Sunday, November 20, 2011

Make Up Work Made Interactive

Hello friends! I am so thrilled to have found a moment to blog. Life is chaotic, geez!!!

I wanted to share a little ActivInspire tip for all you Promethean users/lovers out there. Do you know about the video tool? This tool can be used to conveniently record lessons while you teach. It will record your voice and everything you are writing/manipulating on the board as you teach. Basically, it is a screen recorder built right into the ActivInspire software.

Have you ever had a student absent? Ummmm….Yeah! How fun is it to catch students up when you have twenty plus other ones needing your attention. You taught a very important math lesson on the day Johnny was absent and he really needs to see it in action. Fret no more my friends! Record your teaching using the ActivInspire video recorder, and little Johnny can watch and hear the whole lesson when he comes back to school. 

I have used this tool a lot in my classroom, and it really helps my students who have been absent. You can even send the videos via email if you have a child who is absent for a long period of time. Did I mention that I love it? I love it!!!

So here is how it works:

1. Open ActivInspire

2. Go to Tools---More Tools---Screen Recorder----Fullscreen Recorder


3. Click the read button to start recording. Name your video what you want to save it as.


4. Click the stop button to stop recording!

5. Open your video by going to where you saved it and VOILA!!!!

Here is a sample one I made for some ActivInspire training I am doing in my district.

Maybe this little tool will come in handy for some of you out there. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoy the break!!!


Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I Heart Blogs!

I would like to give a huge thank you to Mrs. Zrihen over at A Teacher’s Treasure for bestowing the “I Heart Your Blog Award” upon my blog. I am so thankful for her kind words about my blog.


There are many blogs that I heart! Here are ten that you should really check out:




Clutter-Free Classroom


Castles and Crayons





1. Give the "I Heart Your Blog "Award to your favrite Top 10 Blogs that have touched your heart and inspired your teaching by listing them on your blog.
2. Contact that person and let them know of their heartfelt award.
3. When you receive the award,
copy and paste the graphic onto your
blog and give a shout out to the person who nominated you.
4. Spread the LOVE by passing the "Heart Your Blog" Award on your Top 10.


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Snip It!!


If you are using Windows 7, I hope you have discovered the Snipping Tool. I really have no idea how I ever lived without it. This tool allows you to easily take a snapshot of anything that is on your computer screen. You can save the snip as a picture to your computer or copy it to your clipboard. You can even add annotations to your snip. Check out how to use it it here on the Windows site.

How do I use it in the classroom?

1. Screen captures to use in interactive flipcharts. I just snip, copy, and paste right into my flipcharts.

2. Snip parts of websites I want to share with my students and save as a picture.

3. Piece tests together on one page using snips of questions.

4. Create screen shot tutorials for my class or staff at my school.

5. Create picture collages for writing activities.

The possibilities are endless with this little tool!


Thursday, October 6, 2011

My First Award!!!


A huge thank you to Brittany over at A Day In First Grade for giving me a Versatile Blogger Award! You should definitely check out her cute blog. I am so honored to have been recognized in this bloggy-blog-world by such an awesome teacher. I have really enjoyed sharing ideas and reading all the wonderful blogs out there since I started this little ol’ blog this summer.

Along with accepting this award, there are a few rules to follow. Yay! I love me some rules. Here they are:

*Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.
Thank you tons Brittany!

*Share 7 things about yourself.

1. I am starting graduate school in two weeks, and I am quite nervous and excited at the same time. I will be getting a Masters of Education in Classroom Leadership. It sounds so fancy!

2. I love to decorate! Spray paint is my absolute bestie.

3. I am addicted to Tervis Tumblers. I think my husband might intervene soon.

4. I absolutely love teaching the history of the great state of South Carolina, and I love seeing my students enjoying learning about our state.

5. Football season is my favorite time of the year. Although my husband and I pull for rival teams, we still make it work. “We interrupt this marriage to bring you football season!”

6. Dinner conversation at my house usually consists of talk about some sort of technology gadget. I am blessed to have a husband who shares my love for technology. We have decided that instead of stick figures on the back of our car windows, we should put two iPads (mom and dad) and two iPod touch (2 boys) look-alike stickers to represent our family. We are pretty geeky around here!!!

7. Zebra print is my favorite pattern. It just keeps creeping into my house. I have been on the lookout for a zebra print chair to go in my living room since last Christmas when I saw one at Ross and didn’t buy it. Ugh…

*Pass this award along to 15 recently discovered blogs.

Jack of All Trades

3rd Grade’s A Hoot

Fourth Grade Frolics

Michelle’s Math In The Middle

Lesson Plan S.O.S.

Third Grade Rock Star

It’s Not All Flowers and Sausages

Technology Rocks, Seriously

Shepherd’s Shining Stars

Yearn To Learn

I Heart Teaching Elementary

The Teaching Thief

Create Teach Share

Cardigans and Curriculum

Dots N Spots

Check these blogs out. I promise you won’t be let down!


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Mr. Morton is the subject of this post!

As I was stalking Pinterest in the spare time that I don’t have, I ran across some really awesome grammar videos. At the time, I was teaching subject and predicate, and this video I repinned is so cute. My kiddos loved it, and they actually ask to see it on a daily basis. The best thing is, they actually learned how to identify subject and predicate without me pulling my hair out. I showed the video and paired it with a Promethean flipchart that one of my coworkers found on Promethean Planet.

Here is another one I repinned for reviewing nouns. I can’t wait to use it throughout the year!

To see more of the videos I found, just visit my board here.

I truly heart Pinterest, and I am so thankful for all the wonderful teachers out there that pin and share great teaching ideas through their boards! If you need an invite, just email me and I will send you one.


Friday, September 2, 2011

Rapping and Rounding

Wow! That’s all I can say. Wow! (Do you know what awesome children’s book that line is from?)

This week has been FULL, and I have had absolutely no time to bloggy blog. I really hope things will slow down soon (who am I kidding), and I will be able to blog more often.

Anywho…I started teaching my kiddos how to round today. We will be learning how to round to the nearest ten, hundred, and thousand in the coming week. To introduce rounding, I put my students in groups and gave each group a post-it with a number written on it and a sentence strip. I asked the kids to envision that the sentence strip was a number line, and they needed to place the number they were given on the number line and decide which two tens the number is in-between. They were then instructed to put their number on the ten it was closest to. This got them thinking about what rounding is.

After this group introduction activity, I showed this CUTE video:

My kiddos LOVED this video!!! It was a big hit with the entire third grade today!

After watching the video, we started learning how to round numbers. A few years ago, I found this great idea to introduce rounding using “bully” and “wimp” numbers. I teach my kiddos that 0,1,2,3, and 4 are wimps and 5,6,7,8, and 9 are bullies. We sing a rap to help remember the steps for rounding a number.

Here is a sheet I created for my students to keep in their binders:

Rounding Rules

*The Bully and Wimp idea is not my original idea. I saw it on a teacher created worksheet once. I have adapted it to fit my needs.
*I found the Rounding Rap here, but I changed some of the lyrics to work with my teaching strategy.

These strategies have really worked well for my kiddos the past few years. I hear them singing the rap all year, and it brings a big smile to my face! Do you have any fun ways to teach rounding?


Saturday, August 27, 2011

I’m Finished…Now What?

If you are a teacher you have heard these words, “I am finished, what do I do now?” It is essential to have something ready for those students who always finish before everyone else. After watching a video at Teacher Tipster, I decided I would make some chart folders for my kiddos to use when they finish their work early. I wrote about this awesome idea in a previous post, and I promised I would share some of the pages I would include in my chart folders.

The start of school has been EXTREMELY busy, but I did manage to get these made! I plan to house the sheets in binders. Each page will be placed in a sheet protector, and the students will use dry-erase markers to write on them.

I will be adding more throughout the year, but here is what I am going to start with. Feel free to download them for FREE  in my Teachers Pay Teachers store. *I used to create the addition and subtraction practice.


Have an awesome weekend!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

Do You Need A Teacher Tip?

As I was browsing around You Tube this morning trying to find a video about writing numbers in different forms, I ran across a great website! I love when I find things I am not looking for that are useful. Let’s just disregard that I was totally sidetracked, and I still haven’t found a video about writing numbers in different forms. If there is one out there that you know about, please share it through a comment or email me.

So anyway, I found Teacher Tipster!!!! This site was created by a teacher who shares some wonderful ideas for keeping your kiddos engaged throughout the day. He is so CREATIVE!!! I literally smiled the whole time I was watching his videos. I want to be a first grader in his class. I really got excited about trying some of his ideas in my own classroom.

One of my favorite management ideas that he shared was Chart Folders. Here is the video about that:

I am definitely going to get this going for my third graders. I will just have to adapt a few things. After creating my pages, I will be sharing them here.

I also love this idea for celebrating student achievement:

I am so excited about teaching my kids these!!!

I could go on and on about the great ideas Mr. Smith has to share, but head on over to to check it out.

Have a blessed Sunday!


Saturday, August 20, 2011

Are Your Binders Live?

I don’t know about you, but I am obsessed with binders. I have so many different binders in my classroom, I am beginning to think I just might be a binder hoarder. Oh no! There is just something about arranging items in a binder and having it look so neat and organized. What if you could house some of that “stuff” online? Did you know you actually can?

Live Binders are online binders where you can house information you find on the web. You can create binders for anyone to view and use. The binders can be embedded in websites, blogs, and you can even create shortcuts on your desktop that link straight to particular binders for your students. The idea of a Live Binder is much the same as pinning on Pinterest. You know how I love some Pinterest! There is even a pinning tool for your toolbar for easy saving. I am sure this is going to be one of my new favorites.

This is going to be great for keeping everything I want to show my kiddos on the Promethean Board. I don’t have to search my flash drive or anything. I just sign into the site, find the binder I want to use, and I am ready to do some teaching.

Here is one I am working on for teaching the six regions of South Carolina.

There are tons of binders that have already been created by teachers that are ready to use! So, give up trying to remember where you found that cool website or those neat pictures. Put it in your Live Binder!


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Handy Scanner App

imageOnce upon a time I had a scanner in my classroom that was the best thing coming. No more trips to the copier! I loved my scanner, and it is still used in my classroom, but mostly by my students. Why is that you ask? I discovered Cam Scanner in the Android market.

With Cam Scanner, I can scan documents and pictures and automatically convert them to PDF files right from my phone. At first, I was a bit skeptical about the quality of the document I would get from using my phone to scan, but it works just as good, if not better than an old school scanner!

After scanning a document, you can email it, send it to Dropbox, and share it via IM. I send most of my scans to Dropbox, open them on my computer and print. Love it, love it, love it! I can also add them to my Good Reader on my iPad since they are PDF files. You can read about how I use Dropbox and Good Reader here. This handy app is also available for the iPhone and iTouch.

How do I use it?

*To scan pictures my students have brought in to make slideshow.
*To scan documents I want to copy.
*To scan a page of a textbook that I want to display on my Promethean board.
*To scan written paperwork that I have to turn in to administration and keep a copy for myself.

Try it out! Cam Scanner has saved me loads of time and has freed up some desk space!


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Apps I Can’t Live Without

I’m back!!! The real world has crept back into my life this past week with the start-up of school. Teachers went back this Wednesday and the new lovelies join us this coming Wednesday. I enjoyed meeting most of my students on Friday night during Meet The Teacher. I have to say, I am quite excited to get this new year started!

I thought I would share some apps I use on a daily basis for personal organization in and outside of the classroom. I would be L.O.S.T. without them!

Dropbox is my all-time favorite. I have it on my PC, iPad, and Android phone. Dropbox allows you to upload files to a web-based folder (cloud), and then access that folder anywhere there is internet access. Did I mention this app is FREE!!!

How do I use it?

  • My grade level team plans, so we have a lesson plan template that we all share via Dropbox.
  • I store pictures to share with my kiddos in class.
  • Pretty much everything I want to bring from home to school, or vice versa, I drop it in the box!

Good Reader is an app for the iPad that I use to view PDF files when I don’t have internet access. Dropbox can be synced right to Good Reader. You download the files you want to have handy anytime, and voila!

How do I use it?

  • I always download my weekly lesson plans in PDF format to Good Reader from my Dropbox. No printing lesson plans required!

Pocket Informant is my BFF!!! This handy app is a daily planner that syncs with most web-based calendars. The possibilities for planning your time are endless with this one app.

How do I use it?

  • I have all my Google Calendars synced with my Pocket Informant. I have a school calendar, grade level planning calendar, family calendar, and personal calendar all synced in one spot!
  • I also use it to make Task Lists.

Teacher Pal is a great friend to have! This little app allows you to organize classroom contacts, attendance, and grades. You can also enter notes about behavior. This app syncs with Dropbox to backup information as well! Yay Dropbox!!!
This will be my first year using it, so I will have to let you know how I use it effectively.

I hope you check some of these out if you haven’t already!


Sunday, August 7, 2011

A Worthwhile Classroom Website

I am fortunate enough to work in a district that provides a teacher website for every teacher. Even though the website editor may sometimes leave a bit to be desired, I am very glad to have a FREE place where I can connect with my students and their families on the big ol’ WWW.

If your district doesn’t provide you with a website, or you are not satisfied with your district site, there are other places where you can create a site of your own for free. You can use a blog, or Google Sites, or a wiki site. All can be done for FREE.

The most important thing to remember is to make your site worthwhile! Don’t just create a site where the same information stays dormant all year long. Make your site a place where parents can depend on you to keep them informed. You should also make the site user friendly for your students, and a place where they can go for classroom extension. Also, use the classroom website IN THE CLASSROOM! Create pages that you can use while teaching. This is a great way to get students to revisit classroom teaching at home.

So how do you make your website worthwhile? Here are a few things that I do on my site to really make it a place my students and their families want to visit.

1. Post the most important information on your homepage. I update my homepage weekly with vocabulary words, spelling words, and an explanation of what we will be learning in the classroom every week. I also post important reminders, and a link to view and print the weekly newsletter. My contact information is given on the homepage as well. Click on the picture below to check out the homepage.


2. Create a classroom calendar! Events happening in the classroom are not listed on a district wide or school wide calendar. Keep your parents informed. I use a simple list calendar that I update weekly. You can also use Google Calendar or Local Calendar if embedding is possible.


3. Create pages especially for parents. List important information regarding how they can help their child be successful in your classroom. Also include a link to your syllabus!

4. Create pages especially for your students. I have many pages dedicated to my students. These pages include:

AR Stars: A little place on the web to celebrate AR points. Students names (first only) are listed on the AR Stars page throughout the year. They love seeing their name online.

Fun Links: A place for my students to safely browse the web with given links to great kid-friendly websites. I have also listed sites here that I use while teaching so my students can easily access them at home or in the computer lab.

Homework: The week’s homework is posted here. My students actually copy their homework into their planners straight from the website everyday. This is great for absent students. Can you believe that students will actually visit the homework page and still have their homework completed when they return to school after being absent. It is AWESOME!!!

Our Wallwishers: A page dedicated to wallwishers I use in the classroom. Students can access them at home or the computer lab without having to remember a URL to get there. You can read about how to use Wallwishers in your classroom here.

I also add pages throughout the year that go along with our units of study. For example, when we are learning about the American Revolution, I have created a page that has links, pictures, and Power Points I use in class to teach the material. Once again, use the site IN THE CLASSROOM!!! As the school year goes on, I will be sharing the pages I create for this purpose on this little ol’ blog!

5. A place to tell about yourself. Your parents and students want to know that you are human! Tell them a little about yourself outside of the classroom.

6. A page for Class Photos! This is a MUST. This is a great way to highlight what you are doing in the classroom. Make them fun to look at by using Photo Bucket or Picture Trail to create slideshows. You can embed them right into your page for a polished look. It is a lot better to use a slideshow than to put a bunch of pictures in a row on a page. I will be posting a tutorial on how to do this as soon as I have my new class next week! I do not currently have any pictures on my personal site because I don’t have any students, but you can check out how I use slideshows on our school website. Click on the image below to visit the site. The slideshow on the homepage was created using Photo Bucket.


7. Make your website appealing to your visitors. Here are a few tips:

    • Nothing too flashy! You want your visitors to focus on the important information you are giving them, not the flashing school bus in the middle of your page.
    • Use your “real estate” wisely. Your homepage is prime real estate. Say what is most important there, but not with a picture that takes up the whole screen so people have to scroll to get to the stuff you really want them to see.
    • Highlight your students! They love seeing themselves on the site and so do their parents.
    • Use fonts and colors that are easy to read.
    • Don’t make them go searching. Include links to other pages on your site if you want them to visit another page. Don’t just say, “On the Parent’s Page”, actually link to that page.

If you make a website worthwhile, your students and parents will visit and will thank you for providing them with a tool they can use at home to stay informed and engaged.

I hope these tips have been useful. So sorry for the long post! Some people scrapbook, I create websites! Please feel free to browse around my school and class site to get ideas, but keep in mind that school hasn’t started here yet, so my class site is bare bones right now. If you have any questions, please comment or email me.

Have a blessed Sunday!!!


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

You Tube in the Classroom

This past school year, our district decided to unblock You Tube for teacher use. I can’t even express how excited I was about this. There are soooo many wonderful resources on You Tube that can be used in the classroom. While planning, I always take into account that today’s children are growing up in a media driven world. They are constantly stimulated by “iGadgets”, television, video games, the internet, etc. Why not bring that into our teaching?

You Tube is one way to do just that. There are so many fun, educational videos that can be used to keep kids engaged. Okay…I am not saying let You Tube teach your class while you sit behind a desk. NOT AT ALL!!! But, when planning a lesson, check it out and see if you can find something that might “hook” your students at the beginning of a lesson, or find something that will explain a concept in an entertaining way.

For example, when I was teaching money last year, I used this video/song I found as a review at the beginning of my lesson. The kids LOVED it, and they would ask to see it everyday!

I used this one during my geometry unit. I embedded into a Promethean flipchart that I created for the unit  so it would be easy to show at anytime.

My kiddos walked around singing this one FOREVER! They also used the Flipcam to make their own Geometry videos after seeing this.

I also used You Tube as a reward or motivational tool throughout the year. I had a very active class last year so I made sure to take breaks throughout the day for movement. One day, I decided to pull up the ever famous, “Double Dream Hands”, for my students. Oh my gosh…they got out of their seats and started doing a flash mob dance. It was fantastic!!!! This ended up being a reward throughout the year for good behavior. By the end of the year, they knew it by heart…even the words. Hilarious and a great movement activity!

Here it is if you haven’t seen it.

So, the next time you are planning a lesson and you really want to keep your kiddos engaged, check You Tube. Just make sure you watch the videos before showing them to your class! I have to put that disclaimer on it. You never know what could happen in the middle of a video, but overall, this is a great tool to use.


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Efficient Classroom Library Tool and Printable

After collecting so many new books over the last school year and this summer, I decided it was time to redo my classroom library labels. I used Scholastic’s Teacher Book Wizard to look up my books and decide on which genres I would need for my labels. I was really impressed with this tool. It will tell you genre, Lexile range, and if a book has an AR Test. How convenient! You could also have your students use it in the classroom to find “just right” books based on other books they are interested in. You can type in a book title and it will tell you other books on the same level that are similar. Awesomesauce! I love technology!

I created 16 labels for my chapter books and 12 for my picture books. I decided to add a number to each label because I will be adding a number sticker to each book in the library so that students can easily put books away.

Feel free to download  these for FREE and use the labels I made by clicking the image below. They will print beautifully on Avery labels #8163.


Have a great Sunday!


Saturday, July 30, 2011

Classroom Creations and A Little Blabber

Hello there friends! I hope everyone is having a great weekend. I have been working away on some classroom items today, and I have redesigned my entire class website…whew. I figured if I was going to redo my classroom, my website needed to match. Yes friends…I am that OCD!

Check it out here if you wish, but keep in mind that a lot of things are blank because they will not get filled in until school starts up. Maybe you can get some ideas. When the school year gets underway, I will be sharing some tips for making your website worthwhile for your parents, students, and other teachers.


I have also been playing around with a website that my friend Mrs. Mauney recommended, and I thought I would share it with everyone. The website is called Blabberize. First, let me confess that I watched the introductory video a few times because it totally cracked me up! You should at least visit the site to get a good laugh.

So what does it do? You can take any picture and make it talk. Fun, fun stuff! I can’t wait to use it when my students write animal research papers this year. I am going to have them share their research by making the animal they researched talk. It is so, so simple. You just upload a picture, upload some audio, and then click on the mouth of the animal/person you want to deliver the message. The possibilities here are endless!


If you are still reading, you haven’t clicked Blabberize yet because I promise you wouldn’t be back for a while. It is too funny!

Have a great Sunday, and come on back for some turquoise and green polka dot themed library labels and other fun stuff I will be sharing this coming week for FREE. I am putting the finishing touches on them now!


Thursday, July 28, 2011

My Store Is Open

I opened a store on Teachers Pay Teachers today so I could share creations with all of my bloggy friends out there. Thank you so much for following my little ol’ blog, and also for all of your sweet comments.

The first creation that I will share is a Morning Work flipchart. This flipchart was created in ActivInspire for all you Promethean users out there. I use this flipchart daily to display morning work and take lunch count/attendance. While my kiddos are working on morning work I take up homework, and they choose their lunch on the board by moving their numbered piece of bread. This is a very efficient way to get the morning duties out of the way! After all the kids have chosen lunch, I count choices and take attendance.

Morning Work

Click on the image to download this resource for FREE!!!

*I used some fonts that I downloaded from Fonts for Peas, so I am hoping that it will appear this way for everyone. If you download and you find that everything is distorted, please comment and let me know.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Day Two: Classroom Redo

Reading Area

One of my students’ favorite places in our classroom is the Reading Teepee. My mom helped me make a teepee my first year of teaching out of PVC pipe, wooden balls, and some fabric. My mom definitely did the sewing of the teepee because I was not anywhere near comfortable enough with a sewing machine in those days to take on this task.

Everyday, I have a “Student of the Day”, and that student is allowed to read in the teepee during any independent reading time. I only allow one student to read there at a time because I find when more than one are in there, not a whole lot reading takes place. It works very well with one kiddo in there!


The pattern for the teepee can be found here.

Behind the teepee, you will notice some interlocking mats. Students are allowed to use those when sitting around the room reading during independent reading. I alternate boys and girls each day so everyone is not trying to use a mat or cramped up around the room. I have “Gentlemen’s Day Out” and “Ladies’ Day Out”. On Gentlemen’s Day, the boys sit around the room to read and the ladies read at their desks. The next day, ladies read around the room and boys sit at their desks.

We use Accelerated Reader at our school as a reading incentive program. Each child in my room has an incentive chart for AR. When they score an 80 or above on an AR test, they receive a sticker from me to place on their chart. When they fill up their chart, they visit the principal for a prize, and they also get some prizes from me. Above the charts, we chart AR points. My students “Climb the AR Mountain” throughout the year with a goal of 80 points. Please ignore the computer table in the picture. I am not quite finished setting up my technology because my computers are still in the media center…ugh.

AR center

My classroom library is divided into picture books and chapter books. I found large baskets at Dollar Tree for picture books, and small ones for chapter books. These baskets are organized by genre (I am currently working on new labels), and each book has its own label that matches the basket. This has really helped keep the library organized. I have also arranged it so students can access the books from different places to cut down on crowding around the books.


I will work with small groups for Guided Reading here:

2011-07-25 16.10.48

Writing and Meeting Areas

The writing area in my classroom doubles as the meeting area. Writing materials are easily accessible for my students in this area.

wriitng center

As a class, we will meet for read alouds, mini-lessons, and class meetings here. This area works for me because the Promethean Board is at the front of the room, and when meeting here, the class can just shift to the right and be in front of the board for interactive lessons. This area will also be used to display student writing.

2011-07-25 16.07.31

So…that’s what I am working with so far. Now I need to get to making those library labels!

Before I go…I brief technology tip! If you haven’t heard of Picnik, you must check it out. It is an awesome picture editing site that is free unless you purchase the premium membership. I haven’t found a need to do so. There are so many fun tools to make your pictures really stand out. You can add text, frames, stickers, and much more. You can also enhance your photos in many ways. Just head on over to to give your pictures a new look!