Sunday, November 16, 2014

My #eddies14 Nominations

Here are my nominations for the 2014 Edublogs Awards:

Best Indvidual Blog: My Island View
Best New Blog: 2TechSavvyLibrarians
Best Class Blog: An Educational Phoenix
Best Student Blog: Steven's Blog (one of my students)
Best Ed Tech / Research Sharing Blog: Free Technology for Teachers
Best Teacher Blog: My Paperless Classroom
Best Administrator Blog: Ninja Reflections on Education
Best Individual Tweeter: @alicekeeler
Best Hashtag/Twitter Chat: #2ndchat
Best Free Web Tool: Twitter 
Best use of Media: Ted Talks
Best Educational Wiki: The Global Classroom Project
Best Open PD/Unconference/Webinar: The Global Education Conference
Best Educational Use of a Social Network: EdTechBaton on Instagram
Best Mobile App: Remind
Lifetime Achievement: Peggy George

For more information and to make your nominations click HERE and follow #eddies14 on Twitter.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Possessive Noun Disorder

Teaching possessive nouns to 2nd graders is just downright frustrating. Our curriculum has some boring worksheets, but I needed to ramp up the teaching level on this one so last week I did some looking around and found a few songs and activities that would make learning this concept a little more fun.

I am fortunate to have a Mimio (interactive whiteboard), so I went to the MimioConnect sight and found a fun activity just by searching grade level and "possessive nouns". The kids really enjoy using the whiteboard. On another day I used a Brainpop Jr. video and the interactive activities that go with it.

I also found some songs on youTube. Moving and singing really helps cement it all together.

We are continuing to work on possessive nouns this week. My plan is to have them create some content using photos. Here is the task card they will use:

For more task cards click HERE
The finished product! see more HERE has some fun "screamo" videos.

I always look for an excuse to use The Electric Co. vidoes. It's what I grew up on!

Global Education Conference 2014

I am looking forward to attending the Global Education Conference beginning on November 17th. The online conference schedule is full of keynote speakers and presenters who will enlighten and inspire. The highlight for me will be the launch of the Global Classroom Project on Nov. 21st at 6:00 am CST. We will officially launch our 5th year of global connections and projects. Please look over the information below to learn more about participating in this amazing event! 

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Thinking Maps and The Global Read Aloud

For several years, my teaching partner Ginny Limer has encouraged me to use Thinking Maps. She uses them daily in all subjects. I have used the circle map, but haven't ventured much farther until this past week. We are participating in The Global Read Aloud - a world-wide event where classes read the same book and then share via social media, blogging, skype, etc. We are in the second week of our reading of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane and so far we have made predictions and asked questions with other classrooms via skype and blogging. Yesterday, I wanted my students to write about how Edward looked and felt before and after being thrown off the ship. Ginny has shared examples of the thinking maps with me, so I looked through to see which one would work best for this assignment. I chose the cause and effect map because the boxes were set up just the way I wanted. During a class discussion about our reading, each student completed their own thinking map. Using the map, they were able to easily organize their thoughts. This example is from a student who tends to get hung up and frustrated. The thinking map allowed him to be articulate and confident in his writing.

After writing, my students use an Editor's Checklist to assess their own work before turning in. I have found that this pushes them to scrutinize their own work more thoroughly.
The link to this check list can be found HERE
For more information on The Global Read Aloud click HERE 

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Follow Me With Bloglovin!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

I just signed up with Bloglovin because I have so many great blogs I follow, but it's hard to keep up with them. Bloglovin allows me to follow my favorite blogs and get updates on new posts! Now I won't miss out on anything new and wonderful from my fellow teacher bloggers!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Using Remind to Prepare Students for a Substitute

One morning last week I woke up feeling terrible. I went to bed the night before with chills and a headache, but thought I would be better after a good night's sleep. Wrong! There was no way I was making it to school that day.

After calling our secretary and informing her of my absence, my next thought was my kids. I have never been absent this year, so I wanted to prepare them before they got to school. I sent this Remind message to their parents and within minutes 3 had used the Stamp feature to let me know they had seen it!

The next day when I returned to school, I asked the students how many knew that there was going to be a sub before they came to school. Almost all of the students raised their hands! One of my students proudly told the class that his mom let him read the message.

The substitute left me a note saying how well the students behaved. I think that being able to alert them ahead of time really helped the day go smoother.

Thanks Remind! 

For more information on getting started, please visit Remind.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Big Event Fundraising $1000 Giveaway!

Big Event Fundraising has launched a $1,000 giveaway! 1 lucky school will win $1,000 worth of student prizes! Each package contains an assortment of prizes that are great for school stores, academic awards, fairs, carnivals, or special school events. 

Check out their giveaway page. Hurry! The giveaway ends on October 15th.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Dot Day-ish

International Dot Day is celebrated on or about September 15th....ish. Thank goodness for the "ish" because this year we couldn't stick to just one day. We celebrated for a whole week! 

Betsye Sargeant of The Phoenix School in Salem, Mass. and I collaborated on the Dot Day Recipe Project. Originally created by librarian Matthew Winner, this project allowed for us to really delve deep into art, technology, and language arts. 

In a nutshell:
  • Read the books The Dot and Ish by Peter H. Reynolds. 
  • Students explore with paint and create color recipes using primary colors and white.
  • Students exchange recipes with another school and use the color to create a work of art. 
  • Students view each other's work, post on their blogs, and write thank-you notes to each other. 
  • example of a "thank you" blog post: click HERE

For the full lesson plan click HERE

Please enjoy our Dot Day 2014 video!

The Dot Big Screen Book - click HERE for more info


Thursday, September 11, 2014

Netsmartz Online Safety Lesson

This is our 3rd week of school and the students are ready to start blogging and exploring other web-based platforms. To prepare for our online activity, we have been using to learn about digital citizenship, netiquette, and online safety. Our first two visits to the computer lab were spent exploring the Netsmartz website which has great videos and activities that are geared toward a younger audience. Students can safely explore the site and play the games while learning what it is to be a digital citizen. 
Today we watched “Router’s Birthday Surprise” together and reviewed all of the safety rules that we have learned. We ended our lesson by signing an internet safety pledge. We are ready to be safe online and offline! This afternoon the students wrote their first blog post. Many of them wrote about what they have learned. Please visit our student blogs HERE. They did a great job for first time bloggers!
IMG_20140904_140029The videos and activities are fun and engaging so it makes learning about online safety fun!
2014-09-10 09.01.18Watching “Router’s Birthday Surprise”
2014-09-10 09.34.00Making our learning and thinking visible.
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2014-09-10 09.32.52Signing the Internet Safety Pledge.

UYN - Use Your Netsmartz! 

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Tangled Web Team-Building Activity

photo credit: Louise Morgan

I love doing this activity the first week and throughout the year. It's fun to see how much better the students get at making the web and undoing it. They really have to work together as a team for it to be successful. 

Materials - 1 ball of yarn
Directions - To start, the group sits in a circle. From here you will give one of the members in your group a ball of string. This person will then say their name and one thing about themselves. E.g. “I have a brother” or “I like playing football”. Then any member of your group who has that thing in common puts their hand up. The person with the yarn chooses a person and rolls the ball of yarn to him/her. When the person receives the ball of yarn, they must hold on to the yarn before rolling it to the next person. The cycle then repeats. Continue until each person has had a turn and the class has created a huge web.  Talk about all of the different ways in which your group is interconnected. This will hopefully create a sense of unity between your members, as it visually depicts a number of commonalities that your group shares. 
Tip - Keep it moving. Some students will get tired of holding their string and will pull on it or mess with it. This is a great activity for demonstrating self control and how important it is work together.
Extension - After we have made our web a few times during the first few weeks, then we go backwards and try to undo the web by rolling the yarn in reverse order. It is very challenging but when they do it successfully, it is very rewarding. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Reform Symposium Free Web Conference July 11-13

Join 1000+ teachers online for an inspirting event showcasing "wow" learning worldwide! Featuring 2 plenaries, 60+ presentations, 11 keynotes, panel discussions, tech/app/lessons swaps, and more! 

I am looking forward to this weekend's Reform Symposium Free Web Conference. It will be 3 days packed with learning and inspiration from the educators from around the world. For more information please follow the #RSCON5 hashtag on Twitter and visit The Future of Education page for a complete listing of sessions, presenters, and times. 

I will be doing two sessions plus participating in an app smackdown where I will be talking about Write About This . Here is the information for my sessions:

The Global Classroom Project 
When: Friday July 11, 12:00 pm - 12:30 pm (central time)
Description: Learn how a great idea and a simple tweet turned into a dynamic network of international educators who collaborate and participate in global projects. This session will highlight some of our projects and how you can get involved.

Tech and App Swapalooza
When: Saturday July 12, 9:00 - 10:00 am (central time)
Desription: Anyone can join in with a 2 minute presentation of their favorite app or web tool.

Reduce the Paper! Student-Created Digital Portfolios
When: Saturday July 12, 10:00 - 10:30 am (central time)
Description: Discover how your students can document their learning and thinking while reducing the amount of paper used in your classroom. Learn how students can create digital portfolios using ipad apps and Kidblog.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Globally Connected at #ISTE2014

We started our journey to #ISTE2014 on Friday by driving from Texas to Alabama where we stayed with my dear #2ndchat friend Carol McLaughin. We have worked together for several years on #2ndchat and have collaborated on a few projects. It was so fun getting to sit on her couch and just chat!

Saturday morning we arrived, checked in, got our peach popcicle and got busy. What an exciting first day at #ISTE2014! We started out in the Bloggers Cafe where I met many new people as we shared our Networking Game Codes. It's pretty cool how the game "forces" you to talk to people and pulls you out of the comfort zone. I met so many great people today while exchanging codes. 

One of the highlights of my day was seeing Monte Tatom again (I met him last year at #ISTE13), Shelley Terrell, and John Spencer. I have participated in so many of Shelley's webinars and it was nice to finally meet her in person.

Monte Tatom and Shelley Terrell
I also met Brad Wilson - the creator of the Write About This app. This is a really great app for elementary-age students and I can't wait to see what else he comes up with. I love his Twitter handle: @dreambition. I think that many ISTE attendees have big dreams and lots of ambition for our classrooms. Entrpreneurs like Brad help make that happen.
Brad Wilson of
I finally met some of my #globalclassroom colleagues face-to-face and I loved how it we already felt so comfortable with each other because of the time we have spent working together virtually over the past several years.
Hugh MacDonald and Robyn Thiessen, and Karen Stadler
I attended the Global Education Conference Summit in the afternoon and enjoyed the round table discussions and ignite sessions. I actually got up there and presented an ignite session for the Global Classroom Project! Wow! Fun and scary all at the same time!

I also got to meet the amazing Kitty Tripp!
Listening to Aaron Brzowski explain Project Purus and how he brought clean water to the SAV School in Nepal. 

We went over to the CNN Center to grab a quick dinner before the keynote and because it was so busy we sat with a young man we didn't know, but was wearing an ISTE tag. We had a great time getting to know Edxavier from Puerto Rico and then Popy from Canada joined us! Wonder if we would ever do that at the mall at home?
Edxavier, Popy, and my hubby!
After the keynote, we worked together at the Global Classroom poster session sharing our amazing stories and encouraging others to get globally connected. It was also a great time to meet more people.
Preston Morgan, Anne Mirtschin, Theresa Allen, Karen Stadler, Robyn Thiessen, Louise Morgan, David Karnoscak
David Karnoscak and Elvira (Elle_Gifted)
Summer Diamond and Karen Stadler
Molly Risewick-Zeno

It was a long day, but truly memorable. Can't wait for tomorrow!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

TCEA Tots and Tech 2014 Presentations

I am very excited about attending TCEA Tots and Technology Conference in Galveston, TX. It will be two days of learning from the very best educators! I love this conference and am looking forward to presentations and hands-on learning that I can use in my 2nd grade classroom. Check out the complete schedule!

My Presentations

Tuesday June 17th at 8:00 am

You CAN do it ALL! Transform your classroom into a 21st Century Learning Environment

Tuesday June 17th at 2:00 pm
Reduce the Paper! Student-Created Digital Portfolios with iPads

Click HERE for link to Google Presentation

See you there!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Chromville - Augmented Reality in the Classroom

During a recent Twitter chat, I learned about a new augmented reality app called Chromville. A group of very creative people in Spain have come up with an imaginary world that you can bring to life using this FREE iOS and Android app!  
My students enjoyed visiting the website,, to print the coloring sheets and read about the history of the villages. They selected their favorite character to color and experience in 3D. We are now diligently working on stories to go with our characters. This has been a perfect opportunity to work on the writing process by brainstorming ideas and getting creative! 
2014-03-25 09.07.38
The app brings the coloring sheet to life. The animated characters and scenery are inspiring!
2014-03-25 09.08.24

2014-03-25 09.08.08

2014-03-25 09.14.58
The characters and scenery become animated right on the students' desks!
As an added bonus, the students were able to Skype with the Chromville creators all the way from Spain! We were able to ask questions and learn more about the magical world and how it was created! We learned that artists and programmers must work together to create the 3D animation, come up with the stories, and make the app. Some of the students also shared their ideas for the stories they are working on.

2014-04-02 08.18.00

2014-04-02 08.25.11

2014-04-02 08.16.30

2014-04-02 08.23.54
We were also treated to a demonstration of another one of their projects: Imascono - Augmented Reality Apparel. The t-shirt image triggers different heads. This one is a power ranger, but we also saw a chameleon and a gorilla!

chromville selfie

This good-looking group of geniuses are the creative energy behind Chromville. I can't wait to see what else they have in store for us! 

Chromville Home:
Chromville Instructions:
Download coloring pages:

Imascono Home:
Imascono video: