Friday, January 1, 2016

January 2016 Currently, Mini Blog Hop and Giveaway!

Happy New Year everyone! I can't believe that 2016 is already here! I'm totally looking forward to the potential it has for me! I'm linking up with Farley for her awesome Currently, PLUS doing a mini blog hop with a couple of NM Bloggers to bring YOU some awesome prizes and freebies. Check them out below!

First, let's get down to business with Farley's Currently:

I was just listening to Landslide (covered by the Dixie Chicks) with my daughters and it had us all tearing up. It is such a timeless song that can mean so many different things depending on the stages of your life. I keep thinking about how they're growing up and how scary it is to think about them both being out of the house in a couple years. That will be a big change for me because I truly have built my life around them.

Needless to say I have really enjoyed my break and am not ready to give up wearing my PJs all day and having the time to create. How many days until Spring Break?

I barely slept last night, not because I was up partying, but because my mind was swirling with so many ideas and possibilities and risks that I'm about to take this year. It left me unsettled, yet excited. It also left room for those pesky doubts to creep in. My goal is to banish self doubt in 2016 and believe in myself and what I do and what I'm capable of.

I think I say this almost every month. I want more time to plan, create, and learn but also more time with my girls. Cliche alert: It really does go by so fast!

I need to calm my brain and the only way to do that is to figure out what I want to do, make a plan, write it down and get started. I'm a little impatient and sometimes I jump in the pool before I even check to see if there is any water in it. I need to be patient with myself and my progress.

One little word:
My little (but mighty) word this year is BE. We were actually talking about one word resolutions this morning and my family thinks I'm a weirdo for choosing the word BE. I like it because it is a word that can grow and change and morph into what I need it to be. I can BE amazing, or strong, or talented or kind. Or I can just BE in the moment. BE present.
Well, my friends, this Currently was a little more philosophical than usual, but I think the New Year does that to you. Now that I've dried my teary eyes, I can focus on some fun stuff!

My NMBlogger friends and I teamed up to give you a mini blog hop with prizes and freebies. There are only 2 other stops so you TOTALLY have time to hop around for a minute or two. First, enter our giveaway! Who doesn't want a $30 TpT gift card?? Scroll All.The.Way.Down to grab a cute little winter freebie from me too!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Now hop on over to my buddy Laura from Tchr888 by clicking the button below! Read her post and grab a freebie while you're at it!

Grab this cutie patootie penguin freebie! It features word problems with up to four double digit addends. It also has space for students to show their strategy, explain in words and write an equation. My kiddos will be working on these when we get back from break.
click here to get your freebie

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Happy New Year! What's next and a SALE!

Hello friends! Can you believe 2015 is almost over? I have had an interesting year to say the least, but I'll save that for another post! I'm just popping in today to let you know that I have been busy working on some new products that I'm desperately trying to finish before I go back to school on Monday AND I'm having a sale in my tpt store Dec 31- Jan 2.

I've been filling my cart like crazy to prepare for the upcoming months and it feels so good to be looking forward to getting back in the classroom because of all the cool new resources I want to use with my students. I have January all planned!! Get on over to my store and see if there is something new you could use with your students to make school more exciting and fun!

Sunday, December 20, 2015

A Few of My Favorite Techy Things

Today I want to talk about a few of my favorite techy things that I use in my classroom all the time.

I'm super lucky to have 24 iPads in my classroom, but I started out with just one little iPad 5 years ago that was funded by a project. I got a 2nd (same way) and then I wanted MORE! I wrote 5 grants and was about to give up when I finally won a grant and got 14 iPad minis for my students. Just recently, I convinced my principal to use some of our technology funds to get me 10 more so I can pilot a 1:1 classroom program in my school. I'm still learning about how to best implement technology in my classroom, and as quickly as things change, I'll always have to keep learning. Over the years, our iPads have become tools for learning and augmenting instruction.

Screenchomp is my favorite screencasting app so far and it's FREE! It's very kid friendly and easy to use too. Screencasting is just a video record of what you write or put on the screen and the audio in one nice little package. Two of my favorite uses are as an assessment tool and a reteaching tool. I love to use it as an assessment because I get to hear AND see what kids are thinking when they solve a problem in math, for example. I give the students different problems to solve, they write theirs down on the screen, hit record and start solving it as they talk through it. You can use this in any curriculum area! Some kids like to share their videos with the class and some are more shy. I have students copy and paste the link to their video to their notes so I can review them in one easy place. This is also an awesome thing to share with parents at conference time.

I also like to use Screenchomp to record mini lessons for my students to replay. This is awesome for your intervention group or for kids that just need reminders on how to do something. My goal is to have tutorials made for all the major skills I teach and have the links (via QR code) up on a bulletin board for students to access at anytime. You can also record directions for centers or for activities you want students to do independently. When you want to share a recording, just copy the link, paste it into a QR code generator and make a QR code that kids can scan easily so they don't have to type the link. Print out that QR code, stick it with your center materials or post around the room and you don't have to worry about kids not knowing what to do. You can also imbed photos to show kids visually exactly what to do. Click the pic to watch and hear one of my mini tutorials (warning: nothing fancy).

Speaking of QR codes, I'm not sure what I'd do without them! In addition to making websites easily accessible for students, you can create QR codes with text. Mainly I use QR codes this way so students can check their answers for task cards. It provides immediate feedback and is highly motivating. I have also made audio QR codes with students' speeches, stories, and songs. See how I made audio QR codes here. BTW, parents love these! QR codes can also be used for classroom scavenger hunts. The possibilities are mind boggling. If you'd like to know more, download my free QR code info guide:

My grade level is departmentalized so I get to teach math all day to my 2nd graders. Two of my favorite apps (by the same developer) are Pieces Basic and Number Line and they are both FREE! They are super kid friendly and really help students solve addition and subtraction problems. Pieces Basic is an app that has base 10 blocks while Number Line has, you guessed it, number lines. Students can manipulate the blocks or the number line to suit the problem they are solving and even write on the screen. What I love is that the set up and clean up is a breeze! No more hauling out (and storing) sets of manipulatives and then cleaning up after your lesson. No more missing pieces or mess. Also, if you tap the information icon, there is a great How to Use section that you should definitely show students the first time they use it. Both apps are set up very similarly so it is easy for kids to use.

Finally, I'm in love with nearpod. I can't even say enough about it, but I talked about it briefly in another post and I'll do it again! It is a way to push out content to your students' devices and control the pace of the lesson. There are interactive activities for students and their responses get sent to your device in real time. You can use this in the computer lab or with tablets. I tried it out for the first time this year and I'm hooked. There is a really awesome tutorial about it on the iTeach Third blog, which is where I first read about it. Just go. You won't regret it!

Check out my Classroom Tech Pinterest Board for more great ideas from educators all over the place. You can also read about some of the lessons I've learned over the years when using technology with your students.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Global Glitter Tribe December Linky

Hey everyone! I'm linking up with the GGT for the December linky and I must say that I really love the graphic this month! If you'd like to link up with us, please click on the button below to get your graphic, add your text, write your post and join in the fun!

Here goes nothin': 

First up, one of the easiest recipes you can make that will serve a family of four or can be doubled or tripled to serve a crowd is my Crockpot Chicken Tacos. Take a look:

One of my favorite holiday read alouds is Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto. I love this book because in my family we usually fight over the tamales because they are so delicious. You know you are loved when someone brings their tamales out of hiding to serve to you. In fact, this weekend we made 18 dozen tamales but we have to split them between four families, so we really don't have too many tamales...
I've been so lucky the past two years because I have been getting some great technology to work with in my classroom. As of yesterday, I am officially a 1:1 teacher! I just got 10 more iPads and now I have 24! One of the things I love is using nearpod. It is a lesson presentation system that pushes out content to your students' devices (tablets OR computers). You control the pace of the lesson slides and the students engage in interactive activities, quizzes, polls, videos, questions and more. The most awesome thing is that when they answer a question or do an activity, the results show up in real time on your device! I can instantly see who is really understanding the concepts or who needs more help. I can also send examples of student work to each device so we can have discussions. My explanation can't do it justice so you should check it out for yourself. You can sign up for free and there are many free nearpod presentations plus you can make your own!! Here's a sample of the presentations I have in my library.

I was preview shopping last month before the big sales and wandered into Bath and Body Works to pick out some scents for my daughters. I almost always shop online but you can't smell the scents online so I actually went to the mall...gasp! I totally fell in love with this new scent and then I couldn't decide which daughter to give it to so I bought it for myself!!! It's called Fresh Sparkling Snow and it just smells SOOO good.
I'm doing a book study at school with Ron Clark's Move Your Bus, which is totally motivating the leader in me and kinda frustrating me at the same time. The concept is that your organization is a bus and instead of having an engine, the bus is propelled with the power of the people. Now, on your bus you have runners, joggers, walkers and riders plus (hopefully) a driver. I love Ron's description of the different types of workers and now I can't help but to constantly think if I'm being a runner or not. Check it out for yourself:

When it snows around here in the desert (which it occasionally does) people freak out! I'm not kidding or exaggerating when I tell you that everyone expects a snow day when we get one inch of snow. We make tiny muddy snowmen and put on our winter gear and play around until about 2:00 in the afternoon when it melts. I'm a summer girl. Flip flops. Tank tops. Hot weather. Bring it on! I do not like to be cold so you can bet that if it snows, I'll be bundled up inside, fire roaring, sipping hot cocoa. I can enjoy how pretty it looks from inside. Here's a picture I took last year when we did actually get a good amount of snow (for us):
Well, I hope you've enjoyed reading my post and encourage you to link up or check out some other posts!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Currently December~Not So Fashionably Late

Yes, it is already December 5. I'm not even going to think about THAT countdown at the moment. Unfortunately, I'm in survival mode and barely hanging on. I had a week that made me want to hibernate for the rest of the month. It's Saturday morning and I woke up at 4:45 (not cool) but nevertheless, I gave myself an attitude adjustment, grabbed a big cup of coffee and jumped in with this post while everyone else is blissfully asleep in their warm beds. I'm linking up with FAB Farley:

Listening: Ok, I just can't resist some 90's George, Tim, & Garth once in a while. It is nostalgia to a simpler time in my life. I had friends in low places, I could still hear the thunder roll and I didn't know what I was going to do in my next thirty years. I was young, fearless, and trying to build my life.

Loving/Real or Faux: I love my pretty little fake tree. It is so easy to set up and twinkles and sparkles and shines. It is so easy, my teenaged daughters set it up and decorated all by themselves this year! I also really love that the hubs set it up on a timer to turn on at 5 AM (for a couple hours) so when I come downstairs in the morning, I have this beacon of warm twinkling light to guide me to the coffee pot!

Thinking: I am so excited to meet up with my bloggy buddies I haven't seen since this summer! I hope the restaurant is ready to hear our squeals and laughter all night!

Wanting: My hubs and I decided to buy Fitbits for each other for Christmas. Romantic, right? Well, they arrived and I really, really, really, really want to start using it already! The main reason is that I'm running around like a mad woman lately and I want proof of how many miles/steps I actually take in a day.

Needing: I did most of my shopping on black Friday from the comfort of my own home and the packages are starting to arrive! Unfortunately I have some tricky people to shop for: the in laws and my super picky, glitter-loving, stylish sister/teaching partner. I see her almost everyday and I can't figure out what to get her that is in my budget. Her birthday is on the 15th but she hates the combo gift thing. So I actually need to get her 2 presents. Her hints were a little (ok, a lot) above my budget and I want to get her something nice but I am just stuck. The in-laws are a whole different story. They have everything they need and don't have room in their place for more stuff. They're on the older side and don't get out much. Uggggg! The hubs is NO help. Plus he's turning 40 in two weeks and I don't know what to get him either. Maybe this is why I can't sleep.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

12 Days of Giving FREEBIE

Happy December everyone! Have you heard about the Global Glitter Tribe Blog's 12 Days of Giving? We're featuring 12 awesome freebies because we believe that we are stronger as a teacher community when we support each other.

I whipped up this little freebie when I realized that my students are struggling with understanding how to solve word problems. Click the pic to get this FREEBIE!

This product features 16 task cards with double digit addition and subtraction with a holiday theme. They all have QR codes that students can scan to check their answers. My students love using an iPad (or other device) to scan the QR codes. I love that my students are getting immediate feedback. Here's a sample:

Just like all my other task card sets, it also includes a student recording sheet and answer key. I use task cards in a variety of ways. Sometimes, they are simply placed in a zip top bag, along with the recording sheets and placed in a math center. Other times, we play Scoot and kids get to move around the room from desk to desk to solve the problems. Sometimes I post them around the room scavenger hunt style. Their favorite way to use task cards is to do Quiz Quiz Trade.

Check out some other awesome freebies featured on the Global Glitter Tribe Blog by clicking on the button below. Did I forget to mention that we're also doing a GIVEAWAY? Oops! I guess you'll have to check it out on the GGT blog!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Cyber Monday SALE & Wishlist & Giveaway

Hey everyone! I have finally come through my food coma and Black Friday shopping daze. I don't know about you, but I'd much rather shop in my pajamas from the comfort of my own home. I did not step foot out the door yesterday except to see what an awesome job the hubs and my girls did on the lights. I was a little worried at one point when the hubs said he needed MORE lights and went to Home Depot. Meanwhile I was shop, shop, shopping online. It was all fun and games until my credit card company sent me a fraud alert. It turns out that red flags go up when you make several online purchases in one day. Who knew?

Guess what? The shopping isn't over yet! I'm cultivating my TpT wish list so I can hit the big sales on Monday, leave feedback and use my credits on Tuesday!

My wish list is mostly full of clip art because I'll have the time to create during winter break. What's on yours? BTW, you can click the pics to take you to each of these items.
Fraction unit coming soon!

Because I need to get organized!

For when I have the winter blues...

So many ideas for this one!

I love everything Erin makes...

love, love, love

Who could resist?

Well, my entire store will be on sale too. Click the pics to take you to these items. Here are few goodies you might like:

And just in case your students are Star Wars crazy, like mine are....

Bundle #1 (also sold separately)

Bundle #2 (also sold separately)
Thanks for staying with me here! Here's the giveaway part!! Leave a comment on what you'll be buying in the big sale and I'll pick one random person to win any one item from my store!!