Saturday, March 21, 2015

Good Teaching Conference in San Diego

I always get inspired when I go to a teaching conference.  If you've never been to a Good Teaching Conference in your state, I would suggest you try to go at least once.  They invite presenters who are very knowledgeable.  I've always left with new ideas and things I want to try with my own class.

I learned about a few free resources that I thought others who were not aware of may benefit from.  Did you know if you go to then click on the subject there are videos for students and most of them have extension activities.  They also tell you which standards they are aligned to.  A great resource to be aware of.

The next website is  This site has lessons that great teachers have created.

Then there was  Another site where lessons are posted.  You do have to join the community to have access to their lessons.  You can choose your lesson and topic.

One of the sessions I went to was how to put Engineering into STEM in the primary grades.  A resource she spoke about was  This is a resource for purchasing lessons.  She did say if you were interested in the binder, you could purchase just that, then go to the 99 Cents Store to purchase all of the supplies, rather than purchasing the whole kit.  She says she's bought 5 of them and the first time she bought the kit.  The next 4 she only purchased the binder and said she was able to find 99% of the items used in the engineering binder at the 99 Cents Store. 

I thought I'd share these resources with you as most of them are free.   Thanks for visiting. 

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Edcamp is Awesome!!!!

Have you ever heard of edcamp?  I hadn't.  In the class I take, one of my classmates organized an edcamp at his school and encouraged us all to come.  It was local at Los Alamitos High School, so I decided to take a look.  I talked my fourth grade teacher friend into attending with me.  I was pretty sure I wouldn't get much out of it, he being a high school computer science teacher and myself a first grade teacher.  Boy, was I wrong!  So it begins with networking in the morning with munchies and coffee.  We are then directed to write down anything we'd like to learn more about or any topic we'd like to facilitate.  Then we are directed to place them on the following board:

We placed any post its with topics we'd like to or felt comfortable facilitating on the orange sign.

And anything we'd like to learn about on the purple sign.

There were a few people working the board, what I mean by this is, they were moving the post-its into similar topic groups.  Once it was time to begin, we were told to either look at the board or log-in to view the computer board.  We then picked which sessions we would attend and were encouraged not to sit through something we didn't find useful.  We sat through three sessions.  In those sessions the facilitator would begin by asking, what everyone's questions were and writing them on the board, then we'd go through and see if anyone in the room could answer those questions.  Smartboards and computers are on, so people could share ideas via the web, google docs, what ever.  It was within one of these sessions I learned about the app  An SDC teacher who has a non-communicative autism class was very excited to share her finding.  So, you can get the free app, which has limited characters and backgrounds, but the most limiting is that it only allows for 30 seconds of voice recording or text to speech (which is what her students were using).  If you upgrade to tellagami edu, you will get 90 seconds of voice or text to voice recording.  It is $4.99 and the app looks like this:
So I was so excited to get started, I began to use it on Monday.  The standard we are working on in science is how animals thrive in their environment.  So we had a home project where students created a habitat and then brought it to school.  I took a picture of the habitat, the students created their character then they spoke about their habitat.  I then put the link in a QR Reader maker, I used this free link to do that: downloaded it and also put the link above that, with the child's name.  I then attached them to their project and asked parents to download a free qr reader for open house.  What a hit!  I work at a school where 97% of students are on free lunch, so I wasn't sure how many parents had smartphones.  I have a class of 27, 25 parents showed up, only 6 of those did not have a smartphone.  The rest did and when they watched their child's tellagami they loved it.  Here are a couple, either use your qr reader or the link to watch them.                       
Preview of your QR Code                                 Preview of your QR Code

This was very easy to do.  In 2 days a few minutes each day, I created a class of 27 of these.  I used my phone or ipad then emailed the link to myself, after school I put them in the qr maker.  It was easy and I wowed my parents.  I also had principal walk throughs the day before open house, the principals, superintedent and assistant superintedent walked through my class and they were wowed, also!  You should have seen them going around with their QR Readers listening to the different mini reports.   If you've never heard of this app you've got to give it a try!

If you are interested in ed camp, you can get more information here:

Here is a super short youtube of the event:

And don't forget to check out my TPT store: