Sunday, December 31, 2017

Digital Goal Setting for the New Year

The new year brings new opportunities to be your best self! 
Or, set goals that you follow really well until January 3rd.

Research tells us that if we write our goals down (pictures are even better), there is a greater likelihood that we will accomplish them. 
AND, sharing them with others is more than icing on the cake!

By creating and sharing goals digitally, your students will have the opportunity to build community, holding one another accountable for their success. 

Seesaw is the perfect digital tool for your students to share their learning, goals, and success with one another. It's a way to build a digital community amongst classmates and embed digital citizenship along the way. 

Watch & find out how!

If you have access to GSuite, your students can create an "APPy New Year" goal setting form of their own. Click {HERE} and select 'Make a Copy' 
Students can add images and text to make it their own! 

Have an APPy New Year! 
How do you integrate goal setting in your classroom? Comment below to share your ideas!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Classroom Design On a Teacher's Budget

 Before I became an instructional coach, I would spend hours upon hours decorating my classroom. I didn't have to do this but I found joy in teaching in a beautiful kid-friendly space. I take pride in decorating my home; I choose my color pallet and decor theme, shop around for the perfect furniture, and make sure my living space is functional, purposeful, and aesthetically pleasing. I feel most at home when the space around me looks nice, and I want the same for the students I work with.
When back to school time rolls around, I lament over choosing a new classroom theme, putting up bulletin boards, and making sure my classroom looks just right before my new group of students arrive. This school year, I had the special treat of decorating my coworker's classroom. After we chose a theme (I felt like a real designer after creating a couple design boards using Google Drawing), we worked together to create a cohesive space that her 3rd graders would love.
Thanks to upcycling and sale hunting, we were able to design the entire classroom, from wall to wall, without breaking the bank. If you're looking to redesign your classroom space, here are a few tips to help get you started!

Choose a Theme & Colors Before You Buy
It is easy to get carried away buying cute knick-knacks at the Target Dollar Spot (we've all been there), but those purchases add up. I often found myself buying a lot of stuff I didn't have a need for but bought them simply because the items were cute. Knowing what you are searching for can help you focus-in and may prevent you from purchasing things you don't need. 

For this classroom, everything we purchased would fit with our black, yellow, and tan bee theme. Most of the smaller knick-knack items weren't purchased until the room was almost done, keeping us on-track.
Use What You Have... Upcycle
If you find yourself wanting to redesign your classroom, you don't have to get rid of everything that doesn't quite fit. All it may need is a can of spray paint, or a fabric cover, or self-adhesive contact paper.

If you're starting with a blank canvas, perhaps you have some furniture from home you no longer need? Or, try garage sales and Facebook buy and sell groups. Often, people are willing to give a fair price on items if they know you are a teacher. 
Ask for Donations
You can skip the previous step and just ask for donations! Teachers leaving the classroom often want to get rid of things (like the couch pictured). Posting an add on a community group may also bring you freebies from people who are more than happy to donate items they don't need to a teacher. It certainly doesn't hurt to ask. 

If you are in search of larger items that most likely won't be donated to your classroom, try Donor's Choose. Teachers often request classroom rugs, seating, and classroom storage. It may take awhile to get the funding you need, but it will be worth the wait. 
Make it Yourself
For this classroom redesign, construction paper came in handy. Construction paper was used to create the large bulletin board letters (cut with a Circuit machine), the Birthday Board, and the honeycomb pattern stapled to the parchment paper. The book bin labels were also a DIY project thanks to clip art and an editable template I put together on Google Slides. 
Shop Around

I am a frequent department store shopper but know that department stores don't always have the lowest price tags. It may take some patience, but shopping around, whether in person or online, will save you money. When shopping around, check the "Clearance" items first. You may find just what you're looking for at a discounted price. If you're looking for larger items like shelving and rugs, discount stores like Ross and Marshall's often have the best prices and items that are more unique than what can be found at larger department stores. 
View from the entry. The room is small, but using a cohesive color gives the illusion that the classroom is larger. 
A hand-made Birthday display is a perfect way to decorate cabinets. 
Every classroom needs a comfy spot for students to sit, relax, and read. 
Book labels were created using an editable template with Google Slides. 

I loved making honeycombs! I cut-out several hexagons and stapled them to create this pattern. 


Saturday, July 29, 2017

Game-Based Learning & Bloxels in the Classroom

With technology more readily available than ever before, teachers are turning to game-based learning to engage their students with tech tools. Game-based learning teaches standards and objectives to students through the use of games. “Generally, game based learning is designed to balance subject matter with gameplay and the ability of the player to retain and apply said subject matter to the real world” (EdTech Review, 2013). It’s no surprise that many teachers are turning to digital gaming to reinforce concepts in the classroom. “Like novels, films, plays, and other media, games can be high-quality materials a teacher uses to enable students to access the curriculum” (Farber, 2016, para. 2).


Saturday, July 22, 2017

Favorite Elementary Websites for the Chromebook

A new school year is around the corner, marking my second year as an Instructional Technology Coach and my 9th year as a teacher. Every year I have the chance to apply and explore new websites along with finding additional ways to engage students with the tried and true applications I've been implementing for years. I picked a few of my favorites websites with a lot of classroom potential. If you haven't integrated these in your classroom, they are definitely worth trying during this school year!


Thursday, July 13, 2017

I Vlogged My Way Through #ISTE17

ISTE may not have realized they gave me an early birthday present this year.

Let me set the scene:

On May 15th, three days before my 30th birthday, I was teaching a lesson in a 3rd grade classroom. Don't ask me what that lesson was, because all I can remember is seeing a boldly worded email from my coworker stating: YOU WON A TRIP TO ISTE! In disbelief, I checked my Twitter to see this:


Tuesday, June 20, 2017

I'm Going to ISTE: A Type-A Guide on Preparing for the BIG Event!

ISTE 2017 is just around the corner! This blog post came to me on a last minute whim after realizing how overly prepared I like to be for conferences, and ISTE is no exception! Now, I'll admit that I have a very type-A personality. I like to have every detail planned out before I long distance travel or my anxiety goes through the roof! I am hopeful that the combination of previous ISTE experiences and the obsessive need to be overly prepared will help those of you who made need a tip or two to get ready for the ISTE conference & events!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Warhol Inspired Digital Art Using Google Drawing

I have the amazing opportunity to be a part of many classrooms as a tech coach. The fifth-grade teachers have been leading a famous artist unit, and as an art enthusiast, I couldn't help but join in! If you follow my Instagram, you got a sneak peak at some of the beautiful pieces of art the fifth graders have been creating. I love to paint and draw, however, I also wanted the opportunity to share some beginner graphic design lessons with students. Right away I knew the perfect artist for digital art inspiration would be Andy Warhol! 

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

End of the School Year Ideas for Your Classroom

I loved the last few days of school because it was the time we could come together to celebrate one another. No matter how challenging my class has been throughout the school year, I always cry on the last day! And I don't mean a few tears here and there... I mean I start bawling my eyes out! In nine short months, my students become family. As a Tech Coach, I don't have a classroom of my own this year, but it's fun taking a trip down memory lane to reflect on some of my favorite end of the year traditions!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Flipped Classrooms: Are They a Flop?

As a technology coach, I am actively searching for the next best thing in digital education. While flipped classrooms aren’t exactly a new trend, the term has continued to grow in popularity over the last few years. I wanted to know, are flipped classrooms something to flip over, or just a flop?

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