Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Do You Have a Digital Story to Tell?

Kristen, Juliet, and Cassie over at the Teaching Trio host a linky called Technology Thursday. It is a weekly linky dedicated to all things technology related. Teachers can share reviews of websites or apps you've tried, tech tips that make your {teaching or personal} life easier, and helpful tutorials. Their hope is that this linky provides a place for teachers to share and learn new ways to use technology and engage students!

Be a rule follower!
Rule #1: Include the image above and a link to their blog somewhere in your post.
Rule #2: Be a good blog reader...visit the two blogs who link up before you and leave some love on their pages!
Rule #3: This linky is not intended for product promotion. You may include products you've created in your posts, but they should not be the sole focus of the post.

Today, I have an amazingly easy way for you to tell your story. You can use still pictures, text and embed videos right into the story. This program allows you to create a timeline and use a Google map to help take your viewers along on your story. The program is called MEOGRAPH. One of the nicest things about it, it is FREEEEEE!

I can think of a number of ways you can use this program with your class.

1) Students can create a meograph to tell a story about a biography and to show the different places the character travelled to in a lifetime.
2) Students can tell their autobiography.
3) Students can use this program to create their own lit trip through a book such as done with Google Lit Trips.
4) Students can create a Meograph to share their vacation or field trip stories with the class.
There really are numerous ways you can use this program.

Not only is this program free, it is easy to use. I am including a tutorial for you here.

Begin by opening the website and click on the "Try!" button to begin.

Add a title and then click on "add a moment".

Choose whether you would like to add a photo, video, and even narration. Next, click on "More" to add the location and other information for each "moment" you add.

Next, you can add links, text, where, and when the "moment" happened. I love that by doing this, a Google map is added. As you enter each "place", a line moves from the previous to the new place on a Google map. You can adjust the size of the map as well, by zooming in or out up at the top of the map. You just repeat this process over and over for however many "moments" you want to include in your story.

Click on the picture above to be taken to a Meograph I created to tell the story of a mission trip I took to Mexico. It has still pictures, text, narration, and even includes an embedded video.

If you like this tech tip, click on the button at the top of this post to visit the Teaching Trio for some other ideas!



Saturday, January 3, 2015

January Art Projects for the Classroom

Hello everyone! Thanks to Marissa at Inspired Owl's Corner and Lisa at Pawsitively Teaching, I am here again to share three terrific ideas I found on Pinterest that you can use in your class as soon as you get back from the holiday break!

Click on image to view original Pinterest link.

Patty Palmer posted this terrific project by Mountain Color over at the Deep Space Sparkle's website. I have done this project with my students and it is truly sweet to see how differently each child's project turns out, even though they each are doing the "same" project. This is a two day project. One day is taken to create the beautiful background and the other day is taken to create the penguin and the little iceberg it sits on. My students were concerned about putting the arms exactly as I showed them how to as I was doing this lesson direct-instruction style. I told them that they could choose to have their arms up, down, or side-ways. The fact that each child chose to do it differently added to the individual personality of each penguin. The same thing happened when creating the eyes and nose. Some penguins looked happy, others looked concerned. It was delightful to hang these up and look at each penguin expression. I promise that if you do this lesson with your class, everyone who sees them will LOVE them! I matted mine on black and hung them up in my classroom. (see below) I think the second penguin looks pensive while the last penguin looks kind of like he got caught in the middle of doing something. This project could be extended by having your students write penguin facts and attach those to the bottom of their masterpieces!

Click on image to view original Pinterest link
I have seen many "Snow globe" projects around on Pinterest, but I chose this one to highlight. Tori over at Tori's Teacher Tips has one of the best "tutorials" on how to create this project. She has a lot of large, clear pictures on her post on how to create this. What I especially loved about this teacher's approach is that she let her students choose what they would each do in the snow globe. She took a picture of each student acting out what they would do in the snow globe. After each project was completed, the students then followed the art project with a writing extension. This post is really a "must-see" as she has lots of great shots and examples of this project for you to look at. A bonus is that she offers lots of freebies on her posts as well, this one included! I am definitely considering this as a possible January project with my students.

Click on image to view original Pinterest link.

Stacy Spangler over at the Sleepy Head Art Studio has wonderful step-by-step directions for this over-the-top fun-to-make project. The students get to mix glue with shaving cream to paint a textured snowman. How fun does that sound? Ok, well, it sounds messy to be honest, but her pictures make it look really easy and fun to do. I especially love that this project uses so many different types of mediums (glue, shaving cream, paint, glitter, sticks, paper, and cloth). When parents come into our room and see a project like this done, they can tell a lot of thought and work went into creating it. They can also usually tell that the students really had an amazing time creating it. Even though this is also a direct-instruction type of art project, each of the ones she has pictures for turned out differently. I definitely look forward to trying this project out shortly after returning to school.

I hope you have found something here that your are excited about trying with your students after the break. Projects like these are so wonderful for classroom bonding. Students encourage one another with their work and really celebrate each other's beautiful creations when they are displayed in the classroom for others to see. If you liked these ideas, you are sure to LOVE these ones too. I am excited to share these links with you so that you can enjoy the best Pinterest links that we have found for you to add to your January fun.

This linky will be open for the entire month of January 2015. We'd LOVE to have you add your awesome finds for January on Pinterest to encourage other teachers as well.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Easy Gift From the Teacher and FREEBIE

Only 3 days left before Christmas vacation and you were thinking you might like to give something to your families something for a present? I have an easy project you can do in one day! Make them a memory tile! (or wall hanging or trivet). I took a super cute picture of each child on a day that was very overcast outside. There were no shadows and I took head shots of each child with fall leaves in the background. The colors came out beautiful. For privacy sakes, I am using a scenic photo instead of one of the ones I made for each family.

My son is very into photography and we loved the idea of putting his pictures on something easy to give away. He is taking groups of his photos and making these photo tiles in sets of 4 to give away as coasters. They were surprisingly easy (and therapeutic) to make!

At our local hardware store, we were able to purchase a box of 100 white, glossy, ceramic tiles (4.25 in by 4.25 in) for only $15. In fact, the grand total for everything needed was under $35.

Here is what you need:

Ceramic tiles
Mod Podge
a thin foam brush (thin so it will fit in the jar opening)
a sand sponge (or piece of sand paper)
spray sealant
photos printed on regular copy paper
rubbing alcohol 

Step 1)
Sand off any rough edges

Step 2)
Clean off the tile with rubbing alcohol

Step 3)
Size your photos to 4 in by 4 in on a computer (or manually crop them on a cutter)
Step 4)
Sweep a very thin layer of Mod Podge across the tile, covering it entirely. Try to leave smooth lines to leave less room for troublesome air bubbles.
Step 5)
Place the cut photo in the center of the tile and rub the photo from the center out to all the edges to push away any air bubbles.

Step 6) 
Sweep a very thin layer of Mod Podge over the entire picture, being sure to cover the edges. 
THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP: rub your finger from the center of the picture (yes in all the Mod Podge) and across every edge, shoving out any air bubbles. Press and make sure to seal every edge. If you wipe off your finger immediately, no Mod Podge sticks to you. We tried different methods via numerous You Tube tutorials for this project and we still ended up with way too many air bubbles. When we started adding this step and doing it this way ourselves, we had no air bubbles and near perfection each time. This wasted less time and less materials.
Step 7) 
Coat each tile with the Mod Podge. Let each tile dry for up to 20 minutes before you add another coat onto the tile. Repeat up to 3 or 4 times. The Mod Podge dries clear. It goes on white. Even though it dries clear, you will still see every stroke that was put on with the foam brush. It is at this point that you can decide if you want to make the lines that will result on the project in a purposeful fashion. You can see in the photo below that I chose to make the lines go a certain direction on some pictures. Have fun with creating a signature mark for when you use a foam brush and Mod Podge.
Step 8)
Make sure the tiles dry completely before spraying them down with a sealant. This step has to be outside for ventilation purposes.
Here is our finished product: Merry Christmas!

Do you like the frames I used for my post here? They are on sale in my store for $1.50 for 30 frames. HOWEVER, if you leave a comment with your email address and I will send you your own copy for FREE!!! Here is what you would get:

30 colored metallic frames to choose from
10 squiggly squares
10 stars
10 hearts
All 300 dpi
Frames can be flipped, turned, and made to any size without losing quality. Images can also be flipped and turned.
This is a zipped file and will need to be unzipped before use.
If you download this product, please adhere to all terms of use included. These images can be used for personal and commercial products.
If you enjoy these, consider following this blog for other free things that I offer!


Sunday, December 7, 2014

A Few of My Favorite Things Blog Hop

Because we value our followers and wanted to treat you to our favorite things Oprah style, we have put together the best giveaway of the season! My bloggy friends and I welcome you to the best, biggest, most cheerful event of the season:

7 winners for 7 prize packs!

Come and enter the giveaway and check out my bloggy friends' favorite things:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
It's that time of year when you start feeling the weather really change and as you drive around at night, more Christmas lights are coming on each evening. In our home, my son begins to sing Christmas carols in his best Bing Crosby "try-to-be" voice and we giggle because it is funny, but enjoy the merriment of the season and join in. One of the songs that almost always comes up has to do with "My Favorite Things".

As a fellow teacher, I have a few of MY favorite things that I would LOVE to share with you!

My first favorite thing is a product called "Sit Spots". Here are some pictures of them in my classroom. Click on the word above to be taken to their website to learn even more ways to use them than I currently use them for.

Sit Spots do not stick well to the cute, colored, soft plied classroom rugs. Luckily, you can order a sample from them to see if the product will work well on your carpet. I do like to use them on the carpet where they won't stick so that the students can easily move them around to practice patterning and sorting. 

The Sit Spots stick SUPER well to our regular carpet and made a drab area look really bright and fun. The colors really POP and people often compliment me on these simple velcro color spots. Sometimes, I like to teach with the students up close to the board. Typically, I had them sit in this spot near the board and they would fight over who would sit the closest to the teacher. Another problem we USED to have was that they would take a favorite spot or sit too close to another student. When I introduced this product to the classroom, students chose their own color and placed it where I assigned them to sit. They have velcro on the bottom, so they can be placed AND MOVED as needed. These stick very well to the carpet and are easily vacuumed over.

Here, my students stand at their spots. When I ask them to, they each sit on their own spot, territorial provocations disappeared immediately!

One more thing I really love about this product is how easy it is to clean. A simple wipe over with a wet rag can bring the product back to look like new!

As part of this blog hop, one of the prizes you can win from me is a set of Sit Spots to try in your classroom!

My second favorite thing is to find a way to save time while getting ready in the morning on my way to school. I am sharing the beauty products I use that definitely cut down on my crazy hair time.

I have naturally curly hair, that when left a bit untamed ends up looking like I stood in a wind tunnel at the end of the day. OK, I teach kindergarten, so maybe that's the real reason. Ha! After I wash and dry my hair, I like to straighten it slightly with this Remington Pearl hair straightener. I found it at Target awhile ago and LOVE it! In fact, it works so nicely, I went back and bought the same brand hair dryer too. It has real pearl infused into the plate that allows for a smooth glide. The hot pink bottle of spray is called Miss Universe Style Illuminate Chi. It is actually a blow dry spray, but I love to use it RIGHT after I straighten my hair. I only spray a small bit onto my brush and then I brush it through my hair. It puts a slight shine on my hair, tames the fly-aways, and leaves my hair super soft. Finally, I like to spray it in place with the Sebastian hairspray. It is not sticky or hard, so I get great hold, but my hair looks "in place" but moves naturally. It sounds like a lot of work, but I have my crazy, curly hair down to about ten minutes tops thanks to these products.

Finally, another of my favorite things is to support the everyday people that serve in our nation's military. My son is a Marine and my nephew is a Sailor. This is a picture of my son being honored at our school's Veteran's Day chapel this year with one of my wonderful students.

Having a child leave to serve his country three days after a high school graduation takes some getting used to, so I interact with other people who are, pardon the pun, "in the same boat". When he served overseas twice, it was nice to be able to talk with others who understand the fears a mom has, whether rational or not. I especially love the support group called Camp Courage. Click HERE to learn more about what they do, thousands strong, all started by one mom, Mai Christy.

Another way I enjoy supporting the troops is by doing something I already love, I bake!

But now, I bake for Operation Cookie Takeover too. If you want to try this out, it is uber easy. Just give them an email and tell them how many cookies you plan to send out. You get paired up with someone deployed overseas. I happen to have recently been paired with a person who does not usually get mail, so I bet he'll be happy to see 4 dozen snicker/chocolate chip cookies plus some super sweet letters and drawings from some pretty cute 5 year olds. They run different "missions" each couple of weeks, so consider signing up to help them out. The cookies are wrapped individually for a few reasons: to ensure freshness (these ones traveled to the Middle Eastern Gulf region) and so that those who receive them can share and trade. I mail them in flat rate boxes. The medium boxes only cost about $13 to mail and the large ones are about $16....not much to say "Thanks" to someone 7,000 miles away from home.

As part of this blog hop, I am offering all four of my Teachers Pay Teachers featured products at 50% off of the regular price from December 7th, 2014-December 14th, 2014. Hop on over to my store to check them out! Click on the picture to be taken to these products.

A bonus to this blog hop beyond the 50% off product sale is that you have the opportunity to win some of those amazing prizes up top!

I sincerely hope you enjoyed learning about a few of my favorite things. 


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