After ISTE – My Brain Hurts!

This is my third ISTE conference and the feeling is the same each time I get home – my brain is on overload while my body is completely exhausted!  You pack so much into the time that you are there, going non-stop from early in the morning until way past your normal bedtime!

I think this photo I took of my friend at our first ISTE three years ago in Philly sums up this feeling the best….

Notice they even give out a badge ribbon that say “My Brain Hurts!”  So I can’t be the only one feeling this way!

While ISTE is all about learning new things, I really think it’s all about making connections.  You get to meet people in person who you have followed (possibly slightly stalked) online!  Making new friends who share a common passion, the beginning of new collaborations and future projects.

We met Lauren doing a SeeSaw scavenger hunt – of course it was to get a free tshirt!  It’s all about the swag!
Dene was a contestant at EdTech Karaoke and we recognized him walking across the breakfast area.  He did an awesome job singing Michael Jackson’s Beat It -he’s also a fantastic educator in Florida!

I got to meet Christine Pinto from GAFE 4 littles after her Ignite session on Monday.  My friends said that I acted like such a “fan girl”.  I don’t care!  It was wonderful to be able to tell this amazing educator that her willingness to share all of her awesome ideas and templates really saved my bacon (and my sanity) when my school went 1:1 with our K-2 students.

Ok, another part of coming home from a trip is the laundry and unpacking.  I need to wash clothes and organize all my conference swag -this will help me organize my thoughts and give me so many more ideas of what I want to blog about!  Lots more to come….promise!


Picture Book Review #2

Image result for Goodnight alreadyImage result for the bear ate your sandwich

Bears seem to be very popular on the list this year. You’ll see a couple more by the time I am finished with these reviews.

I really liked the cute and simple story in Goodnight Already!  I think that students will identify with this story – not being sleepy at bedtime.  I really liked the illustrations in this story and the duck reminds me of the Aflac duck in the TV commercials.  I think it would be fun to have students brainstorm a list of things you can do when you don’t feel sleepy at bedtime.  They could write a letter to bear and duck, giving them advice.

While I liked the story in The Bear Ate Your Sandwich, I wasn’t a fan of the illustrations. To me they looked blurry – maybe I just read it too late at night and my contacts were dirty!  This story chronicles the journey of a bear in the country who by accident ends up in the city.  After eating said sandwich, he has a creative way of returning to the country.  Of course, there’s a cute dog at the end of this story that makes you wonder if the bear really was the one who chowed down on the food.  I think this book could spark an interesting discussion with students and make them use some critical thinking skills to support their argument.  I know, all of this from a picture book!  One of the many reasons I love them so much!

More bears coming soon….

Picture Book Review #2

Image result for billy's booger Image result for i will never get a star on mrs. benson's blackboard
Now that my school year is over, I now have time to write these book reviews!  I am having a blast reading these books and as I was reading, I started to miss being in the regular classroom.  Then I realized I can use these books as springboards to integrating technology into lesson ideas that I have for my teachers.  Gotta love it when a good idea comes together!!
I put these two books together because I felt that they had a common theme – we all don’t “shine” in the same way and different folks have different gifts.
Both of the main characters in these books are not your run of the mill kind of kid. They are very talented, creative, and messy,  but they can feel that this isn’t what teachers want from them.  They aren’t like the other students and at times this bothers them.  However, what I really love is that they pursue their creativity and in the end it’s what they are recognized for.
Billy’s Booger actually has the book that Billy creates in the center of the book!  I loved this and know that students will really like reading it as well as the main story. I think we’ve all had a student like Billy in our classroom at one time or another.  They are different thinkers and at times it can be very challenging to find ways for them to thrive.  This book reminded me that we need to remember that creativity and thinking outside the box are fabulous skills that need to encouraged – this is one of the reasons I love to show my teachers how they can use choice and differentiation with their assignments to meet the needs of all of their students.  On a side note: the author of Billy’s Booger.
William Joyce has a very interesting website and I can see why he calls this ” a memoir-sorta”.  He’s involved in a lot of different creative projects, including the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie.
I could really relate to “I’ll Never Get a Star on Ms. Benson’s Blackboard” – I was the messy kid who could never seem to be as neat and organized as the other students.  People who know me as an adult would probably find this hard to believe -I’m known for being rather type A and just a tad OCD!  What can I say – people change!  Also being diagnosed ADD at the age of 8 and getting some pretty intense behavior modification counseling helped!
I love that by the end of this book the teacher recognizes the student for her creativity in her own way.
Another thing that I remembered while reading these picture books is to never forget the powerful message a picture book (or any book for that matter) can send to yourself and your students.  I think both of these books would be great read alouds at the beginning of the school year, especially while you are getting to know your students, they are getting to know each other and you are building your sense of community.

Digital End of Year Memory Books

I have seen a lot of these digital memory books popping up on Pinterest and Teachers Pay Teachers.  I think they are a great way to use and learn more about Google Slides.  This time of the school year is a great opportunity for students to experiment and get creative.

I also wanted to show my teachers how these “pages” can easily be put together.  I really like the idea that the students can personalize the pages and make them their own.

Also, think of all the paper that you are saving.  I remember when I was a classroom teacher, spending way too much of my time copying and putting together these booklets, only to find them shoved in desks and on the floor after the students had left the last day of school!

This way the students have a copy of their work, they can share a copy with you and/or friends and you didn’t have to go near the copier – woo hoo!  You can also create and link them to a QR code.

Just click the photo above to get a copy of the pages that I have created.  I’ll be adding more as I get more ideas.  Please feel free to use and share with others who might like to use them.

Book Review Number One….of many!

This was the first book on the pile that I picked up from my local library, so this is the first one I’m going to review!
I have to say that I love this book for many reasons….the illustrations, the characters and a story that covers a difficult subject in a simple enough way that young children can understand. Cardell’s parents are no longer together, he has a stepmother and half-brother.  Then his Mom starts dating! I think this book is a great springboard for a discussion about family and that there are lots of different kinds of families.
I also wanted to use these reviews as a way to show ways to incorporate technology into the lessons that can be taught with these great books.  For this book I decided to make a Hyperdoc.   I learned about this awesome teaching tool at our monthly TLC meeting.This is my very first one, so please know there is still a learning curve and I plan to add more to this one as I have time.  We are in the middle of state testing at the moment,so please bear with me.  I hope it’s something that you might find useful or could pass along to someone else to use.


You’re never too old…

Last week I had the opportunity to work with our grandparent support group. We have a wonderful parent educator who does a great job of finding resources and speakers. I was honored when she asked me to be the speaker at this month’s meeting.
We covered a lot of material and they asked some very interesting questions. We all want our students to succeed but recognize that keeping children safe online is just as, if not more challenging than keeping them safe in person!
We talked about the need to know passwords and creative ways to balance screen time with being active and also taking the time to read over the summer.
Such a fun and caring group. I look forward to working with them again in the near future. They had lots of suggestions for things they would like for me to cover with them.


And the award goes to….

If you have read my blog before you know that I love,love,love to read….children and adult books.  When I was classroom teacher, I worked with an absolutely awesome media specialist.  She did a wonderful job of using the South Carolina award books to encourage the students to read and try new authors.
I would read aloud the chapter books to my 5th graders – they loved them!  They were also great books for small literature circles.  I remember my students using Animoto to make book trailers for their favorite ones.
So I have really missed reading the award books and this weekend decided to do something about it!  I went online and started finding titles at my library.  I also decided that I would read the picture books because I work with K-5 now.  Today on my way home, I picked up my first batch of books.
I am looking forward to finding ways to integrate these titles into the work I do with my classes. I am also looking at some grant ideas, so I can have a set of the books to go with these activities.

As I read the books, I will be doing reviews and sharing the ideas that I have for activities to go with each one… stay tuned!!

Now to pick which one to read first….decisions….decisions….