Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Tech Tip Tuesday

It's only the second week and I already missed my Tuesday post! I have a good excuse - I have been feeling a little under the weather since last Wednesday but I kept pushing myself, working out, etc. and it finally caught up with me. One doctor's visit and 2 prescriptions later, I'm feeling *a little* better today and I know tomorrow will be even better! For this week's post I decided to share things that I thought might fit into all the Dr. Seuss activities going on this week. These are both sites that I heard about while at TCEA. Enjoy!

  • Switcheroo Zoo - Your students can create and name their own animal, learn about animals and habitats and play some really fun (and educational!) games. You can definitely create some Seuss-like creatures! Here's an example of an animal that I just created:

  • Build Your Wild Self - I haven't used this site with my class yet, but I can't wait to. What a neat way for the kiddos to express themselves creatively! I also think this would be an interesting project for the beginning of the year to learn about your students' personalities! The site is exactly what it says - you are building your wild self. It's like making your Mii on the Wii, but with some optional animal parts added in! Here's one I made this afternoon:

Now I'm off to enjoy all of the fantastic sales on TpT today!!! Happy Leap Day! (Anyone else watch 30 Rock last week??? I found myself wanting to say "Nothing's impossible on Leap Day" and "Real life is for March" today.)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Google Docs

Good morning! I've received lots of messages recently asking me to share things through Google Docs that should already be available. I don't know why the links are not allowing you to download because when I look at my Google Docs page, it shows everything as being shared! As long as you click on the link I've provided on the blog, it should allow you to access it, but apparently that's not happening. So, for time being, if there is something you tried to access and it did not let you, please email me at and let me know which activity you were trying to download and I will send it to you. I guess I will have to go through each document that I've shared and double check the settings and see if that solves the problem.

TGIF! Have a great day!

***UPDATE*** 3/2/12
After reading and commenting about this issue on some other blogs, I think the problem is that many are confused about the download process. When you click on a link and it takes you to Google Docs, all you need to do is click on "file" (in the Google Docs toolbar, not your browser toolbar), then click download so that you can save your own copy. If you are signed into you Google Docs account, Google Docs will also automatically save it in Google Docs. Trust me on that one... every file I have ever clicked on while perusing blogs is still in my Google Docs - eeeek! You do not want to click share, because that will not allow you to email it to yourself or a friend, it will send me an email telling me you requested to share it. What you want to do, is follow the steps above, and if you did want to share it with a friend, then email the file once you have downloaded it or opened in in Adobe! I hope that helps!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tech Tip Tuesday

I like alliteration. Do you remember "What We Love Wednesday" last year? It was my weekly link up last year with my (former) teammate, Mrs. Claborn. I can't promise that I will absolutely post every Tuesday, but I miss my weekly "assignments" and since I a) am always looking for new ways to integrate technology into first grade b) teach at a technology magnet and c) recently had the privilege to attend TCEA, I think this will be a good fit. Here we go!

1. Search Cube - Go search something. Seriously. It's awesome. Search cube is a visual search engine that presents your results in the form of a cube. You can use your arrows to navigate to different faces of the cube and scroll your mouse over tiles to see previews of the search results. I tested it out with a little search on Abraham Lincoln, in honor of Presidents' Day. So. Cool. Go try it out. NOW!!!

2. PicLits - Again, this is just a darn cool site! It's free, it's fast, it's first grade friendly! On this site, students choose a picture from a gallery, then create a caption to go with it. I love the choice and open-endedness that this site allows. Once a picture is chosen, students can drag and drop words to create their caption, or click freestyle to type their very own sentence. If they choose freestyle, a bank of suggested words will still be provided. If you want to save, share, email, etc., the projects that your students create, then you need to create an account. All piclits are automatically posted in the gallery under your username if you save them so you probably want to create a name for yourself that's not too terribly identifying. So far my only issue with this site has been that some usernames can be... interesting.

3. Tagxedo - You've probably already seen this on other blogs, but just in case you haven't, it's another word cloud site, similar to wordle, but in the words of the tagxedo site, these are word clouds with style. You can choose from an extensive gallery for your word cloud shape and even upload your own image or shape. My kids are pretty well trained in wordle skills, but I am sure they can handle the switch! I know they will love creating shaped word clouds even more than they love creating wordles!

4. Pinterest - HA! Just kidding! But seriously, I just created a specific Fantastic First school only account last Wednesday which now has 15 boards, 94 pins... in less that one week. I need an intervention.

Let me know if you try any of these out or if you already using them!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Presidents Day!

How many of you have school today? We Students don't have school today (it's a staff only day), so I don't have any presidential activities going on but I am going to do different presidential themed activities throughout the remainder of my short(er) week. Thank you Pinterest and blogland for all the great ideas! One of my favorite activities from last year was the job application I made. It was so funny to read why my students thought they'd make a good president! I'm really looking forward to reading through those again and you can bet that will be one of the first activities we do. If you're interested, you can find that post here. You can also find other related posts here. I ordered a new book about Presidents Day (Having an Amazon Prime account just makes ordering things too easy!!!) and I can't wait to read it to my kids. I am always on the look out for new books - what books do you use for Presidents Day and related activities? Do you have any great Abraham Lincoln books? I have several on George but my Abe section is empty and I'm borrowing from the library. I'd love to hear about some cute titles to order for next year!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine How Tos and Measurement Printables

I love February... but it is SO busy!!! Groundhog's Day, 100th Day, Valentine's Day, President's Day, Dental Health... and it's been busy for me outside of the classroom too. I feel like I don't have enough time to do everything I want to do! Story. Of. My. Life. Whew. Here's a peek at what we did to celebrate Valentine's Day yesterday - it wasn't much because we also had a field trip to our district's environmental center. I rolled a fun craft into a science and writing activity - the kids had fun, they learned new things, and had a little souvenir in the form of a heart shaped crayon to show for it.

First, I told them we would be making our own crayons. One of my sweeties already knew how it worked because I had her brother last year and those kiddos made "Lone Star Crayons". But the rest of them thought this was a crazy idea - what magic could I possibly possess to make this happen! In first grade, our science standards doesn't specifically include solids and liquids, but they do include changes caused by heating and cooling. We had a discussion about what our crayons looked like to start with and how we could possibly change their shape and then turn them back into a solid again. I think they really did think I have some magic up my sleeve. Or a silicone heart pan and a toaster oven. Once we'd completed our magic and our crayons were in the oven, we gathered on the floor and did a shared writing of a how to. The kids went through each step in great detail while I scribed our intstructions. Finally, while the crayons cooled off, they went back to their desks and re-created the how to, using illustrations. They turned out SO adorable. It was such a fun activity and I love it when I trick them into loving something that sounds boring (like writing a how to)! That was the only Valentine activity we had time for but it's definitely a keeper!

And I had to share these adorable Valentines that I made for my class... thank you Pinterest and Etsy!

Wait! One more thing! I almost forgot to include my measurement stations! As with all of my math stations, there are two versions of each so I can better meet my students' needs. Click here to download "How long is it?" and here to downloand "Yarn Length Hunting".

And now off to eat the remains of those swedish fish and read... Did I tell y'all that I got a Kindle Fire for Chirstmas? I'm in love. I don't have many spare minutes but seriously, when I'm not sleeping, eating, planning or teaching... I'm kindle-ing. Love, love, love.

**P.S. I apologize, once again, for the absolutely terrible quality of my pictures. My iPhone is all I have and those pictures do not transfer well to blogland!

**P.P.S I created a new pinterest account, just for school-related things. I was getting overwhelmed by the amount of things I was pinning for personal and professional use! also I wanted to explore the idea of using it as a teaching tool - pinning sites for students, parents, etc. Do you use have a teacher pinterest? How do you use it professionally?

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Blog Anniversary!

Exhausted doesn't quite cover it. Groundhog activities yesterday and today, 100th day festivities today, AND THEN I taught staff development until 6:30. This was one of those rare nights that I did not bring my school bag home. But I had to get on and post because...Today is the anniversary of my very first post! So thanks for following, reading, commenting and listening! It's been a fun hobby and I look forward to another year of collaborating!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

An ee/ea printable, eating our predictions and a little more graphing

GOOD NEWS! If you read my post from last night, you heard that I was really bummed because something I was working on suddenly disappeared in front of my eyes. So I was pretty surprised and VERY pleased when I reopened it and my graphs were all back! Yay!

First up, an ee/ea activity. We made quickly made this anchor chart of words (Mine are never as cute as the others I see on blogs because I make them with my kids... and I'm not very neat when I have to be quick! I need lessons in quick doodles!) and then the kids used markers to record six of each spelling pattern on my "Sweet Treats" printable to give them a little of extra practice for our spelling test. It seems so simple but they a) love any chance to use marker b) love candy, even when it's just a picture.

Here is a preview of our groundhog day activities and predictions (Yes, I know groundhog day is tomorrow, but tomorrow is the 100th day and our day is packed with those activities!). We're not quite finished with them all yet, but they sure were delicious today and involved these:

And finally, the graphing things I was working on last night. There is one set of 6 graphs and then two different sets of data that the kids match to the graphs. One set is just has tables with labels and numbers, the other set is missing the labels to add a little extra challenge to the activity when I place it in math stations.

I'm off to get ready for the 100th day of school tomorrow! I'm pretty sure that I am just as excited as my munchkins!!!