picks
eClicker Host
I also shared some iPad tips and tricks.  Here are links to some of the ones I shared on the Prezi:
50 iPad Tricks
Ridiculously Awesome iPad Tricks

I'm already looking forward to next month's Tech Tuesday!!

Also, a little note...I haven't posted much lately, but I finally feel like I'm getting back into the swing of things.  Look for another post in the next couple of days!  'Til then!

Monday, 20 August 2012


Well, it's taken me a lot longer than expected to get my room somewhat in order.  I decided to re-paint my shelves and cabinets and do some other "unplanned" projects, but I think it's coming together...FINALLY.

Here are a few things I've been working on:
Here are my bulletin boards...my version of a "Proud Wall" where students can display work they are proud of...notice those cute clothespins I dyed earlier with Rit Dye??  And my little owl lantern (that's turned around) I made by spray painting an old one I had, then adding the features using scrapbook paper and hot glue.  I will get a better pic of that one soon!
I will put anchor charts on this one...finally decided I love the scrunchy border.  You can find a "how-to" here.
This bulletin board is right beside the doorway, and I use exit slips as a closing strategy often in my room.  I liked the idea of having several different ways to use this strategy without having to take them down, put back up, etc...so this is my "Wonder Wall."  
This is my door (hallway view).  I was so happy with the way it turned out.  
Some before and after pictures:
My "new" bookcase (the left one)...I primed and painted, then added contact paper to the backing.  You can also see my computer table with the ugly red tablecloth...
Here is this whole area now...still working on this!
My small group chairs...I used Krylon plastic spray paint, then sprayed them with a gloss protectant.  I also sprayed the legs with a metallic spray paint.  Thanks, Tara Vincent, for the inspiration!  ;)
So...not quite finished, but definitely getting there...it's a work in progress...

I will post more this week!  I'm pooped after first day activities!  ;)
'Til then.

Saturday, 11 August 2012

Toddler Fun!

So, I do have lots of classroom stuff to share in my next post, but I had to show you some things Dax (my three-year old son) and I have been doing.  I took a break from working in my room the last two days to spend some quality time with my babies...*sighs*  Gonna miss you, sweet summertime.  We went to the splash pad yesterday with some friends, but it's been too hot to do anything else outside...soooo, we have been having fun inside.  Check it out!

This was so easy and Dax loved it!  You will need flour, water, cotton balls, and food coloring.  We did green, yellow, and red...Dax's choices.  We mixed equal parts of flour and water with just a drop of food coloring in each bowl.  Dax loves to mix, so he did this part.  
Then comes the messy part...Dax's favorite.  He dipped the cotton balls in the flour mixture (make sure to coat all sides) and placed them on a baking sheet I lined with wax paper.  

Mia says, "Ooh, what a mess!"
If you notice, he takes after his momma when it comes to sorting and placing everything just so...

After we spread them out a little, I baked them at 300 degrees for about 40 minutes.  They get really hard on the outside, but stay fluffy in the middle.

Now the fun part!  Take them off the tray and smash away!  Dax thought this was great.  (Goggles optional!)

Thanks, Making Boys Men blog, for the idea!

And this was my project...I keep all of Dax's projects and things that he does at school and at home, but I've been wanting to do something with some of Dax's writing and coloring for a while, and I saw this on <where else?> Pinterest, and thought..."perfect!"

Here are the writing samples I already had, and I got him to do a few more scribbles for me as well.  You'll also need a canvas, paint, scissors (or a craft punch), and modge podge.

I painted the canvas lime green (woo hoo) because I want to put this in my classroom.  Then I started punching!  I used a 1 1/2 inch circle craft punch to punch out parts of Dax's work that I wanted to include on the canvas.  I picked colors of my classroom--blues, yellows, greens, purples.  I arranged them on my canvas, then outlined a bit of a pattern with a pencil.  I traced over the outline with paint, modge podged the circles on, then put modge podge over the whole thing.  I'm so excited about this...I know to you it might look like a lot of circles and scribbles, but to me, I see my sweet baby boy's hard work every time I look at it!  :)  

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

My First Blog Award!!!!

Wendy P. at 4th & 5th Grade Happiness has given me my first blog award for a blog with less than 200 followers!  How exciting!  Thanks, Wendy!!  Check out her blog at 4th & 5th Grade Happiness.  I am finally getting some followers, and I love it! 

Here are the rules for this award:

  1. Link back to the person who gave it to you.
  2. Post the award to your blog.
  3. Give the award to 5 bloggers with less than 200 followers.  (Very hard to find blogs without this awesome award.)
  4. Let the other bloggers know they have won.
For the Liebster Blog Award, I have chosen these awesome blogs...check them out, and leave a comment to tell them how great they are!! 

A Bigger Mess...

I started working in my classroom...and it NEVER fails that I make a bigger mess and spend more time walking around wondering where to begin the first week I'm there.  I can't wait to get all of my new stuff in here and get it organized.  I thought this e-card was fitting hahaha!
So, what have I been up to this week, you ask??  Well, between presenting again at UNA and summer Ed.S. classes...

Eeeeek...look at this....OH MY....how cute is that???  This is a $3.99 inner tube from Target wrapped in fabric!!!  I have to get a little more patterned fabric because I ran out, and I have one other one to wrap.  I will use them for seats in my classroom.  One word...GENIUS.
Dax had to try it out!
Check this out...taking me forever, but it's one of my favorite things in my room now!  It's just fabric cut into strips and tied together with knots (hot glued to my shelving unit, of course.)  LOVE.
I've also made a few things with my Cricut...here is my No Name board for papers that don't have a name.  Cricut letters + board + paint + binder clips + Modge Podge =
Here's my cool "Books We've Read" tree....I just cut it out of black butcher paper, spray Modge-podged (is that a word??) it because I knew it would fade if I didn't, and hot-glued it to the wall...the circles are just scrapbook paper I cut out with my Cricut.  I will add the books we read together to the tree throughout the year.  I just thought it would be a good visual for my students of all the books they have read in fifth grade...also made a pretty banner to hang in front of the tree...
And this is another little reading nook....love how it turned out!  I wanted a way to separate it from my desk area.  The banner says, "The Book Nook."  Yep, that's a flat sheet from Wal-Mart...scored that bad boy for $4.97.  Needs a little wrinkle-release, I think...
Look for pics coming soon of INSIDE this little nook!  You're gonna love it!

Love my small group bulletin board too!!  That little awning took about a million hours to do, but I love it!  hehe!
Sorry for the long post, but it's been a while, and I've been busy!

**Reading Street friends....Frindle is on the way...I am in the process of correlating my resources to the new Common Core Standards so we can all enjoy!  Y'all didn't think I would leave you out, did you???  ;)

'Til then!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

This Just In...

I got a Cricut, I got a Cricut, I got a CRICUT!!!  :)

I barely know how to work it, and I am a little obsessed already!!  My mind is spinning with ways to use it.  This is my first project...I ordered a toolbox from Amazon, then made the pretty labels with my Cricut.  Now all of my teacher supplies will be in one spot!  Pretty excited about this...y'all know me and organization!  ;) 
I've been Googling and YouTubing tips and ways to use my Cricut, but if you have suggestions or fun tricks, please comment on this post and let me know!  I would love to hear them!

Here are some other things I've been working on this week for my classroom:
These are my yarn letters...love how they turned out!
I told y'all I have been making some purchases, and a couple of my most recent ones are these bookshelves.  I am sooooo excited about this!  For years, I have had two large mismatched bookcases in my classroom, and they are such an eyesore!  So, I purchased four of these stacking cubes, and a bench to go in the middle of them...

Here is a picture from Pinterest...mine will look somewhat like this.  

I recovered the bench cushion that came with the bench.  You will soon find out about me (if you don't know already) that I DO NOT sew.  Never.  I don't do it.  I don't even want to learn how to do it.  So when I say I recovered the cushion, it means that I used hot glue to do it.  :)  I can do anything with a hot glue gun that you can do with a sewing machine.  You'll see.  
Check back for pics of the finished product next week!

Just a note, guys...I see you all looking at my blog, and I LOVE IT!  Please remember to follow me by email...that way, any time I post, you will be notified.  Also, leave me a comment so I can know your thoughts.  I love hearing new ideas! 

I'll be posting my resources for our first Scott Foresman Reading Street story this week as well.  I will also be posting some "before" pics of my classroom soon!  :)  
'Til then!

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Rit Dye, Modge Podge, and Scratch-offs!!

Whew...my first REAL week of summer, really.  I have been consumed with presentations and workshops and haven't actually had a chance to relax and hype myself up for next year.  After much thought, I have decided to give my classroom a big makeover and change the "theme" (if you will) to blues, greens, and yellows.  I'm not much for an actual theme, so a color scheme seems to work better for me.  So everything that you see me post that I have made this summer will probably be one of those colors.  :)  We've been told that we can work in our rooms beginning on the 9th of July, and I'm excited to get in there, rearrange, and gear up for a new year.  Here's what I've been up to this week.

These are my cool clothespins that I first dyed with Rit dye, and then hot glued a thumbtack to the back of...I think I will use these for my "Proud Wall," a bulletin board where students can display work that they are proud of from my classroom.  Here is the pic I saw on Pinterest.  And I even have lots left over that I didn't glue thumbtacks to that I will just use for my clothesline in my room.
Clothespins in the Rit dye

I decided not to do the cereal boxes taped together and wrapped in scrap paper...I ordered some white cardboard magazine holders instead.  I will be using these for book boxes...you'll see later.  :)

I'm still working on my monster of a painted foam mat to go in one of my reading nooks...whew...it's gonna be cute though!!

I also made a few other things this week...

I've been looking for a way to reuse all of these formula containers...so...I just wrapped them with yarn, stuck a cute label on there, and...voila!  These will go at each table for supplies.
Thanks, Similac.  :)
These are my good behavior scratch-off tickets.  I just have to cut them apart. This is a link from ArtMind on how to make these...a word to the wise, though...if you use lots of dish detergent, the paint kind of slides to the middle...next time I do these, I will just use a tiny drop. There is a template HERE for you to edit and use!  ;)
Clipboard that I recovered with scrap paper and modge podged...I will use this with peel-off labels for anecdotal notes at small group.
Ya'll, I have been making some purchases...don't tell my husband though!  :)  Kidding...he knows my obsession.  I ordered a Cricut finally, and I can not wait to get it and play with it!  I also ordered this cool pencil sharpener that has rave reviews.  If you teach, you know the hassle that is the pencil sharpener...they either break halfway through the year, eat up pencils, or are so deafening that they drive you crazy...hope this one is better!!
My orders should be in soon, and I have lots of crafts up my sleeve!  

My next projects are going to be more curriculum-focused as well...I will be working on the first week of school projects and our first story, Frindle.  Check back next week, and see what I've been working on...'til then!  

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

5th Grade Read-Alouds

I have been looking for some new chapter books to read aloud to my students this year, because I am getting tired of the same old ones.  I found some links to favorite read-alouds that I thought I would share.

I also made this word cloud from Tagxedo of some of my students' favorite books.  I plan on framing it and hanging it in one of my reading nooks in my classroom.  Since this is just a thumbnail, it looks a little blurry...much clearer and bigger when you print it.  If you've never used Tagxedo or Wordle, they are both great resources...for you and your kids!!!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Popsicle Sticks, Punch Cards, and Presentations

Well, I've been busy all last week working on my Pinterest projects and our presentations this week at UNA.  I have managed to complete more than three classroom projects *cheers* and prepare for five, YES FIVE, presentations this week (with Shelly's help, of course!!)  I haven't forgotten about my kiddos, though, as we also did some fun projects last week.  We've been busy!  Here's what we've been up to...
Projects for my classroom:  
I can't take credit for these great ideas--you can find links to the original posts HERE.

This is my "Great Readers" mirror...I am going to face this toward my small group table so that students can see themselves as they are back there with me.  Isn't this a fun way to motivate struggling readers?  I think I will probably end up adding some kind of border to it.

Speaking of small group table...I made these pointers out of popsicle sticks for students to use as they follow along while we read, either in small group, OR I made enough to use during whole group, too!  And speaking of popsicle sticks, I made these multiple choice sticks for students to use for quick checks at the small group table.

This project is the one I'm most excited about...my good behavior coupon box!!  I LOVE this and can't wait to use it.  I was tired of buying "treasure chest" stuff for good behavior, and when I saw these coupons for FREE rewards.....I knew I had to have it for my room.  I'm going to couple that with the behavior punch card...each child will get a punch card, and when they receive 10 punches, they can choose a good behavior coupon from the box.  Soooo excited!  

*The link to the free PDFs is here.

I didn't get to the painted foam mat last week because I couldn't find one that was as thick as I wanted.  I'm moving that project to my to-do list for this week.  :(

Dax has been busy this week, too.  Here he was painting using different toy cars.  See the different patterns that the treads make on the paper?  He thought this was soooo cool!

Okay, these ice cubes were tha bomb!!  I don't know what the obsession was with these, but Dax LOVED them.  They are just ice cubes made from water and a drop of food coloring.  He caught them with his net, he bounced on his trampoline with them, he fished them out of the water with a spoon, he asked to make more.  :)  Easy, but a couple of hours of fun!!

What a busy and fun week!  

This is Shelly and me at UNA working on our presentations.  All of our presentation resources are posted on my blog as well.  Check them out!  :)

What's on the Pinterest list this week, you ask?  Along with the painted foam mat...


Sorry for the long post, but with our presentations, I have been out-of-pocket for a few days!